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Saturday, March 2, 2013

(66) The Book of Hebrews

The power of faith.

No one knows exactly who wrote this book.  Some suspects are Apollos, Priscilla, Philip, Barnabas, Silas, Clement, Paul, even Luke.  All we know is that the writer knew who Timothy was (13:23).  It was written somewhere between 60-70 AD and was probably written from Italy, or at least the writer knew people in Italy.  Most would say it was not of Paul due to the way it opens because it is not in the same manner.  This is the only book of the Bible that is a complete mystery of who the author is.  It is also written in Hebrew and not Greek like the rest of the NT was written.  We do know it was written before the destruction of Jerusalem by Rome since it talks about the Temple in present tense.  The destruction of Jerusalem was in 70 AD.

The OT is mentioned over 80.  And because it pretty much tells the main stories of people and their faith it is considered a "mini Bible".  Some scholars think this was actually a sermon instead of a letter written to anyone in particular.  But the common thought is that the audience meant to hear this was either Messianic Jews who were reverting back to the Law due to persecution or Gentile Christians who were in the midst of being persecuted.  The persecutions mentioned were done in one of the following time periods:  Claudius who outlawed Christianity in Rome, Nero who fed the Christians to the lions, or Domitian who burned all Christians opposed to him.  Nero being the most commonly accepted person of rule.

Some of the main points are:
  1. How superior is Jesus?  Try reading this passage.  (1:3-4)
  2. God sent a piece of Himself, in the form of Jesus, to become like us and showed death will be conquered (2:14-31)
  3. Jesus is the Great High Priest (4:14-5:3)
  4. What Jesus did, He did it ONCE for ALL (9:23-28)
  5. The Faith chapter (11)
  6. Discipline is love (12:7-8)
The persecution during this time period must have really been bad enough that someone felt the need to address staying strong and faithful while it lasted.  It is also stressed that the law of Christ far outweighs or is superior to the law of the OT.  The common theme of who Christ is in this book is that he is the Great High Priest.  This book shows you how important it is to have faith. Sometimes faith is not popular with the world.  It will get you scorned.  It will get you ridiculed.  It will get you angry with friends and family.  But for those who hold fast in their faith; justice, peace, and reward is theirs.  Unfortunately, faith is hard to find today.

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