Hebrews 1-3 Sharing In Christ, If...

TMS Matthew 6:33 What Are Your Priorities in Life?
Mt 6:33 “31 "Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.

33 But seek first the kingdom of God
and His righteousness,
and all these things
shall be added to you.

34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Observations: Mt 6:33 Instead of worrying about the trivial needs of this temporal existence, we should be trusting God for our daily bread, and be pursuing the eternal rewards God has awaiting believers in the future. The Sermon on the Mount is about how to get blessed in the Millennial Kingdom of the Messiah (see comments on Mt 5-7 if you aren't totally convinced of that). Seeking first the kingdom is to seek our blessing/reward in His kingdom, by embodying His righteousness (which He requires of us). It is not something we automatically get, otherwise we would not be told to seek it. If we focus on pleasing God, by doing what He said (like this verse), He will focus on meeting our needs. He knows that we need the things which we're tempted to get anxious about, and has abundant resources to meet them. There will always be the daily temptation to worry about what has to be done, but God gives daily strength and grace to do all He wants us to do each day. So if we're trusting Him to do that, we can concern ourselves with our Heavenly Father's business.
Application: How are you seeking first (as in top priority) God's kingdom and righteousness? Putting quality time into DailyTruthbase, morning and evening, might be a good start.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I praise You that You know my needs, and can do a far better job of meeting them than I can; thanks that I can trust You to meet them; please guide me in doing what You want me to do with the life You've entrusted to me. Amen.


Hebrews The unnamed author of Hebrews writes to Jewish believers who were being pressured to return to Judaism. He shows them that what they have in Christ is superior to what they had previously, and warns them that they will lose out on blessing if they abandon their hope in the promises of Christ, and fail to progress to maturity. It's not about losing justification/forgiveness but losing out on glory/reward. He builds to a climax in chapter 10 and exhorts them to continue in faith, hope, and love, and then chiastically expands on faith in chapter 11, hope in chapter, 12, and love in chapter 13.

Hebrews 1 Final Revelation and Future Ruler
1:1 God, having in the past spoken to the fathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 has at the end of these days spoken to us by his Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds. 3 His Son is the radiance of His glory, the very image of His substance, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself made purification for our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;
4 having become so much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they have. 5 For to which of the angels did He say at any time, "You are my Son. Today have I become your father?" and again, "I will be to him a Father, and  He will be to me a Son?" 6 Again, when He brings in the firstborn into the world he says, "Let all the angels of God worship him." 7 Of the angels He says, "Who makes His angels winds, and His servants a flame of fire."
8 But of the Son he says, "Your throne, O God, is forever and ever. The scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your Kingdom. 9 You have loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness above Your fellows."
10 And, "You, Lord, in the beginning, laid the foundation of the earth. The heavens are the works of Your hands. 11 They will perish, but You continue. They all will grow old like a garment does. 12 As a mantle,  You will roll them up, and they will be changed; but You are the same. Your years will not fail." 13 But which of the angels has He told at any time, "Sit at My right hand, until I make your enemies the footstool of your feet?" 14 Aren’t they all serving spirits, sent out to do service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?

Observations: 1:1-3 Unlike Paul's epistles, there is not formal greeting and introduction. The author jumps right into showing that Christ is superior to the OT law, which was given through many prophets, in contrast to Christianity which was communicated through the final revelation of God, His Son Jesus. Jesus is not just a prophet, but as Son, is the heir of all things, and also the Creator and Sustainer of the universe. The world holds together (as in electrons and planets don't spin out of orbit), by the word of His power. He is the radiance and revelation of the very image of God. Not only that, He is the One who alone made purification for our sins, and now is seated at the right hand of God. In an Ancient Near East victory banquet, the position of honor was at the right hand of the Emperor, where the future ruler of the conquered territory sat. Jesus finished His prophetic and priestly work and was now awaiting the timing of His role as King.
1:4-9 Christ is also superior to the angels (the ones the Jews considered mediators of the law) because He inherited a superior name/reputation/glory to them. Not only is He a son (in Suzerain-Vassal treaties, the greater power was called Father, and the one with whom he had a covenantal relationship was called Son), but the angels were to worship Him. Angels are servants before the throne of God, but Jesus sits on the throne, bearing the scepter of righteousness. Verses 8-9 are the chiastic center of the structure that goes to 2:4. Because He loved righteousness and hated iniquity, God anointed Him (“anointed” = “Messiah” in Hebrew; “Christ” in Greek) as King with the oil of joy/gladness (12:2), with/beside His companions (3:1, 14). Both joy and companions (partners/sharers) will be important later in the book. The latter are those who share in His reign, and the joy is that of being King with His faithful companions. Jesus received His Messianic Kingship because of His character, expressed in loving what is good and hating evil (which is similar to the basis of our reward as well).
1:10-14 Jesus' superiority is seen in His role as eternal Creator, who not only created the heavens and earth, but endures beyond them. Angels are not seated at the right hand of God, but are the servants of those who shall be heirs of salvation (a reference to glorification of faithful companions of the Messiah).
Application: Jesus was exalted because He hated wickedness and loved righteousness; we should do the same.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thanks that You have given Jesus as our Savior, and example, exalting Him to glory; may I never be tempted to abandon Him and go back to the way I was. Amen.

Hebrews 2 Don't Drift Nor Disobey
2:1 Therefore we ought to pay greater attention to the things that were heard, lest perhaps we drift away. 2 For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense; 3 how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation—which at the first having been spoken through the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard; 4 God also testifying with them, both by signs and wonders, by various works of power, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to his own will?
5 For he didn’t subject the world to come, of which we speak, to angels. 6 But one has somewhere testified, saying, "What is man, that you think of him? Or the son of man, that you care for him? 7 You made him a little lower than the angels. You crowned him with glory and honor. 8 You have put all things in subjection under his feet." For in that he subjected all things to him, he left nothing that is not subject to him. But now we don’t see all things subjected to him, yet. 9 But we see him who has been made a little lower than the angels, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that by the grace of God he should taste of death for everyone.
10 For it was fitting for him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many son's to glory, to make the author/captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. 11 For both he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all from one, for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brothers, 12 saying, "I will declare your name to my brothers. In the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise." 13 Again, "I will put my trust in him." Again, "Behold, here I am with the children whom God has given me."
14 Since then the children have shared in flesh and blood, he also himself in the same way partook of the same, that through death he might bring to nothing him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and might deliver all of them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. 16 For most certainly, he doesn’t give help to angels, but he gives help to the seed of Abraham. 17 Therefore he was obligated in all things to be made like his brothers, that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make atonement for the sins of the people. 18 For in that he himself has suffered being tempted, he is able to help those who are tempted.

Observations: 2:1-4 In light of the fact that Jesus is the final revelation of God, and the future ruler of the world to come, believers need to give more careful attention to the message they heard regarding Him, lest they drift on by the destination God has planned for the men. This is the first of five warning passages in Hebrews, all addressed to the same audience (Jewish believers in Christ), warning them against failing to continue to follow Christ as revealed. The consequence was not loss of justification/forgiveness The word "drift" is used of a ship going with the flow of the current and missing its port or harbor. Believers who aren't careful to know and do God's revealed will for them, will miss the destination God has planned for them (cf Eph 1 - companionship with the Messiah; clearly conditional in Hebrews 3). The reason the author gives for paying careful attention is that the OT spoken by angels was binding, and every infraction received a just payback (only used in NT in 10:35 and 11:26 of reward), therefore those who would neglect the greater message given by someone greater than the angels would receive a greater punishment. As the author says, how would they escape (used in Rom 2:3 of sinning believers not escaping the judgment of God; and in Lk 21:33-36 of watchful believers escaping judgment) the neglect of such a great salvation (glorification, not justification). The salvation of the Messianic Age (which would reverse the effects of the Fall in returning people to glory) was first spoken of by the Lord (Lk 22-28-30)
Luke 22:28 "But you are those who have continued with Me in My trials. 29 And I bestow upon you a kingdom, just as My Father bestowed one upon Me, 30 that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel."
Then the message was confirmed/authenticated to the audience by those (apostles) who originally heard it, with signs and wonders and the giving of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. This would be another argument against Pauline authorship (besides the lack of Paul's typical introduction), since the message was not confirmed to him by the other apostles, but by Jesus Himself.
2:5-9 God didn't subject the world to come, of which the author is speaking, to angels. It should be obvious that this is the Messianic Age, which starts when Christ returns to resurrect His own and reign until all enemies, will be but under His feet. The last enemy is death, so there will be a period of rule between His return and the time death is destroyed. See comments on Ephesians 1:22.
1Corinthians 15:22 “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. 23 But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ's at His coming. 24 Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. 25 For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. 26 The last enemy that will be destroyed is death.”
The author quotes Psalm 8, applying it to the exalted Son of Man (Dan 7:10-14) who takes up His rule after the Tribulation. Everything is subject to Him, but we don't see it yet. In the USA, a president and other officials are selected in November, when they win the election, but do not actually take office and begin to “rule” until January, to provide for an orderly transfer of power. Christ “won” at the cross, but has not yet begun to reign (1Pt 5:8; Rev 11:15). What we see instead of all things being subjected to Him in glory, is the means by which He gained glory, which is the example for us. He is crowned with glory and honor because He suffered to do the Father's will in dying for the sins of everyone/all (as in the world - Jn 3:16; so much for limited atonement).
2:10-18 It was appropriate/fitting for Jesus to be perfected, brought to the end goal, by suffering. “Perfected” is an important concept in Hebrews (5:9; 7:19, 28; 9:9;10:1, 14; 11:40; 12:23) indicating the end goal of the process of life. Jesus is the Pioneer or Captain of our salvation, who goes before us in the path we must follow. The word can also mean “author” as in Acts 3:14; 5:31; and even Heb 12:2, but the idea of a leader whom we follow fits this context best.
Hebrews 5:8 “though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. 9 And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation (glorification) to all who obey Him”
Note that God's purpose, after having Jesus death for all, is to bring many sons to glory. This is the chiastic center of 2:5-16. The path to glory involves suffering. (No pain; no gain.) Jesus who sanctifies (makes holy -Heb 13:12), and those who are sanctified, are ek one Father, therefore Jesus isn't ashamed to call mere but holy mortals His brothers. The author quotes Psalm 22:22 which is just after the hinge verse of the psalm where God saves the sufferer.
Since the children had flesh, Jesus took on flesh to die in their place, and destroy the power of the devil, who through fear of death enslaved people to do his will. Jesus wants to deliver all from bondage to sin and death into the glorious liberty of the sons of God (Rom 8:21). Jesus doesn't give help to angels but those who are the offspring of Abraham (by faith). Jesus was made like His brothers in all things so that He can be a faithful high priest, not only in making atonement, but in helping those who are tempted to be victorious over sin.
Application: Jesus wants to help us win the victory over sin and the devil, and lead us to share in His glory.
Prayer: Oh Captain of my salvation, may I loyally follow You, through whatever pain and suffering You deem best, in faith and faithfulness, to glory. Amen.


Hebrews 3 Sharing is Conditional
3:1 Therefore, holy brothers, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Jesus; 2 who was faithful to him who appointed him, as also was Moses in all his house. 3 For he has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who built the house has more honor than the house. 4 For every house is built by someone; but he who built all things is God. 5 Moses indeed was faithful in all his house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were afterward to be spoken, 6 but Christ is faithful as a Son over his house; whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the rejoicing of our hope firm to the end.
7 Therefore, even as the Holy Spirit says, "Today if you will hear his voice, 8 don’t harden your hearts, as in the rebellion, like as in the day of the trial in the wilderness, 9 where your fathers tested me by proving me, and saw my works for forty years. 10 Therefore I was displeased with that generation, and said, ‘They always err in their heart, but they didn’t know my ways’; 11 as I swore in my wrath, ‘They will not enter into my rest.’" 12 Beware, brothers, lest perhaps there be in any one of you an evil heart of unfaithfulness, in falling away from the living God; 13 but exhort one another day by day, so long as it is called "today"; lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our confidence firm to the end: 15 while it is said, "Today if you will hear his voice, don’t harden your hearts, as in the rebellion." 16 For who, when they heard, rebelled? No, didn’t all those who came out of Egypt by Moses? 17 With whom was he displeased forty years? Wasn’t it with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? 18 To whom did he swear that they wouldn’t enter into his rest, but to those who were disobedient? 19 We see that they were not able to enter in because of unfaithfulness.

Observations: 3:1-6 In light of Jesus being the final revelation of God, and the future ruler of the world to come, who leads His faithful brothers to share/partake in His glory, through suffering, the author exhorts his audience to consider Jesus. The specific aspect the holy brothers/sisters are to consider is that His faithfulness resulted in His glory. Contrasted with Moses, Jesus is worthy of more glory than Moses, as both the builder and ruler of the house (dynasty). Thus the initial audience shouldn't go back to the law and Moses, but follow Jesus instead. We will share in His house/rule if (conditional) we hold fast our moral confidence and rejoicing sourced in our hope (and consequent faithfulness), firm, without wavering, until the end. This does not mean our sins aren't forgiven, if we waver, but that our glory will be in doubt if we disbelieve. Just like most who were redeemed from Egypt (parallel to justification) didn't make it into the blessings of the Promised Land (parallel to glorification; see comments on 1Cor 10 if you have any doubt of this).
3:7-17 In light of the fact that those who aren't loyal aren't sharers in the rule of Christ, the author exhorts the NT audience to not be like those in the OT, who failed to obey God's revelation, but instead hardened themselves against Him (Psalm 95). See the sermon on Roman 9 (last post and on DailyTruthbase.net) where it is shown that people sin because they harden their own heart against God. He sometimes fixes them in their decision to  display His glory and justice in judging them, but He doesn't force them to sin. The Exodus generation didn't continue to trust and obey God, and therefore missed out on His rest, which was blessing in the Promised Land. Not knowing His ways (law) and erring in their heart (making their decisions according to what pleased their unsanctified desires rather what pleased God) caused God to be displeased with them, and deprive them of the blessings He had planned (land flowing with milk and honey) when He delivered them from Egypt. NT believers are exhorted to watch out for themselves and each other, so no believer develops an evil heart of unfaithfulness (just like the Exodus generation), in departing from following the living God. NT believers should encourage each other daily, so none in their midst will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. It isn't God who makes our hearts hard and insensitive towards doing His will, it is our choice to embrace sin which causes the callus to form over our conscience, to the point where we insanely rebel against God. Those who rebelled against God's word were those who had placed their faith in God and Moses when they were redeemed from Egypt (Ex 14:31) and had been baptized into Christ and partook of Him (1Cor 10). Those who say believers don't or can't sin are deceived and deluded. Forgiven, justified, Spirit “indwelt” believers in Christ will only share in His future Millennial blessings if (conditional) they hold fast their moral confidence without wavering. Those who sinned in the OT were disciplined by loss of inheritance/reward. The disobedient in the NT will face the same discipline. There is no other way to read the verses. The translation of “unbelief” instead of unfaithfulness slightly obscures the meaning in some versions, but the parallel with the nation of Israel makes it clear, unfaithful believers will lose out on God's promised blessings. The Promised Land, where Israel would have enjoyed the earthly blessings of God, is not to be equated with heaven or the eternal state, but rather with the Kingdom the Lord Jesus will set up on earth in fulfillment of God's OT and NT promises.
Application: God designed the fellowship of believers to encourage one another to persevere in holiness for their future rest/reward or glory, especially in keeping each other from being deceived and hardened against God by sin. When was the last time you encouraged someone to not sin?
Prayer: God thanks for the promise of Your blessing, the examples of the OT and the encouragement of faithful saints in NT times; may I be faithful to follow You, and help others do the same. Amen.

Digging Deeper


God in a nutshell: God communicated through His prophets in the past, but has now finalized His revelation in His Son. He has exalted Christ because of His obedience in loving righteousness and hating wickedness. God has put everything under Christ, but that is not yet seen here on earth.

Build-a-Jesus: Jesus is superior to anything and everything in Judaism, and therefore should be followed to glory. He was exalted because of His obedience, and shares His glory and reign with companions who are faithful to Him. He not only died for all people but is leading many sons to glory, though the path of suffering. He will return to rule and reward.

Us in a nutshell: We who believe in Christ must faithfully follow Him if we would share in His glory. Those who depart from doing so will suffer disinheritance because of their disobedience and unfaithfulness, just like the Exodus generation did. We have the responsibility to watch out, not only for ourselves, but for each other was well. Our future rest is our reward in heaven, until get there, we should run to win.

Where to Go for More:
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