Introduction to Hebrews  – I call this unique Book of the Bible “The Paradigm Shift for Jews.” Whoever the author was (theologians suspect that it was Paul) he had the Jews in mind. Although Gentiles can certainly glean much Truth from these chapters, it forces Jews to wrestle with what they have been taught and practiced over the centuries.

When we turn back the clock to 33-34 A.D., Jesus had risen but the Temple and the animal sacrifices continued to 70 A.D. So these first Jewish Christians had to come to grips with the change from the Old Covenant to the New Covenant. The author of Hebrews accurately explains why Jewish animal sacrifices and other rituals need to no longer be practiced. It is because Jesus Christ is the Perfect sacrifice and all the Old Covenant has been fulfilled in Him. He is much better than the old system.

Later in 70 A.D. when the Temple and its practices were demolished by the Romans, God was making His statement clear to all. The Blood of Jesus is final. The blood of animals was temporary and does not have power to give eternal life. It it extremely interesting that the Temple has never been rebuilt and therefore those animal sacrifices have ceased to this day. Even the Jewish priesthood ceased because there cannot be animals sacrifices without the Temple. But this Book of Hebrews reveals that only Jesus Christ is our Priest now. He alone is needed. He was sacrificed ONCE, never to sacrificed again. No more priests or rituals that put Jesus through the crucifixion are needed in Biblical Christianity. If we do cling to those Old Covenant concepts, we have simply rebuilt Old Covenant thinking where duty, works, and rituals earn us favor with God. The simple but powerful Gospel of being saved by grace rather than works gets lost in people’s minds. My definition of religion is man’s attempts to earn back eternal life, whereas Biblical Christianity restores a relationship between man and God. It is easy to go to a church or Synagogue or Mosque and follow man-made rules and rituals and still miss out on knowing our Creator and loving Him. With “religion,” our sin has not yet been dealt the death blow it needs. It remains within our souls.

Hebrews 1 –  Jesus is no angel, but is God in the flesh.

v2: The Word identifies that “the last days” began with the first coming of Jesus. More specifically, when we combine Acts 2:16-17, the Last Days began with the Holy Spirit coming at Pentecost. When I tell this to some believers, they look at me with disbelief. To them, “the last days” began sometime more recently.

v4-14: God makes it clear that He never exalted one of His angels to be His Son, the Messiah. The Jehovah’s Witnesses, who deny the Deity of Christ as all cults do, teach that Jesus is the incarnation of Michael the archangel. When I read this piece of Scripture to experienced Jehovah’s Witnesses, they change the topic. Verse 6 actually goes so far as to say that God tells all the angels to worship His Son. If, therefore, Jesus is not God but rather just an angel, this verse breaks the Big Rule about worshiping God only. While on earth, Jesus never stopped people from worshiping Him while other men or angels did. Jesus Christ is no mere angel!

v4: (referring to Jesus) – “having become much better than the angels.” I think this refers to Jesus passing all the temptation tests while God was dwelling in a form that could be tempted to sin. I really don’t think that Satan can tempt God to sin in Heaven. Only Jesus resisted sin so much as to have drops of blood ooze from His face. Angels have no idea what it’s like to have a physical body and experience the vulnerabilities that it brings. God does, and He passed all the tests. On Judgment Day no one can say to God, “Hey, you don’t know what it is like down there on earth!” Yes He does. Therefore any of His judgments will be fair and just.

Hebrews 2:

v1: If we do not pay close attention to what God’s Word says, we tend to drift away from Truth. Living in a fallen world is like being in a stream. If we do nothing, we just go down hill with the current. If we want to go up stream, we need to constantly paddle. This world wants us all to conform to it. Its ways and value system are in constant conflict with God’s Kingdom. In order for us to remain strong in the Lord, we must be proactive (read His Word, hang with strong believers, pray). If we do not, we will conform to this world and nobody can tell we are Christians.

v2: In verse 1, the writer of Hebrews described the most basic means of holding to the truth without “drifting,” which is to pay close attention. In particular, the readers of this letter need to be concentrating more on truth than they have been. This is part of the first warning given in this book, and the gentlest. Later cautions will be more strident and involve higher consequences. The second warning, for example, occupies the entire third and fourth chapters of this book.

The consequence of drifting from truth into error is described in verses 2 and 3. If the message from God is true, and those who violate that message are punished, then those who fail to pay attention to the message are guaranteed trouble. God has spoken to His people (Hebrews 1:1), most recently through Christ (Hebrews 1:2). Those who broke God’s commandments in the past were given exactly what they deserved. Verse 3 will point out that those who ignore the message of Christ have no real hope of avoiding the same fate.

The two words used here, referring to the behavior which is penalized, are important to understand. These are parabasis, translated as “transgression,” and parakoē, translated as “disobedience.” The Greek word for disobedience implies a deliberate, willful act. However, the term for “transgression” relates to the idea of “crossing a line.” This term, in other words, includes unintentional mistakes as well as purposeful sins. This is part of the reality we live in: defying the truth, on purpose or not, will always result in consequences. Sincere or not, if we drift from the truth, we’re going to get ourselves into trouble. (

v5-8: Some Jewish groups believed that angels would rule the world in the end times. This included the Essenes, the sect which produced the Dead Sea Scrolls. However, according to the writer of Hebrews, the Scriptures which were cited in chapters 1 and 2 prove this is not the case. The One being given power and authority is clearly not an angel. Contains Old Testament verses that refer to Jesus.

v9-13: When God came to earth as a man, He was making Himself lower than the angels temporarily. Angels never have to deal with living in a fleshly body with all its frailties. Angels can behold God without dying, we cannot. Jesus had to believe and trust in God though He could not see Him.

v14: Identifies the Devil as holding the power of death, but Jesus took that away from him.

v16-18: Because Jesus experienced life and temptations and sufferings, He can relate with us about those things and help us through testings and trials.

Hebrews 3:

v1-6: In the Book of Hebrews, God is writing His Word to the Jews via most likely Paul. So He sites how Moses, whom the Jews practically worshiped, was a faithful servant. Paul then explains how much more Jesus was a faithful servant. God does not want people to trust in obeying laws and rituals to earn favor with God or to earn eternal life with Him. The Jews tended to do that with Moses. As great and humble as Moses was, Jesus is far greater.

v7- 19: God tells us to respond immediately to His calling (voice) because, if our heart becomes hardened, we may never hear His voice again. God’s patience toward stiff-necked people is limited as the author uses the Jews in the wilderness as an example. They tested God’s patience for 40 years, then he finally pronounced that they would not enter His rest due to their unbelief. All original adult Jews that left Egypt died in the wilderness except two children, Joshua, and Caleb. Even Moses did not make it. Why not Moses? In the Book of Numbers Chapter 20, the Israelites desperately needed water while in the wilderness. God told Moses to speak to a certain rock and God would provide water for the obstinate, rebellious crowd. Instead, Moses struck the rock two times rather than speaking to it and kind of took credit for it himself rather than giving God the glory (Num. 20:10). Was God too harsh on Moses? God is never too harsh. Moses was exalted by God for a high purpose. Moses, more than all others, had to show the Jews how to trust and obey. Striking the rock rather than speaking to the rock was directly disobedient to the command from God. Striking the rock may have made it look like it was Moses’ strength and sheer will that brought out that water. Those who have been given much, much is required. If God “let Moses off easy,” what example for obedience would that give to the Jews?

God’s overall patience toward humans is great. He is slow to anger, but He does have limits. He gave many people long-time warnings via Noah of a terrible judgment to come. People of Sodom and Gomorrah did not repent, but the people of Nineveh did and were spared. God has given humans about 2,000 years to repent and receive His eternal life gift and that time is running out. There will be a reaching of God’s limited patience. God also has made sure that His Holy Word was written accurately and preserved for many generations to find. Today, just like Noah’s Ark would save those people from eternal death, Jesus is that same “Ark” offering salvation from that same eternal death, and the End will come suddenly and unexpectedly like a thief in the night. This is guaranteed in the Scriptures. If we are not alive on earth when Jesus comes again, our own personal deaths will be that Second Coming for us, so we always need to be ready to meet our Maker because we never know when we will take that last breath of earthly air.

Hebrews 4:

v1-11: This explains that God has entered His Rest (began after 6 days of Him creating everything). He wants people to enter this Rest with Him but we must believe in Him. Some did in the Old Testament, but not all. Same in the new Testament (but I think there are many more souls saved during the NT). God has “pulled off all the stops” to get our attention and capture our hearts, so this is why He can get angry at those who rebel or are not motivated to find Him (while He can be found).

v12: “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” This one verse contains these deep truths:

1) The Bible is super relevant to every day life.
2) It helps us tell if a thought is from God or just from ourselves.
3) Our soul is different from spirit, and
4) the Word is most effective.

Although the Bible never defines these terms, I believe that “soul” is our personality that contains our self awareness, desires, emotions, likes and dislikes, while “spirit” is that part of us that God has given us to communicate with Him. Our challenge as believers is to allow the spirit to rule our souls. Finally, because the Word of God is all these things, it is so important for us to read it and allow it to rule our hearts. Remember what Jesus said, “Man does not live by bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out the mouth of God” (Deuteronomy 8:3 and Matthew 4:3). It is interesting to note that the world has made this phrase famous, but leaves out the most important part of the verse…typical.

v13: God sees all.

v14-16: Jesus is the Perfect High Priest for us all because He was tempted in all that we are tempted but did not sin. Furthermore, because He did conquer all our enemies (Satan, sin, and death), He has gone on before us through to Heaven, and as long as we cling to confessing belief in Him alone, we will be with Him and will find grace (ability to do) in times of need. Can any other religion promise this? It is truly amazing that people will complain when someone says that Jesus is the only way to Heaven. They have no idea what He has gone through and accomplished. Father forgive them for they know not what they say.

Hebrews 5 – Finding the Right Church

v1-6: Paul tells the Jews how Jesus not only qualifies as a High Priest but is even better than all the Jewish priests over the centuries. Comment on Melchizedek – He was a mysterious high priest and king of Salem in the Old Testament before the Mosaic Law was given. No one knew of his lineage or ancestry or whatever happened to him later, but Abraham himself held Melchizedek in such high esteem that he gave a tithe (a tenth of his income) to this priest. This is where the practice of tithing began and it came before The Law.

v7: Reveals that Jesus tearfully cried loudly to God when He prayed. (I never noticed this before).

v8: Reveals the importance of God playing the role of a son. It was the only way the utmost authority could learn obedience to a higher authority. God, in Jesus, laid aside all His rights as God (Philippians 2:7) so He could He could be tempted to disobey, never sin, and consequently, save us. The Father also restored all His rights (Matthew 28:18) because He was willing to give them all up for a greater cause. This indicates that our Creator is not on some power trip with a big ego like fallen humans.

v13-14: Reveals the difference between a mature Christian and a baby Christian. “Milk” represents the simple but essential core beliefs of the Faith, but “the word of righteousness” would refer to deeper teaching that convicts and challenges a believer to a more devoted walk with the Lord. These believers practice what is stated in the Bible and had their senses trained to discern good from evil more accurately than the baby Christian. Good churches will always stick to God’s Word for training in righteousness. They will challenge their flock to love Jesus and others and to serve the Lord heartily every day, not being afraid of what others will think of them. This takes a lot of individual practice and good teaching from the pulpits.

Question: Have you found a church to commit yourself to yet? If you are looking, look for these things:

1) Love for Jesus, and they talk about Him by name with each other,
2) The Bible is God’s Word to us and does not teach traditions made by men,
3) People are happy and loving to others,
4) The church is growing,
5) It has evangelistic outreaches to its community,
6) Has successful missions ministries,
7) People want to attend and are not driven by compulsion,
8) Emphasizes relationship over ritual,
9) The people are walking with Jesus every day not just Sundays,
10) Money poses no problem.

Jesus said you will know His true people by their fruit. There are many churches that have all of these good characteristics, but many do not. While I do not make it a practice to tell individuals they should leave a church, I do recommend that people leave a “dead” or lukewarm church because I’ve never heard of one being revived by the mature Christians who stay. It is very difficult to grow in a dead or lukewarm church. There are tensions and jealousies in the midst. I dare say that these tensions can be between modern-day Pharisees and real Christians, so watch out! Jesus does not like churches to be “lukewarm.” If they are, He will spit them out of His mouth (Revelation 3:16). I’m not sure what that literally looks like, but I don’t like the sound of it. If this is prompting you to consider finding a church that you can grow spiritually, pray and ask God to show you the right one for you and receive the teaching you can grow by. Your Christian walk will get a nice boost that you will never forget. Finally, do not look for only self-fulfillment with a church. You are called to serve the body of Christ while on earth, so go to give as well as to get.

Hebrews 6:

v1-3: Describes the basic tents of the Christian faith.

v4-6: Highly controversial verses. The question is: Can a Christian lose salvation? Good thinking people are on both sides of this issue. Historically, John Calvin (1509-1564), believed that you cannot lose it. Jacobus Arminius (1560-1609) disagreed. For a closer look into the issue, go to:

My opinion? I lean toward “yes” but I think it is rare because God does not let go of us easily (if at all). I think verses 4-8 does describe this rare occurrence. Perhaps the more important point to make is that this issue should not make any difference how we live on earth, so we should not let this controversy divide us or consume us. Both viewpoints have their plusses and minuses:

1) If one believes “once saved always saved” – Plus = no “panic attacks” about hell, or mere doubts about salvation. Minus = no motivation to sanctify our lives.

2) If we think we can lose salvation – Plus =  motivation to discipline oneself to stay close to Jesus. Minus = we may think we have lost it consequently giving up on trying to follow Jesus.

For those who think salvation cannot be lost, and they see a backslidden person, they can easily say the person was never really saved (which is just a convenient conclusion for their side).  I’ve seen many backsliders return to Christ.

In conclusion, if we simply keep our love for Jesus and others strong, the answer to this debate makes no difference to us now. We need to share salvation with others. Whether or not they have a choice in salvation or whether or not they could lose it, makes no difference to us as far as what we need to be doing in this life. The only “fruit” I’ve seen from this issue is division. Not good.

Speaking of “fruit,” Scripture is replete with verses stating there must be some outward signs (good attitudes/deeds) that a person is saved.

v9-15: God remembers all the good we do in Him from this life and He wants to bless us and multiply us on earth.

v18: God cannot lie. So we can fully trust Him (unlike leaders in this world).

v19-20: Jesus has entered through “the veil” therefore He has become our high priest forever according to the rank of Melchizedek. In other words, no other priest or person is needed for salvation or to be our go-between with God. No other name is to be used as a go-between other than Jesus (1Timothy 2:5). The veil in the OT Jewish Temple was a sacred and scary place. Behind it was God’s Spirit and no human could go beyond that veil and live. But once a year, the Jewish High Priest would be sprinkled with lamb’s blood in the Temple, then he went beyond the veil to offer up all the sins of the Jewish people. If he did not have the blood on him, God would kill him. God wanted to be sure that humankind realized that “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin” (Hebrews 9:22). He was preparing earth for the Messiah’s work so that people would understand it. So this was one of the most serious things God maintained throughout the thousands of OT years. The veil, which was located in the innermost chamber of the Temple was so scary that priests would tie a rope around the high priest’s leg in case he was killed. Then they could drag him back without putting themselves in danger. At least so goes the rumor, which has never been substantiated, and has been doubted by Jewish scholars. In any case, when Paul mentions “the veil,” Jews really knew the seriousness of what he was describing.

Hebrews 7 – Only One Priest Now

v1-3: The description of Melchizedek (king of peace, no mother, no father, no genealogy, no beginning, no end, made like the son of God, and a perpetual priest) leads many Biblical scholars to believe that he was a theophany (an Old Testament appearance of Christ) of Jesus Christ. If so (and no one knows for sure), this would mean that Melchizedek was Jesus well before He was born into the human race. Weird, eh?

v4-19: Paul explains with great examples about how great Melchizedek was and what a high rank he had. So if God still needed to send Jesus with a rank as high as Melchizedek (which was above all priests including Aaron), it proved that the Old Covenant was not going to be able to save souls. In addition, Jesus was not born in the priesthood lineage of Levi, but came from  the tribe of Judah. So Paul indicates there needed to be a change from the Old Covenant (The Law) to a new one. He uses lots of solid Jewish history so the Jews could understand that God was making a New Covenant because the old one made nothing perfect, but this new one brings hope and can draw us close to God because Christ had the power from eternity that brought eternal life to lost human souls. The Jewish priesthood never had this power of authority.

v20-24: From Old Testament prophecy we find that God told only Jesus that He has the rank of Melchizedek and that he would be a priest forever, no one else (Psalms 110:4).

v25: Jesus is the only name in God’s Word that plays the role of being our intercessor because of His role as High Priest. So we need no priest or minister or rabbi to go to God for us regarding forgiveness of our sin. This is Jesus’ job according to God’s New Covenant. Logically speaking, could their be anyone else better or more qualified? If we had a sin problem or some issue we needed help with, and all of a sudden Jesus appears to us along with someone else (you fill in the blank), why would we NOT choose Jesus?! There’s no one else higher or better than He. To choose someone else must hurt Jesus. Furthermore it bothers Him. It should bother that other person as well (if they are even aware of it, which I seriously doubt). This verse says, in part, “He (Jesus) always lives to make intercession for them.”

v27: Jesus has paid the high price for our sins just once, He does not have to die again and again like the Old Testament priests had to repeat sacrificial rituals to cover the sins of the people. Not so anymore. There should be no Christian ritual that “kills” Jesus repeatedly.

v28: Equates priests for people as no longer in use and states that after The Law, a Son (Jesus) has been appointed forever for us. Amen.

Hebrews 8:

v1-2: Christ is our High Priest in Heaven in a tabernacle that no man has made, but God has made. Here lies a Biblical concept that offends prideful man. Too many humans think they can serve God out of their own abilities and make things for Him. The truth is we have it backwards. Rather than striving to do good on our own power, we need to allow God to have His way through us. One purpose for our existence is to glorify Him. Why? Because He alone merits it. We are sinners who have fallen way short of God’s glorious ideal (Romans 3:23). Jesus said that He is the vine and we are the branches; apart from Him we can do nothing (John 15:5). The psalmist King David wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, “Unless the LORD builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; unless the LORD guards the city, the watchman keeps awake in vain” (Psalms 127:1). Only the Lord is Holy so we need to let Him have His way in and through us. If we do, life works differently. We walk in the Spirit and can rise above the mundane things of this world (which are fading into nothingness). Only His Kingdom lasts forever so we need to be connected to it.

It has been said that religion is man’s attempt to reach God while Christianity is God’s attempt to reach man. If it weren’t for God’s continuous intervention on our behalf, life would have been destroyed long ago. This may be one of the reasons that God confused languages and scattered the people from the Tower of Babel. People were organizing themselves to accomplish great things without including God and were most likely on a self-destructive path. By God intervening at the right time, our “progress” was slowed down immensely which prolonged our history, gave Christ the opportunity to be born at the proper time in history, and gave millions of more souls a chance for eternal life. Unlike the theme in the old George Burns movie “Oh, God,” the real God does not sit back and leave us to our own devices to see whether or not we can “make it” as a civilization. Evolution, with its smoke and mirrors masquerading as science (1 Timothy 6:20-21), says we are getting bigger and better. I don’t think so. Increased knowledge, which was predicted in Daniel Chapter 12:4 as a sign of the End Times, does not necessarily mean that we humans are a better people. The Bible is full of God intervening and interacting with the fallen human race. Human effort falls short of what God does. There will be no bragging in Heaven.

Bottom Line = People of earth need a paradigm shift in order to see themselves as God sees them. Jesus said, “Unless you are converted (or turned) and become like children, you will not see the Kingdom of God” (Matthew 18:3).

v5: The reason God was so specific in giving instructions to Moses to build the Tabernacle is because everything about it represented Jesus Christ. Books have been written about this amazing connection.

v6-12: Several Old Testament Scriptures are quoted that tell of this New Covenant

v12: God chooses to do an amazing thing – He remembers our sin no more….wow?! We’ll be with Him forever and He will never remind us of our sins, He will not hold it over us. What a promise. Can any other religion guarantee this?

In summary: Paul explains why the Old Covenant had to be canceled (because the Jews did not follow it) and what the New Covenant is all about. God’s mercy triumphed over judgment.

Hebrews 9:

v1-11: Lots of details of the physical inner make up of the Temple. The innermost room was the Holy of Holies and no one but the priest could enter once a year, sprinkled with lamb’s blood to offer sin cleansing for himself and other believers. AS long as this Covenant or system was in place, the common person could never enter into the Holy of Holies where God’s Spirit was. But since Jesus fulfilled all the Old Covenant laws, he broke through that barrier for the common person. Now we all can enter God’s presence because we have been “sprinkled” with His Blood. The old system temporarily covered sins but Jesus takes then all away forever.

v12-14: According to God’s Word, without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness (verse 22). Why? Not sure, but Billy Graham once speculated that blood is something that is repulsive to humans and that is how sin is to God. Furthermore Leviticus 17:11 claims that “the life of the flesh is in the blood.” If the good doctors who bled George Washington to death in 1799 applied the Bible to their scientific knowledge, George would have lived longer. So this “life” factor is also important. God demanded animal blood sacrifices once a year for His people to prepare them to what He Himself would do on the cross. If the blood of animals could at least temporarily cover the people’s sins, how much more effective will the Blood of Christ, who was without sin, be for redeeming one’s sins leading to eternal life?

Comment about animal sacrifice: Over the centuries the Jews were faithful in carrying out this command of God. When Jesus was on earth, He prophesied that Jerusalem would be destroyed and that the Temple would not have one stone left upon another (Matthew 24:2). Sure enough, in 70 AD a Roman army headed up by General Titus surrounded and attacked Jerusalem and the heat was so intense that the gold in the Temple melted in between stones of the Temple wall. In order to retrieve that gold, the Romans had to pry apart every stone thus literally fulfilling what Jesus said. Most Jews were starved to death by the siege, and some were taken captive and dispersed from their homeland until 1948 A.D. when Israel became a nation once again. During the 1967 six-day miracle war, the Jews took control of Jerusalem and were no longer a minority in the land. One significant point to be made that is connected to all this history is the fact that animal sacrifices ceased after 70 AD and have never been re-instituted by the Jews. This is strange since animal sacrifice played a major role in their religion for hundreds of years, but they never brought it back. From God’s perspective, however, the Final Sacrifice was made about 2,000 years ago and nothing else is needed.

Historically, when was the first innocent animal slain for human sin? Very early. In Genesis Chapter 3, Adam and Eve tried to cover their sin with fig leaves, but that didn’t work when God came to the scene. Adam and Eve ran and hid. Their human effort to take care of sin failed miserably. God is teaching us through this that we can do nothing to make up for our sin. Human effort will fail, only God’s effort works for salvation (eternal life). So God clothed those first two sinners with animal skin. He slew an animal who was totally innocent of any wrongdoing and covered them with its skin. Innocent blood was shed on behalf of Adam and Eve. Therein lies the Gospel of Jesus Christ – way back in Genesis. So people today who think they are good enough to merit eternal life need this paradigm shift before they die. Church attendance, rituals, tithing, helping others, etc., can never satisfy the gap between man and God that sin has caused. That’s why God had to come here Himself and “do the deed” because there was no other way. This is why Jesus said He is the only way to Heaven (John 14:6). No one else has ever defeated our real 3 enemies – Satan, sin, and death. Only Jesus. Narrow-minded? This implies that I am unfair. I don’t think mere man could make up all that is contained in the Holy Scriptures. This issue really depends on whether or not the Bible is telling the truth. If it was all made up by man, then yes it is narrow-minded. But if wrought from the mouth of God, we had better take heed. A person once told me that if God is so small to act through only one person then he did not want to believe it. I responded by saying, “If God was so big that He was willing to come down to our level, resist every temptation without sinning, and then die a tortuous criminal death on a cross just so we could have a chance at eternal life, then I want to believe it. It’s all about what’s in the heart.

v25-26: States for a second time that Jesus died only once, not again and again. Any man-made ritual that “crucifies” Jesus repeatedly is wrong.

v27: “It is appointed for men to die once, and after this comes judgment.” This goes against the belief in reincarnation.

v28: Jesus Christ will return to earth not to bear sin but to take those who eagerly await His Coming.

Hebrews 10:

v1-4: Again God emphasizes that animal blood sacrifices never could take away sins, in fact, they just conjured up memories of sins each year. But they were setting up a foreshadowing of what was to be accomplished in the Last Days (The Church Age). Christianity brings much hope to people. Religious ritual does not.

v5-7: Reveals that God would come in bodily form! And that He can be found in the Scriptures (“scroll of the Book”) from Psalms 34:6..

v12-13: Ever since Jesus’ ascension to Heaven, He has been “sitting at the right hand of God” waiting for all His enemies to be conquered (made a footstool for His feet). This is what I think is going on right now on earth. The Holy Spirit is taking back territory and strongholds held by the Devil and his demons. This is especially true for nations because Truth did not go into other nations until Jesus bound Satan from preventing it (Rev. 20:3), and the Gospel spread like wildfire among nations since His resurrection. In addition, much truth has been restored from the Dark Ages when no one was permitted to read the Bible. Satan tried to snuff out the early Church and succeeded to a large degree but did not quite complete his will…thank God! His tools were persecution, ritualistic religion, the Age of Enlightenment (to a degree) and materialism. I think America is caught up in materialism. Materialism makes people lose their vision for life as priorities shift the wrong way. I also think that this warfare against believers is symbolized in the Book of Revelation.

v18-19: Since there is now complete forgiveness by God toward our sins, we no longer need to make an offering (ritual) for our sin. The Blood of Jesus is so powerfully effective that It casts our sin into the “Sea of Forgetfulness.”

v22: This mentions that we no longer will have an evil conscience. I remember this feeling when I surrendered my whole life and future to Jesus back at the end of 1970. All the guilt that had been building up inside of me was there, but I did not recognize it as being there. It was strange. But when Jesus came into my heart, I felt it leave. Many people have testified that it felt like a weight was lifted off their backs, probably something like the experience of the pilgrim in “Pilgrim’s Progress” by John Bunyan. God wants our hearts to stay sincere or true before Him as we “walk” with Him through our lives. He can do great things through us if we do this.

v24: We are told to figure out ways to stimulate others to love and to do good deeds. Churches and Christians everywhere, listen up. Too many of us have been wounded by people within the church.

v25: Do not neglect going to church. There is power in numbers. The congregation’s life in the Spirit can rub off on individuals. In addition, there can be an anointing on the sermon that we need to hear, or someone may say something that clicks well with us. These experiences cannot happen if we just stay home by ourselves. Fellowship is essential for spiritual growth. My saying is, hang with the cold Christians and I will grow cold with them. Hang with the hot ones, I’ll improve. It’s like in athletics. If you play with poor athletes, you will not progress to the level you need to reach. But play with or against the best, your game will improve.

v26: “If we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins.” This is a tough verse that has scared many believers to doubt their salvation. The Devil, who is identified as the “Accuser of the Brethren” in Revelation 12:10, will jump all over us with this verse. First thought: Do saved people swear? lose their temper? not tell all the truth? lust after whatever? Of course. Do they realize that they would be sinning if they do such things? Of course. Then no one is now saved except for those who repented and asked Jesus into their lives a split second ago. Oops, something is wrong here. I think the best interpretation of “sinning willfully” is practicing sin and not confessing that it is wrong, and therefore there is no remorse or confessing or repentance before God. All believers have weaknesses that cause us to fail. Paul had the same problem in his personal life (read Romans 7:14-8:1). If we take this verse 26 alone out of the context of the entire Bible, we needlessly get into trouble quickly.

v31: “It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” From about the 1600s through to the 1800s, fire and brimstone preachers could gain audiences quickly because there was more of a fear of God in those days. Now, especially as science and technology have provided false security, people no longer have this fear. They believe that man’s smarts will make things all right in the long run. Every sci-fi movie is based upon this idea, and if you tell a lie often and loud enough, people will believe it. First of all, life for us on earth is not a long one. Second, we must always be ready to meet our Maker. When a people become complacent, they are ripe for deception, just ask George Orwell the author of “Animal Farm.” The Bible says in Proverbs 9:10 that “the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.” By this standard I would judge that we have few wise folks today. Yes, our nation’s people think they can “see through” the old-fashioned fire and brimstone preachers and are turned off by them. Hollywood has successfully convinced folks that those preachers are all “Elmer Gantrys” duping the public to make a quick buck and are as phony as a $3 bill. Most preaching today is emphasizing how much God loves us and has a plan for our lives. This is a great message! I am not knocking it. But this verse 31 is a reminder for us to maintain “the balance” concerning the God we love and serve.

v32-39: These believers suffered physical pain, embarrassment, and materialistic loss only because they confessed that Jesus is the Messiah. I’ve often wondered how much of this hardship I could withstand…I’ve had it easy. Paul encourages these folks by saying that their attitude was correct – their citizenship was in Heaven, not on earth; they lived for the eternal promises of the Lord.

Hebrews 11 – “The Faith Chapter”

v1: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” So Christian faith is not a blind faith because there is substance and evidence attached. For example, science proves life has complex design. To assume there is no designer is where blind faith can be applied. No one in history has come up with a tenable theory to what happened to Jesus Christ’s body. All theories are illogical. Hundreds of specific Old Testament prophecies were fulfilled only by Jesus. Very evil people have been suddenly changed for the good by being born-again in Christ. How could a Saul-to-Paul experience happen so suddenly unless Scripture is true? Many more evidences and substance could be listed here.

v3: The world was made by the Word of God out of things which cannot be seen. In other words, God used unnatural (out of our realm or dimension) forces to create. This truth has been driving evolutionists to the endless “learning without ever coming to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Tim 3:7). Since materialistic matter has been made from things we cannot see, we believe by faith that God did it. Science, ever since evolution got hold of the minds of men, constantly seeks after physical (natural) explanations and causes of the existence of life and of matter. If they would apply the Word of God to their science, they would realize this. But they will keep believing otherwise as they seek their truth (2 Timothy 4:1-3 and 1 Timothy 6:20-21). True science reveals great and useful truth, but when man’s own ideas get mixed into it, adulterated science tries to snuff out a Creator thus committing serious errors. They would realize that mankind’s “science” can never fully explain our existence. All science can do is observe what God has made and set in motion. While science tries to explain WHY things happen in biology, it can never explain every cause. As science progresses, it will be able to explain more of the “whys” but sooner or later, as the next “why question” is raised, it simply must cede and say the unthinkable in the realm of science, “We do not know.” For example, if science could ever explain exactly how and why animal instincts work, you can still ask “Why?” to that most recent discovery. And on it goes forever! This issue is touched upon in part in the OT Book of Job. God asks Job several questions about His Creation rendering Job speechless.

v4-32: Identifies many people from history that had faith. All had great things happen, many of which they never saw the full fruit while on earth. We need to keep our eyes fixed upon Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith (as the next chapter tells us to do). If we just do this one thing, He will do mighty things through us while we are still on earth – many of which we may not see in this life. So be encouraged, He wills to do neat things through you…just keep the faith.

Hebrews 12 – The Power of the Root

v1-2: Since there are so many things from history that support what Scripture says, we should be  encouraged to lay aside those things that easily encumber us and to run the race (of life) with endurance by keeping our attention on Jesus.

v3-4: Our antidote for growing weary is to consider Jesus and all the hostility He faced, including striving so hard against temptation to sin that He bled from His face. We have never gone that far with intensity against sin. Science now realizes that this bleeding is possible but only under extreme intensity of stress.

v6: If we get disciplined by the Lord it proves He loves us, and are truly His children.

v7-10: Our earthly dads discipline worked for this life, but god’s discipline is for both this life and the eternal life.

v11: Although discipline is not enjoyable to go through, it does finally produce more righteousness in us.

v14: Seek peace with everyone (as much as it depends on you) and allow sanctification (becoming more holy) to mold us so that we will see God. This sounds like if someone claims to be saved, but never has positive changes, then they really are not saved.

v15: Warning against succumbing to the root of bitterness. To me, bitterness is like cancer. Without getting rid of it in time, it grows worse. It hurts other people with whom we come into contact. If we have this in our soul (personality), we MUST repent of it and call it sin, then ask the Lord to remove it in the name of Jesus…and it will be done. Our life will improve when it is gone. What often happens in this life is that first a spirit of rejection enters us, then, if not rebuked and cast out, the root of bitterness begins to grow because that is the power of a “root.” One spirit enters, then brings another, and maybe even another. Soon there exists a powerful linkage of demonic power that seeks to destroy our lives and those around us. All the while we think that our bitterness is justified, when, in light of Jesus, it is not. Moreover, only Jesus has the authority over these powers because He alone did not sin at all. Think of this, who has the best reason to carry bitterness based on what has happened in their life? Jesus. Let’s keep our eyes upon Him.

Comment on repentance: It is not merely feeling sorry, it is a whole change of mind that wants to do right and creates a strong desire to not repeat wrongs. When he betrayed Jesus, Judas felt so sorry that he killed himself, but never repented of his evil, thieving life. Same with Esau (v16-17). Peter, on the other hand, denied Jesus 3 times but made a “comeback” because, I believe it is safe to assume, he repented.

v25-29: Events and experiences in this fallen world will cause “shaking.” But if we have Christ reigning our hearts, we will bear through those times and come out stronger.

Hebrews 13: Pray for Church Leaders!

v2: Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers for some have entertained angels without knowing it. Really?! Back in Genesis 18 there was Abraham being kind to three “men” who later prophesied about Sarah having a son despite her old age. Previously it stated that the Lord appeared to Abraham, but only these “men” were mentioned. I think what the Word is trying to convey to us is that these “men” were angels, and the Lord spoke through them to Abraham. It also appears that Abraham sensed they were not ordinary men, but he made sure a meal was immediately prepared for them and they did eat it. But, again, they were not ordinary men.

What about today? Do angels take the form of ordinary humans and somehow interact or intervene on our behalf? Jesus mentioned that the little children have angels, so I presume that angels are assigned to everyone. I can’t believe that when we reach a certain age those assigned angels desert us. Whatever the case, Scripture makes it clear that we should not pray to them because Jesus is the only mediator between God and man (1 Timothy 2:5). I’ve heard testimonies over the many years of knowing the Lord of supernatural interventions for some people. It wouldn’t surprise me that some people, including myself, have been visited or protected by an angel.

v3-4: Remember prisoners and those who are ill-treated. Also keep marriage Holy because God will judge fornicators and adulterers. Notice how these words “fornication” and “adultery” have been gradually dropped from common use in our language since the 1950s. We hear “slept with, made love to, had an affair,” etc. My principal was bothered that I used the word “lust” in my health classes! I asked him why? He said it had a religious connotation. I said, “Lust is lust with or without religion; and you can have lust for anything, not just sex – for power, for money, for drugs, etc. He backed off. But he knew that I was a Christian and he did NOT like that. But Satan tries to “DE-sin” every sin so people do not get under conviction as easily as in former days. By the way, in case you are wondering…the reason I was using the word “lust” in my health classes was I was explaining the difference between love, lust, and infatuation so that the teens may be better able to discern which one is at work in a relationship that they may have or about to have. I’d say that is a good thing to teach them, but all that vice-principal could see is me proselytizing in the public schools. Sad. But the good news is that I kept teaching that same good stuff.

v5: Be free from the love of money remembering that Jesus will never leave us and that He will not withhold any good thing (Psalms 84:11).

v6: Always pray against the “fear of man.” We all have to battle this one.

v8: Jesus has and will be always the same. If he baptized people in the Holy Spirit 2,000 years ago. He does it today. If He healed people then, He heals today as well.

v9: A warning against being carried away by strange teachings, instead be strengthened by God’s grace (Him giving us the ability that we do not have).

v11-14: Jesus never “fits into” this world and neither will His children. This world will always consider us to be “outsiders” and its people will not be able to figure us out. There is a reproach attached to Jesus by this world and we are called to share that. Walking with our Lord is not always rosy, but the eternal benefits are “out of this world,” figuratively and literally! So let’s keep our eyes on the prize.

v17: Obey our (spiritual) leaders for they watch over our souls and will have to give an account of that on Judgment Day. We need to pray for our church leaders because the enemy looks upon them as the commanders in “the war” and will try to “pick them off” first. This is why so many clergy have fallen to scandal.