Morning Bible Study
We don’t know for sure who wrote the book of Hebrews, but we do have a
pretty good idea of who it was written to.
Hebrews was written to Jewish believers.
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.
We also know that these believers were encountering very strong
Times were so bad that some were beginning to wonder if they shouldn’t quit
We will see three elements woven throughout this letter to the Hebrews.
1. Both Testaments
Even though the Old Testament has become “obsolete” (Heb. 8:13), the entire
book of Hebrews is built upon the clear foundation of the Old Testament.
(Hebrews 8:13 NKJV)
that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what
is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.
You aren’t going to understand Hebrews, or even the New Testament correctly
unless you learn the Old Testament.
2. Jesus is superior
He’s superior to angels.
He’s superior to Moses and the Torah.
He’s superior to the Levitical priests and their sacrifices.
3. Don’t quit
The ultimate goal of the book is to encourage those who are struggling with
difficult times, and help them to endure.
There’s much to find strength from and not quit.
2:10-18 Many Sons to Glory
:10 For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are
all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their
salvation perfect through sufferings.
it was fitting – prepo –
to stand out, to be conspicuous, to be eminent; to be becoming, seemly, fit
:10 Him, for whom are all things …
This is about God the Father – all things are for Him and He’s made all
:10 in bringing many sons to glory
God has a goal – to bring human beings, “many sons”, into “glory”… or
We might summarize that as “bringing us to heaven”, because heaven is where
we will be “glorified”.
The fact that God even calls us “sons” is an amazing thing.
(1 John 3:1 NKJV) Behold what
manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children
The writer has already established that Jesus as “The Son of God” is so
much better than the angels.
If we’re God’s “children”, that kind of makes Jesus our “brother” in a
More on that in a few minutes…
Brothers are related by blood.
There’s a song we’ve been singing: “No Longer Slaves”
(Words & Music by Jonathan David Helser & Melissa
Helser ©2014 Bethel Music Publishing (ASCAP)
You might remember the chorus –
I’m no longer a
slave to fear
I am a child of God
The second verse goes like this –
From my Mother's
You have chosen me
Love has called my
I’ve been born again
Into your family
Your blood flows
through my veins
:10 to make the captain of their salvation
captain – archegos (“first
place” + “leader”) – the chief leader; one that sets an example, pioneer
The term was used for both human and divine heroes, founders of schools or
those who cut a path forward for their followers.
and whose exploits for humanity were
rewarded by exaltation.
It’s used for the “hero” of a city, the one who founded the city and gave
the city its name.
In the Old Testament (LXX) it’s used for a political or military leader, or
the head of a clan.
Jesus is the “hero” of our salvation, the one who made salvation possible
for all of us who follow Him.
Jesus “leads” His brethren to the glory, which is the ultimate outcome of
Through His suffering, He accomplished our salvation, and hence is the
“author” or “pioneer” of our salvation.
Since the readers are among those who are “suffering”, it is only
appropriate that that captain of their salvation knows what suffering is all
:10 perfect through sufferings
to make … perfect – teleioo –
to make perfect, complete; to accomplish, finish
It’s not that Jesus lacked anything or is in any way “imperfect”.
Yet in Jesus’ humanity, the thing that makes Him the “perfect” captain of
those who are saved was His suffering.
Jesus even learned through His suffering.
(Hebrews 5:8 NKJV) though He
was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.
sufferings – pathema –
that which one suffers or has suffered; externally, a suffering, misfortune,
calamity, evil, affliction; of the sufferings of Christ; an enduring,
Growth through suffering
We on the other hand are far from “perfect”.
One of the ways that we grow, mature, and are perfected, is through
There are some aspects of maturity that we will never reach until we are
willing to face our difficulties instead of running from them.
Difficulties can be like the fire that is used to refine precious gold.
The gold is put into the furnace until it becomes liquid.
The impurities rise to the top and are scooped off until the goldsmith can
see his own reflection in the gold.
Peter 1:6–7 NKJV) —6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need
be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being
much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be
found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ,
Job of the Old Testament grew through his suffering.
At the beginning of the book, God says of Job,
1:8 NKJV) …there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and
And as the book progresses and Job’s trials get greater, we refining, we see
all sorts of ugly stuff come out of Job’s life.
At the end of the book, it’s a different Job than who started the
book. Job says to God,
42:5 NLT) I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my
Job had been refined and his relationship with God
Are you experiencing a measure of “suffering”?
What are you learning through it?
Listen to Paul talk about an area of his suffering:
Corinthians 12:7–10 NKJV) —7 And lest I should be exalted above measure by
the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a
messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. 8 Concerning
this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 9 And He said
to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in
weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that
the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs,
in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I
Paul learned humility through his suffering.
Paul learned the value of grace in his suffering.
Paul had a new sense of God’s power in his suffering.
How many of you are suffering?
What are you learning?
:11 For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are
all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren,
:11 He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified
sanctifies … sanctified – hagiazo
– to dedicate, separate, set apart for God; to purify
Jesus is the one who “sanctifies”.
He’s the one who makes us holy.
He’s the one that gives us salvation.
:11 are all of one
Both Jesus and we have the same source, God the Father.
Jesus was begotten by the Father.
when Mary became pregnant through
the work of the Holy Spirit.
We are begotten by God when we are born again.
Because we’ve got the same Father, He’s not ashamed to call us “brethren”.
:11 He is not ashamed to call them brethren
ashamed – epaischunomai –
to be ashamed
from – aischunomai – to
disfigure; to dishonor; to suffuse with shame, make ashamed, be ashamed
Because as born-again believers we have the same Father as Jesus, He is not
ashamed to call us “brethren”.
This is the same theme as vs. 10, “many sons”.
Now the writer is going to show that this concept of us being “brethren”
with the Messiah is in Scripture…
:12 saying: “I will declare Your name to My brethren; In the
midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You.”
:12 I will declare Your name to My brethren
You’ll note from the italics in the text that the author is quoting the Old
Here’s he’s quoting from Psalm 22, written 1,000 before Christ.
It’s the Psalm that Jesus quoted from while He hung on the cross (Mat.
(Psalm 22:1 NKJV) My God, My
God, why have You forsaken Me?
NKJV) And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying,
“Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You
In the Jewish synagogue, when it came time to sing songs,
they would call out the Psalm they were going to sing by mentioning the first
Psalm 22 is the “My God, My God, why have You…” song.
Jesus was not only experiencing what it was for God to
turn His back on Jesus, but He was drawing the attention of those watching to look
at this Psalm.
This is the Psalm that gives us the very details of Jesus on the
crucifixion long before crucifixion was even invented.
Yet David writes things like,
22:16b NKJV) …They pierced My hands and My feet
David wrote this prophetic psalm from the perspective of the one on the
cross, and it’s in this Psalm that David has Jesus saying,
(Psalm 22:22 NKJV) I will
declare Your name to My brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will praise You.
The writer of Hebrews is proving that the suffering
Messiah would have “brethren”.
:12 In the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You
I’m sure it’s just a coincidence, but the word for “assembly” is the same
word that’s translated “church” in the New Testament.
assembly – ekklesia – a
gathering of citizens called out from their homes into some public place, an
assembly; an assembly of Christians, the church
I will sing praise – humneo –
to sing the praise of, sing hymns to
:13 And again: “I will put My trust in Him.” And again: “Here am
I and the children whom God has given Me.”
:13 I will put My trust in Him
I will – esomai – future
first person singular of "to be"
put my trust – peitho –
persuade; be persuaded; to be persuaded, to suffer one’s self to be persuaded;
to be induced to believe: to have faith: in a thing; to believe; to trust, have
confidence, be confident
The writer of Hebrews is again quoting David, as if David was speaking for
This comes from David’s song that he wrote after God had delivered him from
all his enemies (2Sam. 22:3)
(2 Samuel 22:3a
NKJV) The God of my strength, in whom I will trust…
The same song is repeated in Psalm 18.
(Psalm 18:2 NKJV) The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my
deliverer; My God, my
strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
Perhaps the idea here is that the Messiah still had to put His trust in the
Father just like we do.
:13 Here am I and the children whom God has given Me
Now the writer of Hebrews is quoting from the prophet Isaiah:
(Isaiah 8:18 NKJV) Here am I
and the children whom the Lord
has given me! We are
for signs and wonders in Israel From the Lord of
hosts, Who dwells
in Mount Zion.
The prophet Isaiah was writing about how he and his family were a kind of
living testimony to the nation.
The writer of Hebrews is saying that just like Isaiah, the Messiah’s
“family” would be a living testimony.
You can see it in their names:
Isaiah = “Yahweh is salvation”.
Shear-jashub = “a remnant shall return” (Isa.
This son’s name was a reminder that no matter what
destruction the nation was facing, that a remnant shall return to the land.
7:3 NKJV) Then the Lord said to
Isaiah, “Go out now to meet Ahaz, you and Shear-Jashub your son, at the end of
the aqueduct from the upper pool, on the highway to the Fuller’s Field,
Maher-shalal-hash-baz = “swift to the booty, speedy
to the prey”.
The boy’s name referred to the quick coming Assyrian army
who will be arriving shortly to plunder and spoil the kingdoms to the north.
8:3–4 NKJV) —3 Then I went to the prophetess, and she conceived and bore a son.
Then the Lord said to me, “Call
his name Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz; 4 for before the child shall have knowledge to cry ‘My father’ and
‘My mother,’ the riches of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria will be taken away
before the king of Assyria.”
Isaiah is a reminder that our families are living examples of how God is at
work in our lives.
The writer of Hebrews is saying that Isaiah wasn’t just speaking for
himself when he said this, but he was speaking prophetically for Jesus, that we
are the children that God has given to Jesus.
:14 Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He
Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him
who had the power of death, that is, the devil,
partakers – koinoneo – to come
into communion or fellowship with, to become a sharer, be made a partner; to
enter into fellowship, join one’s self to an associate, make one’s self a
sharer or partner
The verb is a perfect tense. We had
in the past been partakers of flesh, and we still are.
in the same – paraplesios –
similarly, in like manner, in the same way
shared – metecho – to be
or become partaker; to partake
The verb here is aorist. A point in
At a point in time, Jesus took on human flesh.
power – kratos – force, strength;
power, might: mighty with great power; a mighty deed, a work of power; dominion
the devil – diabolos –
prone to slander, slanderous, accusing falsely; a calumniator, false accuser,
:14 He Himself likewise shared in the same
Before the event in a manger in Bethlehem, Jesus had always existed in
fellowship with God.
He did not have the limits of a physical, human body.
Because we, the children of God, are made up of flesh and blood, then the Messiah
would need to be flesh and blood.
One of the reasons was so that He could be the perfect substitutionary
sacrifice, He could die in our place.
Side note: The heretical cult of Gnosticism some claimed that Jesus didn’t
have a real flesh and blood body.
:15 that through death He might destroy him
This doesn’t mean that Satan has been annihilated and no longer exists.
destroy – katargeo – to
render idle, unemployed, inoperative
On the cross, Jesus stripped Satan of a certain power he had.
NKJV) Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public
spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.
:15 who had the power of death
The writer doesn’t mean that Satan had the ability to kill whomever he
We see in the book of Job, God set limits on what Satan was allowed to do
to Job, and killing Job was not allowed.
The power that Satan has in regards to death is in the next verse.
:15 and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime
subject to bondage.
release – apallasso – to
remove, release, to be removed, to depart; to set free, deliver
fear – phobos – fear,
dread, terror; that which strikes terror
subject to – enochos –
bound, under obligation, subject to, liable
:15 release those … subject to bondage
The fear of death is the power that Satan has concerning death.
People are brought into bondage because of their fear of death.
Fear of Death
Death actually has some pretty impressive statistics.
10 out of every 10 people born will … die.
And unless you know what’s on the other side of death, you have good reason
Some people think we just cease to exist, and their fear is that their life
will be over.
Some think that death is just a giant “reset” button, and they will come
back as something or someone else … whatever that might be.
Others have this notion of heaven and hell, but are afraid they’re on their
way to hell.
And so people become enslaved because of the fear of death.
bondage – douleia – the
condition of a slave
Some people resort to self-medicating to dull their fear of dying.
Others think they might as well live a wild life and grab all they can get,
because when it’s over, it’s over.
Others will sign up for every new religion that comes down the road, hoping
that someone knows the answers to life’s most important question.
Others live quiet lives of desperation, waiting for that day when the grim
The early church had to learn to face their fears of death. They were sometimes put to death for their
This is from the movie “Paul the Apostle”, where the imprisoned Christians
learn they will be part of the “games”, being put to death by wild animals.
the Apostle – Games Tomorrow
Are you afraid of dying?
It’s a pretty common thing, and there’s really a very simply answer to the
fear of dying.
NKJV) —25 …“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though
he may die, he shall live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you
Jesus claimed to be the answer to death.
Even when your physical body dies, there is life after
When He died and rose from the dead, He conquered death,
and laid down a path that we could follow, straight to heaven, straight to
And it all happens when you put your life in His hands,
when you “believe” in Him.
(1 John 5:11–13
NKJV) —11 And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and
this life is in His Son. 12 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God
does not have life. 13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the
Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue
to believe in the name of the Son of God.
God wants you to “know” that you have eternal life.
He doesn’t want you “wondering” if you have it.
When you “know” where you are going after you die, your
fear of death changes.
You may still be afraid of the pain of an illness.
You may still be afraid of what will happen to your loved
ones after you’re gone.
But you won’t be afraid of where you’re heading.
At the end of the service, I’m going to give you a chance to take that step
and deal with the issue of eternal life once and for all.
:16 For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the
seed of Abraham.
indeed – depou – it is
used when something is affirmed in a slightly ironical manner, as if with an
pretense of uncertainty; perhaps; doubtless; verily; truly
give aid to – epilambanomai –
to take in addition, to lay hold of; metaph. to rescue one from peril, to help,
NKJV has a footnote – “take on the nature of” …?
Sometimes the word carries the idea of grabbing on to someone to help them:
NKJV) And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught
him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
(Mark 8:23 NKJV) So He took
the blind man by the hand and led him out of the town. And when He had spit on
his eyes and put His hands on him, He asked him if he saw anything.
seed – sperma – from which
a plant germinates; the seed i.e. the grain or kernel which contains within
itself the germ of the future plants; the semen virile; the product of this
semen, seed, children, offspring, progeny; family, tribe, posterity
:16 He does give aid to the seed of Abraham
Jesus didn’t come to save the angels, He came to save mankind.
He came to save the “seed of Abraham”.
He came to save those who have the faith of Abraham (Rom. 4:16)
This could be a reference to the Jews, who considered Abraham their father.
But I think it’s referring to those who have the faith of Abraham.
(Romans 4:16 NLT) So the
promise is received by faith. It is given as a free gift. And we are all
certain to receive it, whether or not we live according to the law of Moses, if
we have faith like Abraham’s. For Abraham is the father of all who believe.
:17 Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren,
that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining
to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.
:17 He had to be made like His brethren
He had to – opheilo – to
owe; to owe money, be in debt for; that which is due, the debt; metaph. the
to be made like – homoioo –
to be made like; to liken, compare
Is this like the controversy over the nature of Christ?
If Jesus was going to free us from the bondage of the fear of death, then
He had to take on human flesh like us.
:17 that He might be a merciful
merciful – eleemon –
In the Greek text, there’s a slight gap between “merciful” and “faithful”.
A literal translation of the phrase would be,
“that merciful He might be and a faithful high priest…”
I only point it out because I think there’s a connection to Jesus being
“like us”, and His mercy. We’ll see that
in a minute.
:17 faithful High Priest
faithful – pistos –
trusty, faithful; of persons who show themselves faithful in the transaction of
business, the execution of commands, or the discharge of official duties; one
who kept his plighted faith, worthy of trust; that can be relied on
high priest – archiereus –
chief priest, high priest
This will be a theme that the writer will develop much more fully later on.
:17 to make propitiation for the sins of the people
to make propitiation – hilaskomai
– to appease, conciliate to one’s self; be placated or appeased; be
gracious, be merciful
The verb is only used in one other passage:
(Luke 18:13 NKJV) And the tax
collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to
heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’
There is a noun form (hilasmos) used
(1 John 2:2 NKJV) And He
Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for
the whole world.
(1 John 4:10 NKJV) In this is
love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be
the propitiation for our sins.
The place of propitiation (hilasterion)
was the mercy seat, and that form is used:
(Romans 3:25 NKJV) whom God set
forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His
righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that
were previously committed,
(Hebrews 9:5 NKJV) and above it
were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Of these things we
cannot now speak in detail.
Making “propitiation” is what a priest does through sacrifice, so the
people may find mercy.
Jesus is both a high priest as well as a sacrifice.
We’ll see these themes developed more later.
:18 For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid
those who are tempted.
:18 He Himself has suffered, being tempted
has suffered – pascho – to
be affected or have been affected, to feel, have a sensible experience
being tempted –
peirazo – to try whether a thing can
be done; to try, make trial of, test
Sometimes this word has to do with going through difficult times, times we
Sometimes this word carries the idea of being “tempted” towards sin and
Jesus has done both.
He’s gone through the most difficult of times (think of
He’s been tempted (by Satan in the wilderness).
:18 He is able to aid those who are tempted
he is able – dunamai – to be able, have power whether
by virtue of one’s own ability and resources, or of a state of mind, or through
favourable circumstances, or by permission of law or custom; to be able to do
something; to be capable, strong and powerful
being tempted –
peirazo – to try whether a thing can
be done; to try, make trial of, test
to aid – boetheo – to
help, succor, bring aid
NKJV) Then she came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, help me!”
(Mark 9:22 NKJV) And often he
has thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You
can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.”
(Mark 9:24 NKJV) Immediately
the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help
The words translated “tempted” can also be translated “tested”.
Because Jesus has experienced both great “testing” as well as being
“tempted”, He is able to help us.
He can help
Jesus understands what you are going through more than you know.
We might call this “Empathy”
It’s something we all need to learn.
Jesus is that bear in the cartoon. He doesn’t just shout at you from heaven
asking if you want a sandwich.
He doesn’t try to make you feel better by saying, “At
He took on human flesh to identify with us.
Joseph Mallord Turner,
English painter, invited Charles Kingsley to his studio to see a picture of a
storm at sea. In rapt admiration,
Kingsley exclaimed, “It’s wonderful!
It’s so realistic! How did you do
The artist replied, “I
went to the coast of Holland and engaged a fisherman to take me out to sea in
the next storm. Entering his boat as a storm was brewing, I asked him to bind
me to the mast. Then he steered his boat
into the teeth of the storm.
“The storm raged with
such fury that at times I longed to be in the bottom of the boat where the
waves would blow over me. I could not,
however. I was bound to the mast. Not only did I see the storm in its raging
fury, I felt it! It blew into me, as it were, until I became a part of it. After this terrible ordeal, I returned to my
studio and painted the picture.”
Jesus has been through the storms you’re going through
right now. He knows how to get you
Jesus knows what you’re facing.
Ever been tempted to
cheat and take the short cut to make your problems magically go away? Like magically turning stones into bread?
knows what that’s like.
Ever faced the temptation
to throw your relationship with God away and cash in on the big money?
Jesus. Satan offered the world to Him.
Ever been deeply hurt or
betrayed by someone close to you?
Jesus. He cared very much for Judas.
Jesus is willing to come
down to where you are, and enter into that scary moment that you’re
facing. Like this dad…
I would say that Jesus is a bit like that Dad, willing to
go out on stage and do whatever he needed to in order to help his little girl
get through her rough time.
You can turn to Jesus.