LESSON THIRTEEN: EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS

Therefore, since we are receiving a Kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve G-d acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our, G-d is a consuming fire.
Hebrews 12:28-29

Introduction

  • Most commentators have used books like Galatians and Hebrews to promote replacement theology, and/or dispensationalism. Their western mindset and sometimes anti-Semitism does not permit them to see the first followers of Yeshua as observant Jews, and Gentile “G-d fearers.”
  • The moment one falls into the trap of thinking “old is bad, new is good” regarding Scripture, we risk diminishing the very authority of the Almighty in His Word – and setting the stage for being led astray.
  • The Epistle to the Hebrews is not about “old is bad, new is good.”

Author, recipients, purpose

  • Some attribute the book to Paul, but the Greek and the style are completely different. Heb 12:23 indicates it was written by someone in the Pauline circle, and the rabbinic methods further indicate Paul’s influence. It is extremely rabbinic, and the writer’s use of Hillel’s rules of study further validate its authenticity.
  • Although it is titled, “Epistle to the Hebrews” in most Bibles, the text never says who the recipients are. This is merely a tradition. But the recipients had to be very knowledgeable about the Temple system in Jerusalem (Acts 6:1).
  • The purpose has long been understood to be to convince Messianic Jews that they should not return to “Judaism.” This is completely anachronistic. Acts proves the “religion” of the first followers of Yeshua was “Judaism” and that they were a Temple sect, more closely aligned with the Pharisees (Acts 5:34;15:4; 23:6; 26:5).
  • The purpose is alluded to in Heb 2:5 (speaking of the World to Come), and by the usage of the rabbinic method called kal v’chomer [light to heavy], or “how much more…”
  • Because of translators’ bias, they intentionally change verb tenses. Every English version does it to one degree or another. It is the #1 mistranslated book in the Apostolic Scriptures in regard to verb tenses.

Kal v’chomer

  • Heb 12:18-24: out of context, commentators incorrectly see:
  • Two Mountains: One is Sinai (the physical), the other is Zion (in heaven). (i.e. Heaven is better, and has replaced Sinai)
  • Two Messages: One is G-d’s voice at Sinai, with fire and darkness, the other is from Jesus, the message of mediation. (i.e. It is a good thing we are on this side of the cross – back then G-d was pretty angry and frightening – now we only get love)
  • Two emotions: One is the terror at Sinai, the other is the peace of having a heavenly registration and residence. (i.e. Which do you want, the terror of Sinai, or the peace of heaven?)
  • This is a demonstrably false way of reading Hebrews. Instead of contrast, the writer is using comparison. Kal v’chomer, light to heavy. From this false view, we can see the errant theologies of replacement and dispensations:
  • Law = bad. Grace = good.
  • Old = bad. New = good.
  • Physical = bad. Invisible, spiritual = good.
  • G-d of Old Testament = scary. Jesus of the New Testament = nice.
  • Heb 12:25-27 provides the context, and the lesson we must keep when studying Hebrews – it is about the comparison. It is about two domains (earth and heaven) under one King, not two religions. It is about the unity of those domains, not Gnosticism.
  • Kal v’chomer, and reading the entire context of the passage shows us the correct view:
  • Two Mountains: Sinai and Zion. Sinai is a picture of Zion. (i.e. remember what it was like at Sinai – now multiply: that is Zion)
  • One Message (not two): The Voice you hear is the same One that spoke at Sinai. (i.e. if we trembled as Sinai, how much more now if we abandon our walk with Yeshua when He returns)
  • One emotion (not two): godly fear. (i.e. to understand grace, is not to disregard the fear of God. It is to be mobilized by that fear)
  • After all, “our G-d is a consuming fire…”

Replacements, or Domains?

  • Heb 2:1-6: Not a replacement for Moses – greater than Moses. Kal v’chomer.
  • Heb 8:4: Hebrews speaks of the High Priesthood of Yeshua – but takes extraordinary time to explain why He can be a Priest even though He is not Levi. Yeshua’s High Priesthood does not replace Aaron’s – it is the greater, but in another domain (not on earth). Kal v’chomer.
  • Heb 9:1-11: Not a replacement for the earthly Tabernacle, but using the two parts of the Tabernacle to show the relationship to the heavenly Tabernacle. Kal v’chomer.
  • Heb 9:13; 10:4: not a replacement of offerings, but an explanation of the two domains (seen and unseen). The earthly offerings cleanse (present tense) the physical. The once-for-all heavenly offering of Yeshua takes awaysin.

Summary

  • The Epistle to the Hebrews is a remarkable book in that it affirms the Hebraic perspective of our faith. When read in context it demolishes anti-Semitic theologies and pagan Platonic philosophy.
  • Hebrews brilliantly shows the continuity of the redemption message throughout Scripture. Not a “new” way – the “only” way is through Yeshua. He is the promised Seed.