D. The majority rejection:
Hebrews is an apologetic of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. All that the incarnate Word was before and after His ascension is defended vigorously throughout the epistle. By the time the writer comes to the end of his arguments, there should be no question concerning the gospel function of the present reigning King Jesus Christ.
Unfortunately, most Jews at the time the letter was written rejected the arguments of the document. They still do today. It is for this reason that any doctrine that focuses on the restoration of Jews to Israel in the future in order to be established as a nation is devoid of truth. The Jews’ continued rejection of Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah of Israel disqualified them in the first century as the people of God. It still does today. Here is the point: “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek [in Christ Jesus]” (Gl 3:27:28). In the eyes of God, national Israel lost her identity when Jesus fulfilled all the prophecies concerning the Messiah. National Israel was only God’s ethnic vehicle to bring all men to Christ. “But now that faith [in Jesus] has come, we are no longer under a headmaster” (Gl 3:25).
There is no Jewish nationalism in Christ. Those Jews who are baptized into Christ can remain Jews by race. However, in the eyes of God, both Jews and Gentiles are one man in Christ (Gl 3:28).
The apostasy that the Hebrew writer addressed was the rejection of Jesus as the Messiah and Son of God. Those who were going into apostasy were actually rejecting the gospel of God’s grace through His only begotten Son.
E. Salvation only in Christ:
The arguments in Hebrews for the Messiahship of Jesus were valid when the letter was first written. They are still valid today. There is absolutely no salvation outside Christ, for only in Christ is there contact with the blood of Jesus. What Peter said two thousand years ago is still true today: “There is salvation in no other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (At 4:12). Nothing has changed in this statement. This is the premise upon which the document of Hebrews was written. It is a document that affirms the gospel of Jesus’ present reign as King, and His present function as our high priest.
In our relationship with the Jesus who is identified by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, Hebrews takes our minds beyond the earthly Jesus and His ministry. Paul explained this transition of our understanding of Jesus into heaven in 2 Corinthians 5:16: “Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh [through Matthew, Mark, Luke and John], yet now we know Him no more.”
Since the writing of the document of Hebrews, it is by this revelation that we now know Christ. Our knowledge of Jesus according to flesh was terminated when the disciples saw His body of flesh and bones ascend into heaven (At 1:9). Hebrews takes our knowledge of Jesus on from the ascension into heaven. Therefore, all who would seek a relationship with Jesus today, must define this relationship by their understanding of Jesus through Hebrews.
Some people in their efforts to relate with Jesus limit their relationship by failing to go beyond Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. If one would, as Paul, know Jesus as He now reigns, then their relationship must be based on what we read in the document of Hebrews, which is truly, the continuation of the gospel according to Hebrews. We believe that the Holy Spirit has this in mind as He directs the hand of the holy scribe who wrote this apology of the present ministry of the resurrected and ascended Son of God. We must, therefore, follow the Spirit’s leading as He seeks to define for us the Christ who is now Lord God Almighty over all things (See Is 9:6).
[Next in series: Hebrew 1, February 9]