Morning Bible Study
Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it address the person who
is: Empty, lonely, guilty, or afraid to die? Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it
build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision Is the church
loved? Regular: 2900 words Communion: 2500 words Video=75wpm
Caleb & Kim
Pray this week as Kim and the kids fly back to the U.S. on Thursday. Caleb returns on May 29.
The elders are going to allow donations to the Beller Fund through the end
The family wants to send along their deepest gratitude to all who have
helped, contributed, and served. They
are very thankful!
Jeff Stewart, his wife Sonya, and kids Josephine and Asher have been
serving in Paris, France for the last year.
Introduction to Hebrews
1. Who wrote the
Many favor Paul,
including many of the early church fathers.
Clement of Alexandria (2nd
century) wrote that he and his teacher Pantaenus both
felt that Paul was the author.
But … it isn’t introduced
like Paul’s other letters, which mention him as the author.
The style of Greek used
in Hebrews is more polished than Paul’s usage of Greek.
The early church father
Origen wrote that Hebrews “lacked the apostle’s rudeness of expression” and
that it was a much more polished Greek, closer to that of Luke’s writing.
‘lacked the apostle’s
rudeness of expression’ and that it ‘is more idiomatically Greek in the
composition of its diction’ (cf. Eusebius, Hist.
Eccl., vi.25.11f.). 
Paul used both the Hebrew
and Septuagint versions of the Old Testament when he quoted scripture, the book
of Hebrews uses the Septuagint version exclusively.
Paul tends to go on
rabbit trails from time to time in his writings, while this writer is much more
highly organized and sticks to his overall outline.
companion during the early missionary journeys.
He was considered an
apostle. (Acts 14:14)
(Acts 14:14 NKJV)
—14 But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard this, they tore their
clothes and ran in among the multitude, crying out
The ancient historian
Tertullian (died 240 AD) quoted from Hebrews and said it was written by
Barnabas was a Levite
(Acts 4:36) and hence would have had good knowledge of the Jewish sacrificial
He was the one who
reasoned powerfully with the Jews. (Acts 18:24-28)
Being from Alexandria, he
may have been trained in rhetoric and possibly philosophy.
This letter has the best
usage of Greek on par with Luke & Acts.
He was moving from Rome
through Crete a few years before the letter was written.
(Titus 3:13 NKJV) Send Zenas
the lawyer and Apollos on their journey with haste, that they may lack nothing.
During the Reformation,
Martin Luther felt that Apollos was probably the author, and in response to
Luther’s assertion the Council of Trent (Roman Catholic) declared that the
letter was definitely written by Paul.
Others have suggested the
letter may have been written by Clement of Rome, Priscilla, Aquila, Philip,
Peter, Silas, and the list goes on and on.
The ancient church father
Origen said, “Only God knows who wrote Hebrews”.
2. When was it
Timothy was apparently
still alive (13:23). He died in AD 97,
so it was written before then.
NKJV) Know that our brother Timothy has been set free, with whom I
shall see you if he comes shortly.
Clement of Rome quotes
Hebrews in AD 95, so it was written before then.
36. This is the way, dearly-beloved, wherein
we found our salvation, even Jesus Christ the High-priest of our offerings, the
Guardian and Helper of our weakness. 2Through Him let us look stedfastly unto the heights of the heavens; through Him we
behold as in a mirror His faultless and most excellent visage; through Him the
eyes of our hearts were opened; through Him our foolish and darkened mind springeth up unto the light; through Him the Master willed
that we should taste of the immortal knowledge; Who being the brightness of His majesty is so much greater than angels,
as He hath inherited a more excellent name. 3For so it is
written; Who maketh
His angels spirits and His ministers a flame of fire; 4but of
His Son the Master said thus; Thou art My
Son, I this day have begotten Thee. Ask of Me, and I will give Thee the Gentiles for Thine inheritance, and the ends
of the earth for Thy possession. 5And again He saith unto Him; Sit Thou on My right hand, until I make
Thine enemies a footstool for Thy feet. 6Who then are these
enemies? They that are wicked and resist His will.
The book does not mention
the end of the Old Testament sacrificial system which occurred in AD 70 when
Jerusalem was destroyed, so it was written before then.
This suggests the book
was written between A.D. 64 and 68 because of the persecution mentioned.
3. Who was it written
Jewish Believers (hence
the title “Hebrews”).
The earliest copies of
the letter have the title “to the Hebrews”.
The author expects the
readers to be well acquainted with Levitical worship and sacrifice.
He will constantly quote the Old Testament in a way that expects that the
reader understands what he’s talking about.
The author seems to be speaking to a specific group of Jewish believers.
He talks about how they had lost property and wealth (10:33-34), their
attitudes toward their leaders (13:17), their generosity (6:10), and issues
about marriage (13:4-5).
Some have suggested this
might have been written to the church in Jerusalem, Alexandria, or even Rome
(and about a dozen other places as well).
Others even suggest it might have been written to some in the Qumran
community who had believed in Jesus.
Yet we don’t know who
specifically it is addressed to.
These Jewish believers
were undergoing persecution. They wanted
to leave Christianity and go back to Judaism in order to
escape persecution. They are exhorted to
stay with Jesus!
4. The Value of Hebrews
Connecting the Testaments
Some people think the Old Testament is irrelevant.
There is a sense in which the Old Testament is obsolete…
Hebrews itself says,
8:13 NKJV) In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first
obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish
And yet, the entire book of Hebrews is built upon the clear foundation of
the Old Testament.
You aren’t going to understand the book of Hebrews if you don’t understand
the Old Testament.
You will find that you aren’t going to have a proper understanding of the
New Testament unless you have a proper understanding of the Old Testament.
The Superiority of Jesus
We’ll begin to taste this this morning.
Jesus is not just one of many options when it comes to being “religious”.
Jesus is the only option.
He is far superior to all other options, and the writer of Hebrews will lay
this all out over the next 10 chapters.
Enduring Difficult Times
The readers of this letter were experiencing persecution and beginning to
wonder if it was really worth it to follow Jesus.
You and I will experience times of great difficulty and we too will be
tempted to quit.
We’re going to see that as believers, we have much to gain strength from
and reasons to keep going.
(stand to read)
1:1-3 The Best Revelation
NKJV) —1 God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to
the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has
appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; 3 who being
the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and
upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged
our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
:1 God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the
fathers by the prophets,
various times – polumeros (“many”
+ “part”) – by many portions, by many times and in many ways
various ways – polutropos (“many”
+ “way”) – in many manners
times past – palai – of old, former; long ago
spoke – laleo – to utter a voice or emit a sound; to
speak; to use words in order to declare one’s mind and
disclose one’s thoughts
:1 at various times and in various ways spoke
God has spoken through creation
(Psalm 19:1 NKJV) The heavens
declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork.
If people would open up their eyes, it’s pretty
obvious that there is indeed a Creator.
One of the more interesting things lately is the study of
the amazing coincidences that have had to happen in order for
life to even exist in the universe.
Things like the distance between the earth and the sun
making for a perfect setting for life on earth.
The placement of our solar system within the bigger galaxy. The effect magnetic poles guarding us from
radiation. The existence of a planet
like Jupiter that acts to protect us from stray asteroids impacting our planet.
These and a couple hundred other factors lead to an
astonishing small chance that life would exist anywhere, without some sort of
intelligence behind it.
Paul writes that even in ancient times, because men reject the obvious
clues of a Creator …
1:22 NKJV) Professing to be wise, they became fools,
We see it today as scientists are scrambling to explain what has become an
increasingly smaller and smaller chance that life could ever have come into
And now they have new ideas to explain it…
Video: PragerU – God or Multiverse?
As clear as God has spoken through creation, God spoke even clearer through
the ancient prophets.
He didn’t speak once, but many times, and in many ways.
God spoke through the personal ministries of prophets like Samuel, Elijah,
Kings were given guidance by the prophets about things
like where an enemy would attack.
Some prophets like Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel wrote out God’s words.
We have hundreds of things spoken of before they would
The prophets had one favorite subject, that of a coming
King, a Messiah.
There are over 300 specific prophecies in the Old
Testament about the first coming of this Savior.
Jesus fulfilled all of them.
These are not vague prophecies, but things that were
specific, like telling where He would be born, what His life would be about,
His miracles, the manner of His death, and even His resurrection.
One scholar worked out the probability of anybody
fulfilling just eight of these Old Testament of these prophecies,
and came up with the odds being 1 in 1017. That’s a one with seventeen zeroes after
That would be like covering the state of Texas two feet
deep with silver dollars, marking one of those silver dollars with a marker,
stirring it all up, and giving a blindfolded person one chance to pick out the
right silver dollar.
They also worked out the odds of Jesus fulfilling 48 of
the prophecies. The odds were 1 in 10157. Those odds are just too hard to imagine.
Yet Jesus fulfilled over 300 prophecies, not just eight.
Is it possible to even know God?
It’s a common thing today for people to think that God is whatever you want
Him to be.
I’d like to suggest that if you want to know God, you should pay attention
to who He says about Himself, not who you think He is.
:2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has
appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds;
last – eschatos – extreme; last in time or in place;
last, referring to time
appointed – tithemi – to set, put, place; to make; to set,
fix establish; to establish, ordain
made – poieo – to make; to do
:2 in these last days spoken to us by His Son
Compared to all that God spoke through the prophets, God has spoken
clearest through His Son Jesus Christ.
If you want to know what God is like, you have to
look no further than Jesus Christ.
(John 14:8–10 NKJV)
—8 Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient
for us.” 9 Jesus said
to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip?
He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the
Father’? 10 Do you not
believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak
to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in
Me does the works.
:2 whom He has appointed heir of all things
The heir holds the title on the property.
Everything in creation belongs to Jesus…
(Romans 11:36 NKJV)
of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever.
NKJV) —11 Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the
throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten
thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, 12 saying with
a loud voice: “Worthy is
the Lamb who was slain To receive power and riches and
wisdom, And strength
and honor and glory and blessing!”
:2 through whom also He made the worlds
worlds – aion – perpetuity of time, eternity; the
The writer is saying that Jesus is the Creator. He was involved in all
aspects of creation.
(John 1:3 NKJV) All things
were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.
NKJV) For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are
on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities
or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.
Here’s how I think that “Big Bang” thing happened.
Jesus spoke, “Let there be light”, and BANG, there was light.
I’m just not sure it was 13 billion years ago, and I’m not sure there were
an infinite number of universes made.
:3 who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of
His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by
Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
:3 who being the brightness of His glory
brightness – apaugasma (“from” + “to be bright”) – reflected
brightness; shining out
Jesus perfectly reflects the majesty of God.
Jesus is like a light shining in the darkness.
At the transfiguration, three of the disciples caught a glimpse of that
:3 the express image of His person
express image –
charakter – the instrument used for engraving or
carving; the mark stamped upon that instrument or wrought out on it
It’s like the impression left in hot wax when you push a signet ring onto
NKJV) He is the image of the invisible God
Here the word “image” (eikon) is
used at times to describe the picture of the emperor’s head on a coin, or the
shape of a statue.
person – hupostasis – a setting or placing under; thing put
under, substructure, foundation; that which has foundation, is firm; that which
has actual existence
If you want to know what God looks like, look at Jesus.
(Hebrews 1:3 NLT) …expresses
the very character of God
:3 upholding all things by the word of His power
upholding – phero – to carry; to carry some burden
word – rhema – that which
is or has been uttered by the living voice, thing spoken, word; any sound produced
by the voice and having definite meaning; speech, discourse
power – dunamis – strength, power, ability
He didn’t just create everything, but He keeps everything running.
NASB95) He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.
:3 when He had by Himself purged our sins
purged – katharismos – a cleansing, purification; a
cleansing from the guilt of sins
Jesus cleansed us from our sins by dying on the cross in our place.
NKJV) —5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for
our iniquities; The
chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. 6 All we like
sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us
As He hung on the cross, His final words were, “It is finished”.
In other words, He paid once and for all for our sins.
A great exchange took place on the cross.
(2 Corinthians 5:21
NLT) For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our
sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.
The innocent (Jesus) was punished as if guilty, that the guilty (me) might
be rewarded as if innocent.
There is forgiveness available with Jesus if you’ll come to Him.
(1 John 1:9 NKJV) If we
confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to
cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
:3 sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high
Majesty – megalosune – majesty; of the majesty of God
high – hupselos – high, lofty; metaph. eminent, exalted
This is where Jesus is today.
After He died, He was buried, and then on the third day He rose from the
He hung around with the disciples for forty days before finally ascending
into heaven, where He is seated at God’s right hand.
If you haven’t quite realized it yet, the author has been telling us that
Jesus is indeed fully God.
two last lessons, hopefully these will sound familiar…
Jesus is superior
He isn’t just one among many “gods”.
The Greeks and Romans had their pantheon of gods – like Zeus, Apollo, and
The Norse had their gods, like Odin and Thor.
The Bible tells us that there really aren’t any other “gods” at all. (Is.
44:6,8; 45:5; 46:9)
(Isaiah 44:6b NKJV)
… ‘I am
the First and I am the Last; Besides Me there is no God.
(Isaiah 44:8b NKJV)
there a God besides Me? Indeed there is no other Rock; I know not one.’
(Isaiah 45:5a NKJV)
am the Lord, and there
is no other;
There is no God besides Me.
(Isaiah 46:9 NKJV) Remember the
former things of old, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there
is none like Me,
Jesus isn’t just one of many philosophies.
He is everything.
I wonder if we’ve lost the “wonder” of who Jesus is when He indeed is
He’s way more amazing than some street magician.
He is the King of Kings.
You don’t need to be looking for answers or help for your life anywhere
else than with Jesus.
Many of you are also going through hard times, just like the original Jews
reading this letter. You feel like the
tough times just won’t stop.
You and I might be tempted at times to quit, to add our voices to those who
have said, “I tried Christianity, but it didn’t work”.
My friends, there is no other place to go.
There is no greater place and no greater help than Jesus.
There is no “superior” place to go.
Jesus too went through tremendous difficulty, and He didn’t quit.
If you will turn to Jesus and look to Him, you can find strength to keep
NKJV) —2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith,
who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame,
and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 For consider
Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become
weary and discouraged in your souls.
NKJV) —20 Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the
dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting
covenant, 21 make you
complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well
pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever
and ever. Amen.