Home First
Table of



1.  Subject 5.  Date 8.     Authorship 11.  The Theme
2.  Title 6.  Place 9.     Characteristics 12.  Jewish Concept
3.  Language 7.  Style  10.  The Plan 13.  The Problem
4.  Destination


The general subject of the Epistle is that the Messiah of the Old Testament Scriptures must suffer as man (i.e. as Incarnate [God in] Man), and the Jesus who is called the Christ of God, is the Messiah.


Next Section

This title, as in other cases, was gradually enlarged. The Peshito Syriac Version and the New College Manuscript of the Harclean give the Epistle to the Hebrews. The Cambridge Manuscript of the Harclean Syriac version gives it its title the Epistle to the Hebrews of Paul the Apostle, but in the subscription the Epistle is called simply the Epistle to the Hebrews.

Tertullian (an Early Church father) has preserved an interesting notice of another name, which was given to the Epistle in North  Africa, and which apparently dates from a time earlier than the formation of the collection of Apostolic Epistles. He quotes it definitely a Barnaboe titulus ad Hebroeos (reference de Pudic. 20); and there can be no reasonable doubt that the Epistle of Barnabas which is included in the African (Latin) Stichomnetry contained in the Codex larom. (referred to as D 2 ) refers to this book.

So we have two possible authors of the book of Hebrews, Paul and Barnabas. We have many examples of the work of the Apostle Paul but very few of the Apostle Barnabas. So I draw your attention to the Epistle of Barnabas which is found in The Apostolic Fathers American Edition Book I  Page 137.

Excerpts from The Epistle of Barnabas.

‘The doctrines of the Lord then are three: Life, Faith, and Hope, our beginning and end; and Righteousness, the beginning and the end of judgment; Love and Joy and the Testimony of gladness for works of righteousness. For the Lord hath made known to us by the prophets both the things which are past and present, giving us also the first-fruits of the knowledge (Codex Sin. Has “taste” instead of knowledge.’

‘Fear and patience, then, are helpers of our faith; and long-suffering and continence are things which fight on our side. While these remain pure in what respects the Lord, Wisdom, Understanding, Science, and Knowledge rejoice along with them.’

‘A sacrifice [pleasing] to God is a broken spirit; a smell of sweet savor to the Lord is a heart that glorifieth Him that made it. We ought therefore, brethren, carefully to inquire concerning our salvation, lest the wicked one, having made his entrance by deceit, should hurl (literally, “sling us out.”) us forth from our [true] life.

    Chapter 4 – Antichrist is at hand: let us therefore avoid Jewish errors.

‘Let us then utterly flee from all the works of iniquity, lest these should take hold of us; and let us hate the error of the present time, that we may set our love on the world to come: let us not give loose reins to our soul, that it should have power to run with sinners and the wicked, let we become like them. The final stabling-block (or source of danger) approaches, concerning which it is written, as Enoch (Latin reads Daniel) says, “For for this end the Lord has cut short the times and the days, that His Beloved may hasten; and He will come to the inheritance.” And the prophet also speaks thus: “Ten kingdoms shall reign upon the earth, and a little king shall rise up after them, who shall subdue under one three of the kings (Daniel 7:24, very loosely quoted).”

‘For the Lord speaks thus to Moses: “Moses, go down quickly; for the people whom thus hast brought out of the land of Egypt have transgressed.” (ref. Exodus 32:7; Deut. 9:12). And Moses understood [the meaning of God], and cast the two tables out of his hands; and their covenant was broken, in order that the covenant of the beloved Jesus might be sealed upon our heart, in the hope which flows from believing in Him. (Literally, “in hope of His faith.”).

‘For the Scripture saith, “Who to them who are wise to themselves, and prudent in their own sight! (Isa. 5:21) Let us be spiritually-minded: let us be a perfect temple to God. As much as in us lies, let us meditate upon the fear of God, and let us keep His commandments, that we may rejoice in His ordinances. The Lord will judge the world without respect of persons. Each will receive as he has done: if he is righteous, his righteousness will precede him; if he is wicked, the reward of wickedness is before him.’

   Chapter 7 – Fasting, and the goat sent away, were types of Christ.

‘Mark how the type of Jesus (Cod. Sin reads, ‘type of God,’) now comes out. “And all of you spit upon it, and pierce it, and encircle its head and scarlet wool, and thus let it be driven into the wilderness.” And when all this has been done, he who bears the goat brings it into the desert, and takes the wool off from it, and places that upon a shrub which is called Rachia (in Cod. Sin. We find ‘Rachel.”) of which also we are accustomed to eat the fruits (or shoots) when we find them in the field……..Because they shall see Him then in that day having a scarlet robe about his body down to his feet; and they shall say, Is not this He whom we once despised, and pierced, and mocked, and crucified? Truly this is (was) He who then declared Himself to be the Son of God.’

    Chapter 8 – The red heifer a type of Christ.

‘The calf (Cod. Sin has, “the law is Christ Jesus,”) is Jesus: the sinful men offering it are those who led Him to the slaughter. But now the men are no longer guilty, are no longer regarded as sinners. And the boys that sprinkle are those that have proclaimed to us the remission of sins and purification of heart. To these He gave authority to preach the Gospel, being twelve in number, corresponding to the twelve tribes (Literally, “in witness of the tribes.”) of Israel. …..And way was the wool [placed] upon the wood? Because by wood Jesus holds His kingdom, so that [through the cross] those believing on Him shall live for ever. But way was hyssop joined with the wool? Because in His kingdom the days will be evil and polluted in which we shall be saved, [and] because he who suffers in body is cured through the cleansing efficacy of hyssop. And on this account the things which stand thus are clear to us, but obscure to them, because they did not hear the voice of the Lord.’

There is much more but this is sufficient example of the work of Barnabas who also was a mighty man in the Scriptures as was the Apostle Paul. Now we will continue with the Introduction of Hebrews.

Wherever the nature of the book is defined by early writers, it is called an ‘Epistle’. The description is substantially correct, though the construction of the writing is irregular. It opens without any address or salutation (compare I John 1:1), but it closes with salutations (Hebrews 13:24). There are indeed references throughout, and in the course of the book there is a gradual transition from the form of an ‘essay’ to that of a ‘letter’ see Heb. 2:1; 3:1,12; 4:1,14; 5:11; 6:9; 10:19; 13:7,22.

It is of interest to notice the delicate shades of feeling marked by the transition from ‘we’ to ‘ye’ as the writer speaks of the hopes and trials and duties of Christians, see Heb. 3:12,13,14; 10:22,25,36,39; 12:1,2,3, 8-12,25,28; 13:5,6,9,10,15,16.  For the most part he identifies with those to whom he writes, unless there is some special point in the direct address; see Heb. 1:2; 2:1,3,8; 3:19; 4:1,11,13; 6:1,18; 7:26; 8:1; 9:24; 10:10; 11:3,40.

In the Codex Vaticanus B there is important evidence that Hebrews occupied a different position in an early collections of Pauline Epistles. In this manuscript there is a marginal numeration which shows that the whole collection of Pauline Epistles was divided, either in its archetype or in some earlier copy, into a series of sections numbered consecutively. In this collection the Epistle to the Hebrews came between the Epistles to the Galatians and to the Ephesians.

In the Syriac versions the Epistle comes after the Pastoral Epistles and Philemon; and this order, which was followed in the mass of later Greek  Manuscripts (K2, L2 etc.), probably under Syrian influence, has passed into the ‘Received text.’

The same order is found in Latin Manuscripts. For in the West the Epistle did not originally form part of the collection of the writings of Paul; and other traces remain of the absence of the book from the Apostolic collection. Thus in the Codex Clarom. D2 the Epistle, as has been seen, appears as an appendix to the Pauline Epistles, being separated from the Epistle to Philemon by the Stichometry. The archetype of this manuscript and the original text from which the Gothic version was made, evidently contained only thirteen Epistles of Paul.

Conclusion:  Thus at the earliest date at which we find a collection of Paul’s Epistles in circulation in the Church, the Epistle to the Hebrews was by some definitely included in Paul’s writings, occupying a place either among or at the close of the Epistles to the Churches; by others it was treated as an appendix to them, being set after the private letters: and others again found no place for Hebrews at all among the Apostolic writings.  Remember that the Epistle of Barnabas as good as it is also found no place in what we call the New Testament.


Next Section
Previous Section

The earliest direct notice of the Epistle, quoted by Eusebius (reference H.E. vol. 6 page 14) from Clement of Alexandria, states that it ‘was written (by Paul) to Hebrews in the Hebrew language (i.e. the Aramaic dialect current in Palestine at the time, Acts 22:2) and translated  (into Greek) by Luke.’  This statement was repeated from Eusebius ( and Jerome who depended on him ), as it appears, and not from  Clement himself, by a series of later writers both in the East and West ( such as Theodoret, Euthalius, John of Damascus, Cecumenius, Theophylact, Primasius, Rabanus Maurus, Thomas Aquinas: reference see Bleek, 8f.; Credner, Einl. 533 ), this is taken from the notes by Westcott on his study of Hebrews.

But there is not the least trace of any independent evidence in favor of the tradition, nor is it said that anyone had ever seen the original Hebrew document.


Next Section
Previous Section

The letter is described in all existing copies as addressed ‘to Hebrews’; and Tertullian (early Church father), who assigned the authorship to Barnabas, gave it the same destination (ref. De Pudic. 20  Barnabae titulus ad Hebraeos). There is, as has been already seen, no evidence that it ever bore any other address. Though there is no reason to suppose that the title is original, it expresses at least the belief of those by whom the Epistle was placed among the apostolic Scriptures, and describes truly the character of those for whom it was written, so far as their character can be determined from its general scope, as men who by birth and life were devoted to the institutions of Israel.

In itself the title ‘Hebrew’ is not local but national. It describes a quality of race and not of dwelling. We have to inquire therefore whether the Epistle enables us to define this wide term more exactly.  At once we find that the book contains numerous indications of the circumstances and character of those to whom it was written.

There is no trace of any admixture of heathen converts among them; nor does the letter touch any of the topics of heathen controversy. It is therefore scarcely possible that it could have been written to a mixed Church generally, or to the Jewish section of a mixed Church. In either case allusions to the relations of Jew and Gentile could scarcely have been avoided.

The widening breach between the Church and the Synagogue rendered it necessary at last to make choice between them, and ‘the Hebrews’ were in danger of apostasy: see Heb. 2:1,3; 3:6,12; 4:1,3,11; 6:6; 10:25,29,39. They had need therefore of effort and patience: see Heb. 4:14; 6:11; 10:23,36; 12:1,3,12.

In earlier days they had borne reproach and hardships: see Heb. 10:32; still they ‘had not yet resisted unto blood’: see Heb. 12:3; though some at least ‘in bonds’ claimed their sympathy and help: see Heb. 12:3; and perhaps their former ‘leaders’ had suffered even to martyrdom: see Heb. 13:7.

From these individual traits it is clear that the letter is addressed to a definite Society and not to ‘Hebrew’ Christians generally. This is proved yet more directly by the fact that the writer hoped to visit them (Heb. 13:23) as he had been with them before (Heb. 13:19).  At the same time, though he spoke of them as ‘brethren’ (Heb. 3:1) and ‘beloved’ (Heb. 6:9), he does not speak of them as ‘children’.

The phase of feeling traced in the Epistle has been spoken of as a necessary one in the development of Christian life. It is not difficult to see how this was so. Those who suffered in the trial were Jews; and the narrative of the book of Acts shows plainly with what loyal devotion the first believers from among the Jews observed the Law. (Acts 3:1; 10:14;15:1-20).

Even at a later date Paul before the Sanhedrin claimed to be a true Jew. For a time this fellowship of the Church and the Synagogue was allowed on both sides. Little by little the growth of the Gentile element in the Church excited the active hostility of the Jews against the whole body of Christians, as it troubled the Jewish converts themselves( see Acts 15).

Meanwhile the Jewish converts had had ample time for realizing the true relations of Christianity and Judaism. Devotion to Levitical ritual was no longer innocent, if it obscured the characteristic teaching of the Gospel

The position which rightly belonged to young and immature Christians was unsuited to those who ought to have reached the fullness of truth (Heb. 5:11). Men who won praise for their faith and constancy at the beginning of a generation which was emphatically a period of transition, might well deserve blame and stand in peril of apostasy, if at the end of it they simply remained where they had been at first.

When as yet the national unbelief of the Jews was undeclared, it was not possible to foresee that the coming of Christ would bring the overthrow of the old order. The approaching catastrophe was not realized in the earlier apostolic writings. In the Epistle to the Hebrews it is shown to be imminent (this is speaking about the destruction of Jerusalem around 70 AD by Titus of Rome see Josephus account of this). In the Gospel and Epistles of John it is, as it were, lost in the fullness of the life of the Church.

The date of the Epistle is fixed within narrow limits by its contents. A generation of Christians had already passed away (Heb. 13:7; 2:3). There had been space for great changes in religious feeling (Heb. 10:32), and for religious growth (Heb. 5:11).

On the other hand the Levitical service is spoken of as still continued (Heb. 8:4; 9:6,9; 10:1; 13:10 ); and, even if the references to its present continuance could be explained away, it is inconceivable that such a national calamity as the Jewish war with Rome should be unnoticed (remember the prophecy of Jesus in Matthew 24:15-22; Luke 21:20-24 ) if it had already broken out, and still more, if it had been decided. Indeed the prospect of exclusion from the privileges of the old services is the very essence of the trial of ‘the Hebrews; and the severity of the trial is in itself a decisive proof of the influence which the Temple ritual exercised at the time.

The letter to the Hebrews may then be placed in the critical interval between AD 64, the government of Gessius Florius, and AD 67, the commencement of the Jewish War, and most probably just before the breaking of the storm in the latter year, as the writer speaks of the visible sign of the approach of ‘the day’ (Heb. 10:25; compare Heb. 8:13 near disappearing KJV. To vanish away); and indicates the likelihood of severer trials for the Church (Heb. 12:4 not yet, also Heb. 13:13).

In order to place the Epistle in its historical setting it may be added that Nero was in Greece at the time, endeavoring to enter into the old spirit of Greek art; Apollonius of Trana was teaching at Rome. The fire at Rome, which first brought the Christians into popular notice, took place in AD 64.

Paul the Apostle died under the persecutions of Nero in AD 65, who started the war with the Jews and Barnabas the Apostle died about AD 73. So either of these two soldiers of the Cross could have been the writer of Hebrews historically speaking.

The general conclusion can hardly be questioned if the significance of the Fall of Jerusalem is realized. That catastrophe was not relived, as the Babylonian overthrow had been, by any promise of restoration (from AD 70 to AD 1948 Jerusalem was trodden down of the gentiles). To the Christians it was the fulfillment of the Lord’s final judgment as recorded in the Gospels, and the sign of His coming. No event in such a connection could mark more distinctly the close of the old Dispensation; and no one who sympathized with the best hopes of Israel could have failed to leave some trace of the effect of the visitation in his argument, when the tragic event was not only fresh in his memory but also had a close connection with his theme.


Next Section
Previous Section

Tradition is silent as to the place from which the Epistle was written. Nor again is there anything in the Epistle itself which leads to a definite conclusion. No argument can be drawn from the mention of the release of Timothy (Heb. 13:23), for nothing is known of the event to which reference is made. We may suppose that the writer is speaking of a small group of friends from Italy, who were with him at the time. So far the words seem to favor a place of writing in Asia, Syria, or Egypt.  In any case, however, it is impossible to lay stress upon a clause which evidently had a particular and special sense for those to whom the message was sent.


Next Section
Previous Section

The language of the Epistle is both in vocabulary and style purer and more vigorous than that of any other book of the New Testament

A. The vocabulary is singularly copious. It includes a large number of words which are not found elsewhere in the apostolic writings, very many which occur in this book  only among the Greek Scriptures, and some which are not quoted from any other independent source. Even when allowance is made for the requirements of the peculiar topics with which the writer deals, the number of peculiar words is still remarkable. In the Pastoral Epistles however the proportion is still greater.
B. The style is even more characteristic of a practiced scholar than the vocabulary. It would be difficult to find anywhere passages more exact and pregnant in expression than (Heb. 1:1-4; 2:14-18; 7:26-28; 12:18-24). The language, the order, the rhythm, the parenthetical involutions, all contribute to the total effect. The writing shows everywhere traces of effort and care.
C. In many respects it is not unlike that of the Book of Wisdom (a Jewish work), but it is nowhere marred by the restless striving after effect which not infrequently injures the beauty of that masterpiece of Alexandrine Greek. The calculated force of the periods is sharply distinguished from the impetuous eloquence of Paul.
D. The author is never carried away by his thoughts. He has seen and measured all that he desires to convey to his readers before he begins to write. In writing he has, like an artist, simply to give life to the model which he has already completely fashioned. This is true even of the noblest rhetorical passages, such as found in Hebrews Chapter 11. Each element, which seems at first sight to offer itself spontaneously, will be found to have been carefully adjusted to its place, and to offer in subtle details results of deep thought, so expressed as to leave the simplicity and freshness of the whole perfectly unimpaired.
E. For this reason there is perhaps no Book of Scripture in which the student may hope more confidently to enter into the mind of the author if he yields himself or herself with absolute trust to his words. No Book represents with equal clearness the mature conclusions of human reflection.

The contrast of the Style of the Epistle to that of Paul may be noticed in the passages which are quoted as echoes of Paul’s language:

Heb 2:10
In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering.   

Rom 11:36
For from him and through him and to him are all things.  To him be the glory forever! Amen.  

Rom 5:2
Through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.  
Compare with Heb. 6.

Rom 4:19
Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead-since he was about a hundred years old-and that Sarah's womb was also dead.   (NIV)
Compare with Heb. 12

A famous member of the Jewish
SANHEDRIN and a teacher of the Law. Gamaliel, who had taught Paul (Acts 22:3), advised the Sanhedrin to treat the apostles of the young Christian church with moderation. Gamaliel's argument was simple. If Jesus was a false prophet, as many others had been, the movement would soon fade into obscurity. If, however, the work was "of God," he pointed out, "you cannot overthrow it" (Acts 5:39)
(from Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Copyright (c)1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers)


Next Section
Previous Section

1. The testimony of Alexandria is the earliest and the most explicit. It has been preserved by Eusebius (Church historian 300 AD ) from lost writings of Clement and Origen. Clement, he writes says in his outlines ‘that the Epistle is Paul’s and that it was written to Hebrews in the Hebrew language, and that Luke translated it with zealous care and published it to the Greeks; whence it is that the same complexion of style is found in the translation of this Epistle and in the Acts. [Further] that the [ordinary] phrase ‘Paul an Apostle’ was not placed at the head of the Epistle for good reason; for, he says, in writing to Hebrews who had formed a prejudice against him and viewed him with suspicion, he was wise not to repel them at the beginning by setting his name there.’
2. The Epistle is used without reserve as a writing of Paul’s by Alexander of Alexandria in writing to Arius, and there is no reason for thinking that on this point Arius differed from the other teachers of Alexandria. The Epistle is used as Paul’s among others by Hilary, Lucifer, Victorinus, Afer, Pelagius, Rufinus.


The thoughts and reasoning are Paul’s whatever the style and language may be. All his other epistles were written to churches mainly composed of Gentiles. In addressing such an epistle to Hebrews, he would naturally write as an instructed scribe (see Gamaliel above), one brought up “at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers” (Acts 22:3).

It is therefore futile to argue that if Paul were really the author, the language and style would have been in exact accord with those of the other epistles that he wrote. Had this been so, it would be an argument against, and not in favor of, Paul’s authorship.

The testimony of 2 Peter 3:15,16, strictly interpreted, proves that Paul wrote an epistle to the Hebrews, and if this is not the epistle, where is it? No trace or indication of any other has ever been found.

2 Peter 3:15-16
15   Bear in mind that our Lord's patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him.
16   He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.  

Paul was at Jerusalem for the Council meeting (AD 51 ) when the very subjects of Hebrews had evidently been bitterly discussed (Acts 15:5-7). Shortly thereafter he writes Thess. 1 and 2, both of which contain poignant references to ‘shameful treatment’ at the hands of his own people.


Next Section
Previous Section

The Epistle to the Hebrews is one of three Books in the New Testament specially address to those who were Jews by descent, the other two being the Gospel according to Matthew and the Epistle of James (James 1:1 to the twelve tribes). To these however I Peter, probably addressed to those who had passed through Judaism to Christianity, may be added ( I Peter 1:1 to [the] elect sojourners of [the] dispersion of Pontus…..).

Each of these books is marked by a characteristic view of the Faith:

1. Matthew According to general consent, gives the lineage of the Davidic King.
2. James The power of ‘a perfect law     (James 1:25;  2:8).
3. Peter The accomplishment of prophecy     (I Peter 1:10-12).
4. Hebrews The efficacy of an eternal priesthood     (Hebrews 7:23).

This general connection indicates the true position of the Epistle of Hebrews, which is that of a final development of the teaching of ‘the three,’ and not of a special application of the teaching of Paul. It is, so to speak, most truly intelligible as the last voice of the apostles of the circumcision and not as a peculiar utterance of the apostle of the Gentiles (Gal. 2:9 “and having known the grace which was given to me, James and Cephas (Peter) and John, those reputed pillars to be, [the] right hands they gave to me and Barnabas of  fellowship, that we [should go] to the nations, and they to the circumcision (Jews):” Greek New Testament by Berry.

The apostles of the circumcision regarded Judaism naturally with sympathy and even with affection, for it was that through which they had been led little by little to see the meaning of the Gospel. The Apostle of the Gentiles, with all his love for his countrymen  and all his reverence for the work wrought through the old Covenant, no less naturally regarded Judaism, as it was, as a system which had made him a persecutor of the Faith.

Rom 9:3
For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:   

Reminds me of another statement of a man of God.

Ex 32:32
Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin--; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written.   

For Paul the Law is a code of moral ordinances: for the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews it is a scheme of typical provisions for atonement. For the one it is a crushing burden: for the other it is a welcome if imperfect source of consolation. And it is in virtue of this general interpretation of the spirit of the Levitical system that the unknown apostle (Paul, Barnabas, or someone else) to whom we owe the Epistle to the Hebrews was fitted to fulfill for the Church the part which was providentially committed to him.


Next Section
Previous Section

The general progress of thought in the Epistle is clear; but, at the same time, in a writing so many-sided, where subjects are naturally foreshadowed and recalled, difference of opinion must arise as to the exact divisions of the argument. The following arrangement gives at least an intelligible view of the main relations of the different parts of the Book.


Next Section
Previous Section

1. 1:5-2:18 The superiority of the Son, the Mediator of the New Revelation, to Angels
2. 1:3, 4 Moses, Joshua, Jesus, the Founders of the Old & New Economy
3. 1:5-7 The High-priesthood of Christ, universal and sovereign (Melchizedek)
4. 8:1-10:18 The fulfillment of Christ’s priestly work
5. 10:19-12 The appropriation & vital applications of the Truths laid down
6. 13 A personal Epilogue


(vv. 1,2) The contrast of the Old Revelation and the New method, time, persons
(v. 3) The nature and the work of the Son, in regard to His Divine Personality and Incarnation
(v. 4) Transition to the detailed development of the argument
1:5-2:18 The superiority of the Son, the Mediator of the New Revelation, to Angels
(1:5-14). The testimony of Scripture
(2:1-4). The peril of neglecting the new revelation through the Son
(2:5-18) The fulfillment of the divine destiny of man in the Son of man (Jesus) through suffering
Ch 3 & 4 Moses, Joshua, Jesus the Founders of the Old & New Economy
(3:1-6) Moses and Jesus:  the servant and the Son  
(vv 1,2) A general view of the dignity of Jesus
 (vv 3,4) Moses represents a house:  Jesus the framer of the house 
(vv 5,6) Moses a servant:  Jesus a son 
(3:7-Ch 4) The promise and the people under the Old and the New Dispensations
(3:7-19) Faith the condition of blessing 
(4:1-13) The promise remaining 
(4:14-16) Transition to the doctrine of the High-priesthood, resuming 2:17,18
Ch 5-7 The High-priesthood of Christ, universal and sovereign    (Melchizedek )
(5:1-10) The characteristics of a High-priest (sympathy and divine appointment) fulfilled in Christ
(5:11-Ch 6) Progress through patient effort the condition of the knowledge of Christian mysteries
(Ch 7) The characteristics of Christ, as absolute High-priest, shadowed forth by Melchizedek (king-priest) 
8:1-10:18 The fulfillment of Christ's priestly work
(Ch 8) A general view of the scene and the conditions of Christ's High-priestly work
(8:1-6) The new Sanctuary
(8:7-13) The new Covenant
Jer 31:30-34
"The time is coming," declares the LORD, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah
It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them," declares the LORD
(33)  "This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time," declares the
LORD. "I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people
(34)   No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, `Know the
LORD,' because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. "For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more." (NIV)
(Ch 9) The Old Service and the New: the Atonement of the Law and the Atonement of Christ
(9:1-10) The Sanctuary and Priests under the Old Covenant
(9:11-28) The High-priestly Atonement under the New Covenant
(10:1-18) The Old Sacrifices and the New: the abiding efficacy of Christ's one Sacrifice
A summary of reassurance
10:19-12:29 The Appropriation and Vital Application of the Truths laid down
(10:19-39) The privileges, perils, encouragement's of the Hebrews
(Ch 11) The past triumphs of Faith
(Ch 12) The general application of the lessons of the past to the present season of trial

Ch 13 

A personal Epilogue - Detailed and specific instructions
One feature in this plan will strike the student of Scripture:
The central portion of each of the first three divisions is mainly occupied with solemn warnings
The last division is a most grave and earnest exposition of the duties which follow from the confession of Christ's Priestly work.

The writer is unwilling, even in the development of the Truth, to allow the loftiest conception of the Gospel to appear to be a theory only. It is for him intensely practical; and the note of entire and reverential awe closes his description of the privileges of Christians (12:28).


Next Section
Previous Section

The word Messiah, is an Anglicization of the Latin word Messias, which is borrowed from the Greek. An adaptation of the Aramaic word meshiha which is the translation of the Hebrew word (ha-melekh) he-mashi ah, which means 'the Anointed [King]'; a charismatically endowed descendant of David (king of Israel) who the Jews of the Roman period believed would be raised up by God to break the yoke of the heathen and to reign over a restored kingdom of Israel to which all the Jews of the Exile would return. This is a strictly post biblical concept. Even Haggai and Zechariah, expected the Davidic kingdom to be renewed with a specific individual.

Ezek 37:24-28
(24)  My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd. They will follow my laws and be careful to keep my decrees. 
(25)  They will live in the land I gave to my servant Jacob, the land where your fathers lived. They and their children and their children's children will live there forever, and David my servant will be their prince forever. 
(26)  I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant. I will establish them and increase their numbers, and I will put my sanctuary among them forever. 
(27)  My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their God, and they will be my people. 
(28)  Then the nations will know that I the LORD make Israel holy, when my sanctuary is among them forever.   (NIV)

Zech 12:7-9
(7)  The LORD will save the dwellings of Judah first, so that the honor of the house of David and of Jerusalem's inhabitants may not be greater than that of Judah. 
(8)  On that day the LORD will shield those who live in Jerusalem, so that the feeblest among them will be like David, and the house of David will be like God, like the Angel of the LORD going before them. 
(9)  On that day I will set out to destroy all the nations that attack Jerusalem.  (NIV)

Acts 1:6-8
(6)  So when they met together, they asked him, "Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?" 
(7)  He said to them: "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 
(8)  But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."    (NIV)

John 1:48-51
(48)  Jesus answered, "I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you." 
(49)  Then Nathaniel declared, "Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel." 
(50)  Jesus said, "You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You shall see greater things than that." 
(51)  He then added, "I tell you the truth, you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man."    (NIV)

1. Stage One of the prehistory of Messianism is the doctrine that David's present position of power will endure throughout his lifetime and be inherited by an endless chain of succeeding links in his dynasty
2. Stage Two began with the collapse of David's empire after the death of Solomon. There arose the doctrine, or hope, that the House of David would again reign over Israel as well as Judah and again exercise dominion over neighboring nations. This hope was expressed:
a. Probably by reinterpretation of compositions like Psalm 18 in a prophetic sense
b. In so many words like prophecies like Amos 9:11-12; Isaiah 11:10; Hosea 3:5 (the phrase - a Judahite interpolation - "and (the Israelites will seek ) their king David") Ezekiel 37:15 & 24.
3. Stage Three is Isaiah's shifting of the emphasis from the perpetuity of the dynasty to the qualities of the future king: the foundation of his throne will be justice, he will be distinguished by his zeal for justice, and, finally, he will be charismatically endowed for sensing the rights and wrongs of a case and for executing justice (See Isaiah 9:1-6 [2-7], and Isaiah 16:4-5).

Today the Orthodoxy Jews retain unimpaired traditional doctrines like:
The Messiah is a scion of the House of David. He will reign in Jerusalem, will rebuild the Temple, and will reinstitute the Sacrificial system  (See Ezekiel chapters 40-48).

Many Orthodox rabbis were at first opposed to Zionism in that it seemed to substitute a purely human redemption for the redeemer sent by God. But with the establishment of the State of Israel the widely held Orthodox view was to see the events in Israel as athalta de-geullo. "the beginning of the redemption," i.e. the foundations laid by humans, under God's guidance, ready to receive the building to be erected by God's direct act.

Among Orthodox rabbis there is no lack of speculation on the meaning of contemporary events in the light of the messianic hope. Thus M. Kasher (ref. No'am 13 (1970), end) has tried to read "Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed: for the Lord of hosts will reign in Mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before His elders shall be glory" (Isaiah 24:23) as a prophetic vision in which the moon landings coincide with the establishment of the State of Israel.

In the writings of A.I. Kook the argument is advanced that the Jewish people had become too "spiritual," too remote from the world. To pave the way for the Messiah the concrete realities of modern state based on Jewish principles of justice and compassion are essential.

We see from these few words that the Israel in the time of Jesus could not except Him because He didn't do what they thought that the Messiah should have accomplished, which was to over through the Roman Empire and to establish Israel as the ruler of the world, then they could fulfill their mission, which was to evangelize the whole world to accept the only one and true God, which was the God of Israel.

When I was in Israel in 1972, I asked when Israel was going to build their temple and they said that it was not the job of the nation of Israel but it was the task of Messiah.   (Paul the Learner)

We see that those who the Apostle was writing to had the understanding that Jesus was indeed the Messiah and the following Scriptures more than prove this:
Gen. 3:15 Gal. 4:4
Gen. 18:18 Acts 3:25
Gen. 49:10 Luke 3:33
Isa. 9:7 Mt. 1:1
And many more prophecies beside these.

Previous Section

In the Book of Galatians we find Christian Pharisees - either those who had left Antioch defeated, or more likely, others who had hurried on through Cilicia - had been welcomed by the Galatians, had taught them "circumcision," and had met instant, widespread success. Paul's first missionary church, so promising and apparently healthy, had been swept into "another gospel." Former pagans who had trusted in Christ and had rejoiced in being "new creations" were making their lives a misery trying to keep the Jewish Law.
"The Apostle", By John Pollock
So we see that Paul had to deal with two attacks against the New Testament truth:
One of these was the attempt to substitute good works for faith in Christ. This was met by the letter to the Galatians.
The other was the attempt to invalidate the atoning worth of the Cross by urging the Jewish wing of the Church to return to the Levitical ritual of the Temple. This was met by the letter to the Hebrews
The first (Galatians) was to the Gentiles in the Church.
The second (Hebrews) was written to the Jews in the Church.


We will find this through the study of both Galatians and Hebrews
God's plan of salvation through the sacrifice of Jesus + Works = 0 (Gentiles)
God's plan of salvation through the sacrifice of Jesus + Law = 0 (Jews)
(See the "Mathematics of Galatians")

God's plan is complete and needs nothing else.

Acts 2:37-39
(37)  When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do?" 
(38)  Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 
(39)  The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off-for all whom the Lord our God will call."       (NIV)

End of the Introduction to Hebrews


Home First
Table of