One cannot but give kudos to the inspired writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews – the introduction, the body and the conclusion of that historical book. An unknown INSPIRED author wrote the Epistle. Some say it was written by Paul, some say by Apollos, some say by Peter, some say by this, that, or another person. Due to differences in style, vocabulary, and pattern of personal reference in the epistles known to be his, I do not believe Paul wrote it. I can emphatically say this Epistle was written by a believer under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, to a suffering, persecuted group of JEWS somewhere in the East, outside of Israel. If I were to think about who wrote the Epistle, I would stand with one of the great fathers of the Church – Origen, who said simply, “No one knows”.
Who Was The Epistle Written To:
We must understand that there are three fundamental factions of people in view throughout this epistle. If one does not keep these particular groups in cognizance, the book might become very confusing. For example, as some have said, if it was written exclusively to Christians, then extreme problems will arise in interpreting a number of passages, which could scarcely apply to believers.
As you read the Epistle, you would notice that there are no references made to Gentiles in the book. Problems between Gentiles and Jews in the Church are not replicated here like in most Epistles of Paul, indicating almost certainly that the congregation being lectured was strictly Jewish. It was also written to the suffering Jewish believers who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ and the New Covenant as compared to the Old Covenant (Judaism), under which they had so long lived and worshipped. They didn’t hear the last of it as they moved and followed the New Covenant but of course with ample persecution and trial – they were ostracized from others and suffered severe pain.
The Epistle was also written to the Jewish non-believers who were convinced about the message of the Gospel but never received Jesus as lord and Savior. This perhaps was because these ones never had the opportunity to meet with the Lord Jesus Christ; they were super convinced at the presentation of the message; and hopeful they would have an opportunity to meet with the Lord Jesus when presented OR were still in doubt as to the conversion from Judaism to Christianity. They were also mindful about the persecution they would go through if peradventure they made a choice for the new Covenant.
Looking at some of what was mentioned in the Epistle, one cannot but admit that the Epistle was also addressed to the Jews that were not believers and were also not bothered about the message. They will have an opportunity to hear the Gospel but will not believe the contents of the message. They might also be men-pleasers who would not like to be persecuted by the other Jews who practiced Judaism. There was hope that, they might also be convinced about the message someday.
It started with God and how He passed and transmitted His message from one generation (the divers manners), administration or dispensation to the other and like the book says, in times past. It started with the different ways that God used to communicate His plan – He used the vehicle of internal suggestions, audible voices, dreams, visions and the Urim and Thummim. It was obvious He used what the people were familiar with and what they could easily believe in. He wouldn’t have used any other because it would be new to them and there will arise, the difficulty of accepting another newly introduced media.
The writer stipulated that, considering when the Epistle was written, it had already become “time past” (sometime ago, a while ago, a great while ago), signifying what God did with the different fathers – from the time of Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the many prophets He used in the transmission of His message. God spoke to His children through these Prophets and the Fathers. This was from the time of Malachi (the last Old Testament Prophet) and the 400years after, until John the Baptist; the ages were separated/divided as the OLD AGE (this age) and the AGE to come. It is quite clear that there was an AGE that was and there is an AGE that is!
Please remember that the writer’s listeners are drawn to the TIMES of Old and were also made aware about a NEW TIME. There is a distinction between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant, which is about to be introduced. We can therefore conclude that, in the past AGE, God spoke to His children in the divers ways as mentioned above but there is a NEW AGE which is THIS AGE and the question is, how is God going to speak to us OR how has He spoken to us.
Not all was revealed to each Prophet; one received a portion of revelation, and the other received another portion. None of them had a complete picture about the complete intention and purpose of the Almighty God. For example, the message He gave to Noah was quite different to the one He gave to Elijah, and to Moses, to the various men used by God until when Malachi was introduced with the message and the introduction of John the Baptist who came with the message of repentance and the final introduction of the Messiah – Jesus. You will agree with me that most of these Prophets played a major role but were kept in the dark as to the reason and the message God was relaying; they all and only knew in part until the perfect came.
That was centuries ago.
What about THIS AGE?
There was a period in history that a transition had to be made. It was the transition from THAT AGE (Old Testament) to THIS AGE (New Testament), also called the LAST DAYS. The listeners were about to hear that God might not be using the avenue of the Father’s or Prophets but through His Son. So we’d read that, in this NEW AGE, God has spoken (NOT going to); He already has spoken to us by His Son. I can then conclude that if I have to know or hear God speak to me, I have to have an association with His Son because, all that God has said and going to say, He said in His Son.
The highest of all revelations has been given to us in the person of the Son of God, who is also described as the Word of God; the One who is greater than the angels; the One who died and rose on the third day, completing the puzzle on salvation and redemption has become the end of all Prophecies and the Law of Moses. He sits at the right hand of God forever more and is also the Author of the New Covenant. God created the World through His Son and this Son will also be the Heir of all God has created. He was appointed of God; He took part in the creation of the World knowing that all that God has created would be handed over to the Son who is the Heir of all things.
To know God and to understand what He has said, I need a genuine fellowship with His Word because all has been said and documented in it. The process of understanding the Word is what the Apostle called the RENEWAL OF THE MIND. Therefore, to know the thoughts of God, have the ability to discern and not be tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine, we ought to RENEW our MIND. God will not use the same vehicle to transmit His messages like He did in the past time and age.
“I have little confidence in those persons who speak of having received direct revelations from the Lord, as though he appeared otherwise than by and through the gospel. His word is so full, so perfect, that for God to make any fresh revelation to you or me is quite needless. To do so would be to put a dishonor upon the perfection of that word.” – C.H. Spurgeon