What’s so great about it? Contrasting the old and new, the author of Ivrim/Hebrews considers the methods, times, and agents…
What is going on with the book of Ivrim/Hebrews? Is it a Pauline epistle? A confirmation of the end of the Law of Moshe/Moses? Damage control from a Jewish ministry, trying to reconcile the outbreak of a highbrow Messianic/Christian Judaism combination? One of the most pro Torah texts in all of the Brit Chadasha/New Testament, the lens with which we use to view this text will drastically impact the context we give it.
Teaching the Book of Hebrews: I’m familiar with four approaches that have been taken with the book of Hebrews in recent times.
- the traditional Christian approach (let me explain: Calvary Chapel on the law of Moses)…….the pastor used Hebrews 9:13, “ a (new covenant), He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.” The traditional Christian church doesn’t acknowledge that “covenant” is in italics in numerous places and thus mistakes the fundamental mistake of thinking the “Law of Moses or Old Covenant is passing away when in reality the Aaronic “Priesthood” is passing away and in its place the more glorious Malki- Tzedik.
- one prominent Messianic teacher denying the inspiration of Hebrews and calling the writer a liar which ended up with him invalidating the book of Hebrews based upon the MS reading of the text whilst ignoring the LXX which could have cleared things up nicely.
- Another teacher countering that argument with the now classic “Unjust Hacking of Hebrews.”
- Jewish ministry trying to do damage control over the whole Hebrews debacle and coming out with a high brow Christian/ Messianic Jewish combination which was interesting indeed.
In light of us awakening to the Malki Tzedik priesthood with its distinction between the agreed to Torah contained in the Book of the Covenant and the imposed carnal commandments contained in the Book of the Law, there is no better time for me to tackle this most important of texts that will impact our life, ‘today if you will hear his voice.”
One of the most pro Torah texts in the entire New Testament/ Brit Chadasa. Let’s be clear, the ministry of the Brit Chadasha initiated by Yeshua’s priesthood is a better ministry than that of the first covenant.
The Book of Hebrews and it’s references to ‘1st’ and ‘new’ covenant and laws. Only the covenants and laws mediated through Moshe were instructed to all 12 tribes and included a covering for sin.
Only the New Covenant is instructed to all 12 tribes and is mediated by Yeshua for the removal of sin.
There is the juxtaposition of priesthoods. One priesthood is set aside for the higher order of another, Levi for Malki-tzedik. There are only two mediated realms that deal with blood covering for all 12 tribes with a priesthood.
The principal TaNaKh/Old Testament quotations in the Brit Chadasha/ New Testament are NOT isolated proof texts, but carry their contexts with them by implication (so, in quoting Ps. 45.7/8 in V.8/9 the context of deity in the Psalm is meant to be placed squarely on the shoulders of Yeshua).
2 Corinthians 3:7 But if the administration of death, written and engraved in stones, was full of so much tifereth, that b’nai Yisrael could not behold the face of Moshe for the tifereth of his countenance; which tifereth was not lasting: 8 Why then should not the administration of the Ruach be with even more tifereth? 9 For if the administration of condemnation was with tifereth, much more does the administration of tzedakah exceed in tifereth.
Keeping it simple:
Yeshua died for our sins not so wouldn’t have to keep the .יהוה commandments like, Sabbath, the dietary commandments and the Feasts of יהוה.
He’s our eternal sacrifice, priesthood and temple!
Reconciliation to יהוה were accomplished by these three things!
These were the objects of atonement for sin, fulfilled and thus transferred to the highest order by Yeshua.
Keeping Shabbat, observing the Feasts and keeping the dietary requirements and so on, had noting to do with atonement for sin. He did NOT end these commandments!
Now, if on the other hand you look to animal sacrifices, a Levitical priesthood and another Jewish temple – then that’s when your encroaching upon the blood of Yeshua and putting His sacrifice, priesthood and temple to an open shame!
The Eastern church held to the tradition of Paul based upon the testimony of Clement of Alexandria from the Second Century.
However, what I do know, for sure, is that the author is a second generation believer, well versed in the LXX, a person who didn’t witness Yeshua firsthand. So how can it be Paul or any of the twelve disciples?
Hebrews 2:3 How shall we escape, if we neglect so great a salvation; which at first began to be spoken by the Master Himself, and was confirmed to us by them that heard Him. (Meaning: the author hadn’t heard Yeshua firsthand).
The author was in Paul’s inner circle because he/she attests to know Timothy.
Hebrews 13:23 Know that our brother Timtheous has been set free; if he comes shortly, I will see you with him.
This is why so many churchmen have got hung up, wrongly, on Paul being the author. Hebrews may be Pauline in character because the authors familiarity with Paul but it’s certainly not Pauline in composition.
Others like Tertullian of Carthage suggested Barnabas. We do know Barnabas was a Levite which would have made him very familiar with the Levitical priesthood and Barnabas has direct contact with those who had heard and seen Yeshua firsthand, even though he hadn’t witnessed them firsthand himself.
Others still prefer Apollos, a Jew from Alexandria who was well versed in the scriptures.
Acts 18:24 And a certain Yahudi named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the Keetvay HaKadosh, came to Ephsiyah. 25 This man was instructed in the Torah and halacha of the Master vuvh; and being fervent in the Ruach, he spoke and taught diligently the things of vuvh, knowing only the mikvah of Yochanan ha Matbeel.
Apollos: highly educated in the Alexandrian texts, the LXX, highly familiar with Yochanan ha Matbeel’s micvah transference to Yeshua, an acquaintance of Paul, tutored by Pricilla and Aquila and a second generation believer to boot!
Positively, the author is a Diaspora Jew who’s very familiar with the hellenized texts of Alexandria with over thirty direct quotations from it along with many indirect allusions to it.
Greek, specifically using the LXX as a source text to quote from the Tanakh. There is no evidence that it was written in Hebrew or Aramaic, in fact, it’s the most eloquently written Greek in the New Testament.
Italy? Jerusalem? Judea? Italy?:
Hebrews 13: 24 Salute all your spiritual leaders, and all the Yisraelite kidushim. The Yisraelites of Italy salute you.
(a) Was the author in Italy or in the vicinity of Rome assembled with a group of believers?
(b) was this a message sent home by Italians who were with the author which would point to the book being a letter written from a place outside Italy and addressed to a group within Italy?
NIV: “Those from Italy greet you.” (a).
RSV: “Those who come from Italy send you greetings.” (b).
Now, my inkling is, if it is Apollos then the “They of Italy” ASV is a reference to none other than his tutors Pricilla and Aquila, who were Jews from Rome and who mentioned him in Acts 18:2, 24. So that would be (b).
Also, note Rome wasn’t evangelized by eyewitnesses of Yeshua who heard hime speak as this audience was (Rom 1:1, 15:20 the Romans weren’t established by an apostle).
Also there is a strong pull back to the temple sacrificial system, this wouldn’t be so if the audience were in Italy.
Jerusalem? is doubtful because it’s highly unlikely that no one heard Yeshua speak (2:3). They’re know for their charity (6, 10) but the Jerusalem assembly was known to be poor (Acts 11:29, Rom 15:25, 1 Cor 16. sent contributions to them because of their known poverty).
In Jerusalem Steven suffered martydom, as had James by the time of this writhing and this isn’t mentioned to his audience which make it highly doubtful it was Jerusalem.
Judea? These were Jewish believers in Judea (Gal 1:22) located outside Jerusalem. They were suffering tremendous persectuoin, short of martyrdom at the time of the writing and were tempted to be drawn back into the temple system or abandon the assembly for the apparent safety of Qumran.
Just prior to the Temples destruction in 70 C.E. (the author would of mentioned it’s destruction if it were after and from the language of chapters 8&10 the temple service appears to be ongoing.
Looking to 68-69 C.E. with the Temples impending fall fresh in the mind of the author who’s writing with the wars and calamities as his backdrop.
Or possibly just prior 65 C.E. because that’s when the major Roman persecutions took place and they are not mentioned in the text. This view point is strengthened by
Hebrews 12:6 For whom the Master vuvh loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.7 If you endure discipline, vuvh deals with you as with sons; for what son does the abba not discipline?
Alluding to the persecution and chastening to come.
It was definitely written before 95 C.E because Clement of Rome quotes from it in his First Epistle to the Corinthians (late 1st Century).
Seven things can be deduced from the text about the audience:
- Heb 2:3 they, like the author were second generation believers.
- They were Israelites, we know this because they were respectful of the TaNaKh’s
authority which is quoted extensively by the author and its quotation settles the
argument which would only happen to a Israelite audience.
- They were believers because the author warns against going back into the Jewish
religious systems controlled by the Herodians, Pharisees and Saducees. He calls them ‘brethren, ‘beloved’, ‘partakers of the heavenly calling’, and ‘partakers in Messiah.’
- 5:11 the readers have been believers for a long time and by now should be eating meat and teaching the word.
- They are spiritually immature and haven’t progressed past the elementary principles of Messiah. (5:12).
- They were wavering in their faith because of persecution.
- They knew the author.
Gk: pros Hebraious
Heb: ‘Ivrim’ עברימ
Genesis 14:3 refrering to Abraham ‘ibri’ > to cross over, go beyond > ‘ever’ one from beyond the other side.
The audience is called to cross over boundaries and new frontiers in their lives, to be ready to sojourn to a new land, leave idolatry and paganism behind and gain their lost inheritance by following the Elohim of Israel through the priesthood of MalkiTzedik! “The wandering people of יהוה”, the “pilgrims that pass through.”
Our audience weren’t just the pro-le-tariat (the rank and file Jewish believers) but had many converts from the priesthood in their midst.
Acts 6:7 And the word of vuvh increased; and the number of the talmidim multiplied in Yahrushalayim greatly; and a large group of the Kohanim and others from the Yahudite emunah were obedient to the Netsarim emunah.
The priests would have had more than a working knowledge and natural interest in the ritual sacrificial language and arguments of the author. Their ranks consisted of Esseno and Zadokite followers of the way, including former members of the Qumran sect who’s way was well known and enumerated upon by our author.
Hebrews 11: 8 By emunah Avraham, when he was called to go out into a place that he would later receive as an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing where he was going. By emunah he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tents with Yitzchak and Yaakov, the heirs with him of the same promise.
The audience like us, was awaiting the destruction of their culture at the hands of the world order of the day and was going to have to the faith with no operating infrastructure to go to, a place where no generation had gone before! Our author was definitely addressing priests form within and without the Qumran community those who had already come to faith in Yeshua , but they were still wavering in their faith nonetheless. Tempted to go back to the temple levitical system or take flight from the upcoming persecution back to Qumran. The theme of Hebrews concerns the Cahanut (priesthood) with themes from the sacrificial system, angels, Malki-Tzedik, Avraham, Moshe, the Israelites in the wilderness, the biblical covenants, the Tanakh’s men of faith and the role of the covenant and Torah in relation to believers walk in Yeshua.
Let’s briefly address the urban myth that says all First Century Jews were living in Israel and speaking Hebrew. The majority of Jews in the First Century didn’t live in the Land of Israel. Jews from Rome alone numbered from 40,000 – 60,000.
Also you’ll see the rabbinical use of ‘qal v’chomer’ ‘light and heavy’ used throughout Hebrews.
The epistle of Hebrews differs form many NT texts in that while it ends like a letter it doesn’t begin like one. It lacks the customary opening salutation and like we discovered doesn’t contain the name of the author or the specific people addressed.
A Triennial Cycle Reading:
If we pay close attention to the early chapters of Hebrews we can see that it is based upon the reading for Shavuot in the successive years of the triennial cycle ( when the Malki Tzedik BoC was given. The author knew and was teaching what we know and are teaching today!).
- Genesis 14:8-15:21 (Malki + Avraham)
- Exodus 19 ( the BoC).
- Numbers 18 (the BoL priesthood and Aaronic authority)
- Psalms 110 which was reached at Shavout in the third year.
- The season between Shavout and Succot forms what we know as the Diadache’ “The Way” a new living way in Yeshua.
- This all telescopes together in Hebrews 12:18 (enrollment in heaven and the New Year theme of divine judgment).
- Beresheith: Esua is used as our example of a person who made an irrevocable decision, who once having made it couldn’t turn back. A warning to our audience not to turn from the Malki Tzedik.
- Shemot: 2 items are used for our example, 1) the tabernacle (access to יהוה) priesthood (mediation between man and יהוה).
- Vayikra: 2 examples: 1) blood sacrifices: (the temporary nature of covering sin NOT removing sin). 2) Yom Kippur: (the portion of the sacrifice that’s taken outside the gate in relation to Malki-Tzedik).
- Bambidbar: 2 items again, 1)The faithfulness of Moshe and the defection of a faithless people under his watch. compared with the even greater faithfulness of MalkiTzedik and the ever-present possibility of another defection by another generation under His watch. 2) The irrevocable decision of Kadesh Barnea and the refusal to enter the land juxtaposed with their present circumstances and the possiblility of making a irrevocable decision, that once made will bring physical judgment no matter how much repentance is made later.
- The remnant and the non remnant: in the Tanakh the remnant believed what יהוה said through the mediator and the non remnant didn’t believe and followed idolatry. Juxtaposed with our audience where the remnant believe in the Messiahship of MalkiTzedik and the non remnant reject MalkiTzedik.
The three main pillars of Judaism
Angels, Moshe Rabainu and the Levitical Priesthood. The juxtaposition of whats good and better. Malki-Tzedik is better than all three main pillars of Judaism.
Abraham: Hebrews 7:7
The author is using this as an example of the Midrash on Isaiah 52:13 that his audience and any Orthodox Jew today are familiar with from Torah Parsha Toldot on Isaiah 52:13 See, My Eved shall work a wise work,13 He shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high.
Our author is saying that MalkiTzedik will be more exalted than Abraham, more extolled than Moshe and more high than the angels! You see the Talmudic sages had known this truth but hid it from the Jews down the millennia.
Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit and the unpardonable sin is tied to the divine judgment coming on the Hebrews audience, using the physical might of the Roman army to destroy Jerusalem, it’s temple and rites.
Matthew 12: 22 – 32; 22 Then was brought to Him one possessed with a shed, blind, and dumb: and He healed him, so completely that the blind and dumb both spoke and saw. 23 And all the people of Yisrael were amazed, and said, Is not this Ben Dawid? 24 But when the Prushim heard it, they said, This fellow does not cast out shedim, except by Baal-Zevuv the prince of the shedim. 25 And gauvh knew their thoughts, and said to them, Every malchut divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city, or bayit divided against itself shall not stand: 26 And if s.a.tan cast out s.a.tan, he would be divided against himself; how then would his malchut stand? 27 And if I by Baal-Zevuv cast out shedim, by whom do your children cast them out? Therefore they shall be your shophtim. 28 But if I cast out shedim by the Ruach of vuvh, then the malchut of vuvh has come to you.29 Or, else how can one enter into a strong man’s bayit, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man?And then he will spoil his bayit. 30 He that is not with Me is against Me; and he that gathers not with Me scatters abroad. 31 Therefore I say to you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven to men: but the blasphemy against the Ruach Hakodesh shall not be forgiven to men.32 And whoever speaks a word against the Ben Ahdahm,it shall be forgiven him: but whoever speaks against the Ruach Hakodesh, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in the olam hazeh, and neither in the olam haba.
Israel’s leadership rejects the Messiahship of Yeshua on the basis upon the spirit that they judged being IN Him.
They called the Holy Spirit a demon so the Kingdom was withdrawn from them and divine judgment ensued manifest physically by the anvil of the Romans.
Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is the national rejection of the Malki Tzedkik whilst He was present and attributing the Holy Spirit within Him to a Shad!
Because of this, no matter how many myriads of Jews came to believe it wouldn’t change the coming judgment of 70CE. Just as at Kadesh Barnea, the offer of the land was withdrawn nationally to a whole generation, here the offer of Jerusalem as the city the temple as the sanctuary and the Levites as the priesthood are withdrawn nationally! Even if like Esau tears of repentance are shed the judgment is set!
Romans 11:21 For if vuvh spared not the cultivated branches, shomer, He may not spare you either. 22 See therefore the chesed and severity of vuvh: on those who fell, severity; but towards you, chesed, if you continue in His chesed: otherwise you also shall be cut off.
Do you know, do you understand, the offer of Jerusalem above, the Millennial land and the Malki Tzedik priesthood is being offered in this generation right now, the generation that will be living in the Tribulation?
Listen! We have to get this……it’s your life! At Kadesh Barnea the offer of the land was withdrawn from the Exodus generation, then here, to our audience the offer of the Kingdom was withdrawn from the generation of Yeshua’s day. Then just as the land was reoffered to the next generation – the Wilderness generation that accepted it, today if you here his voice the Kingdom of Malki Tzedik is being offered to those within our generation that will accept it! This will be the generation that will walk through the Tribulation.
The only way the authors audience could escape the coming judgement of 70CE – the judgement of the unpardonable sin was to break free from their man made Jewish religion once and for all. They did that through Mikva.
These Israelite believers were suffering horrendous persecution and because of that they thought they could temporarily lay aside their salvation and return to Judaism until the persecution subsided.
Will you and I think we can temporally lay aside our radical beliefs in Yeshua and return to blend in with the world until our persecution subsides, are we any different?
The author doesn’t give this option as this would mean the re-crucifixion of Yeshua and He died ONCE!
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