Reading today’s Proverbs may make you feel like you’re back in school, but it’s worth wading through.
20 Now may the God of peace…21 equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Today we look at the Letter to the Hebrews. From Wikipedia:
The Epistle to the Hebrews (Ancient Greek: Πρὸς Ἑβραίους, romanized: Pros Hebraious, lit. ‘to the Hebrews’) is one of the books of the New Testament.
The text does not mention the name of its author, but was traditionally attributed to Paul the Apostle. Most of the Ancient Greek manuscripts, the Old Syriac Peshitto and some of the Old Latin manuscripts have the epistle to the Hebrews among Paul’s letters. However, doubt on Pauline authorship in the Roman Church is reported by Eusebius. Modern biblical scholarship considers its authorship unknown, written in deliberate imitation of the style of Paul, with some contending that it was authored by Priscilla and Aquila.
Scholars of Greek consider its writing to be more polished and eloquent than any other book of the New Testament, and “the very carefully composed and studied Greek of Hebrews is not Paul’s spontaneous, volatile contextual Greek”. The book has earned the reputation of being a masterpiece. It has also been described as an intricate New Testament book. Some scholars believe it was written for Jewish Christians who lived in Jerusalem. Its essential purpose was to exhort Christians to persevere in the face of persecution. At this time, certain believers were considering turning back to Judaism (the Jewish system of law) to escape being persecuted for believing Christ to be the messiah. The theme of the epistle is the doctrine of the person of Christ and his role as mediator between God and humanity.
Dr. Robert Dean Luginbill, Ph.D. Curriculum Vitae Department of Classical and Modern Languages University of Louisville in Louisville, KY, says, “that the book of Hebrews is included in the earliest and best complete manuscript of the Bible, codex Sinaiticus (ca. 3-4 cent. A.D.). Sinaiticus contains a complete copy of the book of Hebrews – positioned in the middle of the Pauline letters, in between 2nd Thessalonians and the pastoral epistles (a clear indication that, pace [despite] Origen, the producers of this wonderful manuscript assumed that Paul was the author).”
Here is an interesting note that I did not know:
The nineteenth-century German scholar Theodor Zahn...also concluded that the canonization of the New Testament was set by the end of the first century. Harry Y. Gamble wrote this summary: “Zahn’s massive study of the history of the canon … argued that there was already a canon of Christian Scriptures by about the end of the first century (80-110 AD) …[and] that there had arisen a body of Christian documents read in public worship and broadly recognized and cited as normative. They consisted of the fourfold Gospel and a corpus of thirteen Pauline letters, as well as some other writings. Zahn believed that this was adequately documented by the fact that the church fathers, especially the early second-century Apostolic Fathers, were fully aware of these texts, which they clearly took to be fundamental resources of the church at large” (McDonald and Sanders, The Canon Debate: On the Origins and Formation of the Bible, pp. 267-268).
Folks, we can trust the Epistle to the Hebrews. In as much as we can understand it, Jesus is the fulfillment of the Sacrificial System. His substitutionary sacrifice was made “once for all” (7:27, 9:12, 9:26, 10:2, and10:10). We can take it to the bank.
Abba, thank You for including such a detailed and thorough account of Jesus’ fulfillment of OT Scriptures–in fact, the whole sacrificial system! He is, indeed, Prophet, Priest, and King. May we read Hebrews with great joy and excitement knowing that Jesus has done it all, for us. Amen.
A Summation of the Epistle to the Hebrews
“The author of Hebrews presents strong arguments that we all need Christ, including: He is more wonderful than angels, for they worship Him. He is superior to Moses, for He created him. His sacrifice is once for all time, whereas the Aaronic (Jewish) system required repeated sacrifices. He is better than the Law, because we can live by Him, whereas the Law kills those who try to follow it...This epistle was written prior to the destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D. Timothy was still alive at the time of this letter (13:23), and the Jewish system was about to be removed (12:26-27). This book was written between 64 and 68 A.D. Hebrews presents Christ as Prophet, Priest and King, far superior to any religious system this world might devise. He who is from everlasting is better than anything or anyone found in this world-system.”