Theology of Hebrews, Part 1 (The Study of God #79) with Daniel Whyte III

Welcome to the Study of God Podcast. This is episode #79

I am your host, Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International. This podcast is designed to give you a basic understanding of God, the Bible, and Christian beliefs. J. Dwight Pentecost said, “There is no higher activity in which the mind may be engaged than the pursuit of the knowledge of God.”

Let’s start out reading the Word of God Itself. Today’s passage of Scripture is Hebrews 11:1 which reads: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

Today’s words from a theologian are from Billy Graham. He said: “Talk about God can become dreary and lackluster if God isn’t in you.”

Our topic for today is titled “Theology of Hebrews (Part 1)” from “The Moody Handbook of Theology” by Dr. Paul Enns.

Dr. Paul Enns writes…

The introductory questions concerning the addresses and occasion and purpose for writing are particularly important in discussing the theology of Hebrews. The view that is taken concerning these issues will determine the interpretation of the theology of Hebrews.

The authorship of Hebrews has posed a problem throughout the history of the Christian church and has been vigorously debated without resolve. The author nowhere identifies himself in the book, yet it seems he was known to the readers. He understood their circumstances and wrote with regard to them.

Date and Place of Writing
The book was written early; Clement of Rome quoted from it in A.D. 96. The present tense regarding the sacrifices suggests the temple was still standing; therefore, it was written prior to A.D. 70. Although the believers in the book were undergoing persecution, they had not experienced martyrdom. Because the fierce persecution began with the burning of Rome in A.D. 64, it is likely the book was written before that time.

The place of writing is difficult to determine. The reference “those from Italy greet you” could refer to Italy as a place of writing.

The title “To the Hebrews” is a second-century addition to the manuscript that may merely reflect the second-century opinion concerning the destination. The intrinsic evidence points to an assembly of Hebrew believers as the destination. (1) The book follows an argument from a Jewish standpoint through comparing Christ to the Levitical system. (2) The book uses Old Testament quotations. (3) The book has extensive mention of the Levitical priesthood. (4) Terminology occurs that is exclusively Jewish: angels, miracles, high priest, Moses, Aaron, law, covenant, tabernacle, holy place, sacrifices, and blood. (5) It contains an elaborate resume of Hebrew history. (6) There is a detailed discussion of the tabernacle.

The location of the readers is difficult to determine. Although it is not without problems, the suggestion that Jerusalem is the destination seems most reasonable. The present tense concerning offering gifts in 8:4 suggests conditions under which the offerings were actually being carried out.

Theological Purpose
The purpose of the book is to demonstrate the superiority of Christ and Christianity over Judaism. The addressees were Hebrew Christians: they are termed “holy brethren”, “partakers of a heavenly calling”, and “partakers of Christ”. Although their present condition was dangerous, the writer nonetheless considered them saved but in need of maturity and progress in their walk with Christ. They were in danger of lapsing back into Judaism. These Hebrew Christians were suffering persecution and had become discouraged. They had lost their property and had suffered public ridicule and ostracism for their faith in Christ. The writer addresses these circumstances, exhorting them to go on to maturity. He also warns them about the seriousness of apostasy.

Let’s Pray —

Before we close, dear friend, I want to remind you that while it is important to engage in the study of God, it is far more important that you have a relationship with God. I fear that there are a lot of people who will die knowing a lot about God, but not really knowing God. You don’t want to be one of those people.

If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, and you want to get to know Him today here’s how.

First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.

Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Pray and ask Him to come into your heart and He will.

May God bless you and keep you until we meet again.