At the time the Hebrew writer addressed his fellow Jews in less than a decade before A.D. 70, they were about to undergo a tremendous national calamity. Since the writer directed the letter of Hebrews primarily to the believing Jewish Christians, it is interesting to note the subjects on which he focused in order to encourage them to remain focused on Jesus. If we notice well this point of focus, it will deliver us from a great number of self-appointed prophets out there who are seeking to create a frenzy around their supposed end-of-time pronouncements. Sometimes it is necessary to note the message of a particular preacher in order to determine if he is either misguided, or simply a false prophet among us. The book of Hebrews is a masterful document to use in order to make this determination.
A reading of Hebrews easily proves the preceding point. In order to encourage the disciples of his time to remain stable and focused, the Hebrew writer directed the minds of his readers through the document in order that they continue to focus on the existing gospel ministry of Jesus from heaven. In chapters 1 & 2 he encouraged his readers to focus on the gospel of the incarnate Son of God who was greater than angels. He then focused on the incarnate Son dwelling among those who were loyal to Him in all things. In chapter 3 he reminded his readers that this incarnate Son was greater than the Moses who led the people of Israel to freedom fifteen hundred years before. In following this Jesus, the Hebrew writer then turn to the good news of the eternal rest that is prepared for those who remain faithful to King Jesus. And then moving into chapter 5, the writer exhorted his readers to grow in their personal faith in Jesus, trusting, as he concluded in chapter 6, in the gospel promises of God. And then in chapter 7 he turned to the gospel of the high priesthood of Jesus who now ministers on our behalf from heaven after the order to Melchizedek. As our high priest, the writer continued to explain in chapter 8, that this resurrected and ascended incarnate Son of God is now ministering the new covenant relationship that we now have with God. Therefore, in chapter 9, the readers were metaphorically portrayed as the spiritual tabernacle on earth who worship in hope because they have been cleansed of sin by the blood of their crucified King of kings. And because of the gospel of His offering that was made once for all time on the cross, King Jesus mediates on our behalf in heavenly places. And in order to reassure his readers of this gospel offering, the writer in chapter 10 reminded his readers that the offering of the cross was sufficient and final for all time. Therefore, we must walk in gratitude of this gospel offering. In chapter 11, the writer then reminded his readers that they too must remain faithful as the Old Testament patriarchs did when they had to endure hard times during great calamity. They remained faithful even though they had no revealed knowledge of the gospel which was yet in their future. They endured great suffering in times of calamity, though they had no knowledge of the incarnate offering of the Son of God that was coming. And then only at the end of chapter 12 does the Hebrew writer bring up the subject of the former “shakings” of God throughout the history of Israel. The “shakings” throughout Israel’s history was the work of God to keep His people focused on the end result of His call of Israel. They were called into nationhood for the purpose of preserving the seedline of Abraham until the Seed came into the world. After one more “shaking,” the purpose for which the nation was called would be consummated. Chapter 13 is a final encouragement for Christians Jews to remain faithful during the calamity that they were about to endure in the consummation of their national heritage.
By comparing the message of the book of Hebrews with the message of some modern-day hysterical end-of-time preachers among us we discover something that is quite revealing. We find it very interesting that throughout the entire document of Hebrews, the writer in only two verses mentions anything about a final “shaking” of God to come in the life of his readers. Though the Jewish readers were about to go through a tremendous ordeal in the national tragedy of the end of Israel, the writer did not through the book obsess over predictions concerning the end of time. If we would listen to some of the end-of-timers to today, we would think that the entire book of Hebrews should have been written about the “signs of the times” in reference to some final “shaking.” But this is just not the case.
We learn one very profound lesson from the book of Hebrews: When we are enduring times of great national, geographical, or biological trauma in this physical world in which we dwell, we must focus on the gospel of the present ministry of Jesus and His kingdom reign as King of kings. Obsessing on any other subject is simply a diversion of Satan away from the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. In fact, by using the book of Hebrews in the New Testament we can identify those who are misleading the people by their end-of-time predictions over which they are usually obsessed.
[The book will be coming out within a month.]