How can I get to heaven?
AnEasyEnglish Commentary (2800 word vocabulary) on the Letter to the Hebrews
Thetranslated Bible text has beenthrough Advanced Checking.
Words inboxes are from the Bible.
A wordlist at the end explains words with a *star by them.
About theletter to the Hebrews
Shape ofthe letter to the Hebrews
Notes toexplain the letter to the Hebrews
1 Who wrote this book?
2 Who were the first readers of thisbook?
3 Where did the writer send the book?
4 When did the author write the book?
5 Why did the author write the book?
6 What sort of book has the authorwritten?
1 Who wrote this book?
The author of this book doesnot tell us his name. There is nothing in the book to say who wrote it. Forcenturies the church thought that the author was the *apostle Paul. But Paulalways begins his letters with his name. The way that the author uses *Greekwords is unlike the way Paul uses them. There have been many suggestions, butnobody knows who wrote this book. All that we know is that *Timothy was afriend of both the writer and the readers (13:23).
2 Who were the first readers of this book?
The first readers wereprobably Christian *Jews. The author did not write for all *Jews. He wrote to agroup, whom he knew well, that had become Christian. The book shows that theywere not strong in their *belief. They were in danger of going back to theirold religion. The writer argues from the Old Testament to keep them trusting inJesus.
3 Where did the writer send the book?
From early times the churchbelieved that the readers lived in *Jerusalem. The title, the letter to theHebrews, could show that they were *Jews in *Israel who spoke *Hebrew. Many*Jews who did not live in *Israel spoke *Greek. Another *suggestion is that thereaders lived in *Rome. There is in fact so little evidence in the book itselfthat we have to say that we do not know where the readers were living.
4 When did the author write the book?
A bishop of *Rome named*Clement knew this letter and used it in his own writing. He wrote in about AD96. The author of the letter to the Hebrews wrote his letter before then. Fromwhat is in the book we could argue that the *Jews were still carrying on the*temple ceremonies in *Jerusalem. We know that the *Romans destroyed the*temple in AD 70. If the date of writing was later, the author would have notedthat event. So the date of the letter was probably before AD 70. (Theceremonies that he speaks about did not take place in fact from the *temple.They refer to the special tent that was in use before the *Jews built the*temple).
5 Why did the author write the book?
These Christian *Jews had tomake a choice. They could not continue in *Judaism and be Christians. They mustdecide which way to go. It was either to go back to being *Jews or to go on tobe Christians. It seems that their nation had now turned against Christians.They could not now go to the *temple as the *Jews would not let them. Thewriter tries to show his readers that the right choice was to continue to trustin Jesus. That was much better than all the ceremonies of their formerreligion, which Jesus had replaced.
6 What sort of book has the author written?
The waythe author has written the book is not like any other book in the NewTestament. We call it a letter, but it does not start like one. It does finishlike a letter, but the author does not give us his name. The writer knows thereaders and is eager to see them again (13:19, 23). He thinks well of them(6:9), but they should by now have been able to teach (5:12). He knows allabout their past and their needs.
The way hewrites is almost like a speech or a lesson. He cares about his friends andwants to advise them in the choices they have to make.
1 Jesus, son of God, greater than all 1:1-2:18
The greatness of the Son 1:1-3
Jesus is superior to *angels in his person1:4-14
Jesus is superior to *angels in his message2:1-4
Jesus is superior to *angels as a *human being2:5-18
2 The superior *apostle 3:1-4:13
Jesus is superior to Moses 3:1-6
Warning to obey 3:7-4:2
Warning not to miss God’s promised rest 4:3-13
3 The greatest chief priest 4:14-7:28
Jesus is superior to Aaron 4:14-5:14
Jesus is superior in promises 6:1-20
Jesus is superior to Melchizedek 7:1-28
4 Jesus is the better *mediator 8:1-10:39
A new and better agreement 8:1-13
A new way to praise God 9:1-28
A new *sacrifice and way to life 10:1-39
5 The better way 11:1-13:25
The way of trust and hope 11:1-40
The right way to live 12:1-29
The way of love and doing what God wants13:1-25
1 Jesus, son of God, greater than all 1:1-2:18
The greatness of the son 1:1-3
v1 In the past God spoke to our *ancestors.He did this through the *prophets at many times and in various ways. v2 But in these last days he has spoken tous by his Son. He appointed his Son to be the owner of all things. It was byhim that God created everything in space and time. v3 From the Son the honour of God shines like a bright light.He is really God and he shows us what God is like. It is the Son who maintainsall things in their proper place by his powerful word. The Son gave his ownlife to make us clean from all our *sins. After this he sat down at the righthand of God in heaven.
Verse 1From the start of this letter, the writer shows that God is real and active.God often spoke to the Hebrews in the past. He spoke to them in different ways.God gave them dreams, sent *angels to bring his words and used events to teachhis people. He gave them his laws and taught them by the *prophets. He spokethrough all kinds of men and women. For example, God called Moses from aburning bush (Exodus 3). Elijah the *prophet, who ran away from an angry queen,heard God in a whisper (1 Kings 19:12). Isaiah heard God’s voice when he sawhim sitting high above all as king (Isaiah 6:1-8). God did not speak all thetime and he did not show what he was really like at any one time. He chosecertain men and women to show them something of himself to pass on to us. Godspoke to these people a long time ago and what he showed to them is in the OldTestament. The last book in the Old Testament dates from about 400 years beforeChrist.
Verse 2The phrase ‘in the last days’ often meant the time of the *Messiah. The writeruses it here to show that the *Messiah has come. The Hebrews were alwaysexpecting this person to come. He will bring a new age to them. He will betheir king and he will overcome all their enemies. The Hebrews did notunderstand the real nature of the *Messiah. He is the Son of God, Jesus Christ.The time had come for Jesus to do his work on earth. In the past God toldpeople something about himself. But now he has spoken in Jesus. He shows uswhat God is really like. God’s Son Jesus became a *human being to show God tous. Jesus is just like God and so we can know God. What God had shown in thepast prepared the way for Jesus and what he would say and do.
The writergives 7 facts to show how great God’s Son Jesus is:
1. God appointed his Son to own everything.
2. God created all that there is in space and time by his Son.
3. The Son shines with God’s light.
4. The Son shows us what God is like. When we come to know Jesus,then we also come to know God. Jesus said, ‘Anyone who has seen me has seen theFather’ (John 14:19), and ‘I and my Father are one’ (John 10:30). God is theFather.
5. The Son Jesus maintains all things (Colossians 1:17). Having madethe worlds and all things, Jesus Christ is still in control of them. His wordof power maintains all things in their proper place. He has control of time anddirects the future. He will cause all things to complete his plan. He made allthings and he owns all things in heaven and on earth.
6. The Son Jesus gave his life to make us clean from all *sin. Allmen and women have done wrong. There is not one person who is right in God'ssight (Romans 3:23). God is so holy that nothing that is wrong can live withhim. This means that no person can live with God. Jesus the Son of God came andwas a perfect *human being. At the same time he was God in a human body. Jesushad two purposes in coming into this world as a *human being. The first was toshow us what God is like. The second was to take away all our *sins (that is,all wrong doing in our lives). He took away all our *sins and accepted thepunishment for them by dying on the cross. Jesus proved that he has done thisby coming back to life from the dead. Now, if we believe in him, he will makeus clean from all wrong. In that way Jesus makes us fit to live with God.
7. Jesus the Son is now at God’s right hand. After Jesus had made theway for us to be clean from *sin, he went back to heaven. He sat down at theright hand of God. The right hand is a picture of the place of greatest honour.Now Jesus is the ruler over all of *creation.
Jesus is superior to *angels in his person 1:4-14
Jesus the Son of God 1:4-5
v4 By what he has done, the Son of God ismuch greater than the *angels. God has also given to him a name that is greaterthan theirs. v5 God did not tellany of the *angels, ‘You are my Son; today I have given you the honour thatbelongs to someone with that name’ (Psalm 2:7). Again, he did not say about any*angel, ‘I will be his father, and he will be my son’ (2 Samuel 7:14).
Verse 4 Tothe Hebrews *angels were very important. *Angels are powerful agents of God. Itwas by them that God spoke of himself in the old times. The Hebrews believethat the law from God came by *angels. When Jesus came into this world, hebecame for a little time lower than the *angels. As a *human being, Jesus wasthe Son of God. God gave his name great honour when he raised him from the dead.In this, Jesus is superior to the *angels. They have never become sons of God.They could not show us God as Jesus has done. They could not take our *sinsaway and make us clean as Jesus did. God gave Jesus a better name than he hasgiven to *angels. Jesus alone was the Son of God.
Verse 5The readers of this letter know that Jesus is the *Messiah. He is the personwhom they were expecting to come. So the author shows that Jesus is superior to*angels by using 7 verses from the Old Testament. God did not call any *angelhis son. In Psalm 2, God tells the *Messiah, ‘You are my son’. He adds, ‘TodayI have given you the honour that belongs to someone with that name’. Some peoplethink that the word ‘today’ in this verse means ‘before God made the worlds’.That would show that Jesus was always the Son of God. Some people understand itto be the day when John baptised Jesus. This shows that Jesus as a man was theSon of God. He was already God's Son before he came into this world as a *humanbeing. Some people believe it to be the day when God raised him from the dead.In the letter to the Romans (1:4), it says that by raising him from the deadthe Holy Spirit called him the Son of God. The clear teaching of the Bible isthat Jesus is and always has been the Son of God.
Then thereis another text from the Old Testament which says, ‘I will be a father to himand he will be a son to me.’ God spoke these words about king David's sonSolomon (1 Chronicles 17:13-14). To the Hebrews, Solomon was a picture of thespecial king who was coming one day. This special king would be from the familyof David. He would always be king. So the Hebrews took these words to mean thatGod will be the Father of the *Messiah. Jesus came as the *Messiah and God ishis Father. God never said that he would be the Father of an *angel. As Jesusis the Son of God, he is superior to the *angels.
Jesus is superior to *angels 1:6-9
v6 Again, when God brings his *firstbornSon into the world, he says ‘Let all the *angels of God *worship him’ (Deuteronomy32:43). v7 He says about the*angels, ‘He makes his *angels winds, and his servants flames of fire’ (Psalm104:4). v8 About the Son he says,‘Your *throne, O God, will last for all time and always. You will rule your*kingdom in ways that are always right. v9You have loved what is right and hated what is evil. That is why God, your God,has chosen you. He has given to you more joy than he has given to anyone else ‘(Psalm 45:6-7).
Verse 6The meaning of this verse depends on the use of the word ‘again’. In the *Greeklanguage that the author used, there is a close connection between ‘again’ and‘he brings’. This gives two possible meanings for ‘again’.
· The time whenJesus will come again to the earth. Then he will set up his government in the world.
· The time whenGod made Jesus king after he brought him back alive from the dead.
Jesus isGod’s *firstborn because he is God’s only Son and because he was first to comealive again from the dead. When God brings his *firstborn into the world, he tellsall his *angels to honour and praise Jesus. This shows that Jesus is as muchsuperior to the *angels as God is.
Verses 7-8God then speaks about the *angels. He says that he created his *angels to belike winds and flames. They are quick and powerful to do what God sends them todo. But God did not create Jesus. When the Father is speaking about his SonJesus, he calls him God. He says that his *throne is forever. God is sayingthat Jesus is the same as he is.
Jesus willrule his *kingdom in ways that are always right and good.
Verse 9Jesus loves what is right. He hates all that is evil. In his life on the earthhe always did what was right. He taught what was right. He told of thepunishment that is coming on all that is evil. That is why God chose him andmade him to be *Lord over all. God has given him great joy and made him glad.
Jesus is the same forever 1:10-12
v10 He also says about the Son, ‘*Lord, youmade the earth in the beginning. The skies are the work of your hands. v11 The skies and the earth will come to anend, but you live forever. They will all wear out like clothes. v12 You will roll them up like a coat andchange them like clothes. But you remain the same, and your life will neverend’ (Psalm 102:25-27).
Verses10-12. The author now uses another part of the Old Testament (Psalm 102:25-27).The writer of the Psalm was speaking to God. The writer to the Hebrews usesthose verses as speaking of Jesus, because he is God. There are here 3statements about Jesus the Son of God.
The Son ofGod makes all things. He made the heavens and the earth.
He is theruler of all things. He will cause things to change. One day he will bring themto an end.
He willremain the same. He will never be any different from what he is now. All elsewill change, but Jesus Christ will always be the same.
Jesus sits at God’s side 1:13-14
v13 God never said to any of the *angels,‘Sit at my right hand. Sit there until I make your enemies a place to rest yourfeet‘ (Psalm 110:1). v14 All the*angels are *spirits who work for God. He sends them to help those to whom hewill give *salvation.
Verse 13God the Father has said to God the Son, ‘Sit at my right hand’. He goes on tosay, ‘while I make all your enemies a place to rest your feet’ (Psalm 110:1).God did not say these things to any *angel. *Angels stand before God as hisservants. Jesus now sits with God, and so is much greater than the *angels.This means that Jesus is equal with God. He always was equal with God before hecame to earth. Now as a *human being he again sits in his place next to God.That is the most powerful place that there is. Jesus still has lots of enemies,but with God he will overcome them all. In the old days the soldier who won abattle put his feet on the neck of the defeated king (Joshua 10:24). This isthe picture of the enemies as a place to rest his feet. Jesus will be themaster of all.
Verse 14What is the role of *angels? *Angels do not rule. Their task is to serve. Theyare servants of God. God also sends them to help the people who trust in Jesus.*Believers are those who accept *salvation. They will one day live in heavenwith God.
Jesus is superior to *angels in his message 2:1-4
v1 That is why we must take in what we haveheard. We must do this so that we do not turn away from God. v2 The *angels spoke a message from Godthat was true. God punished all who did not obey what the *angels said. v3 We shall not escape if we neglect thisgreat *salvation that comes from God. It was the *Lord who first told us ofthis *salvation. The people who heard him have shown us that it is true. v4 God also proved the truth of themessage. He did this by signs, wonderful acts and many *miracles. As a furtherproof he gave gifts of the Holy Spirit as he chose.
Verse 1The Son of God is so much greater than the *angels. We must therefore be verycareful to listen to what he says. We must take in his message and obey it.God’s words are much more important for us than anything that *angels or mensay. If we do not accept the pardon that God offers, we shall be in realdanger. We have to continue to trust in him for our life, both now and for thefuture. There was a danger that these Hebrews could wander away from what istrue. There was the risk that they might go back to their old ways and so avoidthe trouble that the *Jews caused them. We also must be careful that we do notlose what we have in Jesus.
Verse 2The words spoken by *angels are not like the words spoken by the Son of God.God sent his word by the *angels in the past. The Hebrews said that the law ofGod came by *angels. People had to obey God’s law. If they did not do so, Godwould punish them. The law included both blessing for right acts and punishmentfor wrong acts (see Deuteronomy 30:19). The good news that God will forgivewrong acts came by Jesus Christ.
Verse 3The law that the *angels gave was very important. But the message that the LordJesus brought is much more important. There is no escape for any who do notaccept the claims of Jesus Christ. God in Jesus has made for us the only way toheaven. If we do not accept that offer, there is no hope for us. The *angelsdid not show us this way to heaven. Jesus first taught it and in his death madeit possible. Jesus is so much better than the *angels. So what he says isbetter than what they say. His promises are for a life that will never end.
The peoplewho first heard Jesus told the good news to others. In their turn they passedit on. Now we have the chance to accept it. We have the Bible to show us thetruth. We have the *witness of people who have found it to be true. This goodnews is that Jesus has accepted the punishment for all our *sins. We must cometo Jesus and turn from our wrong. He will take away our *sins and give us newlife. If we do not turn to him, we shall not have the new life. God will punishall who do not accept Jesus for all the wrong that they have done.
Verse 4When the first *believers told other people the good news, God himself showedthem that it was true. They spoke of what Jesus had done and God proved that itwas true. He did this by special signs, wonderful acts and *miracles. He alsogave to them gifts of the Holy Spirit. They used these gifts as God directedthem. All of these things showed, to those who heard, that the message was fromGod (see Acts 2:22). No mere *human being could act like this.
Jesus is superior to *angels as a *human being 2:5-18
v5 God did not make *angels to govern theworld to come, which is our subject. v6The Bible says (Psalm 8:4-6), ‘What are *human beings that God thinks of them?What are the sons and daughters of *humanity that God cares for them? v7 God made them for a little while to belower than the *angels. Then God made them kings of all with royal power andhonour. v8 God has put all thingsunder their authority’. God left nothing outside their authority. As it is,however, we do not yet see all things under their authority. v9 But we see Jesus. For a little while,God made him lower than the *angels. Now Jesus is the king in heaven, where hehas a crown of great honour. This is because he suffered and died for us. Heaccepted our death, so that by the goodness of God we need not suffer in thesame way.
v10 God made all things for himself and allthings exist by his power. It was fitting that he should make Jesus our perfectleader. He did this by having Jesus suffer and die for our *sins. v11 Jesus is the one who makes men andwomen holy. The holy ones are those who have believed in Jesus. They havebecome one with Jesus. So he is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters. v12 Jesus says to his Father, ‘I will tellmy brothers and sisters your name. With your people I will praise you in songs’(Psalm 22:22). v13 Again he says,‘I will put my trust in God’ (Isaiah 8:17). At another time he says, ‘Look, Iam here with the children that God has given to me’, (Isaiah 3:18).
v14 The children he speaks of all havehuman bodies. Jesus became a real *human being like them. He died as we mustdie. The devil had the power of death. Jesus broke that power when he died. v15 He died to free us from the fear ofdeath. Until Jesus came, people were so afraid of death that they were likeslaves to it. v16 He did not cometo help the *angels. He came to help those who have their origins in Abraham. v17 He had to be like them in everything.Then he could be the chief priest for them to bring them to God. He is so kindto them and they can depend on him as their agent to God. He had to be likethem so that he could die as a *sacrifice for their *sins. God accepts this*sacrifice and takes all their *sins from them. v18 Jesus had to suffer all kinds of testing, but he did notfail. This makes him able to help any who are in need of the strength to dowhat is right.
Verse 5God has not given authority to *angels over the world to come. As we havealready seen (1:14), *angels are to serve and not to rule.
Verses 6-8God's purpose for the world to come is that *humans, and not *angels, shouldrule it. The Old Testament clearly teaches this in Psalm 8:4-7. These versesshow us both how small and how great *humans are. They are very small comparedto the things that God has made and which surround us. They are great becauseGod has a special purpose for them. This purpose is that *human beings shouldhave authority over the world to come. God always has them in mind and he caresfor them. They are special to God among all that God has made.
God made*humans to be a little lower than the *angels. *Angels are *spirits with greatauthority and power. We, who are *human, cannot compare ourselves with them.But God has a greater plan in mind for *human beings. The writer uses the wordsfrom Psalm 8:4-7 as a prophecy. They tell us what God will bring about. But thewriter sees the words as first referring to Jesus.
When Godfirst made a man, he gave him power over all the birds, animals and fishes(Genesis 1:28). The first man, Adam, failed to rule as God intended, because hedid wrong. God had to punish the man and so *human beings lost the right torule. God has not taken back the first promise and *human beings will one daybe able to rule. All things are to be under the feet of *human beings, that is,under their authority. This shows how great a role God has for *humanity. Asyet we do not see all things put under them. We are not good enough to takethat place.
Verse 9God's promise for *humanity is not yet complete. But we see Jesus, the Son ofGod who became a *human being. He came to earth and lived as a man, and sobecame a little lower than the *angels, just like us. He came to die for us.When he had done this, God raised him from the dead and gave him a royal crownof great honour and power. In Jesus, God has begun to carry out his promisethat *human beings should rule. It is because of God’s great love that Jesusdied for all of us.
Verse 10God made all things. He made all things for himself. In other parts of theBible it says that Jesus made all things and all things are for his pleasure.There is no problem here. God the Father and God the Son are both God. Togetherthey made the heavens and the earth. It is only in Jesus that all things findtheir purpose. In order to make us clean from *sin there had to be a*sacrifice. It was right that Jesus should come to earth and become one of us.He was then able to suffer on behalf of us all. He died a terrible death on thecross of wood. This death was not for any *sins that he himself had done, forhe was perfect. That is, he was all that God intended him to be. When he died,he accepted all our *sins. Because of this he can give to us a new life. He isable to bring many sons and daughters to be with God in heaven. We become God’ssons and daughters when we trust in Jesus and in his work for us. By his deathfor us, Jesus was able to make us clean from *sin. Now we can go to be withGod.
Verse 11Jesus makes us holy when we trust in him. He brings us into the family of Godand makes us his sons and daughters. All who trust in Jesus receive a new birthfrom the *Spirit. In this way they have the same Father as Jesus and the samelife. Jesus is so great, yet he is happy to call the weakest Christian brotheror sister. He is the *firstborn of many brothers and sisters. He is the*firstborn from the dead and all who trust in him will also rise from the dead.
Verse 12Jesus calls us his brothers and sisters. In the Old Testament the *Messiah saysthat he will tell the name of God to his brothers and sisters (Psalm 22:22). Tothe Hebrews the ‘name’ meant more than just a name. It meant the whole person.Jesus is the *Messiah and he showed men and women the nature of God. As a*human among *humans Jesus praised God. He praised God with them in the *templeof the *Jews in *Jerusalem and their other holy buildings. Now as we praiseGod, Jesus in *spirit is there with us. He promised that when two or three ofthose who follow him meet together, he too will be there (Matthew 18:20).
Verse 13Jesus was God. But while he was living on earth as a man, he had to put histrust in God. During his life on earth he had to depend on God. In this he wasthe same as we are, for we need God's help. Jesus was one of us. Again he showsthat we belong to the same family. He says, ‘Here am I, and the children whomGod has given to me’ (Isaiah 8:18). He is speaking of the men and women who followedhim. We are among them, if we put our trust in him.
Verses14-15 We have human bodies from our birth. For Jesus to help us he had to bethe same as us. He had to take a human body and blood to be a real *humanbeing. Because we are *human, we have all done what is wrong. The punishmentfor our *sins is death, both of the body and of the *spirit. For Jesus to helpus, he had to take our *sins upon himself as a real *human. Yet he himselflived without doing any *sin. So by his death he was able to accept ourpunishment. He did this on the cross. In his death for us he overcame thedevil, who had the power of death. The death Jesus speaks about is more thanthe death of our body. It is the death of our *spirit as well. This means afuture without God to which all who do wrong would go. For those who acceptChrist, the death of the body is not the end. It is the way to a new life thatnever will die. This is life for the *spirit in a new body forever with God.
Peoplehave always lived with a fear of death. It is the one sure event that comes tous all. Apart from what the Bible has to say about it, no one knows what willcome after death. Most people have no hope about the future, and they areafraid of what they do not know. In Jesus Christ there is the promise of a muchbetter life. People who put their trust in Jesus need no longer fear death.
Verse 16Jesus became a *human being so that he could take us by the hand and lead us toGod. He did not become an *angel. He did not come to earth to help *angels. Hecame to this world to save the children of Abraham.
Abrahamwas the father of the *Jews and their nation came from him. He was also a manof real trust in God. The children of Abraham are all those who are *Jews bybirth. The Bible also calls all who believe in the one true God the children ofAbraham (Galatians 3:7-9). God rescues the men and women who trust in Jesus.
Verse 17Jesus came to save men and women, not *angels. Therefore he had to become likeone of us and not like an *angel. He had to be a *human being so that he couldstand before God as our chief priest. He takes the *sacrifice for our *sins toGod. That *sacrifice was his own blood, that is, his life that he gave for uson the cross. He asks God to forgive his brothers and sisters. God accepts the*sacrifice of Jesus to pay for all our *sins. God forgives all who put theirtrust in Jesus and in what he has done for them. Jesus loves us and we cantrust him to be our priest towards God. At the same time, Jesus pleases Godbecause he has done all that God asked of him.
He had tobe like his brothers and sisters in all things. This means that he had to livelife as a real man. He had to face the same problems that we do. The deviltested him and he suffered in life as we do, but much more than we have tosuffer. He was still different from us in some things. He was different in hisbirth. His mother had not had sex with a man. His Father was God and not a man.He was different in his life, because he did not do any wrong at all. He wasdifferent in his death, for he did not need to die for himself because he waswithout *sin. He chose to die and gave himself up to the men who wanted to killhim. He died for all the *sins that we have done.
Verse 18The suffering that Jesus had makes him able to help any who are in need. Whenthe devil or the things of this life test us, we can look to Jesus. He willgive us the strength to do what is right. If we fail to do what is right, heunderstands. When we turn to him and confess that we have failed, he is able tomake us right with God again.
2 The superior *apostle 3:1-4:13
Jesus is superior to Moses 3:1-6
v1 Brothers and sisters in Christ whobelong to God, you share the call to be with him in heaven. So let us take timeto think about Jesus. God sent him to us to show what he is like and to be thechief priest whom we trust. v2 Hedid what God sent him to do, just as Moses did in the house of God. v3 The person who builds a house gets morehonour than the house. That is why Jesus gets more honour than Moses. v4 Every house has a builder, but God isthe one who builds all things. v5God told Moses what to do and he did it as the servant of God in all his house.Moses spoke about what God would say in the future. v6 Jesus Christ was true as a Son over the house of God. Weare his house, if we keep our confidence and *boldly trust in him to the end.
Verse 1 Inchapters 1 and 2 we saw how Jesus is greater than the *prophets and the*angels. This is because of his own greatness and because of what he has donefor us. So now we are to think about him both as the *apostle and as our chiefpriest. To the Hebrews, Moses was the first *apostle and Aaron was the firstchief priest.
The word‘*apostle’ means someone whom God sends. An *apostle comes to people as the agentof God. So God sent Moses to the Hebrews when they were slaves in the land of*Egypt. He came to set them free and to lead them out of that country. To dothis he had to go to the king of *Egypt and persuade him to let them go. Atfirst, the king refused. But after God had done many powerful works, he sentthem out. God sent Jesus to lead people out from the rule of the devil and tobring them to God. Jesus came to us to show us what God is like. He overcamethe devil and set us free from his power.
The chiefpriest was a man who went to God as the agent of the people. He had to makesacrifices for all their *sins. Then he asked God to forgive them. Aaron wasthe man whom God made the first chief priest. He had to make the sacrifices forhis own *sins as well as for the *sins of the Hebrews. Once every year he tookthe blood of an animal into the most holy place, and then God forgave thepeople their *sins. Jesus is the one who is our chief priest. He made a*sacrifice of himself for all our *sins. He did not need a *sacrifice forhimself, because he was without *sin. Because Jesus took his own blood to God,God forgives us our *sins. (The word blood here is instead of the word*sacrifice).
Verse 2 Anagent must be true to the one who appoints him. God sent Moses to be over hishouse, that is, as leader of the Hebrews. He led the Hebrews out of the land of*Egypt and for the 40 years that they lived in the desert. Moses did all thatGod asked him to do, although he did fail at times. The writer says that Moseswas true to God. He was a great man and the Hebrews gave him great respect.
God alsosent Jesus to be his agent on earth. He always did what God asked of him. Healways spoke the words that God gave him to speak. He completed the task thathe came to do. He was perfect in all his life and he never failed.
Verse 3Both Moses and Jesus deserve all the honour that we can give to them. But muchmore honour is due to Jesus than to Moses. Moses was true to God as a servantin the house of God. Jesus built that house and is the owner of it. The builderand owner has more honour than the house itself. That house is the people ofGod. The servant, who in this picture is part of the house, must be less thanthe builder. Moses was a great man among the people of God. Jesus is so muchgreater because the people of God are his house.
Verse 4Jesus became a real man for the work he had to do. He was always God and evenwhen he became a *human being he was still God. Jesus said, ‘I and my Fatherare one’ (John 10:30). That is why there is here no difference between God andJesus. Each house has a builder and God is building this one. Verse 3 tells usthat Jesus is the builder of this house. God is the author and maker of allthings. He does this by Jesus Christ his Son. So Jesus is the maker of allthings.
Verse 5Moses was a good servant in the house of God. The word servant does not meanthat he had to do only small tasks. He had an important part to play in thestory of the Hebrews. He was the agent of God to bring them out of *Egypt. Hereceived the law from God and gave it to them. He was like a father to them inthe desert. God sent him to be the *apostle of the Hebrews. His task was notjust for his own days but it was to speak about the future. His life was topoint to the work of an *apostle who was to come. The Hebrews looked for a manlike Moses to come and lead them. That man is the *Messiah, who is JesusChrist.
Verse 6 Wenow have the final proof that Jesus the Christ is greater than Moses. He is theSon who is over his own house. He must have more honour than Moses, who wasonly a servant in that house. Jesus as the agent of God brings to us far morethan Moses could bring. We are part of his house, when we come to Jesusaccepting all that he has done for us. We can have joy and confidence as welook to the future. We must hold on to this *belief and not let it go. We canbe certain that God will do all that he has promised.
Warning to obey 3:7-4:2
v7-8 So, as the Holy Spirit says, ‘Today,when you hear me speak, do not oppose what I say. That is what the *Hebrewpeople did when they were in the desert. v9There they tested me and tried me. They saw what I did for 40 years. v10 So I was angry with those people. Isaid, ‘Their hearts are always wrong. They have not known my ways’. v11 In my anger I declared, ‘They shallnever enter my place of rest (Psalm 95:7-11)’. v12 Be careful, my Christian brothers and sisters, that noneof you has an evil heart that does not trust God. Such a heart will turn youaway from the God who is alive and active. v13Encourage each other daily, as long as it is still ‘today’, to be true to God.This is so that *sin will not lead you away and your hearts become hard towardsGod. v14 We are partners withChrist, if we trust him to the end, as we did at first. v15 God is still saying, ‘Today, when youhear me speak, do not make your hearts hard. That is what the people in thedesert did, when they turned away from me’. v16Who heard God, yet turned away from him? It was the people whom Moses led outof the land of *Egypt. v17 Whomade God angry for 40 years? It was the people who had turned away from him.These all died in the desert. v18To whom did God declare that they would never enter his rest? It was the peoplewho did not obey him. v19 So wesee that they were not able to enter, because they did not trust God.
4v1 The same promise of entering the placeof God's rest is still there for us. We should be afraid that some of us maymiss our chance to go in. v2 Wehave heard the good news just as they did in the desert. The message that theyheard did not benefit them. They heard it, but they did not accept it.
Verses 7-9Moses was true to God and trusted in him. Most of the people who came out of*Egypt with him failed to trust in God. They did not listen to what God said tothem. They did not obey what God told them through Moses. As a result, God didnot take them to the *promised land. Instead he led them in the desert for 40years. Although they saw God’s great works, they still refused to obey him.They strained God’s patience. The Holy Spirit now says to us, ‘Do not be likethem’. When God speaks, we are to listen to what he says and to obey him. Inthose days God spoke by Moses. Today God speaks by one who is greater than the*prophets or the *angels or Moses. The Word of God to us is Jesus and hedemands that we put our trust in him and obey him. The Hebrews in the desertlet their hearts become hard as they turned from God. (The word ‘heart’ in theBible often means how we think or feel.) It would be easy for us to do thesame, but the Holy Spirit warns us not to do so.
Verses10-11 The Hebrews did not trust God. They turned away from him in their heartsand minds. They refused to do what he wanted them to do. They did not knowGod's ways because they would not listen. For these reasons God was angry withthem. God was so angry that he declared that they would never know his rest. Soit was that all the adults who came out of *Egypt died in the desert(Deuteronomy 2:14). Only a couple of them, Caleb and Joshua, did go on trustingin God. They entered the *promised land.
The rest of God points to a future of peaceand plenty. It is a place where God will bless and keep his people forever. Itis the *promised land, where the *Messiah is king. It is the place that will behome to all who trust in Jesus. (Verses 7-11 are from Psalm 95:7-11)
Verse 12The writer warns us to take care that we do not turn away from God. It ispossible for Christians to go back to their old ways and to forget God. We mustmake sure that we do not do that. To God that would be the action of an evilheart that does not trust in God. To go back from following Jesus would be tofight against the God who is alive and active. All who do turn back will oneday have to stand before him and face his judgement.
Verse 13We need to help each other to be strong in our *belief in Jesus. Each one of usneeds the strength that comes by sharing our lives with others who trust God.We should at all times encourage each other to be true to God. There is much inthis world that would lead us away from God. There are many things that speaklies into our hearts and could make us forget that we belong to God. With thehelp and teaching that we can bring to each other we can be strong in our*belief. Without this help it is easier for the devil to cause us to fall awayfrom our God.
Verse 14When persons first trust in Jesus, they have a real confidence in what he hasdone. The new *believer is sure that he has a new life in Jesus. This life issharing in the very life of Jesus. But to start the Christian life is notenough. We must go on in this life and grow in Jesus until he takes us to bewith himself. We do not dare to turn away from our confidence in him.
Verse 15In the desert the Hebrews had made their hearts hard. They turned away fromGod. As a result God did not let them go into the *promised land. This is awarning for us. In our day when we hear the word of God we should obey it. Wemust not be like them and refuse to listen to God.
Verse 16In verses 16 to 18 the writer asks 3 things and gives 3 answers. These areabout the people who turned away from God. Who were the people who heard God'svoice and yet would not obey him? It was the men and women whom Moses led outof *Egypt. They had seen all the wonderful works that God had done to make theking set them free. God gave them food and drink and all that they needed. Inthe desert he led them and kept them safe. Yet they would not accept God astheir ruler.
Verse 17Who was it that made God angry for the 40 years in the desert? It was thosepeople who did not trust him. They all died in the desert because of their*sins. God is always angry about *sin, but he will forgive all who *repent oftheir *sin. He can do this because Jesus has accepted our punishment by dyingfor us on the cross.
Verse 18Who did God say could never come in and rest with him? It was those people whowould not obey him. God had done so much for them, yet they still went theirown way. They refused to do what God wanted them to do.
Verse 19They would not accept God as their leader. They did what they knew to be wrong.They would not obey God, but did what they wanted to do. They did not put theirtrust in God. They could not enter the land of blessing that God would havegiven to them. They are a warning for us. We must put our trust in God and dowhat he wants us to do. As we believe in Jesus, we can be sure that God willbring us to his *promised land. If we do not trust and obey him, we too shallnot be able to go in.
Verse 1God has promised a place of rest that will last forever. This place is open toall who walk in God's way. The *promised land of the Hebrews is to us a pictureof that place of rest. The adults who came out of *Egypt failed to go inbecause they did not trust God. The promise of rest forever with God still standsand is for us. We must take care not to miss our chance to enter that place ofrest. We must make sure that we are in the way that leads there. When we die,God will judge us and, if we are not walking in his way, it will then be toolate.
Verse 2The Hebrews heard the good news of the promises of God. We also have heard thegood news as they did. They were slaves in *Egypt, but God set them free. Goddid many powerful works to make the king let them go. God then promised to leadthem as a nation to a new land. To receive the promises of God they had to puttheir trust in him. They failed to do this, for they did not accept the word ofGod. It was for this reason that they died in the desert and did not go intothe new land.
We haveheard the good news that Jesus has come to save us. He has taken our *sins awayin his own body. He has died for us, so that we might live to God. We shallalso fail, if we do not trust in Jesus. The way to God's rest is in Jesus andis for all who follow him.
TheHebrews failed because they did not trust God and obey what he said. We shallnot fail, if we hear the good news of Jesus and accept it.
Warning not to miss God’s promised rest 4:3-13
v3 We Christians enter that place of God'srest. The Hebrews in the desert would not accept the good news. That made Godangry. He said, ‘They shall never enter my place of rest’ (Psalm 95:11). Yet hefinished his work when he made the world. v4Somewhere in the Bible God spoke of the seventh day in these words: ‘And on theseventh day God rested from all his work’ (Genesis 2:2). v5 Now, in the earlier words above, Godsays, ‘They shall never enter my place of rest’ (Psalm 95:11). v6 That means that some other people willenter it. But the people who heard the good news in the past did not enter it,because they did not obey God. v7So God fixed another day, calling it ‘today’, when a long time later he spokeby David. He said, ‘Today if you hear the voice of God, do not make your heartshard’ (Psalm 95:7-8). v8 For ifJoshua had given them rest, God would not speak later about another day. v9 So there still remains a perfect restfor the people of God. v10 Anyonewho enters God's place of rest, also rests from his own work, just as God didfrom his.
v11 So let us be eager to enter that place ofrest. We must be careful not to miss our chance, like the people in the desertwho did not obey God. v12 The wordof God is living and full of power. It is sharper than any sword that cuts onboth edges. It cuts between *soul and *spirit. It cuts between joints andmuscles. It knows people’s thoughts and attitudes. v13 No one can hide from God. His eyes see all things as theyreally are. It is to him that we all must give an account for what we do.
Verses 3-5The *Jews believed that they were the people of God. Because they were thechildren of Abraham by birth, they were sure that they would go to heaven. Theywere wrong, because to enter God’s place of rest, people must obey him. When weknow and accept Jesus Christ, we become the people of God. God has said thatthe people who did not have *belief in him would never enter his rest (Psalm95:11). Nobody can go in without *belief in what God has said. God has spokento us in his Son, Jesus Christ, who is the only way to life with God.
God restedafter he had made the earth and the sky (Genesis 2:2). So the place of restthat we speak of has been ready since then. It remains open for us to enter andto be at home with God.
Verse 6God has made this place of rest to be the home for *human beings. There is nothingthat can stop God from keeping his promises. They can be for us, but only if wetake hold of them in *belief. The people to whom God made the promises at firstdid not obey him. They heard the good news, but they failed to go in. It isGod's plan that some people will enter. So the promises are now for us toaccept.
Verse 7Because the people who first received God’s promise failed, God has fixedanother day. That day is today, and we can now trust God and enter his place ofrest. So David warns us all (Psalm 95:7-8). He said that when you hear God'svoice today, do not let your hearts become hard. We need to hear and obey thecall of God or we too shall not rest with God.
Verse 8Joshua, who came after Moses could not lead the people to this place of rest.He did lead them into the land that God had promised them. That land was notthe place of God’s rest, but it was a picture of it. If it had been that place,God would not have fixed another day. The name ‘Joshua’ in *Hebrew is the sameas ‘Jesus’ in *Greek. The ‘Jesus’ (Joshua) of the Old Testament could not leadthem into rest with God, but Jesus Christ can lead us there.
Verse 9There is still this place of rest for the people of God. The word ‘rest’ canhave more than one meaning. Here it has a special meaning. God had told theHebrews to keep one day each week as a holiday. On this day they were to do nowork. It was a day for praising God. It was a day for them to spend time withGod. This 1 day in 7 was the *Sabbath day. Here the writer speaks of the restlike the *Sabbath. It will be a time when there is rest from all work. It willbe a time when the people of God will enjoy him.
Verse 10When God had made the earth and sky, he rested from his work. When a person entersGod's place of rest, he stops doing his own work. There men and women live withGod and enjoy each other.
Verse 11We must be eager to enter this place of rest. We must make sure that we getthere by coming to know God in Jesus. We must be careful that we do not faillike the people in the desert. They did not trust God.
Verse 12The word of God is anything that God says. Jesus is also the Word of God. It isby Jesus that God has spoken to us. Jesus is God shown to us in a human body.Here the word of God is what God speaks and teaches. We have this word of Godwritten down in the Bible. It is normal for God to speak to us through theBible. His words are alive and full of power. God’s word goes right into ourinner life. It is like a sharp sword that cuts on both edges. In a fight asword cuts into the body. It can cut between bones. The word of God is likethat with our minds and *spirits. It makes plain all the hidden parts of ourlives, whether good or bad. Our lives are completely open to God and he knowsall that there is to know about us. There can be no secrets hidden from God.
Verse 13God sees and knows all about every living thing. He sees and knows all thatthere is to know about every man and woman. To him each life is like an openbook. We cannot hide anything from God. One day we must stand before him andgive an account of our lives. He will judge us by what we have done and by whatwe accept about Jesus his Son. It will be a terrible thing to stand before Godfor the people who do not know Jesus.
3 The greatest chief priest 4:14-7:28
Jesus is superior to Aaron 4:14-5:14
Our confidence 4:14-16
v14 We have a great chief priest who hasgone through the heavens. He is Jesus, the Son of God. Let us never fail in our*belief and trust in him. v15 Wehave a chief priest who can feel with us when we are weak. He knows how weak weare. He had to suffer testing in every way like us. We fail, but he did not doanything wrong. v16 Let usapproach God’s royal seat with boldness, that is, where God’s goodness is. Weshall receive from him his goodness, support and the help that we need.
Verse 14We have a great chief priest. He has gone on our behalf to the place where Godlives. The *Jews spoke of many heavens, perhaps 3 or 7. Jesus has gone aboveall the heavens to the top place. The chief priest of the *Jews was only a man.He stood before God in the *temple on earth. Jesus as our chief priest is morethan a man. He is the Son of God. He is always there with God himself. As wehave such a chief priest, we must go on trusting in him. We can be sure that hewill not fail us.
Verse 15When Jesus came to earth, he became a real human. He lived as a man in all theexperiences of life, the same as any person. He did not do any wrong, but hetook all our *sins to himself. He died a terrible death of real and extremepain. Now he shares with us all that we feel in our bodies and in our minds. Heknows how weak we are, and when we suffer, he suffers with us.
Verse 16Here is a chief priest whom we can trust. He took our *sins away when he diedon the cross. He is now with God and is the agent for all who trust in him. Sowe do not need to have a chief priest on earth to go to God for us. We can bebold to approach God himself, because of the work of Jesus. We can always lookto him for help when we need it. In his love he will be kind to us, for heknows how weak we are. He will pardon all our *sins and make us clean again. Hewill give us the strength that we need to help us in difficult times.
Rules for the chief priest 5:1-4
v1 All chief priests are *human. They actas agents between other *humans and God. The chief priest has to give gifts andsacrifices to God for all the *sins that they have done. v2 Such a chief priest can be kind andunderstanding to people who do not know what is right or wrong. He knows how tohelp them when they go wrong, for he is weak just like them. v3 This is why he has to offer sacrificesfor both his own *sins and for their *sins. v4No man can decide to be a chief priest. God must appoint him, just as heappointed Aaron.
Verse 1 Inthe old times the chief priest had to be from the family of Aaron. He was justa man like us, but he had a special place in the Hebrew’s religion. He was tobe God’s agent on behalf of men and women. Once a year he went into the mostholy part of the *temple to meet with God on behalf of the people. He worespecial clothes and followed the special rules that God gave to Aaron in thedesert. He had to offer special gifts and sacrifices to God. Then God wouldpardon the people for what they had done wrong in the past year.
Verses 2-3The chief priest was a man just like other men. As a *human, he too was weakand had to confess his own *sins as well as the *sins of others. So he wouldknow how people felt and what their needs were. There had to be a balance inhis attitude to them. He could be gentle both to the ones who knew little andto the ones who had done wrong. He could not just neglect *sin or act as if itdid not matter. Wrong is always bad to God and must be so to the priest. Thechief priest on earth was one with his people and as weak as they were. Likethem he could not live a perfect life before God. He was just as likely to dowrong as any person. This was why he had to make a *sacrifice for himselffirst. He had to get his own pardon from God and then he could go to God forthe people.
Verse 4 Tobe the chief priest was a great honour. It was also a great responsibility. Noman had the right to take the job for himself. God chose and appointed Aaron asthe first chief priest (Exodus 40:12). From then on, the chief priest for the*Jews had to be from the family of Aaron.
Jesus the new chief priest 5:5-11
v5 So Jesus also did not decide to be thechief priest. God, who said, ‘You are my Son; today I have given you the honourthat belongs to someone with that name’ (Psalm 2:7), made him the chief priest.v6 God says, in another part ofthe Bible, ‘You are always to be a priest like Melchizedek’ (Psalm 110:4).
v7 When Jesus lived on earth, he prayed to Godwho was able to save him from death. He cried aloud to God with many tears. Godheard him because he gave honour to God. v8Although he was God’s Son, Jesus came to know through pain what it was to obeyGod. v9 This made him perfect forhis work. He is now the source of the *salvation that will never end for allwho obey him. v10 God called him achief priest after the type of Melchizedek.
v11 We have much to say about this, but itis hard to explain because you are slow to learn.
Verses 5-6Jesus could not make himself the new chief priest. Only God could appoint thechief priest. If Jesus had tried to make himself the chief priest, he could nothave been the agent between us and God. In fact God did appoint Jesus to be thenew chief priest. First, he tells us that Jesus, as a *human, is his Son (Psalm2:7). Jesus in his birth as a *human came from God his Father. Then God says tohim, ‘You are a priest forever’ (Psalm 110:4). Jesus is not a priest of thetype of Aaron, for he did not come from that family. There was a priest of Godwho lived before the time of Aaron who had blessed Abraham. This man wasMelchizedek. We shall look at him again in chapter 7. He was a greater priestthan Aaron, as we shall see in that chapter. God made Jesus a priest after thetype of Melchizedek to be the chief priest for all time.
Verse 7Although Jesus was the Son of God and the priest of God, he did not have aneasy life here on earth. His life was much more difficult than ours. To be apriest for us he had to suffer all the problems of *human life. This helps himto have sympathy with all who suffer. In all his life Jesus talked with God hisFather in prayer. When he came to the garden of *Gethsemane, he was in pain inhis *spirit. He fell to the ground and cried out to God with loud cries andtears. He knew that he had to die. It was God's plan that Jesus should sufferfor all of our *sins. This was why he was in such pain in his mind and *spirit.Yet he said to God, I will do what you want me to do. God was able to save himfrom death, but Jesus agreed to die. Jesus our chief priest died as the*sacrifice for us.
God heardhim when he prayed because he trusted in God. The meaning of this verse is notclear. It seems that Jesus was asking that he might not die. Yet he had to die.What was the answer that God gave? Jesus knew that he had to die on behalf ofmen and women, and that he came for that purpose. God gave him strength in thegarden so that he could go to the cross and die. To hang on a cross was themost awful and painful way to die. Jesus felt all alone when he hung there.Even God left him there on the cross (Matthew 27:46). Yet in three days Godbrought him back from death to life.
Verse 8*Human discipline always includes having to suffer. Jesus was the Son of God.Yet he had to learn, as a *human, what it meant to obey God completely, inevery situation. It is not that there ever was a time when Jesus failed to obeyGod. He was always one with God, so the need to obey did not happen until hecame to the earth. To do what God wanted, Jesus had to suffer. In doing it, heknew what it was to obey his Father by his own choice. He chose to suffer andto die, because that is what God asked him to do.
Verse 9The Son of God has always been perfect. He obeyed God and this has made him fitto be the chief priest for all who obey him. By his death he has made acomplete and full *sacrifice on our behalf. When God raised him from the dead,Jesus became the source of new life. Jesus gives people this new life, whenthey put their trust in him. This is the life of the world to come. It beginsin us now and will go on forever.
Verse 10The writer has shown how Jesus was able to be the chief priest. He became a manand so could know all about *human life. He was the Son of God and so couldmake the perfect *sacrifice on our behalf. The chief priest for the *Jews hadto come from the family of Aaron. Jesus was not of that family, but he is thechief priest of all who trust in him. He is the chief priest because Godappointed him. God called him to be a chief priest after the type ofMelchizedek. This is greater than the chief priests of Aaron’s family.
Verse 11The writer could say a lot more about the fact that Jesus is now the chiefpriest. He could tell them more about the priest Melchizedek and how Jesus waslike him. He did not do so because he found it hard to explain it to them insimple enough words. The problem was that they were too slow to learn.
Weak and strong Christians 5:12-14
v12 By this time you ought to be teachers,but you are not able. You need someone to teach you again the basic truths ofGod’s word. Like babies you still need milk instead of solid food. v13 Christians who still live on milk havenot understood the teaching about right living. They are like babies. v14 Solid food is for those who have grownup. They have learned to tell the difference between good and bad.
Verse12-13 The readers had been Christians for some time and should by now have beenable to teach others. They were not yet able to teach, because they had notgrown strong as Christians. As we grow strong through the word of God, weshould be able to teach other people. If we do not grow and learn, we shallneed to learn the first lessons again. If we do not go ahead in our *belief, weshall go back. We cannot stand still.
The readers trusted in Christ, but they hadstill not grasped the elementary *teachings of the word of God. They were likebabies, who cannot eat meat yet, but need milk. The writer could not give themany more teaching, because they were not ready for it. They had not advanced,but were still like babies in their *belief. They could take in only the mostsimple teaching. All who are like this are beginners in the word of God and hisways.
Verse 14The mature Christian is like a person who can eat solid food. This means thathe can understand the things of the *spirit. He studies the word of God andprays. He learns how to see in each situation what is good and what is bad andwhat God wants him to do. As he does this, he grows strong in his *belief. Thisis not just the use of the mind. It is the use of both the mind and the*spirit. Then he does what is right and not what is evil. In this way he learnsto grow in the Christian life.
Jesus issuperior in promises 6:1-20
Grow as Christians *faith 6:1-3
v1-2 So, let us leave behind the elementaryteaching about Christ. Let us grow up into mature Christians. We should notneed to learn again about:
turning from bad actions to trust in God
Jewish ceremonies of *washings
the special use of hands in religion
raising the dead
v3 If God allows, we shall advance fromthese basic truths.
Verses 1-2The readers had learned some basic truths about the Christian life, but had notprogressed further. These basic truths include:
· turning fromwrong actions that lead to death, and to *belief in God that leads to life
· Jewish rulesabout washing ceremonies
· the special useof hands to bless and to heal
· God raising thedead
· the finaljudgement to come.
Jesus diedto take all our *sins upon himself. The first step to take to become aChristian is to admit to God that we have *sinned. We must be really sorry forthis and turn from it. As we turn from our *sin, we must put our trust in God.It is by giving our *sins and ourselves to God that he gives us new life inJesus.
The *Jewshad many special rules about how to use water to make something clean.Christians use water in *baptism, as a sign that the blood of Jesus has washedtheir *sins away. *Baptism is a picture of the *believer going down into deathand then rising to a new life. Both *Jews and Christians use their hands tobless. Laying hands on someone is a means that God will use to give the HolySpirit or to heal.
God’sraising people from the dead and the judgement to come are about the future.Those who trust in Jesus will live again after death. They will then be withJesus forever. Those who do not trust God will also live again (John 5:28-29).Then they too will have to come before God. God will be their judge and theywill have to pay for their own *sins.
The writersays that we must go on beyond these basic truths. We must build on the base ofthe new birth. We must grow as Christians and become mature in our *belief.
Verse 3The aim of the writer is for his readers to go on from these first lessons. Hewants to teach them more truth, so that they will become strong Christians. Sothe writer will go on from these first lessons if God permits it, that is, ifGod will help him.
No second chance 6:4-8
v4 They who turn against God cannot comeback to him. These people once knew the truth. They have glimpsed heaven. Theyhave had an experience of the Holy Spirit. v5They have known the goodness of God’s word. They have known something of thepowers of the world to come. v6Now they refuse all this. It is as if such people fix the Son of God to thecross once again. They bring shame on him in public. v7 The ground that drinks the rain that often falls upon it,makes plants grow for the people who farm. God blesses that ground. v8 But if the land grows nothing but weeds,it is not worth anything. In the end men will burn it.
Verses 4-6Here is a warning to us that we Christians must not turn away from the truthabout Jesus that we have come to know.
There aresome people who once said that they were Christians, but now have turnedagainst Christ. They saw the true light of the good news of Jesus. They tastedthe goodness of God. They knew something of the work of the Holy Spirit. Theyheard and knew the truth of the word of God. They had some impression of thecoming age when we shall see the power of God. They once knew all this. But nowthey deny it. Now they cannot expect God to forgive them again. By turning awayfrom Jesus, they have cut themselves off from life with God. Their action putsJesus to public shame. It is as if they are killing him again. They will notfind any way back to God.
Many peopleunderstand this part of the Bible to show that a *believer can turn fromChrist. He can lose his life in Jesus. If this were to happen, he would be in aworse state than before. He would not be able to *repent and come to Christagain.
Tounderstand the Bible, we need to look at all that it teaches. A true *believeris a changed person. He has a new life in Jesus. That new life will be foreverwith Jesus. That life can never die or be destroyed. The true Christian is,therefore, safe in Jesus. He is not able to fall from *belief. It is notpossible for him to go back to what he was before. So these verses are nottalking about a true *believer.
It may bethat many *Jews had come to see the truth in Jesus. But when they saw thetrouble that came to Christians because of their *faith, they turned back totheir old ways.
Themessage for us is that we must always trust in Jesus. We must go on to know Godbetter. We must not turn back but continue to follow him.
Verses 7-8The writer gives an example to show the fate of the person who turns back fromChrist. The ground often has the good rain fall upon it. If it grows good cropsfor the farmer, God blesses it. If it only grows weeds, it is *useless. Peoplewill burn the weeds. We who trust in Jesus must show our *faith by the way thatwe live. As God blesses us, we should become what he wants us to be. If we donot receive the blessing of God, we shall not be what he wants us to be. If wegrow as God wants, he will bless us. If we are not what he desires, God willjudge us.
Go on in the *faith 6:9-12
v9 Dear friends, although we speak likethis, we are sure of better things in your case. God has saved you from your*sins. v10 God does what is right.He will not fail to notice your work and the love that you have shown to him.You showed your love by helping his people. You are still helping them. v11 We want each of you to be eager tocontinue this to the end. Then you will be certain of your future hope. v12 We do not want you to become lazy. Copythose who by *belief and patience will receive what God has promised.
Verse 9The writer has just warned his readers in strict words. But he does not want toleave them in despair and doubt. He calls them his ‘dear friends’ to show thathe cares for them. He tells them that he is sure that they will grow as strongChristians. They will go on to receive the many good things that come withtheir knowledge of Christ. He does not tell us what these things are. But weknow that they must be good gifts, because they come from God.
Verse 10He is sure about them because of who God is. God is right and true. He will notforget what they have done. Their *belief in God was the cause of theiractions. Because they really did trust in God, they showed it by a change intheir lives. They helped other people because they loved God. They were stilldoing these good works to help the servants of God. This should be true of ustoday. If we love God, we shall love his people, and help them in whatever waywe can.
Verse 11The desire of the writer is that his Christian readers will be eager to livefor God to the end of their lives. In this way they will make more sure thehope that they have in Christ. Hope is a certain future with God. As we go onwith Jesus, we get more confident of it. What we hope for will happen one day.After we leave this earth, we shall live and be happy with God forever.
Verse 12It is easier to rest than to go on. So he writes that they should not be lazy.They should copy the men and women who have proved their *belief. TheseChristians may have suffered much for their *belief in Jesus. But they haveheld on to the promises of God. They will receive in full all that God haspromised.
God’s promise is sure 6:13-20
v13 When God gave a promise to Abraham, hemade it certain by adding a *vow in his own name. He could not *vow in anyother name, for no name is greater than his. v14He said, ‘I will be sure to bless you and give you many children’ (Genesis22:17). v15 Abraham was patientfor a long time, and then he got what God had promised. v16 People make a *vow in the name ofsomeone greater than themselves. They do this to show that they will do withoutdoubt what they promise. A *vow makes the promise certain. v17 When God made a promise, he wanted toconvince the people that he would do as he said. So he made a *vow in his ownname that he would keep his promise. v18Nobody can change these two things, because God cannot lie. He promised with a*vow, so that we who have run to him for protection can have great comfort. Weknow that he will do what he has promised. In this we can have a sure hope. v19 This hope fastens our souls as to asure base, firm and safe. It goes right into God’s holy place. v20 Jesus has gone there ahead of us. Godhas made him the chief priest for always, like Melchizedek.
Verse 13Abraham is the best example of trust and hope in God. God called him to leavehis home and go to a far country. From then on Abraham went where God led him.God counted him as right, for he trusted and obeyed his word. This is why Godmade promises to him. To show that the promises were certain, God added a *vowin his own name. He used his own name for there is no greater name. The use ofa *vow shows that the promises were for a future time. So Abraham had to liveand wait in hope and trust.
Verse 14Abraham trusted God that his promise of a son was true. Although Abraham andhis wife were really too old to have children, God still gave them a son. Godpromised that from this son there would come a great nation. (That nation was*Israel.) God told Abraham of his plans for their future. One of these plans isthat they will do good for all the nations of the earth. It is from that nationthat the Christ (Jesus) has come to save the world. When Jesus comes backagain, he will make the nation of *Israel great. They will lead the world forgood.
Verse 15Abraham had to wait and trust God to do what he had said. The birth of his sonIsaac came 25 years after God had made the promise to him. It was 60 yearslater before the birth of his grandson Jacob. It was this part of the promisethat he did see. He died before Jacob and his children went down to live in theland of *Egypt. When they left *Egypt, 400 years later, they became the nationof *Israel. Abraham had died without seeing God do all that he promised. He nowlives with God and looks for God to complete what he has said he would do.
Verse 16When people want to show that they really mean what they say, they use a *vow.They call on the name of a more important person to be a *witness that whatthey say, they will do. This person may be their king or their god, but someonegreater than they are. The *vow is then like a law for all the persons there.They will punish any person who breaks his *vow.
Verse 17God himself did not need to make a *vow. He will always do what he says,because he is true. That is his character. Yet he made a *vow on this occasion,so that Abraham could have no doubt that God would do it. The purpose of Goddoes not change. He will do what he plans to do. That is what the *vow said.The *vow was not just for Abraham. It was to the heirs of promise. They are thepeople who follow him both by birth and by *belief. All who believe in Jesus,God counts as sons of Abraham. We who trust in God are the heirs of thepromises of God.
Verse 18God has given us two things that cannot change. They are his promise and his*vow. Once God had spoken in this way, there was no way that he could changehis mind. It is not possible for God to tell a lie. All who turn to God cantrust the hope that God’s promise gives for the future. This hope will keep usfrom any despair in this life.
Verses19-20 Hope is to us like the *anchor is to a boat. An *anchor holds the boatsteady and at rest. It goes down in the water to the seabed. There it is firmand will not move. Our hope holds us firm. With hope we can have a quiet heart,even when there are troubles round about us. It reaches to the holy place whereGod is. It goes into the place where Jesus has gone as our chief priest. Hewent there for us. He is there as our agent before God. Because Jesus has goneto be with God, we know that we also shall go there one day. When Jesus went toGod for us he became a chief priest like Melchizedek, as we saw in chapter 5:6.
Jesus is superior to Melchizedek 7:1-28
v1 This Melchizedek was king of *Salem andpriest of God Most High. He met Abraham returning from the defeat of the kingsand blessed him. v2 Abraham gavehim a tenth of all that he had. Melchizedek's name means ‘king of what isright’. It also means ‘king of *Salem’, that is, ‘king of peace’. v3 There is no reference to his father ormother or family. There is no record of his birth or death. He is like the Sonof God, because he always remains a priest.
v4 Think how great Melchizedek was! Eventhe father of our people, Abraham, gave him a tenth part of what he won in awar. v5 The sons of Levi whobecame priests had the right by law to take a tenth part from what their peoplehad. This is so, even if both priests and people all came from Abraham. v6 This man, Melchizedek, did not come fromthe family of Levi. Yet he received a tenth part from Abraham, although Abrahamhad the promises of God. v7 Thereis no doubt that those who are less important receive a blessing from one whois greater than they are. v8 Inthe first case, men who will die one day are receiving the tenth part. In theother case, one who the Bible declares will always live. v9 In fact, we could say that even Levi,who also received the tenth part, already paid it through Abraham. v10 For when Melchizedek met Abraham, Leviwas not born. Levi was not a member of Abraham’s family until much later.
Verse 1Melchizedek was the king of *Salem. *Salem was probably a short form of‘*Jerusalem’.
He was notonly a king, but also a priest of the most high God. In those days it was notunusual for a king to be a priest. For the *Jews, a king could not be a priest.The Bible speaks of their *Messiah, who was to come. He would be both a kingand a priest.
Genesischapter 14 tells how 5 kings came and attacked the kings of the land. Theyseized many of the people and their goods. Among them was Lot, who was a nephewof Abraham. So Abraham went after them and fought the 5 kings. He overcame themand brought back all the people and the goods. Then Melchizedek, priest of themost high God, met him and brought out bread and wine. He blessed Abraham inthe name of God most high.
Verse 2Abraham gave him a tenth part of all the goods that he had taken in the fight.The name ‘Melchizedek’ means ‘king of what is right’ and ‘*Salem’ means‘peace’. So this man was the king of right and peace. In this he is a pictureof the *Messiah (that is, of the Christ) for whom the *Jews were waiting.
Verse 3The Bible does not tell us anything about the family of Melchizedek. There isno mention of his father or his mother. It was as if he had no parents. The*Jews took this to mean that he had no beginning. There is no record of hisdeath. They took this to mean that he did not die. Here is a person who to themwas a priest before time began. He will be a priest without end. He was likethe Son of God who was in the beginning and ever will be. The priests of the*Jews had to be of the family of Levi. The family records had to mention theirparents, their births and their deaths. Of course, they could not continue aspriests when they died. But Melchizedek was a priest of a different kind thatlasts for all time. Jesus is a priest like this. He was not of the family ofLevi. He is the Son of God and he lives forever.
Verse 4 Inthe next 7 verses the writer shows that as a priest Melchizedek is greater thanAaron. Aaron was of the family of Levi and he was the first chief priest of*Israel. There are 4 things that show that Melchizedek is greater than Aaron:
· He accepted a tenth part of all that Abrahamhad taken from the kings (verses 4-5)
· He blessed Abraham (verses 6-7)
· He was a priest forever. Aaron could only bea priest while he was alive (verse 8)
· He must be greater than Levi, who came fromthe family of Abraham, much later (verses 9-10)
It was thecustom to give the gods the best part of the things taken in war. It was a wayof giving thanks for their help in battle. The leader would give these gifts tothe priest of his god. The priest who received the gift would be more importantthan the one who gave it. So here, Abraham gave the best part to Melchizedek asthe priest of the most high God. Melchizedek accepted the gifts and this showsthat he was more important than Abraham.
Verse 5Abraham and Sarah gave birth to Isaac. Isaac had two sons, Esau and Jacob.Jacob had 12 sons and God changed his name to *Israel. His 12 sons became theheads of the 12 *tribes of *Israel. Levi was one of these sons. Later, from the*tribe of Levi God chose the sons of Aaron to be the priests. By the law ofMoses the people of *Israel had to give a tenth part of all that they had toGod. It was these sons of Levi who collected the tenth parts, although it wasfrom their own people who formed the 12 *tribes.
Verses 6-7Melchizedek did not come from the family of Levi. Yet he received the tenthpart from Abraham and blessed him.
Abrahamwas a great man. God had called him and led him. God had promised to make himgreat. His family were to own the whole of the land that God had shown him.They were to be a blessing to all the people on earth. This shows how greatAbraham was. But it is true that the one who blesses is greater than the onewhom he blesses. Melchizedek blessed Abraham in the name of the most high God.So he must have been greater than even Abraham.
Verse 8Aaron and the priests who came after him were only men. They lived and died.While they were alive, they took the tenth part from the people. There is norecord of the birth or death of Melchizedek. The *Jews took this to mean thathe was still a priest, and still alive. In this way, the writer shows thatMelchizedek is greater than Aaron.
Verses9-10 It was from the sons of Levi that the priests came. Levi was a son ofJacob. Jacob was a son of Isaac. Isaac was the son of Abraham. So Levi camefrom Abraham. When Abraham gave Melchizedek the tenth part, Levi had not beenborn. The idea is that Levi was still in his parents, and that they were stillin their parents. In this way one can say that the priests in the family ofLevi already paid the tenth part through Abraham. This again shows thatMelchizedek is greater than Levi. And because Jesus is a priest likeMelchizedek, he too is greater than the priests of the *Jews.
King and priest 7:11-14
v11 The Hebrews received the law of Moseswhile Levi and his sons were priests. If those priests and what they did hadbeen good enough, what need would there have been for another kind of priest?Yet another kind of priest did come. He was one like Melchizedek and not arelative of Aaron’s. v12 Anychange in the kind of priests requires a change in the law of Moses as well. v13 The man we are talking about did notcome from the family of Levi. He belonged to a family that had never served aspriests. v14 For it is clear thatour *Lord came from the family of *Judah (Revelation 5:5). Moses said nothingabout priests from that family.
Verse 11God gave the people the law by Moses and made Aaron the first chief priest. Thepurpose of the priests was to link men and women to God. To do this the priestshad to offer sacrifices to God on the people’s behalf. No person is perfect andwithout *sin in the sight of God, and this includes the priests of Levi’sfamily. They were not good enough, because of their *sins. But God said thatthere would be a new kind of priest, one like Melchizedek. There would havebeen no need for a different type of priest if the priests of Levi’s family hadbeen perfect.
Verse 12It was the law of Moses that set up the priests of Levi’s family. So adifferent kind of priest required a change in the law of Moses about*sacrifice.
Verse 13Under the old law, all priests had to come from the family of Levi. Aaron camefrom this family. Levi was one of the 12 sons of Jacob, who became the heads ofthe 12 *tribes of *Israel. No priest came from any of the other sons. The oldlaw did not allow it. Jesus came from the family of *Judah and not from thefamily of Levi.
Verse 14There is no doubt that the *Messiah was to come from *Judah (Micah 5:2). The*prophets also said that he was to come from the family of David (Isaiah 16:5).He is king David's greater son. The *Jews knew this. They knew that *Messiahwould be both king and priest. Yet Moses never said that a priest would comefrom the family of *Judah.
Christ is greater, for he is alive forever 7:15-19
v15 What we have said becomes even clearerif another kind of priest like Melchizedek appears. He did. v16 But it was not because of anyrelationship to Levi. Jesus became a priest by the power of a life that has noend. v17 For the Bible says abouthim, ‘You are a priest always, like Melchizedek’ (Psalm 110:4). v18 God has put the old law aside, for itwas weak and failed in its purpose. v19The old law did not make anything right. God brought in a better hope by whichwe can approach him.
Verses15-16 Jesus has come as a priest after the type of Melchizedek. Melchizedek wasa king and a priest. He was not a priest by the law that came by Moses. He wasa priest before God gave the law to Moses. This is also true about Jesus, forhe was God before the law came. The *Jews did not know where Melchizedek camefrom and had no record of his death. So they saw a life which had no beginningand no end. Jesus was with God in the beginning and he will have no end. He isthe priest who has made the perfect *sacrifice. He lives forever as the priestbefore God on our behalf.
Verse 17It is God who made Jesus the new chief priest. God said to Jesus, ‘You are apriest forever after the type of Melchizedek’ (Psalm 110:4). In this he makesJesus greater than the law of Moses which set up the priests of Levi. Thosepriests were *human and so had to die one day. Jesus lives forever. He is theonly one who can always be our agent to God.
Verses18-19 The law that God gave to Moses was good. By that law the priests of Levicame to God on behalf of the people. But that law was also weak, because peoplecould not do all that the law said. No matter how hard people tried to keep thelaw, they failed because they *sinned. But now, because Jesus is our priest,God will accept us. This is better than the old law. There is no need now forthe sacrifices that the priests of the family of Levi offered. By what God hasdone through Jesus, we can be sure of life with him both now and forever. Wehave to trust in Jesus and follow him. Jesus is now our chief priest and he isfar better than priests of the old law. He has come and he has made the oneperfect *sacrifice for us. He accepts all our *sins by dying on our behalf. AsGod accepts what Jesus has done, he makes us clean from all *sin.
Christ is greater because of the promise of God 7:20-22
v20 Moreover this hope came with a *vowfrom God. By the old law, men became priests without a *vow. v21 Jesus became a priest with a *vow. Godsaid to him, ‘The *Lord has made a *vow and will not change his mind. You are apriest always (Psalm 110:4)’. v22So Jesus has been able to make a better and a more certain agreement with Godon our behalf.
Verses20-21 When the sons of Aaron became priests, it could only be while they lived.But the word that God spoke about Jesus made him a priest forever (Psalm110:4). When God makes a *vow, it means that he will never change what he hasvowed. He said that Jesus is a priest forever and so we know that this is true.
Verse 22The old law of Moses appointed sacrifices, but these could not make peopleclean from *sin. Priests who offered these sacrifices were like other menbecause in the end they too had to die. But Jesus offered the *sacrifice ofhimself on our behalf, and that has effect for all time. He is the priest wholives forever. God accepts his *sacrifice for us. He is the agent of God tobring us his blessing. He is our agent to God to bring us to him. Jesus canmake us ready and clean to live with God forever. In this he is greater thanthe old law of Moses and all other priests.
Christ is greater because he is a priest forever 7:23-25
v23 Now there have been many priests of theold law. They could not continue to be priests when they died. v24 But Jesus lives always, and so he willalways be a priest. v25 Thereforehe is able to make perfect all who come to God by him. This is because healways lives to pray for them.
Verses23-24 Under the old law of Moses there were many priests. They all died in theend, for they were only men like us. They could not be priests after they haddied. There had to be new priests to take their place. With Jesus all haschanged. He is alive and will never die again. He is our one and only priest.We have no need of other priests. There will be no more priests, for Jesus willalways be alive. God has made him to be the one priest for all time and for allpeople.
Verse 25Jesus is the one priest who will be with God forever. He has made the one*sacrifice that is perfect and God accepts that *sacrifice for all time. Healone has the power to make us whole. By it Jesus makes us clean and takes awayall our *sins. It is Jesus who can make us right with God. It is only by Jesusthat we can come to God. As he lives with God, he is the agent of all whobelieve in him. God accepts all who trust in Jesus, because of what he has donefor us.
Christ is greater for he has offered a better *sacrifice7:26-28
v26 We need such a chief priest as Jesus.He is holy, pure, and has no shame, for he has never *sinned. God took him awayfrom those who *sin and he is now above the heavens. v27 Jesus does not need to make sacrifices every day as theother chief priests did. They had to do so, first for their own *sins and thenfor the *sins of the people. Jesus did this once for all time when hesacrificed himself for us. He did not need to do this on his own behalf, for hewas perfect and without *sin. v28The law makes men chief priests, but they are weak. The *vow of God, which camelater than the law, makes the Son the chief priest. He is perfect and livesalways.
Verse 26Jesus is the chief priest who satisfies all our needs. He is the perfect priestfor us. He is much more than a *human, for he is also God. He is not distantfrom us. He has lived on earth as a *human being. He knows all the problemsthat we have. He knows how we feel. In all his life here he did no *sin. Helived a perfect life with his God. He died to take away all that was wrong inus. As our chief priest, he always lives as our agent with God. He has takenhis place with God as the king of heaven.
Verse 27For the old law there had to be sacrifices made every day for the *sins of thepeople. In addition the chief priest went once a year into the most holy placeto offer sacrifices. The chief priest first had to offer a *sacrifice for hisown *sins. Then he offered a *sacrifice for the *sins of the men and women.Jesus did not need to offer any *sacrifice on his own behalf, because he had no*sin. He offered the *sacrifice of himself for the *sins of us all. What he didis the complete answer for all our *sins. We have no need now for any*sacrifice other than the one which he offered.
Verse 28The law of Moses made men chief priests. These men were weak, as are all men.We all do wrong and we all die. The law came from God, but it had to work withweak men and women and so could never satisfy their need. In contrast, God byhis word made Jesus the chief priest. Jesus is not weak as we are. He did nowrong and he came back from the dead. He continues to live a perfect life andwill never die. He is able to make us clean from all *sin, so that we can bewith God.
4 Jesus is the better *mediator 8:1-10:39
A new and better agreement 8:1-13
The work of Christ is greater than that of the old priests8:1-7
v1 This is what we have been saying. We dohave such a great chief priest. He sat down at the right side of God’s *throne.This is the place in heaven of all power and honour. v2 He is the priest in the true holy place where God lives. Itwas the *Lord who made that place and not *humans. v3 It is the task of all chief priests to bring gifts andoffer sacrifices to God. So this chief priest also must have something tooffer.
v4 If he were on earth, he would not be apriest. There are already men here who offer the gifts that the law of Mosesdemands. v5 The holy place where theydo this is a model and copy of what is in heaven. God told Moses to erect aspecial tent for *worship. He warned Moses to make it to the exact plan in allits details. God gave him the plan when they met on the mountain. v6 God has given Jesus a much greater workto do than they had. Jesus has made a better agreement with God for us thanthey could have done. It has the better promises of God as its base. v7 If the first agreement had been perfect,there would have been no need to make another agreement.
Verse 1What we are saying is this. We have a chief priest who is so great that he satdown at God’s right hand. The right hand of God is the place of highest honourin heaven. For Jesus to sit down there shows that he has finished the work thathe came here to do. By dying on our behalf, Jesus has made it possible for usto go to be with God.
Verse 2 Inthe time of Moses the *Israelites had a special tent in the desert. They madethis tent to the plan that God gave them. In it there was the holy place, whichwas the special place of *worship. God did not allow anyone to go into thisholy place except the chief priest. That special tent was a model of the trueholy place in heaven which God has made. It is here that Jesus, as our chiefpriest, now works for our benefit. The *sacrifice that Jesus offered for us wascomplete when he died. So he does not need to offer any other *sacrifice forour *sin. He can speak to God on our behalf and offer him our prayers.
Verse 3The duty of the chief priest was to offer gifts and sacrifices to God on behalfof the people. God made Jesus the chief priest. So he also needs to havesomething to offer to God for us. The chief priests had to bring gifts andsacrifices to God all the time. Jesus did it only once and for all time, whenhe gave himself. The priests of the old agreement always stood, for their workwas not complete. Jesus, having died once for *sins, sat down to show that hehad finished this part of his work.
Verse 4 IfJesus were still on earth, he would not be a priest at all. There were alreadypriests under the old agreement from the family of Aaron. Jesus did not evencome from that family.
Verse 5The special tent was only a model or copy. Moses made the special tent and allthe things in it, as God told him (Exodus 25:40; 26:30). This special tent wasto teach the people about the true place of *worship in heaven. It is in thisplace in heaven where Jesus is our chief priest.
Verse 6The better place in heaven where Jesus now works shows that he is greater thanthose priests. He has made a better agreement with God on our behalf. Thatagreement includes better promises than the old agreement. The writer willmention those promises in verses 8-12.
Verse 7The old agreement that God gave to Moses included the rules by which the peopleshould live. The agreement was good, for it came from God, and all its ruleswere right. The fault with it was that nobody was able to do all that it said.Nobody could keep the agreement. That is why there was the need for anotheragreement. The new one had to provide a way for men and women to get right withGod.
The new agreement replaces the old one 8:8-13
v8 The people did not please God. He saysin the Bible, ‘The time will come, says the *Lord, when I will make a newagreement with the people of *Israel and the people of *Judah. v9 It will not be like the agreement that Imade with those whom I took by the hand and led out of *Egypt. They did notremain true to that agreement, so I turned away from them, says the *Lord. v10 After that time, the *Lord says, I willmake a new agreement with the people of *Israel. This is what it will be. Iwill put my laws in their minds and I will write them on their hearts. I willbe their God and they shall be my people. v11Nobody will need to teach his neighbour or his brother to know the *Lord. Allof them will know me, from the least of them to the most important. v12 I will forgive them the *sins that theyhave done. I will remember their *sins no more’. v13 God calls this agreement new. That makes the firstagreement out of date. What is old and out of date soon disappears.
Verse 8From verse 8 to the end of verse 12 the author copies words from Jeremiah31:31-34. He uses these words to show that the old agreement is no longer inoperation. The new agreement, that Jesus brought, has taken its place. It wasnot that there was a fault with the old agreement. The fault was with people,because nobody could obey the agreement.
Mostagreements are between two persons or groups. They both agree to do all that itrequires of them. The new agreement is not like that. No mere *human can makean agreement with God. Here it says, ‘I will make a new agreement’. This meansthat God himself will arrange the new agreement. He will also make a way for itto achieve its purpose. The old agreement was with the peoples of *Israel and*Judah, and the new agreement will be for them. It will not only be for them,but for all who trust in Jesus.
Verse 9The people of *Israel were once slaves in *Egypt. God in his love and kindnessto them rescued them from that country. He was like a father who leads hischildren by the hand to a place of safety. It was then that he made the oldagreement with them. They failed to do what they had agreed to do. They keptturning away from God. In the end God turned away from them.
Verse 10From the failures of the past, Jeremiah looks to the future. There had been asplit in the nation of *Israel. Of the original 12 *tribes, 10 had become thenew nation of *Israel. The other two *tribes formed the nation of *Judah. Bythe time of Jeremiah, *Israel did not exist any more. They had been so bad thatGod had scattered them among the nations. *Judah was as bad and God was about toscatter them too. Jeremiah saw a time when God will bring *Israel and *Judahback to their own land. God will make a new agreement with them.
God wrotethe laws of the old agreement on stones. He will write the new rules on theminds and hearts of men and women. People did not have the power to carry outthe old agreement. But now God will give them power to obey the new rules. Thatpower is the *Spirit of God, who will live in the hearts of his people. Thenthey will not turn away from God. God will accept them as his own people.
Verse 11All who enter into the new agreement will know God. They will be able to speakdirectly with God. There will be no need for anyone to teach them to know the*Lord. God himself will teach them.
Verse 12The key to the new agreement is the fact that God will forgive *sin. It is notthat God will just forget our *sins. He puts them right out of his mind foralways. This is because Jesus has paid the cost of all our *sins. As we trustin Jesus, he makes us free from our *sins. As we come to God in Jesus, heaccepts what Jesus has done and forgives us completely.
Verse 13In saying that the agreement is new, God makes the earlier agreement old. Thenew replaces the old and the old is at an end. The old agreement has no effect,for it is of no use now that the new one has come.
A new way to praise God 9:1-28
The old holy place 9:1-10
v1 The first agreement had rules forpraising God and giving him honour and respect. It had a special holy placehere on earth. v2 Moses set up a largespecial tent. The first area contained the lamp and the table with the holybread on it. This was the holy place. v3Behind the second curtain there was a room that was the most holy place. v4 In here there was an *altar of gold onwhich priests burned special *incense. There was also a special large box madeof wood and covered with gold. This box was the box of the agreement. In it wasthe gold jar that contained bread from heaven. There was also Aaron’s stickthat began to grow, and the stones on which God wrote the agreement. v5 On top of the special box there were theshapes of two special *angels. Their wings spread over the box. Under theshadow of their wings, on top of the box, was a lid of pure gold. We cannotspeak in detail of these things now.
v6 While this special tent was in use, thepriests went in and out of the first room to do their work. v7 Only the chief priest could go into theinner room. He had to go in, by himself and only once a year. When he went in,he had to take blood with him. He offered the blood to God for the *sins hehimself had done. He offered blood also for any *sins that the people had donewithout realising it. v8 The HolySpirit was teaching that the way into the most holy place in heaven was not yetopen. He would not show it while the first special tent was in use. v9 The old special tent was an image, or acopy, for the present time. In the tent the priests offered gifts andsacrifices to God. Yet these could not make the conscience clean before God. v10 The gifts and sacrifices were only foodand drink. There were rules on how to wash and other rules to do with the body.These rules were there until the time of the new agreement.
Verse 1 Toshow how much better the new agreement is, the author writes first about theold agreement. The old agreement included the rules about *worship, that is,how to praise and honour God. This was to take place in a special holy place.Its use was only for here on earth, not in heaven.
Verse 2 AsGod had told Moses, they set up a large special tent. This special tent had twoparts. The outer part of the special tent was the holy place. The inner partwas the most holy place. In the outer part, the holy place, were a special oillamp and a special table. Skilled workmen made the special lamp to the exactplan that God gave to Moses (Exodus 25:31-40). On the table was the holy bread.There were 12 loaves of this bread. Every Saturday, Aaron had to replace themwith fresh loaves of bread. After the death of Aaron, the chief priest of thetime would do this. The priests, but nobody else, ate the old loaves when theytook them off the table. They had to eat the loaves in the holy place, for thisbread was holy to the *Lord.
Verse 3Through a second curtain was the most holy place. This was the very specialplace where the chief priest met with God. Only the chief priest could go inthere and only once a year. The curtain was there so that nobody else couldapproach God.
Verse 4 Bythe curtain, near the special box of the agreement, was an *altar of gold(Exodus 30:1-6). On it the priests burned *incense every day.
Thespecial box of the agreement was a large box made of wood, with gold all overit (Exodus 25:10-22). In this special box of the agreement were three things.
There wasthe gold jar of the bread from heaven (Exodus 16). When the people went throughthe desert God fed them. He sent bread each morning for them to collect andeat. God told them to put some of it into this jar. It was there to remind themof how God cared for them.
The stickof Aaron that came into flower was there (Numbers 17). There had been troublein the camp of *Israel. Some people did not accept that Moses and Aaron werethe right leaders for them. So God told them to put a stick for each *tribe inthe special tent. The next day, the stick of Aaron had flowers and fruit on it.The other sticks were just dead sticks. So God showed them that he had chosenMoses and Aaron. God told them to put this stick into the special box ofagreement to remind the people how God had led them.
Also inthe special box of the agreement were the stones on which God had written the10 laws. He had given these to Moses on the mountain top (Deuteronomy 5). These10 laws were the rules that the people had to obey.
Verse 5There was a figure of a *cherub on each end of the lid of the special box ofthe agreement. The *cherubs were special *angels who were to show that God wasthere in all his honour. God told Moses to make the figures of gold. They facedeach other across the lid of the box. Their wings spread over the box. The liditself was of pure gold. This was the place where the chief priest had to putthe blood of the *sacrifice for *sin. Each year when he did this, God said thathe would forgive the *sins of the priest and people.
It was notthe writer’s purpose to explain what all these things meant. He wanted to showhow much better the real things in heaven are than these.
Verse 6The priests had to go into the outer part of the special tent every day. Theyprepared the lamps in the morning and lit them in the evening. They had to sayprayers to God at fixed times in the morning and in the evening. At these timesthe priests burned *incense on the *altar of gold. Each week they had to changethe bread.
Verse 7The chief priest went into the most holy place once a year. When it says once ayear, it means on one day of the year. He had to go in more than once on thatday. The priest was in danger of the anger of God, when he went into the mostholy place. There had to be the right sacrifices made to God to make it safefor him. He had to make a *sacrifice for his own *sins on the *altar. Then hewent in with some of the blood and put it on the lid of the special box of theagreement. Then God forgave his *sins. Then the chief priest made a *sacrificefor the *sins of the people. He went in again with some of that blood and putit on the gold lid of the special box. Then he asked God to forgive the peopleas well.
Verse 8The Holy Spirit used the special tent to teach us an important truth. It wasthat there was no way that the people could go directly to God. Only thepriests could go into the holy place. Even they could not go beyond that. Thechief priest alone could go to God in the most holy place. He could only gothere on one day of the year (Leviticus 16).
While thatform of *worship was in use there, the *Spirit did not tell about the directway to God.
Verse 9The ‘present time’ could mean the time when the special tent was in use. Inthose days the direct way to God was not yet open. It could mean the time whenthe author was writing. The direct way to God was now open in Jesus. In the oldspecial tent the priests offered gifts and sacrifices to God. The problem wasthat these had no power to change a person’s heart and mind. These could notclean the conscience from *sin and so make the people right with God.
Verse 10There were strict laws about food and drink. The *Jews had a lot of rules aboutwashing and for much of their daily lives. These were all to do with theoutside of a person and had no effect on the inside of a person. These old lawsapplied until the time of the new agreement came. The new agreement put an endto the old laws and replaced them with a better way.
The blood of Christ 9:11-14
v11 Jesus has now come as the chief priestof the good things that have come. He has gone into the better and more perfecttent. Men did not make this special tent and it does not belong to this world. v12 Jesus did not take the blood of goatsand young cows into the most holy place. He took his own blood into the mostholy place, once for all time. He has purchased us with his life so that we maylive always with God. v13 Thepriest took the blood of goats and young cows and the ashes of a young cow. Heput them on the people who had done bad things. This made their bodies clean. v14 The blood of Jesus will do much morethan clean bodies. By the Holy Spirit who lives always, Jesus offered himselfto God on our behalf. He was the perfect *sacrifice for all who have *sinned.He is able to make our conscience clean from all the *sins that lead to death.By him we may now serve the God who lives always.
Verse 11The writer does not tell us what the good things are that have come. It must bethe sum of all that Jesus has won for us by his death and *resurrection. He isnow our chief priest of the new agreement. The place where he is, as our agent,is much better than the old tent. That was only a copy of the true place of*worship. This is where Jesus has gone. This is the holiest place of all, wherehe meets with God on our behalf.
Verse 12By the blood, the priests went into the most holy place in the special tent.Jesus did not need the blood of animals. Those priests had to offer a*sacrifice for their own *sins. Jesus was perfect, and so he had no need forsuch a *sacrifice. He has gone, on our behalf into the true and holiest placeof all. There had to be a *sacrifice for our *sins. Jesus died once for the*sins of all people and his blood, that is, his death, is sufficient for alltime. The text seems to say that Jesus took his blood into that place. It meansrather that he went in because of the value of the blood that he gave on ourbehalf. With his death Jesus paid the price to set us free from *sin. Now inhim we can be right with God and can go and live forever with him.
Verse 13The blood of goats and young cows and their ashes had the effect of cleaning aperson on the outside. This could not take away a person’s *sin, for that is onthe inside. Nor could it make a person right with God. It is only the blood ofJesus that can make the conscience clean. It is only the blood of Christ thatcan remove the *sin.
Verse 14Jesus was both *human and God. He was perfect and had no *sin in him. How muchmore effect must the blood of Jesus have than the blood of animals! There are threereasons why his blood is so special:
· It was by the*Spirit that he offered himself. Several times the *prophet Isaiah spoke aboutthe servant of the *Lord who was coming one day. (This refers to the *Messiah,that is, Jesus Christ. ‘Christ’ means *Messiah.) On the first occasion, Godsays, ‘I have put my *Spirit upon him’ (Isaiah 42:1). This means that all thatJesus would do would be with God’s power. This includes his final great act ofdying to take away our *sins.
· Jesus freelyoffered himself, for he agreed to do so. He was ready to be a *sacrifice forthe *sins of us all. He gave himself for us.
· He was perfectand had no *sin, yet he offered himself to God. He was the one perfect*sacrifice that could pay for the *sin of all of us. He is the one *sacrificethat would please God.
So Jesusis able to make our consciences clean through his blood, and so to make usright with God.
Christ brings us into the new agreement 9:15-22
v15 Therefore Jesus is the one who obtainedfor us the new agreement with God. When Jesus died, he paid for all the *sinsthat people had done under the first agreement. The people whom God now callscan have what he promised. That is, a place in heaven that will always betheirs. v16 Before a person dies,he can say who is to own his things after his death. He writes down his wishesin an agreement. Before anyone can take his things, there has to be proof thatthe person who owned them has died. v17Because this agreement is for after the person dies, it has no value while theone who made it is still alive. v18This is why even the first agreement had no value without a death. v19 Moses read aloud all the commands ofthe law to all the people. Then he took the blood of young cows and goats, andsome water. With red wool and branches of *hyssop, he put some on the book andsome on all the people. v20 As hedid so he said, ‘This is the blood of the agreement which God has commanded youto obey’ (Exodus 24:8). v21 In thesame way he put some of the blood on the special tent. He also put some on allthe things that the priests used in their work. v22 In fact, by the old law, the use of blood makes nearlyeverything clean. If there is no *sacrifice of blood, God will not forgive our*sins.
Verse 15Because Jesus can make us clean from *sin, he is the one who brings us into thenew agreement with God. His blood was the price that he paid to make us freefrom *sin. The sacrifices of old were to show the death of Jesus that was tocome one day. This *sacrifice of Jesus was there for those who lived under theold agreement. It is there as well for us who live under the new agreement. Theway to heaven is the same for all whom God calls. All who trust in Jesus willhave a place in heaven. That place will always be there and so will they.
Verses16-17 Most types of agreement are where two persons agree and both have rightsand responsibilities. There is also an agreement made by one person. This iswhen a person says what should happen to his property when he dies. While thisperson is still alive, the agreement has no value. It comes into effect onlywhen the person who made it is has died. Those who would benefit from theagreement have to show that its maker is dead. Then they can take thepossessions left to them in the agreement.
Verse 18God made both the old and the new agreements. In the old agreement, God toldthe people what they had to do. He promised life to them, if they kept all hislaws. But even this first agreement had no worth without the blood of a*sacrifice.
Verses19-21 When Moses received the first agreement he did two things. First, he readaloud to the people all God’s laws that they were to obey. He made sure thatthey understood what God was asking them to do. He told them of the good thatwould come to them, if they obeyed God’s laws. He told them of the punishmentthat would follow, if they did not obey God’s laws.
Then hetook the blood of young cows and goats. Using red wool and *hyssop, he put someof the blood, with water, on the book of God’s law. He put some of it on thepeople as well. This was to wash all things and make them clean at the start ofthe agreement. As he did this, he told the people that they must do all thatGod demands.
Moses tooksome blood and put it on the special tent. He also put some on all the thingsthat the priests would use in *worship (Exodus 24:4-8).
Verse 22When the writer says that blood cleans almost all things, there were somethings which did not need blood. Fire could make some metal objects clean.Those who were too poor to bring even a small bird as a *sacrifice could bringflour (Leviticus 5:11-13). To make a person clean from *sin there had to beblood. For those who were too poor to *sacrifice an animal, there was still theblood of sacrifices that the priests used on behalf of all the people. Therehad to be a *sacrifice of blood for God to forgive *sin. Where there is noblood, God will not forgive *sin.
The perfect *sacrifice 9:23-28
v23 The first agreement gave copies onearth of the real things that are in heaven. These copies had to be clean. Theblood of the sacrifices of goats and young cows made the copies clean. The realthings in heaven need much better sacrifices than animals. v24 For Jesus did not go into the holyplace made by men. That was only a copy of the true one. He went into heavenitself. Now he is there before God on our behalf. v25 The chief priest of the old agreement had to go into themost holy place once every year. He had to take blood with him. It was not hisown blood, but the blood of an animal. Jesus does not need to go to heavenagain and again with his blood. v26If he had needed to do this, he would have had to die many times since theworld began. As it is, Jesus came once in these last days. He came to take awayall *sin. He died once for all time as the perfect *sacrifice.
v27 Everyone will die one day, and thenafterwards stand before God. He will be their judge. v28 So Jesus died once as the *sacrifice. By doing that, hetook away all the *sins of many people. He will come a second time. He will nothave to die again for our *sins. He comes the second time to rescue all who arewaiting for him and make them whole.
Verse 23The special tent and all that was in it were copies of the real things inheaven. They had to be clean. To make them clean, there had to be the blood puton each object. But the blood of goats and young cows could not clean what isin heaven. They need much better sacrifices than the blood of animals.
Verse 24The work of Jesus was not in the special tent that people had made on earth.That special tent was only a copy of the real thing in heaven. Jesus made hisone perfect *sacrifice here on earth. He then went home to heaven. He went hometo his Father, on behalf of his people. Now he always stands before God to prayfor those who trust in him.
Verses25-26 The chief priest had to go into the most holy place each year. He had togo in with blood. This was not his own blood, but the blood of animals. Jesusgave his own blood and not the blood of animals. If the blood that the chiefpriest offered could have taken away *sin, he would not have needed to go intothe most holy place every year. In contrast, the blood of Jesus did take away*sin once and for all. So he does not need to make that *sacrifice again. Hemade it once for all time and then he went into heaven. If the blood of Jesushad not been enough for all time, he would have had to die many times. As itis, he came to earth once as a *human. He died one death for us and rose tolife again. He has paid the price for all *sins and forever.
Verse 27All of us must die one day. The death of the body is not the end. After deathwe must all give an account of our lives before God. He will judge us anddecide our future.
Verse 28It was the same for Jesus. He came to this earth as a *human being and died.But his death was different from ours, because he did not have to die, for hewas perfect. He died as the *sacrifice for *sin. God put on Jesus all of our*sins, and Jesus accepted the punishment for them all. He does not wait for thejudgement of God. When he rose from the dead that was proof that he hadsatisfied God. It proved that his death had dealt with our *sins. Jesus willcome back again one day. He will not have to do anything more about *sin, forhe has already done that. He will come for those who trust him and are waitingfor him. Then their *salvation will be complete and they will go to be with the*Lord, for always.
A new *sacrifice and way to life 10:1-39
The law was a shadow of things to come 10:1-4
v1 The law of Moses provides only a poorcopy of the good things that are coming, not the real things themselves. Yearafter year the priests had to offer the same sacrifices for *sin. Thesesacrifices could never make people fit to approach God. v2 If they could have done so, the priestswould have stopped offering them. Such sacrifices would have made the peopleclean once for all from their *sins. Then people would no longer have feltguilty about their *sins. v3 As itis, those sacrifices reminded people year after year that they still had their*sins. v4 But it is not possiblefor the blood of goats or young cows to take away *sins.
Verse 1The ‘law’ here means the whole of the old religion of the *Jews. That was nomore than a shadow of the real religion that was to come. This is not to saythat the old religion was of no value. In all its parts it pointed to what wasto come. By it the people could understand that God was holy. It told them thatpeople could not come to a holy God with their *sins. There were sacrificesoffered for *sins, but these could not take them away. They could not makepeople clean in the sight of God. People still could not come directly to Godby means of the *sacrifice of animals.
Verse 2 Ifa sacrificing of animals could have removed *sins, no other *sacrifice wouldhave been necessary. The fact also that there were so many sacrifices showsthat they were not sufficient. They could not remove *sins or free theconscience from guilty feelings.
Verses 3-4Sacrifices during the year were a constant reminder to people of their *sins.The Bible often tell us to ‘remember’. The word means more than ‘call to mind’.It also means to take some action as a result. Sacrifices were to remind peoplenot only to ask God to forgive their *sins. They also reminded people to*repent, that is, to turn away from *sins and to turn back to God. But theblood of goats or young cows could never do these things. Animals are differentfrom *humans. Only the blood of a person would be sufficient. That person musthave no *sin of his own. That is why Jesus came to die for us. He is the onlyperson who has ever lived without *sin.
The only *sacrifice for *sins 10:5-18
v5 So when Jesus Christ came into theworld, he said to God his Father, “You did not want sacrifices and gifts.Instead you prepared a body for me. v6The burnt animals and the offerings for *sins did not please you’. v7 Then I said, ‘See, I have come to dowhat you, God, want me to do. This is what the book of the law says about me’ ”(Psalm 40:6-8). v8 First JesusChrist said, ‘You did not want sacrifices and offerings for *sins. The law ofMoses required them, but they did not please you’. v9 Then he said, ‘Here I am, and I have come to do what youwant’. He takes away the first, so that he may bring in the second. v10 God wants to make us holy. Jesus Christhas done this for us. He did it by giving his body, once for all time, as theperfect *sacrifice on our behalf.
v11 Day after day the priests stand and dotheir duty. Again and again they offer the same gifts that can never take away*sins. v12 But this priest, JesusChrist, offered one *sacrifice, and it is good for all time. When Jesus hadmade it, he sat down at God’s right hand. v13Since that time he waits for God to put all his enemies under him. v14 By his one *sacrifice Jesus has madeperfect for always those whom God is making holy. v15 The Holy Spirit tells us about this as well. First hesays: v16 ‘This is the agreementthat I will make with them after that time, says the *Lord. I will put my lawsin their hearts, and I will write them on their minds’ (Jeremiah 31:33). v17 Then he says: ‘I will never againremember their *sins and the times when they did not obey my law’ (Jeremiah31:34). v18 Where God has forgiven*sins, there is no more need for a *sacrifice for *sins.
Verses 5-7The old law of Moses was not able to deal with the problem of *sin. So Jesuscame to be the answer to that problem. The writer shows Jesus speaking to God,in the words of Psalm 40:6-8.
The Psalmsays that God did not want sacrifices and gifts. Burnt animals and gifts for*sin did not please him. We need to understand what this means. It was God whogave the law of Moses to his people. Sacrifices and gifts were a part of thatlaw. What God wanted was hearts that obeyed him. The first command is that weshould love God (Deuteronomy 6:5). He was looking for those who would obey thelaw, because they loved him. He did not want acts of religion, without a changeof heart and mind.
God made abody for Jesus to live in on earth. To take away our *sins there had to be the*sacrifice of the body of a person. No animal was suitable for this purpose.The body, which means the whole person, had to be perfect. Jesus was thatperfect person and he died for our *sins.
The oldlaw with its gifts and sacrifices had failed to please God. It could not dowhat he wanted. Jesus came to do the work of God. That work was to pay theprice for *sin, so that God could forgive us.
Verses 8-9God did not want the offering of gifts and sacrifices of the law. It is truethat they were part of the old agreement. But they did not please him. God madea new agreement. By it, Jesus came to be the one perfect *sacrifice that wouldplease God. When Jesus died, God put an end to the old law of sacrifices. Hereplaced the old agreement (the law of Moses) with the new agreement (trust inJesus).
Verse 10Jesus came to carry out God’s new plan to make us holy. When Jesus died, he haddone all that God required. That one death is enough for all people and for alltime. Jesus will never have to die again.
Verses11-12 The writer compares the work of Jesus with that of the priests. They hadto stand doing their duty day after day. Each day they offered more sacrificesfor *sins. None of these could meet the real need of the people. They couldnever take away their *sins. Jesus made the one perfect and complete *sacrificethat did take away all *sin. There is no need for him to repeat it. It is goodfor all time and for all *sins. The priests could never satisfy God with thesacrifices that they offered. But Jesus has done all that God asked him to do.His work done, Jesus sat down in the place of the highest honour, at the righthand of God.
Verse 13In Psalm 110:1 God says to Christ, ‘Sit at my right hand. Sit there until Imake your enemies a place to rest your feet’. From the time that he rose fromthe dead, Jesus has been waiting for God to do this. He has overcome all hisenemies, but we do not yet see them put under him. The *apostle Paul says thesame (1 Corinthians 15:24-28).
Verse 14Again, the writer makes it clear that Jesus died once for all time and for all*sin. It is most important that we know and believe that this is true. All whotrust in Jesus, God will make holy. Jesus makes them perfect, that is, all thatGod intended them to be in his plan. Jesus has done all that God said wasnecessary.
Verses15-17 The Holy Spirit is a *witness to the truth of this as well. In the wordsof Jeremiah 31, from verse 33, he talks of the new agreement. God will put hislaws in the hearts and minds of his people. That is, God will give his peoplethe power to obey him. He will remember their *sins no more. It is as if theydo not have any *sins. This is because Jesus has taken from them all that wasnot right. This is the new agreement which Jesus has made for us.
Verse 18Where God has forgiven *sins, there is no need for any more sacrifices forthem. What Christ has done is complete and final. Now Jesus has made this newagreement , the old one has no value.
The way to meet God 10:19-25
v19 So, my Christian brothers and sisters,we can be bold and go into the most holy place. This is because of the blood ofJesus. v20 His blood has opened anew and living way, through the curtain, that is, through his own body. v21 This is because we have a great chiefpriest who is over the house of God. v22So, let us come near to God with a sincere heart. Let us come because we have asure trust in Jesus. He has made our hearts clean and taken away our shame.With pure water he has washed our bodies. v23Let us hold on to the hope in God that we say that we have, and never let itgo. God who gave us that promise is true, so we can trust him. v24 Let us think how we can help each otherto love and to do good actions. v25Let us not give up meeting together, as some people have done. Encourage eachother, and do it all the more as you see the day coming near.
Verse 19The most holy place here means the place where God will meet with us. In theold agreement the people could not approach God themselves. They had to come tothe priests. The priests could then go into the special tent on their behalf.Now those who trust in Jesus can meet with God in a direct manner. They can dothis with confidence and without fear. They can do so only because of the workof Jesus. He has made the way open for men and women to come to God themselves.He achieved this when he died for our *sins.
Verse 20In the old special tent the way into the most holy place was through a curtain.Jesus has opened a new way to God. His body, like the curtain, is the way toGod. It is for us a living way, for Jesus is alive. When Jesus died, thecurtain in the *temple split from the top to the bottom. This was to show thatthe direct way to God was now open. We can only come to God when we come by the*Lord Jesus. As he said, ‘Nobody comes to the Father but by me’ (John 14:6).There is no other way to God. All who would come to God must put their trust inJesus and let him take away their *sins. Then and only then can they approachGod.
Verse 21It was the responsibility of the chief priest to go to God on behalf of thepeople. In Jesus we have the great chief priest. He is over the house of God.That means he owns and rules the people of God. He does not just go in for us.He himself will take us to God.
Verse 22We can now come to God. The way in is by Jesus, for he is like the curtain inthe special tent. We have to come with sincere hearts. The heart here means thereal person as we are on the inside. We have to be right with God and be pureas we come to him. This can only be true of us as we put our trust in Jesus andin what he has done for us. We must know that Jesus has washed us clean fromall our *sins. The washing of the body with pure water on the outside is to bethe sign that we are clean on the inside.
Verse 23God has made promises to us and he will not fail to do all that he has said. Wecan trust in God as we look to the future. He has promised in Jesus to give usthe life that never dies. We have this hope and we must hold on to it and notlet it slip. We often use the word ‘hope’ of something that may or may nothappen. We say, ‘I hope so’. But in the Bible the word ‘hope’ is a strong word.Our Christian hope is for something that has not yet happened. But it willhappen and we are sure that it will.
Verse 24While we take care for ourselves, we should think of other Christians. Weshould do all that we can to help them to grow strong in their *belief (Romans15:7). We should encourage them to love and to do good works.
Verse 25Some Christians had stopped coming together with the rest. This was not goodfor them. It is hard for us to be strong on our own without the help andsupport of other Christians. When we come to Jesus, we should join the churchand meet with other Christians. We need to help each other in our Christian*belief and in how we live as Christians. We should encourage each other allthe more as the day approaches when Jesus comes back again (see verse 37).
A warning to those who will not believe 10:26-31
v26 After we have received and known thetruth, we could still choose to continue to *sin. If we do so, there is nolonger any *sacrifice for our *sins. v27God will then be our judge and that is something to make us afraid. The angerof God will be like a fierce fire that will burn away all his enemies. v28 Any who did not respect and obey thelaw of Moses died. There was no pity for them, if two or three *witnessesproved that they were guilty. v29How much worse punishment does a *human being deserve, if that person turnsback from the Son of God? It is as if that person walked upon and hated the Sonof God. It is as if that person refused to accept the blood of the newagreement that had made that person clean. That person has insulted the HolySpirit who has been so kind to him or her. v30For we know him who said, ‘I am the one who will punish people; I will pay themfor all their *sin’ (Deuteronomy 31:35). Again he said, ‘The *Lord will be thejudge of his people’ (Deuteronomy 31:36). v31It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the God who is alive.
Verses26-27 There are people who once accepted what God had done for them in Jesus.They knew that it was true. But now they have decided to turn away from Jesus.They no longer accept what he did for them by his death. For them, there is nomore a *sacrifice for *sin. They have refused the one way that God has given tous. They still have their *sins. God will judge all *sin. Those who have puttheir trust in Jesus know that he has taken away their *sins. *Sin makes Godangry. His terrible anger should make us afraid, for it is awful. It is like afierce fire that will destroy all his enemies. Those who have known the truth,but now refuse it, are his enemies.
Verses28-29 To fail to do what the law of Moses said was serious. Not to obey thatlaw was the same as denying God. The one who did this had to pay the price forit. He or she had to die. It was so serious a matter that there had to be proofthat they were guilty. One *witness was not enough. There had to be two orthree (Deuteronomy 17:6). It is much more serious to deny Jesus and what he hasdone. The punishment for that must be much worse. It must be more severe forJesus is so much greater than Moses. It must be more severe because the newagreement is so much better than the old one.
If someoneturns away from Jesus on purpose, they are guilty of three things:
· It is as ifthey walk upon the Son of God. It is to deny Jesus who is the same as God.
· It is to countas nothing the blood of Jesus. The death of Jesus is the foundation of the newagreement. This then is to show no respect for the love of God.
· It is to insultthe Holy Spirit of God.
Verses30-31 We know who God is and what he will do. He is the living God who knowsall about us. It is he who said, ‘I am the one who will punish people, I willpay them back for what they have done’. Again he said, ‘The *Lord will judgehis people’ (Deuteronomy 32:35-36). It will be terrible for a person who isguilty, when he or she has to face God. There can be no escape for us, if we donot obey him. We know what he has told us to do. He has told us to put ourtrust the *Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 16:31).
Choose the right way 10:32-39
v32 Remember the early days when you firstreceived the light of God’s truth. Then you were strong, even when you had ahard struggle and suffered much. v33People laughed at you, put you to shame and beat you. At other times you stoodside by side with those who suffered like this. v34 You had pity for them who were in prison. You were full ofjoy, even when people took your things away from you. You knew that you hadbetter things in heaven that will last and always be yours. v35 So do not stop having your confidencein the truth for this will bring you a great reward. Your trust in it willbring you a great reward. v36 Youneed to continue, so that when you have done what God wants, you will receivewhat he has promised. v37 For injust a very little while, ‘He who is coming will come and will not delay. v38 The person who does what is rightbecause he trusts in God, will live. If he holds back from doing right, he willnot please me’ (Habakkuk 2:3-4). v39We are not people who turn back. God will destroy them. We trust God, and sowill gain true life.
Verse 32The writer is sure that his readers would not go back from their *belief inJesus. He asks them to remember the early days, when they had first come toChrist. The truth of God was to them like a light. It shone into their heartsand minds and changed them. Then they had to suffer a lot because they wereChristians. It was a struggle between them and those who fought against them.They were strong in their *faith and did not fail.
Verses33-34 At times they had to suffer insults, shame and evil things done to them.They helped other Christians when they suffered the same things. Some people werein prison for their *faith. There they needed the help and the pity that otherChristians were able to give them. They had their possessions taken from them.But nobody could take away their inner joy. That joy was in the fact that theyknew Jesus and that he was always with them. In Jesus they had the promise ofthings to come that were so much better than any possessions. The things ofJesus and of heaven are real possessions that will last forever. Nobody canever take those away from Christians.
Verse 35The readers must not throw away their trust in Jesus. God will give them agreat reward, if they continue to live and work for him. They could lose somuch, if they do not continue with Jesus.
Verse 36The new life we can have in Jesus is not something that we can ever earn. It isthe free gift of God to all who trust in Jesus. Our part is to maintain our*faith, even when life is hard. We must always try to do what God wants. Thenwe shall receive what God has promised.
Verses37-38 These two verses use words from Isaiah 26:20 and Habakkuk 2:3-4. Theytell us that Jesus is coming back soon and he will not delay his coming. Wemust be strong in our trust because we are sure that he will return. When hecomes back, that will end our struggles in this life and bring in his promisedblessing of life with God.
The menand women whom God accepts as right with him, will live by trusting in Jesus.We can never earn life with God by anything that we do. God gives us that lifebecause of what Jesus has done on our behalf. It is by trust in him that we canreceive that life. When we trust in Jesus, God makes us right with himself. Aswe came to Jesus in the first place by trust, so we must continue to live bytrusting in him. Those who turn back from their *belief cannot please God (seeverses 29-30). All Christians must want to please God, when they remember howmuch he has done for them.
Verse 39The writer now makes clear that those who really trust Jesus, do not turn back.People who turn back from Jesus will have to face the judgement of God. All whomaintain a bold trust in Jesus will be safe from that judgement. They will gainGod’s promised life.
5 The better way 11:1-13:25
The way of trust and hope 11:1-40
The meaning of *faith (trust in God) 11:1-3
v1 *Faith, that is, trust in God, is thefoundation of what we hope for. It is being completely sure of what we do notyet see. v2 The people who livedlong ago by trust in him, pleased God. v3By our trust in God, we understand that he made the world by his word ofcommand (Genesis 1). He made all the things that we see out of things that donot appear.
Verses 1-3In chapter 10 the writer urged his readers to continuous trust in God. Now inchapter 11, he encourages us with many examples of men and women in the OldTestament who trusted God.
The lifeof *faith, that is, a life of trust in God at all times, is what pleases him.Our trust in God is very important. For example, that is how we know that hemade the world and everything in it. He spoke a word of command. In Genesis1:3, God said, ‘Let there be light’. And it was so. He made to exist what didnot exist before. We can know these facts, because God tells us. We have totrust that what he says is true.
The *faith of men before the flood 11:4-7
v4 Because of his trust in God, Abel made abetter *sacrifice to God than the one made by Cain. God accepted Abel as a*righteous man when he spoke well about his *sacrifice. Abel died, but by histrust in God he still speaks (Genesis 4:1-8). v5By his trust in God, Enoch went straight to heaven without having to die.Nobody could find him, because God had taken him away. Before God took him, Godsaid that he was well pleased with him (Genesis 5:24). v6 If a person does not trust in God, hecannot please him. All who come to God must believe that he exists. They mustbelieve that he rewards all who want to find him. v7 God warned Noah about things that he had not yet seen(Genesis 6:11-14). He trusted what God said would happen. He made a large boatso that his family would be safe. In this way, Noah showed up the rest of theworld as evil. God made Noah right with him because of his trust.
Verse 4The writer tells us of some of those who in the past have trusted God. Cain andAbel were sons of Adam (Genesis 4:3-7). They each brought a *sacrifice to God.God accepted Abel’s *sacrifice, but not because of what he offered. It wasbecause God saw that Abel had *faith. Cain’s *sacrifice did not please God.This was not because of what he offered. It was because Cain’s heart was notright with God. Cain had to overcome this *sin first (Genesis 4:7). Then Godwould have accepted his *sacrifice also. Cain was angry and jealous. So hekilled Abel (1 John 3:12). God did not forget Abel’s innocent death. It was notunlike the death of Jesus (see 12:24).
Verse 5Enoch was a very good man. His *faith was so strong that we read that he walkedwith God (Genesis 5:24). He lived so close to God that he pleased God. Becauseof his *faith, God took him straight to heaven. Although the people looked forhim, they could not find him. God had taken him straight to heaven and he didnot die.
Verse 6 Itis not possible to please God, if we do not trust him. Our trust in him must besure about two things. We must be certain that God exists, and that he willreward those who look for him.
Verse 7 Inthe days of Noah the people had turned from God. He saw that Noah was the onlyone who, like Enoch, walked close to God and did what was right (Genesis 6:9).By his life of *faith, Noah pleased God. God decided to destroy all the wickedpeople by a great flood. He warned Noah about his plans and told him to buildan *ark (a large boat) (Genesis 5:13-14). While he was building the *ark, Noahwarned the people about the flood that God would send. They laughed at him, andnobody believed him. It had never happened before! Only Noah and his familywere safe in the *ark when the flood came. The wicked people drowned. Noahtrusted God, and so was right with God. Therefore Noah would receive the goodthings that God has promised to those who trust him.
The *faith of Abraham and Sarah 11:8-19
v8 God called Abraham to go away to a placethat he would have as his own. Because Abraham trusted God, he did what Godtold him to do (Genesis 12:1). He set off, although he did not yet know wherehe was to go. v9 Because of histrust in God, he lived like a stranger in the land that God had promised togive him. He lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who received the samepromise. v10 For he was expectingthe city with foundations that God would arrange and build. v11 Sarah, his wife, was too old to havechildren. Yet she trusted God when he said that she would have a child. She hada son. v12 Abraham also was tooold to be the father of a child. Yet from this man, who was as good as dead,came a large family. They were as many as the stars of the sky and as the sandby the sea (Genesis 15:1-5).
v13 These all died, still strong in theirtrust in God. They did not receive the things that God had promised. They onlysaw them far away and were glad. They said that they were strangers here. Theearth was not their real home. v14People who say such things show that they look for a country of their own. v15 If they had been thinking of the landfrom which they came, they could have gone back there. v16 No, they greatly desired to go to amuch better place, that is, a place in heaven. So God is not ashamed to betheir God. He has prepared a city for them.
v17 Abraham trusted God when God testedhim. When God asked him, he was ready to offer his only son Isaac as a *sacrifice.Yet in this son were all the promises of God. v18For God had said to him, ‘It is by Isaac that your family will come’ (Genesis21:12). v19 Abraham reasoned thatGod could raise the dead to life. So it was just as if he did receive Isaacback from death.
Verse 8 Wenow look at Abraham, who is the great example of *faith. God called him toleave the country where he lived (Genesis 12:1). He had to leave his friendsand neighbours and most of his family. God did not then tell Abraham where hewas to go. He just said, ‘Go to the land that I shall show you’. So Abraham setoff, because he knew that he could trust God. We like to know where we aregoing and we like to choose the way. Abraham obeyed God’s command, although hedid not yet know where he was to go. He knew it was right to trust God and toobey him. To leave the life that we know and go into the unknown future,because God calls us to do so, this is *faith.
Verse 9When Abraham arrived in the land that God had promised to him, he lived thereas a foreigner. He had no rights or possessions in that land. Later he did buya small piece of land in which to bury those who died. He had no house to livein, but with his family he lived in tents. His son Isaac and Isaac's son Jacobalso had no permanent place in the land. But God gave them the same promises.
Verse 10Abraham was content to live as a foreigner in the land. He knew that one dayGod would do all that he said that he would do. Abraham looked forward, beyondhis death, to his true home in heaven. He would no longer be a stranger, but hewould belong there. By *faith he saw a city which God planned and built. Godhas made the foundations of it, so we know that they will never fail. It willnot be like living in tents, but will be a permanent home for the people ofGod.
Verses11-12 When God told Abraham that he would have a son (Genesis 15:1-5), both heand his wife Sarah were really too old. At first, Sarah laughed at the idea(Genesis 18:9-15). But Abraham trusted God to do what he promised. Sarahreceived strength for the birth. Isaac was born. And God promised that Isaacwould be the first of a very large family. They would be like the stars in thesky and the sand by the sea - too many to count.
Verse 13God made similar promises to all the people that the writer has mentioned. Butthey did not receive what he promised in this life. Yet they were still contentto trust God. They realised that earth was not their true home. They lived likestrangers and foreigners here.
Verses14-15 The kind of people who say that they are strangers here are looking for acountry of their own. They could have been at home here, but they knew thatGod’s promised home for them was far better. Abraham and his family could havegone back to the country where they came from. But God had called them to leaveit. To return would be to refuse to do what God wanted. God calls all hispeople to leave behind their old lives and go on to live for God and the lifeto come.
Verse 16No, people like Abraham, who trust God completely, want to go to the muchbetter place that God has made ready for them in heaven. God has built the citythat Abraham looked for (v 10). God is not ashamed to be the God of people likethese. He honours their *faith and accepts them as his own. God calls us tohave the same *faith and to live as they did. He gives to us the chance to joinhim in that city.
Verses17-18 Now comes the greatest test of Abraham’s *faith. God told him to offerhis son Isaac as a *sacrifice to him. Isaac was his only son by Sarah his wife.(Abraham did have another son by Hagar, who was Sarah's maid: see Genesis 16).Isaac was the only son of the promise. It was through Isaac that God said thathis promises would come. So Abraham had a real problem. If he were to killIsaac, would not the promises fail? If he did not do what God asked, would thepromises still be there for his people? Abraham had to trust God that somehowGod would find a way to keep his promises.
Verse 19Abraham decided to do what God told him to do and *sacrifice Isaac. He took himand tied him on an *altar. He had fire ready. He lifted his knife. Then Godtold him to stop. So Isaac did not die (Genesis 22). Abraham had been ready toobey God and to kill Isaac, so now it was like receiving him back from the dead.Jesus, the only Son of God, did die and he did come back to life from death.All the promises of God to us are in his Son Jesus. We shall receive thosepromises, if we trust God completely, as Abraham did.
Other examples of *faith 11:20-38
v20 Isaac trusted God, so he told Jacob andEsau about the good things to come (Genesis 27:27-40). v21 Jacob trusted in God. When he wasdying, he blessed both the sons of Joseph (Genesis 48). He leaned on his stickand praised God. v22 By his *faithin God, when his end was near, Joseph spoke of the *exodus of the people of*Israel from *Egypt. He told them to carry his bones with them (Genesis50:24-25).
v23 The parents of Moses trusted in God, sothey hid him for three months after his birth. They could see that he was notan ordinary child. They were not afraid of the orders of the king (Exodus2:1-10). v24 When he grew up,Moses refused to accept that he was the son of the king’s daughter. He did thisbecause he trusted in God (Exodus 2:11-15). v25He chose to suffer with the people of God. He could have chosen to have an easylife and enjoy *sin, for a short time. v26He decided that to suffer insults for the Christ was worth much more to himthan the riches of *Egypt. He kept thinking about the reward. v27 Because he trusted in God, he left*Egypt and did not fear the anger of the king. He was strong, for it was as ifhe could see him whom nobody can see. v28By *faith in God he kept the *Passover and put blood on the door-posts. Thiswas so that the *angel of death would not touch the oldest son in each of theirfamilies (Exodus 12).
v29 The people trusted God and so they allwent across the Red Sea in safety, as if on dry land. When the *Egyptians triedto do the same, they drowned (Exodus 14:29-31). v30 It was by trust in God that the people marched round thecity of *Jericho. After 7 days the walls fell down (Joshua 6). v31 Rahab was a woman who had used her bodyfor sex to get money. She welcomed the men who came from Joshua to discover howto attack her city. She trusted in God, so she did not die with the rest whodid not obey God (Joshua 2).
v32 What more shall I say about thosepeople who trusted God? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson,Jephthah, David, Samuel and the *prophets. v33By their *faith in God they overcame kings. They made fair laws. They gainedwhat God promised. They shut the mouths of lions and so did not die. v34 They put out fierce fires, and theyescaped from men who wanted to kill them with the sword. When they were weak,God made them strong again. They were so strong in war that they overcameforeign armies. v35 Women receivedback their dead, whom God raised to life again. Some people suffered death bycruel enemies. They could have escaped by saying that they no longer trustedGod. But they refused, so that they might gain a better life. v36 Some people suffered insults andattacks, and some people went to prison in chains. v37 Enemies threw stones at them, or cut them in pieces, orkilled them with the sword. Some people had to wear the skins of sheep andgoats because they were so poor. People who did not trust God were bad to themand caused them to suffer. v38Those who did trust God were too good for this world. Some people wandered overdeserts and mountains. Some people lived in caves and holes in the ground.
Verse 20Because he believed what God had promised, Isaac blessed his two sons, Jacoband Esau. He told them about the good things God had planned. It was in Jacobthat the promises of God were to come. Just as Abraham had done, so Isaaclooked for the future beyond this life.
Verse 21When he was dying, Jacob blessed the two sons of Joseph. It was the custom togive the best blessing to the older son. But, because he believed what God hadshown him, he gave the greater blessing to Ephraim, who was younger thanManasseh.
Verse 22Joseph, a son of Jacob, trusted in the promise that God gave to Abraham. Whenhe was at the end of his life, he spoke of the *exodus. He knew that the landof *Egypt was not to be the home of the people of *Israel. God had promisedthem the land of *Canaan. Joseph believed the promise of God and looked to thetime when God would lead them back to that land. He told his family that whenthey went there they were to take his bones with them. He wanted them to buryhim in the *promised land (Genesis 50:24-25).
Verse 23Many years after Joseph died, there was a new king in *Egypt. He was afraidthat there were so many Hebrews, they might take over the country (Exodus 1).So he made them slaves. Then he gave orders to kill all the *Hebrew baby boysat birth. The parents of Moses saw that he was an unusual child. They trustedin God and were not afraid of the king. So they hid Moses for three months.When they could no longer hide him, they put him in a basket. They put thebasket among the plants by the river. The daughter of the king found him there.She took him home and brought him up as her own son.
Verses24-25 When Moses grew up, he refused to be the son of the daughter of the king.This was not a quick decision of a youth. He was now a man of about 40 yearsold. He knew that he was a *Hebrew by birth. He trusted in God. So he decidedto leave all that he had, or could have had, as a royal prince. He chose to goback to his own people. They were poor slaves who had to suffer much. He choseto suffer with them, rather than have a comfortable life without God. A lifewithout God would have been *sin.
Verse 26God made Moses aware that one day the Christ would come. Many would not accepthim. Those who did would share in the shame that Christ suffered. Moses knewthat to be one of the people of God was worth far more than all the riches of*Egypt. Riches may last for this life, but are of no value for the life tocome. With Christ there are rewards in a new life after death. Moses trusted inGod and desired those rewards more than to have riches now.
Verse 27Moses left *Egypt twice. The first time was after he had killed an *Egyptian.He was afraid that the king would hear about it (Exodus 2:11-15). So he went tolive in the land of *Midian. He was there for 40 years (Acts 7:30). Then Godtold him to go back to *Egypt, and bring God’s people out of *Egypt (Exodus 3).He was no longer afraid of the king.
For a longtime the king refused to let the Hebrews go (Exodus, chapters 7-11). Throughall those difficult days Moses was strong. It was as if he could see God, whomnobody can see. He was so strong because he trusted in God. It was as if hewalked with God. The Bible says that God talked with Moses face to face, as aperson speaks with his friend (Exodus 33:11).
Verse 28By *faith Moses obeyed God when he led the *Jews to have the first *Passover.This was a special meal that God told them to eat. They had to kill a lamb forthe meal for each family. They had to put some of its blood on the door-postsand over the doors of their houses. The *angel of death went through the landof *Egypt. He killed the first son in each house. But when he saw the bloodround the doors of a Hebrew’s house, he ‘passed over’ that house and did notkill the first son there. That is why they called the event the ‘*Passover’.Ever since that time the *Jews have eaten the *Passover meal each year. Theyremember that God rescued them from being slaves and brought them out of *Egypt(Exodus 12).
Verse 29As the *Jews left *Egypt, they came to the Red Sea. God made a path through thesea for them. They had to go forward trusting in God that they would get to theother side. So they went across the sea on a dry path. When the *Egyptianstried to cross the sea, the water drowned them all (Exodus 14:29-31).
Verse 3040 years later the *Jews came to the city of *Jericho. They had to attack itand destroy it. God told them to march round it once each day for 6 days. Onthe seventh day God told them to march round 7 times. They believed God and didwhat he told them to do. Then on the seventh time on the seventh day, the wallsof the city fell down (Joshua 2).
Verse 31Before the Hebrews attacked *Jericho, they sent men there. They were to look atthe city and report back to their leaders. When they came, Rahab took them intoher house. She kept them safe while they were there. Then she sent them away bya safe route. She had lived a bad life, but now she helped the men because shehad *faith in God. When *Jericho fell, the men saved her life (Joshua 2).
Verse 32In the history of the *Jews there were a lot of examples of those who lived by*faith. There were too many to include in this letter. The writer mentions thenames of 6 of the most famous men along with the *prophets. These are Gideon,Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David and Samuel. We do not know the reason for theorder of these names. If we put them in pairs the second one of each pair camefirst. Barak was before Gideon. Jephthah was before Samson. Samuel was beforeDavid.
The writerdoes not tell us about these men here. We can read about them in the OldTestament. Each of them had to overcome such troubles that they could only doso with the help of God. They were able to win because they trusted in God.
Verses33-34. The list of things done in verses 33 and 34 are not just what those 6men did. These describe the sort of things that those who trusted in God havedone. We can put them into three groups of three each:
· They overcamekings. They were fair rulers. They received what God promised them.
· Those whoovercame kings could include those whom we call the Judges (in the book ofJudges). They were the leaders of the Hebrews, after they entered the *promisedland. For example, Gideon, with only a small number of men, overcame the*Midianites (Judges 6:11-8:32). Barak was able to defeat the *Canaanites(Judges 4:6-5:31). Samson fought with the *Philistines (Judges 13:2-16:31).Jephthah rescued the *Jews from the power of the *Ammonites (Judges 11:1-12:7).
· They shut themouths of lions so that they could not bite them. The flames could not hurtthem. They escaped the sword.
BothSamson (Judges 14:5-6) and David (1 Samuel 17:34-35) killed lions. The bestexample of this must be Daniel. He was in a cage of lions, but they did nothurt him. He trusted in God and God sent an *angel to shut the mouths of thelions (Daniel 6). Then there were Daniel’s three friends, Shadrach, Meshach andAbednego (Daniel 3). They refused to *worship the king’s image, because theytrusted in God. The king threw them into the flames, but the fire could notburn them.
God madethem strong when they were weak. They were strong as they fought their enemies.They were able to overcome armies that came against them.
Verse 35Here are some examples where a mother received her child back from the dead.There was a widow who helped the *prophet Elijah (1 Kings 17:17-24). When herson died, Elijah cried to the *Lord. God heard him and the child lived again.Another lady lived in *Shunem, a place in *Israel. She had a room built on topof her house for Elisha the *prophet. When her son died, she went to Elisha.God brought her boy back from the dead too (2 Kings 4:18-37).
There havebeen many who have suffered and died for their *faith. They could have savedthemselves by turning from their *belief in God. Yet to them the life to comein heaven with God was much more important than the life here on earth. We toomust not turn from our trust in God, no matter what it costs us.
Verse 36There are many more who suffered, but did not have to die because of their*faith. We Christians should expect that we may have to suffer for Jesus.People may say bad things about us or do bad things to us, because we areChristians. We should accept this and be happy that we can suffer on behalf ofJesus.
Verses37-38 The writer lists more ways in which those who trusted God had suffered.To other people, they had no worth. The truth is that they were worth far moreto God than the whole world, although they were poor. Many had no homes here onearth, but they knew they had a wonderful home in heaven.
The promise of God to those who trust him 11:39-40
v39 God spoke well of all of these, becausethey trusted him. Yet none of them received during their life on earth what Godhad promised. v40 God has a betterplan. He will not make them perfect without us.
Verses39-40 God gave honour to all of these people, because they trusted him. God didnot forget those who served him. They are all now safe with God. They receivedmany good things from God. Yet they did not receive all that God promised whilethey lived on earth. There is something more which is yet to come for them.
God hasplanned something better, which will include us. His plan is for all who haveever trusted in him. All who belong to Jesus will have a share in God’s plan.He has not told us what that plan is in detail. But we know that in his plan hewill make perfect all of us who know Jesus, together with all these heroes of*faith.
The right way to live 12:1-29
Jesus is our example 12:1-3
v1 Like a great cloud, there are a lot of*witnesses round us. Let us then throw off all that would stop us doing what weshould. Let us stop doing the *sins that would spoil our trust in God. Life islike a race. Let us run hard, and concentrate on the end of the race. v2 Let us keep looking to Jesus. He is thesource of our *faith. He is at the end of our path of *faith. He is working tomake our path perfect. Jesus’ own path of trust led him to die on a cross onour behalf. But Jesus thought nothing of the shame of such a death. He lookedbeyond death to the joy ahead of him. Then he sat down at the right side ofGod’s seat of great honour.
v3 Think about Jesus. He suffered so muchas bad men spoke evil against him. Yet he continued to the end. Let him be yourgreat example, so that you will not tire and fail.
Verse 1There are *witnesses about us like a cloud. *Witnesses can be of two types.There are *witnesses who tell of something that they have seen. Then there are*witnesses who watch what is happening. The writer may mean both. The heroes of*faith in chapter 11 are examples of those who trusted in God. Their example encouragesus to trust God in the same way. God did not fail them.
We arelike runners in a race. The race is our lives and all of us must run it as arunner competes in a race. He trains himself so that he becomes strong. Hemakes sure that his weight is not too heavy. While he is running, he does notcarry or wear anything that he does not need. He runs to win.
The runnerthrows off anything that would slow him down. So we must throw off anythingthat would make our trust in God weaker. These are things that may not be badin themselves. But they do not make us stronger Christians. Then there are the*sins that we find so easy to do. We must be careful that we do not fail and dothem. To live as God wants us to live, we have to be patient and never give up.We have to continue, strong in our trust in God, until our life here on earthcomes to an end.
Verse 2 Wemust always keep looking to Jesus. He shows us what *faith is and our *faithcomes from him. He will help us to trust God to lead us along the path that Godhas planned for us. Jesus’ own path led him to die on a cross. The *Jewsconsidered that death on a cross brought great shame upon the one who died. ButJesus was looking beyond death. He saw the joy that was to come when he wentback to his Father in heaven. There he would share his joy with all God’speople.
Verse 3 Weare to look to Jesus as our example. He finished the work that he came here todo. He had to suffer and there were many who were against him. We who areChristians may have to suffer because we belong to Jesus. There will be manywho are against us, because of our *faith in him. Like Jesus, we must be strongand brave and continue to the end, and so bring him honour.
Discipline from God 12:4-11
v4 In your struggle against *sin, you havenot yet had to risk your life. v5Have you forgotten the words that he spoke to you as sons? ‘My son, listen tothe *Lord, when he is training you by discipline. Do not give up, when he showsyou where you are wrong. v6 Forthe *Lord trains those whom he loves. He punishes each one whom he accepts as ason’ (Proverbs 3:11-12). v7 AcceptGod’s discipline, for it shows that you are his sons. For what father does notgive discipline to his son? v8 IfGod does not give you discipline, you are not a true son of God. If that is so,then God is not your Father, for a father gives discipline to all his sons. v9 We have all had *human fathers who gaveus discipline to train us. We now respect them for it. How much more should weobey the Father of our *spirits and live! v10Our fathers trained us in discipline for a short time, as they thought wasright. God trains us in discipline for our good, so that we may become holylike he is. v11 Discipline is hardand not pleasant. We do not enjoy it. But later we can see the good that camefrom it. Those, whom it has trained, have a quiet heart from doing what isright.
Verse 4Many of those whom we read about in the last chapter, died for their *faith.The readers of this letter had not yet had to risk their lives. Today, in manyparts of the world, Christians suffer and some Christians die for their *faith.
Verses 5-7God does not let us suffer because he is angry with us. He allows these thingsto work for our good because he loves us. A father who loves his children willteach, correct and punish them. He tries by all these methods to train hischildren for their benefit. So it is with God who is our Father.
Verse 8All children have to learn how to live. Their parents have to teach them andtrain them. For this they will correct them and punish them when they do wrong.If we do not have any discipline from God, then we cannot be his true children.For God is a good father who trains all his children.
Verse 9 Weall had *human fathers who in the past have corrected us. At the time we didnot like the discipline they gave us. Now we are older we know that it was goodfor us. So we respect our fathers for what they did. These were men like us.They were training us for this life. But God, like a father, is training us forthe life which never ends. So when he disciplines us, we should be happy toaccept it. We know that he does it, or allows it, so that we may learn how tolive. He knows what is best for us and he wants the best for us.
Verse 10When we were young our fathers corrected us. They did what they thought wasbest for us. Although they were not always right, for they were *human, theytried. But God is always right in all that he does. He corrects us to make usholy like he is, and so fit to live with him.
Verse 11When our fathers punished us for doing wrong, we did not enjoy it. We do notlike it when someone corrects us. It hurts us and it makes us sad. Yet when Godcorrects us and we accept it, the result is always good for us. If we allow Godto train us, we shall benefit by it. As we do what that discipline teaches us,our lives will please God. This brings us a quiet heart.
Continue to live as Christians 12:12-17
v12 So make your tired hands and your weakknees strong. v13 Make straightpaths for your feet. Then the weak leg will not get worse, but rather it willheal. v14 Let your desire be forunity with all people and to be holy. Only those who are holy will see the*Lord. v15 Take care that none ofyou misses the goodness of God. Let no anger grow in you and cause trouble.That would spoil the *belief of many. v16See that none of you is guilty of wrong sex. Do not forget God as Esau did. Hesold his rights, as the first son of his father, for a single meal. v17 Later he wanted to get back the rightsthat he had sold, but it was impossible, although he cried. He was not reallysorry for what he had done (Genesis 25:29-34).
Verse 12The writer is again thinking about the Christian life as a race. He is not heretalking of actual hands and knees. By tired hands and weak knees he meanspeople who find it too hard to continue the Christian’s race. They are ready togive up their *belief in Jesus. Tired hands can no longer work. Weak knees stopmoving forward. He urges his readers to make their hands and knees strongagain. They must be brave and strong, like all those people the writer has beentalking about. They must not give up when troubles come. They must continue totrust Jesus and live as God wants them to live, even when it is difficult.
Verse 13The Christian life is like a race along a path. If that path is straight orlevel, it will be easier to reach the place where we are going. If we do notkeep to the straight path, the journey will be longer and harder. If we leavethe path, we may not get back on it again. On a rough path or a longer way, theweak will get weaker and will fail. We should make the path as easy as we canfor others, so that the weak will be able to keep on it. In the right way thereis healing for them. So they will be able to get to the end. How can we helpthem? We need to be clear in our *belief and in what we teach. We need to walktogether and live as God wants us to live.
Verse 14We live in a world in which there is so much disagreement. Even in the churchthere are often quarrels. We have a duty to try to live without quarrels. Weare to try to be in unity with all people. That means both with those who trustGod, as we do, and with those who do not. It may not always be possible, but weare not to be the cause of trouble. The writer tells us to be holy as well. Themeaning of the word ‘holy’ has as its base that we belong to God alone. He isto be the Master of all that we do. We should always live as God wants us tolive. Only those who are holy will see God. No person can make himself orherself holy. It is God who makes us holy, when we obey him and trust in Jesus.
Verse 15Christians must care for each other to make sure that none of them fails toknow the love of God. We need each other to help us to be true to our *faith.One of the dangers that comes is anger. Anger is like a bitter root. Although atree can grow from a bitter root, its fruit will be bitter to the taste. Wemust not let anger grow like that, for it will cause so much trouble. It willspoil the whole church and hurt many people. We must not let anger stay in ourhearts or minds.
Verse 16a.There is danger to the church if a member has wrong sex. God has told us thatsex is good and right between husband and wife. Sex with another person iswrong.
Verses16b-17 We should be careful about what God has done for us and has promised tous. Esau was the oldest son of his father Isaac. As the oldest son he wouldhave special rights when his father died. One day when he was hungry, he soldhis rights merely for a meal. He gave away his future rights for nothing. Hedid not think his future was as important as what he happened to want justthen. We should not be like him. Our life with God is far more important thanthe little things of this present life. Esau had given away his rights and hecould not get them back. He wanted them, but they now belonged to his brother.He cried and tried so hard, yet he was not really sorry for what he had done(Genesis 25:19-34). He is to be a warning to us. We must value what we havebecause of our *belief in Jesus more than anything else.
Contrast of *Sinai and *Zion 12:18-25
v18 You have come to a mountain, but not toa mountain that you can touch. It is not the fiery mountain that scared the*Israelites. Neither have you come to darkness, deep shadow or a fierce storm,as they did. v19 You have notheard that *trumpet or the voice that spoke. The *Israelites who heard it criedout to God to stop speaking to them (Exodus 19:10-25; Deuteronomy 4:11-12;5:22-26). v20 They could not dareto listen when God said, ‘If even an animal approaches the mountain, you mustkill it with stones’. v21 Thesight of Mount *Sinai was so awful that Moses said, ‘I am trembling with fear’(Deuteronomy 9:19). v22 No, youhave come to the mountain of *Zion, and to the city of the God who is alive.You have come to the *Jerusalem in heaven and to the large crowd of *angels whoare praising God. v23 You havejoined that great crowd and the church of those who trusted in God before you.The *Lord has made them at home in heaven. You have come to God who is thejudge of all people. There are the *spirits of good men whom God has madeperfect. v24 Jesus who made thenew agreement is there. There also is the blood that Jesus gave on our behalf.That blood is better and more powerful than the blood of Abel.
v25 Make sure that you do not refuse tolisten to God. They who refused him who warned them on earth did not escape.How much less shall we escape, if we turn from him who warns us from heaven?
Verses18-21 The writer contrasts the giving of the law to the *Jews and the blessingthat came by Jesus. God gave the law at Mount *Sinai. Jesus died on Mount*Zion. Verses 18-21 tell of the terror of Mount *Sinai. Verses 22-24 tell ofour approach to better things by our *faith.
The *Jewscould not come near Mount *Sinai. God would not let them approach it. There wasa great darkness and a wild storm. The mountain was burning with fire. Therewas a loud sound like that of a *trumpet. Then God spoke, and it made them veryafraid. So much so that they cried out that he should stop speaking to them.They could not bear to listen to the words of God. The sound of his voice madethem afraid. If an animal came near to the mountain, it must die. They had tokill it by throwing stones. If any person were to come near, that person toomust die. God told Moses to come up the mountain. What Moses saw there was soawful that he trembled with fear (Exodus 19:10-25; Deuteronomy 4:11-12;5:22-26).
WeChristians do not have such a terrible experience. We, too, come to a mountain.But it is a very different one.
Verse 22Christians, says the writer, have come to Mount *Zion, the city of God. Mount*Zion is one of the hills on which is the city of *Jerusalem. It was in*Jerusalem that the *Jews praised and worshipped God. It was here that theycould meet God, for his special house, the *temple, was there. But weChristians have not come to the Mount *Zion that is on earth. We have not cometo the city of *Jerusalem that stands on that Mount *Zion. The writer ispainting a picture in words to show that we have come to where God reallylives, that is, in heaven. We have come, not to the terror of *Sinai, but tothe living God. He has called us to come to him because of what Jesus has donefor us. In that city of God in heaven we can join with the vast crowd of*angels that *worship him.
Verse 23In heaven also is the true church. *Believers in Jesus, both those who are onearth and those who have died, are all part of the church. It is the church ofJesus who was the first person to rise from the dead. God has written in heaventhe names of all who have *faith in Jesus. We have come to God as the judge whois over all. There we join all those who have died but who were loyal to Jesuswhile they lived on earth. God has made them alive again and made them perfect.They live there with God.
Verse 24The reason why we are able to come to God and live with him is that Jesus isthere. The awful terror of *Sinai was because of the old agreement with God.But Jesus has made a new agreement with God for us. By it he has taken away allour *sin by his death on the cross. It is his blood that he gave there thatmakes the new agreement for us with God. God has accepted that blood for our*sins. So we are fit to live with a holy God. The blood of Abel could not dowhat the blood of Jesus has done. All Abel’s blood could do was to cry out forGod to punish Cain who murdered him.
Verse 25The writer now contrasts the way that God spoke then with the way that hespeaks now. Those who heard God speak at *Sinai wanted him to stop. The voiceof God made them afraid. So they agreed that God should speak to Moses and thathe should tell them what God said. They promised to obey all the law of Godthat he gave to them by Moses. They did not keep that promise. They refused tolisten when God warned them. In the end God punished them. God speaks to ustoday, not by Moses but by his Son Jesus. He does not speak to us on earth, buthe speaks from heaven. What God says now by Jesus is greater than what he saidby Moses. God punished those who did not obey what he said by Moses. How muchmore will he punish those who do not obey what he says by his Son Jesus! Thereis only one way that we can escape the punishment of God. We must accept whatJesus has done for us.
When God shakes all things 12:26-29
v26 His voice shook the earth then. Now hehas promised, ‘Yet once more I will shake, not only the earth, but also theheavens’. v27 This phrase ‘yetonce more’ shows that God will remove all he shakes. That is, all createdthings. All that he does not shake will remain. v28 We are receiving a place where God is the king. That placewill remain always, for nobody can shake it. Let us then give to God the praiseand honour that please him. Let us respect him and live in the fear of him. v29 For our God is like a fire that canburn up everything.
Verse 26When God spoke at *Sinai, the whole mountain shook (Exodus 19:18). There was agreat fire and darkness. It was awful and those who saw it were very afraid.God promises that one day he will again shake the earth. He will shake not onlythat mountain, but the whole earth. He will shake not only the whole earth, butthe heavens as well.
Verse 27There is a time coming when God will shake all that exists. God will remove allthat shakes in that day. All that Godhas made, the physical world and the sky, he will shake. God will remove themall. After that, God has promised to make a new heaven and a new earth.
As Godshakes all physical things, there are some things that will last for always.These are the things that we cannot see yet, but they are real. These willremain and they will never end. The writer does not tell us what all of theseare.
Verses28-29 One thing that will remain is the place where God is the king. This placewill not shake or move and it has no end. God is giving us Christians a home inthis place. We cannot earn it by anything that we do. It is a free gift that wereceive from God. We accept this great and wonderful gift and say thank you toGod for it. Let us give ourselves to God to be his servants. We want to pleasehim in all that we do. We should praise him and respect him.
We shouldfear and respect God. We need to be careful how we approach God. He is the Godwho has all power, who made all that is in heaven and on earth. He is the Godwho will judge all things. He will punish all who fail to obey what he hassaid. He is like a fire that burns up all the rubbish. We need to be sure thatwe really are Christians. Only by our trust in Jesus can we come to God. Hewill accept us because we belong to Jesus. He has paid for all our *sins.
The way of love and doing what God wants 13:1-25
Christian love 13:1-6
v1 Go on loving each other as brothers. v2 Do not forget to receive as guests thestrangers who come to you. Some people have had *angels in their homes and theydid not know it. v3 Remember tohelp those who are in prison because they are Christians, as if you were inprison with them. Remember those who suffer, as if you have the same troublesas they have. v4 All shouldrespect marriage and must not have wrong sex. God will be the judge of all whohave sex with the partner of another and all who have wrong sex. v5 Do not let the love of money controlyour life. Be satisfied with what you have. God has said, ‘I will never leaveyou or let you be alone’ (Deuteronomy 31:6). v6So we can be bold and say, ‘The *Lord is my helper. I am not afraid of anythingthat people can do to me’ (Psalm 118:6).
Verse 1All Christians have the same Father in heaven. We are all children of God. Aswe love God, we are to love his children. So we must love and help each otheras brothers and sisters.
Verse 2This love should extend to those whom we do not know. When strangers come tous, we should receive them into our homes. We should care for them while theyare with us. We should do this because we are Christians and love the *Lord.However, some people have had *angels come to them and they did not know it.For example, *angels came to Abraham (see Genesis 18) and they went on to thehouse of Lot (Genesis 19).
Verse 3 Atthat time there were many who were in prison only because they were Christians.The readers of this letter had known this (see 10:32-34). Those in control ofthe prison did not give food or other help to those in prison. They had todepend on their friends to give them what they needed. In many parts of theworld today there are Christians who suffer like this. If we know of Christiansin prison, we should show them our love. We should try to understand what theysuffer, as if we were there in prison with them. We should share with them intheir need and do what we can for them.
Verse 4Marriage is good and we should respect it. It is a contract for life between aman and a woman. Sex in such a marriage is pure and good. But it is wrong foreither of them to have sex with someone else. It is wrong for anyone else tohave sex with them. All acts of sex, other than in a marriage, are *sin. Godwill judge all who have wrong sex with another person.
Verse 5The desire for wealth can be too strong. It can so easily take control of ourlives. We cannot love money and love God. One of them has to take the firstplace in our lives. The love of money is the cause of much that is wrong in theworld. While we do need money, we need God more, and he knows what is good forus. He has promised us that he will never leave us. He loves us and we candepend on him to take care of us. What we have should satisfy us and we shouldtrust God for what we need. We may have to work for it, but if we love Godfirst, money will not control us. (Jesus spoke about this, see Matthew6:25-34).
Verse 6The writer uses a verse from the Psalms (118:6). We can be confident in what itsays. The *Lord God is our helper. He has done so much for us and he haspromised to be with us. With such a helper we cannot fail, if we love and trusthim. Then we shall not fear anything. Who can be afraid when they have withthem such a powerful God? Love for God takes away all fear of other things.Even if men are against us, they will not be able to do us real damage. Ourlife is in the care of our God. We know that we live with him and that our lifewith him will never end. So we can be bold and say, ‘The *Lord is my helper’.
The example of leaders 13:7-8
v7 Remember your leaders, who spoke theword of God to you. Look at the results of their lives and copy their trust inGod. v8 Jesus Christ does notchange. He is the same yesterday and today and always.
Verse 7Christian people had taught these Hebrews about Jesus. They had shown from theBible that Jesus is the Christ. It was not only by what they said that theytaught them. They were also a practical example by the way that they lived. Nowit seems that they had died. It may be that they had died because of their*belief in Jesus. We should remember such people and see how they lived. Theyput their trust in Jesus and obeyed God to the end of their days. We shouldfollow their good example of *faith and live as they did.
Verse 8*Human leaders come and go, but Jesus is always here. ‘Yesterday’ means thepast, and Christ was there even before God made the world. ‘Today’ is thepresent, and Jesus is alive and here now. ‘Forever’ is the future, and he willalways be there. He died once for our *sins, but now he will never die again.He never changes, as he was, he will always be. So we can trust him with totalconfidence for our lives now and for the future.
Call to *sacrifice 13:9-16
v9 Do not let all kinds of strange thingsthat some people teach lead you away from God. It is good to make our heartsstrong by the goodness of God. Rules about food do not make hearts strong.Those who obey rules about what they should eat do not gain anything by it. v10 We who have trust in Jesus have an*altar from which those who minister in the special tent on earth have no rightto eat. v11 The chief priest tookthe blood of animals to the most holy place. There he gave it to God as anoffering for *sin. They burned the bodies outside the camp. v12 So Jesus had to suffer outside the gateof the city. He died to make the people holy by his own blood.
v13 So let us go to him outside the camp,and share his shame. v14 Here onearth we do not have a city that will last. We are looking for the city that isto come. v15 Let us offer a*sacrifice of praise to God at all times. That is the fruit of our lips as wegive thanks to his name. v16 Donot forget to do good and to share what you have. Such sacrifices please God.
Verse 9There have always been many who teach strange things that did not come fromGod. These teachers may be from other religions or from groups that claim to beChristian. They seem to teach that we must do what they say before God willaccept us. They say in effect that we must work to be good enough for God. Butwe Christians know that we cannot please God by what we do. We can only come toGod because of what Jesus Christ has done for us. He died for our *sins, sothat God will accept us. We need to be strong in our *belief in Jesus, for thatis what God asks of us. In most of these other religions and groups, there arerules that people have to obey. There are the ceremonies that all must come to.They can only eat certain foods or they have to prepare their food in specialways. The religion of the *Jews had become like that. Doing such things did nothelp those who did them to come to God. Our trust must not be in what we cando, but in what Jesus has done on our behalf.
Verse 10To eat at an *altar means to take part in the *sacrifice that the priest hasmade on it. Those who serve at the *altar in the old agreement cannot take partin the *sacrifice of Jesus. We who are Christians by our trust in Jesus, sharewhat he did when he died on the cross. His *sacrifice was for us and Godaccepts us in him. Those who depend on what they do at their *altars do notshare what Jesus has done.
Verses11-12 The Hebrews were 40 years in the desert. While there, God gave them thelaw and the rules for sacrifices. On one day in the year the chief priestbrought the blood of animals into the most holy place. They burned the bodiesoutside of the camp. This was the *sacrifice for *sin in the old agreement.They made these sacrifices each year for the *sins of the *Jews. They were todo this until Jesus came and made the one great *sacrifice. He was both thechief priest and the one great *sacrifice. He died for the *sins of all people.He died just once and it was enough for all people and for all time. As theyburned the bodies of the sacrifices away from the camp, so they killed Jesusoutside the city (*Jerusalem).
Verse 13The fact that Jesus died there shows that the people had refused him. He wasthe Christ, but they would not accept him. They cursed him and killed him, asif he were a criminal. What they did to Jesus then, so people may do the sameto those who follow him now. Let us be bold and say that we belong to Jesus.Let us be ready to suffer for him. Let us never deny that we are his, even ifwe have to die for him.
Verse 14Nothing in this life lasts forever. We Christians are like strangers here onearth. We are not at home here any more. We are going home to be with our *Lordin heaven. Like Abraham, we look for the city that is to come. That will be theplace where we shall live and where we belong.
Verse 15We do not now have to give blood sacrifices to God. We no longer need the oldpriests to go to him on our behalf. Jesus is the one and only chief priest andhe is always with God. The only *sacrifice that we can bring to God is ourpraise. We can praise him at all times and not just at the special times of theold sacrifices. The ‘fruit of our lips’ means what we say about God. We praisehim when we tell of his greatness, power, might and love. We praise him when wethank him for who he is and for what he has done. We praise him when we giveourselves to him. We praise him through Jesus, for there is no other way tocome to him.
Verse 16While we are praising God, we must not forget the needs of others. It pleasesGod when we share what we have with those who are in need.
Obey and follow what is right 13:17
v17 Obey your leaders and do what they say.They watch over you as men who have to give an account of their service forGod. Let their task be a joy to them and not a pain, for that would do you nogood.
Verse 17God has given us leaders in the church. It is their responsibility to help usto grow as Christians. One day they will have to give an account to God for howwell they have done this. We should obey what they teach and follow as theylead. If we do this, their task will be a joy to them. If we do not, it will behard for us and will make them sad. If we make the task of the leader hard inthis way, it will do us no good and the church will suffer. Jesus is for us theleader above all others. We must obey and follow him at all times.
Pray for us 13:18-19
v18 Pray for us. We are sure that we have agood conscience as we always want to do what is right. v19 I want you to pray hard for me to beable to come to you soon.
Verses18-19 The writer urges his readers to pray for him and for those with him. Thisis not for just one prayer. He asks that they will continue to pray. He wantsthem to pray especially for God to help him in his situation. He always triesto do what is right. He is sure that he has a good conscience. This means thathe does not know of any *sin in his life that he has not asked God to forgive.He really wants to come and see them. But there is some reason why he cannotcome yet. He believes that as they pray for him, God can make it possible.
The end of the letter 13:20-25
v20 God is the God of the quiet heart. Heraised our *Lord Jesus from the dead, by the blood of the new agreement thatlasts always. Jesus is the great *shepherd of the sheep. v21 May God give you everything good thatyou need to do what he wants. May God do all that he wants to do in our livesthrough Jesus Christ. To him there will be honour for all time and always.*Amen.
v22 My brothers, I appeal to you to acceptthe words I have written to help you. This is only a short letter that I havewritten to you. v23 I want you toknow that our brother *Timothy is out of prison. If he comes soon, I shallbring him with me when I come to see you. v24Say hello for me to your leaders and to all who belong to Christ. The*believers from *Italy who are here greet you. v25 I pray that the goodness of God will be with you all.
Verses20-21 Now, as the writer comes to the end of the letter, he prays for hisreaders. He prays to the God of the quiet heart. There may be troubles allabout us. We may have problems in our lives. Yet in all our difficulties, Godcan give us that quiet heart. God has made that possible for us in Jesus. Heraised Jesus from the dead. Jesus is the great leader of the sheep (John10:1-5). The ‘sheep’ is a picture of his people. By his blood, that is, by hisdeath, Jesus has made the new agreement on our behalf. By that agreement, allwho belong to Jesus will receive the life that never dies. God will give them aquiet heart that will last for all time and forever. The writer’s prayer isthat God will make them able to do his will while they live here on earth. Heprays that God will do all that he wants to do in their lives. God will do thisfor us through Jesus Christ, as we obey and follow him. All the praise and allthe honour belong to Jesus forever.
Verse 22In this letter there is much advice on how to live as a Christian. It warns usabout many things that could lead us to *sin. It asks us to make many decisionsand shows us the right answers. The writer wrote his letter to help us. He asksus to accept it and learn from it.
Verse 23*Timothy was a man who often travelled with the *apostle Paul. He was a leaderin the churches. The readers knew that he had been in prison. The writer tellsthem that *Timothy is now out of prison. He promises that if *Timothy arrivessoon, he will bring him to visit them.
Verse 24The writer sends greetings to his readers, from himself and from ‘our Italianfriends’.
Verse 25This is a final prayer for all his readers.
altar ~ the special table, for burninganimals or other gifts offered to God.
amen ~ a word from the *Hebrew languagethat means we agree, or it is true, or let it be so.
Ammonites ~ a nation who fought against the*Israelites.
ancestors ~ any persons from whom thefamilies of your father or mother come.
anchor ~ a heavy weight on a chain whichsailors throw over the side of the boat to hold it steady.
angel ~ a *spirit person made by God toserve him and take his messages. There are *angels who *sinned and now servethe Devil.
apostle ~ one whom God sends; especiallyone of the 12 that Jesus chose to be his helpers.
ark ~ a large boat such as Noah built.
baptism ~ washing with water as a sign thatJesus has made us clean, and that we want to obey God.
belief ~ what we accept as true ... see *faith.
believers ~ those who know and acceptChrist.
boldness/boldly ~ to be brave and withoutfear; with courage.
Canaan ~ the land that God promised toAbraham (Genesis 12:7).
Canaanites ~ the people who lived in theland of *Canaan and who fought.
cherubs ~ special *angels who were in themost holy place.
Clement of Rome ~ a church leader andwriter who lived at the end of the first century.
creation ~ the act of God in making theworld and everything there is: everything that God has made.
Egypt ~ a country where the *Israeliteswere slaves before the *exodus.
Egyptians ~ people who belong to the landof *Egypt.
elders ~ older men, respected men, orleaders in the church.
exodus ~ a word used to refer to the timewhen God brought the people of *Israel out of *Egypt.
faith ~ to trust someone or something;*belief and trust in God and in Jesus his Son; *belief that the Bible is true.
firstborn ~ a title of Jesus as the firstto rise from the dead. Then Christians are referred to as *firstborn ones.
Gethsemane ~ a garden outside *Jerusalemwhere Jesus prayed before his death.
Greek ~ the language in which the authorswrote the New Testament.
Hebrew ~ a Jewish or Israelite person. The languageof the Jewish people.
heir ~ a person who will own the propertyor position when the present owner dies.
human(s)/humanity ~ human person(s).
human being ~ a human person.
hyssop ~ a small bush used by the*Israelites with the blood of sacrifices.
incense ~ something that gives a sweetsmell when it burns; the priest burned it in praising God in the *temple.
Israel ~ God changed the name of Jacob to*Israel (Genesis 35). The sons of Jacob were the beginning of the nation of*Israel. The land that God promised to them is the land of *Israel.
Israelites ~ the people of *Israel.
Italy ~ a country.
Jericho ~ a city that the *Israelitesdestroyed when they came into the land that God had promised them (Joshua 6).
Jerusalem ~ the capital city of *Israel; the*temple of God was there.
Jews ~ people who were born from Abraham,Isaac and Jacob and their children. It is also a name for the people of*Israel.
Judah ~ one of the 12 sons of Jacob(*Israel). It was from his family that the *Messiah was to come. When thenation of *Israel split, 10 of the 12 *tribes became *Israel and 2 of the 12*tribes became *Judah.
Judaism ~ the religion of the *Jews.
kingdom ~ the place or territory where aking rules.
Lord ~ a title for God, or Jesus, to showthat he is over all.
mediator ~ the agent who makes peacebetween persons. Jesus is the *mediator between God and *humanity. As *mediatorhe made the new agreement with God for *humanity.
messengers ~ those who bring messages.
Messiah ~ the special servant of God, thename God chose for Jesus Christ. The person that God sent to save his peoplefrom their *sins. God promised the *Jews that *Messiah would come. Jesus isthat *Messiah but the *Jews still do not believe it.
Midian ~ a nation that fought against*Israel.
Midianites ~ people of the land of *Midian.
miracles ~ wonderful works that God does byhis power; wonderful things that show that a person’s message is from God.
Passover ~ the meal that the *Jews had atthe time of the Exodus. Each year they still have this meal to remember theExodus.
persecution ~ when enemies of God hurtpeople because they believe in Jesus.
Philistines ~ a nation that fought with the*Israelites.
promised land ~ the land that God promisedto give to Abraham and his family.
prophet(s) ~ those who are able to tell toother people what God wants; people who spoke for God a long time ago; personswho speak words from God; they often told of things that would happen in thefuture.
repent, repentance ~ a change of mind andheart, to turn away from *sin and turn to God.
resurrection ~ rising from the dead; comingalive again.
righteous(ness) ~ being right with God;people that God sees as clean and not his enemies; people who do what is right.
Rome ~ the capital city of the rulers atthat time. They were the Romans.
Sabbath ~ the *Sabbath was the seventh dayof the week which was special to the *Jews. It was a day on which the peoplewere to rest from work (Exodus 20:8-11).
sacrifice ~ an offering to God, often ananimal or bird, by the *Jews to ask God to forgive their *sins. Jesus gavehimself to die as a *sacrifice for our *sins.
Salem ~ a city of which Melchizedek wasking; short for *Jerusalem.
salvation ~ when God saves us from theresult and punishment of our *sin; the rescue from *sin, as God forgives us andgives us new life in Christ.
Sarah ~ the wife of Abraham.
scripture ~ the books of the Bible.
shepherd ~ one who takes care of sheep(sheep are a kind of animal).
Shunem ~ a town in *Israel.
Sinai ~ a mountain where God met with Mosesand gave him the law.
sin ~ to sin is to do wrong, bad or evil;not to obey God; sins are the wrong things that we do.
soul ~ the part of a person that we cannotsee that is in us during our life and lives after we die; it is our inner life(not the body); it is that part of people that God speaks to through their*spirits.
spirit ~ that part of a person which wecannot see but which can speak to other *spirits or to the *soul; there areother *spirits which can be good or evil.
suggestion ~ something that someonesuggests.
teachings ~ lessons.
temple ~ a special building for the*worship of God. The *Jews had one in *Jerusalem for the *worship of the trueGod.
throne ~ the special chair for the king.
Timothy ~ a friend of the *apostle Paul. Hewas a leader in the church at that time. There are 2 letters to him, from Paul,in the New Testament
tribe ~ family from one man. *Israel grewfrom the 12 sons of Jacob. These 12 families formed the 12 *tribes of *Israel.
trumpet ~ an instrument for making music orto sound an alarm.
useless ~ of no use.
vow ~ serious promise made with a proof ofintention to keep it. People did this by making the *vow in the name of somegreat person.
washings ~ the acts of washing inceremonies.
witness ~ a witness is someone who sees anevent and will tell of it. To witness is to tell what you have seen.
worship ~ to give honour to God withpraise, thanks and respect.
Zion ~ another name for *Jerusalem, butespecially of the New Jerusalem.
W Barclay~ The Letter to the Hebrews ~ The Daily Study Bible
A B Bruce~ Hebrews ~ in Dictionary of theBible, edited by J.Hastings
T Hewitt ~The Epistle to the Hebrews ~ Tyndale New Testament Commentaries
L Morris ~The Letter to the Hebrews ~ The Expositor's Bible Commentary
A M Stibbs~ The Letter to the Hebrews ~ inThe New Bible Commentary ~ IVP
W E Vine ~Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words
Bibles ~NIV, RSV, TEV, AV,
A Marshall~ The Interlinear Greek New Testament
Soon ~ TheJesus Book
G HLedyard ~ New Life Study Testament
©1997-2001, Wycliffe Associates (UK)
Thispublication is written in EasyEnglish Level B (2800 words).
Visitour website: www.easyenglish.bible
How do I find a good Bible commentary? ›
Start with a Study Bible. If you've never used a commentary before (or really studied scripture), then I recommend starting out with a study Bible. A study Bible will provide you with notes and resources on various texts. It will more than likely have cross-references, illustrations, and charts.Is there a free online study Bible? ›
1. Christian Leaders Institute's Courses. This is by far the best online Bible course you can attend. It is entirely free, including your transcripts, provided you pass the preliminary class Christian Leader Basics (which is also free).Is there a Bible commentary app? ›
Matthew Henry Bible Commentary
Its smart design by Android guidelines ensures you enjoy every bit of time you spend on it. Ease and speed are guaranteed with its user-friendly features. These features include font changes, social media sharing, clickable links to KJV verses, etc.
How To Study the Bible for Beginners | Christian Vlogger - YouTubeWhat is the most comprehensive study Bible? ›
The ESV Study Bible
It ranks at the top of our list for its reputation as one of the most comprehensive Bibles ever published. Teachers and scholars like John Piper, Mark Driscoll, R. Albert Mohler Jr., and R. Kent Hughes endorse this study Bible version of the English Standard Bible.
- International Critical Commentary. Word Biblical Commentary. Hermeneia. ...
- New International Biblical Commentary. New International Commentary on the New Testament. ...
- Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. Pillar New Testament Commentary. ...
- Life Application Bible Commentary. Holman Commentary.