The Book of Hebrews Study – ESV
Hebrews is the most complete explanation of the New Covenant for which Jesus shed his blood. The New Covenant does not start at the beginning of the New Testament. Jesus was born and lived under the Old Covenant. Just like the Old Covenant could not be confirmed without the shedding of animal blood, the New could not be confirmed without the shedding of blood. In this case, it was Jesus blood. The New Covenant starts after the cross.
And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood. Luke 22:20
Hebrews is quite possibly the most important book for the Christian to study and unfortunately one of the least studied. Too often today, believers mix the Old Covenant of law including the Ten Commandments (description starts in Exodus 19 and is confirmed in Exodus 24) with the New Covenant of grace and truth (brought by Jesus) in error, resulting in confusion. They hear the New Covenant, saved by grace through faith and salvation is a gift; mixed with the Old Covenant, if you sin too much and do not act right you will lose your salvation. Thus, subtlety placing the burden of salvation on the believer’s ability to keep the law instead of on Jesus sacrifice and the gift of salvation by grace. This mixture confuses, watering down the real life-changing power of the gospel Jesus died for. The truth is the New Covenant is not an addition to the Old; it is a full replacement according to the Bible.
For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. John 1:17 - Note that truth is on the side of grace in the New Covenant.
In the book of Hebrews, the author (many believe is Paul) is speaking to Jews who knew Moses, the law in its entirety (including the Ten Commandments) and the way to be right with God, they thought. In other words, they knew the Old Covenant. If we consider this context it helps. These were the people who thought they had found the way and would be some of the most difficult to convince of the truth of the gospel. The book of Hebrews is the authors attempt to convince them that the Old Covenant of law was only a shadow of the truth, not the reality. He attempts to convince them that they need to change their mind (repent) and believe the gospel, New Covenant if they are to be saved. The author compares several things for the hard-hearted Hebrews and us, in his attempt.
Jesus is not just a man; he is God and far superior to angels. Jesus, a Son far superior to Moses, a servant. The law is only a shadow of the true reality of grace. Annual animal sacrifices make people conscious of sin and cannot perfect while Jesus one sacrifice perfected for all time. Jesus priesthood is far superior to Melchizedek’s. The New Covenant of grace and truth made the Old Covenant of law obsolete and more.
Hebrews demonstrates the superiority of the New Covenant, the only way to be right with God. The author also makes it very clear that the reader should not neglect such a great salvation and continue in their unbelief of the gospel, which is the only unforgivable sin. Hebrews is the clearest explanation of the New Covenant of Grace that Jesus died to bring us and should be thoughtfully studied by all believers.
The covenants can be compared to an old will and a new will. If your rich uncle died, which will, would you want to see and study? Which one would take precedence no matter what you wanted to be true? Do you think an intelligent and ethical judge would read from both the old and the new and convolute the deceased’s wishes, or would the new prevail and the old be obsolete?
Just like a new will, makes the old will obsolete and useless, the New Covenant of Grace completely replaced the Old Covenant of law.
In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away. Heb 8:13
In the above verse, the Greek word (Strongs 3822) for used for obsolete is defined: I make old, declare obsolete; pass: I grow old, become obsolete.
The Greek word for vanish (Strongs 854) at the end of the verse is defined: disappearing, disappearance, obliteration.
While believers can learn history and much more from the Old Covenant and Old Testament, they were not written to Christians. They were written specifically for the Jews of the time.
I cannot emphasize enough that a born-again believer of Jesus is NOT under the Old Covenant curse of the law Gal 3:10-14 – do good, get good, do bad, get bad. We are also NOT under a mixture of the Old Covenant and New – grace + do good, get good, do bad, get bad. Unfortunately, most Christians live under a mixture of the Old and New, rearming satan and diluting the power of the gospel.
The truth is that we are 100% under the New Covenant of grace and truth – when we are weak, we are strong - 2 Cor 12:10. In other words, when we stop our self-righteousness and admit how weak we really are in regards to keeping the law, in our inability to stop sin completely, throw ourselves on God’s mercy and grace accepting Jesus, we are then strong in Christ.
Jesus did it all; it is finished. Salvation fully comes when a person changes their mind (repents) from unbelief in the gospel to belief. When they believe in their heart and confess with their mouth that Jesus is Lord, they are saved, period!
Additional points to review before our study of the New Covenant in Hebrews.
1) The New Covenants replacement of the Old is prophesized in Jeremiah.
31“Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, 32not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the LORD. 33For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” Jer 31:31-34
2) An important reference in 2 Cor 3:1-18 to the New Covenant of grace and truth (note that truth is on the side of the New Covenant of Grace) that brings righteousness and how it replaced the Old Covenant of law that brought condemnation and death.
1Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, like some people, letters of recommendation to you or from you? 2You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone. 3You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. 2 Cor 3:1-3
Tablets of stone is a reference to the Ten Commandments, part of the Old Covenant. The entire Old Covenant has been replaced with the New, a new way God is doing things since the cross.
4 Such confidence we have through Christ before God. 5Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. 6He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. 2 Cor 3:4
I am not advocating sin, I am against all sin. But this does not change the truth that the Bible teaches that Christians are released from the law including the Ten Commandments and are ministers, ambassadors of grace and truth (with diplomatic immunity), of the New Covenant, not the law of the Old Covenant. Letter is a reference to the letter of the law found in the Old Covenant. Just think of how you need to make rules/laws to protect your little children from harm, while you trust your grown children will not run across the street without looking. The law was our guardian or schoolmaster until we came to Christ, but when we come to Christ, we no longer need a guardian or schoolmaster:
23 Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. 24So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith.25But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, 26for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. Gal 2:23-26.)
The Greater Glory of the New Covenant - 2 Cor 3:7-18
7Now if the ministry that brought death (Old Covenant), which was engraved in letters on stone (Ten Commandments), came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, transitory though it was, 8will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? 9If the ministry that brought condemnation (Old Covenant) was glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness! (New Covenant) 10For what was glorious has no glory now (Old Covenant) in comparison with the surpassing glory. 11And if what was transitory came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts!(New Covenant)
Paul states the Old Covenant was the ministry engraved on stones that brought death and condemnation and the New Covenant is the ministry that brings righteousness. He points out how much more glorious the New is over the Old.
12Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. 13We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to prevent the Israelites from seeing the end of what was passing away. (Old Covenant) 14But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. 15Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. 16But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 2 Cor 3:1-18
To this day when the Old Covenant is read, a veil remains over the face of those who read it. I would suggest this means those who read it and adhere to it as a way to be right with God. This is also a very good reason to not mix the old with the new.
3) Just like God did not count our sins against us, we are commissioned to bring grace and truth, NOT counting others sins against them.
19that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.2 Cor 5:19 ESV).
4) Here is a good overview of the differences in these two covenants to print out and keep in your Bible: https://www.gci.org/law/oldandnew
5) In the New Covenant we learn that we are:
Greatly loved by God - Ephesians 2:4 - Forgiven of all my sins - Ephesians 1:7
Free from the law of sin and death - Romans 8:2 - Righteous - Rom 5:19
Complete - Colossians 2:10 - Justified - 1 Corinthians 6:11
Sanctified - Hebrews 10:10 - Holy and without blame - Ephesians 1:4
Perfected - Hebrews 10:14
6) God who cannot lie has made this promise to believers in the New Covenant. This is the main pillar of the New Covenant.
then he adds, “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.” Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin. Heb 10:17-18 ESV
Realizing how important the New Covenant is, I hope you will stay with me as we go through the book of Hebrews. You can highlight and copy this study to print it out and place in your Bible for reference if you like or study online. The online version is filled with links to my Bible studies and verses that further support the verses I have placed the link near.
Hebrews Chapter One – English Standard Version in Italics – (My comments in Bold)
The Supremacy of God’s Son
1Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.
(The world was created through Jesus, must be God.)
3He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power.
(You can know precisely what God the Father and the Holy Spirit are like and their heart towards sinners by studying Jesus. Jesus upholds the universe, must be God.)
After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.
(Jesus is not just an angel as Jehovah Witness’s and some others claim, he is far superior to the angels. JW’s claim Jesus is the archangel, Michael. The deity of Jesus is of primary importance. All that claim Jesus is not God are contradicting the Bible. – And Jesus cried out and said, “Whoever believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me - John 12:44. Only true Christianity recognizes Jesus as God come in the flesh. Every other belief claims he was only a man, good teacher or prophet at best.)
5For to which of the angels did God ever say,
“You are my Son,
today I have begotten you”?
“I will be to him a father,
and he shall be to me a son”?
(Jesus, the only begotten son of God the Father, is just as much God as his Father is God, just like every human reader of this study is just as much human as their father is human.)
6And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world,
(Jesus is eternal as God and firstborn from the dead when he defeated death for us.)
“Let all God’s angels worship him.”
(Angels always refused worship in the scriptures. Jesus never refused worship in scripture and was worshipped several times. This is further confirmation that Jesus is God.)
7Of the angels he says,
“He makes his angels winds,
and his ministers a flame of fire.”
8But of the Son he says,
“Your throne, O God, is forever and ever,
(This is God the Father calling God the Son, God.)
the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom.
9You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
therefore God, your God, has anointed you
with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.”
“You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of your hands;
(God the Father telling us Jesus created the earth and the heavens.)
11they will perish, but you remain;
they will all wear out like a garment,
12like a robe you will roll them up,
like a garment they will be changed.
But you are the same,
and your years will have no end.”
(Jesus is eternal – God.)
13And to which of the angels has he ever said,
“Sit at my right hand
until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet”?
14Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?
(Born again believers are co-heirs with Jesus. We are not servants, we are God’s children who inherit salvation and much more. Servants do not inherit unless there are no children. – Gal 4:30. For example, if Abraham would not have had the promised Issac, then Ishmael his child with the servant girl Hagaer, would have been the heir.)
Hebrews chapter one is very clear to its resistant Jewish audience that Jesus is far superior to the angels as God the Son, fully the same nature as his Father. This is a very important initial step by the author since the religious Jews had Jesus crucified for claiming to be God. Addressing Jesus identity was essential in attempting to convince the Jews and us of the need to accept the New Covenant, the gospel of grace and truth. They would first need to acknowledge in their minds that they had been wrong about Jesus identity. This was the foundation for the author's case to convince the Jews to abandon the obsolete Old Covenant and its ways for Jesus and the New Covenant gospel of grace.
Learn much more evidence that Jesus is God in this study HERE.
Hebrews Chapter Two
Warning Against Neglecting Salvation
1Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. 2For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, 3how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, 4while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.
(After initially pointing out the supremacy of Jesus, the author issues a stern warning to not neglect this great salvation to keep the attention of the reader. He then continues to present his case for the gospel message found in the New Covenant.)
The Founder of Salvation
5For it was not to angels that God subjected the world to come, of which we are speaking. 6It has been testified somewhere,
“What is man, that you are mindful of him,
or the son of man, that you care for him?
7You made him for a little while lower than the angels;
you have crowned him with glory and honor,
8putting everything in subjection under his feet.”
Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him.
9But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.
10For it was fitting that he (Jesus), for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation (Jesus) perfect through suffering. 11For he (Jesus) who sanctifies (makes holy) and those who are sanctified (made holy) all have one source. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers, 12saying,
(The same Greek word is translated sanctified and holy. When the Bible states, believers are sanctified if is saying they are holy. When it says they are holy, it is saying they are sanctified. It is a done deal due to Jesus. We are already sanctified and holy.)
“I will tell of your name to my brothers;
in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise.”
“I will put my trust in him.”
“Behold, I and the children God has given me.”
14Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he (Jesus) himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.
(Death is an enemy of God. God can use death to protect the righteous from evil.)
16For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. 17Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.
Chapter one presents Jesus as God, and now chapter two presents Jesus as the founder of salvation. It points out the punishment that came for those who did not believe God in the Old Covenant and warns that the punishment will be greater for ignoring and rejecting the gospel. Self-inflicted punishment. When God calls unbelievers fools, he is pointing out that it is foolish to reject such a great salvation.
Hebrews Chapter Three
Jesus Greater Than Moses – To the Jews, Moses was the greatest messenger to ever come from God.
1Therefore, holy brothers, you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession, (Confession of hope see Heb 10:23)
2who was faithful to him who appointed him, just as Moses also was faithful in all God’s house. 3For Jesus has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses—as much more glory as the builder of a house has more honor than the house itself. 4(For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.) 5Now Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later, 6but Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son. And we are his house, if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope.
(The Jews considered Moses who brought the Old Covenant to certainly be superior to Jesus. The author corrects this error and glorifies Jesus; God’s only begotten Son, over Moses. This would be very hard for many Jews to accept.)
A Rest for the People of God
7Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says,
“Today, if you hear his voice,
8do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion,
on the day of testing in the wilderness,
9where your fathers put me to the test
and saw my works for forty years.
10Therefore I was provoked with that generation,
and said, ‘They always go astray in their heart;
they have not known my ways.’
11As I swore in my wrath,
‘They shall not enter my rest.’”
(The only reason the hard-hearted Jews did not enter God’s rest after they were set free from the Egyptians is due to their unbelief. They refused to go into the promised land out of fear. They did not believe God when he told them he had given it to them even after seeing all of God’s miracles. The same applies to those who did not get on the Ark with Noah. They could have gotten on but refused to believe destroying themselves.)
12Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. 13But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. 14For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end.
(Holding our original confidence to the end speaks of keeping the faith, believing and succumbing to unbelief due to the deceitfulness of sin. This is warning us that the sin we are involved in can sub-consciously harden are hearts, so be aware and stop it. Even if it may not be hurting others, it is hurting you on some level.)
15As it is said,
“Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”
(Harden your hearts is speaking of refusing to believe. God desire is all be saved – 1 Tim 2:4 - and the only thing that prevents this is their refusal to trust God and believe. He wants to lead people to safety. While the sins, even the small one, you are still involved in may appear unharmful on the surface, sin is deceitful and is what leads to the hardening of hearts – Heb 3:13 – take heed.)
16For who were those who heard and yet rebelled? Was it not all those who left Egypt led by Moses? 17And with whom was he provoked for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? 18And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient? 19So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.
(This is not talking about their daily sins as the reason the Jews perished in the wilderness. It is speaking of their hard hearts that lead to their sin of unbelief. The only unforgivable sin. God was saying, trust me and go into the promised land and you will be blessed and safe. They did not believe God and chose to follow their fears and natural instincts instead. The same applies today. If we do not believe God’s offer of salvation through Jesus, like the Jews of old, we cannot enter the rest, the safety God has prepared for us.)
Hebrews Chapter Four
1Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it. 2For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened.
(The author further compares the opportunity the Jews of Moses day had to enter Gods rest in the promised land with those who hear the gospel. He is very clear that a lack of faith, unbelief in Gods message, is what kept the Jews of old from entering Gods rest. He continues to warn the unbelieving Jews and us to not make the same error and reject the gospel in unbelief.)
3For we who have believed enter that rest, as he has said,
(We do not just believe that Jesus is God, we believe in Jesus as God. This means that our belief that had led us to place our belief in him as savior. This is the work that James is talking about when he speaks of faith without works is dead. It is also the work that Jesus said we had to do in John 6:29. If you believe you have been saved.)
“As I swore in my wrath,
‘They shall not enter my rest,’”
although his works were finished from the foundation of the world. 4For he has somewhere spoken of the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all his works.” 5And again in this passage he said,
“They shall not enter my rest.”
6Since therefore it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience, 7again he appoints a certain day, “Today,” saying through David so long afterward, in the words already quoted,
do not harden your hearts.”
(The disobedience was unbelief in Gods message.)
8For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken of another day later on. 9So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, 10for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.
11Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. 12For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
Jesus the Great High Priest
14Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.
(Holding fast to the confession of sin as some claim, makes no sense. This is again is talking about holding fast to our confession of hope, Jesus, see Heb 10:23)
15For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
(Time of need, when we are weak is when we sin. We can go directly to God’s throne of grace when we sin for help. We do not need a pastor or priest. Jesus is the only intermediary between man and God – 1 Tim 2:5. The problem with the Old Covenant was mankind’s weakness - Romans 8:3, fallen nature, sin nature inherited from Adam, we were made sinners by Adams disobedience – Romans 5:19.)
Chapter four is an obvious continuation of the author's plea to get the unbelieving Jews and us to believe the gospel. Do not pass up such a great salvation, the only means of salvation; there is no other opportunity to be saved.
Hebrews Chapter Five
1For every high priest chosen from among men is appointed to act on behalf of men in relation to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. 2He can deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he himself is beset with weakness. 3Because of this he is obligated to offer sacrifice for his own sins just as he does for those of the people. 4And no one takes this honor for himself, but only when called by God, just as Aaron was.
5So also Christ did not exalt himself to be made a high priest, but was appointed by him who said to him,
today I have begotten you”;
6as he says also in another place,
“You are a priest forever,
after the order of Melchizedek.”
7In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. 8Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. 9And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, (Obey - Believe in Him, the gospel that will save them.)
10being designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek.
(Under the Old Covenant the High Priest entered a replica of the real Holy of Holies that exists in heaven once a year on behalf of the Jews. In the New Covenant, Jesus is now our High Priest seated at the right hand of the Father in the heavenly Holy of Holies and the only intermediary between us and God the Father.)
Warning Against Apostasy
11About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. 12For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, 13for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. 14But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.
(To be skilled in the word of righteousness is to understand that God’s righteousness has nothing to do with us and everything to do with understanding that his righteousness in the only way we can be righteous, it is a gift God gives to us.)
Hebrews Chapter Six
1Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God,
(Repentance from dead works would be trying to earn salvation through the law. Repentance means “change mind”. The Jews had to change their mind about earning righteousness through works and law keeping to righteousness being a gift that cannot be earned through works that could not save them, dead works.)
2and of instruction about washings, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. 3And this we will do if God permits. 4For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6and then have fallen away,
(In Gal 5:4, Paul tells us the way to fall away from God’s grace is not by sinning, it is by going back to the law or adding the law back in to be right with God. You cannot, out sin grace. Where sin abounds, grace super abounds – Rom 5:20. Under grace sin is not counted against the believer.)
to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt.
(The Jews thought they had the way to God in the Old Covenant. Therefore they crucified Jesus for blasphemy. If a person falls from God’s grace by going back to the law, relying on self-righteousness and diminishing Jesus sacrifice instead of fully relying on God given righteousness, they are placing themselves in the same position the Jews who crucified Jesus were in.)
7For land that has drunk the rain that often falls on it, and produces a crop useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God. 8But if it bears thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near to being cursed, and its end is to be burned.
9Though we speak in this way, yet in your case, beloved, we feel sure of better things—things that belong to salvation. 10For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do. 11And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, 12so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
(Believers are guaranteed to be heirs of God with Christ. Only unbelievers will not inherit the kingdom. We must patiently wait and keep the faith like Abraham did, until the guaranteed promise is obtained.)
The Certainty of God’s Promise
13For when God made a promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself, 14saying, “Surely I will bless you and multiply you.” 15And thus Abraham, having patiently waited, obtained the promise. 16For people swear by something greater than themselves, and in all their disputes an oath is final for confirmation. 17So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, 18so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope (Jesus – ourconfession of hope see Heb 10:23) set before us. 19We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope (Jesus) that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, 20where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.
(God is truth and cannot deny himself – 1 Tim 2:13. He guarantee’s our inheritance, and he cannot lie Titus 1:2. We have great hope and a great future.
Hebrews Chapter Seven
The Priestly Order of Melchizedek
1For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, 2and to him Abraham apportioned a tenth part of everything. He is first, by translation of his name, king of righteousness, and then he is also king of Salem, that is, king of peace. 3He is without father or mother or genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but resembling the Son of God he continues a priest forever.
(Melchizedek is the king of righteousness and king of peace. Salem means peace. The kingdom of God is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. Jesus is our righteousness, peace, and joy. Many believe that Melchizedek was Jesus.)
4See how great this man was to whom Abraham the patriarch gave a tenth of the spoils! 5And those descendants of Levi who receive the priestly office have a commandment in the law to take tithes from the people, that is, from their brothers, though these also are descended from Abraham. 6But this man who does not have his descent from them received tithes from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises. 7It is beyond dispute that the inferior is blessed by the superior. 8In the one case tithes are received by mortal men, but in the other case, by one of whom it is testified that he lives. 9One might even say that Levi himself, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham, 10for he was still in the loins of his ancestor when Melchizedek met him.
Jesus Compared to Melchizedek
11Now if perfection had been attainable through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need would there have been for another priest to arise after the order of Melchizedek, rather than one named after the order of Aaron?
(The above verses are telling us that the priesthood had to change because the Levitical priesthood could perfect nothing. All priests were from the order of Aaron by God’s command, Aaronic priesthood, tribe of Levi. This completely changes with Jesus who came from the tribe of Judah, something only God could change. Hebrews 7:19 tells us that the Old Covenant law could not make anything perfect. Hebrews 10:14 tells us that Jesus one sacrifice did perfect us for all time. If the Levitical priesthood and Old Covenant law could have perfected things, there would be no need to change things. The New Covenant was a necessity and always God’s plan. The Old Covenant was given solely to the Jews of the time to guide them through the valley of the shadow of death, to protect them so that when the time was right, Jesus could be born a man. God chose the Jews for this purpose.)
12For when there is a change in the priesthood, there is necessarily a change in the law as well.
(Very important to note there is also a change in the law. The Old Covenant is obsolete and replaced by the new. The Old Covenant letter of the law has also been replaced with the spirit of the law. The spirit of the law is a much higher standard than the letter. The spirit is what birthed the letter, the reason the author wrote the letter. The spirit of all of God’s laws is love.This means the purpose of the Ten Commandments is love. Christians are ministers of the spirit and not the letter – 2 Cor 3:6. Read about the law in the New Covenant HERE.)
13For the one of whom these things are spoken belonged to another tribe, from which no one has ever served at the altar. 14For it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah, and in connection with that tribe Moses said nothing about priests.
15This becomes even more evident when another priest arises in the likeness of Melchizedek, 16who has become a priest, not on the basis of a legal requirement concerning bodily descent, but by the power of an indestructible life. 17For it is witnessed of him,
18For on the one hand, a former commandment is set aside because of its weakness and uselessness 19(for the law made nothing perfect); but on the other hand, a better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God.
(Again, the author reiterates that the Old Covenant commandments are set aside because they could make nothing perfect. He calls those commandments weak and useless. The better hope that was introduced is Jesus.)
20And it was not without an oath. For those who formerly became priests were made such without an oath, 21but this one was made a priest with an oath by the one who said to him:
“The Lord has sworn
and will not change his mind,
‘You are a priest forever.’”
22This makes Jesus the guarantor of a better covenant.
(The New Covenant is a better covenant and has fully replaced the Old. We need to pay attention to the New and not mix it with the Old.)
23The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office, 24but he (Jesus) holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. 25Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.
(Law and animal sacrifices could perfect no one. Jesus saves to the uttermost those who draw near to him.)
26For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. 27He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself. 28For the law appoints men in their weakness as high priests, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made perfect forever.
(Those in Christ, are perfected Hebrews 10:14, as he is 1 John 4:17.)
Remember, Hebrews was written primarily to the hard-hearted Jews who new and worshipped Moses and the Old Covenant. It was not easy for them to let go of what they thought made them right with God. We saw in chapter seven that the author continued to compare the old with the new and why the new is superior. Including the high priest, who the Jews were very familiar with. He was the only priest who could enter the holy of holies once a year. Jesus is the new high priest and superior for many reasons to what the Jews were used to. The author also stressed that the law was different in the New Covenant.
Hebrews Chapter Eight
Jesus, High Priest of a Better Covenant
1Now the point in what we are saying is this: we have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, 2a minister in the holy places, in the true tent that the Lord set up, not man. 3For every high priest is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices; thus it is necessary for this priest also to have something to offer. 4Now if he were on earth, he would not be a priest at all, since there are priests who offer gifts according to the law. 5They serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things.
(The Old Covenant law was just a shadow of reality, Hebrews 10:1.)
For when Moses was about to erect the tent, he was instructed by God, saying, “See that you make everything according to the pattern that was shown you on the mountain.” 6But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises. 7For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second.
(God found fault with the Old Covenant of law and Jesus brought the New Covenant of grace and truth that he consecrated with his own blood.)
8For he finds fault with them when he says:
(Following quoted from Jeremiah 31:31-34.)
“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord,
when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel
and with the house of Judah,
9not like the covenant that I made with their fathers
on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt.
(This is the covenant Moses gave which included the Ten Commandments.)
For they did not continue in my covenant,
and so I showed no concern for them, declares the Lord.
10For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel
after those days, declares the Lord:
I will put my laws into their minds,
and write them on their hearts,
and I will be their God,
and they shall be my people.
11And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor
and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’
for they shall all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest.
12For I will be merciful toward their iniquities,
and I will remember their sins no more.”
(Many legalists focus on God placing the law into our minds and on our hearts and ignore the main pillar of the New Covenant, God forgives us and remembers are sins no more verse 12. Interestingly, Hebrews 10:2 tells us that we should no longer be conscious of our sins because what Jesus did worked. In other words, God is not thinking about our sins and we should not also. If your debt is paid in full, there is no need to think or worry about it. There is no need to continue making mortgage payments when your loan is paid in full. Satan does not want us to believe God’s very clear words that our debt has been paid in full.)
13In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.
(It is God who calls the Old Covenant Moses gave obsolete, ready to vanish.)
Hebrews Chapter Nine
The Earthly Holy Place
1Now even the first covenant had regulations for worship and an earthly place of holiness. 2For a tent was prepared, the first section, in which were the lampstand and the table and the bread of the Presence. It is called the Holy Place. 3Behind the second curtain was a second section called the Most Holy Place, 4having the golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, in which was a golden urn holding the manna, and Aaron’s staff that budded, and the tablets of the covenant. 5Above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Of these things we cannot now speak in detail.
6These preparations having thus been made, the priests go regularly into the first section, performing their ritual duties, 7but into the second only the high priest goes, and he but once a year, and not without taking blood, which he offers for himself and for the unintentional sins of the people. 8By this the Holy Spirit indicates that the way into the holy places is not yet opened as long as the first section is still standing 9(which is symbolic for the present age).
(Consider the fact that the Old Covenant law required sacrifices and offerings that have not been offered by the Jews since the Temple was destroyed and the Ark of the Covenant vanished in about 70 AD. God did away with the Old and we are not to mix the Old with the New. Remember, you cannot put new wine in and old wineskin, if you do the skin will burst and both will be ruined – Luke 5:37.)
According to this arrangement, gifts and sacrifices are offered that cannot perfect the conscience of the worshiper,
(The Old Covenant ways could not perfect the worshipper. The New Covenant blood of Jesus DID perfect the worshipper, Hebrews 10:14. Specifically the conscience of the worshipper. The definition of the Greek word used for “perfect”: I complete, accomplish, make perfect – see here.)
10but deal only with food and drink and various washings, regulations for the body imposed until the time of reformation.
Redemption Through the Blood of Christ
11But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) 12he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. 13For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, 14how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.
(We have eternal redemption and a purified conscience, not because of what we do or do not do, because of Jesus perfect sacrifice, payment in full for our debt. We have been made righteous, right with God.)
15Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred (Jesus) that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant. 16For where a will is involved, the death of the one who made it (Jesus) must be established. 17For a will takes effect only at death, since it is not in force as long as the one who made it is alive. 18Therefore not even the first covenant was inaugurated without blood.
(The New Covenant does not begin with the New Testament. It begins after the cross, after the shedding of Jesus blood. What we read in the New Testament before the cross is still under the Old Covenant way of doing things. Jesus was born and lived under the Old Covenant. The covenants cannot be mixed. The Old ended, and the New began. Many read the New Testament without this knowledge causing them to mix the Old with the New. One example is in the Lord’s prayer, Jesus says that we will be forgiven as we forgive, so our forgiveness is predicated on forgiving. After the cross, we read that we should forgive as we have already been forgiven. If you mix these two, you have a contradiction and confusion. The truth is found after the cross. God forgave us already and is our example to forgive others.)
19For when every commandment of the law had been declared by Moses to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, 20saying, “This is the blood of the covenant that God commanded for you.” 21And in the same way he sprinkled with the blood both the tent and all the vessels used in worship. 22Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.
23Thus it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. 25Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, 26for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.
(God lives outside of time, and Jesus single offering to God was at the end of the ages, thus covering all sins from the beginning to the end.)
27And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, 28so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.
(There is no judgment or condemnation for you Christian.)
Hebrews Chapter Ten – The most powerful chapter in Hebrews.
Christ’s Sacrifice Once for All
1For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities,
(The law was a shadow, not the reality. The reality is Jesus. Would you rather worship a shadow or the real thing?)
it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near.
(Hebrews 10:14 tells us Jesus sacrifice did perfect us. The definition of the Greek word used for “perfect”: I complete, accomplish, make perfect – see here. In Christ, believers are seen by God the Father as already perfected in the spirit. The flesh will never be perfect, and that is why it must die.)
2Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, since the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have any consciousness of sins?
(Since Jesus sacrifice did work, Hebrews 10:2 is telling us that we should no longer be conscious of our sins. Think of it as our total sin debt to God for our entire life, like unwanted baggage we have been carrying with us. This baggage led us to fear death because we subconsciously feared punishment for our sin debt. This debt has been paid in full by Jesus and God is not counting our sins against us under grace, so we no longer need to be conscious of our sins, to be thinking about them and fearing death. To be offering sacrifices to God out of guilt for our sins. Our debt has been paid in full. Jesus freed us from this fear of death Heb 2:15. Death is an enemy of God to be destroyed 1 Cor 15:26.)
3But in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year,
(It is interesting that many Church’s remind us of our sins on a regular basis instead of reminding us that our debt has been paid in full and that we are righteous, perfected, holy and sanctified already in Christ. This focus on sins leads believers to doubt their salvation by Christ alone and be conscious of their sins instead. This is the same thing Satan does, create doubt, steal the word. Satan is the accuser of the brethren Rev 12:10. Satan does not want us to believe Gods very clear words, if you believe, you are saved – John 3:16, just like he did not want Adam to believe Gods very clear words, if you eat you die. It does take faith to believe God that we are righteous, perfected, holy and sanctified already in Christ; while it does not take any faith to be conscious of our sins and fear death.)
. 4For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
5Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said,
“Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired,
but a body have you prepared for me;
6in burnt offerings and sin offerings
you have taken no pleasure.
7Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will, O God,
as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.’”
8When he said above, “You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings” (these are offered according to the law), 9then he added, “Behold, I have come to do your will.” He does away with the first in order to establish the second.
(The Old Covenant, the first, and its way of doing things, dealing with sin, has been completely done away with because it did not work due to the weakness of man. Jesus established the New Covenant when he shed His blood on the cross, the second as stated in verse 10:9.)
10And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
(We have been sanctified, set apart, Heb 2:11, Heb 10:10, Heb 10:29, Acts 20:32, Acts 26:18, 1 Cor 1:2, 1 Cor 6:11. It is past tense, a done deal. The Greek word translated sanctified is the same Greek word used for Holy. It means: I make holy, treat as holy, set apart as holy, sanctify, hallow, purify. The same word is used in the Lord’s prayer when it says of God, “Hallowed be thy name.” God even tells us that a believer can never be considered unholy.)
11And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet.
14For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.
A few translations of Heb 10:14 like the ESV we are reading, say we have been perfected but then add the word “being” in front of sanctified. This contradicts Heb 10:10 ESV that we just read that states we are already sanctified. The word “being” the ESV adds in 10:14 is not in the original Greek. It was added by the translator in error. Not all translations make the error of adding the word “being” see the NASB and KJV for example. This can be further verified by the verses that clearly say believers are already sanctified, holy, set apart like Heb 2:11, Heb 10:10, Heb 10:29, Acts 20:32, Acts 26:18, 1 Cor 1:2, 1 Cor 6:11. The original Greek word “hagiazó” translated sanctify and holy is defined: to make holy, consecrate, sanctify. Remember God also clearly states that a believer can never be considered unholy, which would also mean unsanctified. Jesus shed blood sets us apart, sanctifies us, makes us holy. To think anything else is to trample on the shed blood of Jesus. To mix the Old and the New Covenants is to mix the blood of Jesus sacrifice with the blood of animal sacrifice. Believers are never even called sinners in the Bible.)
15And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying,
(Note the Holy Spirit bears witness in verse 15 of what it says in verse 17, that God will not remember our sins and lawless deeds anymore. This is why the the Bible does not teach that the Holy Spirit convicts believers of sin like you may have heard. The Holy Spirit convicts believers of their righteousness in Christ. Still thinking you are under the law of Moses and listening to the accuser of the brethren, who points out your sin, is what creates fear and doubt in your mind, not the Holy Spirit. Wrong thinking leads us to disqualify ourselves in our mind. Jesus did not die to see if we can qualify to be saved.)
16“This is the covenant that I will make with them
I will put my laws on their hearts,
and write them on their minds,”
17then he adds,
“I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.”
18Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.
(As stated previously, many who claim we are still under the Old Covenant law make a big deal out of verse 16 which states God has put the law on our hearts and minds. They neglect to mention verse 17 which is a hallmark of the New Covenant, God has forgiven us and is not remembering our sins. We are under grace and not the law. When we get to heaven there is not going to be a movie of all the things we did wrong. Since God does not remember our sins it makes little sense that the Holy Spirit would be convicting us of our sins either. The truth is, the Bible does not teach that the Holy Spirit convicts believers of their sins. The Holy Spirit convicts believers of their righteousness - Read study here.)
The Full Assurance of Faith
19Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, 20by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh,
(In the Old Covenant, the high priest was the only one who could enter the holy of holies once a year. Jesus is now our high priest, he changed all of this and every believer can go directly to the throne of grace, directly to God in our time of need, when we sin, fail and when we just want to hang out with our Father.)
21and since we have a great priest (Jesus) over the house of God, 22let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23Let us hold fast the confession of our hope (Jesus) without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 24And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
(Evil conscience see Heb 9:13-14. Jesus blood sprinkled on us has consecrated and sanctified us once for all time. The Old Covenant shadow of this can been seen in the sprinkling of animal blood on the priest and the people.)
26For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,
(In context, this is specifically talking about the sin of unbelief, rejecting the gospel, which is the only unforgivable sin. This is not referring to other sins. If it were, no one would make it. There were many in the early church who were not the best examples of Christianity – read the study.)
27but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. 28Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. 29How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace?
(Verse 27-29 compares what happened to anyone who set aside the Old Covenant law of Moses when it applied, to what can be expected for anyone who rejects the gospel and Jesus in unbelief. Rejecting Jesus, God’s only begotten son, will be a much greater punishment. There is no other offering for sins. It should be noted that God does not send people to hell just because they do not believe in him as some skeptics claim in error. Everyone gets a chance to hear the gospel and decide for themselves.)
30For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” 31It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
32But recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, 33sometimes being publicly exposed to reproach and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated. 34For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one. 35Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. 36For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. 37For,
“Yet a little while,
and the coming one will come and will not delay;
38but my righteous one shall live by faith,
and if he shrinks back,
my soul has no pleasure in him.”
39But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.
(Verse 39 seems to suggest that those who abandon the faith will be destroyed. Some will argue that you cannot lose your salvation no matter what, you cannot be unborn again, and some will argue you can lose it by sinning. I believe the Bible is clear that you cannot out sin grace, where sin is grace abounds even more Rom 5:20. Under grace sins are not counted against a believer as we have learned in the New Covenant. Unbelief is the only unforgivable sin. Can a person believe something and then change their mind and believe the opposite? I think they can and the Bible seems to suggest that a person can abandon the faith and thus their salvation. Think of it like this, Noah could have had all the faith needed to build the Ark but if he changed his mind and never entered it, he would have been lost. The Ark is an Old Testament picture of Jesus. It is up to the reader to decide what verse 39 means. The simple solution is to keep the faith as God tells us.)
Hebrews Chapter Eleven
1Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2For by it the people of old received their commendation. 3By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.
4By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks. 5By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God.
6And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
(Take note of this part of verse 6 that must be believed and is hardly ever preached on: “and that he rewards those who seek him.”)
7By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.
(The only way anyone was ever declared right with God, “righteous’, is by faith. We inherit God’s righteousness in Christ. This applies to the entire Bible, Old and New Testament. No one was ever declared right with God based on their works and law keeping. When we see a person was righteous, it means they believed God. They are justified by grace through faith alone. When we see a person called unrighteous, it means they did not believe God. The belief that God existed and was a rewarder of those who believed led men like Noah and Abraham to follow their belief, obey their faith and take the corresponding action. Their actions were a fruit of their faith. Noah got on the ark as God instructed and was saved. We are saved in Christ by accepting him as the God instructs. We believe God exists and is a rewarder of those who seek him. Our faith leads us to act and place our faith and trust in Jesus. The Ark was an old testament picture of Christ. All who got in placed their faith in God’s advice and in the Ark’s ability to save them, were safe even though the ride was rough and scary at times. All that refused to trust Gods good advice perished. The same truth applies with Jesus. Read study about righteous by faith.)
8By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. 10For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God. 11By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised. 12Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born descendants as many as the stars of heaven and as many as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.
13These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.
(Believers are not of this world according to Jesus.)
14For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. 15If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.
17By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, 18of whom it was said, “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” 19He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back. 20By faith Isaac invoked future blessings on Jacob and Esau. 21By faith Jacob, when dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, bowing in worship over the head of his staff. 22By faith Joseph, at the end of his life, made mention of the exodus of the Israelites and gave directions concerning his bones.
23By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw that the child was beautiful, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict. 24By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward. 27By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible. 28By faith he kept the Passover and sprinkled the blood, so that the Destroyer of the firstborn might not touch them.
29By faith the people crossed the Red Sea as on dry land, but the Egyptians, when they attempted to do the same, were drowned. 30By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days. 31By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies.
32And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets— 33who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. 35Women received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. 36Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37They were stoned, they were sawn in two, a they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated— 38of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.
39And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, 40since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.
(All of the people on the above list believed this: that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. Do you believe that God is a rewarder of those who seek him as Moses did? Is your faith without works dead as James states.)
Hebrews Chapter Twelve
Jesus, Founder, and Perfecter of Our Faith
1Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
(It is very clear that the witness’s listed in Chapter eleven were made right with God and inherited the promise by faith alone. This is what they testify to us. They surround us and encourage us to keep the faith. Jesus kept the faith all the way through the cross. In him, we are all set. When we are weak, we are strong.)
Do Not Grow Weary
3Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. 4In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?
“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
nor be weary when reproved by him.
6For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and chastises every son whom he receives.”
7It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? 10For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. 11For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
12Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, 13and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. 14Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. 15See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; 16that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. 17For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears.
(Esau could not get his blessing back because he had given it to Jacob. Likewise, Adam could not get back what he had given to Satan. Only Jesus could get our inheritance back, and in him, we have a great inheritance.)
A Kingdom That Cannot Be Shaken
18For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest 19and the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them. 20For they could not endure the order that was given, “If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.” 21Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear.”
(Verses 18-21 are talking about the Jews who had been led out of Egypt by Moses and were at the foot of Mount Sinai, also known as Mount Horeb. This is where Moses went up to receive the Ten Commandments. This is where the Old Covenant was consecrated with the blood of animals. We are not at Mount Sinai)
22But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, 23and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
25See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven.
(God’s instruction to repent, “change mind” and believe the gospel or perish is a warning for our benefit. It is not a command by a dictator god who just wants to punish people because they do not listen to him. God’s desire is that all come to salvation. In the days of Noah, he was the only one left who believed God and because of his faith, was declared righteous by God. If another generation passed, there would have been no believers left and thus no one for the Messiah to come through when the time came. God warned Noah of the coming judgment, and he believed God and built the Ark to save himself and his family. Other people had the same opportunity to believe God and avoid his judgment as Noah, but only Noah believed and got in the Ark with his family. God’s final judgment is where he is going to judge the world in righteousness, and unless a person flees to the safety found only in Christ, they will be caught up in the judgment. The ark is a picture of Jesus. All who were in the Ark were safe. In the same way, all who are in Christ will be safe.)
26At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” 27This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. 28Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, 29for our God is a consuming fire.
(Acceptable worship is to believe the Gospel. Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” John 6:29)
Hebrews Chapter Thirteen
Sacrifices Pleasing to God
1Let brotherly love continue. 2Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. 3Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body. 4Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. 5Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” 6So we can confidently say,
“The Lord is my helper;
I will not fear;
what can man do to me?”
7Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.
(Imitate their faith, we are saved by grace through faith. When Jesus returns he will be looking for those with faith – Luke 18:8.)
8Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. 9Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings, for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, which have not benefited those devoted to them.
(Grace strengthens the heart.)
10We have an altar from which those who serve the tent have no right to eat. 11For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy places by the high priest as a sacrifice for sin are burned outside the camp. 12So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood.
(Again, we are reminded that we are sanctified already by the blood of Jesus.)
13Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured. 14For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. 15Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. 16Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.
17Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.
18Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a clear conscience, desiring to act honorably in all things. 19I urge you the more earnestly to do this in order that I may be restored to you the sooner.
20Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, 21equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
22I appeal to you, brothers, bear with my word of exhortation, for I have written to you briefly. 23You should know that our brother Timothy has been released, with whom I shall see you if he comes soon. 24Greet all your leaders and all the saints. Those who come from Italy send you greetings. 25Grace be with all of you.
Focus on the New Covenant, God’s way of doing things since the cross. Find many New Covenant studies HERE.