A pastor was doing a children’s talk one Sunday morning and, as with most such talks, was using an object lesson. He held up a marble and asked the children, “What is this?” None of them responded. He asked again and was met once again with complete silence. Somewhat baffled, and a little frustrated, he said, “Now, boys and girls, certainly you know what this is?”
At that point a little boy responded, “Pastor, I know that the answer is, Jesus but all I see is a marble.”
That cute and humorous story cuts close to the bone of so much contemporary Christianity. We just can’t seem to see beyond the marble to Jesus. We see the shadows, but not the substance. We see the trials but not the triune God. We see the problems and the challenges that attend our faith but we don’t see the preeminent Christ. And the result is that our faith lags. We are tempted to drift. My prayer, however, is that our studies in Hebrews will change that.
As we saw in Leviticus, the shadows of the Old Testament pointed God’s people to its final fulfilment in the Lord Jesus Christ. It was a divinely prescribed “marble” by which God illustrated the coming Son. MacArthur helpfully explains, “Just as children are first taught letters, then words, and then sentences, so God gave His revelation. It began with the “picture book” of types and ceremonies and prophecies and progressed to final completion in Jesus Christ and His New Testament.”1 Throughout the Old Testament, God had given His Word that Messiah would come; and eventually, that final Word arrived.
The arrival of God’s final Word—the Lord Jesus Christ—guarantees that we live in a better era with a better sacrifice, a better hope, and better promises because we live under a better covenant. And all of this is because we have a better Moses: the preeminent Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. But sadly, there were those in the first century who did not realise this, or perhaps forgot.
The recipients of this letter were a group of Jews who had professed faith in Christ. Due to various conflicts and pressures from without, they were being tempted to compromise biblical truth, to become somewhat cynical about the person and work of Christ and even to totally cave in and abandon their following of Christ. They needed pastoral help, and the Lord sent them this wonderful epistle to exhort them to see beyond the marble of their difficulties to Christ Jesus the Lord, God’s final Word.
The message of Hebrews is that the believer can and must “hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful” (10:23). What God promised under the old covenant has come to pass under the new covenant. We have His final Word on it.
God has spoken to us. That is the foundation of our hope. But when, how and what has He spoken? Let’s turn out attention to that now.
God’s Past (Prophetic) Word
The author highlights, for of all, God’s past word by means of the prophets. He writes of “God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets” (v. 1).
The last verse of Leviticus became quite a familiar one for us in our studies over the course of the book: “These are the commandments which the Lord commanded Moses for the children of Israel on Mount Sinai” (Leviticus 27:34). That is, God had spoken.
Some 38 times in Leviticus we read the words, “the Lord spoke,” and in most cases He spoke to the prophet Moses as a means of speaking through him to the congregation. God’s prophetic Word came through Moses. What God said was supposed to be heard and heeded. The same is true under the new covenant and this is a major underlying theme of the book of Hebrews.
Who has Spoken?
In the original Greek text, vv. 1-4 is one long, unbroken sentence. Various translations offer different punctuation. I personally find the ESV the most useful. Nevertheless, in the study of any passage of the Bible it is necessary to unearth the main verb and the main subject, for in doing so it is easier to discern the main emphasis of the verse or passage.
In the case of these opening verses, the main verb is found in v. 2 (“has spoken”). The main subject of the main verb is “God.” As Morris rightly notes, “It is significant that the subject of the first verb is ‘God,’ for God is constantly before the author. . . . Few NT books speak of God so often.”2
The KJV, NKJV and NASB appropriately bring this out by beginning the sentence, and therefore the book, with “God.”3 God takes centre stage in this epistle.
This, of course, is significant, for it is, after all, God who is speaking, God who established the covenants, God who sent His Son, God who clears up our confusion, God who encourages us in our conflict, and God who removes our cynicism. It is God who gives us hope, confidence and assurance (3:6, 14; 6:11, 18, 19; 7:19; 10:22, 35). But further, we need to see that the reason why Jesus Christ our Saviour is preeminent is because He is God. We will see that more clearly in our next study, God willing.
It is an amazing realisation that God has spoken. It is amazing that He still speaks. He speaks through His Word. Before exploring this further, we should pause to consider the human authorship of this epistle.
We do not know, humanly speaking, who wrote this epistle. Some think that it was Paul, but this is doubtful because Paul always identifies himself as writing apostolically or at least identifies himself by name. Further the statement in 2:3—that the gospel was “confirmed to us by those who heard Him”—militates against this, because Paul made it clear elsewhere that his gospel was not received through others but that it came directly by revelation (see Galatians 1—2).
Some have suggested that Barnabas was the human author, noting that he was known as “a son of exhortation or encouragement,” and the theme of pastoral exhortation is huge in this book (see 13:22).
Others have put forth Priscilla as a potential author, perhaps because of her prominence in the early church as a skilled exegete of Scripture (see Acts 18:24-28).
If anyone fits the bill, I would suggest that it was Apollos. I can see how he would fit the contents of this book since some of the elements of Hellenistic Christianity are addressed in the epistle and Apollos was from Alexandria, which was rife with this. Further, as we see in Acts 18, Apollos was skilled in the Old Testament Scriptures and would have been a perfect teacher and exhorter of those who needed clarity about the relationship between the old and the new covenant. He understood covenant theology. Further, like Barnabas, Apollos—like Mark and Luke—could write with apostolic weight due to his relationship with Paul.
At the end of the day, it is anyone’s guess. Origen, an early church leader, concluded, “Only God knows.” Of course, the believer knows essentially who wrote it: God did. That is important, for it assures us that what our timeless God inspired so long ago is as true and relevant today as it was when Apollos (or whoever) penned it. He spoke then and He speaks today. Be encouraged!
God has spoken. Let that sink into your consciousness. In the words of Francis Schaeffer, He is there and He is not silent. God has not started this world like a divine watchmaker, wound it up and left it. He is neither a blind watchmaker (as per Dawkins) or a silent one (as per a host of postmoderns). On the contrary, He is very much involved in the affairs of this world. We serve a God who communicates with His creation. And He has been doing so since the beginning of creation (see Psalm 19).
We who have the Spirit of God are privileged that He continues to speak to us what He began to speak so long ago. We need to listen. If we do, we will persevere in the face of challenges. If we do not, we will compromise, grow cynical or even cave in and walk away from Christ.
In the late 1600s the so-called Age of Enlightenment burst on the scene as a philosophical challenge to the historic conviction that human reason was insufficient for discovering truth. Historically, most held to the idea that divine revelation, from outside of ourselves, was necessary for us to know truth and to know it truly. The Enlightenment challenged this with its man-centred scepticism, and increasingly the biblical truth that God has spoken was rejected. Our world today is the tragically logical by-product of that worldview. It is a small wonder that a rejection of a God who speaks resulted in a culture that rejects absolutes and mocks any idea that something can be known for sure. Neither the words “truth” nor “truly” have much concrete meaning for many. But Christians are different. We believe that God defines truth (truth is what God says about anything; see John 17:17). So when God speaks, we must listen. He has spoken; pay attention. The recipients of this epistle needed to listen to this exhortation and so do you and I. We need to cling to the concrete voice of God in an age of cynicism.
Can you imagine living in a world, in a universe, that is closed; an existence in which God is silent? What a horrible thought! But the Bible is clear that God has spoken into our world. The sovereign God has spoken into our existence, and where God speaks we can find a word of hope. This is a fundamental theme of Hebrews. God spoke and God speaks.
Richard Phillips has said, “There is nothing so important for Christians to recover today as the awe and respect that Scripture deserves as God’s own revelation to us.”4 I agree. Peter considered Scripture to be an even more certain revelation from God than his own experiences with Jesus (2 Peter 1:15-21) and Paul reminded Timothy that Scripture was God-breathed and completely sufficient for all matters pertaining to life and godliness (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
It is important to emphasise this point as we commence our study, for it is by the Word of God that we know God, and to know God is the means of strengthening our hope and empowering our perseverance. There are a lot of interesting issues that arise in the book, but if all we accomplish is the right theological answers then we have missed the point. Our exposition must lead us to know and to worship our God in a more faithful way.
If you study this epistle without a firm confidence in this God who speaks, then your head will swell but your heart will shrink. Let us listen for the voice of God in this epistle that we might see and know our great God.
Why has God Spoken?
God spoke in the past to prepare the way for His final Word. He spoke through the prophets in preparation for the fuller and final revelation of His plan and purpose. God has spoken because He has a plan that He is fulfilling. God has spoken so that His people might be saved. God has spoken because we need to be saved. God has spoken because God is love. God has spoken because He desires for His Son to be honoured. God has spoken because of His free and sovereign grace (James 1:18, etc.). I am certainly glad that He has spoken!
If God does not speak, we are in serious trouble. In fact, we are hopeless. Creation would not have come about apart from the powerful Word of God, and nor would the new creation. All things, we are told, are upheld by the Word of His power. When Adam fell, God’s gracious Word called to him in the garden. Jesus graciously called Peter to restoration after his fall. God sent His Word to Cornelius to make him Christian. Jesus called the disciples to make them His. Jesus sent His Word to John on Patmos. God’s initiative in sending His Word plays a significant role in Scripture.
At the risk of belabouring this point, let us recognise that God spoke in time past because long before that past He chose to love a people (13:20). And He spoke because of that love.
God’s written Word lets us know what God is up to; and He is up to a lot of good! His Word reveals His plan and purpose for this world, and we learn from this about His person.
God has spoken. And so, when you read promises in the Bible, remember that the God of the universe has spoken those promises. When you read the threatened judgements, remember who it is that spoke them. They are certain. Be careful. When you read the plan for the ages then remember who it is that has revealed such a plan and be confident that it will come to pass. When you read the commandments then remember who has spoken. When you read the instructions as to how to live, remember that the wisdom behind it is the wisdom of Almighty God. When you read the hope offered in the gospel, contemplate how foolish you would be to ignore and to reject the gift of God. When you read Hebrews, know that God is speaking to all of these issues.
If you received a letter from a well-respected or influential leader, I imagine that you would read it with great interest. How much more when it comes to the Word of God; the Word about God; the Word from God!
How has God Spoken?
The writer informs us in a subordinate statement that God has spoken “at various times and in various ways.” Literally, God has spoken by the prophets in various “portions” and “ways.” Morris captures the main thought so well:
He spoke to Moses in the burning bush (Exod 3:2ff), to Elijah in a still, small voice (1 Kings 19:12ff), to Isaiah in a vision in the temple (Isa 6:1ff), to Hosea in his family circumstances (Hos 1:2), and to Amos in a basket of summer fruit (Amos 8:1). God might convey his message through visions and dreams, through angels, through Urim and Thummim, through symbols, natural events, ecstasy, a pillar of fire, smoke or other means. He could appear in Ur of the Chaldees, in Haran, in Canaan, in Egypt, in Babylon. There is no lack of variety, for revelation is not a monotonous activity that must always take place in the say way. God used variety.5
God used such variety to speak to the “fathers.” These were the patriarchs with whom God had established the old covenant. This of course would be an important consideration for the recipients of this letter. They needed to be reassured of the continuity between the old and the new covenant. If there was any major disconnect between what God had spoken to the “fathers” and what God was allegedly speaking now, they would lose their confidence as followers of Christ.
The Bible written over 1,500 years, on different continents, by some forty authors, in different historical, cultural settings—and yet it all contains the same message! This can only be explained by a common author: God.
God’s Preeminent Word
God spoke in various ways in the Old Testament, but “has in these last days spoken to us by His Son” (v. 2a).
To Whom Does God Speak?
We have seen that God spoke in the past, by the prophets to the patriarchs. Such revelation was preserved in the Old Testament. Yet there was a gap, both historically and redemptively. Let me explain.
For four hundred years God was silent. The prophets had no new revelation. They pointed the people of God to “thus said the Lord” with a view to a future fulfilment of His redemptive plan. This, of course, would occur when Messiah came.
During the old covenant era, including the four hundred years of silence, everything God spoke was anticipatory; it awaited fulfilment in Christ. And this period of the rule and reign of Messiah was known as “the last days.” God had spoken to the fathers by the prophets in the past, and God is now speaking to their children in the present. He is speaking by and in Christ.
He had spoken in various ways before and is now speaking in the most unique of ways: in “a Son.” That is different indeed! But though the means is different, the message was the same. And the people living in these last days needed to be assured of this, for they had staked their lives on it.
As we have seen, God spoke in the distant past, but He also had spoken in the more recent past. The writer tells us that God has spoken “in these last days.”
This phrase, or similar ones, is found a total of nine times in the New Testament (Acts 2:17; 2 Timothy 3:1; James 5:3; 1 Peter 1:5, 20; 2 Peter 3:3; 1 John 2:18; Jude 18). This phrase is interpreted various ways.
Some interpret it as referring to the final days before Christ’s return, but this is problematic because those to whom this epistle was written were said to be living in the last days. That was nearly two thousand years ago!
Others hold that this phrase, and similar ones, always refers to the very last days that preceded the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. In some contexts, there are very good reasons for interpreting it this way. This may be the meaning here, for Hebrews was most likely written in early-to-mid 60s.
Another possibility is that the “last days” refers not to the last days before Messiah’s full reign but rather it refers to the days of His reign. If this is correct, then the writer is saying that God has spoken in the days that commenced with the arrival of Christ. There is much to commend this view. If this is the case, then Jesus inaugurated those last days and we are now living in these last days. What we should guard against is any morphing of this into the supposition that we are living in the last days of the last days. As Phillips notes, “The point is not that Jesus is about to come back any minute, as many take this to mean, but that this is the age of fulfilment when God’s revelation has been made complete.”6
But perhaps the best interpretation is to merge these views, as did John Owen: “These last days refers to ‘the end of the Judaical church’ and the ‘days of Messiah.’”7 That is, the last days refers both to the last days of the old covenant and the last era of human history as ushered in by Christ. We could then conclude that the original recipients of this epistle were living in the last days before the full arrival of the last days!
Regardless of how one interprets this phrase (and I certainly do not wish to minimise a correct interpretation), clearly the Lord was speaking at that point in history. But in view of the context of what follows, God is still speaking today. And He will be speaking tomorrow.
This matter of the last days of the old covenant church and the beginning of the new covenant church was a significant issue concerning the historical context of this book. The early church, especially the early Jewish church, needed assurance that “Jesus is more than simply the last in a long line of prophets. He has inaugurated a new age altogether. In Jesus there is continuity and there is discontinuity.”8
As we have seen in the book of Acts, there was a time of transition between the old covenant and the new covenant. This is precisely what is in view in Hebrews.
Many Jews had become Christians. They had been exposed to what God had spoken in the past by the prophets, and by God’s grace they were now exposed to God’s final Word in His Son. And yet some apparently were confused about the continuity and the discontinuity between the old covenant and the new covenant. “Christians who had come from a Jewish background would naturally compare their new-found faith with the richness of their Jewish heritage. This letter sets out to show them the greater richness of their Christian position. At every stage of the argument the keynote is that their new faith is better.”9
They needed another word from God to understand this, and Hebrews was a God-given means to that end.
But further, some were being tempted to not identify with Christians. That is, they were not identifying with the uniqueness of the new covenant and they continued to practice old covenant rituals (10:22-25). And perhaps they did so because it alleviated much of the pressure that they otherwise experienced as followers of a crucified Messiah, which we know was a major stumblingblock to Jewish people (1 Corinthians 1:23).
The writer was burdened to let them know that in these last days the old covenant ritual was coming to an end (see chapter 12) and so they needed to separate themselves from that—regardless of the cost. But they would only do so if they saw the continuity between what God said in the past and what He was doing (and saying) in the present. Let me put it this way: In the face of increasing pressure to turn away from Christ and to turn back to the shadows of the old covenant, they needed to devotedly cling to Christ (12:1-2).
Many were being pressured to turn away from Christ completely. The means of their perseverance could only be found in God’s Word. They needed encouragement that Jesus was God’s final Word. And with such assurance they would openly identify with Christ, come what may.
There is talk today in certain circles of “Jewish Christians,” “Muslim Christians” and “Hindu Christians.” To speak of a “Jewish Christian” ethnically (like a South African or American Christian) is one thing, but there is no such thing as a Christian who clings to his Judaism. Nor is there such a thing as a Christian who practises Islam or Hinduism. Ethnic issues may be embraced; religious syncretism must be opposed.
These Hebrews needed to abandon their Judaism in embracing Christianity. The final Word had been spoken and they needed to pay heed—regardless of the pressures. As they followed the one who had been so infamously crucified, many Christians were ostracised by their family and now-former friends, and many lost employment. And with a madman now running the Roman Empire (Nero) things were bound to get even worse. At least at this point (perhaps prior to 64 AD) it would appear that no blood had been spilt in their region (12:4). Nevertheless things were heating up (cf. Acts 18:2).10
Perhaps it is difficult for us to appreciate these pressures and persecutions living as we do in a Christianised nation. South Africans do not need to sneak off to church on a Sunday in the hopes of avoiding the secret police. This is not to make light of the disapproval expressed by an unbelieving spouse or parent, but in South Africa, by God’s grace, we know nothing of the open, violent persecution that was a reality to these Hebrew Christians.
There are probably few of us who have lost employment because of our commitment to Christ, there may well be some. I am pretty sure that several readers have experienced scorn from family and former friends who have been derisive Christ. This pain can in no way be minimised, but our persecutions—at least in South Africa—are relatively minor compared to many of these first century Jewish Christians (cf. 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16).
Because of the pressures they faced, many were tempted to disillusionment. They were questioning the wisdom of following Christ, especially since to do so required some religious, cultural and traditional changes in how they worshipped. On top of this, there were various heretical teachings that portrayed Jesus as a mere man—and a bad one at that. After all, many claimed that he was an imposter who was not the real Messiah at all. And then, of course, there was the slanderous accusation that Christians did not believe that holiness was important and that Jewish laws of purification needed to be ignored. With all of these pressures, it is easy to understand their disillusionment and therefore their temptation to throw in the proverbial towel and walk away from Christianity.
For others, the pressures were not so severe, but they did find themselves scratching their heads and wondering what to do with the temple, the sacrifices and the priesthood. It is hard for us to imagine the shock that the new covenant would have been to many Jewish Christians—not to mention Jewish non-Christians.
Do you see the importance of the audience being persuaded that what God was saying to them was perfectly consistent with what He had said before? And yet they also needed to be assured that, in spite of obvious discontinuities between the old and the new covenants, they had God’s final Word and could therefore confidently continue to run the race (see 12:1-2).
In the midst of this difficult milieu, God inspired someone to write this epistle to the Hebrews. His purpose was to clear up their confusion, to give them hope in their conflict and to remove their cynicism. And He would do so by showing them the pre-eminence of the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. He was and is God’s Final Word.
Again, though our circumstances are different in specifics; nevertheless, the challenges related to them are the same in kind. That is, we too wrestle with confusion, conflict and even cynicism when it comes to living out our faith in this world—a world which is still, for the most part, opposed to the truth of the gospel. And because of this similarity of challenges, we can be encouraged that Hebrews still speaks to us today as it did to the original audience. In other words, as God spoke to the early church at the beginning of the last days, He continues to speak to us who also live in the last days. God spoke. God speaks. And God will speak tomorrow.
Let us focus on the reality that God has spoken to us in these last days, and that what He said so long ago is the same thing that He is saying today. He is still saying that Jesus Christ is preeminent over all. He is still saying that His new covenant is the better covenant. (In fact, it is the best covenant.) He is still saying that we have a superior promise, hope and city to which we journey. He is saying to us today, as He did to His people so long ago, “Don’t be confused, but be certain; don’t quit in the conflict, but persevere; and don’t be cynical, but be confident as you run the race that is set before you, looking to Jesus the author of your faith, the one who is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
What has God Said?
The answer to this question is found in the “whom.” That is, what God has spoken is actually all about a person. God spoke “by” or “in” His prophets and now He speaks “by” or “in” a Son—His Son. And this word is far clearer; it is not fragmentary but full and final. When you have Christ you have all you need!
We noted earlier how God has spoken, and saw that He spoke in various ways through the prophets. We are now told that God has another way (in these last days) of speaking. That is, He does so by (literally) “a Son.” The remainder of the passage, and in fact of the book, highlights what kind of a Son this is.
What God has spoken, both in the past and in the present, is the gospel; the good news of what God has done for believing sinners in the person and work of the Son of God. God has been speaking the gospel since the fall of man. And in these last days, He is doing so in the fullest of ways. “God spoke at different times by different means. He used “many and various ways. But in Christ he spoke fully, decisively, finally and perfectly.”11 Martin Luther said it so well, “If the word of the prophets is accepted, how much more ought we to seize the gospel of Christ, since it is not a prophet speaking to us but the Lord of the prophets, not a servant but a son, not an angel but God.”12
God willing, we will in our next study take an in depth look at the Son through whom God speaks, but suffice it for now to note that God’s means of speaking today is far superior than the way He spoke in the past. That method was good as far as it went, but it was “fragmentary, incomplete, and gradual in character.”13 But in Christ we have the full, complete and final Word. Consider the description of God’s final Word; there can be no improvement on this!
He is the heir of all for He is the creator of all (v. 2b). He is the fullest expression of the glory of God that we can survive (v. 3a). He is the one who guides history (v. 3b). He does this because He acceptably redeemed sinners as proven by His position of being on the right hand of the Father in heaven. He is the God-Man. He is therefore better than all and any.
We need to see Jesus as the final Word, which means that we must test all of our religious ideas against what He in His Word has revealed. We need to see Jesus as the final Word, which means we will reject any contradictory words (Islam, Buddhism, atheism, secularism, Hinduism, liberalism, etc.)
To whom has God Spoken?
Finally, we need to consider, to whom, specifically, has God spoken. The writer says that God has spoken to “us.” Who is that? I believe the answer is those who profess an interest in Christ.
As we will see in the course of our study, the writer parallels those to whom he is writing with those who lived under the old covenant. They also had been exposed to God’s spoken Word. But as the writer makes clear, not all who heard necessarily believed. In fact, most did not (chapters 3 and 4). The writer has a pastoral concern for the same thing of these new covenant people. He is concerned that those who have now heard God’s final Word will not believe and will not follow; they will not enter into the rest that the final Word offers. And the consequences for them will be even more severe under this covenant (see 10:26-29).
Some commentators make the observation that Hebrews is written to three different groups: Jewish Christians, unbelieving Jews who are considering the claims of Christ, and unbelieving scoffers. I won’t quibble over this, but I think it is more helpful to observe that this epistle is written to all who have professed an interest in Messiah, and therefore each must examine himself in the light of Scripture as to whether he truly is following Christ. It seems to me that the writer is using a judgement of charity towards these Jewish brothers and is hoping for the best. Yet, like any pastoral observation, he realises that not everyone who names and claims Christ actually has Christ.
Let me ask you, where do you fit in this audience? Are you a believer who is looking for reasons and encouragement from the final Word to pursue the final Word? Are you one who has professed Christ and yet are wavering, restless and tempted to forsake Christ? May our study of this epistle help you both!
A Concluding Word about God’s Final Word
A pastor’s responsibility is to exhort his congregation (13:22) to keep their eyes on Christ (12:1-2), thereby empowering them to hold fast to the confession of their faith (10:23). And this is to be done in community. The result will be love-fuelled growth (10:24). And so as we close this first study of Hebrews I want to be very pastoral and ask, how will you respond?
This is the crux of the matter. In the light of the revelation of God’s final Word, what will you do with Christ? When Pontius Pilate was confronted with Christ, he was condemned by the truth. Will you be?
We will only persevere in the faith, particularly in the face of pressures and persecutions, if we have a high view of Scripture and therefore of Christ. If Hebrews does not begin with this conviction, there can be no confidence later in the chapter.
Perseverance is required but we have all that we need for the task: We have the Final Word.
- John F. MacArthur, Jr., Hebrews: The MacArthur New Testament Commentary (Chicago: The Moody Bible Institute, 1983), 5. ↩
- Leon Morris, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, 12 vols. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1981), 12:12. ↩
- In fact, I thought about basing this first study exclusively on the opening word, but I felt that my congregation might panic at the thought of me preaching through Hebrews one verse at a time! ↩
- Richard D. Phillips, Hebrews: Reformed Expository Commentary (Phillipsburg: Presbyterian and Reformed, 2006), 11. ↩
- Morris, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, 12:12. ↩
- Phillips, Hebrews, 12. ↩
- Edgar Andrews, A Glorious High Throne: Hebrews Simply Explained (Darlington: Evangelical Press, 2003), 16. ↩
- Morris, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, 12:13. ↩
- Donald Guthrie, Hebrews: Tyndale New Testament Commentaries (Nottingham: Inter-Varsity Press, 1983), 65. ↩
- As an interesting side note, it would appear from 12:4, which suggests that no blood had been shed in the region in which these Hebrews lived, that this was written to Hebrews not in Jerusalem, where blood had been shed, but elsewhere in the Empire, possibly in Italy. ↩
- Raymond Brown, The Message of Hebrews: The Bible Speaks Today (Nottingham: Inter-Varsity Press, 2000), 28. ↩
- Phillips, Hebrews, 14. ↩
- Phillips, Hebrews, 13. ↩