The Pursuit of God

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Category Archives: Hebrews

Applying Hebrews 13: Concluding Remarks

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This is a continuation of Applying Hebrews 12: Threats & Warnings.

As we begin the last chapter of Hebrews, the author of this letter (who we’re calling Rabbi) is going to fire off a lot of concluding thoughts. You might expect a wrap up speech to be pretty harmless, but with Rabbi you always have to keep your guard up. Some of the lines in this chapter have become widely circulated in the Church and they are currently fueling some very wrong ideas about how we Christians should operate in life. Read more of this post

Applying Hebrews 12: Threats & Warnings

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This is a continuation of Applying Hebrews 11: The Faith Hall of Fame.

In Chapter 11, the author of Hebrews (who we’re calling Rabbi) put out a list of spiritual heroes, many of whom were less than inspiring. It is to those folks that he is now referring when he says:

Since we are surrounded by so many examples of faith, we must get rid of everything that slows us down, especially sin that distracts us. We must run the race that lies ahead of us and never give up, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of Yahweh. (Heb. 12:1-2)

Rabbi wants his Jewish audience to reflect on how many men have been faithful to God in the past, and from those witnesses, feel inspired to keep pressing on themselves. This verse is often misinterpreted to mean that we are the ones being watched by a thousand pairs of eyes. The more common wording for the beginning of this chapter is: Read more of this post

Applying Hebrews 11: The Faith Hall of Fame

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This is a continuation of Applying Hebrews 10: Old vs. New.

The world has invented halls of fame for various professional fields, such as baseball.  Many Christians like to refer to Hebrews 11 as the faith hall of fame. In this chapter, the author of Hebrews (who we’re calling Rabbi) is continuing his efforts to persuade his wavering audience of Jewish Christians to keep persevering in the faith. He has decided to make a list of some famous names in Scripture and point out how everyone who did it right demonstrated exemplary faith.

As usual, the soundness of Rabbi’s argument leaves much to be desired. This list he puts out includes some real pills as well as men who we know nothing about. We have Hebrews 11 to thank for the fact that Christians promote idiots like Samson as heroes to our children in Sunday School class. And then there’s Gideon—the guy who created another idol to worship in Yahweh’s place. If these people are Rabbi’s idea of spiritual role models, the man is a fool. But hey, Christians today like to play games about the contents of the Bible, so why shouldn’t he? Let’s now examine this list for ourselves and see what we can learn. Read more of this post

Applying Hebrews 10: Old vs. New

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This is a continuation of Applying Hebrews 9: Refusing to Let Go.

The old system under the law of Moses was only a shadow, a dim preview of the good things to come, not the good things themselves. The sacrifices under that system were repeated again and again, year after year, but they were never able to provide perfect cleansing for those who came to worship. If they could have provided perfect cleansing, the sacrifices would have stopped, for the worshipers would have been purified once for all time, and their feelings of guilt would have disappeared. But instead, those sacrifices actually reminded them of their sins year after year. For it is not possible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. (Heb. 10:1-4)

Where does the author of Hebrews (who we’re calling Rabbi) get off declaring that the blood of bulls and goats could not take away sins under the Old Covenant? Yahweh said they did. Is Rabbi now a higher authority than Yahweh? Yahweh never suggested that His Old Covenant sacrificial system was insufficient in any way. He said that when sacrifices were done properly, they provided complete atonement for past sins. It was because those sacrifices only provided past atonement that they had to be repeated, for humans sin continuously. But the fact that a man has to provide new sacrifices to Yahweh for his sins this year doesn’t mean that his sins for the previous years weren’t fully forgiven. Yahweh said that atonement sacrifices were sufficient to take away sins. Rabbi is totally out of line to try and depict the Old Covenant as a broken, insufficient system. Read more of this post

Applying Hebrews 9: Refusing to Let Go

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This is a continuation of Applying Hebrews 8: Yahweh Speaks.

As we start Hebrews 9, the author of Hebrews (who we’re calling Rabbi) launches into a comparison of the earthly Tabernacle that was built under the leadership of Moses and the heavenly Tabernacle that Rabbi has invented in his mind. Before we get into his detailed description of how the earthly Tabernacle functioned, let’s look at some pictures so we can understand what he’s going to be describing. Read more of this post

Applying Hebrews 8: Yahweh Speaks

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This is a continuation of Applying Hebrews 7: Melchizedek Madness.

As we dive into Hebrews 8, we find our author (who we’ve nicknamed Rabbi) continuing on with this absurd idea of Jesus serving as the High Priest who surpasses and replaces all of the human priests who served under the Old Covenant. If Christ is a High Priest, where is His place of work? On earth, Yahweh’s human priests worked out of His tent Tabernacle, which was later replaced by a Temple.  So if Rabbi wants to turn Christ into the ultimate High Priest for Yahweh, he has to give Him some kind of priestly headquarters. It’s time to invent the notion of a heavenly Temple. Read more of this post

Applying Hebrews 7: Melchizedek Madness

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This is a continuation of Applying Hebrews 6: To Doubt is to be Damned.

Hebrews 7 is the most absurd chapter in this letter. The logic used here is not logical at all. It’s downright nutty. And yet despite chapters like this, the Church today continues to uphold this book as Divinely inspired. Go figure.

Now at the end of Chapter 6, our author (who we’re calling Rabbi) said that Christ “has become our eternal High Priest in the order of Melchizedek” (Heb. 6:20). What does he mean by this? Well, he’s about to explain. Read more of this post

Applying Hebrews 6: To Doubt is to be Damned

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This is a continuation of Applying Hebrews 5: More Lies About Christ.

We’re almost to the halfway point in this thirteen chapter epistle as we begin Hebrews 6. Realize that those handy little chapter and verse numbers which you find throughout your Bible were added to the manuscripts much later on.  The original authors didn’t divide their letters into chapters. And since the guys who added the numbers weren’t the same guys who wrote the documents, we find some chapter breaks that are very poorly placed. The break between Hebrews 5 and 6 is a good example of this, for our author (who we’ve nicknamed Rabbi) is still finishing his chiding lecture from Chapter 5. Read more of this post

Applying Hebrews 5: More Lies About Christ

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This is a continuation of Applying Hebrews 4: Stretching a Metaphor.

When He was first introducing His Old Covenant to Israel, Yahweh ordered the Ark of the Covenant to be built. The Ark was a gold covered box that had two angels or cherubim standing on top of it. The lid of the box was called the mercy seat and Yahweh was envisioned as sitting on that seat, between the two golden angels. Listen to how one Jewish writer describes the Ark of the Covenant in the Old Testament: Read more of this post

Applying Hebrews 4: Stretching a Metaphor

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This is a continuation of Applying Hebrews 3: Yahweh’s Rest.

In our last lesson, we learned about how the Jews back in Moses’ day got themselves cursed by Yahweh to die in the wilderness because they wouldn’t stop treating Him with contempt. We also learned how entering the Promised Land is referred to in the Old Testament as entering “Yahweh’s rest.” If the Israelites were faithful to Yahweh, He promised them an abundant, blessed life in the Promised Land. But of course they weren’t faithful, so He filled their lives with hardships. Our author (who we’re calling Rabbi) is now borrowing this well-known concept of “Yahweh’s rest”, and turning it into a metaphor for Heaven. A joyful life in Heaven becomes the Christian’s parallel to the ancient Jews entering some lush land where life was going to be nothing but bliss. Read more of this post