Summary: Sometimes the new and improved isn’t - and we become leary. When God came up with a new and improved way to approach Him, some thought the new way was uncomfortable so they wanted to go back.
There’s no doubt that we as humans like the comfortable and the familiar. Especially when presented with challenges - we like what we know. My dog is like that. She knows that when we are finished exercising on Saturday morning that it’s time for her walk. And at a certain time in the evening - she grabs her cloth bone and heads to bed - whether we’re coming with her or not.
When we come out of the world and into the kingdom of God, we are leaving the comfortable world we know. Slavery to sin is all we knew - and we were comfortable with it. Leave to the Holy Spirit to upset the apple cart and bring us into a new family with a whole new reality.
That’s fine as long as things are going well - but when we face temptation, persecution or trials in this new reality- suddenly the comfort level drops and we long for a time when we didn’t have to worry about sin and salvation.
Such is the case with the writing of Hebrews. The book was written to Jewish Christians who were facing problems - and were really starting to wonder if their choice to leave Judaism was a good one. They were tempted to go back to the comfortable and leave Jesus behind. Or they wanted a sort of mixture of the two - belong to Jesus yet make sacrifices according to the Levitcal system. So this book attempts to show them that you really can’t go backwards - that it might seem comfortable, but is really no comfort at all in the old ways.
Who wrote Hebrews?
Possible authors: Luke (Clement of Alexandria), Paul (Catholic view), Apollos (Luther), Barnabas (Tertullian around 200AD).
Probably not Paul - no personal references, no signed name, language too pure Greek and sentence structure different, missing key Pauline doctrine.
Written about 60AD (before the fall of Jerusalem - no reference to it)
In a nutshell - Hebrews is about which way is better - the old or the new. In chapters 1-10 the author says that Jesus Christ is better - better than the angels, better than Moses, better than the Old Testament priesthood and that the New Covenant is better by far than the Old Covenant.
Then in chapters 10 through 13 the author tells us that faith is better than life without God, better than the Law, the Sacrificial system, works, and better than self determination and self improvement. Some think that Hebrews was actually a sermon set to written form and intended for a small group of teachers that the author knew.
Today we are going to go through most of the book - well, okay, only two verses - but they hold the key to the entire book of Hebrews so I want to take time with it.
1 In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 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.
In marketing there is an axiom - get the right message to the right people the right number of times at the right price. Now, I’m not saying that God created a marketing plan for Jesus Christ - but really, marketing is nothing more than educating people about something they need to make a decision about.
God has something that will benefit every human - and He wanted to make sure every one of us got the message when we needed it - so He did something else that is important in marketing - media-mix. If you hear a message on the radio, then see a billboard and get something in the mail and see it on TV - it registers in your brain more effectively. So God also spoke - "in various ways" it says - because we humans need to hear His message over and over and coming at us from all angles before it finally works it way through our thick skulls!
There is no doubt that God did speak - the Old Testament has great value for us as it points us to Jesus. We shouldn’t discount it or throw it away. God’s final revelation given to man was given through Jesus Christ. Up until then the revelation was misunderstood and incomplete. Jesus is the ultimate understanding of God.
It is superior to all other revelations.
In Genesis, God spoke first to Adam and Eve - telling them that after the fall, one would come who would "crush" the head of the serpent (Gen 3:15).
Later he spoke to Noah - telling him that he would be saved by going into the ark - then later to Noah’s descendant Abraham. God made a covenant with Abraham, through whom God promised to bless every nation.