The Weekend Word

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51 Responses

  1. Jean says:

    In your bullet under verse 4, could you clarify what document “First Article” refers to?

  2. That would be the First Article of the Apostle’s Creed.

  3. Bob says:

    Whenever a comparison between Jesus and Moses is made a Jew would remember these words. Therefore understanding them is important. Additionally a house is a dominate theme here so consider what that actually means to the reader and the text which is coming later in Hebrews.

    Here’s the text a Jew would know when comparisons are made:

    “15 “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him.
    16 “This is according to all that you asked of the Lord your God in Horeb on the day of the assembly, saying, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God, let me not see this great fire anymore, or I will die.’
    17 “The Lord said to me, ‘They have spoken well.
    18 ‘I will raise up a prophet from among their countrymen like you, and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him.
    19 ‘It shall come about that whoever will not listen to My words which he shall speak in My name, I Myself will require it of him.”

    Have a blessed first day of the week.

  4. Em says:

    “If the phone rang at 2 in the morning and someone said “what do you believe?” – what would you say?” i think i’d say, “who is this?” … even if the phone rang at 2 in the afternoon, i don’t think my answer would be the Apostles Creed …thinking…

    good lesson

  5. Jean says:

    “consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession,”

    The author’s use the term “apostle” for Jesus is IMO amazing. Notice that it doesn’t read “who was the apostle”; it uses the present tense “the apostle”, which means “the one sent forth”.

    This backs up and ads a dimension to other texts that refer to the word of God as “living and active”, and that “faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”

    Jesus said “I am with you always”, “abide in me, and I in you.” Jesus said “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” All present tense promises.

    So, Jesus is [present tense] our apostle and high priest, the One is sent out in the proclaimed Word to redeem and make new.

    I love this study. Thanks MLD!

  6. Jean, very good observation, explanation and application.

    So we don’t get too general about the apostle & high priest, I think it is important to point to what these offices point us to – which would be our confession.

    What is our confession?

  7. Em says:

    i confess that Jesus is The Christ…
    we can go on to dilute that confession with prosperous Christian living methodology
    and we can also, let it become a dry confession – lifeless words with no heartfelt understanding, letting life’s cares – good and bad – consume us
    there’s more than one way to distract a sheep 🙂

  8. Jean says:

    “consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession, 2 who was faithful to him who appointed him”

    MLD mentioned how important it is for Christians to “consider” Jesus. I want to connect that reference to Jesus’ “faithful[ness]”. This is important because the author’s exhortation to his listeners connects Jesus’ faithfulness to their own. (e.g., v. 6)

    Jesus’ ultimate act of faithfulness was his “suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.” Jesus was faithful to God’s promises prophesied in the OT. By making that sacrifice, he is able to sanctify those who are sanctified, who the author now elevates to “holy brothers.”

    What is amazing about the author’s train of thought is how similar it is to St. Paul’s thought in the first chapter of Romans:

    “For in it [i.e., the gospel] the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith,”

    This could be paraphrased: “For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed from Christ’s faithfulness for our faith.” In what way is God’s righteousness revealed? By God being faithful to his OT promise to send his Suffering Servant to bear the sin of many….

  9. Uriahisaliveandwell says:

    While visiting a park today and placing trash in the receptacle, a JW was standing squarely I my path. Offered me their literature, I decline stating he knew a false Jesus and that he would do better to read a different translation, such as the KJV. His response: “I can see that you are not well read nor have study scripture.” My response which, was quite stern with an underlying irritation.

    You worship a false doctrine created by Russell and later, reinforced by what you call the bible, which is not. In fact you claim Jesus to be a god and declaring that the 144,000 are number among those who follow your cult. You walk around this park leading people straight to hell, by token of a false gospel, and have the audacity to tell me that I am not studied nor well versed in scripture. I would strongly suggest that you go beyond that admonition that your group teaches and search out the scriptures using the KJV or another good translation. Jesus is not a god. He is of the triune godhead and He shed his blood for those who would repent and believe in Him. You have bought and been brainwashed—if this is not so then why are you afraid to search out the truth by token of being afraid to look beyond what the Watchtower spins out.”

    His Response: “The Watchtower bought the rights to publish the KJV and who is Russell?”

    My response: ” Russell was the founder of Jehovah Witness. As for the KJV, you been sold a load of B.S. There is no copyright on it. Also, it was put together long before Russell or Rutherford came along.” By this time, I am raising by voice—so he asked me why I am angry with him. I tell him I am not angry with him but with this group that is a cult that has robbed him or the truth, brainwashing him, then sending him out to preach a false gospel and a false Jesus. And just because he will not stick his neck out to study beyond what the JW’s has set forth, he dares to counter me by saying I do not know the scriptures, nor am I well studied, when in truth and fact, nothing that the JW teaches is according to Holy Scripture, when in truth what he is saying that anyone who does not agree with a false rendition of their “bible” is what they truly are: sincere, but sincerely misled and headed for that eternal place that they deny even exists.. I ended this by saying time is short and he had but a little time to find out what I have shared is true, if he had the courage to do so.

    Will be praying for his soul and those who he and his group are hammering hard in selling the JW’s religion.

  10. em, I think your confession should be a little more vigorous. Uriah’s JW would confess the same.

    The Apostle’s Creed is fascinating. I did a study once and it is about 120 words and you can make 110 theological, biblical and / or philosophical points out of those 120 words.

  11. Uriahisaliveandwell says:

    “Uriah’s JW would confess the same”

    Not sure what you are stating here. Nor do I want to derail the thread. My whole point of sharing was that of hearing from a person who believes their Jesus is the same as He who we find in scripture, not made in the image composed by Russell, et al.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jehovah%27s_Witnesses

  12. Uriahisaliveandwell says:

    Reread the whole statement: I would agree. Mormons will claim similar by using the same semantics, phrases, and vocabulary, but all speaks of an entirely different Jesus and gospel truths.

  13. Paul A. Lytton says:

    I would just like to make one comment I find a little odd. Many, many, many times I have heard pastors of all kinds of denominations state, “Jesus died in our place”. When I was young I wondered how that made sense. If Jesus died in my place, why will I still die? The part I never hear is the inclusion that, “Jesus died ‘without committing a single sin’ in our place.” I know that it is already well understood by already Christian people but I do not understand why “By living a full sinless life” is not used along with the phase, “Died for us”. Isn’t this the most important part of His human life?

  14. Paul,
    Theologically this is expressed in his active obedience (the perfect sinless life lived) and his passive obedience in accepting the Fathers judgment as his own.

    It is difficult to explain what all was involved in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus and just how much it covered and how we would explain that to others.

    In the end, I like what Luther said when he described the Christian as “piles of dung covered in gold. The remnants of remaining sin and the filthiness of the flesh still war with the Spirit” (Gal. 5:17) 🙂

  15. Paul A. Lytton says:

    MLD,

    Well and good but I still think that it would make more sense to the non-already-Christians to state what the “death” on our behalf was.

  16. Paul A. Lytton says:

    It was not just death, it was dying after a full life of NO sin. (which we can not do)

  17. Jean says:

    Paul,

    The author of the letter to the Hebrews knew the importance of what you’re saying:

    “For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.” Hebrews 9:13-14 ESV

    Jesus was without blemish (I.e., sin). Purifying the conscience is another way of saying regeneration.

  18. Paul A. Lytton says:

    To all: Sorry to have sidetracked from the thread.

  19. Paul,
    Perhaps it would be helpful if you would give a paragraph stating how you think this should be presented.

  20. Paul, it’s not a sidetrack at all.

  21. Paul A. Lytton says:

    Mld,

    I apologize, I do not state well.

    I would say, “Christ died your death” by phrasing it, “Christ died the way you can not. Living a full life without committing one sin.”

    In my opinion that would be easier understood by those we try to reach out to.

  22. Paul A. Lytton says:

    In other words, the mainstream person only understands death to be an end of life and there is no difference between Christ’s death and their death. That is, except for the hereafter, facing the wrath of God. Being able to face that wrath successfully is the death only Christ could/can do.

  23. Jean says:

    When the author speaks of Jesus being “over” the house, can we equate this with how St. Paul describes Jesus in Ephesians as the “cornerstone” of the “household of God” or “head” of the “church, his body”? They seem to be saying the same thing, although Hebrews is using that imagery for a different purpose.

  24. Paul A. Lytton says:

    Jean,

    What is the Hebrews different purpose.

    Honest question, I do not know.

  25. Jean says:

    Hi Paul,

    In Hebrews, the author is comparing Jesus (over the house) with Moses (in the house), not to put down Moses, but to demonstrate that Jesus is greater than Moses.

    In Ephesians, St. Paul proclaims Jesus as head of the Church his body, not in comparison or contrast to anything else. I think St. Paul’s purpose in Ephesians is to say that the church is Christ’s hands and feet on earth. Theologians refer to Christians as “masks of God” to our neighbors.

  26. Paul A. Lytton says:

    Hi Jean,

    Perhaps I am a mere simpleton, but isn’t Jesus being the head of the Church the same thing as Jesus being the head of Moses and his church? AND, the Church is the hands and feet of Christ after His Atonement?

  27. Jean says:

    Paul,
    You are basically correct, except that the Church (OT and NT) has always been the hands and feet of Christ.

  28. Paul A. Lytton says:

    Jean,

    Then I honestly do not see where the difference is.

    If you do not feel like answering I understand, I can be difficult to explain something to. Sorry for jumping in. I am sure that latter in the day when the pastors are done with their Sunday duty, they will be more able to converse with you.

  29. Jean says:

    Paul,
    No problem. There are 3 possible differences: (1) the audiences were different, so the terminology used was different to appeal to the audiences (Jews vs. Gentiles); (2) the authors were likely different, so they may have used different terminology; and (3) the arguments were different, so different emphases were made. For example, Moses was not an issue in the letter to the Ephesians.

    However, in terms of the substance of who Jesus is relative to the Church, Hebrews and Ephesians are complementary, not contradictory. So, I agree with you that regarding Jesus there is no material difference in his status within the letter to the Hebrews vs. the letter to the Ephesians.

    Does this help?

  30. Paul A. Lytton says:

    Jean,

    That makes sense to me.

    God bless you,
    Paul

  31. “you who share in a heavenly calling,”

    I left it undescribed in the article – but what is this heavenly calling – how do we share in it?

  32. Paul A. Lytton says:

    Isn’t the Heavenly Calling, the rapture of the Church? And the way it is shared is for the Church to spread the Gospel?

  33. I may get in trouble here, but what the heck. As I see no teaching of a rapture in scripture (I think it has been confused with the teachings of the resurrection – those in Thessalonica thought they had missed the resurrection that was taught in the OT, Jesus and now Paul)
    That perhaps I would substitute the resurrection of define this heavenly calling.

    However, it seems to be an entity that we now share in – as in our present time and the present time of church history and as I say, we share in, not something we share with others.

    I hate to admit, for such an important this to be called a Heavenly Calling, I don’t think I know what it is so I may be missing out on a promise or a call to duty.

  34. Em says:

    as i sit here, i think of references to “calling” … you see your calling, brethren, not many wise, noble after the flesh…
    seems to refer to those who are called 🙂
    the call is most certainly from heaven… thinking, thinking…. have to check this out as i never thought that it referred to anything other than the church, itself… hmmm

  35. Jean says:

    “but what is this heavenly calling – how do we share in it?”

    It’s interesting that some people who read “heavenly calling” first think of future hope or destination (i.e., heaven), while I myself first thought of source or being chosen (i.e., election language). Maybe it means both things.

    Here are a few other verses from the NT that convey similar thoughts. See what you think:

    “There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call” (Eph 4:4)

    “And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.” (Col 3:15)

    “but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct,” (1 Pet 1:15)

  36. Jean says:

    Sorry for the duplications. If deleting comments 36 and 37 is possible, that would be much appreciated Michael.

  37. Bob says:

    OK to understand the “calling” one must stop looking at just the single line of text as the beginning of chapter 3.

    This is the third “therefore” which began in Chapter 2 of Hebrews and the danger is to pull it out of the list and either use it as an introduction to Chapter 3 or to use it as a “proof” to something else.

    Let’s see:

    1. Therefore since the children share in flesh and blood, He himself likewise…

    2. Therefor He had to be made like His brethren in all things…

    3. Therefore. holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the…

    The first two are about how Jesus is flesh and blood, like humanity, and the third says as comparison describes His people.

    His people are:

    – Holy – Look up the word and the meaning basically is “set apart” from something else.
    – The people are holy, not because of something they did but because of a calling that comes from heaven and not from men.

    The question or statement might be more like this, “you, who are people, humans (think about how Jesus is compared in 1 and 2), flesh and blood, and are separated out because God called you and not because of something other men have done or said; consider Jesus…

    Being holy or separated out is a function done by God and if you are such people Jesus is your Apostle and High Priest because the one who appointed Him is the same one who appointed Moses.

    But the author does throw one thing into the mix, as one who is holy, and heavenly called Jesus is the Apostle and High Priest of our confession.

    If you are His then your confession is always about Him and not some other form of worship, practice or religious order.

    And as the theme of Hebrews continues, one can’t be in conflict with their religious practice and love.

    So is “heavenly calling” about the rapture in these texts? Only if one butchers their context.

  38. Bob,
    Thanks for reinforcing my very first point in the article – go back and see why the therefores and there for.

    Whatever the heavenly calling is (and I am sure the readers / listeners of that day knew) it surely was something for believers only and that they were presently partaking of it.

    “So is “heavenly calling” about the rapture in these texts? Only if one butchers their context.”
    Well, that’s how the rapture teaching came about so that may be a hemeneutical tool for some. 😉

  39. em,
    “have to check this out as i never thought that it referred to anything other than the church, itself… hmmm”

    What would it be if not the church?

  40. Bob says:

    MLD:

    I personal feel Hebrews is written primarily to a Jewish audience and they would understand the heavenly calling as possibly being from that day at the mountain where God spoke to them as a group and then eventually through Moses.

    It seems to me the on-going theme of Hebrews is about the urge to return to the comfortable practices while the author continually points out the peril of doing so. It’s not about being a Jew or not it’s about saying Jesus is Lord and then practicing like He’s not.

    While there’s a lot still to go the application for we “gentile” readers (with very little understand of how the readers of the day would hear these words) is how we live out our “heavenly calling” today. Will we practice like our old man or will we live like “holy” separated out people?

    Since most of us aren’t related to Moses any closer than watching Charlton Heston on the big screen, the difficult question in application is which things in our past practices (I would bet not one of us every killed a lamb for sacrifice) can be compared to the issues in this text. What parts of our “old man” are we to lay aside and live in the heavenly call and our confession?

    So maybe the real question we might ask ourselves is this; “What did we or do we rely upon so we can approach God?” If the answer is a bit slippery then maybe our confession really isn’t in Jesus.

  41. Jean says:

    “So maybe the real question we might ask ourselves is this; “What did we or do we rely upon so we can approach God?” If the answer is a bit slippery then maybe our confession really isn’t in Jesus.”

    Great question. What do we look for in a church? Why do we go to church? What do we consider worship? All related.

  42. Bob,
    “It seems to me the on-going theme of Hebrews is about the urge to return to the comfortable practices while the author continually points out the peril of doing so.”

    This has been my stated assumption from the very first lesson, that this is a congregation or a grouping of congregations made up of former Jews, now Christians, who because of the difficulties living in their culture of now being outward witnesses to Jesus Christ. What is happening at this time is that their knees are beginning to buckle, the realities of life are overtaking their faith. In my scenario, some have already left, return to the shell of temple judaism with the thinking – “what could be bad, this is what our people have been taught for the past 1,400 yrs. Surely in the end, Jesus may be the messiah to the genetils, but all roads lead to Rome.

    The next group is thinking of leaving – they have one foot out the door, and the third group are the ones who get it and they have called in this high powered, well respect former Jewish now Christian apostle type … I think Barnabas, to tell these people why this shell of temple judaism is not a substitute for Christianity. In fact, it not a 2nd choice, it is not even a choice and will end in their ruin – the loss of their salvation as a total rejection of Jesus on the cross and Jesus’ work as their high priest.

    To put it in today’s language, he would say judaism is a losing option.

  43. Jean says:

    MLD,

    To your #42, people do that today. Maybe it’s not back to the Temple, but on to that soccer scholarship that takes precedence over Sunday worship, or to some other spirituality which is life “changing”.

  44. Em says:

    calling certainly implies occupation here, does it not? as our favorite Lutheran likes to point out – as i understand him – whatever your vocation, it is your calling, your service to God

  45. Michael says:

    A little help on the “heavenly calling”…

    This second phrase is governed by the adjective metochos, used as a noun meaning “partner,” “companion,” “partaker,” or “co-sharer.” It can also be rendered as a participle to bring out the active idea inherent in the meaning of the word: “sharing in a heavenly calling.”386 The word is something of a technical term for believers who have responded to God’s salvation call.387 It was used at 1:9 in the quotation from Ps 45:7, and the verb form metechō was used at 2:14 for Christ’s sharing in humanity’s “flesh and blood.”388 It describes participation in some common blessing or privilege; the bond of union lies in that which is shared, and not in the persons themselves.389
    The believers share in a “heavenly calling.” The adjective epouranios (“heavenly”) describes the nature of the calling; it has a heavenly source and a heavenly nature, so it comes from God.390 The genitive noun klēsis (“calling”) tells what believers partake of: they share a heavenly calling.391 Whether the author’s intent was to suggest the call was from heaven, to heaven,392 or both is really a moot point since neither the text nor the context specifies the intended meaning and since both are true theologically. It is difficult to be too specific here, but the heavenly calling may be identified with the “great salvation” of 2:3 or the glorious destiny of man in 2:7–10. It is heavenly in origin in that it is from God, it is heavenly in quality, and it is heavenly in purpose in that it leads us to God.393 This phrase (“share … calling”) further describes the “holy brethren” and serves to remind the readers of their high calling and their responsibility to it. There is a back reference to 1:1; 2:3, 11 as well.394

    Allen, D. L. (2010). Hebrews (p. 238). Nashville, TN: B & H Publishing Group.

  46. Michael,
    You post above is why I left the description of Heavenly Calling unsaid. Your guy doesn’t say what it is either.
    “Whether the author’s intent was to suggest the call was from heaven, to heaven,392 or both is really a moot point since neither the text nor the context specifies the intended meaning and since both are true theologically. It is difficult to be too specific here,…”

    Perhaps it was a play on words back in that day – something the author could use that would only catch the attention of these soon to be wayward congregants.

  47. Michael says:

    MLD,

    Perhaps…I see it as a calling to participate in the mission of Christ…it preaches well. 🙂

  48. Bob says:

    “To put it in today’s language, he would say judaism is a losing option.”

    I would think the author is not saying, “don’t be a Jew” he might be saying, “the killing of animals” is finished.

    Because so very few of us sacrifice animals for forgiveness of sin, the application has to be much broader than that today.However, if it’s all about to Jewish practice or not then Hebrews has a very narrow focus and really isn’t worthy for people to read today. I think not.

  49. Bob,
    The application for us today is the same – and our friend Jean pointed it out. What will you leave Jesus for? Surely it’s just as good and God pleasing to not go to church and go to Joey’s soccer game. Do you not know the pressure we face if we say we cannot participate because we must go to church?

    The folks addressed by the writer were going to toss it all, everything Jesus to go back to where they would not face hostility. He is not trying to persuade them – he is laying out the case – Follow Life or Follow Death.

  50. Michael – your #47 may be correct. I just find it surprising he wasn’t more clear to us 2,000 yrs later. But, it was written to them primarily and I am reading their mail. 😉

  51. Michael says:

    MLD,

    I hear you…I think it has one of those “near/far” applications…

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