Church of Christ
at
Locks Cross Roads
1) Hebrews - Introduction
GENERAL INTRODUCTION TO THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS

1) The people addressed - The letter to the Hebrews was evidently addressed to Jewish Christians who were in
danger of apostatizing from Christ and returning to Judaism.  They were subjected to persecution by their own race
and treated as apostates and unclean because they had left Moses and obeyed Christ.

2) The purpose of the epistle:
    a) To exhibit the unsurpassed glory of the new covenant in contrast with the old
    b) To exhort the Hebrew Christians to steadfastness in Christ (Hebrews 3:12, Hebrews 4:14, Hebrews 6:4-8,
         Hebrews 10:23, Hebrews 13:22).

3) Authorship
    Tradition of the church in the East, where the epistle was first received, is unanimous in ascribing authorship to
    the Apostle Paul, as did also the council of Carthage, 397 A.D., and Clement of Alexandria, 165 to 220 A.D.
4) Internal evidence to Paul's authorship.
    a) Figures of speech are similar to those used in his other letters (1st Corinthians 9:24-25, Galatians 2:2,
        Galatians 5:7, Philippians 3:13-14, 2nd Timothy 4:7-8 with Hebrews 12:1-2).
    b) Paul's view of the law as expressed in his other letters is the same view expressed in Hebrews (see Acts
        13:39, Romans 7:1-6, 1st Corinthians 9:20-21, 2nd Corinthians 3:6 and 13, Galatians 3:16 - 4:31,
         Ephesians 2:14-18, Colossians 2:13-17 with Hebrews 8:7 to 10:18).
    c) The word "mediator" is used by Paul only (Galatians 3:19-20, 1st Timothy 2:5 with Hebrews 8:6, Hebrews
        9:15, Hebrews 12:24).
    d) Conditions in the life of Paul are true to those of the writer of the Hebrew letter,
            1) The writer was a prisoner in Italy (Hebrews 13:19-24)
            2) The writer was a friend of Timothy (Hebrews 13:23)
            3) The writer asks for prayers of brethren that he might be set free (Hebrews 13:18-19)
    e) The word "covenant" is found only seven times in the New Testament outside of Paul's writings.  Paul uses it
         nine times in other writings.  It is used seventeen times in Hebrews.
    f) No other writer uses grace upon readers.
5) Date.
    Though much is said of the worship and sacrifice in the temple, there is an entire absence of any suggestion that
the temple had been destroyed (Hebrews 8:4, Hebrews 10:11).  Since the temple was destroyed in A.D. 70, the
letter must have been written before that date.  From Hebrews 13:24 it seems to have been written in Italy.  
According to the references in Hebrews 13:24 to the prayers, it must have been written during his first imprisonment
from 61-63 A.D. in Rome, Italy.

THE SUPERIORITY of CHRIST as the FOUNDER of CHRISTIANITY

1) He is superior to the prophets (Hebrews 1:1 - 4:13)
    A) He is the complete and final revelation of God (Hebrews 1:1)

God

The book begins with an assumption of God's existence.  Like Genesis, it makes no attempt to prove the existence
of God.  The Psalmist said that fools do not believe in God (Psalms 14:1, Psalms 53:1).

The author of Hebrews must have felt the same way.  This wonderful God of man is not appreciated, so a brief study
of Him is in order.  This study is far from exhaustive but it is practical:
    a) The Being of God:
            1) He is Spirit - John 4:24
            2) He is Eternal - Romans 16:26, 2nd Peter 3:9
            3) He is Living - Matthew 22:32, Matthew 16:16
            4) He is One - Romans 16:27, 1st Timothy 1:17, Jude 25
            5) He is Ultimate (alpha and omega) - Revelation 21:6
    b) The Character of God:
            1) Omnipotent - all-powerful - almighty - Revelation 19:6, Romans
            2) Omniscient - all-wise - knoweth all things - Romans 16:27
            3) Holy - John 17:11, Revelation 4:8, Revelation 6:10, Revelation 13:1, Ephesians 3:10 - manifold wisdom
            4) Righteous - John 17:25, Matthew 6:33, Philippians 3:9
            5) Good - Romans 2:4, Luke 18:19
            6) Kind - Titus 3:4
            7) Merciful - Romans 12:1, 2nd Corinthians 1:3, Luke 6:36
            8) Just - Galatians 3:8, Romans 3:26
            9) Loving - John 16:27, 2nd Corinthians 13:11, 2nd Thessalonians 2:16
    c) In relationship to the world:
            1) This is of primary importance, for God has not been far removed from man, but has sought to win man
                 to Himself.
            2) Below are listed some phrases of His relationship:
                    a) Omnipresent:
                            Acts 17:24-25 - dwelleth not in temples
                            Acts 17:28 - in Him we live
                            Acts 17:24 - the God that made the world
                    b) Creator: Mark 13:19
                    c) Sovereign - Ruler, Lord, Monarch
                    d) Savior
                            Acts 17:24 - He being Lord of earth
                            1st Timothy 2:3 - in the sight of God our Savior
                            Jude 25 - "God our Savior."
                    e) Revealer:
                            Philippians 3:15 - "God shall reveal this unto you"
                            2nd Corinthians 2:10 - "God revealed them unto us"
                            Romans 1:17 - "therein is the righteousness of God revealed"
In the patriarchal time God spoke face to face:
    1) To Adam
    2) To Noah
    3) To Abraham, Isaac and Jacob

He spoke with a voice:
    Exodus 24:4 - "all the words which Jehovah hath spoken will we do - "
    Isaiah 38:4 - "Then came the word of the Lord to Isaiah, saying - "

He wrote with His fingers:
    Daniel 5:5 - Belshazzar saw the hand writing on the wall
    Exodus 31:18 - The law was written by the fingers of God
He spoke in action, demonstrating His power:
    1) Miracles were of several kinds
            a) Burning bush - Exodus 3:2
            b) Daniel in the lions' den - Daniel 6:22
            c) Walls of Jericho fell - Joshua 6:20
            d) Thundering and lightning when the law was given - Exodus 20:18
    2) Temple veil rent in twain - Matthew 27:51.  This spoke of the ending of the earthly Holy of Holies.
    3) Victory in war for His people showed that righteousness must prevail
            a) Gideon's victory - Hebrews 11:32 and Judges 7:22
            b) Egyptians defeated in the Red Sea - Exodus 14
            c) He spoke in dreams and visions:
                    1) Daniel 2:1 - Nebuchadnezzar's dream and interpretation Daniel - Daniel 2:17-49
                    2) Joseph interprets dreams of fellow prisoners in Genesis 40
                    3) Joseph's dream in Genesis 37
                    4) See Hosea 12:10.  Romans 1:4 is proof that "spoke" may refer to more than vocal words:
                            Psalms 19:2 - "day unto day uttereth speech."
                            Romans 1:20 - "even His everlasting power and divinity." hath at the end of these days
                                    What days?
                                            a) The days of the prophets just referred to
                                            b) The prophets' days seemed closed for about 400 years after Malachi, but John
                                                 broke the silence.
                                            c) These days may refer to the end of the Jewish age, which was a prophetic age.  
                                                Spoke it unto us in His Son
                                                    How did God speak through Him?
                                                            a) Not always vocally
                                                                    1) Christ's compassion and love spoke
                                                                    2) Christ's resurrection spoke
                                                                           Romans 1:4 - "who was declared to be the Son of God with power"
                                                            b) In Christ's voice God spoke:
                                                                    John 8:28 - "but as the Father taught Me, I speak these things,"
                                                                    John 12:49 - "For I spake not from Myself but the Father that sent Me,
                                                                                          He hath given Me a commandment what I should say
                                                                                          and what I should speak."
                                                                    John 14:10 - "the words I speak, I speak not of Myself"
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