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A Study Of The Apostle Paul’s Letter To The Hebrews

A Study Of The Apostle Paul’s Letter To The Hebrews

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A Study Of The Apostle Paul’s Letter To The Hebrews

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  1. Don’t fall away! Don’t Depart! Don’t neglect your salvation! Don’t cast away your confidence! Don’t harden your heart! Don’t drift away! AStudyOf TheApostlePaul’s LetterTo The Hebrews How can we neglect so greata salvation? ~ Hebrews 2:3

  2. Hebrews: Christ Is Superior! Superior Person (1:1—4:13) Superior to Prophets (1:1-3) Superior to Angels (1:4—2:18) Superior to Moses (3:1-19) Superior to Joshua (4:1-13) Superior Priest (4:14—7:28) Superior to Aaron (4:14—6:12) Superior to Melchizedek (6:13—7:10) Superior to Levi (7:11-28)

  3. Hebrews: Christ Is Superior! Superior Pact to Moses’ (8:1—10:18) Superior Promises (8:1-13) Superior Sanctuary (9:1-15) Superior Sacrifice (9:16-28) Superior Results (10:1-18) Superior Principle (Faith) to Moses’ (10:19—13:25) Superior Things (10:19-39)but… We’ll only get to verses 32-39 today. Superior Actions (11:1-40) Superior Relationship (12:1-29) Superior Way of Life (13:1-25)

  4. As mentioned in our last study, 10:19 is where Paul began to apply all his previous thoughts and where he began to head toward his conclusion by writing about Christ’s superior principle of faith. Hebrews 10:19-39 concern Christ’s faith-principle being the only appropriate response to all those superior things he had just written about; in fact, 10:19-21 sum up all of 1:1—10:18. Then…   

  5. In verses 22-25 Paul essentially out-lined the next three chapters by en-couraging faith, hope, and love in his audience of those who were … one by one … deserting Christ; then in verses 26-31 he warned them about the consequences of such a decision. Now…   

  6. In verses 32-39 there’s a call to per-severance based on God’s faithful-ness (something he actually brought up in verse 23). One more thing worthy of note is that… Paul was still repeating himself some here: just as we previously indicated that verses 26-31 parallel 6:4-8, so now we’ll see that verses 32-39 parallel 6:9-12. In other words… 

  7. After he warned them, he attempted to encourage them by expressing the faith in them that they could still turn things around. And it’s interesting that this expression of faith in them wasn’t based on the fact that other saints had persevered or were per-severing (as he dealt with later in chapters 11 & 12), but on the fact that they themselves hadonce done well under great persecution for Christ. So… Let’s begin with…   

  8. Hebrews 10:32  But recall the for-merdaysinwhich, after you were illuminated, you endured a great struggle with suf-ferings…

  9. This is present not aorist tense, indicat-ing that they should constantly remind themselves of their early days as Chris-tians. But recall the for-merdaysinwhich, after you were illuminated, you endured a great struggle with suf-ferings…

  10. This simply means thattheyweremade aware of the Christ and had accepted Him, which in turn meansthatPaul was referring to a time immediately after they became Chris-tians, a time when they had that initial zeal for Christ (cf. 6:4 parallel about hav-ing been once enlight-ened). But recall the for-merdaysinwhich, after you were illuminated, you endured a great struggle with suf-ferings…

  11. This is from athlesis (from which we get “athletic”), and the verb form meant to contend (in games); so Paul was talking about a fierce con-flict with the forces of evil. In fact, ac-cording to 12:4…  But recall the for-merdaysinwhich, after you were illuminated, you endured a great struggle with suf-ferings…

  12. It seems that what they suffered thru earlier was as much as could be suffered through short of bloodshed. Perhaps they had experienc-ed the same difficult circumstances Paul alluded to in First Thessalonians2:14ff: But recall the for-merdaysinwhich, after you were illuminated, you endured a great struggle with suf-ferings…

  13. You, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God which are in Judea in Christ Jesus. For you also suffered the same things from your own country-men, just as they did from the Jews, whokilledboththeLordJesusandtheir own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they do not please God and are contrary to all men, forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they may be saved, so always to fill up the measure of their sins; but wrath has come upon them to the uttermost.(Cf. Acts 8:1-3.)

  14. Hebrews 10:33  …partly while you weremadeaspec-tacle both by re-proaches & tribu-lations, and partly while you became companions of those who were so treated…

  15. Thisis from our word for “theater” (asin the Roman amphi-theater);however, while the Romans usually used wild beasts against Chris- tians in this public place, the Jews publicly brought reproaches and tri-bulations of other sorts against Jewish Christians. …partly while you weremadeaspec-tacle both by re-proaches & tribu-lations, and partly while you became companions of those who were so treated…

  16. Reproaches points to emotional suffering which included false accusation.NoteRe-velation 16:13-14 in this connection: …partly while you weremadeaspec-tacleboth by re-proaches & tribu-lations, and partly while you became companions of those who were so treated…

  17. I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are spirits of demons, performing signs which go out to the kings of the earth and of the whole world to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.

  18. This word points to physical suffering which included im-prisonments. And who else pictures those things better than Paul himself(2 Cor. 11:22ff)? …partly while you weremadeaspec-tacleboth by re-proaches & tribu-lations, and partly while you became companions of those who were so treated…

  19. Not only were they personally persecut-ed for accepting JesusastheMessiah, but they were also persecuted for emo-tionally supporting, physically harboring, & financially aiding others who were being persecuted for accepting Jesus asthe Christ (cf. 6:10 parallel). …partly while you weremadeaspec-tacleboth by re-proaches & tribu-lations, and partly while you became companions of those who were so treated…

  20. Hebrews 10:34  …foryouhadcom-passion on me in mychainsandjoy-fully accepted the plundering of your goods, knowing that you have a better and an en-during possession for yourselves in Heaven.

  21. Like the word visit in James 1:27, I be-lieve this carries with it some type of action, perhaps the same action as the word visit in James: …foryouhadcom-passion on me in mychainsandjoy-fully accepted the plundering of your goods, knowing that you have a better and an en-during possession for yourselves in Heaven.

  22. The word visit doesn’t just mean to go and see someone, but also to physically help one in need with medicine, food, clothing, etc. In fact, I understand that in the first century the needs of prison-ers weren’t customarily met by the authorities; provisions had to be made by those outside the prison walls.

  23. This has to do with aseizureoraconfis-cation, which could imply two motives: (1) it could refer to some form of per-secution, or (2) it could refer to disin-heritance as a Jew. See…    …foryouhadcom-passion on me in mychainsandjoy-fully accepted the plundering of your goods, knowing that you have a better and an en-during possession for yourselves in Heaven.

  24. In the eyes of apostate Israel, when a Jew forsook Moses for Jesus, his share of the property was forfeited, so it was taken from him, along with his credit and every source of gain. (Such may make one wonder if this could’ve been the reason for the event described in Acts 4:34-35.)

  25. Speaking of the beast again, John wrote that he causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast or the number of his name (Rev. 13:16-17).

  26. I said “in the eyes of apostate Israel” because they were actually the ones who forsook Moses. Why? Because if they truly believed Moses, they would have accepted Jesus, for Moses wrote about Jesus (John 5:46)! Besides, isn’t this why Christ referred to apostate Jews as the synagogue of Satan (Rev. 2:9 & 3:9)? But, back to the main point… Why couldn’t Paul have been including both motives: confiscation of their pos-sessions to disinherit themandto per-secute them? Now the question is… 

  27. How could they en-dure all this joyfully? Because they knew they had a superior and eternal posses-sion in Heaven. …foryouhadcom-passion on me in mychainsandjoy-fully accepted the plundering of your goods, knowing that you have a better and an en-during possession for yourselves in Heaven.

  28. Jesus said,Donot layup for yourselves treasures on Earth, where moth & rust destroyandwherethievesbreakinand steal; but lay up for yourselves trea-sures in Heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal (Mat. 6:19-20).

  29. He also said, Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven. Blessed are you whentheyrevileandpersecuteyouand say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward (Mat. 5:10-12a). Well…

  30. Now that Paul has reminded them of God’s past faithfulness to them under difficult circumstances (hardships that they had even come through without blood-shed), he continued on to encourage themtoremainfaithfulbasedonGod’s future faithfulness.

  31. Hebrews 10:35  Therefore do not cast away your confidence which hasagreatreward.

  32. Paul was exhorting them to not discard that wondrous con-fidence that they possessed in the beginning of their Christian walk; this is reminiscent of 3:6 where he told them to hold fast totheir confidence to the end, when the great promised rewardwouldbeattained. Therefore do not cast away your confidence which hasagreatreward.

  33. As 11:1 teaches, confidence is faith-induced; & in Ephe-sians 6:16 Paul likened faith to the shield in a soldier’s armor.Here’s what’s interesting about this: Paul may have been alluding to the conduct of cowardly soldiers who would throw aside their shields and retreat, Therefore do not cast away your confidence which hasagreatreward. something consid-ered very dishonor-able, of course!

  34. This is reminiscent of First Corinthians 15:58 where Paul wrote, Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. Therefore do not cast away your confidence which hasagreatreward.

  35. Hebrews 10:36  Foryouhave need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may re-ceive the promise.

  36. The question “Why would they have needofendurance?” is answered in the first part of chapter 12, but let’s just read verses 5-8:  Foryouhave need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may re-ceive the promise.

  37. My son, don’t despise the chastening of the Lord, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; for whom the Lord loves He chastens and scourges every son whom He receives. If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons. For what son is there whom a father doesn’t chasten? But if you’re without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you’re illegiti-mate and not sons.

  38. This refers to their not deserting Christ and to their perse-verance under trials. Foryouhave need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may re-ceive the promise.

  39. The association of endurance & confi-dence (v. 35) with the attainingofthepledged prize was found earlier in 6:12 when Paul wrote, Don’t become slug-gish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inheritthepromises. So…   Foryouhave need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may re-ceive the promise.

  40. If they wanted to be good sons and not be cut out of their Father’s will with the promise of a great reward (cf. Rom. 11), then they simply just had to persevere a little while longer. In fact, he went on to allude to Habakkuk 2:3-4 in…    Foryouhave need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may re-ceive the promise.

  41. Hebrews 10:37-38    For yet a little while, & He who is coming will come and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith; but if anyone draws back, My soul has nopleasureinhim.

  42. After Habakkuk said something to God about His judgment against His people Israel (1:12), God replied: The vision isyetforanappoint-ed time; but at the end it will speak, & it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it, because it will sure-ly come. It will not tarry (2:3). For yet a little while, & He who is coming will come and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith; but if anyone draws back, My soul has nopleasureinhim.

  43. Paul began his ap-plication of this pro-phecy here, saying, yet a little while, a very strong phrase in the Greek, mean-ing, yet a little—ever so little—while (cf. other versions: YLT, NIV, NASB, et. al.); in fact, the Greek term micron (where we get “micro”)is used here. For yet a little while, & He who is coming will come and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith; but if anyone draws back, My soul has nopleasureinhim.

  44. This phraseology clearly indicates that Paul wasn’t writing about something 2,000 years away, but about something more like 7 years away. And what could that have been? Christ’s AD 70 coming against apostate Israel, of course (cf. con-text,vv.25ff).Afterall,that wasthecoming which brought relief to these brethren. Not only did it bring relief from Jewish persecution, but (since the old earthly city of God was destroyed) it also natur-ally alleviated any temptation to return to Judaism. Note a couple of passages:

  45. Speaking of martyrs for Christ, John wrote that a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed. I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood (Rev. 6:11-12).

  46. Speaking to persecuted Christians Paul wrote that it’s a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who don’t know God and on those who don’t obey the Gospel of our Lord (2 The. 1:6-8).

  47. The just should lit-erally be rendered as the just one, and anyone should be rendered as he; i.e., God said, if he [the just one] draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him, implying (as all of He-brews does) that a saved person can become lost again. Furthermore…   For yet a little while, & He who is coming will come and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith; but if anyone draws back, My soul has nopleasureinhim.

  48. The just shall live by faith is in contrast to if he draws back, signifying that the phrase live by faith here means that he who would escape that judgment would do so only because of his faith … and, of course, the grace of God. For yet a little while, & He who is coming will come and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith; but if anyone draws back, My soul has nopleasureinhim.

  49. It’s interesting to me that Paul quoted Habakkuk 2:4 various times through-out his writings: in Romans 1:17 he used it to emphasize the just part of it; in Galatians 3:11 he used it to empha-size the shall live part of it; then here in Hebrews 10:38 he used it to empha-size the by faith part of it. In fact, He-brewschapters11—13 could be con-sidered a discussion on living by faith.

  50. This comes from the word “please,” so God was saying that theonewhobecame a Christian then de-serted Christ would not please Him in the very least. In other words…   For yet a little while, & He who is coming will come and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith; but if anyone draws back, My soul has nopleasureinhim.