The Purpose of the Epistle of Hebrews—Lift YOUR Eyes Upward to Our Heavenly High Priest

Let the Truth of YHVH’s Word ring clearly like a bell in the hearts and minds of Truth-seekers everywhere!

What follows you have probably never heard before. Hopefully the truth of it will ring loudly like a bell in your heart and mind!


What is the main theme of the Epistle to the Hebrews? For certain, The the author is not debating about the validity of the Torah-law of Elohim. To say that he is to miss the whole point of the book. Rather he is discussing whether the Levitical system with its sacrifices and various rituals involving the Tabernacle of Moses (and later the temple in Jerusalem) is still valid or not.

Why is this such an important issue in the author’s mind? Simply for this reason: the temple is about to be destroyed or has already been destroyed along with its Levitical and sacrificial systems. This begs the question: How are the saints of Yeshua now to view the temple with its rites?

There is debate among scholars as to when this epistle was written, but it is commonly accepted that it dates to around A.D. 70, which is when the Romans destroyed the temple in Jerusalem along with its sacrificial system and Levitical priesthood. Therefore, of paramount importance in the mind of the author is the issue of the relevance, if any, the Levitical and sacrificial systems had in the life of the disciple of Yeshua. We see throughout this epistle that it is the author’s position that these systems in every way pointed to Yeshua and were thus fulfilled by his life, death, resurrection and current intercession on behalf of the believer at the right hand of his Father’s throne in heaven. 

Again, what is not an issue in the author’s mind is whether YHVH’s Torah-law is valid or not. This was never the issue in this epistle, even though the mainstream church has erroneously and traditionally made it the issue as its advocates twist and mangle the Scripture to say what they want it to say instead of what it actually says. Just because a thousand, million or billion people scream in unison that two plus two equals five, that man descended from the cousins of apes or that the earth is flat does not make it so. The same is true when Christian theologian existing in an echo chamber of their own construction scream and declare that the book of Hebrews is in some way invalidating the Torah.

True, the Levitical system was an aspect of Torah, but it was given to the children of Israel after YHVH had initially revealed his Torah-law to them at the foot of Mount Sinai. The Levitical and sacrificial systems were temporarily added to the overall Torah (Gal 3:19) after the golden calf incident as a way to help the Israelites spiritually by preventing them from falling into idolatry again. It was designed to guide them in the path of righteousness. The Levitical system was, therefore, a temporary parenthetical subordinate subset of the Torah in place until the Messiah would come to which the whole system pointed. Whether it was no permissible to steal, murder, lie, commit adultery, worship idols, practice witchcraft, have sex with animals, keep the Sabbath and biblical feasts was never the issue of this book or anywhere else in the Bible including Paul’s epistles. 

At issue in the author’s mind is whether the temple service was still needed some forty years after the death and resurrection of the Messiah, who himself predicted the demise of the temple along with its sacrificial system. Was the impending destruction at the hands of the Romans the  fulfillment of Yeshua’s prophecy? Until that time, the temple in Jerusalem had played such a central role in the lives of religious Jews everywhere including, to some degree, the apostles (as the book of Acts indicates) that the idea of its irrelevance is an issue of extreme importance and to be carefully considered. The author of Hebrews is wrestling with this whole idea and because the temple’s destruction is imminent (assuming Hebrews was written before A.D. 70), or had just happened (if the epistle was written just after A.D. 70), he has to convincingly make the point, from Scripture, that the temple and its rites are now irrelevant for the disciple of Yeshua. Therefore, in ana effort to prove that the Levitical and sacrificial systems are now longer needed, the whole book of Hebrews is about transferring the believers’ focus away from a physical and earthly temple with its rites and ceremonies and, instead, to lift the focus of the saints’ collective gaze into the heavens where the true and eternal temple of Elohim exists (after which the earthly tabernacle and temple were patterned) and where Yeshua the Messiah is currently ministering as our Great High Priest. This is the whole purpose of the Epistle to the Hebrews—to glorify Yeshua the Messiah and to fix our attention on him and him alone!

 

Hebrews 8–9 on the “Old” versus “New” Covenants and the two tabernacles

Hebrews 8

Hebrews 8:2, 5, The true tabernacle…heavenly things. The Tabernacle of Moses was merely an earthly or physical replica of the one that exists in heaven where Yeshua is no ministering as our Great High Priest before the throne of YHVH Elohim the Father (see Heb 9:11, 23–24; Rev 8:3–5; 9:13; 14:17, 18; 16:7, 17; 11:19; 15:5, 6). 

Hebrews 8:6, Better covenant … better promises. (See Heb 9:11–15.) In the Greek, the word better is kreitton meaning “more useful, more serviceable, more advantageous, more excellent.” The Renewed Covenant is a better covenant for the reasons discussed in the notes in verse eight. In 2 Cor 3:7 calls it “the ministry of the Spirit” and refers to it as “more glorious” than the former covenant. The Renewed Covenant comes with Yeshua’s promise that from within our heart the Set-Apart Spirit will empower and lead us into all truth. Moreover, under the Renewed Covenant, the promise of salvation resulting in eternal life in the kingdom of Elohim is spelled out more clearly. The Renewed Covenant also carries with it relief from the penalty of the law, which is death, for those who put their faith in Yeshua’s atoning and substitutionary death (see notes at 2 Cor 3:7). Through the Spirit and blood of Yeshua, one’s sin conscience is now cleansed in that the guilt from sin is removed (Heb 9:14). Also, as discussed in the verse eight notes, the covenant (or contract) is the actual agreement between two parties. The terms and conditions of a covenant (or contract) are something else. Torah was the terms and conditions of YHVH’s agreement between himself and his people. When the author here uses phrase like “better covenant,” this in no way implies that the Torah has been abrogated. If this were true, then this flies in the face of what is said elsewhere in the Testimony of Yeshua to the contrary (e.g. Matt 5:17–19; Acts 21:24; 24:14; 25:8; Rom 3:31; 7:14; 1 John 2: 3–6; 3:4; Rev 12:17; 14:17; 22:14).

Hebrews 8:8, Finding fault with them. What was the fault of the first covenant? The Torah-law of Elohim, or the people who failed to abide by the terms of the covenant, i.e, the Torah? The next verse gives us the answer: “because they continued not in my covenant…” The Israelites were at fault.

YHVH gave Israel his Torah-laws (or instructions in righteousness) to teach them how to love him and to love their neighbors (Mark 12:29–31). If they followed his Torah-instructions, he promised to bless them (Deut 28:1–14), and declared that all would go well with them (Deut 4:30). Of course, we know the sad history of ancient Israel and how they rebelled against YHVH again and again. There was nothing wrong with his Torah laws, which said, you shall not murder, steal, commit adultery, lie, covet, kidnap, commit homosexuality or incest, worship false gods, take YHVH’s name in vain, keep his Sabbaths, don’t practice divination, honor your parents and so on. What’s wrong with these? Nothing. The fault was with the people who failed to abide by these standards of righteousness, and this is exactly what the author of Hebrews is saying here. Because the people broke their contractual or covenantal agreement with YHVH and literally abandoned him for false gods, he was forced to make a new covenant with other people who would have the heart and love and obey him. This is exactly what Jeremiah prophesied would occur, and the writer of Hebrews is simply quoting Jeremiah in this passage. What is the main difference between the first and second covenants? As the Israelites of old didn’t have the heart to obey YHVH because of the hardness (or carnality) of their hearts (Heb 3:8, 15; 4:2, 7), YHVH promised through Jeremiah to renew his covenant with the descendants of the ancient Israelites (i.e. the house of Israel and the house of Judah, Jer 31:31; Heb 8:8), but this time, by his Spirit, he would write his Torah-laws on their hearts and in their inward parts, so they wouldn’t resist obeying him, but would desire to be pleasing in his sight. So the fault was with the hard-hearted Israelites, not with YHVH standards of righteousness called his Torah-laws!

New covenant. (For a discussion on the etymology behind the phrase new covenant see notes at Matt 26:28.)The (renewed) covenant of Jeremiah 31:31 is the same covenant to which the writer of Hebrews makes reference in Hebrews 8:7–13. From the author’s perspective, the renewed covenant isn’t fully in place yet, and the former covenant is decaying (wearing out), growing old and vanishing away (disappearing). The indication is that it has not totally gone away yet.

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Hebrew 7:19—Which law? The Torah or the Levitical system law?

The Word of Elohim is a river of life constantly yielding fresh revelation and Truth for those who are seeking it!

These are my updated notes on this verse. Like most serious Bible students, I am constantly going over the same Scriptures again and again that I have read many times before. As we grow in our understanding of the Word of Elohim, the Spirit constantly gives us new understanding. This makes the Bible continually fresh and alive—a veritable river of life from YHVH’s throne.

Upon reading my old, previously published notes from this passage, I realized what I had written before was based on the translations of some other Bibles, but didn’t really make sense in light of the author of Hebrews larger context of this passage. Below is my updated understanding. Hopefully you will find it enlightening and affirming the greater biblical truths upon which our faith and spiritual foundation rests.


Hebrews 7:19, The law made nothing perfect. In the Greek, the word perfect is teleioo meaning “complete, carry through, accomplish, bring to an end, add what is yet wanting inn order to render a thing full.” In the Aramaic this verse reads, “For we maintain that the Torah is not able to complete us which are otherwise without the coming of a greater hope through which we approach Elohim” (HRV). What is this verse really saying? We can view it in two ways. The law can either refer to the whole of the Torah, or to the Levitical and sacrificial systems that were a parenthetical subordinate subset of the greater overall and over-arching Torah.

If this verse is referring to the Torah in general (which I do not believe it is), it is not saying that the Torah was abolished, but only that it doesn’t have the capacity to bring us to spiritual completion or maturity and into intimate relationship with Elohim. Something more is needed. 

In reality, the Torah points us to the one who will lead us to the Father (it was the “tutor” [NAS] or “child-conductor” [YLT] that led us to Yeshua, Gal 3:24 )—that greater hope. 

Through Yeshua’s sacrifice, our sins are forgiven once and for all. Through Yeshua’s life one earth, we have an example to follow of how to live the Torah. Through Yeshua’s Spirit living in us, we have the internal strength to die to the flesh and live out YHVH’s Torah. Through Yeshua’s intercession as our Great Heavenly High Priest, we have an advocate in heaven to plead our case before the heavenly court of justice. Through Yeshua, our righteousness is made complete despite our failed efforts to love him by following his commands perfectly.

It makes more sense from the surrounding context that the reference to the law here is referring to the Levitical priesthood with its sacrificial system. This is clear from this passage’s larger context where the author is discussing not the Torah in general, but the Levitical priesthood with its sacrificial system that was temporarily instituted until the time of Yeshua at which time the greater and former Melchizedek priesthood took over again of which Yeshua is the head and believers are a part. In this light, it make more sense that the former commandment that was annulled because of its weakness which the author refers to in verse 18 is the Levitical and sacrificial system and not the greater Torah itself. Scripture again and again from beginning to end asserts that the Torah is immutable and perfect, for it is YHVH’s instructions in righteousness and a reflection of his very character and nature, and Yeshua, who is the Living Torah-Word of Elohim incarnate was the living and perfect embodiment of that Torah. These things cannot change for they were and are perfect and unimprovable.

 

Hebrews 5–7 on the Melchizedek Priesthood, the “Once Saved Always Saved” Doctrine and the Torah Upheld

Hebrews 5

Hebrews 5:2, Ignorant and going astray. Or ignorantly erring.

Hebrews 5:6, Order of Melchizedek. Or King of Righteousness. This is the original priesthood that YHVH established to represent him on the earth and to teach humans his ways. This was a patriarchal priesthood where the heads of families or tribes passed down YHVH’s Truth to their children. This priesthood was temporarily replaced by the Levitical priesthood which was established after the golden calf incident when the tribal leaders failed to prevent their families from turning away from YHVH for idolatry. When Yeshua established the apostolic church and with the destruction of the Second Temple along with the priesthood, the Levitical system ended. The apostolic writers reveal that the priesthood belongs to the saints, who are to become kings and priests, a kingdom of priests or a royal priesthood (1 Pet 2:5, 9; Rev 1:6; 5:10; 20:6). It appears that both the Melchizedek and Levitical priesthoods will be operating contemporaneously for a while during the Millennium (Isa 66:21). The saints will be ruling and reigning under Yeshua the King of kings-High Priest co-reigning with him in his eternal kingdom, which will be universally established with the advent of his millennial reign after  his second coming. It was always YHVH’s will for his saints to become a kingdom of priests to evangelize the world (Exod 19:6), but the Israelites failed in this endeavor.

Hebrews 5:9, Having been perfected. This verse begs a question: How could Yeshua be perfected when he was already perfect? To understand the meaning of this phrase, one has to look into the meaning of words. A word may mean one thing in one language and something completely different in another language. In English, the primary meaning of the word perfect is “having all the required or desirable elements, qualities, or characteristics; as good as it is possible to be; free from any flaw or defect in condition or quality; faultless.” By contrasts, in biblical Greek, the word perfect is teleioō meaning “to complete, that is, (literally) accomplish, or (figuratively) consummate (in character).”  As it is plain to see, between the English and the Greek, the word perfect has two completely different meanings. Yes, Yeshua was perfect, sinless and without any spiritual defect or fault, yet in his humanity, he learned what it was like to struggle against and to overcome the world, the flesh and devil and the temptations to sin. This experience allows him to be the saints’ perfect Great High Priest advocate or defense attorney in the court of heaven before or at the right hand of the throne or judgment seat of YHVH Elohim.

Hebrews 5:11, Dull of hearing. This seems to be perennial problem among the saints and is akin to “a famine of the hearing of the word of Elohim” (Amos 8:11 cp. Isa 29:13)

Hebrews 6

Hebrews 6:1, Elementary principles of Messiah. What follows are the six principal doctrines of the redeemed believer, yet they are all subsets of faith in Messiah Yeshua, which is foundations upon which it all rests.

Repentance from dead works.True biblical repentance involves turning from a lifestyle of Torahless and lining all aspects of our lives up with the Torah-Word of Elohim.

Hebrews 6:2, Doctrine of baptisms. (Also see notes at Matt 28:19.)

Laying on of hands. Ordination is something that YHVH instituted in the Torah when he charged Moses to impose hands upon the Levites, and instructed all Israel to do the same (Num 29:10). We also have the example of Moses anointing with oil Aaron (Exod 29:10). Of course, kings of Israel were also anointed with oil to consecrate them for their official duties by the laying on hands.

Laying on of hands/ordination was earth’s confirmation of a heavenly calling. Elohim had already called someone into ministry and men were simply confirming what Elohim had already determined. Ordination doesn’t confirm the calling, but the other way around.

In the Testimony of Yeshua, by lot, the 11 apostles chose Matthias to replace Judas (Acts 1). This was heaven’s choice, yet no mention of ordination is recorded. After that, we have the choosing of the seven in Acts 6:1. These were men who were already full of the Spirit and wisdom, so the apostles simply confirmed the work of the Spirit in them by laying hands on them (verse 6).

The same is true in the other examples of ordination in the Apostolic Scriptures. Men would be mentored by a leader/apostle, and after a period of time (“lay hands on no one suddenly” 2 Tim 5:22)—much like the five years of mentoring that occurred with a priest in training in the Torah (from age 25 to 30), and after meeting the qualifications of eldership (see 1 Tim 3:1–12 and Tit 1:5-9) they were appointed. Of course, those who were the mentors had oversight over those they mentored. It was less of a authoritatively-hierarchical system and more of patriarchal system with the older men lovingly overseeing those they had raised up — and only exercising strict authority when needed, which occurred only rarely.

Of course, there was no such thing as licensing or even denominations which issue licenses in the Apostolic Scriptures. To me, that seems more like a man-made thing for the purposes of maintaining power, control and keeping the money flowing upward. 

In the entire Bible, there are no examples of or precedence for women being ordained. Paul says in 1 Timothy 5:22 “to lay hands suddenly on no man.” He is gender specific. Women did, however, minister in conjunction with their husbands — their spiritual heads, which is something Paul is very clear about in Ephesians 5:21–24. Even though in the body of Yeshua there is neither male nor female so that all are equal before Yeshua, when it comes to governance in the congregation, the Bible upholds male leadership. Now that doesn’t mean that women can’t hold high positions of authority, but always in conjunctions with their husbands. We have the example of the apostolic team of Andronicus (husband) and Junia (wife) whom Paul called apostles (Rom 16:7), Aquila and Priscilla who were co-laborers. Sometimes Priscilla’s name is mentioned first. Obviously, this husband and wife team were such a tight unit that it didn’t matter whose name was mentioned first. Of course, we have examples in the Scriptures of women prophets. Deborah, though she was a judge in Israel, seems to have been married to Barak the military general. If so, we have an apostolic-prophetic team operating together to lead the Israelite nation. Huldah was a prophetess who seemed to operate without male headship, though she hung out with other prophets in a “school” or neighborhood where the prophets lived. So there was must have been some accountability between her and the other prophets, although she was the most gifted of YHVH since hers is the only name mentioned. Then we have the daughters of Philip the evangelist who were prophetesses—again, presumably under the spiritual leadership of their father (Acts 21:8-9).

Hebrews 6:6, If they fall away, to renew. 

Is the “Once Saved Always Saved Doctrine” Biblical?

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Hebrews 1–4—Are YOU in the true rest of YHVH?

Hebrew 1

Hebrews 1:9, Loved righteousness and hated lawlessness. To the degree that we love righteousness, we will hate Torahlessness and vice versa. To love righteousness and the laws of Elohim is to love his him, to love his Word and to love Yeshua. To the degree we disdain his Torah is the degree that we disdain him and Yeshua the Messiah, the Word made flesh regardless of our protestations to the contrary, regardless of our religious activities and regardless of how much we throw our emotions at him and call it praise and worship. Obedience to his Torah-Word from Genesis to Revelation is barometer indicating the depth of our love for him.

Hebrew 2

Hebrews 2:1-2, Lest we drift away. One can lose one’s salvation (see also 1 Cor 9:27; Heb 6:4–6; 10:26 cp. 1 Tim 1:19; Matt 13:20–22) if one neglects (v. 2) and doesn’t carefully guard and maintain their spiritual relationship with YHVH and his Word.

Hebrews 2:7, A little lower. See notes at Ps 8:5.

Hebrews 2:18, He is able to aid. To receive the aid of Yeshua, our Great High Priest, all we have to do is to humble ourselves and recognize that we are sinners and need help, and then to ask him for help as well as to avail ourselves of the help that he has already give us, namely, the light of his Word, which, if we study and feed on, will guide us and keep us in the straight and narrow path. 

Hebrew 3

Hebrews 3:3, He who built the house. Yeshua is the builder of his spiritual house—the church. Interestingly, his earthly father trained him to be a carpenter. Often the physical or natural and spiritual dimensions parallel each other. The idea of Yeshua being the Creator of all things including humanity (Heb 1:10; John 1:3, 10) and being the builder of his spiritual house provides us with an important truth. How is it that the death of Yeshua—one human—could pay for the sins of the whole earth—many humans? Simply this. Yeshua in his pre-incarnate state as the Word of Elohim created all humans. His life is more valuable than the lives of all those he created, since he is the Creator, even as life of the builder of a house has more value than all the houses he builds. This is why Yeshua could pay for the sins of the whole world, and why his life was more valuable than those of all the humans that have ever lived in the history of the world.

Hebrews 3:6, Hold fast…firm to the end. Ultimate salvation—the redemption of our bodies, our glorification and inclusion in the family of Elohim (or theosis) occurs after we have overcome the world, the flesh and the devil and remained firm to the end. The end is either our physical death, or our spiritual transformation or the first resurrection at Yeshua’s second coming.

Hebrew 4

Hebrews 4:2,The gospel was preached. The children of Israel heard the gospel message even as it was preached in the time of Yeshua, the apostles and in our day. They were without excuse for not accepting the gospel message. As the writer goes on to show, they rejected it because of the hardness of their hearts. People still reject the gospel today for the same reason.

Hebrews 4:3, 5, 8, 9, 10, 11, Rest. The term rest is also a biblical Hebraic idiom or Hebraism (see Deut 12:9, 10; 25:19; 1 Kgs 8:56; 1 Chron 23:25; Ps 95:121; 1 Thess 1:7) for the rest from one’s enemies and that one obtains once one has come into the promised land of their inheritance that YHVH has prepared for his saints. For the Israelites, this was the physical Promised Land in which they settled after having defeated the Canaanites. For the saint, ultimately, this is the Promised Land of the kingdom of Elohim and the New Jerusalem, which they will obtain in the final sense at the second coming of the Messiah when they receive their glorified bodies at the resurrection during the millennium, of which the seventh day Sabbath is a prophetic picture.

Hebrews 4:9–10, Rest. The Greek word sabbatismos means “a keeping of the Sabbath” and is derived from the Hebrew word sabbaton meaning “the seventh day or Sabbath.” In Hebrew the word for Sabbath is shabbat, which originates from the root verb shabat meaning “to cease, desist, rest.” Those who have entered into the Sabbath rest do so by following the example of YHVH the Creator who not only rested spiritually, but literally rested on the seventh day after the creation. He set this as an example for man to follow. 

Some people see this verse in Hebrews only as a mandate to rest from their spiritual works by putting their faith in Yeshua. This is only partial rest. We must follow the example of YHVH who literally rested on the seventh day as well. 

Yeshua in his preincarnate state was YHVH the Creator (Heb 1:10; John 1:3, 10). He kept the Sabbath as YHVH the Creator, and as Yeshua the Messiah as well. (If Yeshua didn’t keep the Sabbath, then he was a sinner in that he violated the law, and is not our perfect, sin-free Savior! If he kept the Sabbath, and the Gospels record that he did do so, we are to imitate him as his obedient disciples and imitators by doing what he did (1 Cor 11:1; 1 John 2:6). 

Some deceptive Christian “teachers” will state that Yeshua broke the Sabbath by quoting John 5:18. First, again if Yeshua had broken the fourth commandments, he would have become a sinner (1 John 3:4), but we know that he was sinless (Heb 4:15), so this was not the case. Second, John records that it was the misguided Jews who were accusing Yeshua of sin, even though he had done nothing to break any of the Torah’s laws regarding the Sabbath. Third, the word “break” as used in John 5:18 is the Greek word luo, which in its primary definition means “to loosen literally or figuratively.” Yeshua was “breaking” or “loosening” the man-made, extra-biblical laws or constraints that the Pharisees had put on people with regard to how to keep the Sabbath. Yeshua was brushing aside or “breaking” or “loosening” some of these non-biblical and man-made restrictions to bring people back to a Sabbath observance that was less burdensome and restrictive. He in no way was violating the Torah, which would have made him a sinner.

When we rest both physically and spiritually, we’re walking out a higher level of truth by walking out both the letter and the spirit of YHVH’s Torah-law as Yeshua taught us to do in his Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5:17–48), and as such, we’ve positioned ourselves before YHVH to receive more divine revelation from him. 

In other words, the more we obey him faithfully in love, the more truth he can entrust us with for safekeeping, for he knows we won’t take for granted or trample his precious truth nuggets. To those who are faithful in much, YHVH gives more. That’s how it works in his spiritual economy. 

To this day, many of the religious keep the Sabbath by physically resting on this day, but they have missed the revelation of spiritual rest in Yeshua, while the mainstream Christians have rejected the physical Sabbath rest but they accepted the spiritual rest in the Messiah. Both sides have half the truth. Let’s put the two halves together and walk out the full truth—both the physical and the spiritual side of the Sabbath as Yeshua and his disciples did! 

Keeping the seventh day Sabbath with this fuller understanding is another way of connecting the gospel message to its Hebraic, pro-Torah roots.

Hebrews 4:12, Soul and spirit. (See notes at 1 Thess 5:23.) Here the writer attests to the separateness of the soul and the spirit of man. They are not indistinguishable from each other.

Hebrews 4:14,Great high priest. How could Yeshua, a non-priest (non-cohen) be our Great Heavenly High Priest, since he was from the tribe of Judah and not from the tribe of Levi, much less a descendant of Aaron? (See notes at 7:14; Exod 19:2, 4). 

Hebrews 4:16, Come boldly. The veil (Heb. porechet) in the Tabernacle of Moses separated the compartments of the holy place and the holy of holies which housed the ark of the covenant and the was where the glory or presence of Elohim resided. The holy of holies pictured the heavenly throne room of Elohim, and only the high priest could enter it once a year on the Day of Atonement (or Yom Kippur). It was forbidden for anyone else to come into the holy of holies (except Moses, who as a prophetic picture of Yeshua the Messiah, who often went there to receive instructions from Elohim). That veil separating Elohim from the people thus preventing the common person from entering into the holy of holies was miraculously ripped in two when Yeshua died on the cross (Luke 23:45), thus symbolizing that now the way was open way for every saint to come boldly through the “vieil” of Yeshua’s flesh (i.e. through the atoning blood of and a personal spiritual relationship with Yeshua; Heb 10:20) into the very presence of YHVH Elohim.

 

Background and Outline of the Epistle to the Hebrews

Photo is from Natan Lawrence’s 1790 KJV Bible

A debate exists among scholars as to when the Epistle to the Hebrews was written. Some believe it was written just before the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem in 70 AD, while others maintain that it was written just after 70 AD. This author favors the former position since the author of Hebrews speaks of the sacrificial system in the present tense as if it were still functioning (Heb 10:1113:1011).

At the same time, the author of Hebrews seems to be addressing the concerns of early believers that without the temple standing and the sacrificial system functioning, there is no longer remission for sins. He assiduously points out how the patterns and prophecies of the Tanakh are pointing to the greater priesthood of Messiah Yeshua in the heavenly tabernacle. As such, the author seems to have in view the destruction of the temple, yet while the temple is still standing. After all, Yeshua predicted the temple’s demise and that its destruction would be so complete that not one stone would be left standing on another (Matt 24:2Luke 21:20–21).

Perhaps, the author was writing Hebrews in the four-year time period (between A.D. 67 to A.D. 70) when the Romans besieged Jerusalem, then pulled away for one year, then rebesieged and finally destroyed the city in A.D. 70. The events of A.D. 67 to 69 may have caused the writer to feel that Jerusalem’s fall was imminent in fulfillment of Yeshua’s earlier prophecies.

Main Themes

In his Epistle to the Hebrews, the author emphatically asserts that:

  • Yeshua is over all. 
  • Yeshua is leading his people to the ultimate higher spiritual reality.
  • The Tanakh (Old Testament) validates the gospel message.
  • The Epistle to the Hebrews is about transformation, shifting, growing from a lower level to a higher level spiritually. It is about one coming closer to the reality of heaven in their spiritual walk; about one approaching and growing closer to Elohim.
  • Though Hebrews doesn’t deal directly with this issue, we have to ask the following question: While in this flesh on the earth, do we abandon the letter of the Torah-law’s types and shadows and live in a spiritual dimension only? We know from Hebrews that through Yeshua’s death and resurrection, we have moved from the higher spiritual level with regard to the tabernacle system, and the Levitical priesthood and sacrificial systems. But does this apply to the rest of the Torah as well (e.g. the Sabbath, feasts, dietary laws, etc.)? Christianity by in large teaches that it does. But this is not what the writer of Hebrews is saying. The transformation of the priesthood and sacrificial systems to the higher level of reality in Yeshua doesn’t invalidate the rest of the Torah. Believers are still required to keep the rest of the letter of the Torah law as best they can. As physical beings living in this earthly dimension, we still have to follow the Torah-Word of Elohim as it applies to our physical walk (e.g. don’t murder, steal, commit adultery, lie, worship idols, etc.). But at the same time, we are to walk, as much as possible, in the heavenly dimension by following spirit of the Torah, being led of the Spirit in our walk and by focusing our attention on Yeshua, our heavenly High Priest. As such, redeemed believers are caught having to walk between the physical and the spiritual dimensions. We are in the process of being transformed from the physical to spiritual. Until this total transformation takes place, we must meld the physical or letter of the law and the spiritual realms, and we must keep progressing toward the ultimate goal of the higher Torah, which is total spiritual existence and oneness as Elohim’s children in his eternal kingdom as characterized by the New Jerusalem. 

Outline of Hebrews

Overview: Yeshua is priest, prophet and king

In the Tanakh, the priest, prophet and king were the three principal leaders in ancient Israel. No one except Moses was all three. David was a king and prophet, but not a priest. Samuel was a priest and a prophet, but not a king. Scripture tells that Moses was all three. Yeshua was the only other Person who was all three. Deuteronomy 18 tells us that Moses was a prophetic shadow picture of a greater Moses who would come. The writer of Hebrews validates this and shows that Yeshua was that greater Moses.

Hebrews 11:1 explains this process by defining faith. We live in the physical world, but we hope through faith for the spiritual world to come. Our spiritual forefathers went through this process successfully, though they paid a great price physically, anticipating in faith their heavenly reward. This is the story of Hebrews 11—the faith chapter.

Yeshua is the vehicle that leads us onward and upwards to the higher spiritual dimension. He is the ladder to and gate or door of heaven. He proclaims this in John 1:51 and John 10:7. Jacob dreamed of this ladder or highway to heaven, which was a picture of the Written and Living Torah (literally, a Torah scroll). (See teliosCol 1:28Eph 4:13Phil 3:13)

Hebrews and other places in the Testimony of Yeshua (NT) talk about coming to this higher goal (e.g. Matt 5:17Rom 10:4Heb 9:91110:14Heb 6:1Heb 7:199:910:11412:23).

The Tanakh prophesies that the Messiah to come would be a priest, prophet and king.

It is important to note that Hebrews focuses on Yeshua’s role as that greater heavenly high priest that the Tanakh prophesied would come.

The Superiority of Messiah Yeshua Over OT Personages (1:1–4:13)

  • Yeshua as Creator, Sovereign and Sustainer of the universe is superior to all things including the prophets — 1:1–3 (Ps 110:1)
  • Yeshua is superior to the angels —1:4–2:18 (Ps 97:7)
  • Yeshua is superior Moses —3:1–19 (Deut 18:15–19)
  • Yeshua is superior to Joshua — 4:1–13

The Superiority of Messiah Yeshua’s Priesthood Over OT Priesthood (4:4–5:10)

  • Yeshua is superior to Aaron — 4:14–5:10 (Ps 110:4Mal 3:1–3Isa 53:12 —Yeshua, the Suffering Servant, to take the role of high priest as an intercessor for transgressors before Elohim)
  • Yeshua’s priesthood is after the order of Melchizedek — 7:1–8:5 (Ps 110:4)

Yeshua Mediator of a Better Covenant Than the First Covenant (8:6–10:18)

  • The Renewed Covenant: a better covenant — 8:6–13 (Jer 31:31–33)
  • The First Covenant’s sanctuary and sacrifices — 9:1–10 
  • Compared with the Renewed Covenant — 9:11–10:18
 

Background and Outline of the Epistle to the Hebrews

Photo is from Natan’s 1790 Bible

A debate exists among scholars as to when the Epistle to the Hebrews was written. Some believe it was written just before the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem in 70 AD, while others maintain that it was written just after 70 AD. This author favors the former position since the author of Hebrews speaks of the sacrificial system in the present tense as if it were still functioning (Heb 10:11; 13:10, 11).

At the same time, the author of Hebrews seems to be addressing the concerns of early believers that without the temple standing and the sacrificial system functioning, there is no longer remission for sins. He assiduously points out how the patterns and prophecies of the Tanakh are pointing to the greater priesthood of Messiah Yeshua in the heavenly tabernacle. As such, the author seems to have in view the destruction of the temple, yet while the temple is still standing. After all, Yeshua predicted the temple’s demise and that its destruction would be so complete that not one stone would be left standing on another (Matt 24:2; Luke 21:20–21).

Perhaps, the author was writing Hebrews in the four-year time period (between A.D. 67 to A.D. 70) when the Romans besieged Jerusalem, then pulled away for one year, then rebesieged and finally destroyed the city in A.D. 70. The events of A.D. 67 to 69 may have caused the writer to feel that Jerusalem’s fall was imminent in fulfillment of Yeshua’s earlier prophecies.

Main Themes

In his Epistle to the Hebrews, the author emphatically asserts that:

  • Yeshua is over all. 
  • Yeshua is leading his people to the ultimate higher spiritual reality.
  • The Tanakh (Old Testament) validates the gospel message.
  • The Epistle to the Hebrews is about transformation, shifting, growing from a lower level to a higher level spiritually. It is about one coming closer to the reality of heaven in their spiritual walk; about one approaching and growing closer to Elohim.
  • Though Hebrews doesn’t deal directly with this issue, we have to ask the following question: While in this flesh on the earth, do we abandon the letter of the Torah-law’s types and shadows and live in a spiritual dimension only? We know from Hebrews that through Yeshua’s death and resurrection, we have moved from the higher spiritual level with regard to the tabernacle system, and the Levitical priesthood and sacrificial systems. But does this apply to the rest of the Torah as well (e.g. the Sabbath, feasts, dietary laws, etc.)? Christianity by in large teaches that it does. But this is not what the writer of Hebrews is saying. The transformation of the priesthood and sacrificial systems to the higher level of reality in Yeshua doesn’t invalidate the rest of the Torah. Believers are still required to keep the rest of the letter of the Torah law as best they can. As physical beings living in this earthly dimension, we still have to follow the Torah-Word of Elohim as it applies to our physical walk (e.g. don’t murder, steal, commit adultery, lie, worship idols, etc.). But at the same time, we are to walk, as much as possible, in the heavenly dimension by following spirit of the Torah, being led of the Spirit in our walk and by focusing our attention on Yeshua, our heavenly High Priest. As such, redeemed believers are caught having to walk between the physical and the spiritual dimensions. We are in the process of being transformed from the physical to spiritual. Until this total transformation takes place, we must meld the physical or letter of the law and the spiritual realms, and we must keep progressing toward the ultimate goal of the higher Torah, which is total spiritual existence and oneness as Elohim’s children in his eternal kingdom as characterized by the New Jerusalem. 

Outline of Hebrews

Overview: Yeshua is priest, prophet and king

In the Tanakh, the priest, prophet and king were the three principal leaders in ancient Israel. No one except Moses was all three. David was a king and prophet, but not a priest. Samuel was a priest and a prophet, but not a king. Scripture tells that Moses was all three. Yeshua was the only other Person who was all three. Deuteronomy 18 tells us that Moses was a prophetic shadow picture of a greater Moses who would come. The writer of Hebrews validates this and shows that Yeshua was that greater Moses.

Hebrews 11:1 explains this process by defining faith. We live in the physical world, but we hope through faith for the spiritual world to come. Our spiritual forefathers went through this process successfully, though they paid a great price physically, anticipating in faith their heavenly reward. This is the story of Hebrews 11—the faith chapter.

Yeshua is the vehicle that leads us onward and upwards to the higher spiritual dimension. He is the ladder to and gate or door of heaven. He proclaims this in John 1:51 and John 10:7. Jacob dreamed of this ladder or highway to heaven, which was a picture of the Written and Living Torah (literally, a Torah scroll). (See telios: Col 1:28; Eph 4:13; Phil 3:13)

Hebrews and other places in the Testimony of Yeshua (NT) talk about coming to this higher goal (e.g. Matt 5:17; Rom 10:4; Heb 9:9, 11; 10:14; Heb 6:1; Heb 7:19; 9:9; 10:1, 14; 12:23).

The Tanakh prophesies that the Messiah to come would be a priest, prophet and king.

  • Priest: Ps 110:4; Mal 3:1–3; Isa 53:12
  • Prophet: Deut 18:15–19
  • King: Ps 2:1–12; Isa 9:6–7; Ezek 37:24–27

It is important to note that Hebrews focuses on Yeshua’s role as that greater heavenly high priest that the Tanakh prophesied would come.

The Superiority of Messiah Yeshua Over OT Personages (1:1–4:13)

  • Yeshua as Creator, Sovereign and Sustainer of the universe is superior to all things including the prophets — 1:1–3 (Ps 110:1)
  • Yeshua is superior to the angels —1:4–2:18 (Ps 97:7)
  • Yeshua is superior Moses —3:1–19 (Deut 18:15–19)
  • Yeshua is superior to Joshua — 4:1–13

The Superiority of Messiah Yeshua’s Priesthood Over OT Priesthood (4:4–5:10)

  • Yeshua is superior to Aaron — 4:14–5:10 (Ps 110:4; Mal 3:1–3; Isa 53:12 —Yeshua, the Suffering Servant, to take the role of high priest as an intercessor for transgressors before Elohim)
  • Yeshua’s priesthood is after the order of Melchizedek — 7:1–8:5 (Ps 110:4)

Yeshua Mediator of a Better Covenant Than the First Covenant (8:6–10:18)

  • The Renewed Covenant: a better covenant — 8:6–13 (Jer 31:31–33)
  • The First Covenant’s sanctuary and sacrifices — 9:1–10 
  • Compared with the Renewed Covenant — 9:11–10:18