THE NEW TESTAMENT
Chapter One Hundred-one
Epistle to Hebrews #8
After all that was stated in the first chapter it was indeed
that we should not let anything slip away. The word of angels was
in times past, solid and steadfast, and those who did not heed
even angels received a just recompense for their folly. If that
being so, as it was, then how can we Christians escape a just
punishment, IF we neglect so great a salvation, which was
proclaimed by the Lord, and afterwards by those who heard Him
proclaim it. It was all backed up by God performing miracles,
wonders, signs, and by the gifts of the Holy Spirit, as God
willed (verses 1-4).
Paul now once more affirms the GREAT and MIGHTY calling, and
what it all means for those who ARE the children of God, and the
very brothers and sisters of Christ. The "age to come" that Paul
and other apostles spoke about, as part of the Gospel message,
was not going to be ruled by angels, as they being in charge and
being the main beings over that new age, that the prophets of old
have spoken about in so much of their writings.
It is MAN, human kind, that is going to be the chief ones in
the new age of things. God the Father's plan in creating mankind,
was it have them as part of His family, above the angels in
authority and power, and it was human kind that was to be given
the whole universe to rule and help govern under the Father and
His first begotten and first born Son - Christ Jesus.
Paul quotes from Psalm 8, that asks the question of "What is
man that you are mindful of him? You did make mankind lower than
the angels, but you in your plan have crowned him with glory and
honor, and have determined to set him over the works of your
Paul was then inspired to tell us that when God had
determined to put mankind over His works, it did mean ALL His
works of creation, the entire universe. All things was eventually
to be in subjection to man. And there was NOTHING that was not to
be under the rulership of mankind. But as of yet, the present,
this was not the reality, all things are not yet under the
rulership of human kind (that was created as God tells us in
Genesis, after the God kind, "after OUR image" - God said).
But, there is one fact, we do see Jesus, who was also for a
short while made into flesh and blood, a little lower than the
angels, for the purpose of suffering death (and so making
salvation possible for sinful mankind), NOW crowned with GLORY
The Father had pre-determined to have MANY sons born to Him,
in the plan of salvation. Jesus, was the CAPTAIN, or LEADER, the
one to guide the way to the Father, was now made FULLY PERFECT,
in glory, and all that is perfection as God, and it was all done
through Him, Christ, suffering the life of being a human, knowing
all about what it is like to be flesh and blood.
As Jesus had said in the real "Lord's prayer" of John 17,
that the Father, and Him, and all those who would belong to
Christ, were ONE. Jesus prayed to the Father that they would all
be ONE. Paul re-affirms here that it is so, and is the will of
the father that Christ, and humans through salvation in Christ,
would be ALL ONE. Hence Jesus, is NOT ashamed to call His
followers BROTHERS! Here the Greek word does indeed mean
"brothers" - just as we think of brothers that come from the same
parents - very kin, very family. So, as the NT teaches over and
over again, God is a FAMILY, there is God the Father, and God the
Son, and all who are Christ's ARE HIS BROTHERS - they are part of
the VERY FAMILY CALLED GOD!
It is like the Father and Christ working a work whereby they
have between themselves PRODUCED "children" - of THEIR KIND, not
angel kind, or any other kind, but the very KIND that is God
So, as children of parents partake of flesh and blood, so
Jesus partook of flesh and blood, in order to redeem and make a
way of salvation possible for the Father to have more children
born of Him. Jesus, through His death on the cross, was able to
destroy the works of Satan, and the power of death that the Devil
held over mankind. Jesus, was by living a perfect human life, not
sinning even once, deliver us from the fear and bondage of
eternal death because of sins we had done.
All that wonderful truth Paul had fully examined the his
epistle to the Romans.
Jesus, did not step down to the angel level, like some
"superman" that was not really quite human, but He came as from
the seed of Abraham, very flesh and blood. He needed to be like
His BROTHERS, Paul states, so He could then be a MERCIFUL and
FAITHFUL High Priest in all things pertaining to God, and to be
able to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. In that
He went through the trials, tests, and faced all the same kinds
of temptations, we humans face, He is able to kindly help and
understand us who are tempted by sin and by the Devil.
The work of Christ TODAY, sitting on the right hand of the
Majesty on High, as our High Priest, is often overlooked by far
too many ministers and people of the Christian religion and
faith. Paul will, in other chapters, amplify in this epistle to
the Hebrews, the OFFICE and function of Jesus as High Priest.
Such a function by Christ in heaven, is absolutely essential for
OUR salvation. Paul made it very clear in writing to the Romans,
that we are SAVED not only by the DEATH of Christ, but also by
His LIFE! Both the death and life, resurrected life, of Jesus are
paramount and vital to our salvation, and entering into the
eternal family of God (verses 5-18).
The great truth of the DESTINY of Christians is given in a
full study of the subject on this Website, called "A Christian's
Introducing Jesus as our High Priest, Paul says, we indeed
need to consider Him. It is He that is THE High Priest and THE
Apostle, not some human man. He was faithful to God the Father
who appointed Him to the work needed for our salvation, just as
Moses was faithful to his house, family of Israelites, and his
Jesus, was counted with more glory than Moses, as the
builder of the house has more glory than the house itself. Paul
is showing that Jesus surpasses the man Moses. Showing to the
Hebrews that Moses, while a fine man, was inferior to the one who
became Jesus the Christ.
Jesus has a house-hold, being us Christians, if we hold fast
to the end, rejoicing in the hope of our salvation. We are to
LISTEN to Him, to listen and obey God. We are not to be like the
Israelites of old, who did not listen, and who most of the time,
did NOT obey and follow the way of God. After a while the Lord
said that those rebellious Israelites would not enter into the
promised land of rest.
We are to TAKE HEED, lest their be in us an evil heart of
unbelief, which leads to departing from the living God. Is it
possible then for Christians to "depart from God"? Are Christians
"once saved always saved"? From this verse and many other verses
in the NT, it IS possible to fall from grace and depart from God.
The words of the NT teach no such doctrine as once saved always
saved. Jesus plainly said in the Gospels, "He that endures to the
end, shall be saved."
We are to exhort each other, encourage each other, so there
will NOT be a heart in us that becomes hardened by the
deceitfulness of sin. We are made partakers of Christ, IF we HOLD
the beginning of our Christian confidence STEADFAST TO THE END!!
The example of the Israelites coming out of Egypt is given
to us. The generation of those 20 and older were all disobedient,
except a few. All had a wrong heart, all would die in the
wilderness over a forty year period, and they would not enter
into God's rest. They could not enter because of their unbelief,
which in plain language means, unfaithfulness, a departing from
the Lord heart, a mind-set that would not believe in God, which
translated into an attitude of mind that would NOT OBEY God
Paul now ties into TYPOLOGY, with God's salvation rest, the
rest of the promised land to Israelites of old, and the SEVENTH
DAY rest of the fourth commandment of the great Ten Commandments.
We are to take heed and fear lest the promise of eternal
rest for us, many of us should fall short of entering into it.
The goods news was preached to us as it was to the Israelites of
old. They did not profit from it because of their disobedient
heart. We today which have the good news are entering into God's
rest. The Greek is in the present continuous tense. We are God's
children now, hence we are now on the road to eternal rest, as
Paul has said, IF we remain steadfast to the end. The works of
God were finished as we see in the first chapter of Genesis,
which included sanctifying the SEVENTH day of the week. Yet, in
God's plan, not all was fully competed, the rest of eternal life,
was to be entered into by His children, who would obey His will
and who would remain faithful to the end. God did rest on that
seventh day of creation week, but that rest was a type of the
rest of the promised land to the Israelites under Moses, and it
was a type of the eternal rest of salvation to those who are
God's children in the spiritual salvation plan.
God is still calling people to hear His voice, to listen to
Him, to OBEY Him, to enter His rest. The Old and New Testaments
prove that the rest of the promised land of Palestine, the
seventh day rest, and the eternal rest of salvation are ALL tied
together in perfect typology. The child of God will inherit not
only the promised land of Palestine in the future, but the whole
earth, and indeed the whole universe, together with the eternal
rest of perfection and glory, as being a part of the very family
Joshua, in bringing the Israelites into the Holy Land of
Palestine, did not fully fill up the complete rest of God.
Neither did David exhaust the fullness of this rest in its
completeness when he talked about "Today, if you will hear His
voice, harden not your heart."
There is MORE to this REST than in Joshua's day or David's
day, more than just the promised land or the seventh day of the
week. There is an eternal aspect of God's rest.
Yet, with all that said, Paul goes on to state that "There
REMAINETH (present continuous tense in the Greek) a keeping of a
sabbath (margin KJV) to the people of God. Paul uses here a once
in all the NT word - Sabbatismos - which literally means, a
keeping of the Sabbath. And he who has entered God's rest, now in
the spiritual sense, will cease from his own works, AS God did
from His. Sure there is the spiritual side to all this "works"
talk - believing God, obeying, following His will. But there is
the literal work of God resting on that literal seventh day of
creation week. So also the child of God will do - stop his own
work on the seventh day, keep the Sabbath of the fourth
The typology all fits like hand and glove. Seventh day from
creation, God rested, the promised land of Palestine, promised to
the Israelites who would believe (trust) and obey, a rest of
peace for them, and the rest of eternal glory in the family of
God. Palestine still exists today, and will during the 1,000 year
reign of Christ on earth. The Sabbath is still here, the seventh
day of the week still exists, and will exist during the 1,000
year Kingdom of God on earth (Isaiah 66).
So TODAY, we are to NOT follow the unbelieving hearts of the
old Israelites. We are to OBEY God; do His will; His Ten
Commandments still are for today, still need to be obeyed by
God's children, hence the fourth commandment of keeping holy the
seventh day, the Sabbath day, is STILL for the people of God to
obey. As God's children, we will stop our own carnal works of
sin, when we become a child of the Majesty on High, and we shall,
as He did, stop OUR works on the Sabbath day, or seventh day of
the week. We shall labour therefore to enter into the rest, of
all that the typology claims is God's rest, LEST any person FALL
after the same example (of the Israelites) of DIS-obedience
Dr.Samuele Bacchiocchi has in his books on the Sabbath,
given full and indepth examination to Hebrews chapter four. The
reader is pointed to his books as well as many other fine books
on the Sabbath keeping topic (verses 1-11).
We next have one of those often quoted and so somewhat
famous verses of the Bible, especially when it was used by the
old powerful speaking Evangelists of the 18th and 19th centuries.
"For the word of God is QUICK, and POWERFUL, and SHARPER
than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing
asunder of the soul and spirit, and of the joints and
marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of
the heart" (verse 12).
The next verses is to be expected after a verse like the
above. There is no creature that is not open in all ways before
His sight, so for us also, we are pretty naked to Him, if He
desires to strip us down and wants to see us for what we really
are. This is the God and our Father that we deal with, so we need
to walk accordingly.
Paul, then returns to the thought that in all of the truth
of the previous two verses, we still have a High Priest in
heaven, Jesus, the Son of God, so we can be encouraged to HOLD
FAST our profession of Christianity. For this High Priest is not
an aloof person, never knowing what it is like to be human, but
was flesh and blood for a while, and knows very well what human
temptations are all about. He was tempted Himself (remember in
the Gospels those famous temptations by the Devil after Jesus had
fasted for forty days), but never gave in to those temptations,
He remained sinless all His days as a human being.
We can, with such a High Priest on our side, come BOLDLY to
the throne of grace, and obtain mercy, and find grace to help us
in the time of need.
What wonderful re-assuring words to end a passage that is a
grave warning for us to not neglect the grace and salvation of
God. Comforting words indeed, that serve to encourage us to keep
walking in the ways of the Majesty on High, to remain faithful
and so inherit the eternal rest of God.
Written November 2006