Hebrews 10: 32 – 39
The Book of Hebrews, like the Old Testament was written strictly to the Jews and not to the Gentiles. This part of the Bible forms the part where the content is restricted to our learning, knowing that not all Scripture is Doctrine, not all Scripture is for correction or reproof or instruction. Discovering what part of scripture is Doctrine, Reproof, Correction and Instruction should become our greatest task, as we desire to walk with Him.
Drawing out the meaning of a Scripture is what the Theologians call EXEGESIS. In other words, finding out what a Scripture means. It is completely different from EISEGESIS, which is reading into Scripture what we want the Scriptures to say.
Many of the teachings we hear today especially in the Church have stemmed out from Leaders reading into Scriptures what they want the Scriptures to say, rather than drawing out from Scriptures and making the necessary adjustments as required by the great Book. We do and practice so many things in the Church today that have no Biblical precedence; yet we have gotten used to such practices and inadvertently, we assume God is in agreement with us even in the things we do and practice outside the purview of the Scriptures.
I have said this because, the Book of Hebrews is one of the most misinterpreted Books of the Bible. The moment we don’t understand who the Book was written to, why it was written and in what context, we are bound to misread and more importantly, misinterpret what the Book says. Like we have always pointed out, the Book was addressed to primarily two sets of people: The Believing Jews and the Unbelieving (the ones who knew the message and have not yet committed and the ones who have never heard the message of the Gospel).
The KEY to interpreting any part of Hebrews is to understand which group is being addressed. If we do not understand that, we are bound to confuse issues.
We come to the part of this Book where the writer addressed the UNBELIEVING JEWS. He reminded them of the problems they went through when they became ENLIGHTENED about the plan of God. He encouraged them to look back at what they endured even when they were made a spectacle, exposed to public ridicule even to the extent of having them physically assaulted and beaten. The idea was that the people persecuted did not draw back because of the persecution but forged ahead in complete confidence.
In their confidence, they were able to offer help to those who were imprisoned; they stuck by the prisoners. The irony of these persecutions was that even when their physical possessions were taken away by their enemies, these people knew so well and they understood that a man’s life did not consist in the abundance of possessions but that something was more important than the physical acquisition of worldly possessions. They were never perturbed by those things neither did anything set them back.
The writer went back in history so that the unbelieving Jews could have the same confidence after hearing and believing in the message of the Gospel so that they could get to that place of Salvation.
Confidence as far as the writer was concerned was not Salvation. The writer was still in the business of presenting the message of the Gospel to them and found a common ground of CONFIDENCE. Their confidence must be in an object. He had been talking about the OBJECT since the beginning of this Book. He had compared Jesus with all that happened in the Old Testament making them come to terms with the fact that all that happened in the Old, pointed towards Jesus who eventually is the perfect sacrifice.
He is about to tell them how to get saved and that is having confidence in the things that the Almighty God had accomplished. He was about to get the Unbelieving Jews to that place where they can develop the same confidence they had but redirected to a different object – Jesus.
He encouraged the UNBELIEVING Jews about the joy that awaits them at the end of the dispensation of Grace, when Jesus comes back for the Church. In other words, there was hope in having confidence in this perfect sacrifice that died on the cross and was raised on the third day for our Justification. He encouraged them not to throw away the confidence; the one they had when they went through persecutions, is the same assurance he needs them to have even as they transfer from one object to this real figure and as they progress to that place of Salvation. The BELIEVING JEWS had already crossed the bridge so the message of confidence was not addressed to them.
Some translations have that word Confidence as “confident trust” in God. The word is from a Greek word that gives a sense of “boldness”. In other words, it means to be bold in the declaration of their commitment to the message of the Gospel. Interchangeably, the writer uses the word FAITH in the place of Confidence as he continues to encourage his audience to make this new shift.
In concluding this part of his message, the writer made it clear to them to expect to be persecuted by fellow Jews as they meandered away from Judaism to Christianity; that the persecution and the troubles were temporal and that the Salvation they will get as a result of committing to the Lord was and will become an everlasting thing for them. The idea was more of, as I quote from Apostle Paul in his presentation of Jesus, that because of what was set before Jesus, He endured the cross and all that came with suffering even till death. He told them that as they suffer because of the change, they should look towards the hope that was set before them because Jesus was already on His way to picking up His Bride (The Church). He (the writer) described it as “In a little while”.
As a way of also emboldening them to make this change, he told them not to use the persecution their fellow Jewish believers as a deterrent not to make the move. He further told them that anyone who is right with me thrives on loyal trust; if he cuts and runs, I won’t be very happy but then had to cut in to reassure them he had some confidence that they wouldn’t turn away from the message of the Gospel; he referred to them as the faithful ones whose souls will be saved.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon was very lucid when he said, “What a great word that word “salvation” is! It includes the cleansing of our conscience from all past guilt, the delivery of our soul from all those propensities to evil, which now so strongly predominate in us; it takes in, in fact, the undoing of all that Adam did. Salvation is the total restoration of man from his fallen estate; and yet it is something more than that, for God’s salvation fixes our standing more secure than it was before we fell. It finds us broken in pieces by the sin of our first parent, defiled, stained, accursed: it first heals our wounds, it removes our diseases, it takes away our curse, it puts our feet upon the rock Christ Jesus, and having thus done, at last it lifts our heads far above all principalities and powers, to be crowned for ever with Jesus Christ, the king of heaven.”
Keep it right here and be refreshed!