Quotations: A Study of the Book of Hebrews

Chapters 7 to 10

Hebrews 7:1-10; Genesis 14:1-2, 11-20; Psalms 110:4, Christ is superior to the Levitical priesthood
Hebrews 7:11-19; Genesis 49:8-12; Psalms 110:1-4, Christ is superior to the Levitical priesthood
Hebrews 7:20-28; Numbers 18:1-7; Psalms 110:4, Christ is superior to the Levitical priesthood
Hebrews 8:1-5; Psalms 110:1 Exodus 25:8-9, 40, Authentic High Priest, authentic sanctuary
Hebrews 8:6-13; Jeremiah 31:31-34, A new covenant
Hebrews 9:1-2; Exodus 25:1-9, 25:23-31, 26:1, 26:31-33, for example; Rules for the Tent made by hand
Hebrews 9:3-5; Exodus 25:17-22, Exodus 26:34-35, 27:20-21, for example; Rules for the Tent made by hand
Hebrews 9:6-9a; Exodus 28:1-8, 28:21-30, for example; Rules for the human priests
Hebrews 9:9b-10; Exodus 30:1-10, for example; Rules for the human priests
Hebrews 9:11-14; Numbers 19:1-10; Importance of the blood sacrifice
Hebrews 10:11-18; Psalms 110:1; Jeremiah 31:33-34; But Christ’s blood is forever efficacious
Hebrews 9:15-23; Exodus 24:1-8; Leviticus 17:10-11; Importance of the blood sacrifice
Hebrews 9:24-28; Isaiah 53:6-12; The blood of Christ is shed for all
Hebrews 10:1-4; Numbers 28:1-15, for example. The old sacrifices had to be repeated
Hebrews 10:5-10; Psalms 40:6-8; 1 Samuel 15:21-23; Even though they were unsatisfactory
Hebrews 10:19-25; Zechariah 6:11-13, Words of encouragement
Hebrews 10:26-31; Isaiah 26:11; Deuteronomy 17:6, 32:35-36; Exodus 24:6-8, Dangers of apostasy
Hebrews 10:32-39; Habakkuk 2:3-4, Persevere

More Quotations from the Book of Hebrews

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Hebrews 7:1-10; Genesis 14:1-2, 11-20; Psalms 110:4, Christ is superior to the Levitical priesthood (10/5/15)

The writer of Hebrews is still talking about Christ as a high priest who is superior to the Levitical priesthood. Back in the days of Abraham, he reminds us, there was this big war going on (which by our standards today would probably be a border skirmish), with four city-states on one side and five on the other. Abraham was a non-participant until one side kidnapped his nephew Lot. Abraham took out a force and got back Lot, Lot’s household, Lot’s stuff, and miscellaneous spoils of war. As Abraham was on his way home, Melchizedek – also a non-participant in the initial war – came out and met Abraham and blessed him. Abraham gave Melchizedek a tithe, one-tenth, of everything he had with him.

The writer points out several details about Melchizedek. “Melchizedek” means “king of righteousness.” He was the king of Salem, and “Salem” means “peace.” Melchizedek blessed Abraham, not the other way around. He was a priest of God, to whom Abraham gave a tithe before Levi, the ancestor of the Levitical priests, was even born. Therefore, Melchizedek was (a) a really important guy, (b) superior to Abraham, and (c) superior to the later Levitical priesthood. In making Christ “a priest after the order of Melchizedek,” God puts Christ above the old religious order and its rites.

By the way, I should point out a few dozen times that the writer of Hebrews is responding to various people who were teaching that because Jesus and all the first Christians were Jews, both Jews and Gentile converts to Christianity had to continue or begin all the Jewish rites and traditions in order to be “really saved.” The writer’s repeated point is that Christ is superior – to angels, Moses, the high priest, the Levitical priesthood, the Levitical sacrifices, etc. – and there is now no reason to revert to those things for salvation.


Hebrews 7:11-19; Genesis 49:8-12; Psalms 110:1-4, Christ is superior to the Levitical priesthood (10/6/15)

The writer continues to argue the superiority of the Christ over the Levitical priesthood. If the Levitical priesthood from the time of Moses was perfect, he asks rhetorically, why would God establish a new priesthood after the order of Melchizedek in the much later time of David? This new priest will come out of Zion wielding a scepter; therefore he is of the ruling house of David, from the tribe of Judah.

Even though these verses from Hebrews quote only the one verse from Psalms, they clearly refer to Jacob’s blessing on Judah and to the first three verses of Psalm 110. I hope that you are comparing Hebrews each day with the Old Testament reading.


Hebrews 7:20-28; Numbers 18:1-7; Psalms 110:4, Christ is superior to the Levitical priesthood (10/7/15)

A few verses back, the writer pointed out that God keeps his promises. Now, however, he points out that there was no promise – no oath – made to the Levitical priesthood. God said, “Here’s your job; here’s who’s going to help you. Do it.” He didn’t give them an oath; he gave them the gift of the priesthood. On the other hand, he swore that the Christ, or Messiah in Hebrew, would be a priest forever.


Hebrews 8:1-5; Psalms 110:1 Exodus 25:8-9, 40, Authentic High Priest, authentic sanctuary (10/8/15)

The Tabernacle, and later the Temple in Jerusalem, were built according to the plan that God showed to Moses in the wilderness. Once the Temple was constructed, it was unacceptable for offerings to be made anywhere else. The writer’s point is that the Tabernacle and Temple were copies of the original, which was in heaven. Jesus, as a member of the tribe of Judah, could not enter into the holiest parts of the earthly Temple to make sacrifices – that privilege was reserved for members of the tribe of Levi, and in particular for the descendants of Aaron. However, as the authentic high priest after the order of Melchizedek, Jesus enters the original tabernacle, “the true tent,” in heaven.


Hebrews 8:6-13; Jeremiah 31:31-34, A new covenant (10/9/15)

Just about the time I decide that the writer of Hebrews is primarily familiar with the Torah (the first five books of the Bible) and Psalms, he starts quoting from the prophets. Jeremiah the prophet reported that God promised a new covenant. The writer argues, as he or she did concerning the Temple and the Levitical priesthood, that if the old covenant had been perfect, no second covenant would have been necessary.

I don’t know about you, but I think “For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more” is one of the most beautiful promises in the Bible. Nevertheless, the first covenant failed because God’s people broke faith with God. We should be careful not to give God any reason to replace our covenant with a third one!


Hebrews 9:1-2; Exodus 25:1-9, 25:23-31, 26:1, 26:31-33, for example; Rules for the Tent made by hand (10/12/15)

The writer of Hebrews has just reminded the readers about two covenants that God made with his people: the one under Moses, and the one promised through Jeremiah and fulfilled in Christ. Now the writer is going to briefly compare and contrast the two covenants. We will read all of the discussion from Hebrews, which is a small number of verses, and selections from the discussion in the Old Testament, which goes on for chapters and chapters and chapters. The writer expected that his readers would know all about the Tent, the priests, the lampstand, etc., so he just mentions them briefly.

The writer’s first point is that the first covenant had a place for worship, part of which was called the Holy Place.


Hebrews 9:3-5; Exodus 25:17-22, Exodus 26:34-35, 27:20-21, for example; Rules for the Tent made by hand (10/13/15)

The first date my husband and I went on was to go see the movie “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” The Ark of the Covenant was in fact lost maybe 2000 or 3000 years ago, and sadly, hasn’t been found. If you want a picture of a reasonable-looking replica, google “ark of the covenant Indiana Jones.” Bear in mind that we actually have no idea what a cherub looks like.

The description of the Tent of Meeting (aka the Tabernacle), the ark, the Holy Place, and the Most Holy Place goes on for many chapters in the books of Exodus and Numbers. The writer of Hebrews is not being lazy in saying, “Of these things we cannot now speak in detail.” For one thing, he needs to get on with the teaching he’s doing right now. And for another, probably he didn’t know exactly what it looked like, either.


Hebrews 9:6-9a; Exodus 28:1-8, 28:21-30, for example; Rules for the human priests (10/14/15)

Having reminded the readers about the voluminous description in Exodus about the Tent of Meeting, the writer of Hebrews now goes on to briefly remind them of the almost equally voluminous instructions about the duties of the priests. If you count Leviticus, which I would describe as an operational manual written for the priests, the priestly stuff greatly exceeds the tent stuff. The writer’s point is that the priests perform their duties over and over regularly, including the blood sacrifice. Hold onto that point, because we’re going to come back to it.


Hebrews 9:9b-10; Exodus 30:1-10, for example; Rules for the human priests (10/15/15)

The writer of Hebrews continues his summary of a two-thousand-year-old tradition of offerings and sacrifices under the covenant God made with the Jews at the time of Moses. His major point is that these offerings and sacrifices obviously cannot perfect the conscience of the worshipper, because if they could, they wouldn’t have to be made daily, weekly, monthly, and annually.


Hebrews 9:11-14; Numbers 19:1-10; Importance of the blood sacrifice (10/16/15)

You know Minesweeper? It’s a little game that comes with Windows. Years ago I played a lot of Minesweeper. A lot. Well, a LOT. Consequently, I was very good at it and the house champion at 9 seconds. I hadn’t played it for a long time, but when we recently got a new computer I figured I’d see what it was like now. After about a dozen tries, I beat the game in 4 seconds. Now, that was luck and not skill, but still, it was a perfect game. I never have to play Minesweeper again in my life.

The writer of Hebrews is making exactly the same point. Christ is a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek. He enters the original, perfect tent in heaven. He sacrificed his own unblemished flesh and blood. This was the perfect sacrifice: it never has to be done again.


Hebrews 10:11-18; Psalms 110:1; Jeremiah 31:33-34; But Christ’s blood is forever efficacious (10/19/15)

My great desire is for God to remember my sin no more, and my great hope is for all of you, and all of everybody else for that matter, to know God’s law in your heart so well that neither I nor anyone else has to teach or preach the Bible. God’s offer is always open through Jesus’ one eternal offering.


Hebrews 9:15-23; Exodus 24:1-8; Leviticus 17:10-11; Importance of the blood sacrifice (10/20/15)

The logic of today’s reading is a little convoluted. The writer of Hebrews gives as an analogy of the covenant between God and his people the example of a will. A will is not effective until the person who made the will dies (vss. 16-17). Under the Mosaic covenant, a blood sacrifice – the death of a living creature – was necessary for the forgiveness of individual sins (vss. 18-22). In a similar manner, the death of Jesus allows the forgiveness of all sins (vs. 15). The earthly rites were a copy of the heavenly rites to come (vs. 23).


Hebrews 9:24-28; Isaiah 53:6-12; The blood of Christ is shed for all (10/21/15)

The writer of Hebrews reminds us of some of his previous points: Christ entered the true temple in heaven to offer himself, the perfect sacrifice, once and for all as a propitiation for the sins of many.


Hebrews 10:1-4; Numbers 28:1-15, for example. The old sacrifices had to be repeated (10/22/15)

The writer of Hebrews says the same thing as Paul: the Law convicts us of our sin, but it can’t really do anything about our sin.

By the way, you probably know that the letters of the New Testament are not arranged chronologically. Roughly, they are arranged first by total length of each writer’s work, and then by the length of each letter within a writer’s work. Paul was a great letter writer, so his stuff comes first. The next book, Hebrews, is longer than the work of James, Peter, John, or Jude, so it comes next. If the church leaders who put together the NT had thought that Paul wrote Hebrews, it would have been placed between Corinthians and Galatians. The next time someone tells you that Paul didn’t write Hebrews, you can respond that this is very old news. This thinking is similar to Paul’s, however, and most scholars believe that someone close to Paul wrote the book of Hebrews.


Hebrews 10:5-10; Psalms 40:6-8; 1 Samuel 15:21-23; Even though they were unsatisfactory (10/23/15)

You definitely should support your church or synagogue with tithes and offerings of money and time. By combining your time and money with that of your fellow congregationers, you are able to accomplish great things for the kingdom of God that would otherwise remain undone.

That said, however, God wants your obedience more than your money. The prophet Samuel and David said so, Jesus said so (see Matthew 23:23), and the writer of Hebrews said so.


Hebrews 10:19-25; Zechariah 6:11-13, Words of encouragement (10/26/15)

Okay. The writer of Hebrews has made this lo-oo-ong argument that Jesus, the perfect and eternal high priest, has entered into the perfect and eternal sanctuary in heaven to offer the perfect and eternally effective sacrifice of his own perfect and sinless blood on our behalf. Therefore, the writer says, we can be completely confident about approaching God, washed and clean. That being the case, we should hold fast to our faith and encourage others to do the same.

Sometimes it’s hard for a true scholar, such as the writer of Hebrews, to remember that not everyone knows what he or she knows. As we’ve seen before, sometimes he doesn’t quote so much as allude to the scripture, i.e., the Old Testament. In this little passage, he quotes a few words from Zechariah. He thinks we know Zechariah so well that we will get it. I’m not totally familiar with Zechariah, which is why I have a study Bible with excellent cross references and footnotes. Get one.


Hebrews 10:26-31; Isaiah 26:11; Deuteronomy 17:6, 32:35-36; Exodus 24:6-8, Dangers of apostasy (10/27/15)

The writer is bringing his 10-chapter discussion of salvation through the new covenant of Jesus Christ to a close. Yesterday he told us that we can be confident about our approach to God. Today, the flip side of the coin: the danger of apostasy. Hold fast to the faith!

Apostasy, by the way, is the deliberate renunciation of your faith; it can’t very well happen by accident, as the writer points out in vss. 26-28. Dear reader, never accuse any of your fellow-Christians or Jews of apostasy. If you have reason to believe that someone is apostate, your job is to be so loving and to pray so hard that he or she is renewed to faith (see for example James 5:19-20 or 1 Corinthians 7:12-16).


Hebrews 10:32-39; Habakkuk 2:3-4, Persevere (10/28/15)

Do you read your Bible in the original languages of Hebrew and Greek? Probably not. You read in English, Spanish, or another language that you learned from your mother. By now you probably know that most first-century Jews, especially outside of Judea, used the Greek translation of the Old Testament, because what they learned from their mothers was Greek, not Hebrew.

Now, most of the time it doesn’t make any difference to us, because the Greek and Hebrew were very similar. Once in a while, there’s a big difference, as we see today. The Greek of the New Testament and the Greek of the Old Testament are nearly identical, but the Hebrew of the Old Testament is different. So we know for sure that the writer of Hebrews was using the Greek OT, not the Hebrew OT.

Does it matter? If you see a cross-reference in your study Bible and you can’t make heads or tails of it, this may be the reason. I know of no difference between the Hebrew and Greek that would confuse us about God’s plan for salvation.

Anyway, the writer says, “Hold onto your faith!”


More Quotations from the Book of Hebrews
Quotations: A Study of the Book of Hebrews (Chapters 1-6)
Quotations: A Study of the Book of Hebrews (Chapters 11-13)

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