Adam’s introduction and lead-in to some discussion from the Tim-Jim Hebrews email correspondence
************** That discussion here *************
Some closing comments I’ll make:
The expression “Can’t see the forest for all the trees” surely speaks volumes to those who have scrutinized a document like the letter of Hebrews. What I’m saying is that if you really want to understand this letter, it’s not going to come about by dissecting verses and pulling out your Strong’s Concordance. No, I have nothing against checking definitions, for I think that verifying the meaning of words is a good habit to adopt. It’s just that you’ve got to step back to keep the big picture in view. Otherwise, we get stuck in the details — and yeah I know, preachers and teachers do it all the time — but I suspect most of them are just wandering aimlessly in the woods pretending to be experienced tour guides. By the way, if you’re one of those teachers, I hope you’ll stick it out with us today. I really do know the struggles you’ve gone through in the hopes of understanding this letter.
By the way, as with everything else I cover, you could learn all the context and still not understand the real truth found in this letter, for it is spiritual in nature. I don’t take the time to put this letter into context because I believe it is the secret to the spiritual wisdom found in the letter of Hebrews, rather that it will help you understand how the letter itself was constructed, which will help clear up the confusion created from the religious misinformation we’ve picked up over the years. What I’m saying is that the writer of this letter expressed the wisdom of God to his audience in a very specific way, and we don’t understand how he expressed it, we’ve going to jump to all kinds of wrong conclusions — which is pretty much what most have done with this letter. Are you ready to view the forest so that you might better understand the trees in it? :)
Adam’s comments and/or lead-in to the overlay of grace seen throughout the letter
Between those harsh proclamations of condemnation and judgment — very much like we find in both Stephen’s message as well as in the Ananias & Sapphira event — the writer of Hebrews brings an alternative into focus. What I’m saying is that Hebrews contains a mixture of two definite trains:
The undercurrent of fear because of judgment
The overlay of mercy and grace through the fulfillment
All throughout the letter, he keeps calling/appealing on another level than witnessed in Stephen’s judgment of unbelief and uncircumcised hearts, for he calls them to enter the rest that their father’s forsook. Consider that to those who had already entered that rest, the appeal to not be afraid but to stand apart comes through loud and clear.
Hebrews 4:1-3 if any of you may seem to have come short of it (because of unbelief)
Hebrews 4:16 Let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace!
Hebrews 6:1-3 Leave the elementary teaching about the Christ behind
Hebrews 6:9 But, beloved, we are convinced of better things concerning you
Hebrews 6:19-20 hope as an anchor of the soul
Hebrews 8:1-6 Jesus as our high priest, a more excellent ministry
Hebrews 10:19-26 Since we have confidence
Hebrews 10:39 But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul
Hebrews 12:1-2 Since we have so great a cloud of witnesses
Hebrews 12:14-29 The two mountains: judgment versus the one who took all judgment
Hebrews 13:13 Go outside the camp