September 20, 2015: Daily Bible Reading with Commentary for Hebrews 1-4
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Author: Unknown, friend of Timothy
Date: Prior to AD 64, when Nero began his persecution of Christians
Context: Hebrews contains many quotes from the Old Testament. If you look up the quotes in the Old Testament, you will find that the words are not exactly the same. That does not make it incorrect. We are reading a translation! The differing original languages affect the wording. Also, the writer likely did not have access to physical copies of all the Old Testament scripture he used, relying on his memory of the wording. The author begins Hebrews by reminding the readers that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Jesus was not a prophet or an angel, He was and is the Son of God, superior to all prophets and angels. The author was disturbed to hear that the congregation was contemplating deserting Jesus. The author, using Old Testament scripture as reference, continues to expound on Jesus’ superiority over angels. Salvation came through Jesus Christ because He came to this earth as a man and died so that we might live forever with Him. As the Son, Jesus was greater than Moses, who led the people in the desert, or Joshua, who led the people into the Promised Land. The author also warns of unbelief. Unbelief stirred God’s anger against the Israelites in the desert. Just as God rested from Creation on the seventh day, we are also to rest. We can rest in our salvation through Jesus Christ.
World History: This letter is written to a group of Christians, location unknown, who were struggling in their faith. These Jewish Christians had been put out of their synagogues and prohibited from participating with friends and family in rituals and traditions with which they had grown up. The purpose was to drive them back to the Jewish faith. It is a struggle that many early Christians faced. This letter is a letter of encouragement to these Christians, to remains strong in faith in Jesus Christ.