Summary of Hebrews

Summary of Hebrews

                The Book of Hebrews is a collection of letters Paul wrote to Hebrew believers to help them to understand the difference between older traditionally accepted teachings in Judaism to the newer ‘Christian’ belief of the new covenant. During this time the Hebrew believers were under intense persecution and many were thinking of returning to their beliefs in Judaism.

In Chapters 1-10: Paul explains that Jesus Christ is superior to all the angels in heaven, for “…all the angels of God worship him.” (Hebrews 1:6) We learn about the Atonement and the sacrifice Jesus Christ made for our Salvation. We are also taught the difference between the Aaronic and Melcizedek priesthoods, one being of a higher order than the other.

In Chapters 11-13: Paul defines Faith as “…the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1) We are also taught that as we have earthly fathers here in this life, we also have a father of our spirits; Heavenly Father. Finally Paul elaborates on why Marriage is honorable and why we should be content with the things that we have. He leaves his last letter with encouragement for the struggling Hebrew Christians

Hebrews 13

Hebrews 13: Marriage is Honorable

                Paul opens his address to the Hebrews by exclaiming; “Let brotherly love continue.” (Hebrews 13:1) Paul explains that we should be kind to everyone, including strangers. Paul explains that often times you may run into an angel and not even know, just as the Apostles did not recognize Jesus Christ (see Luke 24)

Paul explains that “Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.” (Hebrews 13:4) Essentially Paul is telling us that marriage is a very honorable thing to do, and is even encouraged. However we should never cheat on our spouse and anyone who commits adultery or fornication will be judged by God.

Paul explains that we should “…be content with such things as we have.” (Hebrews 13:5) We should never complain about or situation or want things that are beyond our basic needs. Be content! We should never fear man, because; “…The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.” (Hebrews 13:6)

Paul explains that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” (Hebrews 13:8) He warns us to “Be not carried about with… strange doctrines…” (Hebrews 13:9), because the Gospel of Jesus Christ is simple.

Hebrews 12

Hebrews 12: God is our Heavenly Father

                Paul writes to the Hebrews and explains that we should; “…lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.” (Hebrews 12:1) Paul uses ‘weights’ to describe sin, and then tells us to be patient in the race of life. But one must consider how much easier that race could be ran, and finished with less to weigh us down!

Paul urges us to look; “…unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2) Paul explains that Jesus is our FAITH, and He put aside His life for US! We should look unto Him during our good times and our bad times, for He truly knows how we feel when we are sad, but also knows how we feel when we are happy. He can be there through the good and the bad, if we are also there with Him through the good and the bad.

Paul likens God our Eternal Father with our earthly fathers; “…we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits and live?” (Hebrews 12:9) Paul lays out our divine lineage; we are SONS and DAUGHTERS of God the Father! If we respect and love our earthly fathers, should we not love and respect even more the Father of our Spirit? Paul explains that in life we will go through trials and often times we feel like God is punishing us, either for our sins or to make us stronger; “…no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous… nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness…” (Hebrews 12:11) In other words, being punished (or feeling like we are being punished) in the present is not fun. But God knows all, and He has a plan for us all! Therefore after we are punished we can grow and then receive the fruit righteousness, a heavenly peace.

Paul goes on to explain that in the days of Moses, there were consequences for rebelling against the word of God. Paul tells us that we have “…come unto mount Sion [zion], and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect.” (Hebrews 12:22-23) Essentially Paul is saying that we will be brought to judgment, God being the Judge of all, but presiding over a group of judges of men who were made perfect.

Hebrews 11

Hebrews 11: Faith

                                Paul explains that “…faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1) He goes on to explain that by FAITH and not BY EVIDENCE; “…we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God [word of God=Jesus Christ]…” (Hebrews 11:3)

Often times people think they need facts and evidences; however we do things by FAITH and FAITH alone; for by faith…

“…Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain…” (Hebrews 11:4)

                “…Enoch was translated that he should not see death…” (Hebrews 11:5)

                “…Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark…” (Hebrews 11:7)

                “…Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac…”  (Hebrews 11:17)

Paul continues with many other “by faith…” stories, however he explains that “…out of weaknesses were made strong…” (Hebrews 11:34) With Faith, anything is possible.

Hebrews 10

Hebrews 10: The Just Live by Faith

                Paul explains that the way sin was taken away from the people in the Old Testament; through the shedding of the blood of animals can no longer take away the sin. Instead we “…are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” (Hebrews 10:10) The sacrifice, also known as the Atonement of Jesus Christ was the ultimate price paid for the sin of mankind. Jesus Christ gave us a way to return to live with our Heavenly Father again.

Paul invites those followers of Christ to “…draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.” (Hebrews 10:22) For if we sin after we come to the knowledge of Him, it will be difficult for us to be forgiven, for we know right from wrong;

                “For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins.” (Hebrews 10:26)

Essentially Paul is telling us that we need to live by faith and once we have knowledge of our Redeemer, we need to live a pure and clean life (as best our abilities).

Hebrews 9

Hebrews 9: Christ = The Mediator

                Paul writes to the Hebrews and explains that in times of Old (the Old Testament) a priest would come into the Holy Tabernacle once a year to “atone” for the sins of the people. However, Christ came to Atone for the sins of the people with a far greater tabernacle, which was His own body, the very same body that He sacrificed and Atoned for us. In order for this Atonement to take effect, Jesus Christ had to die for the Testament. This is similar to “last will and testament”, which is only executed upon death of an individual. Because of this it was necessary for Jesus Christ to die for our sins. Those who follow Him; “…are called [to] receive the promise of eternal inheritance.” (Hebrews 9:15)

Paul explains the divine mission of Jesus Christ;

“…Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands… but into heaven itself…. Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the scone time without sin unto salvation.” (Hebrews 9:24;28) Therefore those who follow Jesus Christ will be given salvation when Jesus Christ returns for the Second time.

 

Hebrews 8

Hebrews 8: Christ Sacrificed for Sin

                Paul explains to the Hebrews that the Old Covenant has “…waxeth old [and] is ready to vanish away.” (Hebrews 8:13) Paul urges the Hebrews and everyone who can read this letter (either then, or today) should; “…teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.” (Hebrews 8:11-12)

Essentially Paul has reminded us that God is merciful.  This means that is DOES NOT matter if we have sinned in the past, as long as we put it in the past. Those who come to Christ, will have their sins and wickedness be forgotten by Him.

Hebrews 7

Hebrews 7: Melchizedek and Aaronic Priesthood

                In this chapter, Paul writes a letter to the Hebrews and starts off by telling them who Melchisedec was. Melchisedec was the King of Salem; “…who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him. To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all…” (Hebrews 7:1-2) This is very important to know, Abraham, who was counted by all as a very great man in the eyes of both God and men, was blessed by Melchisedec? Abraham also gave his tithes to Melchisedec, this would imply that Melchisedec was a very powerful and wise man in both the eyes of God and man.

Paul goes on to explain that Melchisedec was; “Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.” (Hebrews 7:3) Here we learn a lot about the character of Melchisedec, he had no parents, no ancestors and was made ‘like unto the Son of God’. If we were to take this scripture exactly as it is written, one could understand that Melchisedec was on the same level of Jesus Christ. However, more modern day revelation has revealed exactly what this scripture meant;

“This high priesthood [the priesthood that Melchisedec had] being after the order of his Son [Jesus Christ], which order was from the foundation of the world; or in other words, being without beginning of days or end of years, being prepared from eternity to all eternity, according to his foreknowledge of all things.” (The Book of Mormon; Alma 13:7)

                The Book of Mormon, which was written in the Americas during the time of the Old and New Testament of the Bible, explain that Melchisedec himself was not without father or mother, nor was HE himself made like unto Jesus Christ. Rather, the priesthood which Melchisedec held was without years. This priesthood was made from the foundation of the world and was made after the order of Jesus Christ. While we do not know much about Melchisedec, it is likely that he did actually have family. While we do not know all the facts, one thing we do know is that Melchisedec held a priesthood which was of the highest order. In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, through Jesus Christ we have been given this Priesthood Authority, which we call the “Melcizedek Priesthood” after the same order which Melchisadec belonged too.

Paul goes on to ask the Hebrews to consider; “…how great this man was, unto whom eve the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of his spoils.” (Hebrews 7:4) At this time, under the sons of Levi was the Priesthood after the order of Aaron, known as the Aaronic Priesthood. This priesthood was considered at the time to be the highest order. However Paul explains; “…what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisadec, and not be called after the order of Aaron?”  (Hebrews 7:11) Paul, like the Hebrews was probably confused by this, but Paul clarifies that this priesthood did not come from the tribe of Levi. Rather it is “…far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there riseth another priest. Who is made, not after the law for a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life.” (Hebrews 7:15-16)

Paul explains that when a priest would go into the temple to make a sacrifice for the peoples sins, they would often times have to make a first sacrifice for their own sins. This would make them pure enough to facilitate a sacrifice for the sins of others. However, with the high priests, who were after the order of Melchisadec; “…needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his owns sins, and then for the people’s; for this he did once, when he offered up himself.” (Hebrews 7:27)

Paul explains that a High Priest; “…is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens.” (Hebrews 7:26)

Hebrews 6

Hebrews 6: Importance of the Priesthood

                Paul continues to address the subject of Priesthood in this letter to the Hebrews; he starts out by urging the members of the Church to “…go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works…” (Hebrews 6:1) In other words, we should move towards becoming perfect, this doesn’t mean that we are currently perfect. However, if we continue to sin (especially if it is the same sin) over and over again, and ask for repentance the same number of times… we are not moving towards perfection.

Paul explains that certain ordinances must be performed when God permits them to be performed; “…baptisms, and… laying on of hands… resurrection of the dead… this will we do, if God permits.” (Hebrews 6:2-3)

So a big question arises, how do we know when God permits? Looking back one chapter; we read that we cannot take upon ourselves “…this honour…  [except] …he that is called of God, as was Aaron.” (Hebrews 5:4) This is where having a modern day prophet on the earth is IMPORTANT. With the Authority restored on the earth, we can know God’s will today. We don’t have to rely on prophets of old to help us solve our problems of today. Therefore, proper Priesthood Authority is needed… a direct line back to Jesus Christ Himself MUST exist.

Assuming that someone has proper priesthood authority, doesn’t mean that they can’t lose that priesthood authority. Paul, addressing the Hebrews and most likely their concerns, explains the process for returning to full fellowship, with priesthood keys restored; “If they [priesthood holders] fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.” (Hebrews 6:6) This means that if a priesthood bearer, fall away from the Gospel and His covenant at Baptism; he must repent, crucify themselves (spiritually) and be publicly dis-fellowshipped from the congregation. This means that they would not participate in the more sacred callings and privileges reserved for obedient members of the church. Until, a time when priesthood leaders through revelation, determine that the member be restored to full fellowship.

Paul explains that those who do fall away should not feel as if they have failed in the eyes of God; “For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name…” (Hebrews 6:10) If someone fails to live righteously, but earnestly seeks to do well… will be granted forgiveness, in that; “They be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” (Hebrews 6:12) How marvelous is God, being merciful unto all men!

Paul explains that God made a promise to Abraham, and because God could swore to no one greater than He; “…he swear by himself, Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee.” (Hebrews 6:13-14) Abraham was given a promise, and the Lord made sure that if Abraham fulfilled his promise, God would swear by His promise. “And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.” (Hebrews 6:15)

                Paul mentions this to help us better understand that we have purpose in this life; “Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast…” (Hebrews 6:19)

Hebrews 5

Hebrews 5: Importance of the Priesthood

                Paul explains the importance of Priesthood, but most importantly he explains the importance of proper authority in the Priesthood. Paul explains; “…no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.” (Hebrews 5:4) In other words, no one can claim to take upon themselves the Authority of the Priesthood, except they be called of God, like Aaron was called.

How was Aaron called of God? In Deuteronomy we learn how the Authority was transferred from Moses to Joshua upon the death of Moses; “…Joshua… was full of the spirit of wisdom; for Moses had laid his hands upon him…” (Deuteronomy 34:9) In the same manner, Aaron received the Priesthood from someone who had been called of God, through temple ordinances (see Exodus 40).

Paul explains that Christ was also given the Priesthood from God, and He gave the Priesthood to His Apostles; “…also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou arty my Son, to day have I begotten thee. As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisadec.” (Hebrews 5:6)

 

jesus-ordains-apostles1

                In Matthew, Christ called His Apostles and gave them the priesthood power; “… he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power…” (Matthew 10:1) This power was given by the laying on of hands.

priesthood3

This same power and authority exists in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which was restored to the earth through Joseph Smith. In the Joseph Smith History it reads;

“We still continued the work of translation, when, in the ensuing month (May, 1829), we on a certain day went into the woods to pray and inquire of the Lord respecting baptism for the remission of sins, that we found mentioned in the translation of the plates. While we were thus employed, praying and calling upon the Lord, a messenger from heaven descended in a cloud of light, and having laid his hands upon us, he ordained us, saying: Upon you my fellow servants, in the name of Messiah, I confer the Priesthood of Aaron, which holds the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; and this shall never be taken again from the earth until the sons of Levi do offer again an offering unto the Lord in righteousness. He said this Aaronic Priesthood had not the power of laying on hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, but that this should be conferred on us hereafter [The Melchizadek Priesthood];” (Joseph Smith History 1:68-70)