Author: Rachel Kidd
In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.
The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs. —Hebrews 1:1-3
Who’s the author?
The book of Hebrews is a mysterious masterpiece, because it’s authorship is unknown. Some argue that Paul is author, like in the King James translation of the bible, but there isn’t a general consensus. Paul’s letters always start with his name, Hebrews does not.
Paul also typically quoted from the Hebrew Old Testament, but the author of Hebrews quoted from the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament. The grammar used in Hebrews also doesn’t align with Paul’s typical style.
The author of Hebrews also did not focus on justification by faith, which Paul always emphasized. Unlike Paul, this author does not claim to have personally seen Jesus Christ.
We also aren’t sure if Hebrews is a letter at all or even what the literary form is, because it lacks a salutation and a discernable form. The group who is addressed in Hebrews is equally mysterious, as we cannot place them in a specific location.
Bible scholars do not know who wrote it or who the specific Hebrews were, but we do know that they were Jewish Christians or Messianic believers who were suffering persecution. The author of Hebrews offers much-needed assurance of salvation, encouragement, and exhortation to believe.
We include Hebrews in the general Epistles, not Paul’s Epistiles, because of these key differences. The author could have been Apollos, mentioned in the book of Acts, Barnabas, or even Luke. Whoever wrote this book was an inspired and eloquent scholar, threading intricate knowledge of the bible and the identity of Jesus throughout Hebrews.
However, the authorship of the book is less important than it’s content. Asking ourselves; What does the book say? What does it mean? What does it mean to me?
Hebrews is a masterpiece in content. More than any other book, it ties together the Old and New Testaments. Cohesive from beginning to end, a clear argument is threaded throughout.
Hebrews presents Jesus theologically as the Messiah who was prophesied in the Old Testament, the Lord has revealed in the New Testament, and the coming King of Kings.
Jesus Christ is better than the prophets. The message God revealed through His son is even better than the message He sent through the beloved and revered prophets. Because Jesus Christ is God’s Son, He is better than the angels, the priesthood, the covenants, the tabernacle, everything.
Speaking to orthodox Jews, the author of Hebrews says that what they hold most sacred, most Holy, pales in comparison to Jesus. No more animal sacrifices need to be made at the temple, because Jesus’ death fulfilled them all in the same patterns of Jewish tradition.
Jesus has become the guarantor of a better covenant.
Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.
–Hebrews 7: 22-25
When Jesus died on the cross, He acted as high priest as in Jewish tradition and He was interceding for the sins of the whole world in the Holy of Holies of the Tabernacle of heaven. This tabernacle is not made of human hands and the blood offered was not that of an animal, but of Jesus Himself.
From that time on, the sacrifice of Jesus fulfilled all the animal sacrifices and eliminated the need for the Jewish sacrificial system. He is better than even Solomon’s Temple, fulfilling every one of God’s promises.
By reading and believing in Christ’s finished work on the cross, we can experience fulfilled salvation. The book of Hebrews is a wonderful place to start, meditating on the greatest promise ever made to humanity.
Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. –Romans 10:9-10