Hebrews

Arthur G. Clarke

Part 14 of 15 of the series The Epistles Analysed

1. THE  PRE-EMINENCE  OF  CHRIST.   DOCTRINAL
SECTION, 1.  1 to 10. 18.
i. In Relation to Old Covenant Individuals, 1. 1 to 7. 28.
a.  Superior to Prophets, 1. 1-3. Finality of the Christian Revela-
tion.
b. Superior to Angels, I. 4 to 2. 18.
i.  As God higher than they, 1. 4-14.
FIRST  WARNING,  2.   1-4
ii.  As Man lower than they, 2. 5-18. 'For a little while', 9, R.v. marg.
c.  Superior to Moses, 3. 1-6.
SECOND  WARNING,   3.   7-I9
d. Superior to Joshua, 4. 1-10.
THIRD  WARNING, 4.   11-13
e.  Superior to Aaron, 4. 14 to 7. 28.
1.   Similar in divine appointment to priesthood, 4. 14 to 5. 10. FOURTH (central) WARNING with Added Encouragement, 5. 11 to 6. 20 11.   Dissimilar in declared order of priesthood, 7. 1-28. ii. In Relation to Old Covenant Institutions, 8. 1 to 10. 18.
a. Minister of the True Tabernacle, 8.  1-5. Sphere of Christ's
Ministry.
b. Mediator of the New Covenant, 8. 6-13. Rests upon better
Promises. C. Minister of the True Tabernacle, 9.  1-14. Superexcellence of Christ's Ministry.
d. Mediator of the New Covenant, 9.  15-23. Ratified by better
Sacrifice.
e. Minister of the True Tabernacle, 9. 24 to 10. 18. Sufficiency of
Christ's Ministry.
2. THE PATHWAY OF THE CHRISTIAN,  PRACTICAL
SECTION, 10. 19 to 13. 19. Fitting Response to the 'Better Things'. i. Exercise of Priestly Service, 10.  19-25. Focal passage 'Let us', 22-24.
FIFTH   WARNING,   10.   26-31
ii. Encouragement to Patient Continuance, 10. 32-39. iii. Examples of Faith's Working, 11. 1 to 12. 4. Christ the Supreme
Pattern. iv. Experience of Divine Chastening, 12. 5-13.
SIXTH WARNING,  12.   I4-I7 v. Excellence of New Covenant Privileges, 12. 18-24.
SEVENTH  WARNING,   12.   25-29
vi. Exhortations of a Varied Nature, 13. 1-19. Final Principles, 'Let us', 13, 15.
CLOSING   INVOCATION,   13.   20-21
ADDENDA, 13. 22-25. i. Explanation, 22. ii. Information, 23. iii. Salutation, 24. iv. Benediction, 25.
KEY WORDS. 'Better', 13 times; 'perfect', 14 times; 'eternal' and related words, 15 times; 'heaven - heavenly', 17 times; 'partakers', 7 times (Revised Version);'let us . . .' 12 times (Authorized Version).
There are said to be 86 direct references to the Old Testament Scriptures, mostly the lxx version.
'Hebrews takes up the typical story of redemption, not at Exodus 12 but at Exodus 24, which is expressly cited or referred to throughout', Sir Robert Anderson.
NOTE. In reading this Epistle it is important to bear in mind that it was primarily written for Jews who had professed the Christian faith. Like certain of our Lord's disciples, John 6. 60-61, 66, some of these, too, came short of a whole-hearted submission to Christ. We may gather that they were disappointed in the seeming non-fulfilment of their Messianic hopes. Moreover, they were being ostracized and persecuted by their compatriots, who charged them with abandoning their splendid national heritage in the Mosaic Covenant with its privileges and promises to follow one who had suffered a death of shame on a Roman gibbet. They had witnessed and to some extent shared the blessings of the Pentecostal period, Heb. 2. 4; 6. 4-5, but were now in serious danger of renouncing Christianity and turning back to Judaism. This accounts for the writer's stern warnings. These passages are sometimes mistakenly applied to believers who fall into sin, and many have been sorely troubled thereby, but the reference is clearly to apostates from Christ, Nevertheless, there are lessons for all.
Many Hebrew Christians, especially those of Judea, remained zealous for the Law, Acts 21. 20, and this was hampering their advance towards spiritual maturity in Christ, Heb. 5.11 to 6. 2. Israel's economy held many 'good things', Rom. 9. 4-5, but this Hebrew epistle shows that Christianity possesses a super-abundance of 'better things', so that a Jewish believer, far from being a loser in turning to Christ, became gainer to a superlative degree.