The Epistle to the Hebrews is one of the most overlooked texts in the entire Bible, and is greatly unappreciated by many in today’s Christianity, as well as the Messianic movement. A profoundly spiritual and intellectual masterpiece, the theme of this treatise is undeniably Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ), and His supremacy over all. The author engages his audience by describing Yeshua as the Creator, being superior to angels, Moses, Joshua, and as mediator of the New Covenant. The author comes to these conclusions using some very unique ways, employing First Century rhetoric and literary devices that often evade your average reader. His sacrifice has provided men and women with permanent atonement for their sins, if they will truly choose to accept it.
The Epistle to the Hebrews asks First Century questions for a First Century audience. The Jewish revolt in the Land of Israel was just getting started, and the Temple was on the verge of being destroyed. Many Jews from all over the Mediterranean world—who had acknowledged Yeshua as Messiah—did not know what to do. Was this the end of their faith? Many were at the possible point of denying the Lord. The author of Hebrews, employing carefully constructed and Scripturally-based arguments, advocates that to not heed the warnings of the past brought Ancient Israel extreme judgment—and to deny the Messiah would bring even worse judgment. The bulk of his arguments are deeply rooted in the Jewish theology of the First Century that we see attested to in a variety of ancient sources such as the Septuagint, the Apocrypha, the Pseudepigrapha, the Dead Sea Scrolls, Josephus, Philo, and traditions later recorded in the Mishnah and Talmud.
In the commentary Hebrews for the Practical Messianic, Messianic Apologetics editor J.K. McKee tackles some of the difficult hermeneutical questions that are asked when we consider this text for today. Hebrews asks ancient questions that had to be answered by an ancient audience: Hebrews has background issues that cannot be answered solely by a surface reading of the text. Who wrote Hebrews? When was it written? How broad was its original audience? These are some of the many questions that surround Hebrews. The Twenty-First Century questions that Hebrews asks are difficult for many Messianics to consider: What should the role of the Greek Septuagint be in our theology? Do we ever make the mistake of uplifting the Torah over Yeshua? How do we maintain a high regard for Moses, but understand that Yeshua is superior?
In a very careful way, the issues of Hebrews are addressed fairly and scholastically. We need to understand who Yeshua is to us, who Moses is to us, what the New Covenant is to us, and how we should never lose sight of our saving faith in Him. You will see that the Epistle to the Hebrews is a truly inspired and profound text.
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