Friday, July 25, 2008

Hebreos 13

Hebreos CHAPTER 13 :

(1) “LET BROTHERLY LOVE CONTINUE.” It is said that “brotherly love” is the most important virtue in the New Testament. Those who are linked in the common bond having been saved through Faith in the Death of Christ, cannot but have warm feelings toward one another (Rom. 12:10; I Thess. 4:9; I Pet. 1:22; II Pet. 1:7). Calvin said, “We can only be Christians if we are Brethren.”
Furthermore, brotherly love cannot continue, unless the Cross continues to be the object of our Faith.
“Brotherly love” as used here by Paul is from the Greek word “philadelphia.” It is not “agape” normally used of God’s love (Jn. 3:16), which is produced in the heart of the yielded Believer by the Holy Spirit (Rom. 5:5). As well, it is not the type of love defined by Paul in I Corinthians Chapter 13.
The particular Greek word for love here used is “phileo,” which speaks of “human affection, fondness, a nonethical, though perfectly legitimate, form of love.” It refers to our social actions one might say, toward our brothers and sisters in the Lord.
In the general decay of their faith, and we continue to speak of Christian Jews, tendencies to disown Christian fellowship had obviously become apparent (Heb. 10:24-25).
The word “brother” in the Greek is “adelphos,” and means “from the same womb.” Thus, the basis of their Christian fondness and affection for each other, the Source of their Christian fellowship, was the fact that they all came from the same Source, having one Father God, and Him being their Heavenly Father, due to the fact that Jesus had died for them on the Cross. The idea seems to be:
Due to some of the Christian Jews seriously considering going back into Judaism, it seems there had been an estrangement between them and the Jews who were remaining loyal to the Lord. Hence Paul is telling the faithful Jews that they should continue to show brotherly love toward the defectors, at least where possible.
The admonition given here by the Apostle, is quite different from that practiced by most modern Denominations.
First of all, it certainly would be obvious that the situation among these Jews in Paul’s day was of far greater severity than most anything at present. Some of these Christian Jews were turning their backs on Christ, actually repudiating Him, even denying Him, which they had to do in order to go back into Judaism. Paul is telling the Jews who had continued to be faithful, as stated, that they were to continue to be kind and gracious to these individuals, whatever they had done, and whomever they may have been.
At the present time, many if not most religious Denominations, if a Preacher doesn’t obey whatever it is they say to do, and irrespective as to how unscriptural it might be, two things are then set in motion:
First of all, they practice “shunning,” on the individual in question. Friends are parted and even members of an immediate family. It is somewhat like the Jewish practices of old as it regarded excommunication, when all type of curses were pronounced upon the individual who was out of favor.
The second thing carried out pertains to every effort being made, to utterly destroy
the Ministry of the one in question. They will go to any lengths to do this, not only in their own Denomination, but will seek to reach outside of their Denomination to carry out their perfidious work. They take the position that inasmuch as the individual has refused to obey them, he is now “fair game.” In other words, anything they desire to do to him, and I mean anything, they legitimize, claiming they have the spiritual right to do so.
I realize that most of the laity would have absolutely no knowledge of these things of which I say. In fact, most would think that such attitudes and actions went out in the Dark Ages, never dreaming that such continues to be carried out in practice, in many if not most religious Denominations.
As I’ve stated, such actions are quite different than the admonition of the Holy Spirit through Paul, to “let brotherly love continue.” In other words, the Apostle is saying, that just because these Jews have turned their backs on Christ, as terrible as that might be, love for the person is not to be discontinued. While of course, fellowship in such a case would be disrupted and even completely severed; still, the practice of love towards such an individual must continue, wherever possible. In fact, this is the very heart of Christianity.
1. As love has been made the foundation, duty is now expressed as it regards Christians. 2. Sometimes angels, we are here told, are disguised as men. 3. The idea is great blessing will always follow Christian hospitality. STRANGERS
The phrase, “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers,” presents the Apostle under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, broadening his original statement.
In those days, accommodation at inns was expensive, and in any case inns generally had a bad reputation. But as Christian Preachers traveled around, Believers gave them lodging and so facilitated their mission. In fact, without hospitality in Christian homes,
the spread of the Faith would have been much more difficult (Morris).
Whereas it would be a pleasure to show hospitality to some Preachers, unfortunately, the same could not be said for all. It seems that some Preachers possibly during that particular time, had made a nuisance of themselves, actually imposing on their hosts. After several rounds of this, one can see that many Christian families just simply would not want to get involved again. However, if too many took this position, the work of God could be seriously hindered; consequently, the Apostle, as guided by the Holy Spirit, in effect, tells Christian families everywhere, to not withdraw from this very necessary work, to make the best of the situations, and who knows, in their entertaining of “strangers,” they may even entertain an angel at times without knowing it, until later.
It is very unfortunate that Preachers at times are lacking in tact, thoughtfulness, and even kindness. Far too many take the position that just because they are a Preacher, the Church owes them something, etc. As well, sometimes the supposed calling seems to be a cover for “laziness.”
While there are definitely true men and women of God who do not conduct themselves in this fashion; still, there are far too many who do!
The phrase, “For thereby some have entertained angels unawares,” definitely would have had a tendency to provide a positive incentive.
Inasmuch as the word “Angels,” means “Messengers,” some have attempted to abbreviate this statement as referring to certain Preachers as special messengers of God, etc. While that definitely could have a bearing here, and no doubt does, we must not rule out the principal direction of the statement, which actually refers to literal Angels.
The doctrinal part of Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews is now finished, and this last Chapter gives us, as is usual in the Apostle’s writing, exhortations regarding the behavior of those who have laid hold in faith upon the truth heretofore declared. Brotherly love, as stated, is emphasized. Those who have been
drawn to Christ out of a world that rejects Him should be characterized by love for each other. Regrettably, it has often been otherwise.
If our Christianity doesn’t address itself to practical living, which refers to our conduct toward our fellow Brother and Sisters in the Lord, then our Christianity is very weak. Proper profession will always translate into proper practical application.
1. With the persecutions now beginning, some Christians were imprisoned for their Faith. Fellow Christians were exhorted not to forget these. 2. Despite the potential of persecution because of association, still, Christians were to look at those imprisoned for their faith, as being a part of their family, in which they actually were, their Christian family. 3. All Believers are a part of the Body of Christ, which means that all Believers are members of the same Family of God. BONDS
The phrase, “Remember them that are in bonds,” refers to Christians who were beginning to be imprisoned for their faith. So this means, that the Epistle to the Hebrews was probably written by Paul after he had been released from his first imprisonment, which imprisonment is recorded in the Book of Acts (Acts, Chpts. 23-28).
In A.D. 64 much of the city of Rome was destroyed by fire. To divert the suspicion that he had started it for his own entertainment, Nero accused the Christians of having done this thing, about whom the public were also prepared to believe the worst.
Having forced a conviction for arson against certain Christians, he conducted mass arrests, and among other tortures, burned his victims alive in public.
What was disastrous for the Christians was that Nero’s action had left a legal precedent for translating this popular position into official action.
It is believed that Paul may have been released from prison in Rome in about A.D. 62;
HEBREWS 13:3-4
although, this date varies with different Scholars. At any rate, the persecution of Christians would have begun in A.D. 64.
At this particular time, prisoners were not well treated, and they depended — often even for necessities like food — on sympathizers. Sometimes people withheld help for fear of identifying themselves with the prisoners and thereby suffering similar punishment. But Christians are told here by Paul to have compassion on those in prison “as if you were their fellow prisoners.”
The phrase, “As bound with them,” refers to the statement just made, “fellow prisoners.” The idea was according to the following:
“If one part suffers, every part suffers with it” (I Cor. 12:26). Believers should feel so much for their friends in prison and for “those who are mistreated” that they become one with them. Compassion must be an essential part of Christian Living.
In back of all of this, the idea is, the very ones who were supplying help for those imprisoned, may very shortly be dependent on others for the same type of help.
The phrase, “And them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body,” refers to the Body of Christ, and that if one suffers, as stated, in a sense, all suffer.
While oftentimes, the head of the house was imprisoned, their families were left with little way to care for themselves, with many losing what few possessions they actually had, and all because they would not acknowledge the lordship of Caesar. “Remember them,” Paul is saying.
Many families had lost their fathers or mothers because of martyrdom; some were left orphaned and alone. How so much these needed the love and compassion of other Christians!
1. Marriage is sanctioned and encouraged by the Holy Spirit. HEBREWS 13:4 794 JIMMY SWAGGART BIBLE COMMENTARY
2. Lawful sex between a husband and wife holds no defilement. 3. To satisfy the sex drive outside of marriage, will find the one doing such, ultimately judged by God. MARRIAGE
The phrase, “Marriage is honourable,” presents the Apostle addressing here a position in the Early Church which wasn’t Sound Doctrine.
There seemingly was an effort being made to show that celibacy was a more holy state; that there was something in marriage that rendered it dishonourable for those who were in the Ministry, or for those of either sex who would be imminently pure. In fact, this same question keeps popping up even until this present time.
Celibacy is one of the supports on which the Papal system rests, and has been one of the principal upholders of all the corruptions among Priests and Nuns. This is certainly not to say this group alone has these problems of immorality; however, I think we can say without any fear of contradiction, that immorality is far more prevalent in the Catholic Priesthood than in any other similar rank of society.
The Apostle here asserts, without any restriction or qualification, that marriage is honourable in all; and this proves that it is lawful for Ministers of the Gospel to marry, and that the whole doctrine of the superior purity of a state of celibacy is false.
The phrase, “And the bed undefiled,” pertains to the fact that sexual intercourse between a husband and wife present no defilement, whether spiritually or physically. The Holy Spirit through the Apostle proclaims the physical side of marriage as important and “pure.” Contrary to the views of some thinkers in the ancient world, there was nothing defiling about it.
The phrase, “But whoremongers and adulterers God will judge,” proclaims all sexual conduct outside of marriage as being absolutely defiled. This means that all forms
of sexual sin come under the Judgment of God, at least if not repented of and forsaken. In fact, this was a novel view to many in the First Century. For them chastity was an unreasonable demand to make; consequently, the Gospel of Christ charted a new course in its day in a heathen world that was filled with immorality of every stripe.
The New Testament speaks just as strongly as the Old Testament against immorality of every nature. However, there is an important shift of rationale. There is a powerful new reason why sex outside of marriage is repugnant to the Lord. But some New Testament statements on immorality have often been misunderstood.
For instance, the New Testament never suggests that immorality is acceptable. But it makes clear how we should deal with individuals who fall short.
We must not avoid such persons who are outside the Christian fellowship. Paul told the Corinthians not to associate with “sexually immoral people.” Later he had to write and explain.
He did “not at all mean” to suggest withdrawal from “the people of this world” (I Cor. 5:10). That would mean isolation from the very people Christians are called to lead to Jesus! Certainly Jesus did not avoid such persons; and as the story of the woman caught in the act of adultery illustrates, Jesus’ first concern was to bring forgiveness, and then, with it, release from the power of every kind of sin (Jn. 8:1-11).
There must be discipline for those within. Thus, sexual immorality in the fellowship is to be dealt with decisively by the Christian community, especially if the individual refuses to repent (I Cor. 5:1-12).
The rationale is explained in I Corinthians 6:12-20. In a Christian’s relationship with Christ, the Believer is actually an organic part of the Lord’s Body. It is unthinkable that Christ would be involved in immorality. Thus, our bodies, linked with Jesus and being the temples of the Holy Spirit, must be kept holy. We are to treat ourselves as holy instruments,
to be used in God’s service and not involved in sexual sins.
Finally, Paul reminds us, “You are not your own: you were bought with a price. Therefore honor God with your body” (I Cor. 6:19-20).
The Scripture plainly tells us that judgment is coming for those who fail to heed the warning as it regards sexual immorality. Those who practice such and refuse to repent will ultimately be judged and excluded from the Eternal Kingdom (I Tim. 1:10; Heb. 13:4; Rev. 21:8; 22:15).
As we’ve already stated, sexual intercourse outside of marriage is sin for both the married and the unmarried. God forbids it, for our good. The Commandments against adultery and sexual immorality are rooted deep in the character of God as a faithful and loyal person. We are to mirror His faithfulness and show the same kind of loyalty in our relationships.
The serious nature of adultery or immorality of any nature, are seen in references to it in the Old Testament and in the Book of Revelation as an illustration of the ultimate unfaithfulness, apostasy, and spiritual idolatry. The New Testament reinforces the serious nature of sex sins for Believers by reminding us that we are linked forever with Christ and indwelt by the Holy Spirit. Jesus has paid the ultimate price for us, and, as His Own people now, we are to commit our bodies to the Lord’s service, thereby not to serve sinful passions.
Every human being, having a sex drive, will experience the pull of temptation toward immorality of some nature. To surrender is not only wrong but also foolish. Like other sins, immorality erodes our character and brings guilt and suffering. As the Biblical proverbs remind us, we need to be guided by the traditions of the Godly and the commands of the Scripture, for they are “the way to life, keeping you from the immoral woman, from the smooth tongue of the wayward wife. Do not lust in your heart after her beauty or let her captivate you with her eyes, for the prostitute reduces you to a loaf of bread, and the adulteress preys upon your very life” (Prov. 6:23-26).
Even though this Passage in Proverbs deals more so with idolatry and spiritual adultery
than anything else, it definitely also includes physical immorality.
1. “Conversation” should have been translated “manner of life.” 2. The exhortation is against covetousness in the form of love of money. 3. “Content” refers here to the ability of the Christian who is dependent upon the Holy Spirit, to be independent of outward circumstances. 4. Dependent upon the Holy Spirit, we should be happy with what He provides. 5. The Lord will always come to our rescue. MANNER OF LIFE
The phrase, “Let your conversation,” as stated, should have been translated, “manner of life.” The word “conversation” today is limited in its meaning to converse between two or more persons; however, in A.D. 1611, when the King James Version was translated, it then meant what the Greek word means, “manner of life, behavior.”
The phrase, “Be without covetousness,” in effect says, “let your manner of life be without covetousness.”
Covetousness is a very grave sin; indeed, so heinous is it that the Scriptures class it among the very gravest and grossest crimes against man and God (Eph. 5:3). In Colossians 3:5, the Holy Spirit through Paul classifies it as “idolatry,” while in I Corinthians 6:10, it is set forth as excluding a man from Heaven.
Its heinousness, doubtless, is accounted for by its being in a very real sense the root of so many other forms of sin:
1. Departure from the faith (I Tim. 6:910). 2. Lying (II Ki. 5:22-25). 3. Thievery (Josh. 7:21). 4. Domestic trouble (Prov. 15:27). 5. Murder (Ezek. 22:12). 6. Many foolish and hurtful lusts (I Tim. 6:9). HEBREWS 13:5 796 JIMMY SWAGGART BIBLE COMMENTARY
Covetousness has always been a very serious menace to mankind, whether in the Old Testament or New Testament period. It was one of the first sins that broke out after Israel had entered into the Promised Land (Josh. Chpt. 7); and also in the early Christian Church immediately after its founding (Ananias and Sapphira, Acts Chpt. 5); hence so many warnings against it.
A careful reading of the Old Testament will reveal the fact that a very great part of the Jewish Law — such as its enactments and regulations regarding duties toward the poor, toward servants; concerning gleaning, usury, pledges, gold and silver taken during war — was introduced and intended to counteract the spirit of covetousness.
Never before in the history of the Church has covetousness been given such a place of honor as it has presently. It has been disguised under the heading of “faith,” when it reality, it is pure greed. I speak of the modern greed gospel.
Unfortunately, the far greater majority of the modern so-called “faith ministry”, has sunk to the abominable level of none other than pure greed. Seminars abound on “how to be successful,” with the emphasis totally and completely resting on “money” and the things that money can buy. Righteousness and Holiness are “out,” while money is “in!”
One religious con artist, who goes under the pretension of being a Preacher, says over Television, “God wants you to be rich!” And then he adds, “If He doesn’t want you to be rich, then God lied!”
“Get rich quick” schemes abound over what is referred to as “Christian Television,” by gullible Christians being told, “if you’ll give so much money, you will get ten times as much in return,” or some such like figure. If these religious scams were practiced over the secular media, the perpetrators could expect to go to jail.
So, why do Christians send millions of dollars to such scams, when it is so obviously unscriptural?
Quite possibly, the correct answer is, “covetousness appeals to covetousness!”
The phrase, “And be content with such things as ye have,” presents the underlying thought that one should be satisfied with that which meets our need, and that we not desire more than meets our need.
“Content” in the Greek is “arkeo,” and means “to be possessed of unfailing strength, to be strong, to suffice, to be enough, to be satisfied, contented.” Taking the word on out to the totality of its Greek meaning, we find the word “self,” which actually means, “to be self-sufficient.”
This latter word was used by the Stoics to express the favorite doctrine of the sect, that man should be sufficient to himself for all things, able by the power of his will to resist the shock of circumstance.
In a sense, this is correct in a Scriptural way, but in an entirely different manner.
For instance, Paul was self-sufficient because he was Christ-dependent; therefore, the word “content” refers here to the ability of the Christian dependent upon the Holy Spirit and, therefore, independent of outward circumstances. As should be obvious, there is a tremendous lesson here.
The Child of God upon coming to Christ enters into God’s economy. This is outlined in Luke 12:15-34.
As should be understood, every Believer should be zealous and industrious, for God hates laziness. At the same time, we are to look to the Lord for our sustenance regarding everything, and that means taking everything to Him in prayer. We are to seek His Will as it regards all things, thereby, trusting Him completely.
Consequently, such a Believer is not dependent on circumstances as it regards the system of this present world. Our Source is God and God Alone! He, who feeds the ravens, will definitely feed us!
The phrase, “For He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee,” was probably taken by Paul from Joshua 1:5 and I Chronicles 28:20.
In the Greek the phrase “He hath said,” actually states, “He Himself hath said.” That is, the Lord Jesus Himself Personally made this Promise.
The word “leave” is not from the usual Greek word which means, “to leave,” but from a word which means, “to uphold” or “sustain.” In the Greek there are two negatives before the word “leave,” presenting a very strong statement. The Promise is “I will not, I will not cease to uphold or sustain thee.” We are assured, therefore, of the sustaining Grace of God as we go through trials and testing times.
The word “forsake” is a composite of three words, “to leave,” “down,” and “in.” The first has the idea of forsaking one. The second suggests rejection, defeat, helplessness. The third refers to some place or circumstance in which a person may find himself helpless, forsaken.
The meaning of the word is that of forsaking someone in a state of defeat or helplessness in the midst of hostile circumstances. The word means in its totality, “to abandon, to desert, to leave in straits, to leave helpless, to leave destitute, to leave in the lurch, to let one down.”
There are three negatives before this word, making the Promise one of triple assurance. It is, “I will not, I will not, I will not forsake thee.”
This means, that not only do we have the assurance of God’s all-sufficient sustaining Power to hold us true to Him and in perfect peace as we go through testing times, but we have His Promise that He will never abandon us, never desert, us, never leave us in straits but will come to our help, never leave us destitute but will supply all our need, never leave us in the lurch but will see to it that we are rescued from the difficulties in which we sometimes find ourselves. He will never let us down (Wuest).
1. On the authority of the Word of God, we can boldly exclaim our confidence in the Lord, that He will help us. 2. To have the Lord has one’s helper, is to have the highest authority and power there is. 797
3. If the Lord is our helper, we need not fear man. BOLDNESS
The phrase, “So that we may boldly say,” proclaims not only what we ought to say, but also the manner in which it should be said.
“Boldly” in the Greek is “tharrheo,” and means, “to exercise courage, to have confidence, to be of good cheer.” Consequently, when we declare the sure Promises of God, we are not being reckless. We are simply taking God at His Word and acting confidently in full assurance of His love.
All of this means that despondency should be foreign to the true Christian.
However, the weight of such boldness must never be within ourselves, in other words of our strength and ability or even our faith, but rather in Christ and Christ Alone! There is such a thing as a bold bravado which goes under the guise of faith, but rather is centered up in self. This mostly comes from those who do not understand the Cross.
If our faith is proper, that is according to the Word of God, it will always and without exception be anchored in the Cross of Christ. This is where God made everything possible for us, through the Sacrifice of His Son and our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Faith in that completely destroys false self-confidence. It puts the emphasis where it belongs, which is completely in Christ. In fact, proper boldness or proper faith can only be had by the Believer, if the Believer properly understands the Cross. Otherwise, our acclamations are little more than arrogance.
The phrase, “The Lord is my helper,” is derived from Psalms 118:6. As stated, there could be no higher authority and power.
“Lord” in the Greek is “kurios,” and is actually the Greek derivative of the Hebrew word “Jehovah.” It speaks of “covenant.”
In the Old Testament when “Lord” was used, it as well referred to “Covenant,” but it referred to that which was to come, namely the Lord Jesus Christ. Now it refers to that which has come, meaning we now have a fulfilled Covenant, i.e., “the New Covenant” (Heb. 12:24). And of course, and as should
be obvious, this Covenant is what Jesus did at the Cross on our behalf.
So, “The Lord is my helper,” or rather is able to help me, according to His great Sacrifice at Calvary. While the Covenant was definitely valid before the Cross, it is even more valid presently, because it is now based on an accomplished fact, and not merely a Promise to come.
The idea is, due to the Finished Work of the Cross, the Lord has much more latitude in order to help us. The idea also is, He wants to help us, and in every capacity.
He wants to help us in everything!
The first thing the Believer should do is to set out to learn the Word of God. Of course, this is a lifelong project, but it is amazing how the Holy Spirit will open up the Word, if the Believer with diligence, sets himself to learn the Word. And to give you a head start, if the Believer will understand that the Bible is the story of Redemption, which is centered up in the Cross and will, therefore, place his faith totally and completely in that Finished Work, he will find the Word of God much easier to understand.
In this capacity, prayer becomes very important as well. We should talk everything over with the Lord, seeking His leading and guidance in all things. Nothing is too small for His attention (Mat. 10:29-30), and nothing is too big for Him. We must understand, that He wants to lead us, wants to guide us, wants to give direction, wants to give wisdom, and wants to help and in every capacity. We will find that such help is forthcoming, if we have a proper relationship with Him, which demands a knowledge of the Word, and a diligent prayer life. Prayer establishes communication and relationship.
And then of course, one of, if not the most powerful ingredient of all, is Faith. But yet, we cannot properly have Faith if we do not know the Word of God and its Author as we should.
And let the Reader understand, as we’ve been saying over and over again in this Volume, the great, Finished Work of Christ, must ever be the object of our Faith. That is the same as saying that the Word is the object
of our Faith, that is if we properly understand the Word (Rom. 10:17). As we’ve already stated, the Word and the Cross are in one sense of the word, synonymous. The Word being the story of man’s Redemption means that if we are to properly understand the Word, we must as well understand the reason for the Word, which is the great Sacrifice of Christ.
To have the Lord as one’s helper is the guarantee of success; however, we should understand that “success” with the Lord, might not be our idea of success. He has a will for us, and we should seek that will constantly. The problem with many Christians is, they’re trying to force the Lord into helping them to carry out their own personal will, instead of His Will, which He of course, will never do. He has a will for our life, and He will definitely help us achieve that will, which is a million times better for us than anything else of which we might think.
The phrase, “And I will not fear what man shall do unto me,” tells us several things:
1. If our Faith is properly placed in Christ, the Lord is guiding our lives. As should be obvious, He has all power. 2. Consequently, man can do no more to me than the Lord permits, and whatever the Lord does permit, will be for our own good. 3. Consequently, there should be no man-fear in our hearts whatsoever. Men may rule, but God is constantly in the business of overruling. 4. As stated, the Believer is in the economy of God, which is totally different than the economy of this world. Those who do not know the Lord, in some way, definitely do have man-fear. Richard Nixon, the former President of the United States, was once asked the following question: “Mr. President, how many friends did you have left after Watergate?”
The President’s answer was rather revealing. He said: “Most people are your friend because of what you can do for them or to them.”
Regrettably that’s true, but at the same time, and to which the President was alluding, such individuals really aren’t friends.
Nevertheless, at least part of that scenario refers to the fear factor. But what a pleasure it is, to be able to live this life and not have to fear what man can do to you. We know, even as the previous Chapter proclaims, that at times, the Lord did not choose to deliver individuals from particular evil men. In other words, He allowed some Believers to be tortured, and even to be killed; however, irrespective as to what it looked like on the surface, and irrespective as to the instruments used, it was God Who was in control all along. We as Believers have to understand that. We belong to Him, and whatever happens to us, whether it be positive or that which looks to be negative, it is always either caused by the Lord or allowed by the Lord. Either way, He does it for our good, and either way, and as stated, He is always in control.
1. These Christian Jews were reminded to respect Preachers of the Gospel who were attempting to teach them the Word of God. 2. The idea is, that these Ministers were faithfully delivering the Word. 3. The Faith of these Preachers was in the Finished Work of Christ, which these Christian Jews were encouraged to follow. 4. Their Faith was a proven Faith, because it resulted in a Christlike manner of life. PREACHERS OF THE GOSPEL
The phrase, “Remember them which have the rule over you,” should have been translated, “Remember them which are your leaders,” or “Remember them who have been chosen by the Lord to serve as your guides.”
“Rule” in the Greek is “hegeomai,” and means, “to lead, to guide.”
If we are correct in believing, despite what many have alleged to the contrary, that the Apostle Paul was the author of this Epistle, we can well understand how earnestly he would now plead for complete separation from the ancient system as it regarded these Christian Jews, the glory of which had departed since the rejection of God’s Son.
The dark clouds of judgment were hanging low over the land of Palestine. In a little while the city would be a ruined heap. No more would the smoke of sacrifice ascend from Jewish Altars. Moreover, most of the apostolic company had either been called Home or were laboring in distant lands. Paul himself was very shortly to be martyred by the executioner’s ax.
With all these things pressing upon his soul, he urges the Hebrew Believers to make a complete break with that system which had rejected the Lord of Glory (Ironside).
At any rate, Christ had fulfilled all of the Levitical Law, and for it to be continued was an insult. As well, I think the Lord was greatly displeased with Christian Jews attempting to maintain the Levitical order along with belief in Christ. One or the other had to go, which is what this Epistle is all about.
There are some who claim that Paul is here addressing Ministers who have already gone on to be with the Lord, encouraging these Believers to remember what these Preachers had taught them as it regards the Word of God; however, it doesn’t really matter whether he was speaking of those since gone or those presently ministering, the admonition is the same.
The phrase, “Who have spoken unto you the Word of God,” refers to preaching and teaching. “The Word of God” is the totality of the Christian Message, and the expression reminds the Readers that this is no human invention, but rather of Divine origin.
Ministers of the Gospel who rightly divide the Word of Truth, and then faithfully deliver that Word without compromise, are the greatest asset to any nation or people. The Word of God is the only revealed Truth in the world, and in fact, ever has been. There is nothing more important, and there is nothing more important than faithfully delivering that Word.
It alone holds the answer to the ills of man; it alone can bring about changed hearts and lives; it alone as the song says, “can take what’s wrong and make it right.”
And then again, there is nothing worse than Preachers who compromise the Word of God, or rather pervert it to their own gain and end.
Any people who are unfortunate enough to sit under such Ministers, are unfortunate indeed! And regrettably, for every one Preacher who truthfully and faithfully proclaims the Word of God, there are scores of others who purposely misinterpret it for personal gain, or ignorantly misinterpret it. Either way, such preaching and teaching destroys lives, or at the very least, deprives the people of the benefits they can have in Christ.
The phrase, “Whose faith follow,” presents that which the proper interpretation of the Word brings about. The object of the Word is “Faith!” The object of Faith must be the Finished Work of Christ.
It is my belief, that every Believer in their initial understanding of the Word must without fail understand the Sacrifice of Christ. If that is properly understood, proper Faith will then be generated, and the entirety of the Word of God will begin to come into focus. Considering, that the story of the Bible is the story of man’s Redemption, which is the story of the Cross, makes it imperative to understand the Bible in this fashion.
If it is to be noticed, the Apostle here proclaims the necessity of these Christian Jews following the faith of those who had correctly preached the Word. This is a very interesting statement. And from this statement we must ask the question, “Whose faith are you following?” Or “What type of faith are you following?” There is nothing more important than that as it regards your spiritual welfare.
Every Believer in the world, at least in some fashion, follows a particular Preacher. That’s not wrong, for the simple reason that the Lord has set in the Church, “Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, and Teachers.” This is “for the perfecting of the Saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the Body of Christ” (Eph. 4:11-12).
But in reality, what the people are following is the “faith” of this particular Preacher. For the Preacher who is into humanistic psychology, the people are following faith in that particular humanistic method. For the
Preachers who espouse the “greed gospel,” that is the type of faith being followed. If people are attending a Church pastored by a modernist, they are following the faith of an individual who doesn’t believe the Bible, but rather other things.
Believers who follow Pastors who do not believe in the Baptism with the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking with other tongues, to be sure, that’s the type of faith they will have, which means they will not have the leading and guidance of the Spirit. In fact, the list in this regard is almost endless. That’s the reason that I’ve stated, that those who have the privilege to sit under Preachers who truly and rightly divide the Word of Truth, and faithfully deliver the Word, and who earnestly seek the Lord, that they will be anointed by the Holy Spirit to deliver the Word, such people are blessed indeed! Regrettably, there aren’t many of those Preachers around.
The phrase, “Considering the end of their conversation,” is the same as the word “conversation” in Verse 5. It could be translated, “considering the manner of their lifestyle.” The idea is, whatever type of Faith they have, such Faith will produce a particular type of lifestyle. Nothing could be more important than this, so we should heed these words very carefully.
If our faith is produced by the rightly divided Word, it will at the same time, produce a quality manner of life. Conversely, a perverted Word will produce a perverted lifestyle.
1. Jesus Christ is the Author and the Finisher of our Faith. 2. Faith anchored in Christ and what Christ has done at the Cross, will never change. 3. This Verse is meant to point to correct doctrine, which is anchored in the Cross of Christ, which the next several Verses proclaim. JESUS CHRIST
The phrase, “Jesus Christ the same,” is meant to portray to the Christian Jews, and everyone else for that matter, that Jesus of
Nazareth of the New Covenant, is the same as the Jehovah of the Old Covenant. And that Person is the Messiah, the unchangeable One. In other words, Christ is the One to Whom the entirety of the Old Covenant pointed; consequently, He is the fulfillment of all the predictions of the Old Testament. This is at least one of the things that made the sin of these people so horrifying! Going back into Judaism meant that they not only were losing Christ, but they were going back into something that actually, at least in the Mind of God, no longer existed.
The phrase, “Yesterday, and today, and forever,” covers the entire range of time.
“Yesterday” refers to all the great Faith Worthies of Chapter 12, and that the Lord was very real to them then.
“Today” refers to Paul’s time, with the Holy Spirit through the Apostle saying that as the Lord was to the Patriarchs and Prophets of old, He will be to those in the Early Church.
“Forever,” refers to our present time and all of the future, guaranteeing that Christ is the same now as then, and will be forever.
Christ doesn’t change, which means that the Word of God doesn’t change, which means that correct doctrine doesn’t change, and which means that Faith doesn’t change. While progressive revelation may take men further into the Word of God, the basic foundation will not change. In a sense, everything stays the same.
Admittedly, under the Old Covenant, the Revelation of God was somewhat limited; nevertheless, one will find in the Old Covenant the seed bed of everything we presently have in the New. After the Cross, the Lord is able to reveal Himself in a much greater degree to humanity, and especially to Believers. This is done through the Person of the Holy Spirit, Who functions according to the Finished Work of Christ.
The idea doesn’t present itself that Christ changed, but that the Cross made it possible for Him to reveal Himself in a greater way.
The exegesis is:
1. Every doctrine that’s not based squarely on the Cross of Christ, can be concluded to be “strange,” i.e., “perverse.” 2. The heart can only be established with the Grace of God, which always comes through the Cross. 3. “Meats” stand for external ceremonies, which can never change the heart. DIVERS AND STRANGE DOCTRINES
The phrase, “Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines,” refers to anything that changes the object of Faith from the Cross to something else.
Paul has put strong emphasis on the centrality of Christ’s Sacrifice and keeps this steadily in view as he approaches the end of his Letter. In his statement here, he does not specify particular erroneous doctrines, for there is no need to do that. The idea is, that irrespective as to what type of doctrine it is, and the Greek word “divers” actually means “many-colored,” if it’s not based squarely on the Cross of Christ, then it is wrong. The unchangeability of Christ guarantees this.
“Strange” in the Greek is “xcnais,” and means “foreign to the Gospel,” or that which is not based on the Sacrifice of Christ.
The phrase, “For it is a good thing that the heart be established with Grace,” actually means that this is the only right way that the heart can be established. The heart, as often, stands for the whole of the inner life; and this is sustained, not by anything material, such as food, ceremonies, etc., but by Grace. God is the Source of the Believer’s strength as we live out this Christian life, and He is the Source through what Christ has done for us at the Cross, all made available by the Holy Spirit, according to our Faith in that Finished Work.
As previously stated, the Grace of God, always and without exception, comes to us through what Christ did for us at the Cross, in other words, the Cross was and is the instrument through which Grace is made
available. Also, as we have repeatedly stated, the Grace of God is simply the goodness of God extended to undeserving Believers.
The phrase, “Not with meats,” is meant to refer to all types of religious ceremonies. The idea is the heart of man cannot be changed with outward ceremonies, or rules and regulations for that matter, but only by the Grace of God.
All human systems of teaching will but lead one to another; consequently, the whole scheme becomes more and more elaborate, and, regrettably, the more elaborate it becomes, the more appealing it is to most people. As someone has well said, “The doing of religion is the most powerful narcotic there is.”
The phrase, “Which have not profited them that have been occupied therein,” proclaims everything other than simple faith in Christ and His Finished Work, as of no value.
Many say that religious ceremonies and exercises appeal to them and help them. If that is so, then the Holy Spirit is in error saying that they are profitless. Religious emotion is a very different thing from spiritual endowment. The latter enriches the Spiritual Life; the former impoverishes it.
True Spiritual Life exists only in the realm of Grace. In that realm Christ is all, and self
— even religious self — is made dead and kept dead. The idea of all of this is, it is impossible to live the life we ought to live, in other words to be what we ought to be in Christ, unless we do it the way that it is laid out by the Holy Spirit. The enemy of our souls, and I speak of the Devil, constantly seeks to insert doctrine which is not Biblical. He is very subtle in his approach, and most of the time dresses up his fare in extreme religious garb, which fools most people.
As we have said in every way we know how it should be said, the Cross of Christ is the only answer for humanity. What Jesus there did, even as the next Verses will proclaim, makes it possible not only for us to be saved, but also to live a righteous and a holy life.
The Holy Spirit works exclusively according to what Jesus did at the Cross, and our Faith in that Finished Work (Rom. 8:1-2, 11). There is no profit otherwise!
1. The “Altar” is used here by Paul as a symbol for the entirety of the Plan of God as it regards the New Covenant. 2. But more specifically, it speaks of the Cross of Christ, and what Jesus there accomplished on our behalf. 3. Paul makes it crystal clear that those Christian Jews who persisted in adhering to the First Testament Sacrifices can have no part in the blessings of the New Testament. One cannot have both. The two Testaments are mutually exclusive. THE ALTAR
The phrase, “We have an Altar,” is used in this sense by Paul, as stated, to describe all that Christ has done at the Cross on behalf of lost humanity. In fact, what He did, replaced in totality all of the Old Covenant, which it was always intended to do. Paul is actually saying that the Cross is distinctive to the Christian way. It was on a Cross that the Christian Sacrifice was offered. Thus, it may not improperly be spoken of as an “Altar.”
This means, that the Sacrifice, Who is Christ, and which took place on the Cross, is the only Sacrifice that can be accepted by God. At the same time, this means that the old Levitical Sacrifices any more can no longer be accepted by the Lord, as should be obvious, Christ having replaced all of that.
At the same time, the Believer should understand that this “Altar” of which Paul here speaks, directs attention only to the Cross of Christ and nothing else, and we speak of modern efforts to replace the Cross. It is Faith in this Altar alone, which God will recognize.
This means, if we try to make our particular “Church,” a part of this Altar, or our Denomination, or our good works, or anything else for that matter, we have placed ourselves outside of God’s Order. Consequently, I would surely think that the Reader would understand how so very serious this is.
The pronoun “we,” includes the entirety of the true Body of Christ, both Jews and Gentiles. In fact, the pronoun “we” completely erases all distinctions, meaning that with the Lord it is no more “Jew or Gentile,” or even “male or female,” for that matter (Gal. 3:28). All are equal at the Cross.
The phrase, “Whereof they have no right to eat which serve the Tabernacle,” bluntly and plainly says, that one cannot serve Christ and the Levitical Order at the same time. In effect, and even bluntly so, the Apostle is saying that the Christian Jews are going to have to cease their activities as it regards Temple worship. By continuing this, they are making a mockery of the Sacrifice of Christ.
At the moment the Apostle was writing these words, the Temple was still standing in Jerusalem, with its Altar in front, on which sacrifices were continually offered. However, in a very short time, all of this was totally destroyed by the Romans, God using the Roman General Titus as His instrument to put a stop to this continued process.
In effect, and even as we have already stated, the modern Church falls into the same category. We cannot serve Christ and the Church at the same time; we cannot serve Christ and our own good works at the same time; we cannot serve Christ and anything else at the same time.
When we speak of “serving Christ,” we’re speaking of our Faith and Trust being in what Jesus did at the Cross.
The word “right” is the translation of the Greek “exousia” which has the idea of delegated right or authority. It was a technical term used in the law courts of that day, of a legal right.
The figure of eating at this Altar, and we speak of what Jesus did at the Cross, pertains to the Blessings of the New Testament among which is fellowship with God made possible by the Blood Sacrifice that Christ offered at Calvary. When we place our faith in that Finished Work, that is the same as “eating His flesh and drinking His Blood,” which means that we have trusted completely in what He did at the Cross in the offering up of Himself in Sacrifice (Jn. 6:53-56, 63).
The problem with the modern Church, is having no faith at all in the Cross of Christ as it concerns our daily living for God, whether either through ignorance or unbelief, or else a divided faith. In other words, many Christians somewhat believe in the Cross, and at the same time somewhat believe in other things as it regards their daily walk before God, i.e., “their victory.” Either way is disastrous!
The Holy Spirit through the Apostle here plainly tells us, that if we are going to “serve the Tabernacle,” which refers to placing our Faith in something that’s not the Cross, at the same time, we cannot have the blessings of the Cross. As stated, the two ways are mutually exclusive. Whichever one is accepted, cancels out the other.
1. Paul uses an Old Testament example of the Sacrifices offered on the Great Day of Atonement. 2. This is done to show the superiority of the Sacrifice of Christ over the Levitical Offerings. 3. He portrays in all of this, how that this particular Sacrifice, and in fact all the Sacrifices, were types of Christ, and which were fulfilled in Christ. Consequently, they are no longer needed. THE ANIMAL SACRIFICES
The phrase, “For the bodies of those beasts,” refers to the animal sacrifices of various different types, such as lambs, goats, Bullocks, Rams, etc. All of these were types of Christ, which were meant to portray Christ, as it regarded the Sacrifice of Himself, which He would carry out when He came, and which He did!
The phrase, “Whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the High Priest for sin,” refers to this particular man, on the Great Day of Atonement, bringing the blood of these
sacrificed animals into the Holy of Holies, with it being applied to the Mercy Seat, and as well to the horns of the Altar of Incense.
All of this was carried out because of “sin.” While the blood of bulls and goats couldn’t take away sin, it could in a sense cover sin, until Christ would come.
Man’s problem is sin; that means our problem is not economic, but rather sin; our problem is not physical, but rather sin; and sin is a problem for which man has no cure. There is only one cure for this terrible problem, and it is the great Sacrifice of Christ, which refers to the offering up of Himself on the Cross. That and that alone is the remedy!
The phrase, “Are burned without the camp,” presents here a tremendous truth.
The victim personating sin was wholly burned without the camp, and thus was symbolized God’s wrath against sin.
We must understand, that sin is the ruination of everything good on the face of this Earth. It is the cause of all heartache, suffering, pain, sorrow, death, dying, and sickness. It is the cause of all loneliness, all depression, all hurt, all poverty, all hunger, etc. Sin is the destruction of everything that is righteous, holy, and true. That’s the reason that God’s wrath burns against sin.
When we think of this wrath being poured out upon His only Son, Who took our place, wrath in which we rightly deserved, then we should understand how great the love of God actually is.
In these Verses we have the direct Commandment to come outside the camp of Judaism in holy separation to the Lord Jesus Himself. We have an Altar, He tells us, of which they who serve the Tabernacle have no right to eat; that is, our Altar and our service are all of a Heavenly character.
Since Christ has died, there is no Altar on Earth; but in Heaven, that of which the Golden Altar was a type, where Christ makes intercession for us. To talk of any other Altar, as is done in Romanism for instance, and some sects of Protestantism, is to deny the truth of the Finished Work of Christ.
“No blood, no Altar now,
“The Sacrifice is o’er;
“No flame nor smoke ascends on high,
“The Lamb is slain no more.”
1. It was to Jesus that all the Levitical Order pointed, and it is Jesus Alone Who fulfilled and satisfied the Levitical Order. 2. Only what Christ did at the Cross can sanctify a person, which means that person is “set apart for God.” 3. He made this possible by the shedding of His Own Blood, which refers to His Sacrifice of Himself for sin — sin incidentally which we had committed. 4. As the bodies of the slain animals were taken outside the camp and burned, as it referred to those sacrificed on the Great Day of Atonement, likewise, Jesus suffered outside the city walls of Jerusalem, thereby fulfilling the type. JESUS
The phrase, “Wherefore Jesus also,” presents the human name of Christ, which brings before us the picture of the Man suffering for us.
Paul uses the symbolism of the Great Day of Atonement, in fact, the entirety of the Tabernacle, along with all the Sacrifices, actually every single part of the Levitical Order, all pointing directly to Christ. All of it was meant to typify Him in some manner, as it regards His Life, His Death, His Resurrection, actually His very Exaltation in the Presence of God there to appear on our behalf (Heb. 9:24).
The phrase, “That He might sanctify the people,” refers to being “set aside for God.” Sanctification regarding its full meaning refers to total victory over sin. It doesn’t speak of sinless perfection, because the Bible doesn’t teach such; however, it does refer to the fact that one who is sanctified, is not dominated in any way by sin (Rom. 6:14).
The moment the believing sinner comes to Christ, he is instantly washed, sanctified, and justified (I Cor. 6:11). This is because the individual is now in Christ, and all in Christ
is perfection; consequently, all Believers at Salvation have the “position” of Sanctification. It was not obtained by earning it or meriting it, but by simple Faith in Christ.
However, the actual “condition” of the Believer falls far short of his “position”; therefore, it is the business of the Holy Spirit, Who now resides in the heart and life of the Believer, which is the case with all who are saved, to bring our “condition” up to our “position.” This can only be done in one manner:
If the Believer attempts to live this life outside of simple Faith in the Cross of Christ, which will forfeit the help of the Holy Spirit, the Sanctification process, which is actually a progressive work, will be halted. That’s what Paul was talking about when he referred to “frustrating the Grace of God” (Gal. 2:20-21). As the Believer exhibits Faith in the Cross of Christ, and continues to do so, in effect “taking up the Cross Daily” (Lk. 9:23), which Jesus said we must do, this will give the Holy Spirit latitude to work, and the Believer will find the Fruit of the Spirit being developed in his heart and life, which of course is the Sanctification process (Gal. 5:22-23). Otherwise, it will be “works of the flesh” (Gal. 5:19-21).
The phrase, “With His Own Blood,” presents the price that was paid, in order that man might be “sanctified,” i.e., “set free from sin.” The expression puts emphasis on the fact that Christ did not need an external victim (as did the High Priests) but brought about the Sanctification in question by the Sacrifice of Himself. “Blood” clearly signifies “death,” as is commonly the case in the New Testament — and, for that matter, in the Old Testament as well.
We should understand from this, that the situation of man was and is so bad, that it took such a price in order to address the situation; therefore, if such a price was demanded as the Blood of God’s Own Son, how in the world do we think we can bring about the needed results in our hearts and lives, outside of the Cross?
The phrase, “Suffered without the gate,” presents Christ fulfilling the type, in that He
took the outside place, there to bear the judgment that our sins deserved.
The Sin-Offering was burned “without the camp.” Jesus Who in all other points fulfilled the Law of Atonement fulfilled it in this point also, in that He suffered “without the gate” (Mat. 27:32; Jn. 19:20).
The two expressions answer to one another, each denoting that which lay beyond the sacred precincts, outside the special dwelling place of God’s people.
The place where He was put to death was called “Golgotha,” the Place of the Skull, and hence the Latin word which we commonly use in speaking of it, “Calvary” (Lk. 23:33).
Calvary, as it is now shown, is within the walls of Jerusalem; but when Jesus was crucified, it was outside the walls of the city.
Snell argues from Leviticus 10:1-5; 24:14, 23 that “people were taken outside the camp” when they were accursed under the Law and rejected, as much as the ritually useless bodies were after the sacrifice was finished. He goes on to argue that “our Lord’s Offering has been first compared with that on the Day of Atonement” . . . and it is next said to have involved formal rejection by the authorities of Judaism. In fact, that does seem to be the point of reference.
Jesus was rejected by Jewish authorities, and His Death outside Jerusalem symbolized this (Morris).
1. Paul now exhorts the Christian Jews to leave apostate Judaism and the Temple sacrifices, and serve Christ only. 2. The words “without the camp,” proclaim Christ as fulfilling all of the Levitical Order, which should have been understandable by these Jews. 3. Even though the Jews in general claim that Christ was accursed, and because He was Crucified, “this reproach,” Paul says, “must be borne by them.” UNTO CHRIST
The phrase, “Let us go forth therefore unto Him,” presents Christ as the only bearer of Salvation.
Paul is now urging these Christian Jews to leave apostate Judaism once and for all, along with the Temple sacrifices, placing their faith exclusively in Christ as their High Priest. In other words, the Apostle is drawing a line in the sand, so to speak. The Holy Spirit through him is telling the Christian Jews, that it is Christ Alone Who can save, which means that all other ways must be abandoned, even that which was once of God, as Judaism. The idea is this:
If something which was truly of God, as the old Levitical Order, had to be abandoned, simply because Christ had fulfilled all its precepts, then how much more must everything else be abandoned which is man-made in favor of the Cross!
The words “Let us go forth,” refers not only to going someplace, but at the same time, it also refers to leaving something. When we go to Christ, we must leave everything else, which means all type of man-made religions.
At first glance, that may seem to be very simple; however, Satan has been so successful at disguising his efforts, that millions think they’re trusting Christ, when in reality, they trust something else entirely.
As we’ve often said in this Volume, millions presently belong to a certain Church, or Denomination, and they think by such association, that such has something to do with their Salvation. In other words, they link belonging to that particular organization with Salvation. Pure and simple, they trust in that particular “Church,” and not Christ. They have somehow intermingled the two.
Others do the same with their own good works. For instance, when the Catholic Nun, Mother Teresa died, many Protestants, who should know better, equated her good works with Salvation. Not so!
I do not judge the dear lady, but pure and simple, if she was trusting in her good works to save her, she died eternally lost. That’s blunt, but I don’t know of any other way to express the statement. That goes not only for her, but also for any other individual who falls into the same category, which in fact, includes most!
Once again, we go back to Cain and Abel (Gen. Chpt. 4). Abel trusted in the death of
the innocent victim, the clean animal, which typified Christ, while Cain trusted in the labor of his own hands, which God could not accept. The situation hasn’t changed from then until now. The criteria is still “Christ and Him Crucified.” If Faith is placed in anything else, it is Faith that God will not recognize.
The phrase, “Without the camp,” represents Christ, as stated, fulfilling the Levitical Order.
The suffering “without the gate” was a symbol of His rejection by the Jews. All who would be His must share the reproach which came upon Him, Who was cast out by His people and crucified: they also must go forth “without the camp,” forsaking the company of His foes. Each one must for himself make the choice between the Synagogue or Christ; between the two, there can be no fellowship.
This tells us that Christ is outside the camp of Judaism, and the Readers are encouraged to go to Him where He is. To remain within the camp of Judaism would be to be separated from Him.
The phrase, “Bearing His reproach,” refers to sharing in the rejection He had undergone. In other words, we as well must “bear the disgrace He bore.”
To align one’s self with Christ is to subject one’s self to scorn, reproach, and perhaps more. But consistently throughout the Epistle Paul has argued, as he does here, that it is well worth it.
The Jews held that the way Christ died, which refers to crucifixion, proved him to be accursed (Deut. 21:23; Gal. 3:13). Paul is saying that the Christian Jews must be ready to stand outside Judaism with the Christ Who bore the curse for them “outside the camp.”
The idea is, that our devotion to Him must be, as if we were going forth with Him when He was led away to be crucified. He was put to death as a malefactor. He was the object of contempt and scorn. He was held up to derision, and was taunted and reviled on His way to the place of death, and even on the Cross.
To be identified with Him there, to follow Him, to sympathize with Him, to be regarded as His friend, would have been subjecting one to similar shame and reproach. The meaning here is, that we should be willing to regard ourselves as identified with the Lord Jesus, and to bear the same shame and reproaches which He did.
When He was led away, amidst scoffing and reviling, to be put to death, would we, if we had been there, have been willing to be regarded as His followers, and to have gone out with Him as His avowed Disciples and friends?
It is easy to profess to love Him when such profession subjects us to no reproach. However, I think the following must be noted:
I think one of the reasons that there is little reproach today in following Christ, is because the Christ being served, is “another Christ” (II Cor. 11:4). In fact, the entirety of the “reproach” as it regards Christ, is the Cross. It was the Cross then, and it is the Cross now!
I believe the Holy Spirit is about to make the Cross so prominent, so unavoidable, that either it must be accepted or rejected. In other words, there will be no neutral ground!
Now the Reader must consider, that most of the Denominations presently, do not hold up the Cross as the answer to man’s dilemma, but rather something else altogether. In fact, their “gospel,” which is pure and simple, “another gospel,” at least for the most part, is an admixture of several things. Most Denominational leaders, and I think I exaggerate not, hold up their own particular “Denomination,” and “humanistic psychology,” as the answer to the ills of man. Most of them aren’t going to change.
In refusing to change, even as the Pharisees and Sadducees of old who crucified Christ, they will as well, do their best to destroy the messenger of the Cross. In fact, they will not be able to repudiate the Doctrine of the Cross, so they will little take that direction. While there may be some small effort in that direction, for the most part, they will zero their attack on the one who brings the message of the Cross. That’s what Cain did, and that’s what his followers have done ever since!
1. “Here” represents the fact that the earthly Jerusalem has served its purpose, at least as far as the old economy is concerned. 2. Our “continuing city” is the New Jerusalem, which is not the same as the earthly Jerusalem. 3. What we now have is only a down payment on that which is to come. HERE
The short phrase, “For here,” concerns this present world, which holds nothing for the Child of God, and which most definitely will ultimately perish. That’s why Jesus said:
“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon Earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
“But lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven . . . for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Mat. 6:19-21).
Everything the Christian does, every thought we think, every action we take, must be always with an eye on the eternal reward, and not at all on what is here in this present world. The very fact that one is temporal while the other is eternal, presents itself as enough to portray the difference — and what a difference it is!
The phrase, “Have we no continuing city,” portrays earthly Jerusalem, at least for that particular time, as having finished its course. Was this a warning by the Holy Spirit as to what was soon to come? A short time from now, Titus, the Roman General, would completely destroy Jerusalem.
The object of Paul seems to be to comfort the Hebrew Christians on the supposition that they would be driven by persecution from the city of Jerusalem, and doomed to wander as exiles. He in effect is telling them, that their Lord was led from that city to be put to death, and they should be willing to go forth also; and anyway, their permanent home was not Jerusalem, but Heaven; and they should be willing, in view of that blessed abode, to be exiled from the city where they dwelt, if in fact, it became necessary.
The phrase, “But we seek one to come,” presents the union of two thoughts:
1. We are free to go forth from the city so long held sacred, for our hopes are bound up with no abiding earthly sanctuary. 2. We must not shrink from the reproach of Christ, even though it may sever us from kindred and friends; for by the very profession of our faith we are “strangers and sojourners,” seeking after the Heavenly Jerusalem. How impressive are these words of Paul, when read in the light of the events then unlooked for, yet so near at hand, issuing on the eve of the destruction of both Temple and City!
People love to look for earthly security. But the best earthly security is but insecure. We are admonished here to pursue that which is really lasting. We should strive for the abiding city, not in maintaining our grip on any fleeting earthly one.
1. “By Him” refers to what He did at the Cross on our behalf. 2. The “Sacrifice of Praise” refers to praising Him for what He did. 3. This is to be done continually. 4. “The fruit of our lips” is to be thanksgiving to His Name. BY HIM
The short phrase, “By Him,” should have been translated “Through Him.” Through His Sacrifice, which has made Atonement, we are hallowed, and fitted for our priestly service (I Pet. 2:5) (Ellicott).
The Jews approached God by the blood of the sacrifice and by the ministry of their High Priest; however, that which we have just stated, was a Type of the One Who was to come, namely the Lord Jesus Christ. We approach God today, and do so through Christ, but more particularly, what Christ did at the Cross in the shedding of His Blood. In other words, the Cross makes it possible for us to approach God. And let it be clearly understood, that
this is the only way for man to approach God. If any other way is attempted, and to be sure, such ways are constantly being brought forth, they are automatically rejected. It is the Blood of Jesus Christ that makes everything possible.
The phrase, “Therefore let us offer the Sacrifice of Praise to God continually,” refers to constantly thanking Him for the Cross, which opened up the way.
We as Christians no longer have to offer up an animal sacrifice, but rather trust in the Sacrifice already offered by Christ, in the offering of Himself. Whenever we praise Him and thank Him for what He did for us, we literally enter into His Sacrifice, and do so by the acclamation of our lips.
In systems like Judaism sacrifices were offered at set times, but for Christians, praise goes up all the time. Since a loving God is working out His purposes all the time, there are no circumstances in which praise should not be offered (I Thess. 5:18).
Quite possibly, Paul derived this Verse from the words of David, “I will bless the LORD at all times: His praise shall continually be in my mouth” (Ps. 34:1).
Let the Reader understand, that three things are here said:
1. We are to praise the Lord. 2. We are to do so, continually. 3. Our Praise should center up on the great Sacrifice of Christ, in other words, thanking Him continually for what He has done for us. While of course, we should thank the Lord for everything; still, the greater part of our Praises should always be for the Cross, i.e., “the Sacrifice of Christ.”
The phrase, “That is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His Name,” in effect says “the Sacrifices now acceptable to God are those of praise addressed to God, in the Name of the Lord, which refers to the price that He paid.”
His Name is “Jesus,” which means “Savior,” which speaks of His Sacrificial Offering of Himself on the Cross.
The “fruit of our lips” must ever be praise to His Name, and not expressions of doubt
and unbelief. He has paid a great price for what we have, and the truth is, eternity will not be long enough to properly praise Him for this great Redemption.
1. Those who are truly looking to Jesus and what He did at the Cross, will in fact, also “do good.” 2. “To communicate” carries the idea of sharing worldly goods with those who have had theirs confiscated by their persecutors. 3. The Lord expects us to sacrifice in order to do these things, if we have to. 4. Doing such “is well pleasing” to Him. And to be sure, anything that pleases Him will be blessed. DO GOOD
The phrase, “But to do good,” presents that which must be done by Christians, and in fact, will be done, that is if the person is truly following the Lord; however, the Reader must understand, that such “good” will never be recognized by the world, but will actually be impugned, and because it stems from Christ. No goodness as it represents Christ will actually ever be fully recognized.
Our Ministry (Jimmy Swaggart Ministries) has built 157 school in Third World countries, that is if I correctly remember the exact number. These schools are not elaborate affairs, but actually small buildings that house classes up through the 6th grade. Some few of them went through high school, but most stopped at the grade mentioned.
These schools would accommodate from 200 to 300 children, and sometimes they would have two sessions a day, thereby doubling the number who could attend. In most if not all these schools, we also furnished a hot meal at noon.
Not one single time did the News Media ever recognize this which was being done. In fact, in their constant efforts to hurt us, some reporters would even claim that the schools did not exist. Actually, Television programs were done, denying the existence of these schools. We would furnish proof, and to their
credit, almost without exception, most of the Television Stations would air a retraction of their erroneous reports. Why did they and why do they conduct themselves in this manner?
It is because all of this was being done in the Name of the Lord, Which and Whom they would not recognize.
However, if the Believer is doing anything that is good for worldly recognition, then he’s doing it for all the wrong reasons. Everything done of this nature, must be done and without fail, as unto the Lord, and as unto the Lord Alone.
I only bring up the subject as I did concerning the schools, because the News Media were claiming that we were taking up money from the people for these particular projects, and they were not being done, etc. That was our only purpose, in those days, for even bringing up the subject.
At times in those days, we would go to one of the sites where one or more schools were in the process of being constructed, and would invite reporters to go along; however, we never were able to get one to do so. The only conclusion I can arrive at, is that they had no interest in the Truth.
The phrase, “And to communicate forget not,” refers to sharing with those in need.
Paul is saying here, that our obligations to the Lord are not exhausted with praise. Good deeds must also be included.
“Communicate” in the Greek is “koinoneo,” and means “to make one’s self a sharer or partner” with someone else in his poverty or need. The idea is this as it regards these particular circumstances:
The Saints were exhorted to share what they had of earthly goods with their fellow Saints who, undergoing persecution, had been brought to a state of poverty by reason of the fact that their persecutors have confiscated their goods (Heb. 10:34).
The Jews normally lived as a close-knit group. In foreign cities in the Roman Empire, they pretty much kept to themselves, somewhat making their way as a group. Naturally, due to the fact that the religious leadership of Israel had crucified Christ, there
was tremendous dissention among Jews as it regarded the Lord. In fact, there wasn’t much middle ground if any.
Consequently, whenever a Jew gave his heart and life to Christ, he was excommunicated from the Synagogue, which carried with it severe penalties. If he was employed by a fellow Jew who didn’t believe in Christ, which of course most didn’t, he was instantly terminated from his job. Furthermore, no other Jew was allowed to give him any type of employment. If he was living in an apartment owned by another Jew, he was summarily evicted, and would not be able to find housing except among Gentiles. If money was owed in these circumstances, and we refer to money being owed to other Jews, it was instantly demanded, and if the person wasn’t able to pay, their goods were confiscated, etc., at least as far as possible under Roman Law. And Rome for all practical purposes, allowed particular groups to have their own religion without interference, as long as it did not impact Rome in a negative way. Any hurt or harm that Jews could do to a fellow Jew who had given his heart and life to Christ, would be instantly done, and would continue to be done. As a result of this, some had been reduced to poverty, with all of this playing into the fact that some were recanting their Faith in Christ, which is the very reason for this Epistle.
So Paul is telling Christian Jews who have not been so severely impacted as others, to share with them, and in fact, the Holy Spirit is prodding this through Paul.
I would trust that the Reader would understand, that this doesn’t apply to loafers and shirkers, but only to those who were truly in need. Unfortunately, the Church seems to have always had a ready supply of those who won’t work, and rather attempt to sponge off others. The Holy Spirit through Paul had a word for these also. He said, “That if any would not work, neither should he eat” (II Thess. 3:10).
The phrase, “For with such Sacrifices,” presents the only type of sacrifices which God will accept other than the Sacrifice of Christ.
The idea of this is, which is very, very important, is that good works are brought about
by one’s Faith in the great Sacrifice of Christ, instead of good works being performed in order to generate Faith. To say it another way, good works will never generate proper faith, while proper faith will always generate good works. And by “proper faith,” we are speaking of Faith in the great Sacrifice of Christ, which the Believer should maintain at all times, understanding that the Cross of Christ is responsible for every single thing we have from the Lord (Rom. 6:3-5, 11, 14; 8:17).
Unfortunately, the far greater majority of the modern Church seeks to generate proper faith by their works. Because the works are generally good, and possibly always good in the eye of the beholder, the individuals are easily deceived into believing that this is the way. I suppose that every Christian at one time or the other has fallen into this trap. And considering, that there is almost no preaching or teaching on the Cross, at least at this present time, the position of “works” characterizes most Christians. All of this is very subtle, and not very easily understood, which makes it so deceptive. Nevertheless, this is what is happening.
If the Christian doesn’t understand what proper faith actually is, which means he doesn’t understand the Cross, there is no place else to go but “works.” Most Christians when they first get saved, hearing almost nothing about the Cross of Christ, they begin to emulate older Christians in the Church where they attend. So almost exclusively, they start out on the road of “works,” simply because they don’t know anywhere else to go. This is tragic, especially considering the consequences, but Satan has been very successful at maneuvering the Church away from its true foundation; consequently, the sacrifices being offered, are the works of our own hands, really not that much different than those of Cain recorded in Genesis Chapter 4, which are an insult to Christ.
The phrase, “God is well pleased,” speaks of the sacrifices of good works that follow true faith. And why does this please the Lord?
It pleases Him, because such an individual has their faith anchored totally and completely in the Finished Work of Christ. In
fact, this is the only Faith that will please the Lord, and is the Faith that will produce such sacrifices.
There are actually 12 things recorded in the Word of God that please the Lord. They are:
1. Blessing Israel (Num. 24:1). It pleased God to bless Israel, because Israel was to be the vehicle through which the Word of God would be given to the world, and as well, which would serve as the womb of the Messiah, so to speak, Who would deliver mankind through and by His Death on the Cross. 2. It pleased God that Israel was His people (I Sam. 12:22). The reason for this pleasing Him is basically the same as the previous. I think one could say that it was the mission for which they were assigned, which caused Him to be pleased with them, which again pertains to Christ and His great Sacrifice. The Lord is pleased with no one outside of Christ. 3. The Lord is pleased with unselfish praying (I Ki. 3:10). This was the prayer of Solomon which pertained to governing Israel. Considering their mission, this pleased the Lord. 4. Christ’s suffering for men (Isa. 53:10). This speaks directly of the Cross. 5. Christ as His Servant (Mat. 3:17; 12:18). The mission of Christ was to redeem humanity, which He did by the offering of Himself on the Cross. 6. It pleased the Lord to save men by the foolishness of preaching the Cross (I Cor. 1:18-24). 7. It pleased the Lord to set members in the Body of Christ, which pertains to their functions, and who were brought into the Body of Christ by Faith in the Cross (I Cor. 12:18). 8. The coming Resurrection pleases the Lord (I Cor. 15:38). Of course, this was all made possible by the Cross. 9. It pleased the Lord that Christ is the fullness of the Godhead Bodily (Col. 1:19). God became Man, i.e., “Christ,” in order to go to the Cross. 10. It pleases the Lord to call Preachers to preach the Gospel of Christ (Gal. 1:15). The Gospel of Christ is the Gospel of the Cross. 11. It pleases the Lord for men to have Faith (Heb. 11:5-6). This speaks of “the Faith,” as it regards Faith in what Christ did at Calvary on our behalf. 811
12. It pleases the Lord for sacrifices of praise to come from our lips continually (Heb. 13:15-16). This pertains to Faith in the Cross of Christ, which will produce praises in the heart and life of such recipients, which will translate into good works. I think one can see from these examples, that this which pleases God, always points to Christ, and more particularly, what Christ has done in order to redeem lost humanity.
1. The Pastors of whom Paul speaks here evidently were preaching the same Gospel that he was preaching; consequently, he tells the people to obey this Gospel which they are hearing. 2. They are to submit themselves to the true Word of God which is being taught. 3. These Pastors, whomever they may have been, had the spiritual welfare of these people at heart, as is obvious. 4. Every Preacher will one day give account for his Ministry, and the souls who sat under his Ministry. 5. It is the consuming desire of every true Preacher of the Gospel, that all who sit under his Ministry would heed the True Gospel he preaches. At the Judgment Seat of Christ, such will bring joy. For those who would not listen, there will be grief. 6. Even if a Preacher is preaching the True Gospel, if the people will not listen, as would be obvious, they cannot be profited. OBEDIENCE
The phrase, “Obey them that have the rule over you,” has reference to Pastors; however, the emphasis is not on the Pastor but rather on the Gospel he preaches. Paul evidently knew these particular individuals, whomever they may have been, were preaching the Truth.
It must be remembered, that some of these Christian Jews were seriously contemplating recanting their Faith in Christ. These Pastors, naturally, were pleading with them not
to do such a thing, knowing it would result in the loss of their souls.
These statements made by Paul, do not carry any idea at all of blanket obedience or submission, which some have attempted to claim. Such has caused many people to be lost. It is actually obedience to the Gospel which is being preached, which is here enjoined.
The phrase, “And submit yourselves,” refers to submitting to the True Gospel which is being preached by these true Pastors.
It does not pertain to submitting one’s conscience or control of one’s life. Once again, many souls have been lost by individuals blindly following, and then find out too late that they’ve been following the wrong thing.
No person who truly loves the Lord can obey Preachers preaching false doctrine, and neither can they submit themselves to such. To do such, is the sure road to spiritual destruction. To be sure, such a person when they stand before the Lord will not be able to shift the blame to these individuals whom they were following. Every individual is going to have to personally answer to the Lord, which means that we must personally answer for the Gospel we hear and receive.
The phrase, “For they watch for your souls,” refers to those Preachers who truly have the spiritual welfare of the people at heart.
Several things are here being said:
1. There is nothing more important than the soul of man. 2. Understanding that, then the task of watching over the souls of men, is the most important task in the world. 3. This is first of all to be done, by the true Word of God being preached and taught. 4. As well, the Preacher of the Gospel must seek the Lord constantly, in order that he be anointed to preach the Gospel, which alone will give it power. TO GIVE ACCOUNT
The phrase, “As they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and
not with grief,” presents the fact, that every single Preacher in the world, will give account to God for his Ministry, and in effect, the Gospel that he has preached. Then we should realize how imperative it is that we as Preachers strive to preach the True Gospel of Christ, and to do so without fear or compromise.
The “joy” and the “grief” can be taken two ways:
1. If the Preacher has been faithful to his calling, and has not compromised the Gospel, he will be able to stand before the Lord with “joy.” If not, there will be great “grief,” as should be obvious! 2. Assuming that the True Gospel is preached, it can be taken to mean that the joy refers to those who heeded, while the grief refers to those who would not heed. Quite possibly both points are correct.
The phrase, “For that is unprofitable for you,” refers to the fact, that even though the Preacher of the Gospel is preaching the Truth, if certain people will not heed what he is preaching, then the Gospel, as true as it may be, will be of no profit to these particular individuals.
The idea is, that at least some of these Christian Jews who were contemplating going back into Judaism, had excellent Pastors, men who had truly preached to them the Gospel. However, they had not heeded; therefore, the fault could not be laid at the feet of these particular Preachers.
Even though the True Gospel is preached, if it is not mixed with faith by the hearer, then it will be to no avail. The Scripture is emphatic on this (Heb. 4:2).
It is bad enough to not have an opportunity to hear the True Gospel, but worse yet, when the True Gospel is heard, and then it is rejected because of a lack of faith. In other words, the individual simply doesn’t believe what he is hearing.
1. Request for prayer was common with Paul. JIMMY SWAGGART BIBLE COMMENTARY
2. The Apostle had a good conscience, in that he was doing all that he knew to do to walk as close to God as was possible. 3. No doubt, honesty in all things as it regards a Child of God, is one of the greatest attributes that one could ever have. PRAYER
The phrase, “Pray for us,” presents by Paul, as stated, a common request (Rom. 15:30; Eph. 6:18; Col. 4:3; I Thess. 5:25; II Thess. 3:1).
“Pray” in the Greek is “proseuchesthe,” and in essence means, “keep praying for us.”
Paul has rebuked his Readers from time to time; he has warned them of dangers in their conduct and exhorted them. But he depends on them, too, and looks to them now to support him with their prayers.
I think it is obvious throughout Paul’s Epistles, the tremendous value that he places on prayer. I would understand from his statements, that he was a man of constant prayer. In other words, he prayed about everything, and because everything needed to be prayed about.
Prayer is fellowship with the Lord, and it is fellowship that every Believer, as should be obvious, desperately needs. As well, it is communion, which speaks of the very reason for fellowship. The Holy Spirit through the Apostle has already stated that we should offer “the sacrifice of praise to God continually.” In other words, this should be ever “the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His Name” (vs. 15).
When we understand that every good thing we have comes from the Lord, we should without fail, continue to thank Him for His many and varied Blessings. Also, we should take everything to Him in prayer, seeking His leading, guidance, and direction. Such an attitude and position, guarantees success.
For things we need, we should make these petitions to Him. He is able to do all things; however, at the same time, we must ardently seek His Will in all things. The longer we live for the Lord, and the closer we get to God, the more we realize how faulty our personal wills actually are, and how absolutely valuable that His Will actually is. Consequently, if we have any spiritual sense at all, we very quickly come to the place that we not at
all want our wills in anything, but always His Will.
While it is certainly true that the Lord knows all things and can do all things, which means that He doesn’t need any help whatsoever; still, in His Grace, He has given the Church the privilege of having a great part in His Work. In other words, if we do not carry out our end of the load, then the Work of God will simply fall down.
The Church doing its part, which of course speaks to every Believer, which the Lord has given us the privilege to do, will get the job done, simply because it is certain that the Lord is going to do His part. This means, that each Believer has a function, and should seek the Lord as to what that function is, and then seek His daily guidance in carrying out that function.
All of this builds faith, confidence, trust, maturity, and strength in the heart and life of each Believer. In fact, that’s what it’s intended to do.
The Lord doesn’t need us; in fact, He doesn’t need anything that we have. There is absolutely nothing within our possession as it regards our own personal beings, which can benefit Him in any way; consequently, His allowing us to have a part in this great work, is strictly for our benefit and not His, and as well, is done because of His Love and Grace.
Therefore, it is absolutely necessary that we pray constantly that we might have His Will and leading in all things.
Also, it is especially imperative, that the Church pray for its leaders, even as Paul requested prayer constantly for himself. On a personal note, even as Paul, I constantly ask you the Reader, and those who know us and are benefited in some way by this Ministry, to constantly pray for us. I need your prayers, in that I might do exactly what the Lord wants me to do, and do it in the way that He wants it done. So I too say with Paul, “Pray for us!”
The phrase, “For we trust we have a good conscience,” concerns any and all things; however, I personally think that he is here
speaking of the way he has handled the Law of Moses as it regards this Epistle to the Hebrews. When Paul stood before the High Priest in Jerusalem, he had as well stated that he had a good conscience (Acts 23:1).
Having a good conscience is a most unusual reason for requesting prayer. We could understand it if Paul spoke of his difficulties or the like, lacking knowledge of the circumstances, however, we cannot be sure. Yet it seems that the possibility at least existed, that some of the Readers may have been accusing him of some fault. Consequently, he protests that he has a clear conscience, as it regards whatever it is that is at hand, and that this is the reason for asking for their fellowship in prayer.
Addressing himself to matters as he has in this Epistle to the Hebrews, and making some of the strong statements he made, one can well understand how that some would have grown angry at his position; however, it must be understood, that even though this was Paul’s position and rightly so, in reality it was that of the Holy Spirit.
One never had any doubt as to where Paul stood. What he believed was crystal clear, and as well, it was crystal clear in the manner in which he pointed out error. Such a position, and above all, such a clarity of purpose and position, rankles some extremely so, and as well, even arouses hatred in the hearts of those who are guilty of the error. However, the good conscience I think mostly centers up in the following:
In this Epistle, he had delivered his soul. He had not pulled any punches, had not compromised the Gospel in any way. These Christian Jews would now know exactly as to what they were doing. Whether they would believe it or not is something else; however, none of them would now have an excuse, because the Holy Spirit through the Apostle had been crystal clear. His conscience was clear, in that he had faithfully delivered the Word.
How so much, the modern Church desperately needs the clear, concise, “certain sound” of the Gospel Trumpet. How so much it is plagued with compromise, the shading of the truth, and downright unbelief. How so refreshing it is to hear, “Thus saith the Lord!” And as well, how many Preachers
can say presently with Paul, “I have a good conscience”?
The phrase, “In all things willing to live honestly,” refers to his daily living for the Lord, in other words his conduct, and as well to his handling of the Gospel. His life was honest, and his presentation of the Gospel was honest as well!
In a sense, he is here denying that he had in any way acted dishonestly in respect to his handling of the Law of Moses, in the writing of this Epistle. He had properly interpreted that great Law, and as well, he had properly interpreted the Gospel as it relates to the Law.
1. “I beseech you” is also a common expression of the Apostle. 2. The phrase “restored to you the sooner” lends credence to the thought, that Paul may have been in prison when this was written. 3. I personally think this particular Scripture is another proof that Paul wrote Hebrews. I BESEECH YOU
The phrase, “But I beseech you the rather to do this,” refers back to his request that they pray for him.
At the most, he realized that in all probability it would not be very long until he sealed his testimony with his blood, and yet if in answer to prayer he might be restored to service for a little time, he would value this, while being in all things subject to the Will of God (Ironside).
Once again let us touch on prayer.
Who can tell how much each servant of Christ is indebted to the prayers of God’s hidden ones? To bear such up before Him is a wondrous Ministry, the full fruit of which will only be manifested in that day when every secret thing will be revealed and each one will be rewarded according to his own service. We speak of the Judgment Seat of Christ.
Let none think that it is a little thing to pray. There is no higher Ministry, no more important office, than that of the Intercessor.
The phrase, “That I may be restored to you the sooner,” lends credence by its terminology that Paul may have been in prison when this was written. Of course, this is not certain, as the statement could have meant several things; however, coupled with Verse 23, it is not improbable that the Apostle was in prison at this time.
If in fact that was the case, and it pertains to the incarceration portrayed in the Book of Acts, then the Apostle was released it is believed, with him ministering for a few more short years, before being imprisoned the second time and paying with his life, as recorded in II Timothy 4:6-8.
And yet, if this Epistle was written in A.D. 67 or even the early part of ’68, as some believe, then it would have pertained to his second and last imprisonment, from which he was not delivered, at least as it regards being restored to the Church.
1. Peace with God is obtained by faith and trust in Christ and what He did at the Cross on our behalf. 2. Jesus Christ rose from the dead. This is the only reference in this Epistle to the Resurrection of our Lord. 3. Christ is the great Shepherd of the sheep, meaning that He is the Head of the Church. 4. He is all of this through what He did at the Cross, which necessitated the shedding of His Blood. 5. The New Covenant is “the Everlasting Covenant,” meaning that it will never have to be replaced, in that it is perfect. THE GOD OF PEACE
The phrase, “Now the God of Peace,” proclaims the fact that peace has been made between God and fallen man, and done so through what Jesus did at the Cross on behalf of man. The context here speaks of the Substitutionary Atonement of Christ on the Cross, and is in effect, very similar to Paul’s
words in Colossians 1:20, “Having made Peace through the Blood of His Cross.”
That which separated a Holy God from sinful man, namely, sin, was put away at the Cross. The death of Christ paid for sin, satisfied the righteous demands of the broken Law, and made it possible for God to bestow mercy on the basis of justice satisfied.
We have an echo of all this in Ephesians 2:17, “And came and preached peace to you who are far off (the Gentiles) and to them that are nigh (the Jews).” In fact, God is called “the God of Peace” a number of times in Paul’s writings (Rom. 15:33; 16:20; II Cor. 13:11; Phil. 4:9; I Thess. 5:23).
“Peace” connotes the fullest prosperity of the whole man, taking up as it does the Old Testament concept of the Hebrew “Shalom.” Here it reminds us that it is God in Whom all our prosperity is centered. There is no well-rounded life that does not depend on Him.
The expression is especially suitable in view of what the Epistle discloses of the condition of the Readers. They have had to cope with some form of persecution and were still not free from opposition. Some were tempted to go back from Christianity and have had to be warned of the dangers of apostasy. They may have even had doubts about who their true leaders were. It is well for them to be reminded that real peace is in God and in God Alone, and is obtained solely through Jesus Christ, and our faith in Him and what He did for us at the Cross.
However, it must be made crystal clear, that the “peace” here mentioned, was and is, brought about solely by what Jesus did at the Cross. That and that alone, made it possible for fallen man to have Peace with God, and because that and that alone, satisfied the righteous demands of a thrice-Holy God.
Man had sinned grievously against God, and had done so repeatedly and in fact, constantly. Consequently, it is God Who has been offended and offended greatly! As well, the sin which so greatly offended Him, carries with it the total threat of absolute destruction of all things which are holy, good, pure, and true, thereby bringing about sorrow, hurt, pain, and waste of every description.
There was no way that man could address this terrible problem; consequently, man’s condition was terminal. If it was to be assuaged, in other words settled, God would have to do it Himself, which He did, by becoming Man, serving as the Last Adam and the Second Man (I Cor. 15:45-50), which was culminated by Him giving up His Life on the Cross, which satisfied the righteous demands of God, and as stated, made it possible for God to bestow mercy on the basis of justice satisfied.
The phrase, “That brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus,” presents the only mention of the Resurrection of Christ in this Epistle to the Hebrews.
If it is to be noticed, Paul in this Epistle never mentioned the great healing power of Christ, or His miracle working power, or any of the great things He did in His earthly Ministry. While these things, of course, were very, very important, as anything about Christ was and is very important; still, the entirety of this Epistle to the Hebrews, is directed toward the Crucifixion of Christ, and what that great Sacrificial Offering actually meant.
Again we will emphasize the fact, that all of these other things, and most certainly the Resurrection of Christ were and are extremely important; still, it was the Crucifixion of Christ, i.e., “the Cross,” which made possible the entirety of the great Salvation Plan. It was the Cross and the Cross alone, which did this. I emphasize that for the following reasons:
The great Plan of God for the human race, and more particularly the Church, is as follows:
1. Every sinner that’s ever been saved has been saved by trusting in Christ and what Christ did at the Cross. As well, every single Blessing and all Victory which comes to the Saint of God, all and without exception are made possible by what Jesus did at the Cross. This means that every solution is found in the Cross; every answer to every question is found in the Cross (Gal. 6:14). 2. Considering that, our Faith must ever have as its object, the Cross of Christ. This NOTES
is very, very important! Every effort by Satan is to move our Faith from the Cross to other things. This is where he places all his energy. He really doesn’t care where these other things are, or what these other things are, just as long as our Faith is not in the Cross.
Consequently, every Believer must “fight this good fight of faith” which refers to keeping our Faith in the Cross of Christ, and there alone.
The correct object of your Faith, which must be the Cross of Christ, is the single most important thing in your life (Rom. Chpt. 4).
3. With your Faith properly placed in the Cross of Christ, and remaining in the Cross of Christ, the Holy Spirit will then do His great and mighty office work within your heart and life (Rom. 8:1-2, 11, 13). Whatever it is that we are to have from the Lord, or to be in the Lord, must and without fail, be done by the Holy Spirit. He Alone can carry out the needed work; however, everything He does is predicated on the Finished Work of Christ, which means that we must have our Faith exclusively in that Finished Work.
When one begins to understand the Cross of Christ, at that moment one begins to understand the New Covenant. For this is what the New Covenant is all about. In fact, it is beautifully typified in that which we refer to as the “Lord’s Supper” (I Cor. 11:23-30).
When one begins to understand the Cross, one begins to understand the Bible, because the very story of the Word of God is the story of man’s Redemption, which is the story of the Cross. As well, to properly understand the Cross of Christ is to properly understand the Resurrection of Christ. Paul said:
“For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His Death (understanding of the Cross), we shall be also in the likeness of His Resurrection” (Rom. 6:5).
The phrase, “That great Shepherd of the sheep,” presents the One Who died for us, and Who God raised from the dead. The language seems to be derived from Isaiah
63:11. “Where is He Who brought them through the sea, with the Shepherd of His flock?” — though the thought here is, of course, quite different. Christ is called a “Shepherd” and the great treatment of the shepherd theme is in John Chapter 10 and again in I Peter 2:25 (Mat. 26:31; Mk. 14:27). It is a piece of imagery that stresses the care of our Lord for His Own, for sheep are helpless without their shepherd. But an aspect we in modern times sometimes miss is that the shepherd has absolute sovereignty over his flock (Rev. 2:27; 12:5; 19:15).
The adjective “great” is used because Christ is not to be ranked with other shepherds. He stands out (Morris).
The phrase, “Through the Blood of the Everlasting Covenant,” once again points to the Cross.
The New Testament or New Covenant is called the eternal one, in contrast to the First Testament which was of a transitory nature. It was within the sphere of the eternal covenant that Christ, having did for sinful man, was raised up from among those who are dead. In fact, He could not be a High Priest after the order of Melchizedek if He were not raised from the dead.
Sinful man needs a Living Priest to give life to the believing sinner, not a dead Priest merely to pay for his sins. Thus, it was provided within the New Testament (New Covenant) that the Priest Who offered Himself for sacrifice, would be raised from the dead. We have a prophetic type of this in Aaron’s rod that budded (Wuest).
It is interesting to see how the thought of “Covenant” persists to the end. In fact, it has been one of the major themes of this Epistle. The Greek Text brings out the point that this Covenant will never be replaced by another as it replaced the Old Covenant. It is perpetual in its validity. And it was established by Blood. Paul never forgets that. For him the Death of Jesus is central.
At the same time, his linking it with the Resurrection shows that he did not have in
mind a dead Christ but One Who though He shed His Blood to establish the Covenant, lives forever.
Last in this Verse in the Greek (and with some emphasis) come the words “our Lord Jesus.” The expression is unusual outside of Acts, where it occurs a number of times. It combines the Lordship of Christ and His real humanity, two themes of continuing importance (Morris).
By virtue of His Atoning Sacrifice as the Good Shepherd, He is the Great Shepherd of the sheep. He could not be such had He not, as the Good Shepherd, shed His Blood for the sheep and so established the Everlasting Covenant. Once again, we emphasize the fact, that it is the Cross of Christ which made all of this possible. In fact, even as this Passage tells us, His Sacrifice was so perfect, so total, so complete, that it will never have to be repeated, or added to in any way; consequently, it can be called “The Everlasting Covenant,” simply because, it is eternal.
While we do not yet have all the results or the benefits of this Everlasting Covenant, to be sure all will ultimately come about, and I speak of the coming Resurrection. Whereas every Saint is now washed, Sanctified, and Justified, then we will all be “Glorified.”
But still, there will be more enemies to be put down, the last which will be death (I Cor. 15:26). At this time, Satan along with all fallen angels and demon spirits, along with all human beings who have rejected Christ, will be “cast into the lake of fire and brimstone,” where they will be “for ever and ever” (Rev. 20:10-15).
Then Paul said, “Then cometh the end, when He (Christ) shall have delivered up the Kingdom to God, even the Father; when He (Christ) shall have put down all rule and all authority and power” (I Cor. 15:24).
The last two Chapters of Revelation portray what the Everlasting Covenant, i.e., “The New Covenant,” will bring about, which is perfection. In other words, a perfect covenant, for that’s what this Covenant is, will ultimately bring about a perfect environment. I speak of the New Jerusalem outlined in these last two Chapters of Revelation.
However, the Everlasting Covenant will not end there, but will portray its results that will
be obvious to all of God’s creation, forever and forever (Rev. 22:5).
However, we must ever remember, that this Covenant, this New Covenant, this Everlasting Covenant, has all been made possible “through the Blood!” This is so important, even as we’ve already mentioned elsewhere in this Volume, that some seven times in the last two Chapters of Revelation, the Holy Spirit refers to Christ as the “Lamb” (Rev. 21:9, 14, 22-23, 27; 22:1, 3). It is done in this manner, in order that we may never forget what has made it all possible.
1. Christ through the Holy Spirit can equip the Believer with everything good for doing His Will. It is all done through the Cross. 2. The Holy Spirit works in us to do that which is wellpleasing in the sight of God. 3. It is all “through Jesus Christ,” which refers to what Christ did at the Cross. 4. Because it is Christ Who made possible all that we have from the Lord, and did so by and through His Death on the Cross, it is to Him that all the glory belongs. TO DO HIS WILL
The phrase, “Make you perfect in every good work to do His Will,” refers to that which the Holy Spirit has been sent to do, and Who will do such through Christ, all made possible by what Christ did at the Cross. If it is to be noticed, He is in our hearts and lives to carry out the “Will of God” and not our particular wills (Rom. 8:27).
To “make perfect” is the translation of two different words in this Epistle. In the one, which is of frequent occurrence (Heb. 2:10; 10:1; 12:23), “perfect” stands contrasted with that which is immature, which has not attained its end and aim.
The other, which is used here (and in a somewhat different sense in Heb. 10:5 and Heb. 11:3), rather conveys the thought of completeness, complete equipment, or preparation.
The phrase, “Working in you that which is wellpleasing in His sight,” should have been translated, “Working in us. . . .”
We should not overlook the significance of the word “us.” As he has done so often, Paul links himself with his Readers. He looks for God to do His perfect work in them and in him alike. He is not aloof and a special case; he needs the Grace of God as much as they do. He wants God to do in us “what is pleasing to Him,” where “pleasing” renders a word “euarestos” used only here in Hebrews, but eight times elsewhere in the New Testament. In Titus 2:9 it refers to slaves being pleasing to their master; elsewhere it always refers to people being acceptable to God.
The phrase, “Through Jesus Christ,” proclaims the fact that men can do what is acceptable to God only through Jesus Christ.
The sufficiency of Christ as a Savior appears in the Offices which He fills in this Epistle. These, one might say, are the holy garments of His Heavenly Priesthood:
Chapter 1: The Sin Purger.
Chapter 2: The Captain of Salvation.
Chapter 3: The Son over His Own House.
Chapter 5: The Great High Priest.
Chapter 6: The Forerunner.
Chapter 8: The Mediator.
Chapter 12: The Prince and Perfecter of Faith.
Chapter 13: The Great Shepherd.
In these several Ministries He meets His people’s need as:
Sinful, feeble, children needing food and love, infirm worshipers, apprehensive pilgrims, incompetent covenanters, defective Believers, and defenseless and foolish followers.
I realize that the previous description does not present that which is very pleasing; however, it happens to be true.
By contrast, all in Him is perfection — perfection of cleansing and victory and the supply of love and food for His children; perfection in worship, and as a forerunner in making sure the road and certain the entrance for His people; perfection as the Negotiator of the Everlasting Covenant, so making its
permanence absolute; perfection in the provision of the Faith in which and by which the righteous live; and perfection in the care and guardianship of His foolish and defenseless flock.
Pending His return, fellowship with Christ can only be enjoyed outside the camp and inside the Veil. Corrupt Christianity is the present-day “camp” (Williams).
The phrase, “To Whom be glory forever and ever. Amen,” presents the One Whom God the Father has made both Lord and Christ. Exalted to the Father’s right hand, He is now the Great Shepherd guiding His chosen flock through the wilderness of this world.
Soon, as the Apostle Peter tells us, He will return in Glory as the Chief Shepherd (I Pet. 5:4), to Whom all the undershepherds must render their account.
Meantime, by His Spirit, He is working in those for whom He once wrought so effectively on Calvary’s Cross. By this inward work He is sanctifying His people to Himself, daily making us more like our blessed Master, to Whom all the glory of our Salvation belongs both now and for eternity. And so the “Amen” closes the doctrinal and practical parts of the Letter (Ironside).
1. Paul once again uses one of his favorite sayings, “I beseech you, Brethren.” 2. He pleads with these Jewish Christians to receive his Word of Exhortation. 3. Considering the subject matter, the Letter is short. BRETHREN
The phrase, “And I beseech you, Brethren,” closes with an affectionate appeal.
The Letter has had its share of rebukes and stern warnings, without a doubt, the strongest that Paul has written, with the exception possibly of Galatians. In fact, the statements are stronger in Hebrews, but more general; the Letter to the Galatians is more personal, perhaps making it seem stronger. Paul now
softens the impact a little with this appeal and with the affectionate address “Brothers.”
The phrase, “Suffer the Word of Exhortation,” in effect, points to the fact, that Paul has actually written a sermon. It refers to the arguments and counsels in this whole Epistle — which is, in fact, a practical exhortation to perseverance in adhering to the Christian Faith amidst all the temptations which existed to apostasy.
This Letter is in some ways, the most important, I think, written by Paul. He explains in graphic detail the tremendous work accomplished by the Atonement, portraying to all, that which Christ actually did regarding His Death on the Cross. Nothing in the entirety of the Bible comes even close as it regards this which is the foundation of the Christian Faith.
Even though the Epistle was written to Jewish Christians, it is in fact for the entirety of the Church, both Jewish and Gentile. In fact, because it was written to the Jews, the Apostle opens up the Old Testament, portraying to us the Types and Shadows which graphically pointed to Christ, as found nowhere else in the New Testament.
It is sad that most of Paul’s Epistles were written because of error that had sprung up in the Church. But yet, even though we are saddened by the error, the Holy Spirit used the occasion to perfect and bring out great Truths, which may have not been addressed otherwise.
“Suffer” in the Greek is “anecho,” and means, “to bear with or endure.” Paul pleads with the recipients not to become impatient at his counsels in this Letter. As stated, he has been forced to say some very strong, even very hard things; however, he wants his Readers to know, that what he has said has been for their good. It is not meant to be personal on his part, therefore, he now pleads.
The phrase, “For I have written a Letter unto you in few words,” have been misunderstood by many. The idea is this:
Considering the subject matter, the Letter is short. In fact, some of the subjects could have been dealt with at much greater length.
The Apostle has addressed himself to the most complicated subjects in the entirety of the Word of God. Actually, ample illustration of these subjects would fill up a library; so, it was only by the power and help of the Holy Spirit that he was able to break down very complicated subject matter into brief discussions, but yet which enabled the Reader to perfectly understand what was being said.
To explain Christ in His role as Mediator, as High Priest, as Intercessor, to explain the great Work of the Cross, that in fact which had been in the planning stages from before the foundation of the world (I Pet. 1:18-20), and to do all of this in some 13 short Chapters, necessitated the inspiration of the Holy Spirit not only in subject matter, but as well in the almost impossible art of brevity. Therefore, the Apostle says, “I have written a Letter unto you in few words.”
But Oh, what a Letter! How thankful we are that it was written! How grateful we are, that even though the Apostle probably wrote it from prison, that the Holy Spirit deemed it necessary. So much closer we are to the Lord, because of this “Letter.”
If in fact, Paul wrote this Letter during his first imprisonment, it would have been written from the “hired house” where he was incarcerated (Acts 28:30-31).
If it was written during his last imprisonment, which concluded in his execution, it would have been written in the Mammertine Prison.
In early summer of 2000, I had the privilege, along with Frances, Donnie, Debbie, Gabriel, and Matthew (Jennifer was in school), along with others, to be in Rome, and to visit this Prison. It is a cell or cave one might say, chiseled out of solid rock, underground. Of course, there are stairs now leading down into the cell, but during Paul’s time, there was only a trap door in the ceiling, which led to another cell immediately above this place where Paul spent the last few months of his life.
From this place he wrote II Timothy and as stated, possibly this Epistle to the Hebrews.
As we stood there that afternoon in late May, there is no way that I have words to properly express the feelings of my heart.
I tried to quote to the small crowd gathered in that room some of the last words of the great Apostle which were written, “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.
“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course. . . .” I got no further! The Presence of God filled the room.
Rome little noticed when the great Apostle died. In fact, Rome was his executioner. Little did they realize, and in fact not at all, that this man under Christ, would do more for civilization than any human being who has ever lived.
The Apostle Paul!
1. Timothy was a close companion of Paul, beginning with his Second Missionary journey (Acts 16:1-5). 2. “Is set at liberty,” probably refers to the younger Apostle being sent on a special mission. There is actually no evidence that Paul is speaking of him being released from prison. 3. The last phrase of this Verse lends credence to the idea, that Paul may have written this Letter during the conclusion of his first imprisonment. Or he could have written it after his first imprisonment. At any rate, it seems that he was hoping to visit certain Churches with Timothy. 4. This Verse, I feel, proves beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Paul wrote the Epistle to the Hebrews. TIMOTHY
The phrase, “Know ye that our Brother Timothy is set at liberty,” presents a strong circumstance showing that Paul, as stated, was the author of this Epistle. From the first acquaintance of Timothy with Paul he is represented as his constant companion, and spoken of as a brother (II Cor. 1:1; Phil. 1:1; Col. 1:1; Phile. vs. 1).
There is no other one of the Apostles who would so naturally have used this term respecting Timothy; and this kind mention is made of him here because he was so dear to the heart of the writer, and because he felt
that they to whom he wrote would also feel an interest in his circumstances.
As well, the phrase “set at liberty,” in no way demands the meaning of Timothy being released from prison. This is language which would be used rather of one who had been sent on some mission, than of one who was just released from prison.
But on the supposition that the expression relates to release from imprisonment, there would be an entire incongruity in the language. It is not, as we should then suppose, “our brother Timothy is now released from prison, and therefore I will come soon with him and see you”; but, “our brother Timothy is now sent away, and if he returns soon, I will come with him to you.”
In Philippians 2:19, 23, Paul then a prisoner at Rome, speaks of the hope which he entertained that he would be able to send Timothy to them, as soon as he should know how it would go with him. He designed to retain him until that point was settled, as his presence with him would be important until then, and then to send him to give consolation to the Philippians, and to look into the condition of the Church.
Now the Passages before us agrees well with the supposition that this event had occurred: that Paul had ascertained with sufficient clearness that he would be released, so that he might be permitted yet to visit the Hebrew Christians; that he had sent Timothy to Philippi, and was waiting for his return; that as soon as he should return he would be prepared to visit them; and that in the meantime, while Timothy was absent, he wrote to them this Epistle.
And at the same time, this may very well not have been the scenario, but this is as close as we can come to that which possibly may have happened.
The phrase, “With whom, if he come shortly, I will see you,” leaves no clue whatsoever, if this actually happened.
Many situations such as this are mentioned casually in Paul’s Epistles, and thereby, offering no further explanation. The truth is, these particular events, are not the interest of the Holy Spirit. Geographical locations
and particular time frames are not the thrust of these Letters, but rather, instructions from the Lord as to how we ought to live, which pertains to our manner of Trust in Christ. As the entire thrust of the Old Testament is toward Christ, the entirety of the instruction given in the New Testament pertains to Christ. What He did for us at the Cross is the thrust of the Epistles, with the Holy Spirit giving us instructions as it regards our Faith in that Finished Work, all in order that Christlikeness might be developed within our hearts and lives.
1. As to exactly what Church, or group of Churches, Paul here intends, we aren’t told. 2. This Epistle was written, not the Pastors of Churches, but to the Jewish members of these Churches, hence addressed to them. 3. The recipients of this Letter are told to greet the Pastor on behalf of Paul, and in fact, all the Saints in that particular Church or Churches. 4. It is almost certain from the statement, “They of Italy salute you,” that the Epistle was written from Italy. Consequently, it seems very likely it was during the time that Paul was in prison, probably during the first imprisonment. GREETINGS
The phrase, “Salute all them that have the rule over you, and all the Saints,” more than likely refers to their Pastors and other Saints in that particular Church, or Churches.
There are some who feel that Paul was actually speaking of the original Twelve Apostles, when he spoke of those “who have the rule over you.” Such certainly is possible, but there is no evidence either way.
As well, we have no way of knowing exactly as to whom this Epistle was actually sent. As of course is obvious, it was written for the very purpose of addressing the Jewish issue, and so it definitely would have been sent to a prominent person, whomever that individual may have been. And no doubt, copies were made of it very quickly, with it then being passed around, even as it was intended.
It is almost certain, that the Epistle would have caused much discussion, and probably even some furor. The Law/Grace issue was very big then, and when it is to be considered that some Jews were defecting from Christ and going back into Judaism, even going so far as to publicly renounce Christ, the Epistle could not have helped but hit some nerves.
The phrase, “They of Italy salute you,” without a doubt I think, proves the case that this Epistle was written from Italy and more than likely, Rome. As well, the manner of this benediction is Paul’s style. He would greet those in the respective Churches, and as well would send greetings from wherever he was writing a particular Epistle.
Considering these things, I really do not see how anyone could doubt that Paul wrote this Epistle. It is highly unlikely that the Holy Spirit would have inspired someone else to copy Paul’s style word for word. As well, to have written this Epistle, one would have had to have been an expert in the Old Testament, which certainly fit the case of Paul. In my estimation, there was no one in the world of that day who knew the Old Testament as this particular Apostle.
(25) “GRACE BE WITH YOU ALL. AMEN.” In all of Paul’s Epistles, he closes with a statement concerning Grace. In fact, he is referred to by most Bible Scholars as “the Apostle of Grace.” What does this mean?
First of all, Grace is simply the goodness of God extended to undeserving Believers. While God has always had Grace, it took the Cross to open up the way, that Grace might be abundantly bestowed upon those who evidenced Faith. In fact, Faith is the only requirement for Grace. And when we say Faith, we’re speaking of Faith exclusively in the Cross of Christ, i.e., “what Jesus there did on behalf of a lost and dying world.”
In fact, Grace is irrevocably tied to the Cross. If one understands the meaning of the Cross, one understands the meaning of the New Covenant, and because the meaning of the Cross is the meaning of the New Covenant. It’s what Jesus did there, in atoning for all sin, which opened up the way to the very Presence of God,
hence the Veil which hid the Holy of Holies being rent asunder at the time of the Death of Christ (Mat. 27:51). By God doing this at the Death of Christ, He was in effect telling all of mankind, that what Jesus had done, had now opened up the way. In other words, through the Substitutionary Offering of Himself on the Cross, Christ had now become the Mediator. No other man, woman, or institution would ever be needed. And he became the Mediator by what he did at the Cross.
With the sin debt completely removed, which the Cross did, this sin barrier was broken down between God and man, for sin had always been the barrier. Faith in Christ places the individual automatically in the Presence of God, which of course, was and is vastly superior to the old Levitical way, which could not do such a thing.
There is no book in the New Testament more important than this Epistle, and of course none which would be more perceptible in the Canon of Scriptures. Every Reader of the Old Testament needs such a guide as this Epistle, written by someone who had an intimate acquaintance from childhood with the Jewish System; who had all the advantages of the most able and faithful instruction, and who was under the influence of inspiration, to make us acquainted with the true nature of those institutions. Nothing was more important than to settle the principles in regard to the nature of the Jewish economy; to show what was typical, and how those institutions were the means of introducing a far more perfect system — the system of Faith in Christ.
If we have the right feelings, we shall have sincere gratitude to God that He caused our Faith to be prefigured by a system in itself so magnificent and grand as that of the Jewish, and higher gratitude for that sublime system of Faith in Christ, of which the Jewish, with all its splendor was only the shadow.
There was much that was beautiful, cheering, and sublime in the Jewish system. There was much that was grand and awful in the giving of the Law, and much that was imposing in its Ceremonies. In its pure days, it was
incomparably the purest and most noble system of faith on Earth, and because it was given directly by God.
It taught the nature of the one true God; inculcated a pure system of morals; preserved the record of the Truth on the Earth, and held up constantly before man the hope of a better system still in days to come.
But at the same time, it was expensive, burdensome, precise in its prescriptions, and wearisome in its ceremonies (Acts 15:10).
As well, it was adapted to one people — a people who occupied a small territory, and who could conveniently assemble at the central place of their worship some three times in a year. It was not a system adapted to the whole world; nor was it designed for the whole world. When the time came, therefore, to introduce Who had always been the design of the Jewish economy, it ceased as a matter of course. The Jewish Altars were soon thrown down; the Temple was razed to the ground, and the city of their solemnities was destroyed. Consequently, the religion of the Hebrews, one might say, passed away to be revived no more in its splendor and power, and it has never lived since, except as an empty form.
This Epistle teaches us why the old economy passed away, and why it can never be restored. This Book of Hebrews is the true key with which to unlock the Old Testament; and with these views we may remark, in conclusion, that he who would understand the Bible thoroughly should make himself familiar with this Epistle; that the Canon of Scripture would be incomplete without it; and that to one who wishes to understand the Revelation which God has given, there is no portion of the Volume whose loss would be a more irreparable calamity than that of the Epistle to the Hebrews.
(Regarding the closing remarks, the author owes a debt of gratitude to Albert Barnes regarding his notes on the New Testament.)
It is Saturday morning, September 30, 2000, as I conclude the notes on this Commentary
on Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews. To differentiate between various Books of the Bible isn’t wise; however, considering the fact that some particular Books or Epistles serve as intersections, which Hebrews certainly does, makes this Epistle, at least in my opinion, one of the single most important works in the entirety of the Bible. As nothing else, and as stated, it explains the Old Testament, and above all, it explains Who Christ is, and What Christ did; consequently, it is a treatment on Christ and the Cross as nothing else in the entirety of the Word of God.
In 1996, the Lord in answer to soul-searching prayer, intercession incidentally which had lasted for over five years, began to give me the Revelation of the Cross. To be sure, this was not something new, actually being the very foundation of all that God has ever done on this Earth as it regards the Salvation of man.
What He told me and showed me, which actually continues unto this hour, has completely revolutionized my life and ministry. I think I can say without any fear of exaggeration, that for the first time in my Christian life, and I speak of such a life which has now spanned well over half a century, for the first time I know what Jesus meant when He spoke of “more abundant life” (Jn. 10:10).
The Cross has opened it up, and I speak of the entirety of the Word of God, as I have not previously known.
I might quickly add, that all I have been given, and as stated, continue to be given, has been derived from the Apostle Paul. It was to him that the meaning of the Cross was given, which is actually the meaning of the New Covenant. So I guess I can say, that I have an affinity for Paul that is beyond the normal. Few men in history have equaled this man, and possibly no one has ever equaled this man. Because of him, we know what Christ did at the Cross, why He did what He did, and how that it was all done for us.
In the writing of this Commentary on this grand Epistle, and walking through its pages with the Apostle, as the Holy Spirit through him opened up this great Truth of the Cross, not one word contradicted that which I believed
the Lord had given unto me, but rather enlarged its meaning and to an extent that is beyond comprehension. I know, and beyond the shadow of a doubt, that I now have a greater understanding of what Jesus did for me and in fact, the entirety of the human race, on that memorable day when He bore the sin of the world (Jn. 1:29). It fills my heart with such gratitude, that at times, even going about my daily duties, I will break down and begin to weep. I find myself awakening in the night, and doing so night after night, with wellsprings of joy springing up within my soul, thanking Him for what He has shown me.
I do not know why we as human beings seemingly, have to find out these great Truths the hard way? I don’t know why, as Paul, we have to come to the place of “Oh wretched man that I am . . .” before we are pliable enough in the hands of the Holy Spirit, that He can properly show us Christ. For Christ is the mainspring of it all! It is Jesus, as it always will be Jesus, but more particularly, it is, “Christ and Him Crucified” (I Cor. 2:2).
If you have taken your time to read the literary efforts of this Evangelist, I would pray that the study of this material has affected you, as the writing of this material has affected me. If so, or even partially so, then it has been well worth the labor we have expended as it regards the privilege of this effort. If you’ve seen only me, then I have failed in my efforts; however, if you now see Christ in a greater way, then in some small way, I have succeeded in what we are attempting to do.
Jimmy Swaggart
“Earthly pleasures vainly call me,
“I would be like Jesus;
“Nothing worldly shall enthrall me,
“I would be like Jesus.”
“He has broken every fetter,
“I would be like Jesus;
“That my soul may serve Him better,
“I would be like Jesus.”
“All the way from Earth to glory,
“I would be like Jesus;
“Telling o’er and o’er the story,
“I would be like Jesus.”
“That in Heaven He may meet me,
“I would be like Jesus;
“That His words ‘well done’ may
greet me,
“I would be like Jesus.”

No comments: