The New Testament book —
writer unknown

King James Version

(Hebrews 1:1) God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,

God spoke through the Old Testament. We should expect those Israelites living in Old Testament days had access to salvation.

(Hebrews 1:2) Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;

In the church age God speaks to us through Jesus. The Church age = the last days.

(Hebrews 2:2) For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward;

God judged Old Testament Israelites for their transgressions and disobedience against the law.

(Hebrews 2:3) How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;

We must be diligent in our practice of the faith or we will be judged. This contradicts the once-saved-always-saved teaching. Note that the apostles merely passed-onwhat they heard from Jesus. If their words were trustworthy, shouldn't we expect the teachings of their successors (who learned from the apostles) would also be trustworthy? Certainly the first generation of successors were trustworthy, but after a while these teachings were added to and changed.

(Hebrews 2:4) God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?

One of the purposes of the miracles of Jesus was to validate the teachings of Jesus are from God.

(Hebrews 2:16) For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.

Jesus, who is God, took on human nature. Certainly the human nature he took on was free from original sin. This is why Marywas free from original sin since Jesus took human nature from her.

(Hebrews 3:1) Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;

The writer calls Jesus Apostle and High Priest. Even though Jesus is the Apostle, he also chose other apostles (there were at least 12 or 13 apostles, counting Paul, perhaps excluding Judas). It is not unreasonable therefore that there would be priests in his church.

(Hebrews 3:14) For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;

We must remain steadfast in the faith to enter heaven. Presumably this means those who abandon the faith do not enter heaven. This contradicts the once-saved-always-saved doctrine.

(Hebrews 4:2) For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.

The gospel message does not profit anyone unless they accept it with faith. This means making a radical life change (works) including being baptized, attending church, repenting from sin, confessing sin and asking God for forgiveness, praying, doing devotions, giving money to the church, helping the poor and widows, etc. Works play a role in salvation. New "converts" who do none of these things are not saved, they merely heard the gospel but did not mix it with faith.

(Hebrews 4:12) For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

The phrase "word of God" refers to the message from God in whatever form: Old Testament, preaching, teaching, and letters which were being passed around the churches. Notice it is not Bible-only; sacred traditionis also the "word of God". (Of course, if "Tradition" changes over the generations is not true tradition; we should therefore suspect any "Tradition" not written-down early.)

To clarify, sacred tradition is that having apostolic origin and it is true and trustworthy. Much was originally unwritten (preaching, liturgy, prayer and devotions).

Protestants typically use this verse to support their doctrine of Sola Scriptura (scriptura only) but in context it doesn't support this because the word of God includes scripture and tradition.

(Hebrews 4:14) Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.

We must hold fast to our profession of faith. Professing our faith is a work we must do in order to be saved.

Professing of the faith may refer to the public profession of a creed during the Sunday church service. Not only should we profess our faith publicly during the church service, but we must live this faith every day of our lives.

(Hebrews 4:16) Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

How do we come to the throne of grace? Where is this throne of grace? This section of the book of Hebrews refers often to Jesus as our high priest. As the King of kings who sits on the throne, Jesus rules his body, the church. His kingdom is now, in the church. (The fullness of the kingdom will occur after his second coming.) We come before the presence of Jesus in the sacrament of the Eucharistduring mass. Protestant denominations and communities have chosen to reject this teaching which was believed and practiced by the very early church as is attested to by the writings of the church fathers.Coming before the throne of grace is not merely an abstract, metaphorical phrase but has a physical component. In the Eucharist (the blessed sacrament) we "obtain mercy and find grace to help in the time of need". Only some Churches (Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican, Episcopalian, Lutheran, and a few others) have the Eucharist; most Protestants have rejected it.

Of course, this verse is not limiting its meaning to the Eucharist. We come before Jesus as out high priest when we worship him in public or in private.

(Hebrews 5:1) For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins:

Jesus offers gifts and sacrifices. In the Old Testament system the high priest offered gifts and sacrifices for the atonement of the sins of the people.

(Hebrews 5:11) Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing.

The writer is speaking to Christians who are "dull of hearing". Therefore, he is addressing foundational topics rather than advanced theological distinctions.

(Hebrews 5:12) For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.

Again, these people are dull of hearing. By now they should be teachers but instead they must be fed milk like babies.

(Hebrews 6:1) Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,

The foundational principles concern the doctrine of Christ. The writer wants to progress to more advanced topics so Christians can become perfected in their faith, but instead he must focus on the foundational topics. Therefore, we should not expect the book of Hebrews to contain these advanced topics; we must look elsewhere for them.

Also, notice the Christian life is one of moving from infancy (babes in Christ) to perfection. Perfection is the goal. We are not totally depraved and merely coveredwith Christ's righteousness, we actually become righteous. The passage from the book of Revelation makes it clear we actually become righteous in order to enter heaven: "And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth." (Revelation 21:27)

(Hebrews 6:2) Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.

The foundational principles are:

  1. Repentance (from verse 1)
  2. Faith (from verse 1)
  3. Baptisms (3 times)
  4. Laying on of hands (during the rite of baptism)
  5. Resurrection
  6. Eternal judgment

This is the simple gospel message. Because God judges whether we go to heaven of hell after the resurrection of the dead, we must accept his grace of salvation. We do this by repenting of our sinful deeds, seeking forgiveness from God for these sins, followed by baptism in the church in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Many Protestant denominations have rejected the necessity of baptism but the writer of Hebrews includes it as one of the foundational steps of salvation.

(Hebrews 6:3) And this will we do, if God permit.

The writer will move to advanced topics if time permits. If he does this we should not expect these advanced topics to appear until much later in the book.

(Hebrews 6:4) For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,

(Hebrews 6:5) And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,

The writer wishes Christians to fully grasp these foundational doctrines (6:1-2) of the faith. Without these a person cannot be saved. Notice these 6 foundational doctrines can be equated with another list:

  1. Enlightened (recognized the truth of God's holiness and man's sinfulness)
  2. Tasted the gift (perhaps a reference to the Eucharist. In any case, the Christian has in some way received God's gift of salvation).
  3. Partakers of Holy Spirit (perhaps a reference to the sacrament of Confirmation. In any case the Holy Spirit now indwells the new believer.)
  4. Tasted the word of God (from verse 5. Perhaps a reference to the Eucharist).
  5. Tasted the powers of the world to come (from verse 5). "World to come" = heaven. The word "tasted" seems to mean "perceived". The new Christian has perceived the awesome glory of heaven in some way.

(Hebrews 6:6) If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.

It is impossible (verse 4) for Christians who have had a true conversion experience to again receive salvation if they apostatize. This certainly contradicts once-saved-always-saved for 2 reasons:

  1. The person was clearly saved (The argument that the person was not really saved can't be used).
  2. They lose their salvation.

People often bring examples of people who got saved, fell away from the faith, and came back to the faith. This passage is not referring to those people. They would not have returned to the faith if they truly apostatized. Notice what these apostates do:

  1. Crucify Jesus.
  2. Put him to shame.
  3. Bear thorns instead of fruit (from verse 8).

Fallen Christians who return to the faith still have the grace of God working in their spirits drawing them back. Apostates have rejected God at the very core of their being. For these apostates it is impossible for them to return to the faith. We don't know which category a fallen Christian is in but God does.

(Hebrews 6:8) But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.

The end of unbelievers (and apostates) is burning. The image of burning comes from the practice of burning unwanted things such as thorns, branches which were cut off the vine, chaff, etc. to dispose of them. Some use this to support their notion of Annihilationism. Certainly the metaphor of burning could support Annihilationism since the debris is destroyed, but there are many other passages demonstrating the final state of the damned is not annihilation.

(Hebrews 6:9) But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak.

There are things which accompany salvation.

(Hebrews 6:12) That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

The writer is exhorting these Christians (baby Christians?) to follow the example of those who "inherit the promises" through their faith and patience. The writer has just exhorted them to perform good works in love such as ministering to fellow Christians (verse 10). The writer warns them to also do this "work of labor and love" (verse 10). Who are these examples of faith?

(Hebrews 6:13) For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself,

The writer mentions Abraham who "through faith and patience inherited the promises". Christians are to look to the examples of Old Testament saints and to model their faith and behavior on them. Christians are to learn what faith is by examining the lives of Old Testament saints including certain Israelites. Therefore, those in Old Testament times were saved by faith. This refutes the notion there was a separate dispensation and a separate means of salvation for Old Testament Israel. Since certain end time views are based on this false teaching of Dispensationalism, this verse also refutes those end time views (rapture, etc.).

(Hebrews 6:15) And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.

Abraham's faith consisted in his believing God and his patience. He waited for the fulfillment while maintaining his belief in the promises.

(Hebrews 6:19) Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil;

Just as Abraham patiently believed in God's promise while he patiently waited for its fulfillment; just so, we must faithfully wait in patience for the hope of heaven, the new heavens and new earth.We must firmly believe and not doubt. With this virtue of hope we "see" the goal of heaven through the eyes of faith; we see the presence of God. This presence of God was also behind the veil in the tabernacle and temple of the Jewish nation (but the presence of God left, never to return — see Ezekiel 11:23).With these "eyes of faith" we see the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. Jesus is the goal of our faith. We desire to be in his presence forever.

(Hebrews 6:20) Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.

Jesus (the forerunner) is our high priest. The kind of priesthood is that of Melchizedek.

(Hebrews 7:3) Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.

We don't know about Melchizedek's lineage. For the Aaronic priesthood their lineage was very important — only those of the line of Aaron could be priests. But lineage has no significance in the priesthood of Melchizedek. Thus, Jesus doesn't have to be a Levite to be our high priest.

(Hebrews 7:5) And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham:

The Aaronic priesthood is derived from the priesthood of Melchizedek for three reasons:

  1. The Levites were descendants of Abraham.
  2. Abraham was blessed by Melchizedek (and by way of application, Melchizedek blessed the Levites. Verse 6).
  3. The lesser is blessed by the better (verse 7).

(Hebrews 7:6) But he whose descent is not counted from them received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him that had the promises.

See verse 5.

(Hebrews 7:7) And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better.

See verse 5.

(Hebrews 7:12) For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.

When the Levitical priesthood was established there was a change in the law. But from the time of Melchizedek there was a previous law. Abraham was under this law and he was blessed by Melchizedek under this law. Since Christ is a high priest in the priestly order of Melchizedek, he operates under this law. Since us Christians are under Christ's priesthood, we are therefore under this same law. But what are the rules of this priestly law? A few are stated in these verses:

  1. Abraham gave a tithe (a tenth) to Melchizedek, the high priest. Therefore, we are to give a tithe to Jesus, the high priest. But how can we give anything to Jesus since he is in heaven? Two conclusions:
    • Jesus is physically on earth in the Church.
    • We express our relationship to Jesus by our relationship with his Church. Therefore, the Church is not merely an abstract idea or the mere set of all believers; rather, it is the visible manifestation of Jesus.
  2. From verse 6: Melchizedek blessed Abraham via some sort of rite or ritual. Therefore, Jesus blesses us via rites and rituals. The Catholic Church teaches he does this via the Catholic (and Orthodox) rites and rituals of blessing performed by validly-ordained priests who do so in the name of the Church and therefore in the name of Jesus. When we receive these blessings from the priest, we are receiving them from Jesus.
  3. We are to be blessed in the context of bread and wine (Genesis 14:18). This refers to the Eucharist.

(Hebrews 7:16) Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life.

Contrasting the Old Testament law with the gospel.

Old Testament — Based on carnal (material) commandment. This priesthood was established by God's commandment to the people by Moses.

New Testament — Based on Christ who through his deity and resurrection provides the power to grant eternal life.

This verse does not say the Old Testament law is a law of working (implying Old Testament Israelites were saved by works). The writer has already made it clear Old Testament Israelites were saved by faith (4:2, 6:12).

(Hebrews 7:18) For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof.

The Old Testament priesthood was certainly profitable at the time because God gave it with power (lightning, etc. — Exodus 19:16; 20:18).Why would God give a useless gift? The point is the new priesthood of Christ supercedes the Old Testament priesthood. Now that Christ has come we are to look to him as our high priest and to his priesthood in the order of Melchizedek as our priesthood. Notice these two priesthoods have common elements:

  1. Sacrifice
  2. Gifts to the priest
  3. Blessings from the priest
  4. Priests (Certainly Melchizedek was not the only priest in Salem, he likely had helpers who were the priests. Melchizedek was the high priest. If there is a high priest there are lesser priests, otherwise there is no need to use the word "high" in referring to him.)

The new priesthood of Christ contains these elements.

(Hebrews 7:20) And inasmuch as not without an oath he was made priest:

Since the Old Testament priests needed to be "ordained" to be valid priests, the writer feels he must provide the answer to the question, "Which valid authority ordained Christ as high priest?"

(Hebrews 7:21) (For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him that said unto him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec:)

The answer: God ordained Jesus as indicated by Luke 24:27.The Old Testament is the inspired, inerrant, and infallibleword of God;even the Jews believed this.

(Hebrews 8:1) Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens;

Notice Jesus is also king. (Heb 1:8)

(Hebrews 8:2) A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.

This refers to the true tabernacle.

(Hebrews 8:3) For every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices: wherefore it is of necessity that this man have somewhat also to offer.

This refers to gifts and sacrifices.

(Hebrews 8:4) For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law:

Priests on earth offer gifts.

(Hebrews 8:5) Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern showed to thee in the mount.

Christ's priesthood and the true tabernacle (verse 2) are fulfilments of the Old Testament priesthood and tabernacle. Does this mean that there is now no priesthood and no tabernacle at all? Or does this mean that the priesthood and tabernacle reside only in heaven? Certainly John in the book of Revelation sees these things (Revelation 7:15, 8:3, 11:19, 15:5). It can be demonstrated from the New Testament there is also an earthly component with which we interact — liturgy, corporate prayer, feasts, the Eucharist (communion), fasting, anointing with oil, etc. (Acts 2:42, 1 Corinthians 5:8, 7:5, 10:16, 11:20; James 5:14). The writings of the early church fathers provide much more information about the worship practices of the early church than we find in the New Testament.

(Hebrews 8:8) For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:

A new covenant (Jer 31:31). The Jews should have been expecting there to be a new covenant some day.

(Hebrews 8:10) For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:

Attributes of the new covenant:

  1. Laws are in our minds and hearts — But note there are laws. This verse is often interpreted to mean there are no laws, but the verse does not say this. It merely states where the laws reside.
  2. We are the people of God (as the Jews were).
  3. (Verse 11) All who are within the new covenant will know God. In the Old Testament, covenant people were members of God's covenant by birth whether or not they even knew God (this doesn't imply that these who didn't know God were destined to end up in the new heavens and new earth).But the membership of the new covenant is restricted to those who know God. Not all who are members of a particular Christian church are necessarily members of the new covenant. (Verse 11)
  4. God forgives and forgets the sins of those in the new covenant. This implies that entrance into the new covenant is via repentance by the sinner and forgiveness by God. (Verse 12)

(Hebrews 8:11) And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.

See verse 10.

(Hebrews 8:12) For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.

See verse 10.

(Hebrews 9:1) Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary.

The writer comments on the characteristics of the old covenant, presumably to demonstrate: (1) these same attributes are also present in the new covenant, and (2) the particular form of these attributes of the old covenant is superceded and changed in the new covenant. These are (from verses 1 to 10):

  1. Ordinances of divine service — Rules regarding rituals and rites.
  2. Worldly sanctuary — The tabernacle and temple. In these were:
    • Candlestick
    • Table with shewbread (these first 2 were called the sanctuary)
    • Behind the second veil: (1) tabernacle and holy of holies, (2) golden censer, (3) ark of the covenant overlaid with gold (a) containing manna and the tablets of the 10 commandments, (b) having images of cherubims and the mercy seat.
  3. Rituals
    • The high priest entered behind the second veil and performed various rituals.
    • Offered sacrifice for his own sins (not needed by Christ since he was sinless).
    • Gifts and sacrifices were offered: (1) meat, drinks, (2) various washings, (3) other ordinances, (4) Verse 13 — blood of animals mixed with ashes of burnt offering used in sprinkling.

Regarding statues: Protestants often object to the use of statutes and icons by the Catholic (and Orthodox) Church. But notice these were used in Old Testament worship. There were statues and images of cherubim. Later in the temple there were statues of bulls supporting the altar. Some claim it okay to have statues of animals and angels but we shouldn't have statues of people (Jesus, Mary, the Saints). This seems arbitrary to me. I should rather think we shouldn't have statues and images of animals but it is okay to have statues and images of angels and Saints.

(Hebrews 9:2) For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the showbread; which is called the sanctuary.

See verse 1.

(Hebrews 9:3) And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all;

See verse 1.

(Hebrews 9:4) Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron's rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant;

See verse 1.

(Hebrews 9:5) And over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercyseat; of which we cannot now speak particularly.

See verse 1.

(Hebrews 9:6) Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God.

See verse 1.

(Hebrews 9:7) But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people:

See verse 1.

(Hebrews 9:8) The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing:

See verse 1.

(Hebrews 9:9) Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience;

See verse 1.

(Hebrews 9:10) Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.

See verse 1.

(Hebrews 9:11) But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;

The true tabernacle is not a building as it was in the Old Testament.

(Hebrews 9:12) Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.

See verse 1.

(Hebrews 9:13) For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh:

See verse 1.

(Hebrews 9:14) How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

For the Old Testament Israelites (Jews) the sacrifices of animals (verse 13) purified the penitent and (v14) cleared their consciences. One goal of sacrifices is for the penitant to feel their sins are forgiven to have a clear conscience. This is what occurs during the Catholic sacrament of confession (10:2).

(Hebrews 9:18) Whereupon neither the first testament was dedicated without blood.

The necessity of blood in the cleansing from sin.

(Hebrews 9:19) For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people,

See verse 18.

(Hebrews 9:20) Saying, This is the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you.

See verse 18.

(Hebrews 9:21) Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry.

See verse 18.

(Hebrews 9:22) And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.

See verse 18.

(Hebrews 9:23) It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.

The pattern of the Old Testament system (pattern = the New Testemant system) was purged by Christ's shed blood. The pattern of the Old Testament sacrificial system resides in heaven because the New Testament system is in heaven (since Christ is in heaven and since he is the New Testament system).

(Hebrews 9:24) For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:

"Behind the veil" — was in tabernacle / temple; is now in heaven.

(Hebrews 9:27) And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:

Humans have only one life followed by judgment. This refutes the notion of reincarnation.

(Hebrews 9:28) So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

At Christ's second coming, for those who look to him for salvation in faith and hope, he will save them. Salvation has a future aspect. Thus, the statement "I am saved" is not the whole story. It is also true to say "when Jesus returns, I will be saved".

(Hebrews 10:1) For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.

The writer uses the word "law" to refer to the sacrificial system which he has been discussing for several chapters. The Old Testament law contained a shadow of the New Testament plan of redemption, not the very image (or form) of it.

(Hebrews 10:2) For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins.

See 9:14.

(Hebrews 10:6) In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure.

In the later stages of Old Testament redemptive history, the prophets of God began to preach and write that God has no pleasure in offerings and sacrifices (see 10:8). This means God intended those involved with this Old Testament sacrificial system participate in faith rather than with a "works only" mentality. God originally established this system and obviously intended it to be efficacious [to accomplish its intended purpose]. Only later when the religious system became hopelessly unredeemable did God provoke the prophets to speak against the faithless mere observance of the forms without the spirit. The religious leaders ignored God's exhortations so God established a new system. This does not imply this new system has no law, only that those who don't have faith are not really members of this new covenant.

(Hebrews 10:10) By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

We are sanctified by Jesus' sacrifice which occurred once, at a particular time in history. Note the subtlety that it is through the offering of this once-for-all sacrifice. Where and when do us Christians share in this offering? In the mass in which the once-for-all sacrifice of Christ is made present. The priest offers the sacrifice of Christ on our behalf.

(Hebrews 10:14) For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.

Notice Christ continues to perfect us from generation to generation. The writer has continued to contrast the Old Testament sacrifice with Christ's once-for-all sacrifice many times in the last several chapters. Surely he does not mean for us to believe there is no ceremonial aspect of Christ's sacrifice.

(Hebrews 10:19) Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,

We enter into the holy of holies, into the presence of Christ who is enthroned in heaven. How do we do this, by merely imagining we are with Christ in heaven? The Church has always taught that Christ brings heaven to earth in the mass, in the Eucharist (communion). The New Testament sacrificial system is not merely an abstract idea — it is a present, material reality.

(Hebrews 10:22) Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.

When are our hearts sprinkled and our body washed? In baptism. The body is ceremonially washed with water (through sprinkling, pouring, or immersion) and the heart is metaphorically sprinkled and cleansed from an evil conscience. The reference to the body indicates there is a physical, material component to our faith life.

(Hebrews 10:23) Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)

Part of the baptismal ceremony is a profession of faith. Often in the New Testament a reference to baptism appears very near a reference to profession. In the mass we renew our baptismal profession of faith.

(Hebrews 10:25) Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

Notice the reference to baptism and the regular public profession of our faith occurs in the context of assembling together. We assemble together for the baptism of new members in the body of Christ, to renew our profession of faith, to offer up the sacrifice of Christ in the mass, and to receive the forgiveness of sin through this offering up of Christ's sacrifice.

(Hebrews 10:26) For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,

We lose our salvation through willfully committing mortal sin which renders Christ's sacrifice for us ineffective.

(Hebrews 10:27) But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.

Notice this refers to eternal judgment.

(Hebrews 10:32) But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions;

We must remain true to the faith even if it results in persecution and martyrdom.

(Hebrews 10:33) Partly, whilst ye were made a gazingstock both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly, whilst ye became companions of them that were so used.

Reproaches and afflictions directed toward Christians.

(Hebrews 10:34) For ye had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance.

The writer of Hebrews was in bonds at least once and this was witnessed by at least some of the recipients of the book of Hebrews. Christians had their possessions destroyed or stolen.

(Hebrews 10:37) For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.

Jesus will return in a little while. Some insist the early Christians thought the second coming would occur very soon, in their generation. There are problems with this view:

  1. Why would the writers of the New Testament believe and teach error?
  2. It would not have provided any consolation and comfort for Christians who had already endured persecution for decades to hear it would last for just a little while. Especially when they continued to be persecuted for decades after they were first assured it would be only a little while.

Likely this "little while" refers to the shortness of our lives compared to eternity. When we die and meet Jesus the relief will come. Notice Jesus won't delay. When we are waiting for something to occur in our life it is easy to get impatient. But we should not become impatient in waiting in hope for the final plan of God to unfold. The reason Jesus didn't come back at that time was to allow more people time to be born, repent of their sins, and come into God's kingdom. Jesus is not late, he is right on schedule.

(Hebrews 10:38) Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.

The book of Hebrews was written by a person, not a committee.

(Hebrews 10:39) But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.

The point of expecting Christians to wait patiently even when persecuted is so they will not abandon the faith and lose their salvation.

(Hebrews 11:1) Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Some today teach faith is a substance or force which we appropriate and can use to achieve whatever we desire to achieve. This verse merely says with faith we see those realities we are hoping for. We know those things which we have never seen or experienced are nonetheless true. Our faith gives us this assurance (See versae 13). Chapter 11 lists examples of the faith of Old Testament saints.

The faith which these people had does not match with the Protestant idea of "saving faith." If these Old Testament saints are examples of true faith, then there is something wrong with the Protestant notion of faith.

(Hebrews 12:1) Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

The Old Testament saints are a cloud of witnesses. Because of their faith they are all in heaven. We are surrounded by these heavenly saints. This matches the Catholic view of Saints very well. If there were Old Testament Saints, wouldn't there also be New Testament Saints? Wouldn't there also be Saints from every generation? The answer is, yes there are, and we are surrounded by all these Saints who dwell in heaven.

We are to run the race. The implication is if we don't run the race we will lose our salvation. Works play a role in salvation.

(Hebrews 12:5) And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:

Christians should expect to be chastened. Many Protestants prefer to believe suffering has no place in the life of a Christian.

(Hebrews 12:7) If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?

The reference to a human father chastening his child indicates the chastening of verses 5 — 11 refers to more than merely being persecuted for the faith.

(Hebrews 12:10) For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.

God chastens us that we will become holy and righteous (verse 11).

(Hebrews 12:11) Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

See verse 10.

(Hebrews 12:15) Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;

(Hebrews 12:16) Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright.

A list of a few bad, unholy traits which can cause us to lose our salvation:

  1. Bitterness
  2. Fornication [sex outside of marriage]
  3. Being profane by not respecting the gifts of God (as exemplified by Esau)

(Hebrews 12:22) But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,

Two figurative ways of referring to heaven: (1) Mt. Zion, (2) Jerusalem.

In becoming Christians we enter the kingdom of God. This kingdom includes:

  1. Angels
  2. Saints from the Old Testament and before (verse 23)
  3. God (verse 23)
  4. The spirits of just men made perfect (a reference to purgatory, verse 23)
  5. Jesus and his sacrifice (verse 24)

(Hebrews 12:23) To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,

See verse 22. Notice we must be perfect to enter heaven. Through living a life of holiness and virtuewe are made perfect. We are not totally depraved sinners whose ugliness is merely covered by Christ's righteousness.

(Hebrews 12:24) And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.

See verse 22.

(Hebrews 12:28) Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:

We who have faith are living in the kingdom now, but this present aspect of the kingdom is not the fullness of the kingdom — this occurs after the second coming of Christ.

(Hebrews 12:29) For our God is a consuming fire.

God is a fire — he judges sin and burns it up. For those who won't repent, this burning will occur for eternity in hell.We should expect this burning to be as painful and unpleasant as when God chastises us while alive on earth to purge us of sin. Usually there is some unpleasant event in our lives which triggers the motivation for us to stop performing a certain kind of sin.

(Hebrews 13:2) Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

Angels are real and interact with us in this life.

(Hebrews 13:7) Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.

Church leaders have authority over us. The church leaders at the time Hebrews was written were all ordained by apostles or by those who had been so ordained. Authority derives via succession from the apostles.Many of the heresies throughout history originated from men who proclaimed they were authorities but who were not recognized as such by those who were validly ordained. Two other sources of heresy: (1) Apostates, those who leave the faith, and (2) those who are not true to the apostolic tradition.

(Hebrews 13:9) Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein.

See verse 7.

(Hebrews 13:10) We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle.

An altar at which the unconverted Jews are not allowed to eat. Verse 9 refers to dietary laws. This altar is the altar used in the celebration of the Eucharist.

(Hebrews 13:13) Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.

In mass we re-present Christ's sacrifice.

(Hebrews 13:15) By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.

Let us continually offer the Eucharist, at every mass for all generations until Christ's second coming.

(Hebrews 13:16) But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.

We communicate during mass at the Eucharist. The mass is a sacrifice and the Eucharist is a sacrificial meal which we partake of.

(Hebrews 13:17) Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.

See verse 7.

(Hebrews 13:18) Pray for us: for we trust we have a good conscience, in all things willing to live honestly.

The writer asks for prayer for "us". Presumably he is referring to the Church leaders of which he is a member.

(Hebrews 13:19) But I beseech you the rather to do this, that I may be restored to you the sooner.

The writer wants to visit the recipients of the letter. He doesn't identify them but based on the content of the letter they appear to be Jews who converted to Christianity.

(Hebrews 13:21) Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

We are to be perfect and to do good works.

(Hebrews 13:23) Know ye that our brother Timothy is set at liberty; with whom, if he come shortly, I will see you.

Timothyis someone the writer and audience knew well. Apparently Timothy had been imprisoned. Timothy apparently was planning to visit those who were the audience of this letter.

(Hebrews 13:24) Salute all them that have the rule over you, and all the saints. They of Italy salute you.

Refers to Church leaders again. Christians are referred to as saints. Apparently the writer was in Italy when he wrote Hebrews.