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by Rhoderick D. Ice
INTRODUCTION TOTHE LETTER TO THE HEBREWS
The key word of this Letter is GREATER! TO prevent some from turning away from Christ and returning to the Law of Moses, the writer of this Letter shows: (1) The Son is greater than the prophets! (2) The Son is greater than the angels! (3) The Son is greater than Moses! (4) The Son is a greater High Priest than Aaron, because He is in the priestly order of Melchizedek! (5) The New Covenant is greater than the Old Covenant! It demands more and promises more! (6) If you turn away from the Son, you have NOWHERE to go! To abandon Christ is to abandon God!!!
The Jewish leaders tried to discredit both the Messiahship and Divine Sonship of Jesus of Nazareth. The excuse they gave for this was: (1) He was a man, a mere human being; (2) He had no earthly kingdom (which they expected the Messiah to have), and he was put to death; (3) He became a man by being born a helpless baby. They seemed to think the Messiah would suddenly appear – full grown (compare John 7:27 and note); (4) Because he was tempted and suffered, just as we all do. Hebrews answers these questions, and should forever take away the “offensiveness of the Cross!”
The only question about this Letter is: “Who wrote it???” Did Paul write it? Probably, but no one can know for sure. It is not signed, as Paul’s letters were. Origen wrote in the early part of the Third Century: “If I gave my opinion, I should say that the thoughts are those of the Apostle, but the phrasing and composition are those of some one who remembered what the teacher had said. If then any church holds this Epistle [Letter] to be Paul’s, let it be commended for this. For not without reason have our predecessors handed it down as Paul’s. But who wrote the Epistle, in truth God knows. The account that has reached us is, that some say it was written by Clement who became bishop of the Romans, while others ascribe it to Luke, the author of the Gospel and Acts.” This whole question of the authorship is examined in great detail in the Expositor’s Greek Testament.
When was it written??? From Hebrews 10:1-58.10.2 we infer that the Temple was still standing and the sacrifices of the Law were still being offered. R. Milligan thinks Paul wrote it during the first imprisonment at Rome. Ramsay gives 62 A.D. as the year of Paul’s release, so it would be around that time. Hebrews 13:23 seems to verify both that date and the authorship of Paul.
the First Week of Advent