Seeing the Unseen: What I Noticed When I Study Hebrews

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The book of Hebrews is an awesome book. The Hebrew writer, whoever he might have been, assists his audience recognize the continuity amongst (what we now contact) the Old and New Testaments. He assists his Jewish audience recognize that following Jesus is each a continuation of their temple worship, but also recognize why following Jesus is superior to temple worship. Right here are a couple of issues to notice.

The Audience

I could possibly be incorrect, but it appears that possibly Hebrews was written to Christians living in Jerusalem. The author reminds them of when they had been initial enlightened. He stated they:

  • endured a tough struggle with sufferings
  • had been publicly exposed to reproach and affliction
  • had compassion on these in prison
  • joyfully accepted the plundering of their house

This sounds a lot like the “great persecution against the church in Jerusalem” (Acts eight:1), when Saul of Tarsus was “ravaging the church, and getting into home right after home, he dragged off guys and females and committed them to prison” (Acts eight:three). Now, decades later, they are getting this letter since remaining faithful to Jesus is specially challenging in Jerusalem.

Envision getting a Jew, living in the shadow of the glorious temple, and attempting to stick to Jesus. Your patriotism, heritage, and faith would be so intertwined with that developing and all of the rituals and ceremonies performed in that developing. It would be so tough to stroll away from all of that. It would be so tough to reside with the shame of feeling you had abandoned the traditions of your loved ones.

For lots of Christians, the stress possibly became as well fantastic and they began abandoning the church neighborhood in favor of the temple, the priesthood, the sacrifices, and the city of Jerusalem the issues they could see. The writer of Hebrews desperately pleads with these Christians who stay not to neglect the Christian assembly or shed faith in Jesus.

Following Jesus is Extra Jewish

When speaking to a Jewish audience, the apostles had a single purpose, assist Jewish men and women understand that following Jesus is the most Jewish point they could do. If initial-century Jews wanted to be faithful to the God of their ancestors, then they must be disciples of Jesus. Becoming a disciple wasn’t a break from the faith of their ancestors, but a faithful continuation of their ancestral heritage. And what was accurate then is nevertheless accurate nowadays, Christianity is not a separate religion from Judaism it is the accurate kind of Judaism.

The Hebrew writer reminds his audience that getting a disciple of Jesus does not imply they have rejected the prophets, the Law delivered by angels, Moses, the temple, the priesthood, or the sacrifices. Following Jesus didn’t imply rejecting any of these issues, since Jesus is the a single to whom all of these issues point and Jesus brings about a reality of which these issues had been but mere shadows.

The challenge was that the temple, the sacrifices, and the priests could all be noticed, but the reality Jesus brought was “yet unseen.” Which is why the Hebrew writer explains that the Jewish faith has generally been a matter of “assurance of issues hoped for” and “conviction of things not noticed.” By following Jesus, the Higher Priest they could not see, who produced atonement in the temple they could not see, waiting for the city they could not see, they had been living like Noah, Abraham, Moses, Joshua and numerous other ancestors who had come just before.

Heaven and Earth

Modern day Christians have a tendency to speak about issues that are “spiritual” and issues that are “physical.” This is seriously a false dichotomy and it is not the point biblical writers are attempting to make. We could possibly be tempted to place the issues the Hebrew writer discusses in terms of “spiritual” and “physical,” but these are not even the terms employed in the book of Hebrews.

The Hebrew writer is not contrasting spiritual and physical issues, but heavenly and earthly issues. He desires his audience to recognize that the issues that are ideal now “unseen” are no much less genuine than the issues are “seen.” In reality, there is a sense in which they can be even far more genuine, since they will generally endure they are “unshakable” since they are heavenly.

One particular day these heavenly realities, that are ideal now invisible, will develop into visible. What is unseen will a single day be noticed. We reside nowadays in anticipation of that Day, convinced that the issues of the unseen realm are the accurate and unshakable realities.

The Globe and City to Come

When the book of Hebrews was written, Jerusalem might have seemed like the center of the Universe. It might have seemed like the unshakeable city, the city exactly where David reigned, the city of the temple. The most critical city in the planet to a Hebrew man or lady. But it was a city that would quickly fall.

The writer of Hebrews wanted his audience to recognize that they might be kicked out of the Jerusalem “camp,” but that was ok,

Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his personal blood. Therefore let us go to him outdoors the camp and bear the reproach he endured. For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come.

Jerusalem was not the accurate city of God, but there is a “city of the living God.” There is a “city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.” There is a “heavenly Jerusalem.” This city is the a single the Hebrew writer encouraged his readers to “seek.” This is the “city that is to come” in the “world to come.”

Someday, all these who lived their lives seeing the unseen, will obtain the promises for which we have waited. We will “rise once again to a superior life” and the city that has foundations constructed by God, the heavenly Jerusalem, will come and we will be with God forever.

I enjoy you and God loves you,

Wes McAdams

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