Bible: Hebrews 1-8
Introduction: God Has Spoken Fully and Finally in His Son
1:1 After God spoke long ago 1 in various portions 2 and in various ways 3 to our ancestors 4 through the prophets, 1:2 in these last days he has spoken to us in a son, 5 whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he created the world. 6 1:3 The Son is 7 the radiance of his glory and the representation of his essence, and he sustains all things by his powerful word, 8 and so when he had accomplished cleansing for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. 9 1:4 Thus he became 10 so far better than the angels as 11 he has inherited a name superior to theirs.
The Son Is Superior to Angels
1:5 For to which of the angels did God 12 ever say, “You are my son! Today I have fathered you”? 13 And in another place 14 he says, 15 “I will be his father and he will be my son.” 16 1:6 But when he again brings 17 his firstborn into the world, he says, “Let all the angels of God worship him!” 18 1:7 And he says 19 of the angels, “He makes 20 his angels spirits and his ministers a flame of fire,” 21 1:8 but of 22 the Son he says, 23
“Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, 24
and a righteous scepter 25 is the scepter of your kingdom.
1:9 You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness.
“You founded the earth in the beginning, Lord, 28
and the heavens are the works of your hands.
1:11 They will perish, but you continue.
And they will all grow old like a garment,
1:12 and like a robe you will fold them up
and like a garment 29 they will be changed,
but you are the same and your years will never run out.” 30
1:13 But to which of the angels 31 has he ever said, “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet”? 32 1:14 Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to serve those 33 who will inherit salvation?
Warning Against Drifting Away
2:1 Therefore we must pay closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. 2:2 For if the message spoken through angels 34 proved to be so firm that every violation 35 or disobedience received its just penalty, 2:3 how will we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was first communicated through the Lord and was confirmed to us by those who heard him, 2:4 while God confirmed their witness 36 with signs and wonders and various miracles and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed 37 according to his will.
Exposition of Psalm 8: Jesus and the Destiny of Humanity
“What is man that you think of him 40 or the son of man that you care for him?
2:7 You made him lower than the angels for a little while.
You crowned him with glory and honor. 41
2:8 You put all things under his control.” 42
For when he put all things under his control, he left nothing outside of his control. At present we do not yet see all things under his control, 43 2:9 but we see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, 44 now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, 45 so that by God’s grace he would experience 46 death on behalf of everyone. 2:10 For it was fitting for him, for whom and through whom all things exist, 47 in bringing many sons to glory, to make the pioneer 48 of their salvation perfect through sufferings. 2:11 For indeed he who makes holy and those being made holy all have the same origin, 49 and so 50 he is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters, 51 2:12 saying, “I will proclaim your name to my brothers; 52 in the midst of the assembly I will praise you.” 53 2:13 Again he says, 54 “I will be confident in him,” and again, “Here I am, 55 with 56 the children God has given me.” 57 2:14 Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, he likewise shared in 58 their humanity, 59 so that through death he could destroy 60 the one who holds the power of death (that is, the devil), 2:15 and set free those who were held in slavery all their lives by their fear of death. 2:16 For surely his concern is not for angels, but he is concerned for Abraham’s descendants. 2:17 Therefore he had 61 to be made like his brothers and sisters 62 in every respect, so that he could become a merciful and faithful high priest in things relating to God, to make atonement 63 for the sins of the people. 2:18 For since he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are tempted.
Jesus and Moses
3:1 Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, 64 partners in a heavenly calling, take note of Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess, 65 3:2 who is faithful to the one who appointed him, as Moses was also in God’s 66 house. 67 3:3 For he has come to deserve greater glory than Moses, just as the builder of a house deserves greater honor than the house itself! 3:4 For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God. 3:5 Now Moses was faithful in all God’s 68 house 69 as a servant, to testify to the things that would be spoken. 3:6 But Christ 70 is faithful as a son over God’s 71 house. We are of his house, 72 if in fact we hold firmly 73 to our confidence and the hope we take pride in. 74
Exposition of Psalm 95: Hearing God’s Word in Faith
3:7 Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says, 75
“Oh, that today you would listen as he speaks! 76
3:8 “Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, in the day of testing in the wilderness.
3:9 “There your fathers tested me and tried me, 77 and they saw my works for forty years.
3:10 “Therefore, I became provoked at that generation and said, ‘Their hearts are always wandering 78 and they have not known my ways.’
3:11 “As I swore in my anger, ‘They will never enter my rest!’” 79
3:12 See to it, 80 brothers and sisters, 81 that none of you has 82 an evil, unbelieving heart that forsakes 83 the living God. 84 3:13 But exhort one another each day, as long as it is called “Today,” that none of you may become hardened by sin’s deception. 3:14 For we have become partners with Christ, if in fact we hold our initial confidence 85 firm until the end. 3:15 As it says, 86 “O, that today you would listen as he speaks! 87 Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.” 88 3:16 For which ones heard and rebelled? Was it not all who came out of Egypt under Moses’ leadership? 89 3:17 And against whom was God 90 provoked for forty years? Was it not those who sinned, whose dead bodies fell in the wilderness? 91 3:18 And to whom did he swear they would never enter into his rest, except those who were disobedient? 3:19 So 92 we see that they could not enter because of unbelief.
God’s Promised Rest
4:1 Therefore we must be wary 93 that, while the promise of entering his rest remains open, none of you may seem to have come short of it. 4:2 For we had good news proclaimed to us just as they did. But the message they heard did them no good, since they did not join in 94 with those who heard it in faith. 95 4:3 For we who have believed enter that rest, as he has said, “As I swore in my anger, ‘They will never enter my rest!’” 96 And yet God’s works 97 were accomplished from the foundation of the world. 4:4 For he has spoken somewhere about the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all his works,” 98 4:5 but to repeat the text cited earlier: 99 “They will never enter my rest!” 4:6 Therefore it remains for some to enter it, yet those to whom it was previously proclaimed did not enter because of disobedience. 4:7 So God 100 again ordains a certain day, “Today,” speaking through David 101 after so long a time, as in the words quoted before, 102 “O, that today you would listen as he speaks! 103 Do not harden your hearts.” 4:8 For if Joshua had given them rest, God 104 would not have spoken afterward about another day. 4:9 Consequently a Sabbath rest remains for the people of God. 4:10 For the one who enters God’s 105 rest has also rested from his works, just as God did from his own works. 4:11 Thus we must make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by following the same pattern of disobedience. 4:12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any double-edged sword, piercing even to the point of dividing soul from spirit, and joints from marrow; it is able to judge the desires and thoughts of the heart. 4:13 And no creature is hidden from God, 106 but everything is naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must render an account.
Jesus Our Compassionate High Priest
4:14 Therefore since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. 4:15 For we do not have a high priest incapable of sympathizing with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in every way just as we are, yet without sin. 4:16 Therefore let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and find grace whenever we need help. 107
5:1 For every high priest is taken from among the people 108 and appointed 109 to represent them before God, 110 to offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins. 5:2 He is able to deal compassionately with those who are ignorant and erring, since he also is subject to weakness, 5:3 and for this reason he is obligated to make sin offerings for himself as well as for the people. 5:4 And no one assumes this honor 111 on his own initiative, 112 but only when called to it by God, 113 as in fact Aaron was. 5:5 So also Christ did not glorify himself in becoming high priest, but the one who glorified him was God, 114 who said to him, “You are my Son! Today I have fathered you,” 115 5:6 as also in another place God 116 says, “You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.” 117 5:7 During his earthly life 118 Christ 119 offered 120 both requests and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to the one who was able to save him from death and he was heard because of his devotion. 5:8 Although he was a son, he learned obedience through the things he suffered. 121 5:9 And by being perfected in this way, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, 5:10 and he was designated 122 by God as high priest in the order of Melchizedek. 123
The Need to Move on to Maturity
5:11 On this topic we have much to say 124 and it is difficult to explain, since you have become sluggish 125 in hearing. 5:12 For though you should in fact be teachers by this time, 126 you need someone to teach you the beginning elements of God’s utterances. 127 You have gone back to needing 128 milk, not 129 solid food. 5:13 For everyone who lives on milk is inexperienced in the message of righteousness, because he is an infant. 5:14 But solid food is for the mature, whose perceptions are trained by practice to discern both good and evil.
6:1 Therefore we must progress beyond 130 the elementary 131 instructions about Christ 132 and move on 133 to maturity, not laying this foundation again: repentance from dead works and faith in God, 6:2 teaching about baptisms, laying on of hands, resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. 6:3 And this is what we intend to do, 134 if God permits. 6:4 For it is impossible in the case of those who have once been enlightened, tasted the heavenly gift, become partakers of the Holy Spirit, 6:5 tasted the good word of God and the miracles of the coming age, 6:6 and then have committed apostasy, 135 to renew them again to repentance, since 136 they are crucifying the Son of God for themselves all over again 137 and holding him up to contempt. 6:7 For the ground that has soaked up the rain that frequently falls on 138 it and yields useful vegetation for those who tend it receives a blessing from God. 6:8 But if it produces thorns and thistles, it is useless and about to be cursed; 139 its fate is to be burned. 6:9 But in your case, dear friends, even though we speak like this, we are convinced of better things relating to salvation. 6:10 For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love you have demonstrated for his name, in having served and continuing to serve the saints. 6:11 But we passionately want each of you to demonstrate the same eagerness for the fulfillment of your hope until the end, 6:12 so that you may not be sluggish, 140 but imitators of those who through faith and perseverance inherit the promises.
6:13 Now when God made his promise to Abraham, since he could swear by no one greater, he swore by himself, 6:14 saying, “Surely I will bless you greatly and multiply your descendants abundantly.” 141 6:15 And so by persevering, Abraham 142 inherited the promise. 6:16 For people 143 swear by something greater than themselves, 144 and the oath serves as a confirmation to end all dispute. 145 6:17 In the same way 146 God wanted to demonstrate more clearly to the heirs of the promise that his purpose was unchangeable, 147 and so he intervened with an oath, 6:18 so that we who have found refuge in him 148 may find strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us through two unchangeable things, since it is impossible for God to lie. 6:19 We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, sure and steadfast, which reaches inside behind the curtain, 149 6:20 where Jesus our forerunner entered on our behalf, since he became a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek. 150
The Nature of Melchizedek’s Priesthood
7:1 Now this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, met Abraham as he was returning from defeating the kings and blessed him. 151 7:2 To him 152 also Abraham apportioned a tithe 153 of everything. 154 His name first means 155 king of righteousness, then king of Salem, that is, king of peace. 7:3 Without father, without mother, without genealogy, he has neither beginning of days nor end of life but is like the son of God, and he remains a priest for all time. 7:4 But see how great he must be, if 156 Abraham the patriarch gave him a tithe 157 of his plunder. 7:5 And those of the sons of Levi who receive the priestly office 158 have authorization according to the law to collect a tithe from the people, that is, from their fellow countrymen, 159 although they too are descendants of Abraham. 160 7:6 But Melchizedek 161 who does not share their ancestry 162 collected a tithe 163 from Abraham and blessed 164 the one who possessed the promise. 7:7 Now without dispute the inferior is blessed by the superior, 7:8 and in one case tithes are received by mortal men, while in the other by him who is affirmed to be alive. 7:9 And it could be said that Levi himself, who receives tithes, paid a tithe through Abraham. 7:10 For he was still in his ancestor Abraham’s loins 165 when Melchizedek met him.
Jesus and the Priesthood of Melchizedek
7:11 So if perfection had in fact been possible through the Levitical priesthood – for on that basis 166 the people received the law – what further need would there have been for another priest to arise, said to be in the order of Melchizedek and not in Aaron’s order? 7:12 For when the priesthood changes, a change in the law must come 167 as well. 7:13 Yet the one these things are spoken about belongs to 168 a different tribe, and no one from that tribe 169 has ever officiated at the altar. 7:14 For it is clear that our Lord is descended from Judah, yet Moses said nothing about priests in connection with that tribe. 7:15 And this is even clearer if another priest arises in the likeness of Melchizedek, 7:16 who has become a priest not by a legal regulation about physical descent 170 but by the power of an indestructible life. 7:17 For here is the testimony about him: 171 “You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.” 172 7:18 On the one hand a former command is set aside 173 because it is weak and useless, 174 7:19 for the law made nothing perfect. On the other hand a better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God. 7:20 And since 175 this was not done without a sworn affirmation – for the others have become priests without a sworn affirmation, 7:21 but Jesus 176 did so 177 with a sworn affirmation by the one who said to him, “The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind, ‘You are a priest forever’” 178 – 7:22 accordingly Jesus has become the guarantee 179 of a better covenant. 7:23 And the others 180 who became priests were numerous, because death prevented them 181 from continuing in office, 182 7:24 but he holds his priesthood permanently since he lives forever. 7:25 So he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. 7:26 For it is indeed fitting for us to have such a high priest: holy, innocent, undefiled, separate from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. 7:27 He has no need to do every day what those priests do, to offer sacrifices first for their own sins and then for the sins of the people, since he did this in offering himself once for all. 7:28 For the law appoints as high priests men subject to weakness, 183 but the word of solemn affirmation that came after the law appoints a son made perfect forever.
The High Priest of a Better Covenant
8:1 Now the main point of what we are saying is this: 184 We have such a high priest, one who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, 185 8:2 a minister in the sanctuary and the true tabernacle that the Lord, not man, set up. 8:3 For every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices. So this one too had to have something to offer. 8:4 Now if he were on earth, he would not be a priest, since there are already priests who offer 186 the gifts prescribed by the law. 8:5 The place where they serve is 187 a sketch 188 and shadow of the heavenly sanctuary, just as Moses was warned by God as he was about to complete the tabernacle. For he says, “See that you make everything according to the design 189 shown to you on the mountain.” 190 8:6 But 191 now Jesus 192 has obtained a superior ministry, since 193 the covenant that he mediates is also better and is enacted 194 on better promises. 195
“Look, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will complete a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.
8:9 “It will not be like the covenant 201 that I made with their fathers, on the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they did not continue in my covenant and I had no regard for them, says the Lord.
8:10 “For this is the covenant that I will establish with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord. I will put 202 my laws in their minds 203 and I will inscribe them on their hearts. And I will be their God and they will be my people. 204
8:11 “And there will be no need at all 205 for each one to teach his countryman or each one to teach his brother saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ since they will all know me, from the least to the greatest. 206
8:12 “For I will be merciful toward their evil deeds, and their sins I will remember no longer.” 207