Browsing articles tagged with " Hebrews"
Aug 4, 2011

The heavenly Jerusalem

The description of the heavenly Jerusalem is in many ways the climax of Hebrews. The author describes it as a festal gathering, something that was a familiar feature of life in the ancient world. For ordinary festivals, people would travel many miles to take part in games and banquets in a city. Festivals were known for their atmosphere of friendship and joy. This gives readers a sense of the joy that they can anticipate in the heavenly Jerusalem, where the redeemed gather in the presence of angels and Christ himself. The vision gives people confidence for life in the present, knowing that the future of faith is one of life, joy, and community. It is not an individualistic hope, but one that involves the whole people of God. Moreover, this hope gives people cause for gratitude and a desire to serve God in daily life.
via Enter the Bible

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Aug 3, 2011

Faith by Example

The history of God’s relationship with his people is full of personalities that shaped the faith of their day and age. Through whom is God still speaking to you? A Christian is never alone: whether you know it or not, whether you like it or not, you do have the responsibilities of being part of someone’s cloud of witnesses. To whom is God still speaking through you? Here is my sermon outline to look at all this more closely.

Aug 1, 2011

Living the Promise

The god of religion is dead. We need to live the promise. Here is my sermon outline for that one.

Jul 31, 2011

Necessary Sacrifice

In the letter to the Hebrews, Jesus is seen as the great high priest, whose presence in suffering and death abolished the need for such sacrifices. Even President Obama thinks the debt crisis can be resolved with sacrifices:

Apr 30, 2011

Renewed covenant

There is no Biblical basis for the separation of “old” and “new” Testament or “old” and “new” covenant for that matter.
A simple search for “covenant” yields 360 results in the Good News Translation. Which ones do you consider “old” which ones “new”?
Today’s Reading, Hebrews 8:1-13, as all “new covenant” texts does not actually use νέος (Greek “new”) but καινος (Greek for “renewed”). That tells us a whole lot about how we see God: Does God just ditch one relationship to enter the next or is God’s love consistent and reliable? I vote for the latter!

Apr 29, 2011

Hebrews 7:1-28

Today’s Reading is Hebrews 7:1-28.
It is yet another reflection on Jesus’ priesthood, the essential theme of Hebrews.

Apr 28, 2011

Hebrews 6:1-20

Today’s Reading is Hebrews 6:1-20.

It raises a great question:
“For how can those who abandon their faith be brought back to repent again?”

And it gives a great answer, too:
“So we who have found safety with him are greatly encouraged to hold firmly to the hope placed before us. We have this hope as an anchor for our lives. It is safe and sure, and goes through the curtain of the heavenly temple into the inner sanctuary. On our behalf Jesus has gone in there before us and has become a high priest forever, in the priestly order of Melchizedek.”

As hard as you may try you simply cannot fall from grace because our Heavenly High Priest Jesus has your back.

Apr 27, 2011

Hebrews 4:14-5:14

Today’s Reading is Hebrews 4:14-5:14.
Here Jesus is described as being in the priestly order of Melchizedek. That is a thing the Bible has hardly anything about:

Genesis 14:17-19 knows:
“When Abram came back from his victory over Chedorlaomer and the other kings, the king of Sodom went out to meet him in Shaveh Valley (also called King’s Valley). And Melchizedek, who was king of Salem and also a priest of the Most High God, brought bread and wine to Abram, blessed him, and said, “May the Most High God, who made heaven and earth, bless Abram!”
– So the sacrifice that is brought by a priest of the Melchizedek order does not have animals in it but merely bread and wine. This can be understand as to relating to Christ’s last supper.

Psalm 110:4 knows:
The LORD made a solemn promise and will not take it back: “You will be a priest forever in the priestly order of Melchizedek.”
– Of Melchizedek we don’t know anything as far as ancestors or descendants goes. Same for the priesthood of Christ not being handed down to him or by him but eternal in itself.

What all of this does is that it gives Christ a unique position of unquestionable stability and power as an intermediator between God and us. Enter the Bible has a wonderful summary of the Epistle’s intention:
“The book of Hebrews brings a word of encouragement to discouraged Christians. The intended readers once had a vivid sense of God’s presence and later showed bold support for others during an outburst of persecution. Yet as time dragged on, some began drifting away. The author emboldens them by telling of the way Jesus the pioneer went through suffering into glory, making a way for others to follow. As high priest, Christ offered himself as the atoning sacrifice, bringing others into a new covenant relationship with God. People are therefore called to persevere in faith, knowing that God will be faithful.”

Mar 28, 2011

Habakkuk 2:1-20

Today’s Reading is Habakkuk 2:1-20.
The second half of Habakkuk 2:4 is quoted by some of the earliest Christian writers. Although this passage is only three words in the original Hebrew (וְצַדִּ֖יק בֶּאֱמוּנָת֥וֹ יִחְיֶֽה׃) Paul the Apostle quotes this verse twice in his epistles, in Romans 1:17 and again in Galatians 3:11. In doing so, Paul extends Habakkuk’s original concept of righteous living at the present time into a future life. The same verse is quoted in Hebrews 10:37-38, where Habakkuk’s vision is tied to Christ and used to comfort the church during a period of persecution.

One needs to keep in mind that a צַדִּ֖יק is not just a good guy or a nice person but a title given to personalities in Jewish tradition considered righteous, such as Biblical figures and later spiritual masters.