Scholars often divide the Epistle to the Hebrews into two parts. The first, chapters 1-10, teaches on the supremacy of Messiah (chapters 1-8) and the new covenant cut in Messiah’s blood (chapters 8-10). The second part, chapters 10-13, is exhortation on how we are to respond to the truths found in the first part.


Supremacy of Christ

Chapter 1God the Son is superior over all creation.

Superior to prophets! (Hebrews 1:1-3)

Superior to angels! For it is through God the Son all things are created, and it is by the power of God the Son’s word that all things continue to exist.

But to which of the angels has he ever said,

Sit at my right hand
    until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet
”?

Quoting Psalm 110:1, Hebrews 1:13 (NRSV)

Chapter 2God the Son took on human form that He might make atonement for all humanity.

Superior in kind! For Jesus is fully God, fully human.

“What are human beings that you are mindful of them,
    or mortals, that you care for them?
You have made them for a little while lower than the angels;
    you have crowned them with glory and honor,
    subjecting all things under their feet.”

Quoting Psalm 8:4-6, Hebrews 2:6-8 (NRSV)

Chapter 3God the Son is greater than any human leader, even Israel’s greatest prophet, priest, and leader.

Superior to Moses! For Moses was merely a servant in the house of God, but Jesus is the Son, and therefore owns the house.

Chapter 4God the Son’s Sabbath is offered to all, for all may enter the Holy of Holies through Christ!

Superior Sabbath! For the exodus Jesus leads is into an eternally greater promise.

Chapter 5God the Son is greater than any human priest, for He has been perfected through suffering.

Superior priesthood! For Jesus now lives eternally interceding for His own, empathetic and always available.

“You are my Son,
    today I have begotten you”

From Psalm 2:7 God the Father to God the Son, Hebrews 5:5 (NRSV)
(one of my favorite Nativity scenes) Krippe im Steyler Missionshaus in St. Wendel | By Lokilech – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=884332

Chapter 6—God the Son offers greater hope, as this hope is realized in expectant faith.

Superior hope! For it was, and is guaranteed by God who confirmed with an oath the unilateral, unconditional covenant promise made to Abraham and fulfilled in Jesus,

“I will surely bless you and multiply you.”

From Genesis 22:17 God to Abraham, Hebrews 6:14 (NRSV)

Chapter 7—God the Son’s priesthood is greater than the Levitical system, which was always finite in its earthliness.

Superior to Aaron! For Jesus’ priesthood comes from the order of Melchizedek, eternal and infinite, appointed personally by God the Father.

“You are a priest forever,
    according to the order of Melchizedek.”

“The Lord has sworn
    and will not change his mind,
‘You are a priest forever’”

From Psalm 110:4 God the Father to God the Son, Hebrews 7:17, 21 (NRSV)

Superiority of Covenant

Chapter 8—The new covenant is the fulfillment of God’s great promises and supersedes the old covenant.

Superior in promise!

“The days are surely coming, says the Lord,
    when I will establish a new covenant . . . not like the covenant that I made with their ancestors,

I will put my laws in their minds,
    and write them on their hearts,
and I will be their God,
    and they shall be my people.

for they shall all know me,
    from the least of them to the greatest.

I will remember their sins no more.”

From Jeremiah 31:31-34, excerpts in Hebrews 8:8-12 (NRSV)

Chapter 9—The new covenant is ratified in the true heavenly tabernacle, the genuine, authentic, original tabernacle from which the earthly tabernacle’s blueprints and practices were drawn.

Superior in place!

Each symbol in the earthly tabernacle is fulfilled in Christ, and just as the old covenant and earthly tabernacle were sprinkled in the blood of perfect animal sacrifices, so the new covenant and heavenly tabernacle have been sprinkled with the one infinite, eternal and perfect sacrifice, offered by the infinite, eternal and perfect high priest, Jesus Himself.

Chapter 10—The new covenant is cut in the blood of one perfect sacrifice for all eternity, as only One could offer, Jesus the Christ.

Superior in sacrifice!

Jesus offered Himself, once and for all, thus fulfilling the old covenant and establishing the new, better covenant.

“Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired,
    but a body you have prepared for me;
in burnt offerings and sin offerings
    you have taken no pleasure.
Then I said, ‘See, God, I have come to do your will, O God’
    (in the scroll of the book it is written of me).”

From Psalm 40:6-8 God the Son to God the Father, Hebrews 10:5-7 (NRSV)

With a reprise of the prophet Jeremiah’s oracle, the writer concluded this first part of his epistle, saying definitively,

“Where there is forgiveness of these [sins], there is no longer any offering for sin.”

Hebrews 10:18 (NRSV)

THEREFORE!

Approach God in -full assurance- of faith.

This is the turning point, the fulcrum, of the whole Epistle to the Hebrews.

Therefore, [brothers and sisters],

Since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus,

By the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain (that is, through his flesh),

And since we have a great priest over the house of God,

let us approach with a true heart in full assurance of faith

Hebrews 10:19-22 (NRSV)

What is the therefore there for?

The writer had now given all the doctrine, the teaching, he felt were the basics so that his readers could now grow up into mature faith.

About this [everything the writer ended up explaining in chapters 1-10] we have much to say that is hard to explain, since you have become dull in understanding.

For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic elements of the oracles of God.

You need milk, not solid food; for everyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is unskilled in the word of righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, for those whose faculties have been trained by practice to distinguish good from evil.

Hebrews 5:11-14 (NRSV)

Grow up into maturity.

Now, finally, the writer would be able to begin the course of solid food his audience needed.

Consider what the writer had just conveyed, a few verses before

For by a single offering he [Messiah Jesus] has perfected for all time those who are sanctified. And the Holy Spirit also testifies to us, for after saying,

“This is the covenant that I will make with them
    after those days, says the Lord:
I will put my laws in their hearts,
    and I will write them on their minds
,”

Quoting Jeremiah 31:33, Hebrews 10:14 (NRSV)

As the verb tenses make clear in the original koine Greek, believers have been made perfect forever (“has perfected for all time”) and yet are being made holy (“are sanctified”).

How does that work? 

By making faith our way of life.

It seems right to sit with this for a while. This is every believer’s calling in life.


Person praying | Barbara Jackson from Pixabay

9 thoughts on “Hebrews: The Fulcrum

  1. Hello sister in Christ so have do a blessing to me each day for your daily inspiration am thankful to the Lord for you. Blessings to you and your family
    Please sister pray with me so that i may get food for my self and my family at large through this festival season I know God has already answered the prayers.
    Can be in touch in the gospel in unite we move the impossible Christ being the center we all come into agreement in love .
    Fir the love of thy neighbor is the love of God and more understanding if God’s love . Be blessed as you look forward for the care of the less fortunate this session with those whom through God I care for in my house. Glory to God sister Joanne . Am eagerly way to hear from you as soon as possible .Remain blessed focused and take care of yourself.
    Yours sincerely, Pr Wycliff ONKOBA
    On Thu, Dec 16, 2021, 06:05 Grace and Peace, Joanne wrote:
    > Joanne Guarnieri Hagemeyer posted: ” Scholars often divide the Epistle to > the Hebrews into two parts. The first, chapters 1-10, teaches on the > supremacy of Messiah (chapters 1-8) and the new covenant cut in Messiah’s > blood (chapters 8-10). The second part, chapters 10-13, is exhortation” >

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Good day Sister/Professor Joanne! This is wonderful how you outline through this precise overview the foundation by which we the faithful can rest assured that we do “live by our faith” here in the earthbound imperfect flesh but that our inheritance of life everlasting is secured for all who understand there can never be any form of sacrifice that can exceed the shed blood of the Most High and righteous Holy Lamb of God, Jesus Christ!

    “Where there is forgiveness of these [sins], there is no longer any offering for sin.”
    Hebrews 10:18 (NRSV)
    THEREFORE!
    Approach God in -full assurance- of faith.
    This is the turning point, the fulcrum, of the whole Epistle to the Hebrews.

    I never thought of this or understood it as I do now how Jesus is the Savior yes, I knew from childhood that He took way sin and saves us from death, but, He was and is the only one who could and “does restore all balance and order” to what was disturbed, set off balance and out of alignment with our Most High God the Creator. And through His only begotten Son everything does and must hinge as all is made right, anew and brought into the absolute harmony of God’s perfect glorious love! Anything that is not of God and His “divine absolute love” is removed completely from the equation if you will; so that balance is constant and unending! Amen.

    Thank you so much Sister Joanne, for educating me about all of this vital knowledge and understating of the Epistle to the Hebrews. I now realize more than I did yesterday and this new found insight gives my faith added strength and power, a gained insight which I know is genuine wisdom! Amen.
    God bless you!

    Brother in Christ Jesus,
    Lawrence

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Amen, Brother Lawrence, that is exactly it, it is something I have been thinking about for a while, that the apostle Paul spoke of regularly, that in Christ everything is restored, renewed, everything is placed–as you say–in order. I admire the blessing you give in saying “shalom,” for this really is “the peace that passes all understanding,” this is that health and balance the entire cosmos looks forward to, and is even now happening.

      Grace and peace, sister in Christ Joanne

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My God, Dear Sister in Christ Joanne! Again what you have said here to me strikes me deeply as absolutely crystalline and as God’s Truth! I don’t want to put you in any uneasy position here but I at least want to say that I see you as so enlightened and as a beautiful absolutely cherished servant of the Lord God! Everything you provide here, and your thoughts along with any of your words are so deeply inspiring and called for now; they are and you are so timely! A full blessing in the happening and I’m so happy!

        Thank you for all of it and I hope I can provide any little spark of the same type of meaning and inspiration for you!

        I feel so privileged to learn and gain insight here so again thank you from my deepest heart and soul! Yes it is very specific and not typical that I’ve been inspired to say Shalom! Nothing is by coincidence as my dad always told me as a young guy! I see how he is so right! If one has genuine faith in the Lord how can anything be; it’s all for His glory and plan so being an integral part of that plan is absolute meaning, linked to eternity and the all-knowing purpose; His plan for us!

        I just thought of something and I’m sending this message now but I have to do a quick search and see if I can find something! Will be right back I think and will try hard!

        Brother in Christ,
        Lawrence

        Like

      2. Yes Sister Joanne I absolutely agree and I had a spark of something in the past, a song that I will need to research further to see what I’m searching for; but it stems from Shalom God’s Peace! I did just have this pop up which is very beautiful for now that I’m listening to! I hope it will be very inspiring for you and I do have to figure out what I’m trying to find regarding Shalom!
        This may be actually grand enough with all of the Scriptures it’s fantastic! It triggers happy tears for me!

        Shalom!

        Like

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