See the Bible Through Jewish Eyes
BY DANIEL GOLDBERG, TH.D., D.D.
This letter to professing Hebrew believers in the first century contains five special warning passages as follows:
First Warning: 2:1-4
Second Warning: 3:7-4:13
Third Warning: 5:11-6:20
Fourth Warning: 10:26-31
Fifth Warning: 12:18-29
Each warning passage is pertinent to the author’s discussion at that point. Thus the book of Hebrews is extremely practical in terms of application to the readers’ lives. It is essential for each of us to pay careful attention to the Divine instructions which makes this Epistle meaningful to professing believers. The warning passages are designed to separate true followers of Messiah from those who are superficial and only make empty professions.
I. First Warning: Pay Particular Attention to the Eternal Gospel Truths Taught by God’s Revelation (Heb. 2:1-4)
The Greek word prosecho in the New Testament is commonly used to bring a ship to land, suggesting the opposite of drifting or slipping away (Heb. 2:1).
It is not that some essential truth might drift away from us, but that we might drift away from the divine message. Not all the seed sown by the sower achieved the full cycle of maturation. In this first warning passage, men are warned against failure to appropriate the saving message of the Gospel. This warning is the only way out from certain judgment.
In particular, three essentials are mentioned to illustrate the greatness of God’s program of salvation:
1. The message was proclaimed by the Messiah Himself (Heb. 2:3).
2. The Gospel message was confirmed by many reliable witnesses (Heb. 2:3).
3. The truth was confirmed by God through various signs (Heb. 2:4).
II. The Superiority of Messiah to Angels Does Not Conflict with His Attribute of Humanity (Heb. 2:5-9)
The saving work of Messiah could not possibly have been assigned to Angels. Only Christ could achieve and purchase our salvation. In order to do so, He became a man, like unto His brethren in every aspect, taking on Himself “the seed of Abraham” (Heb. 2:16).
Here, some verses are quoted from Psalm 8:4-6. Psalm 8 teaches that the Messiah would enter fully into our humanity as the ideal man as God intended Him to be. Here, we see Jesus (Heb. 2:9) entering the world to show us what man was intended to be in God’s original purpose.
III. The Sanctification of Believers, Destined to be Conformed to Christ (Heb. 2:8-11)
Every true believer is moving daily towards his future destiny. We are being changed here and now. The Messiah sanctified us by becoming one of us in His humanity. He also made us one with Him (Heb. 2:11).
Through His saving ministry we became His children (Heb. 2:10-13). Now, we belong to the household of God (Heb. 3:6). God has given us to His Son, our Messiah, and we will be His forever.
In practical terms, what do these eternal verities mean?
First of all, we who have been set apart for our Messiah must recognize that He has first claim on our lives. Secondly, the gifts of God’s grace are granted to us to exercise for God’s glory in God’s world. Finally, time granted to us must be set apart for the worship and service of our Messiah and Savior, Jesus.
In a practical sense, our labors must reflect devotion to the Savior that is centered and associated with the body and brethren of the assembly (church) that our Messiah planted when coming to the earth (Acts 2). Messiah will soon return for His own (Acts 1:11).
Chosen People Ministries exists to pray for, evangelize, disciple, and serve Jewish people everywhere and to help fellow believers do the same. The mission was founded in Brooklyn, New York in 1894 by Rabbi Leopold Cohn, a Hungarian Jewish immigrant with a zeal to share the knowledge of Yeshua (Jesus) the Messiah with God’s chosen people.