We are in the Church Stream reading from the Good News Translation.
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Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis
Hebrews is written to the leaders and residents in Jerusalem – a remarkable book of literary excellence with piercing and perfect logic. It’s eloquence is historical and its message is powerful. The Message is that Jesus is our messenger of what God is, what He’s done, and that He is The New Covenant. Salvation once and for all is found in Him. It was written before the destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D. It in a sense is bracing the Hebrews for the fact (that they were slow to accept) is that Jesus is the Atoning Sacrifice. The sacrifice of animals and their blood can never take sin away. So that with the Temple soon gone, they would not slump into defeat and dismay, but would be further urged to simply accept the glaring truth that the final sacrifice for their sin has been made. Hebrews is truly a writing of marvelous triumph. You will enjoy and be blessed as we read this book during the church stream for most of this month.
1 – The opening is something that needs to printed large and readable and put in a prominent place so that it’s the first thing we all read each morning and the final muse each night: Christ is glorious Deity, the Creator, Preserver and owner of the Universe. It is His sacrifice that redeemed humanity so to bring salvation for all who would receive Him. God’s Son; Jesus is, first off, greater than angels. The angels’ position is explained for the remainder of the chapter. Christ, the angels, and man and the interrelation of the three are laid out. Angels have been very misinterpreted in history, so this section of chapter one clears up much fog for all of us. And it ought also inspire us about the heights to which we are headed as God’s creation who have followed in His calling. And for what it’s worth – the angels are here to assist us in following Christ in our calling.
2 – There is no overstating the fascinating and wonderful salvation that has been offered us. We must seriously embrace this gift. One day we will reign with Him. And the angels will continue in their service. We will reign with Him because of the love our Savior has for us. He knows us and understands us and forgives and saves us because He has been with us in our plight as humans. Christ knows our sufferings and is righteous to save.
3 – This discourse is an urging of the Hebrew-minded people to realize that one greater than Moses has come. Reverence Moses, yes, but Christ being greater is the one we are to worship. Christ is over Moses. This is God’s doing. The Holy Spirit, speaks to us, and we are to hear so that we obey and then come into blessing and rest by walking with God. It is not His plan for us to disobey, and dwell in a wrong place where we should not be. The Israelites of the Exodus had a blessed place to go and find rest from the wandering but they disobeyed and died in the desert. We have all the revelation we need in Christ and are therefore to live and believe and walk in His rest today.
4 – God has a rest, and tremendous rest, a sabbath, a world of rest for His people. This rest is not just an idea, it is a position of blessing and provision and communication and intimacy with Him that He wishes to take Believers to – if we will let Him. This is the Word that God has spoken to us. His Word is sharp and discerning and active. And know that Christ Jesus is our great High Priest now. He is perfect in every way, compassionate and empathetic toward us and able to plead for us. Christ’s role for us supersedes the Levitical Priesthood – more on this in Hebrews 10 later this month – …
5 – Christ Jesus’ role is compared to that of the Levitical Priests. ‘Not that the Levites were all ‘off base’ now, it is simply that God is stressing that Christ is the Priest that offered it all on our behalf. The Priests offered animals as they were called upon to do. Some of the reasoning is to prove that centuries of doing such is all and only temporary gestures to have us be exercising the need to be forgiven. Christ’s body and blood is God giving all so that we can be saved. The animals blood offered by Priests can never save us the way we need to be saved. Again, the priests were not irrelevant and futile. God ordained them. But now the time has come to shift our minds from the temporary work of the priests to the eternal work of God. The Hebrew mentality especially needed to restructure their priorities.
The passage ends today with the writer of Hebrews making a sobering statement of the childish faith and indolence of the church that the Hebrew leaders in Judea were in charge of. They had forgotten the basics and the beauty of their Christian faith along the way. They needed to rebuild their foundation spiritually and grow from there – again!
The Thread Through the Streams
The theme that arose day after day is a salient reminder of what the truth is; truth that needs to be stated, and stated again and again.
-In Numbers the men who stray and start prostituting with women of Moab and Midian are identified and executed. Then a census is taken. The statement is that we are going to go in to Canaan soon and we have what we need numerically but the wrong men need to be removed from the ranks first. We cannot proceed with army flanked by men who resent the truth. Also with leadership switching to Joshua soon, Moses’ departure does not mean the need to be following is over with. We still need to be following -it just switches to Joshua soon. These are dire reminders and truths
-In Chronicles, David makes his offerings and praises to God, commissions the next king and the construction of the Temple begins. Are we to do any different than to offer ourselves to God, praise God, raise up the next generation for God and build upon all the things that pertain to God. This needs to be stated repeatedly to each generation lest we stray from what He wants for us.
-In Proverbs we are told what wisdom is and the endless need for wisdom. ‘Looking for wisdom? Here it is; keep reading the Proverbs.
-Ezekiel has the task of taking the Hebrews from la-la-land back to the truth. The Judeans think they will be fine. The Hebrews in exile think things will be fine…just let them go back to Jerusalem (now).
No, folks, Zedekiah the king is going to be tortured, his family killed, Jerusalem is going to get over run and leveled, the prophets in the land are liars and cultic, the lives and faith of the Judeans are like dead vines…THAT is the truth, kiddos! God is going to smash it all and start over.
-Habakkuk gives the recipe for successful faith and remaining in the truth: though we may be completely empty-handed, I will be joyful and glad for The Lord God is my Savior,
-John tells the whole world what the Truth and the Word is – he tells exactly what and who the Word is!
-The “Book of Hebrews” tells the Hebrews what it is they have been looking for and waiting for and longing for all these centuries. You are looking for HIM? It’s Jesus whom you have been looking for. He is the Truth and you need look no further. HE is the Truth.