The Book of Hebrews: 3:16-19 (NLT)
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The Book of Hebrews (NLT): This Book argues for the superiority of Jesus Christ over the Jewish law and traditions, showing that He is the ultimate high priest and the perfect sacrifice for sin. The author emphasizes the need for perseverance in faith, warning against falling away from the truth and encouraging the readers to hold fast to their faith in Christ. The Book of Hebrews is located in the New Testament containing 13 chapters and a total of 303 verses.
Author: Attributed to the apostle Paul, but its true author is anonymous.
Theme: The superiority of Jesus Christ as the ultimate revelation of God and the fulfillment of the Old Testament law and prophecies. The new covenant that Jesus brought is superior to the old covenant under the law and faith is superior.
Timeline: Believed to have been written between AD 60 and AD 70 before the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple.
Structure: A New Testament letter written to Jewish Christians.
Recipients: Jewish Christians.
Importance: The book of Hebrews is considered authoritative scripture and provides important teachings on the person and work of Jesus Christ, as well as the superiority of faith and the new covenant over the old covenant. It is also considered profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness, as stated in 2nd Timothy 4:16.
The children of Israel that came out of Egypt, descendants of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob numbered around 2 million people including women and children. They traveled with livestock and carts that carried their belongings, food, and supplies. The Spirit of God went before them as a pillar of cloud during the day and turned into a pillar of fire at night so they would have light. God was always with them. They traveled from Egypt to Mt. Sinai and camped there for almost 2 years.
During this time God revealed His laws to Moses including the 10 commandments. It was here that the people abandoned God when they thought that Moses was dead and made themselves a golden idol to worship. When Moses returned from his time with God, he was so angry at what he saw that He broke the first stone tablets that God had written with His finger. There were 613 laws regarding health, diet, social, civil, and criminal behavior, sacrifices, the priesthood, and many others that were established as well. A tabernacle or sanctuary was built according to God’s directions to Moses that could be broken down, transported, and set up quickly. Sabbath and special celebratory days were instituted including the celebration of Passover. This was a time of preparation to set the foundations for their society as they were about to move into the “promised land.”
God’s chosen people had laws and sacrifices to follow to keep them in good standing with God. They saw God’s mighty power work to protect and feed them from Egypt to Sinai and to the border of the “promised land.” Yet, when they heard the evil report by the 10 spies, they allowed their fear to overwhelm them, they cowered, and they rebelled against God and Moses. They did not accept the good report given by Joshua and Caleb and did not trust in God’s Word and His promises to Abraham and them.
Because of their rebellion and unbelief in God’s promises to Abraham, His acts of goodness, mercy, and love for them, Moses told the people that they would not enter the promised land until 40 years had passed. In those years, only the young people would survive and enter into the “promised land.” Each year represented each day the tribal leaders had scouted the promised land. If they had trusted and been willing to obey God’s Word, they would have entered into God’s prepared home for them, a place of rest for them.
This is a great lesson for us today and why it’s so important to have a personal relationship with our heavenly Father. The Israelites as a whole did not have a personal relationship with God like Abraham had with Him. Their relationship was through Moses and in keeping with the 613 laws. They were afraid to approach God and relied on Moses. Moses had a very close relationship with God but would get angry at the people as well. He would always negotiate with God to spare their lives and not allow the heathen nations to view their God as a destroyer of His people. Trust comes with a close relationship with someone you know who loves you and cares for you. Keeping the law and using priests to approach God could not make the chosen people believe and trust Him even though they had seen great miracles and wonders. God was not in their hearts.
Thank God today we can have that close relationship and can trust Him and His promises. God’s love was expressly shown when He sent His Son Jesus to die for us and become our High Priest. Each one of us can enter into His rest, as we continue to build our faith and trust in His Holy Spirit within us and in His Word.
Heavenly Father, be with me today to have peace, strength, and confidence in myself and in what You are doing in my life. You are my redeemer and I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. Bless me, guide me, and use me today for Your glory in Jesus name Amen.
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