EHSV Hebrews (Annotated Edition)

Translation by Daniel Gregg

Hebrews 1

The Author's Teaching On Revelation
1 In many ways, and in many man­ners, the Al­mĭgh­ty spoke of old, to the fathers, in the prophets, about these last days. He spoke to us by a Sŏn, whom he designates heir of all things, through whom also he made the ages.
3 Who being the radiance of his glory, and the exact representation of his nature, and upholding all things by the word of his power, having made cleansing of sin, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, as one who is so much better than the messengers, as he has inherited a more excellent Name than they. For to which of the messengers did he at some time say, “You are my Sŏn, today I have begotten you.” And again, “I will be a Fă­ther to him and he will be a Sŏn to me?”
6 And again, whenever he may bring the Firstborn into the inhabited earth, he would say, “And let all the messengers of the Al­mĭgh­ty wor­ship him.” And about the messengers he would say, “Who makes his messengers spirits, and his mini­sters a flame of fire.”
8 But to the Sŏn, “Your throne, Al­mĭgh­ty, is to time immemorial and onward, and the righteous scepter is the scepter of his king­dom. You have loved justice and hated lawlessness; therefore the Al­mĭgh­ty, your Al­mĭgh­ty, hath anointed you with the oil of glad­ness above your companions.”
10 10 And, “You, Yahweh, in the beginning did lay the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the works of your hands; 11 They will perish, but you remain; and they all will become old as a garment, 12 And as a mantle you wilt roll them up; as a garment they will also be changed. But you are the same, and your years will not come to an end.” 13 But to which of the messengers has he ever said, “Remain sitting at my right hand, while I make thine enemies a footstool for your feet?” 14 Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?

Hebrews 2

The Author's Warning
1 For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away. For if the word spoken through mes­sen­gers was confirmed, and every trans­gression and disobedience re­ceived a just recompense, how will we escape neglecting such great sal­vation which at the beginning was received through Adŏ­nai, being con­firmed to us by those hearing him,  bearing witness for the Al­mĭgh­ty, both in signs and wonders and in many miracles and in distribution of the Holy Spĭr­it according to his own will.
Earth To Be Subject To The Son Of Man
5 For he did not subject to messengers the inhabited world to come, concerning which we are speaking. But one has testified somewhere, say­ing, What is man, that you re­mem­ber him? Or the Sŏn of man, that you are concerned about him? You have made him for a little while lower than the mes­sen­gers; you have crowned him with glory and honor, and have appointed him over the works of your hands; You have put all things in subjection under his feet. For in subjecting all things to him, he left nothing that is not subject to him. But now we do not yet see all things subjected to him.
Yeshua Briefly Humbled
9 But we do see Yeshua a little lower than the messengers crowned with glory and honor. Such is how by the loving-kindness of the Al­mĭgh­ty he might taste death for everyone.
10 10 For it was fitting for him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to “perfect”, the leader of their salvation through sufferings. 11 For both the sanctifier and those being sanctified are all from one; for which reason he is not ashamed to call them brethren, 12 say­ing, I will proclaim your name to my brothers; in the midst of the con­gregation I will sing your praise. 13 And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold, I and the children whom Yăh­weh has given me. 14 Since then the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death he might render power­less him who had the power of death, that is, the Accuser; 15 and might deliver those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives. 16 For assuredly he does not give help to “messengers”, but he takes hold of the seed of Abraham. 17 Therefore, he had to be likened to his brethren in all things, that he might become a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to the Al­mĭgh­ty, to expiate, the sins of the people. 18 For in that he suffered himself, as tested, he is able to help those being tested.

Hebrews 3

The Author Makes Yeshua The High Priest
1 Therefore, holy brethren, par­takers of a heavenly calling, look to Yeshua, the Emissary and High Priest of our confession. He was faithful to him who appointed him, as also “Moses was in all His house.” For he has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, by just so much as the builder of the house has more honor than the house. For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is the Al­mĭgh­ty. Now Moses was faith­ful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken later, but Messiah is faithful as a Sŏn over His house whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end.
7 Therefore, just as the Holy Spĭr­it says: Today if you hear his voice, Do not harden your hearts as when they provoked me, as in the day of trial in the wilderness, Where your fathers tried me by testing me, and saw my works for forty years. 10 There­fore I was angry with this gen­eration, and said, ‘They always go astray in their heart; and they did not know my ways’; 11 As I swore in my wrath, ‘They will not enter my rest.’
The Danger of Disobedience
12 12 Take care, brethren, lest there should be in any one of you an evil, distrusting heart, in falling away from the living Al­mĭgh­ty. 13 But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we have become partakers of Messiah, if we hold fast the beginning of confidence firm until the end; 15 while it is said, Today if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts, as when they provoked me. 16 For certain ones, hearing, bitterly provoked! (But not all those who came out of Egypt through Moses.) 17 And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did he swear that they should not enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient? 19 And so we see that they were not able to enter because of unfaithfulness.

Hebrews 4

The Author Redefines The Sabbath
1 Therefore, let us fear lest, while a promise remains of entering his rest, any one of you should seem to have come short of it. For indeed we have had good news announced to us, just as they also, but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united with trust in those who heard. For as ones who trust, we do enter that rest, just as he has said, “As I swore in my wrath, they will not enter my rest,” and yet his works have existed from the beginning of the world. For he said about that place concerning the seventh day, “And the Al­mĭgh­ty res­ted on the seventh day from all his works,” and again in this passage, “They will not enter my rest.”
6 When therefore it is remaining for some to enter it, (and those who formerly had good news preached to them failed to enter because of disobedience). He again fixes a certain day today, saying through Daυi̱d after so long a time just as has been said before, “Today if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” For if Yehōshū‘a had given them rest, he would not have spoken of another rest after those days. There remains therefore a Sabbath rest for the people of the Al­mĭgh­ty. 10 For the one who enters his rest himself also rests from his works, just as, the Al­mĭgh­ty from his own. 11 Let us hurry then to enter that rest, lest anyone should fall into the same example of disobedience. 12 For the word of the Al­mĭgh­ty is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from his sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of him with whom we have to do.
14 14 Since then we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Yeshua the Al­mĭgh­ty Sŏn, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who is tested in every way, in every manner, without sin. 16 We will therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of kind­ness, wherein we will receive mercy and may find loving kindness for timely help.

Hebrews 5

Author's Opinion On The Priesthood
1 For every high priest being taken from among men is appointed on behalf of men in things pertaining to the Al­mĭgh­ty, in order to offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins; he can deal gently with the ignorant and misguided, since he himself also is beset with weakness; and because of it he is obligated to offer sacrifices for sins, as for the people, so also for himself. And no one receives the honor to himself, unless he is called by the Al­mĭgh­ty, even as Aaron was. Likewise even the Mĕs­si­ah did not glorify himself so as to become a High Priest, but he who said to him, You are my Sŏn, today I have begotten you; just as he says also in another passage, You are a minister to time imme­morial according to the manner of Melchizedek.
7 In the days of his flesh, he offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save him from death, even as one who is heard because of piety. Although he was the Sŏn, he learned submission from the things which he suffered. And as one who is complete, he becomes to all those who submit to him a cause of everlasting salvation, 10 being addressed by the Al­mĭgh­ty as a High minister according to the manner of Mel­chi­zedek. 11 Con­cerning him we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. 12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the sayings of the Al­mĭgh­ty, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. 13 For everyone partaking of milk only, is inexperienced in the word of right­eousness, for he is an infant. 14 But solid food is for the perfect, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.

Hebrews 6

The Author Denies A Second Repentance
1 Therefore leaving the ele­men­tary teaching about the Mĕs­si­ah, let us press on to perfection, not laying again a foundation of repen­tance from dead works and of trust toward the Al­mĭgh­ty, of instruction about washings, and laying on of hands, and the resurrection of the dead, and everlasting judgment. And this we will do, if the Al­mĭgh­ty permits.
4 For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spĭr­it, and have tasted the good word of the Al­mĭgh­ty and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Al­mĭgh­ty Sŏn, and put him to open shame. For ground that drinks the rain which often falls upon it and brings forth vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is also tilled, receives a blessing from the Al­mĭgh­ty; but if it yields thorns and thistles, it is worthless and close to being cursed, and it ends up being burned.
The Author Reassures His Audience
9 But, beloved, we are con­vinced of better things concerning you, and things that accompany salvation, though we are speaking in this way. 10 For the Al­mĭgh­ty is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward his name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the holy ones. 11 And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end, 12 that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through confidence and patience inherit the promises. 13 For when the Al­mĭgh­ty made the promise to Abraham, since he could swear by no one greater, he swore by himself, 14 saying, I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply you. 15 And thus, having patiently waited, he obtained the promise. 16 For men swear by one greater than themselves, and with them an oath given as confirmation is an end of every dispute. 17 In the same way the Al­mĭgh­ty, desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of his purpose, interposed with an oath, 18 in order that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for the Al­mĭgh­ty to lie, we may have strong encouragement, we who have fled for refuge in laying hold of the Hope set before us. 19 This Hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a Hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, 20 where Yeshua has entered as a fore­runner for us, having become a High Priest to time immemorial accord­ing to the manner of Mel­chi­zedek.

Hebrews 7

Author's Midrash On Melchizedek
1 For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the God Most High, who met Abraham as he was returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, to whom also Abraham appor­tioned a tenth part of all the spoils, was first of all, by the translation of his name, “king of righteousness”, and then also king of Salem, which is king of peace. without patriarchy, without matriarchy, (without pedi­gree), having neither beginning of days nor a life end, but being likened to the Al­mĭgh­ty Sŏn, he abides a priest perpetually.
4 Now observe how great this man was to whom Abraham, the patriarch, gave a tenth of the choicest spoils. And those indeed of the sons of Levi who receive the priest’s office have commandment in the Law to collect a tenth from the people, that is, from their brethren, although these are descended from Abraham. But the one whose genealogy is not traced from them collected a tenth from Abraham, and blessed the one who had the promises. But without any dispute the lesser is blessed by the greater. But in hither case mortal men receive tithes, and in thither case one receives them, of whom it is witnessed that he lives on. And, in a word, through Abraham even Levi, who received tithes, paid tithes, 10 for he was still in the loins of his father when Melchizedek met him.
11 11 Now if perfection was through the Levitical priesthood (for by it the people received instruction), what further need was there for another priest to arise according to the manner of Melchizedek, and not be designated according to the manner of Aaron? 12 For when the priesthood is changed, of necessity there takes place a change of law also. 13 For the one concerning whom these things are spoken belongs to another tribe, from which no one has officiated at the altar. 14 For it is evident that our Adŏ­nai was descended from Judah, a tribe with reference to which Moses spoke nothing concerning priests. 15 And this is clearer still, if another priest arises (according to the likeness of Melchizedek) 16 who has become a priest not according to a law of fleshly commandment, but according to the power of an indestructible life.
17 17 For it is witnessed of him, You are a minister to time imme­mo­ri­al according to the manner of Melchizedek. 18 For, on the one hand, there is a setting aside of a former commandment because of its weakness and uselessness 19 (for the Law made nothing perfect), and on the other hand there is a bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to the Al­mĭgh­ty. 20 And inasmuch as it was not without an oath.
21 21 For they indeed became priests without an oath, but he with an oath through the One who said to him, Yăh­weh has sworn and will not change his mind, ‘You are a minister to time imme­mo­rial.’ 22 And so much the more also Yĕ­shua has become the guarantee of a better covenant. 23 And the former priests, on the one hand, existed in greater numbers, because they were prevented by death from continuing, 24 but he, on the other hand, because he abides to the time immemorial, holds his priesthood per­manently. 25 Hence, also, he is able to save completely those who draw near to the Al­mĭgh­ty through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.
26 26 For it was fitting that we should have such a High priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens; 27 who does not need, daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people, because this he did once for all when he offered up himself. 28 For the Law appoints men as High priests who are weak, but the saying of the oath, which came after the Law, appoints a Sŏn, made perfect to the time immemorial.

Hebrews 8

The Author Is Against The Temple Service
1 Now the main point in what has been said is this: we have such a High priest who has taken his “seat at the right hand” of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens,
2 a servant in the sanctuary, and in the true tabernacle, which Yăh­weh pitched, not man.
3 For every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices; hence it is necessary that this High priest also have something to offer. Now if he were on earth, he would not be a priest at all, since there are those who offer the gifts according to the Law; which serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things, just as Moses was warned, when he was about to erect the tabernacle; for, “See,” he says, that you make all things according to the pattern which was shown you on the mountain. But now he has obtained a different ministry, by as much as he is also the mediator of a better will, which has been legislated on better promises.
Faulting The Covenant With Israel, The Author Equates It With A Will
7 For if that first will was fault­less, there would have been no occa­sion sought for a second. For find­ing fault with them, he says, Be­hold, the days are coming, says Yăhwēh, when I will effect a new will with the house of Yisra’ēl and with the house of Yehūdah; not according to the will (which I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt) [be­cause they did not continue in my will, and I did not care for them,] says Yăh­weh. 10 For this is the will that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says Yă­h­weh: I will put my laws into their minds, and I will write them upon their hearts. And I will be their Al­mĭgh­ty, and they will be my people. 11 And they will not teach everyone his fellow citizen, and everyone his bro­ther, saying, ‘Know Yăh­weh,’ For all will know me, from the least to the greatest of them. 12 For I will be merciful to their iniquities, and I will re­mem­ber their sins no more.
13 13 When he said, “A new will,” he has made the first old. But what­ever is becoming old also grow­ing aged is nearer disap­pear­ance.

Hebrews 9

Mistaken Locations Items in the Sanctuary
1 Now even the first testament had regulations of divine wor­ship and the earthly sanctuary. For there was a tabernacle prepared, the outer one, in which was the menorah and the table and the sacred bread; this is called the holy place. And behind the second veil, there was a tabernacle which is called the Holy of Holies, having a golden altar of incense, and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, in which was a golden jar holding the manna, and Aaron’s rod which bud­ded, and the tables of the cove­nant.  And above it were the cherubim of glory over­shadow­ing the mercy seat; but of these things we cannot now speak in detail.
6 Now when these things have been thus prepared, the priests are continually entering the outer taber­nacle, performing the divine worship, but into the second only the high priest enters, once a year, not without taking blood, which he brings for him­self and for the sins of the people committed in ignorance.
8 This clarifying by the Holy Spĭr­it indicates that the way into the holiest place was not yet revealed, while the first tabernacle was still standing, which is a symbol for the present time. Accordingly both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make the worshiper perfect in conscience, 10 since they relate only to food and drink and various wash­ings, regulations for the body im­posed until a time of re­for­ma­tion. 11 But when Mĕs­si­ah ap­peared as a high priest of the good things to come, he entered through the greater and more perfect taber­nacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation; 12 and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through his own blood, he entered the holy place once for all, having ob­tained everlasting redemp­tion.
13 13 For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprink­ling those who have been defiled, sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, 14 how much more will the blood of Mĕs­si­ah, who through the everlasting Spĭr­it offered himself without ble­mish to the Al­mĭgh­ty, cleanse your con­science from dead works to serve the living Al­mĭgh­ty?
15 15 And for this reason he is the mediator of a new will, in order that since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first will, those who have been called may re­ceive the promise of the everlasting inheritance. 16 Because where a will is, there must of necessity be the death of the one who made it. 17 For a testament is valid only when men are dead, because it is never in force while the one who made it lives.
18 18 Therefore even the first will was not inaugurated without blood. 19 For when every commandment was spoken by Moses to all the people according to the Law, he took the blood of the calves and the goats, with water and scarlet wool and hys­sop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, 20 saying, “This is the blood of the covenant which the Al­mĭgh­ty commands you.”
21 21 And in the same way he sprinkled both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry with the blood. 22 And according to the Law, almost, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. 23 There­fore it was necessary for the copies of the things in the heavens to be cleansed with these, but the hea­ven­ly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.
24 24 For Mĕs­si­ah did not enter a holy place made with hands, a copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of the Al­mĭgh­ty for us; 25 nor was it that he should offer himself often, as the high priest enters the holy place year by year with blood not his own. 26 Otherwise, he would have needed to suffer often since the down fall¹ of the world; but now once at the consummation of the ages he has been manifested to abolish sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 And inas­much as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment, 28 so Mĕs­si­ah also, having been of­fered once to “take away the sins of many,” will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await him.

Hebrews 10

The Author Attacks The Temple Service
1 For the Law, since it has a shadow of the good things to come and not the image of matters, can never by the same sac­rifices year by year, which they offer continually, make perfect those who draw near.
10 Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, because the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have had consciousness of sins? But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins year by year.
4 For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
5 Therefore, when he comes into the world, he says: “Sacrifice and offering you hast not desired, but a body you have prepared for me; In whole-ascending sacrifice and sacrifice for sin you have taken no pleasure.” So I said, ‘behold, I have come (in the roll of the book it is written of me) to do your will, O Al­mĭgh­ty...[your Law is with­in my heart.]’
8 After saying above, Sac­rifices and offerings and whole­ascending sacrifices even for sin you have not desired, nor hast you taken pleasure in them (which are offered according to the Law), then he said, Behold, I have come to do your will, ...[O Al­mĭgh­ty, your Law is within my heart.]
9b 9b He takes away the first in order to establish the second. † 10 By this will we have been sanctified through the sacrifice of the body of Yĕ­shua the Mĕs­si­ah once for all. 11 And, on the one hand every priest stands, daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; † 12 but on the other hand he, having offered one sacrifice for sins to be the continual, sat down at the right hand of the Al­mĭgh­ty, 13 henceforth waiting while his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet.
14 14 For by one offering he has perfected as the continual those who are sanctified. 15 And the Holy Spĭr­it also bears witness to us; for after saying,
16 16 This is the will that I will make with them after those days, says Yăh­weh: I will put my laws upon their heart, and upon their mind I will write them, [and I will be to them as Al­mĭgh­ty, and they will be for me as people.
16b 16b And they will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know Yăh­weh,’ for they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares Yăh­weh] he then says, 17 “And [I will forgive] their sins, and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”
18 18 Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin.
Author's Premature Sanctification
19 19 Since therefore, brethren, we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Yĕ­shua , 20 by a recent and living way which he dedicated for us through the veil, that is, his flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of the Al­mĭgh­ty,
22 22 let us draw near with a sincere heart in full certainty of confidence, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
23 23 Let us hold fast the con­fes­sion of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is trustworthy; 24 and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, 25 not forsaking our own Arch-synagogue, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more, as you see the day drawing near.
The Author Mischaracterizes The Law
26 26 For if we go on sinning will­fully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,
27 27 but a certain terrifying ex­pectation of judgment, and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries.
28 28 Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot Al­mĭgh­ty Sŏn, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spĭr­it of grace?
30 30 For we know him who said, Vengeance is Mine, I will repay. And again, Yăh­weh will judge his people. 31 It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living Al­mĭgh­ty. 32 But remember the former days, when, after being enlightened, you endured a great conflict of sufferings, 33 partly, by being made a public spectacle through reproaches and tribulations, and partly by becoming sharers with those who were so treated. 34 For you showed sympathy to the prisoners, and accepted joyfully the seizure of your property, knowing that you have for yourselves a better possession and an abiding one. 35 Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. 36 For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of the Al­mĭgh­ty, you may receive what was promised.
37 37 For yet in a very very little while, the one coming will come, and will not delay. 38 But my righteous one will live by faithful trust and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.
39 39 But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have trust to the pre­serving of the soul.

Hebrews 11

The Author Redefines Being Trustingly Faithful To Mere Trust
1 Now a trust is the substance of things hoped for, the guarantee of things not seen. For by it the men of old gained approval. By trust we understand that the aeons were prepared by the word of the Al­mĭgh­ty, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible. By trust, Hev̱el offered to the Al­mĭgh­ty a better sacrifice than Qayin, through which he obtained the test­imony that he was righteous, the Al­mĭgh­ty testifying about his gifts, and through it, though he is dead, he still speaks.
5 By trust Ḥanōḳ was taken up so that he should not see death; and he was not found because the Al­mĭgh­ty took him up, because he obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to the Al­mĭgh­ty. And without trusting it is impossible to please him, because by trust­ing one needs to make the approach to the Al­mĭgh­ty, that he is, and that he is a rewarder of those who seek him. By trust Nōâḥ, being warned by the Al­mĭgh­ty about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he con­demned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to trust.
8 By trust A̕v̱ra­ham, when he was called, listened by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going. By trust he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Yitsḥaq and Ya‘aqōv̱, fellow heirs of the same promise; 10 because he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is the Al­mĭgh­ty. 11 By trust even Sarah herself received ability to conceive, even beyond the proper time of life, since she considered him faithful who had promised; 12 therefore, also, there was born of one man, and him as good as dead at that, as many descendants as the stars of heaven in number, and innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore.
13 13 All these died in trust, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a dis­tance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. 14 For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. 15 And indeed if they were thinking of that one from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But as it is, they desire a better one, that is a heavenly one. Therefore the Al­mĭgh­ty is not ashamed to be called their Al­mĭgh­ty, because he has prepared a city for them.
17 17 By trust A̕v̱raham, when he was tested, offered up Yitsḥaq; and he who had received the promises was offering up his only special one, 18  con­cerning whom it was said, “In Yitsḥaq your descendants will be called.” 19 He considered that the Al­mĭgh­ty is able to resurrect even from the dead; from which he also received him back as a type.
20 20 By trust Yitsḥaq blessed Ya‘aqōv̱ and Ē‘saυ, even regarding things to come. 21 By trust Ya‘aqōv̱, as he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Yōsēf, and bowed down on the top of his staff. 22 By trust Yōsēf, when he was dying, made mention of the Exodus of the sons of Yisra’ēl, and gave orders concerning his bones. 23 By trust Mōshēh, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw he was a beautiful child; and they were not afraid of the king’s edict. 24 By trust Mōshēh, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; 25 choosing rather to endure ill-treat­ment with the people of the Al­mĭgh­ty, than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin; 26 considering the reproach of the Mĕs­si­ah greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward. 27 By trust he left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing him who is unseen. 28 By trust he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of the blood, so that he who destroyed the first-born might not touch them. 29 By trust they passed through the Red Sea as though they were passing through dry land; and the Egyptians, when they attempted it, were drowned. 30 By trust the walls of Yeri̱ḥō fell down, after they were encircled for seven days. 31 By trust Raḥav̱ the harlot did not perish along with those who were disobedient, after she had wel­comed the spies in peace.
32 32 And what more will I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gid‘ōn, Baraq, Shimshōn, Yiphtaḥ, of Daυi̱d and Shemū’ēl and the prophets, 33 who by trust conquered kingdoms, performed acts of justice, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, 34 quench­ed the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weak­ness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. 35 Women received back their dead by resurrection; and others were tor­tured, not accepting their release, in order that they might obtain a better resurrection; 36 and others expe­rienced mockings and scourgings, yes, also chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goat­skins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated 38 (men of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in de­serts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground. 39 And all these, having gained approval through their trust, did not receive what was promised, 40 because the Al­mĭgh­ty had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they should not be made perfect.

Hebrews 12

The Author's Exhortations
1 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Yĕ­shua, the author and perfecter of the faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Al­mĭgh­ty. For consider him who has endured such hostility by sinners against himself, so that you may not grow weary and lose heart.
A Father's Discipline
4 You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin; and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons, My son, do not regard lightly the dis­cipline of Yăh­weh, nor faint when you are reproved by him; For those whom Yăh­weh loves he dis­ciplines, and he scourges every son whom he receives. It is for discipline that you endure; the Al­mĭgh­ty deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.
9 Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Fă­ther of spirits, and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. 11 All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterward it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.
12 12 Therefore, strength­en the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, 13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed. 14 Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see Adŏ­nai. 15 See to it that no one comes short of the grace of the Al­mĭgh­ty; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled; 16 that there be no immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal. 17 For you know that even afterwards, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought for it with tears.
The Author Neglects The Theophany Of Yeshua On Mount Sinai
18 18 For you have not approached what is handled, that is to a blazing fire, and to darkness and gloom and whirlwind, 19 and to the blast of a trumpet and the sound of words which those who heard begged that no further word should be spoken to them. 20 For they could not bear the command, If even a beast touches the mountain, it will be stoned. 21 And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I am full of fear and trembling.
22 22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living Al­mĭgh­ty, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, 23 to the assembly of the first-born enrolled in heaven, and to the Al­mĭgh­ty Judge of all, and to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, 24 and to Yĕ­shua, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than Abel’s.
Author's Gnostic View Of The Kingdom
25 25 See to it that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if those did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape who turn away from him who warns from heaven. 26 And his voice shook the earth then, but now it has been promised, saying, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth, but also the heaven.” 27 And this expression, “Yet once more,” denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things, in order that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.
28 28 Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to the Al­mĭgh­ty an acceptable service with reverence and awe, 29 because our Al­mĭgh­ty is a consuming fire.

Hebrews 13

1 Let love of the brethren continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it. Remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them, and those who are ill-treated, since you yourselves also are in the body.
4 Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers the Al­mĭgh­ty will judge. Let your character be free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for he himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,” so that we confidently say, “Yăh­weh is my help­er, I will not be afraid. What will man do to me?”
7 Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of the Al­mĭgh­ty to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith. Yĕ­shua Mĕs­si­ah is the same yester­day and today, yes and to time im­memorial. Do not be carried away by varied and strange teach­ings; for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, through which those who were thus occupied were not benefited. 10 We have an altar, from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat. 11 For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy place by the high priest as an offering for sin, are burned outside the camp. 12 Therefore Yĕ­shua also, that he might sanctify the people through his own blood, suffered outside the gate. 13 Hence, let us go out to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. 14 For here we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking the city which is to come. 15 Through him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to the Al­mĭgh­ty, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to his name. 16 And do not neglect doing good and sharing; for with such sacrifices the Al­mĭgh­ty is pleased.
17 17 Obey your leaders, and submit to them; for they keep watch over your souls, as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you. 18 Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a good conscience, desiring to conduct ourselves honorably in all things. 19 And I urge you all the more to do this, that I may be restored to you the sooner.
20 20 Now the Al­mĭgh­ty of peace, who lead up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep with the blood of the everlasting covenant, even Yĕ­shua our Adŏ­nai, 21 equip you in every good thing to do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Yĕ­shua the Mĕs­si­ah, to whom be the glory onward the times most immemorial of the times most immemorial. Amæn. 22 But I urge you, brethren, bear with this word of exhortation, for I have written to you briefly. 23 Take notice that our brother Timothy has been released, with whom, if he comes soon, I will see you. 24 Greet all of your leaders and all the saints. Those from Italy greet you. 25 Grace be with you all.

Commentary Notes


Many have been discovering this page lately, not because I have been especially promoting it, but because its critics have been promoting it. It is amazing how those things happen. In any case, there are certain prerequisites necessary to understanding my position on Hebrews. The first is that Paul himself needs to be correctly explained and translated so that it is evident that he is not anti-Torah (Law). And I would point most readers in that positive direction on the books that Paul actually wrote. The second is that the same tools that solve Paul fail to solve Hebrews. It is really the contrast between the vindication of Paul and that the same language and context tools applied to Hebrews fail to vindicate Hebrews.

In this brief introduction, I should also point out that critics have frequently been criticizing my remarks on Gnosticism and the author. What they are not getting, and I hope they can get it from this remark is that proving Hebrews does not belong in the canon, and using that result to estimate the real thinking of the author are two different things. I cover both in the commentary. To understand the thinking of the author, or make a good estimate of it requires accepting that the book is not canonical, and that the author’s thinking is not necessarily orthodox. Of course the critics do not accept the prerequisite that the book is not canonical in order to appreciate this part of the discussion! Yet they tend to ignore the main arguments against the book, and they focus instead on my remarks on the author’s real thinking. That is perhaps because they want pick on the weakest statements they can in order to judge the whole in the estimation of their audiences. Yes, my conclusions about the author’s thinking are among the weaker conclusions, but really they are not germain to an “argument” with the critics who are ignoring the factual problems. I have a list of these in a later section.

The Real History of Hebrews

i:1† ^Little known among Christians today is the fact that Hebrews was widely rejected in the western Church, and not accepted as canonical. The western Church consisted of the Latin and Greek speaking Christians living in Gaal, Italy, North Africa, and Asia Minor. The Western Church was generally steadfast in its rejection of the book, and early Church Fathers, such as Irenaeus of Lyons and canonical lists, like the canon of Muratori attest to its rejection. The Church of Alexandria was the earliest exception, which regarded Paul as the author, and the style differences were explained away by claiming the book was written in Hebrew, and then translated later by a disciple of Paul into a very un-Pauline Alexandrian Greek.

Other than a few localities in the western Church, it was only generally accepted by the Church of Alexandria. As for the Church of the East, I have not yet determined exactly when Hebrews first shows up, but it is much later than in the Western Church. It is not surprising that Hebrews was accepted by the non-Greek speaking Syriac Church of the East. It appears to simply have followed the lead of the Western Church after Jerome and Augustine. The book was not written in that region or language, but in the western half of Asia Minor or Italy, in the region of the western Church, probably by an Alexandrian Jew between AD 96 and 130. It’s destination was to the anti-Clementine faction in Rome, where the author knew it would be forwarded to other locations. Perhaps, the Syriac Church accepted the book, at the earliest, after the Bar Kochba revolt because they were told it was written by Paul, but they would have been lied to, and beyond being culpable of believing the liar (by the 5th or 6th century), unlike the Western Church, they were not in a position to verify the provenance of the book. Modern Scholars, however, have been in a position to analyze the book with a knowledge of Greek, and have concluded that Paul did not write the book, and even the Church of Alexandria confessed that Paul had not written the Greek. There are dissenting scholars (e.g. R.C. Sproul), of course, but these are clearly driven by the dogmatic positions of Churches unwilling to submit to the scientific evidence, or give up the unique anti-torah doctrines in the book.

The ancient question of the canonicity of Hebrews stood or fell on the question of Pauline authorship. Those believing Paul wrote it accepted it. Those knowing Paul did not write it rejected it. After the fourth century, however, canonicity was made to depend on Church authority rather than valid tests of canonicity. The Church was made to accept the book after Jerome and Augustine threw their weight behind it. And they both rejected the Law, and so were unqualified to make a determination. They also both called many other books Scripture, which have since been proven to be unqualified for the canon, which are not now accepted. We should keep that in mind when it comes to regarding either Jerome or Augustine as authorities. It may be stated that no qualified authority passed a favorable judgment on the book of Hebrews until the time of the Reformation, and even Martin Luther did not like the book! The Church today simply eating the lie of a dogmatic tradition.

Really, Hebrews is the only truly anti-Law book in the NT. It cannot be reconciled with the authority of the Torah by re-interpretation, or the prophets (cf. Jer. 33:17-22) by any means. Accepting the book puts one into a situation of circular reasoning. Hebrews is canonical, and therefore the Levitical Code is abolished, or the Levitical Code is abolished, and therefore Hebrews is canonical because those wanting the abolition of the law need the book as their main argument, and indeed by an anonymous author, proven not to be Paul. That is some basis for an anti-Sinai to be rid of the true Mt. Sinai.

As a result Pauline authorship was taken for granted after Jerome and Augustine until the time of the Reformation, when a more scientific approach opened up, and the reformers began to think about and apply some true principles of canonization in an effort to eliminate other wrongly canonized books of the Roman Church. This effort, however, was cut short, as Church tradition won the day, and the reformers did not complete their reformation in accordance with truth. It was simply two well established by this time, and too many Christians simply wanted to believe the things that Hebrews said against the Levitical Law.

The ancient acceptance of Hebrews stood or fell on the question of Pauline authorship. However, modern scholars wanting to accept the book, while admitting that Paul did not write it, nevertheless want to accept it as canonical in any case. Christians today do not remember the importance of authorship or realize the place that this criteria had in establishing canonicity. This is because the later Church has seldom sought to teach them the valid principles, and it has instead relied on naked authority to make its claim. Considering the ridiculous errors in other books the Church accepted as canon in those times, authorship was probably the only valid criteria applied.

The reason that authorship was so important in the early Church was that there were numerous books penned by Gnostics and other heretics claiming to be divine revelation. And a vast number of Christians accepted these other books, because they were so pious sounding. But the books were full of doctrines and teachings which are based on the imaginings of men. Hebrews, is very much like these other books, except that its goal was to attack the Levitical Code, which is what Christians wanted to hear, and so the book slipped under their radar, because they failed to apply the principle that claims to revelation should not contradict the Law or Prophets.

When the letters of Paul began to be collected, and the gospels, early Church administrators found it necessary to compile lists of canonical books, or accepted books, in order to distinguish the Scripture from the multitude of frauds circulating. One of these lists was the Canon of Muratori, perhaps the oldest list of canonical books. It is a Latin copy made in the 7th century of a Greek original going back as far as the 2nd to 4th centuries. It is a fragment, meaning that the first part is missing, which means the sections concerning the Pauline letters and other minor writings are complete. The original list is dated to AD 170 because the author refers to Pius I, bishop of Rome (142-157), as recent, “But Hermas wrote The Shepherd very recently, in our times, in the city of Rome, while bishop Pius, his brother, was occupying the chair of the church of the city of Rome.” Bruce Metzger, known for traditional dogmatisms, supports this early date.

Of the gospels, the Muratorian Canon has Luke and John. Matthew and Mark were cut off in the missing fragment, but since these books were universally accepted, there is no doubt that the original contained them. Also included are Acts, and 13 letters of Paul. Hebrews is not mentioned. The Muratorian Canon then goes on to mention two works which were considered spurious, yet were claimed to be by Paul: one addressed to the Laodiceans, and the other to the Alexandrians. Also included are 1John, 2John, Jude. (1Peter, 2Peter, and James are not mentioned). However, Revelation is included. Also included are several books not recognized as canonical today, such as the Apocalypse of Peter.

The acceptance of the crass Hellenistic book Apocalypse of Peter in the Muratorian Canon shows that accepted authorship was the main principle of canonization. By all the other valid criteria, the book would have to be rejected. This shows that Hebrews was rejected because it was known that Paul did not write it, and also that Christian Bishops generally lacked the skills to judge a book on internal evidence. To the credit of “some” the author of the Muratorian Canon remarks that the Apocalypse of Peter is not allowed to be read in Church by some. The canon also includes the Book of the Wisdom of Solomon. This book has long been received as canonical by the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and the Church of the East, and is now called deuterocanonical, meaning “second canon.” The term was invented in the 16th century by the council of Trent, no doubt as a concession to Protestants, who were noting the problems with the books. Yet by using the term supporters did not give up canonicity.

What the case of the Wisdom of Solomon shows, is that canonization of books was, and still is a sectarian issue. Furthermore, Hebrews was accepted at a time when the criteria of canonization were insufficient to eliminate other books wrongly regarded as canonical. It therefore follows that Hebrews was accepted on the basis of insufficient tests and criteria for canonization.

There are no quotations of Ignatius of Antioch (d. AD 110) from the book of Hebrews. Only two allusions are alleged to be from Polycarp from Hebrews (d. AD 155), but these are so uncertain, the wording so inexact, that Polycarp may as well have gotten the sentiments he expressed from other sources or the general consensus. Even if a person reads a book they do not regard as canonical it is possible for them to learn a turn of phrase or saying from a book, and then to repeat it. It must also be noted that Church Scholars, in the past, have often claimed what they call “citations” from the early Church Fathers of certain books in order to make the case for canonicity. Very often these claims of citations are no more that a possible literary connection, i.e. words similar to Hebrews, or words echoing a thought of Hebrews. There is no introduction, such as “The Scripture saith,...” or “Hebrews says....” or any introduction that would identify the thought as a quote. In fact the ordinary reader would typically read right past such sections not realizing that the words were anything but the words of the Church Father he was reading, if he did not know better by careful comparison of sources for possible literary connections. It is like listening to a sermon in which a preacher rambles off a phrase which you obviously recognize from Scripture, but there is no attribution, and you would not know it was anything but his own words if you had not studied the source.

The Church Fathers are known to have alluded to and taken material from many non-canonical sources. It is therefore high deception to adduce canonical support for a source just because it is alluded to, and then to report the literary connection as a “citation.” The Church of Rome is well known for its propensity to redact the early history and writings with its own doctrines and teachings, right back to claiming Peter was the first Pope. Protestants have inherited and continued this manner of historical deception with their particular disagreements with Rome weeded out of their version of history.

There is no mention of the book by Marcion (85-160) or Justin Martyr (Dialog with Trypho, ca. 140, First Apology, ca. 150 Second Apology, ca. AD 155). It is claimed that Clement of Rome cited Hebrews (AD 60-100) sometime around AD 90-96 when he wrote 1Clement to the Corinthians. Claims of citations are false. The book is not mentioned by name, and no quotation given with any intro saying the scripture says or any other kind of introduction. There is, however, a strong literary connection between Clement and Hebrews, and it is fairly obvious that Hebrews depends on Clement. Clement strongly defines “faith” in context as fidelity and obedience, depending on James, and gives a very favorable view of the Levitical Service. The book of Hebrews uses Clement, but redacts his definition of “faith” to the idea of trust in the unseen, and gives a completely negative view of the Levitical Service, and spiritualizes the Sabbath. Clement gives us a picture of circumstances in the 40 years before the Second Jewish revolt (AD 131-135). Hebrews appears to be composed for the circumstances just leading up to the Bar Kochba revolt, with many similarities to the forged Epistle of Barnabas. The revolt concluded with Emperor Hadrian proscribing Jewish observances of Sabbath and circumcision under pain of death.

In the late 90’s Clement of Rome could gives his high estimation the Levitical Service this way:

They therefore that make their offerings at the appointed seasons are acceptable and blessed: for while they follow the institutions of the Master they cannot go wrong. For unto the high priest his proper services have been assigned, and to the priests their proper office is appointed, and upon the levites their proper ministrations are laid. The layman is bound by the layman’s ordinances. Let each of you, brethren, in his own order give thanks unto God, maintaining a good conscience and not transgressing the appointed rule of his service, but acting with all seemliness. Not in every place, brethren, are the continual daily sacrifices offered, or the freewill offerings, or the sin offerings and the trespass offerings, but in Jerusalem alone. And even there the offering is not made in every place, but before the sanctuary in the court of the altar; and this too through the high priest and the afore said ministers, after that the victim to be offered hath been inspected for blemishes. They therefore who do any thing contrary to the seemly ordinance of His will receive death as the penalty” (1Clem 40:4-41:3).

From this we can ascertain that the Levitical Service continued after AD 70. For there are many sources indicating that it did, including Josephus! But this evidence has been well suppressed. K.W. Clark states:

“In the Antiquities (III, 224-236), about A.D. 94, he describes at length the sacrificial [service] as though nothing happened to alter the customary procedure. A few years later, he becomes explicit in addressing Apion: ‘For them [the people of Rome] we offer perpetual sacrifices; and not only do we perform these ceremonies daily, at the expense of the whole Jewish community, but...we jointly accord to the emperors alone this signal honour which we pay to no other individual’ (II, 77). Again, he calmly states: ‘We have but one Temple for the one God....The priests are continually engaged in his worship’ (II, 193-198). In his account of the War [A.D. 70] he spared no emphasis in describing the desolation of the Temple mount, and yet here he does not even think to explain how the [service] was restored to effective operation. Thackeray (Loeb) sees the problem and records the usual view in a futile footnote: ‘The present and future tenses...are noteworthy in a work written after A.D. 70, which brought the Temple [service] to an end.’ But this is shutting one’s eyes tight not to see the unwelcome evidence for the continuation of the [service]. Since the verb tenses are acknowledged to be noteworthy, their witness should not be shrugged off but rather duly noted and credited” (The Gentile Bias: And Other Essays, Kenneth Willis Clark, 16-17 [276-277]).

Clark brings forth other witnesses to that confirm the two I have cited here. Hebrews itself, since it must be dated after Clement, speaks of the service as if it were operating as normal (cf. 10:1ff), but we may discount this as a source, since the book is on trial, and someone is bound to charge me with circular reasoning. Let it be found guilty first. Clark adduces II Esdras, and the attacks in the Didache, Barnabas, and Ignatius launched against the Levitical Service as indications that the service continued after A.D. 70. The passage in Barnabas ii. 6, “these things he abolished” is a theological position. The actual service still continued. Clark states, “That these Christian writers might be expected to seize the opportunity, if the [service] were inactive, to moralize explicitly on God’s favour toward Christianity, is shown by the fact that later Christian writers did exactly this thing. Therefore it may be concluded that their reticence in the early second century is indirect evidence that Jews continued in some fashion to sacrifice on the holy site until the Second Revolt.” Clark goes on to show other evidence from the Jewish traditional sources that the service did not end in A.D. 70.

Why this suppression of its continuance? Because once the pieces are put together, it becomes plain that Christian apostates from the Torah and the Prophets had a major part in the destruction of the Levitical Service! The conflict over the bishops in Corinth in the book of Clement witnesses to a division over their stance on the Levitical Service. You can hear Clement’s plea that the older Bishops be restored. And the hint is very strong that they had been dismissed because they were not embracing the replacement theology being promoted. Clement’s extensive exegesis of passages from the Law and prophets also point in the right direction. But after Clement’s Letter, the opposition composed fraudulent books to counter it, Barnabas and Hebrews, which looks more every day to be the Letter of the Alexandrians condemned in the Muratorian Canon.

We may then complete the picture of the early second century. A major apostasy fueled by a resurgent anti-Torah faction in the Church, politically supported by the Gnostics, produced the books of Barnabas and Hebrews, and created a Christian priesthood. This move fueled the fires of Jew hatred in the early second century, and contributed to the Emperor Hadrian’s decision to build Aelia Capitolina, with its pagan Temple, on the Temple site. For it was this move of Hadrian that precipitated the Second Jewish Revolt, and ended the Second Jewish Commonwealth, which can only be compared to the Holocaust. The causes of the War are. 1. Jewish rejection of Messiah, 2. Christian rejection of the Torah, 3. The Church’s anti-law faction attacked the Levitical Service. 4. Consequently, the political climate of Rome became anti-Jewish. 5. Hadrian’s moves against the Levitical Service with the Aelia Capitolina plan, 6. Rabbi Akiv̱a’s endorsement of Bar Kochba as the Messiah, 7. Consequent desertion of Jewish Christians from the Revolt.

The result of the war: 1. proscription of circumcision and Sabbath observance, 2. replacement of the Jewish Bishops in Jerusalem with Greek Bishops, 3. The ban on any Jew visiting Jerusalem.

The first certain acceptance of Hebrews as Scripture is found in Clement of Alexandria. But we only know about it via the Ecclesiastical History of Eusebius:

"[Clement] has given in the Hupotyposes abridged accounts of all canonical Scripture, not omitting the disputed books, I refer to Jude and the other Catholic epistles, and Barnabas and the so-called Apocalypse of Peter. He says that the Epistle to the Hebrews is the work of Paul, and that it was written to the Hebrews in the Hebrew language; but that Luke translated it carefully and published it for the Greeks, and hence the same style of expression is found in this epistle and in the Acts. But he says that the words, Paul the Apostle, were probably not prefixed, because, in sending it to the Hebrews, who were prejudiced and suspicious of him, he wisely did not wish to repel them at the very beginning by giving his name. Farther on he says: "But now, as the blessed presbyter said, since the Lord being the apostle of the Almighty, was sent to the Hebrews, Paul, as sent to the Gentiles, on account of his modesty did not subscribe himself an apostle of the Hebrews, through respect for the Lord, and because being a herald and apostle of the Gentiles he wrote to the Hebrews out of his superabundance . Again, in the same books, Clement gives the tradition of the earliest presbyters, as to the order of the Gospels, in the following manner: The Gospels containing the genealogies, he says, were written first. The Gospel according to Mark had this occasion. As Peter had preached the Word publicly at Rome, and declared the Gospel by the Spirit, many who were present requested that Mark, who had followed him for a long time and remembered his sayings, should write them out. And having composed the Gospel he gave it to those who had requested it. When Peter learned of this, he neither directly forbade nor encouraged it. But, last of all, John, perceiving that the external facts had been made plain in the Gospel, being urged by his friends, and inspired by the Spirit, composed a spiritual Gospel. This is the account of Clement. Euseb Hist Book VI:XIV

Clement of Alexandria (AD 150-215) according to Eusebius believed that Hebrews was written by Paul in Hebrew and later translated into Greek. By this reasoning Clement is able to avoid obvious stylistic criticism of claims for Pauline authorship. Clement of Alexandria appears to be the first Church Father who truly believed in the canonicity of Hebrews. Tertullian (d. ca. AD 220) rejected Pauline authorship for Hebrews. He ascribes it to Barnabas. Hippolytus (d. AD 235), who thought that Clement of Rome wrote it (d. AD 100), rejected Pauline authorship, however the theology of Hebrews is downhill from Clement, and so Clement could not have written it. Although Clement of Rome is often claimed as one of the first Popes, his letter reads according to true apostolic teachings. Origin accepted Pauline authorship from the arguments of Clement of Alexandria, on the theory that it was written in Hebrew and later translated into Greek. The author’s Greek, however, bears no evidence of having had a Hebrew source.

Another thing we should note about Clement of Alexandria is that he also accepted the fraudulent Epistle of Barnabas as Scripture, which is not now accepted, because it proved too obvious a fraud for the Church to defend. It is remarkable that the first clear source on the acceptance of Hebrews as Pauline also admits the Epistle of Barnabas, which is now rejected, to the canon of Scripture! Let this fact testify about the qualifications of the Alexandrian Bishop to properly recognize what is Scripture and what is not.

Sometimes it is alleged that Pantaenus of Alexandria cited Hebrews (d. ca. 200), but there are no extant writings from Pantaenus, who was the teacher of Clement of Alexandria. It is probable that Clement learned his views on Hebrews from Pantaenus. Pantaenus was a Stoic philosopher teaching in Alexandria before he converted to Christianity.

The oldest Pauline corpus in any Greek manuscript to contain Hebrews is P46. Griffin dates it AD 175-225 (The Paleographical Dating of P-46, SBL 1996), which overturned an early dating of AD 81-96 by Y.K. Kim in Biblica. P46 comes from Egypt, and so is clearly associated with Alexandrian views. Turner assigned P46 to the 3rd century. It is noted by Kim that the scribe’s uses of ligatures indicates a lack or lapse of professionalism by the scribe. Griffin notes that P46 is not “bilinear” and “this lack of bilinearity creates a problem for a first century dating.” (See Griffin).

Origin of Alexandria (AD 185-253), later, appears to retreat from Clement’s position, as cited by Eusebius, “But as for myself, if I were to state my own opinion, I should say that the thoughts are the apostle's [St. Paul] but that the style and composition belong to one who called to mind the apostle's teachings and, as it were, made short notes of what his master said. If any church, therefore, holds this epistle as Paul’s, let it be commended for this also. For not without reason have the men of old time handed it down as Paul's. But who wrote the epistle, in truth, God knows” (Eusebius, Church History, Book 6, Chapter XXV.13-14).

The Alexandrian apologetic for Hebrews is again repeated by Severian of Gabala sometime in the 4th century, “The heretics say that this epistle is not Paul's, and they offer as their first proof of this that his name is not subscribed as in the other epistles. Second, his vocabulary is different, that is, it is foreign to Paul's customary word choice and usage. One must know, however, that Paul was hated by the Jews on the grounds that he was teaching apostasy from the law...[...]. Therefore, writing something useful to the Hebrews, he does not append his name, so that they might not lose any advantage they could have derived from the letter because of their hatred against him. And he writes to them in the tongue of the Hebrews, which was also translated by one of his disciples...” (Fragments on the Epistle to the Hebrews).

Another name accepting Hebrews is Bishop Dionysius the Great of Alexandria (248-265), which is not surprising given the precedent of Clement of Alexandria. The first support outside Alexandria appears to come from Bishop Theodore of Mopsuestia (ordained in 392), from the school of Antioch. Apologizing for the lack of Paul’s name on the letter, he writes, “What then is the reason for Paul not appending his name? It is evident and very clear. Both Barnabas and Paul divided the preaching task with the disciples of the blessed Peter. [This was] not so that the former could teach some doctrines and the latter others, for there is one goal, but so that Paul and Barnabas might lead to faith some from the Gentiles while Peter and his disciples would lead some from the Jews to faith, deeming this division more expedient because at that time there was still a powerful rivalry due to the custom of the Jews (based on their law) who did not permit themselves to consort with Gentiles. Then some of the apostles had dealings with the Gentiles, while others with the circumcised. But those who had come to faith in all probability deemed the teachers and apostles to be shared by both communities. Thus, when Paul wrote to the Gentiles, he in all likelihood commands them as their apostle, but when he writes to the Hebrews, he does not” (Fragments on the Epistle to the Hebrews, c. 350-428).

“There is no evidence among the canons of the First Council of Nicaea of any determination on the canon, however, Jerome (347-420), in his Prologue to Judith, makes the claim that the Book of Judith was "found by the Nicene Council to have been counted among the number of the Sacred Scriptures"”[4] Augustine called three synods on canonicity: the Synod of Hippo in 393, the Synod of Carthage in 397, and another in Carthage in 419 AD. (M 237-8). Each of these reiterated the same Church law: "nothing shall be read in church under the name of the divine scriptures" except the Old Testament (arguably including the books later called Deuterocanonicals) and the canonical books of the New Testament. These decrees also declared by fiat that Epistle to the Hebrews was written by Paul, for a time ending all debate on the subject” (ibid).

Hebrews was finally accepted into the canon with the support of Jerome (347-420) and Augustine (354-430), and was not questioned again until the time of the Reformation. This stylistic difference led Martin Luther and Lutheran churches to refer to Hebrews as one of the antilegomena, one of the books whose authenticity and usefulness was questioned. Luther more strongly rejected the book of James, and I think it important to include this episode of history, as we can imagine other Churchmen in writings lost, or statements lost making similar statements about incorrectly canonized books, and it should be recognized that there is no stigma in questioning a source using proper criteria of canonization. The slander which dogmatic traditionalists try to lay on anyone disagreeing with them is satanic. Luther at least was honest. He writes:

“Though this epistle of St. James was rejected by the ancients, I praise it and consider it a good book, because it sets up no doctrines of men but vigorously promulgates the law of God. However, to state my own opinion about it, though without prejudice to anyone, I do not regard it as the writing of an apostle, and my reasons follow.

In the first place it flatly against St. Paul and all the rest of Scripture in ascribing justification to works (2:24). It says that Abraham was justified by his works when he offered his son Isaac (2:20); Though in Romans 4:22-22 St. Paul teaches to the contrary that Abraham was justified apart from works, by his faith alone, before he had offered his son, and proves it by Moses in Genesis 15:6. Although it would be possible to "save" the epistle by a gloss giving a correct explanation of justification here ascribed to works, it is impossible to deny that it does refer to Moses' words in Genesis 15 (which speaks not of Abraham's works but of his faith, just as Paul makes plain in Romans 4) to Abraham's works. This fault proves that this epistle is not the work of any apostle.

In the second place its purpose is to teach Christians, but in all this long teaching it does not once mention the Passion, the resurrection, or the Spirit of Christ. He names Christ several times; however he teaches nothing about him, but only speaks of general faith in God. Now it is the office of a true apostle to preach of the Passion and resurrection and office of Christ, and to lay the foundation for faith in him, as Christ himself says in John 15[:27], "You shall bear witness to me.? All the genuine sacred books agree in this, that all of them preach and inculcate [_treiben_] Christ. And that is the true test by which to judge all books, when we see whether or not they inculcate Christ. For all the Scriptures show us Christ, Romans 3[:21]; and St. Paul will know nothing but Christ, I Corinthians 2[:2]. Whatever does not teach Christ is not yet apostolic, even though St. Peter or St. Paul does the teaching. Again, whatever preaches Christ would be apostolic, even if Judas, Annas, Pilate, and Herod were doing it." (__ibid__).

But this James does nothing more than drive to the law and its works. Besides, he throws things together so chaotically that it seems to me he must have been some good, pious man, who took a few sayings from the disciples of the apostles and thus tossed them off on paper. Or it may perhaps have been written by someone on the basis of his preaching. He calls the law a "law of liberty" [1:25], though Paul calls it a law of slavery, of wrath, of death, and of sin.

Moreover he cites the sayings of St. Peter [in 5:20]; Love covers a multitude of sins" [1 Pet. 4:8], and again [in 4:10], "Humble yourselves under he had of God" [1 Pet. 5:6] also the saying of St. Paul in Galatians 5[:17], "The Spirit lusteth against envy." And yet, in point of time, St. James was put to death by Herod [Acts 12:2] in Jerusalem, before St. Peter. So it seems that [this author] came long after St. Peter and St. Paul.

In a word, he wanted to guard against those who relied on faith without works, but was unequal to the task in spirit, thought, and words. He mangles the Scriptures and thereby opposes Paul and all Scripture. He tries to accomplish by harping on the law what the apostles accomplish by stimulating people to love. Therefore I cannot include him among the chief books, though I would not thereby prevent anyone from including or extolling him as he pleases, for there are otherwise many good sayings in him. Therefore I will not have him in my Bible to be numbered among the true chief books, though I would not thereby prevent anyone from including or extolling him as he pleases, for there are otherwise many good sayings in him. One man is no man in worldly things; how then, should this single man alone avail against Paul and all Scripture.

Concerning the epistle of St. Jude, no one can deny that it is an extract or copy of St. Peter's second epistle, so very like it are all the words. He also speaks of the apostles like a disciple who comes long after them [Jude 17] and cites sayings and incidents that are found nowhere else in the Scriptures [Jude 9, 14]. This moved the ancient Fathers to exclude this epistle from the main body of the Scriptures. Moreover the Apostle Jude did not go to Greek-speaking lands, but to Persia, as it is said, so that he did not write Greek. Therefore, although I value this book, it is an epistle that need not be counted among the chief books which are supposed to lay the foundations of faith” (Translation from Luther’s Works, vol. 35. pages 395-398; preface to James and Jude.)

I include the above to show that a man who was truthful about his theology, even though it was dead wrong, was brave enough to recognize that James did not teach it, and therefore, to boot him out of the canon. And yet, even though his followers later rescued the book by misinterpretation, Luther himself did not suffer for his honesty, and although not really successful in escaping the teachings of Rome, he did lead a successful revolt against Roman authority.

See also Luther's Treatment of the 'Disputed Books' of the New Testament.

The Contradictions of Hebrews

Summary of Contradictions and Errors:

1. Aaron’s rod is incorrectly claimed to be in the ark (cf. 9:4).
2. The pot of manna is incorrectly claimed to be in the ark (cf. 9:4).
3. Claims the Levitical Service was only symbolic (cf. 10:1, 4, 9:9-10).
4. Claims that heaven is cleansed by sacrifices (cf. 9:23).
5. Claims that sin is already abolished (cf. 9:26; 10:37, 10:25).
6. Claims that Messiah did not enter the earthly holy place (cf. 9:24).
7. Claims that Moses sprinkled the Law Scrolls with blood (cf. 9:19).
8. Claims Messiah will not deal with Israel’s sin at the second coming (cf. 9:28).
9. Claims everything was sprinkled with blood (cf. 9:21).
10. It errs in respect to Jacob’s staff (11:21).
11. It errs by placing the altar of incense in the most holy place (cf. 9:4).
12. It claims the blood taken into the sanctuary was for sins of ignorance (cf. 9:7), when in fact it was to cleanse the sanctuary from defilement (Lev. 16:16).
13. It redefines a scriptural covenant as a last will and testament (cf. 9:16).
14. It says goats were used when the covenant was ratified (cf. 9:19).
15. It substitutes “body” for “ears” in Psalm 40. (cf. 10:5).
16. It substitutes “taken no pleasure” for “not asked” in Psa. 40 (cf. 10:6, 10:8).
17. It omits words at the end of a verse fatal to its argument (cf. 10:7).
18. It claims unwanted offerings are “according to the Law” (cf. 10:8).
19. It claims the faithful are perfected (cf. 10:14; 1:3; 7:11; 7:19).
20. If finds fault with the covenant (cf. 8:7).
21. It mistranslates the Hebrew text of Jer. 31:32, which the LXX copied (cf. 8:9).
22. It terminates the Levitical Covenant at the cross (cf. 9:10).
23. It denies the heavenly Temple is created (cf. 9:11).
24. It contradicts itself saying the new covenant has no force while Messiah lives (cf. 9:17) because the author mistakes a covenant for a will.
25. It relegates the earthly temple to a facsimile (cf. 9:24).
26. It claims the faithful are sanctified once for all (cf. 10:10).
27. It omits Jer. 31:33b-34a, which disprove its argument (cf. 10:16).
28. It omits “I will forgive” from the text (cf. 10:17).
29. It claims no Levitical Offering in the age to come (cf. 10:18, 10:26).
30. It exaggerates the judgment of the Law (cf. 10:28).
31. It makes Messiah less merciful than the Law (cf. 10:29).
32. It says the second coming will be very soon (cf. 10:37).
33. It uses a corrupt translation of Hab. 2:4a (cf. 10:38).
34. It splices Isa. 26:20 out of context (cf. 10:37).
35. It misinterprets Psa. 110:1 (cf. 1:3).
36. It says Messiah usurps the place of the high priest (cf. 2:17; 3:1).
37. It makes a bogus rule about blessing (cf. 7:7).
38. It uses a tortured drash (homily) to change the priesthood (cf. 7:7-24).
39. It says the oath of Psa. 110:4 was after the Law (cf. 7:28).
40. It says the new will has better promises (cf. 8:6).
41. It defines “old” as disappearance and abolishes the covenant (cf. 8:13).
42. It calls God’s commandment “fleshly” (cf. 7:15).
43. It claims the covenant was ratified with scarlet and hyssop (cf. 9:19). 
44. It rejects the Levitical laws for food (cf. 13:9).
45. It promotes an alien altar removed from the place of the Name (cf. 13:10, 13:14).
46. It claims Sarah greeted the promise of a son with faith (cf. 11:11).
47. It claims Moses did not flee Egypt because he was afraid (cf. 11:27).

A study of the history of canonization of books will show, 1. The doctrine that Gŏd has preserved a perfect canon is a false doctrine. 2. The doctrine that Gŏd would not let corruption enter the canon is a false doctrine, 3. The doctrine that Gŏd would not allow scribal mistakes to influence translations is a false doctrine. 4. The doctrine that a majority determines the correct canon is a false doctrine.

In the history of Israel the Torah and the prophets have been lost and then rediscovered. The principle is this. If men throw away or destroy the revelation that the Almĭghty has given them, then they and their descendants will have to live with the results of such evil until the Almĭghty is ready himself to redeem and restore the situation. It follows then from this point, and the previous one, that the Church’s principles of canonization of books are chiefly geared to bolster up their own human authority.

Almost every canonization proof is circular in nature, taking the form, “It is canonical because it is inspired. It is inspired because it is canonical.” Or, “It is canonical because the Church accepts it. The Church accepted it because it is canonical.” This is more fully explained in the Hebrews Document.

The correct principles of canonicity are made the last criteria. They are prophetic confirmation that the writer is a prophet by fulfilled prophecy. And if the book contains no prophecy, then it has to agree with books meeting that criteria, and otherwise be completely truthful.

A book may meet the criteria of canonicity, but a translation of it, or interpretation of it may not. The book of Hebrews cannot be acquitted on either grounds that it was mistranslated, or that it is misinterpreted. The writings of Paul may be acquitted of error on both grounds that the errors are only in the mistranslation or misinterpretations.

1:1† ^The footnotes will also point to interpretive tendencies of ancient Gnostics which heavily influences Christian thinking to this day, and our author accommodates this sort of thinking in his choice of language, though he himself is clearly not a classical gnostic.

I should probably point out in this first note that this commentary includes two themes. One is the proof that the book does not qualify as canon, and the second is what is the author actually thinking, in light of that conclusion. Typically what defenders of Hebrews do is to try to explain away the factual problems, and then they impose what they think passes for orthodox Christian thinking on the author’s thinking. This commentary does the reverse. It accepts the factual problems, removes the book from the canon, and then in light of that conclusion sees to understand the author according to his heterodox thinking. Those who accept the book are compelled to see the author only as orthodox. They sweep hints of unorthodox theology to the side. And because they are just hints, and not proof of the non-canoncity of the book, they claim I am reading into the text or assuming things. Let me say that discerning the author’s thinking is partly art, and it is an art practiced by historians widely. Because there is a subjective element in it, it is the place critics are most likely to pounce in their effort to divert attention from the first conclusion: the book is not canonical due to factual errors. The detective work in discerning the author’s thinking along with a little guess work cannot be legitimately judged by anyone who cannot do so in light of the primary conclusion, that the book is non-canonical, and the implication of that, that the author’s thoughts include heterodox thinking. Critics should confine themselves to the list of 47 items a bit earlier in this document.

He is much more a likely reformed Gnostic analogous to the way Augustine was after his conversion. ● many ways: This is another example of accommodating language by the author to the thinking of Gnostics. Gnostics inter­preted this to mean that their father spoke in the scriptures in various manners, but they carefully separated what they thought their father said spiritually or mystically in the text vs. what the God of Israel literally said. Everything was myth to them, and they found the spiritual seed in the myth. Thus any of the various myths could be used to communicate spiritual truth. If this sounds much like Neo-Orthodox theology (e.g. Karl Barth), then it is because the same Neo-orthodox treatment of Scripture is very much a muted gnosticsm. Neo-orthodoxy, however, is infused with a much higher degree of rationalism (derived from the Documentary Hypothesis), and much less the superstition of the Gnostics. The author of Hebrews’ reckless and out of context use of Scripture, and his wild drashes (homilies) is characteristic of Gnostic interpretation. But we must realize that they are not moved by the inconsistencies, because they view the sources as myth in the first place. They are only trying to extract their notion of spiritual truth from it.

1:2† ^ages: or, aeons, worlds. The choice of word here, ‘aeons’ would allow the Gnostics to assert that their god created time (the ages) without confessing that he made the physical creation, which they considered evil and attributed to the God of Israel, whom they blasphemed. The Aeons in the Gnostic world view were lower gods under the ultimate God that was completely transcendent. The creator Gŏd, according to them, was one of these lesser Aeons. But we cannot go so far as to say the author agreed with this assessment. It only appears that he is accommodating the language of Gnosticism. The interpretive paradigms of the Gnostics, of course, have a way of finding their way around almost any more orthodox sounding statement. This is because everything is myth to them, and the spiritual truth is only contained in the myth, which they extract. They do not hold themselves to the necessity of believing what the Scriptures literally say, and therefore, they repeat much of it, yet it has no impact. The Gnostic world view is very well insulated from being convicted by the facts.

1:3† ^cleansing: The context represents cleansing as completely accomplished. However, this idea not scriptural. Messiah accomplished the payment of the penalty so that there could be forgiveness of sins. Cleansing from sin, on the other hand, is an ongoing process requiring repentance and growth in sanctification. And final cleansing is eschatological. See 1 John 1:9; Gal. 5:5; Lev. 16:30; Dan. 12:10 ● sat down: versus Psa. 110:1. “Keep sitting [or stay, remain] at my right hand while [onward ever] I set your enemies as a footstool for your feet” denotes the right hand of fellowship between the Son and the Father as equal in the enterprise of governing creation. The phrase “abide at my right” is not meant to mark the start of a time or the end of it. The imperative word שֵׁב has the sense of ‘remain’ or ‘stay.’ The [נְאֻם] utterance is simply to let the human audience know that the Son has always been at the right hand of the Father, and that the Father invites him to remain there even when enemies assail the Son while He acts on his behalf. It is therefore not proper to treat the act of sitting as a dispensational watershed marking an epochal change in the ages.

An utterance¹ of Yăhwēh to my A̕dōnai̱, “Remain at my right hand onward I make your enemies a footstool for your feet” (Psa. 110:1). The Psalm represents the cleansing of sin as concurrent with the Mĕssiah staying (sitting) at the right hand, and not as completely done with when he sits. The command to sit is given as an imperative followed by subduing the enemies. The author of Hebrews gives it backwards. First the enemy of sin is subdued (cleansed) and then he sits. If the author had used the term forgive, i.e. “having made forgiveness, then he sat,” then there would be no problem. But he has used a term “cleansed,” which means sin removal.

2:2† ^The Scripture nowhere speaks of the Law being given by angelic mes­sengers (plural) (cf. EHSV: Acts 7:53; Gal. 3:19), or even spoken by angels. The Law was spoken by one special Messenger of Yahweh (Acts 7:38, cf. 7:30, 35), who is Yeshua. The Law speaks of the presence of “holy ones” or “angels” at the giving of the Law in Deut. 33:2 (cf. MT & LXX). But these angels did not give or speak the Law. The Law was spoken by the Almighty One’s own voice out of the fire and cloud to Israel, and then laying aside his glory, appeared to them on Mt. Sinai (Ex. 24:9-11). The one who so appeared is Messiah.

2:9† ^taste death: A Gnostic reading this would think that Messiah (as divine) only tasted death, but did not really die. See 2 John 1:7. It is possible the author held to heretical Nestorian views of dual nature which were derived from the Gnostics. It is possible that this statement caters to the Gnostic teaching that Messiah left Yĕshūa̒ before he died on the cross. We do not know enough about the author to be certain.

2:17† ^Therefore, he had to be likened to his brethren in all things, that he might become a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to the Al­mĭgh­ty, to expiate, the sins of the people.† It should be noted that only Hebrews calls Yeshua the High priest, and the Church interprets the reason is to replace the Levitical High Priest. Psalm 110:4 only calls Messiah a “minister,” (omitting the word High) and that in a different sense than Levitical priest; the word cōhēn also means an administrator or minister (cf. 2Sam. 8:18, 20:26). In 1Sam 2:35 and Zech. 6:13 (Zech. 6:13 is often mistranslated to suggest that the Levitical Priest and King are one person), the High Priest and King are separate, which is plainly clear in the Hebrew texts. ● The notion that God was required to become human to be merciful or faithful is another troubling feature of this book. The Făther was already faithful and merciful, and he did not have to become like man to be so. The reason the Sŏn became man was 1. to symphathize with man on the level of actual experience, 2. to pay our sin penalty himself, and 3. to show that perfect obedience was not ultimately impossible for man.

The author only begins to hit on the truth when he says, “to expiate, the sins of the people,” however he has redefined expiation (ἱλάσκεσθαι) to mean immediate perfection (cf. 10:1, 4). The Catholic Church retains the same definition to this day, “Through the Holy Spirit, Baptism is a bath that purifies, justifies, and sanctifies” (Canon 1227). “Justification detaches man from sin.., and purifies his heart of sin” (Canon 1990). “Justification is conferred in Baptism, the sacrament of faith. It conforms us to the righteousness of God, who makes us inwardly just” (Canon 1992). The Catholic doctrine is practically the same as the Gnostic one. They thought their spirits free of sin.

3:19† ^unfaithfulness: as the author defines things, this consists only of failure to believe or be confident of the promise. This is the sad result of reducing faithful trust in Messiah to mere trust in a promise. For many Christians, influenced by Gnostic thought, trust did produce works, but they would never admit that pisteuo meant personal loyalty, and thus obedience to Messiah as a condition of abiding in salvation.

4:1† ^Therefore, let us fear lest, while a promise remains of entering his rest, any one of you should seem to have come short of it. The author of Hebrews proceeds to redefine the physical Sabbath rest as a spiritual rest understood completely in terms of accepting his version of the gospel. This is how most Christian apologists present the author’s argument. They say they are keeping Sabbath spiritually in Christ by believing the gospel. This shows that they understand the author’s redefinition. But this is another gospel that rejects the commandments of Mĕssiah. And if this is what the author means, then it must be recognized that the book is not canonical.

It is a very poor apologetic to resort to Hebrews 4:1-10 as a defense of the seventh day Sabbath, because Christians ignorant of the Sabbath, almost always understand the author as described above! The correct approach is to defend the position that the Law was never abolished in the first place, and that Hebrews, because it claims the Levitical Serive is abolished is not Scripture.

4:8† ^For if Yehōshū‘a had given them rest, he would not have spoken of another rest after those days. Firstly, it is denied in typical Gnostic fashion that Yisra’ēl kept the Sabbath rest, even though the Scripture says they did (cf. Exodus 16:30). And Yehōshū‘a did give them rest. See Joshua 11:23, 23:1, and especially 24:31, and Judges 2:7. In those days Yisra’ēl confirmed their faithfulness to Yăhwēh and the promise, and therefore were saved. The Psalmist, quoted by Hebrews, does not refer to the generation that entered the land under the leadership of Yehōshū‘a. It refers to the previous generation under Mōshēh that died in the wilderness. Yehōshū‘a did give the nation rest, because the nation was obedient all the days of his leadership. This is an additional reason that Hebrews cannot be regarded as canonical Scripture.

By speaking of “another rest after those days,” the Alexandrian author is arguing a transference theology. He is arguing that the physical command to rest on Sabbath was transferred to a spiritual rest in the gospel, because Yisra’ēl did not, and could not keep it. Under the Sabbath Yisra’ēl was not perfected, and so in Christ the author argues for a new spiritual Sabbath. It is the same argument that he uses to get rid of the Levitical Service. The Levitical Service, he says, was useless and unprofitable, because the people were not perfected under it. Therefore, it was necessary for it to be changed to another priesthood. But the author is a liar, and Christians who believe him deceived. No one knows who the author is, but the best guess is that this book is the same as the fraudulent Letter of Paul to the Alexandrians, said to have been forged by followers of Marcion, that is mentioned in the Muratorian fragment, one of the earliest lists of the canonical texts of the New Testament. Bruce Metzger states concerning the Epistle to the Alexandrians, “That it is another name for the Epistle to the Hebrews has frequently been conjectured” (The Canon of the New Testament: Its Origin, Development, and Significance, Metzger). The objection that it does not say “To The Alexandrians” as a title can be no more urged as a fault of this sagacious guess than the supposed title “To The Hebrews.” That it lacks rank Marcionite heresy, and only contains heavy Gnostic influence cannot be urged against the theory. It may not be followers of Marcion that forged it, but Christians sympathetic enough to that circle to be confused with it or classed with it in the Muratorian Canon. The objection that Hebrews has no stigma as being forged in the name of Paul is circular reasoning. It is attributed to Paul, and known now not to be written by Paul. So it is clearly evident that it was a successful “forgery.” In fact the anonymity of the evidence is precisely why it deceived the Church of Alexandria 200 years before the rest of Christendom.

4:9-10† ^There remains therefore a Sabbath rest for the people of the Almĭghty. For the one who enters his rest himself also rests from his works, just as, the Almĭghty from his own.† The usual interpretation says that Yăhwēh did not need physical rest, and that therefore a spiritualized rest must be meant. (The author’s argument is excluding the definition of physical rest from the Sabbath.) Also added is that he did not create anything more and that therefore his rest must be perpetual. Such interpretation is an effort to get rid of the periodic rest of the literal Sabbath, which is a sign of the real obedience and loyalty inherent in faithful trust. That Yăhwēh did not need physical rest is refuted by Ex. 31:17, “and was refreshed” (literally, ‘took a breather’), and the fact that Yăhwēh in the form of the Sŏn, since he limited himself as the ‘Mĕssenger of Yăhwēh’, did need rest. Recall that he lost a wrestling match with Jacob. So to keep the literal Sabbath is to follow His example.

Again the whole argument that transfers the physical and spiritual rest in the Sabbath to a purely spiritual rest is a gnostic lie. The label “gnostic” is a good place to sum up this sort of theology under a party name, even though it is believed or taught in a much wider orbit than classical gnosticism. The Torah teaches that the Creator rested physically (Ex. 31:17) as well as spiritually. This additional contradiction disqualifies Hebrews from any notion of canonicity.

6:20† ^Yeshua has entered as a fore­runner for us. forerunner: the author is defining atonement to mean that Yĕshūa̒ attained something new by ascending to heaven, and sitting at the right hand of the Făther. He represents this as Yĕshūa̒ achievement in suffering through the material world. This gnostic theology is beguiling to Christians not knowing the philosophy behind it, which is that spiritual men have to follow the example of Christ in escaping the material world, through suffering, and spiritual exercises, so as to reunite with the primordial Făther of spirits in the eighth heaven. This is the meaning behind “forerunner.” The man of Nazareth was supposed to be the first to achieve the goal. This Philosophy utterly fails when we realize that Yĕshūa̒ came down from heaven in the first place, where he had been since times eternal. Our author like a chameleon treads the boundary of Gnosticim and Orthodoxy with his choice of words. Where he really sits is sometimes hard to tell.

Yeshua finished paying the penalty on earth, and our cleansing happens on earth and is completed eschatologically (1Cor. 15:52; Lev. 16:30; Gal. 5:5). Yeshua left heaven to make atonement on earth, because that is where the penalty was paid. He did not enter heaven to make atonement in heaven.

The author has compared Mĕssiah to the first swimmer that makes it across the channel to paradise. But this is not the correct comparison. It is correct to say that the king of Paradise came across the channel by divine power, became a man, paid our penalty, and then returned to his throne in heaven by divine power, after demonstrating that the sinless man could perfectly obey the commandments in the world that He created for mankind.

7:7† ^This could certainly be disputed if taken too literally. It actually works both ways. The giving of a tithe by the lesser to the greater is the lesser blessing the greater, but it could also be argued that Abraham is greater than Melchizedek. The author’s real aim is to turn Melchizedek into a priesthood, and then argue that it supersedes the Levitical priesthood because it existed before Levi. The author probably wishes to argue that the command to pay tithes to the Levitical priesthood is now fulfilled in paying tithes to the new (Melchizedek) priests ordained by his super-Assembly.

7:10† ^The point of the drash illustration [Levi paid tithes to Melchizedek (who represents Messiah)] is to show Messiah’s ministry is greater than the Levitical. This is so, but Church interpretation goes one step further to say this means Messiah’s ministry replaced the Levitical service. This is not so.

7:11‡ ^perfection: This could suggest that perfection is necessary for validation of the Levitical service, but it would ignore the fact that Messiah has not yet perfected the faithful either. Catholic theologians and Gnostics would say that the Christian heart is completely purified and perfected (after the reconnecting gnosis experience or regeneration). If confronted with the fact that they do not obey Yeshua’s commandments, they respond that such perfection is a mystical infusion (or in the case of Gnosticism rediscovering one’s true self in the pleroma.) ● instruction: or Law ● priest: the Church pits the order of Melchizedek ministry against the Levitical Priesthood. This was not the case in prophecy. The two would serve side by side in harmony (1Sam. 2:35; Zech 6:13; Mal. 3:3). For the Levitical Priesthood was not abolished when the Holy Spirit had David say, “you are a minister” to Messiah. It clearly continued onward after that with Yahweh’s blessing.

7:19† ^perfect: The Church and Gnostics presumed that perfection was required for something to remain or be valid. But in fact the faithful are not yet perfected. So the same specious presumption can be aimed at the validity of Messiah’s atonement, as none of the faithful are yet perfected. See Gal. 5:5; 1John 1:7-8 ● better: See note on Heb. 7:22.

7:21† ^For they indeed became priests without an oath. oath: this is only true if one can believe that entering a covenant is not the same as making an oath. It is the same as an oath, because a covenant requires one to confirm their fidelity. The covenant made on the plains of Mōa̕v̱ was confirmed by an oath. And Yăhwēh did find fault with the sons of Lēυi̱ who broke faith with him. And Yahweh made his covenant with Levi (cf. Jer. 33:17-22; Mal. 2:4-8) for “all the days” (1Sam. 2:35; Jer. 33:18). ● minister: the proof text fails because it is misinterpreted by the author. See 2:17 note. The author aims to tear down the fact that a covenant requires more then mere trust in a promise. A covenant requires fidelity. He tears it down by turning it into a will or testament that is only based on the promise of the donor. He has perverted Paul’s illustration in Galatians 3:15, where Paul is making the point of the irrevocable nature of the promise. Paul taught real fidelity was required. The author of Hebrews does not. Witness his mistakes in Hebrews 11:11 and 11:27.

7:22† ^He has become the guarantee of a better covenant. better: the “better” promises are all stated in the original covenant at the time of Moses: Lev. 16:30; Deut. 30:6. Jeremiah 31:33 repeats the same promise. The new covenant is in fact a fresh or renewed version of the original covenant just as the new commandment to love one another is really an old commandment. See 1 John 2:7-10. No improvement can be made in the divine promise to circumcise the hearts of his people (cf. Deut. 30:6), other than the actual keeping of the promise according to the ancient covenant, and for this hope, Paul says we wait (cf. Gal. 5:5). Again, the fact that the promises are all in the original covenant, long before the coming of Mĕssiah, proves that the new is the old renewed, and not something better that was an improvement, or better than what was promised before.

7:27† ^Who does not need, daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. daily (καθ᾽ ἡμέραν): The author describes a procedure, because he has ordered the offerings, first the priest, and then the people. Also the word “need” (ἀνάγκην) does not describe a theoretical need, but a legal necessity. LSJ defines the word: “force, constraint, necessity.” Friberg: “necessity, compulsion, force, constraint, compelling obligation.” That this must be the meaning is shown by the next clause (τοῦτο γὰρ ἐποίησεν ἐφάπαξ): “because this he did once for all.” This refers to the legal necessity. Yĕshūa̒’s death was not because of a theoretical necessity, but because of actual legal appointment (cf. Isa. 53:10). So then we cannot absolve the author by claiming that the priests only needed a daily sin offering and then the people, but that there really wasn’t one in his thinking. The same need is ascribed to Yĕshūa̒, and Mĕssiah’s offering of course is once for all, and applies continually.

There was, of course, no daily sin offering, either for priests or people. And it is doubtful if they felt the need for it. The sin offerings, which were monthly, were only for sins of ignorance, of a general nature, and not incurring particular guilt in some specific way mentioned in Lev. 1-7. For that an individual sin offering could be brought. But the monthly sin offering must have been viewed as covering sins for the month, and we need not think that it was for sins of the past month, but for sins of the coming month, as the offering was on the new moon day (cf. Num. 28:11-15), at the head of the month. But the author in ignorance of the Levitical Law assumes that there was. The legal necessity was only monthly on the new moons, and other less frequent holy days, or one time personal offerings. It is special pleading to say that a sin offering always “needed” to be offered, even if it was not commanded. The author cannot be absolved of error by semantic tricks. For he makes one mistake after another. ● It would be a mistake to think that the Almighty meant Yeshua’s atonement to replace the Levitical atonement. The Levitical offerings only atoned for sins of ignorance, and ritual impurity. It may be correctly supposed that Messiah’s atonement is for all sin in the absence of the Levitical Service (cf. 1John 1:9), but when the Levitical Service is restored then it will be the preferred means of atonement for the sins of ignorance, and Yeshua’s offering will be for willful sins (transgressions) not covered by the Levitical Service (cf. Acts 13:38-39).

7:28† ^For the Law appoints men as High priests who are weak, but the saying of the oath, which came after the Law, appoints a Sŏn, made perfect to the time immemorial. By “oath” the author means Psalm 110:4. This Psalm only notes Yĕshūa̒’s ancient appointment as minister, and the appointment itself came before the Law as shown in the Messianic prophecy in Gen. 22:8, “He will be seen for himself the lamb.” It is difficult to get around the fact that the author wants the appointment of Yeshua to be after the Law so that he will replace or abolish the Law and the Levitical Service through the appointment. Furthermore, Psa. 110:4 does not eliminate Yĕshūa̒ from being a minister from the everlasting past. But the author wants to inaugurate a new priestly order subsequent to Leυi̱ so that he can argue for its replacement.

8:4† ^Now if he were on earth, he would not be a priest at all, since there are those who offer the gifts according to the Law. The Church (or author) wants to confine Yĕshūa̒’s ministry to the heavenly realm, but this contradicts the context of Psalm 110. Psalm 110:5-7 makes it plain that Mĕssiah remains at the right hand of the Făther in His ministerial duty of justice upon the nations and that it will be administered by Mĕssiah on earth to the nations on earth. The author states he would not be a minister at all on earth, but the Psalm means precisely that he will be a minister on earth, a minister of justice.

8:5† ^which serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things: shadow: the essential functions of the Levitical Priesthood were not duplicated in heaven. They were in fact primary on earth. There was no sacrificial system in heaven for sins of ignorance nor application of blood or oil to the heavenly sanctuary in order to cleanse it ● pattern: Ex. 25:40. This “pattern” was God’s plan for the tabernacle, a blueprint. Exodus does not say the pattern corresponded to the heavenly sanctuary, though obviously some things are similar or reflect it. The author is taking the Scripture out of context when he argues that all things in the earthly sanctuary are only patterns of things in heaven.

8:8‡ ^will: or testament; The author’s interpretation of διαθήκην is according to the usual Hellenistic Greek sense of “will” or “testament” (cf. Heb. 9:16-17). So the translation is here according to his explanation in chapter 9. In the Septuagint Greek, however, and Judeo-Greek, the word meant “covenant,” according to the Hebrew word it translated. The author ignores the Hebrew sense of the word because the common Hellenistic sense suits his anti-law argument better. A will only benefits the heir. A covenant implies duties between two parties. A covenant requires mutual faithfulness. In contrast to a will, which is simply a disposition of property after its owner dies, a covenant is like a marriage. Both parties have duties and the covenant is enacted and remains valid without death. Sacrifice is only required to renew it if it is broken. Also, the word “new” is translated according to the author's under­standing, when the Hebraic idea is “made to be anew,” i.e. a new instance of something old that existed before. The new moon is an example of this sort of newness. It is not really brand new. It is a new instance of the same old moon. See EHSV notes of Jer. 31:31-34.

It is possible that Hebrews was the Letter of the Alexandrians mentioned in the Muratorian Canon, as forged in the name of Paul by allies of Marcion. The book does not bear Paul’s name, though it certainly was taught as his (and still is). Marcion is the gnostic heretic credited with inventing the Old Testament vs. New Testament paradigm.

8:9† ^[because…them]: The Hebrew text says in Jer. 31:32, Not according to the covenant (which I had cut with their fathers in the day of my making grasped them by their hand to make them go out from the land of Egypt), when² they had made broken my covenant, and I, I had ruled³ against them, utters Yăhwēh.‡ The difference is the key to mis­inter­pretation of the passage. The (re)new(ed) covenant is not like the original covenant when they broke my covenant, which is to say, in the new covenant Israel will receive the blessings of the original covenant rather than the curses. That is the only difference. In the renewal of the covenant the provisions for the curses will not be administered; only the blessings will be administered because the people will be faith­ful. Yet, the Church has produced a false doctrine out of the words “not like,” which were only meant to point out a difference in how the renewal would be administered. See EHSV commentary on Jer. 31:31-34.

8:13† ^If “new” is supposed to imply that the renewed covenant is different than the old, then the author would be mistaken. The new moon is not different than the old moon except that it is a new instance of it in time. Many new things are simply replacements of old things and are not meant to be different. On the other hand, if “will” is meant, then a new will with blessings could replace an old will with curses, however such interpretation would be purely a drash (homily), and not literal to Jeremiah

The Church sees the provisions of the original covenant disappearing. It sees “new” as different, even though the Jeremiah prophecy must be misinterpreted to get that notion. If a marriage covenant is violated then a new one is needed. If there is repentance and the penalties for the violation of the old one are paid as required, then there is no reason to think that a new marriage covenant has any different terms. The only difference with the new marriage cove­nant is that it is not a broken covenant.

The author’s old/new paradigm is broken in 1John 2:7-8, and by the fact that the promises in Jer. 31:31-34 are merely a repetition of promises by Yăhwēh in his original covenant obligation. See Deut. 30.

9:1† ^The implied word is διαθήκη, which means last will or testament in normal Hellenistic Greek, but in Biblical usage it means covenant. A testament in law is the legal instructions in which you say who should receive your property, possessions, etc., after you die. The English word is based on testify. It is a document that testifies who the heirs will be. On the other hand, a covenant is a binding arrangement between two parties specifying the duties of each party. The author means a testament or will (διαθήκη), because he states that a testament is invalid unless the one creating the testament dies (cf. Heb. 9:16-17). Even though the word διαθήκη has the dual meaning of testament and covenant, and even though biblical contexts mean covenant, the author is trying to shift the meaning to testament (or a will) by equivocation. This is the logical fallacy by which an opponent in an argument tries to change the meaning of a term essential to the argument. The present verse refers to the valid covenant between Yăhwēh and Yisra’ēl long before the cross in its Torah context. But the author has shifted the meaning: The author states in 9:17, “For a testament is valid only when men are dead, for it is never in force while the one who made it lives.” Whatever reason we assign for the author’s shifting definitions, the result is a contradiction. The sacrifices offered at the inauguration of a covenant do not involve the death of the covenant maker, but the purpose of the sacrifice is symbolic, to state that the fate of either party who breaks the covenant will be to die like the sacrifices. A covenant ends with the death of a party violating the covenant (on a personal level) unless an innocent party dies in place of the violator who repents (which satisfies the wronged party). In that case the covenant is renewed and continues. The death of a covenant participant after a violation is precisely because the terms of the covenant required the death, which means it was valid before the death.

The innocent party only offers to take the place of the violator in hopes that the violator will repent of the violation. That the covenant was meant to be renewed by this provision is proved in Deut. 30:1-16 (cf. Rom. 10:6-13). And the statement of the Law in Jer. 31:31-34 likewise makes the point that the legal ordinances in the renewal continue. The author gets around these truths by the arbitrary interpretation techniques of the Gnostics, evidenced by his shifting definitions of covenant to testament. He clearly re-explains Jeremiah as an inner perfection of the immaterial spirit. A true Gnostic, of course, would only realize his inner perfection, without admitting that he was ever corrupted by sin in the first place. But the author’s position has evolved away from Gnosticism somewhat on its way to forming the theology of the Church of Rome. It is without a doubt that he has contradicted the concept and purpose of Yăhwēh’s covenant with Yisra’ēl.

Since the term διαθήκη does not itself distinguish the meanings of will and covenant on its own, it is not actually possible to determine which meaning the author is driving to until one arrives at vs. 9:16-17, where the ESV clearly shows a change to the definition “will” and this is because the context has forced it this way. The rest of the usages are more ambiguous because of the author’s equivocation. It only becomes clear that he has equivocated in these verses.

Now one would think it unnecessary to defend the usual translation, “first [διαθήκη]” at the start of 9:1. Tim Hegg, however, has proposed that the reading should be “first [priesthood]” (Hebrews Commentary, Tim Hegg, pg. 261). In rejecting a similar proposal that σκηνη (tent) be read after first according to a few mss., Meyer states, “it is to be rejected, since the coherence with Hebrews 8:13, and through that with Hebrews 8:7 ff., leads to διαθήκη as the main idea to be supplemented.”

9:4† ^And behind the second veil, there was a tabernacle which is called the Holy of Holies, 4 having a golden altar of incense,† and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, in which was a golden jar holding the manna, and Aaron’s rod which bud­ded, and the tables of the cove­nant.‡ The author has a threefold factual error here barring the book from consideration in the canon. The altar of incense was in the holy place, not in the most holy place. Exodus 30:1-8 makes this clear. The priest burned incense on it twice a day, morning and between the settings. Since priests could not go into the most holy place, except the high priest once a year, the altar had to be in the holy place where they could go. In vs. 6 the author confirms that he is describing the normal, everyday set-up, “Now when these things have been thus prepared, the priests are continually entering the outer tabernacle, performing the divine worship.” So, any attempts to save the author from error, here by speculating that the altar of incense was only a small fire pan (censer), or that it was moved into the most holy place on Yom Kippur, are failures. The author has simply erred. Nor can the syntax of the verse be manipulated, because the same phrase includes the ark, which was in the most holy place. The author has simply erred, and error is the most parsimonious explanation (Occam’s Razor).

To try to save the canonical status of Hebrews, some try to explain that a fire pan (incense pan) was always kept in the Most Holy place. This is refuted in Lev. 16:12. Aaron is commanded to fill the fire pan (τὸ πυρεῖον, not θυμιατήριον) with coals from the altar before he enters the most holy place. To suggest that the fire pan was kept in the Most Holy Place is to suggest an extra and unnecessary trip into the Most Holy Place to retrieve the fire pan. This contradicts the Almighty’s desire that Aaron not enter at all times. This means the trips behind the veil should be minimized. And when he went into the Most Holy place, the incense was supposed to be creating a cloud in the Holy of Holies before he entered. To go there to retrieve it would defeat the purpose. So again, the attempt to save Hebrews is more unparsimonious than simply concluding the author erred. Again, the purpose of the incense is to hide the glory (cf. Lev. 16:2, 13). How then is the glory hidden if Aaron has to retrieve the burner? The attempted explanation adds speculative complexity to a faulty theory, and the added complexity itself is contradictory. The problem is that the world view of the interpreters causes them to accept any amount of contradiction in the attempt to save the author from contradicting Scripture. Meyer admits as much in his commentary:

“If, then, we understand ΘΥΜΙΑΤΉΡΙΟΝ of the altar of incense, as we are compelled to do, there arises the archaeological difficulty that this altar had its standing-place not in the Most Holy Place, as is here presupposed by the author, but, on the contrary, in the Holy Place (Exodus 30:1 ff.). This point of inconsistency with historic truth is to be admitted.”

Meyer does not conclude this, but an error of this caliber is further evidence that the book did not deserve to be added to the canon of Scripture.

The translation and inter­pre­ta­tion created around the rendering “censer” also suffers from the fact that the Mishnah contradicts it: “Moreover according to [Mishnah] tract. Yoma, v. 1, vii. 4, this censer was first fetched out of the storehouse, carried by the high priest into the Most Holy Place, and upon the completion of the service again carried forth therefrom;” (Commentary on the New Testament, Volume 9, Heinrich August Wilhelm Meyer). So, according to historical knowledge handed down in the 2nd century, the censer was not kept in the Most Holy Place. This is still a problem, because the author of Hebrews, in vs. 6, tells us he is describing the arrangement of things in the normal course of daily worship, and in the normal set up, there was neither a fire pan in the Most Holy place or the altar of incense.

Tim Hegg tries the dispense with the contradiction this way, “The key to understanding our author’s words is to recognize that the golden altar of incense is always connected with the ark of the covenant....” No doubt everything is connected with everything else in some way, but stating an undeniable truth does not explain what the author actually writes, “And behind the second veil, there was a tabernacle which is called the Holy of Holies, having a golden altar of incense,† and the ark of the covenant…”; The word “having” is ἔχουσα which variously means holding or possessing. The word is clearly relating the altar of incense to the Most Holy Place, and the same word relates the Ark with the Holy place. The word is not relating the the Altar of Incense with the Ark. A double blind test with any Greek scholar who does not know the issues will show that every one of them will put the Altar of Incense in the Most Holy Place. This is because the ἔχουσα relationship has to be the same for both items. If it is not, then the interpreter is being arbitrary breaking a context in half to give two different senses to the same word in the same context. For surely with respect to the Ark, the word means that the Most Holy place possesses or holds the Ark. Tim Hegg has no special revelation that his proposal is the answer key. He simply picks it ad hoc by dogmatic fiat. His only evidence for the correctness of the ad hoc argument, or any other ad hoc argument is the assumption in the first place that the author cannot have erred because the author must be canonical because the Church has said so. It is easier to believe the Church was wrong.

Hegg suggests that the words in 1Kings 6:22 somehow justify the statement in Hebrews. He states, “In fact, our author carefully reproduces the language of 1Kings 6:22 by writing: ‘...the Holy of Holies, having a golden altar of incense.’” (page 264, The Epistle to the Hebrews: Chapter Nine). To say the least, there is nothing careful about Hegg’s proposed correspondence between the language of Hebrews and 1 Kings 6:22. We can dismiss the LXX here, because the Greek summarizes the Hebrew and skips the details. The Hebrew has: וְכָל־הַמִּזְבֵּחַ אֲשֶׁר־לַדְּבִיר צִפָּה זָהָב, “And all of the altar which [is] at the oracle he had made to be overlaid with gold.” The words “at the oracle” לַדְּבִיר, are clearly to be taken in a locational sense, meaning by the place where Yăhwēh speaks, or toward it. In fact the lamed is explained by Exodus 40:5 and 40:26. It is a shorthand for the לפני found there, meaning “at the face of.” There are two popular commentaries that suggest the sense “belonged to” in 1Kings 6:22, but no reason can be seen for the remarks than to set up an apologetic for Hebrews (Ellicot’s and Cambridge Bible). Hegg’s statement that the author “carefully reproduces” is misleading. This is no evidence (or observation) of reproducing between 1Kings 6:22 and Hebrews 9:4, but only evidence that Hegg wants to interpret 1Kings 6:22 the same way he interprets Hebrews 9:4.

Hegg notes that the LXX uses the word θυμιατήριον for a small portable incense burner, and not the altar of incense. He leaves us with the impression that “altar of incense” is somehow an incorrect translation. But the usage for the altar of incense occurs in Josephus (Ant. 3:147; War 5:216, 5:218), and Philo (Her 1:226, 2x; 1:227, 2x; Mos 2:94, 2:101, 2:105, 2:146; Spe 1:231). The portable incense burner arguments were already dealt with above. Hegg, stated that the “key” to understanding Heb. 9:4 was that the altar of incense was possessed by the Ark, and then he throws out the opinion for the small portable incense burner. Rather than having the key, it sounds like Hegg does not know which argument to use.

9:4‡ ^The author says that the following items were “in” the ark. In truth, it was only the stone tablets (Deut. 10:2, וְשַׂמְתָּם בָּאָרוֹן), but this alone establishes that the words “in which” mean inside the ark. If the author is telling us about a later date, after things are moved, he is wrong. 1Kings 8:9 tells us that only the tablets were in the ark. That means he is only describing things as they were at first. And here he is wrong also, except for the tablets. The rod was put, “at the face of the testimony” (Num. 17:4, 10, לִפְנֵי הָעֵדוּת) where it was to be a “sign”. The Hebrew means “at the face of” and not “in” the ark (ἐν ᾗ). Also, “at the face of” meant in the holy place, and not the most holy place. This is proved by Exodus 27:21, and particularly by the phrase “where I meet with you” in Exodus 29:42, 30:6, 30:36, and Numbers 17:4 [19]. The same commandment for the placing of the altar of incense (Ex. 30:6) is given in the same form in Num. 17:4 (Hebrew text: vs. 19) for the rods, “where I meet with you”. The word “you” is plural in the Hebrew text. Apparently, Joshua the son of Nun, was permitted to stand audience with Moses before Yahweh (Num. 33:11). At other times, Moses would only hear his voice (cf. Num 7:89), but when he spoke face to face, Yahweh appeared in the holy place with the veil to his back in the form of the Mĕssenger of Yahweh. He would be right next to the altar of incense, which was also next to the veil. Again this is proved by Ex. 30:6 and Num 17:4 together, and confirmed in Luke 1:11 where the Mĕssenger of Yahweh stands to the right of the altar of incense!

Meyer confirms the author’s erring with respect to the location of the rod, “ἐν ᾗ στάμνος χρυσῆ ἔχουσα τὸ μάννα κ.τ.λ.: wherein was a golden pot with the manna, and Aaron’s rod which had budded, and the tables of the covenant. ἐν ᾗ does not refer back to ΣΚΗΝΉ, Hebrews 9:3 (Ribera, Justinian, Pyle, Peirce, and others),—for to the ἐν ᾗ, Hebrews 9:4, the ὑπεράνω δὲ αὐτῆς, Hebrews 9:5, forms an opposition,—but it refers to κιβωτὸς.” The Expositor’s cites a confirmation: “Chrysostom remarks that the contents of the ark were venerable and significant memorials of Israel’s rebellion; the tables of the covenant for the first were broken on account of their sin; the manna reminding them of their murmuring; the rod that budded of their jealousy of Aaron.” Bengel’s Gnomen summaries the contradiction:

“Hebrews 9:5.—στάμνος χρυσῆ ἔχουσα τὸ μάννα, the golden pot that had manna) ... Some suspect that this pot and rod of Aaron, two most remarkable memorials, which were furnished with a perpetual miracle, had been taken out of the ark before the building of the temple; others, that they were put in not until afterwards, because in 1 Kings 8:9 mention is only made of the tables laid up in the ark. But in the same passage it is distinctly affirmed, that Solomon acted according to the example of Moses; and the apostle refers to the times of Moses, Hebrews 9:6, at the beginning; ch. Hebrews 8:5 : comp. ch. Hebrews 13:11, where there is no mention made of the city, as here none of the temple. What then shall we say? The tables were alone in the ark itself, but the pot and the rod לפני העדות, before the testimony.”

Then he tries to eliminate the contradiction this way, “and therefore before the ark, Exodus 16:34; Num. 17:25, in the Hebr., very near the ark, as appendages to it; in the same way that the book of the law and the deposits of the Philistines [the five golden emerods and mice] were put on the side of the ark: Deuteronomy 31:26; 1 Samuel 6:8. Therefore ἐν in this passage is used with some latitude, as Luke 9:31.” But as explained before, “at the face of the ark” is used to mean in the Holy place on the far side of the veil from the ark, whereas, the emerods were put in a box next to the ark whilst it was on the cart, and the law was put “at the side of the ark” ( מִצַּד אֲרוֹן). The location of the Law on the one side of the veil at the side of the ark cannot be used to redefine the location of the rod and other items into the Most Holy Place. Again the author has erred, and so has the commentator. The solution is simple. Take Hebrews out of the canon.

The manna jar was placed “before Yahweh” (Ex. 16:33, לִפְנֵי יַהוֶה), and “before the testimony” (vs. 34, לִפְנֵי הָעֵדֻת), which is where Yahweh met with Moses (Num. 17:19), which was where the altar of incense was (Ex. 30:6). So, it was not in the ark. Is the author supposed to know by special revelation that the manna jar was quickly put in the ark after instructions to put it “before the testimony”? That sort of argument is special pleading called ad hoc, and it would also suggest that the commandment was disobeyed as to where to put the manna jar. Which is easier to believe: 1. That the Baal-Priests of the 4th century made a mistake in canonizing the book, or that 2. the author simply erred with respect to the Covenant? Which is easier to believe: 1. That the Reformers corrected all the mistakes of the Church, or 2. that they fell woefully short of the needed reformation? Which is easier to believe: 1. That anti-missionaries succeed with Hebrews because they know more about the Law, or 2. that they succeed because the Church made a mistake it is unwilling to correct?

The specification by the author that the jar was golden (στάμνος χρυσῆ) shows dependence on the LXX: στάμνον χρυσοῦν, Exodus 16:33. The Hebrew simples states: צִנְצֶנֶת אַחַת, one jar.

Tim Hegg states, “It is interesting to note the detail our author gives us regarding the jar of manna originally placed in the ark,1” and at the bottom of page 265, “1 For the Torah text, cf. Ex 16:32f.” But the Hebrew passage cited forbids the manna to be in the Ark. It is “לִפְנֵי יַהוֶה, at the face of Yăhwēh,” (Exodus 16:33) and not “in the ark” (Hegg).

Aaron’s rod was not put in the ark; it was put “before the testimony” (Num. 17:4) where Yahweh met with Moses. This was in the same area that the altar of incense was placed (Exodus 30:6). For Yahweh met with Moses with the veil at His back, when he spoke face to face with Moses in the form of the Angel of Yahweh. In Luke 1:11, the Angel of Yahweh speaks in the same place, at the right of the Altar of Incense (note: Gabriel = Mighty One of G-d.) So since the rods and the manna were put where Yahweh met with Moses, which was next to the Altar of Incense, “before the testimony”, the author of Hebrews cannot be correct.

The imperative to retain the Hebrews in the canon depends on two motives, 1. that the Church decrees the canon, and therefore the book is canonical, despite the fact that the Church has a long track record of heresy and error, including the Church of Rome, and the Eastern Church, and 2. A desire to have in the canon material indicating the abolishment of the Levitical Law.

The Levitical Service will be restored in the age to come as the prophets say, not because a dispensational nullification has occurred, but because Yisra’ēl has been exiled from the land, and the kingdom (cf. Acts 1:6) has not yet been restored. The present theological paradigm is the same as the exile of Judah to Babylon for 70 years. Reformers retaining the legacy of the Catholic Church, and especially Origin of Alexandria, reinterpret literal prophecies as symbols supporting their theological speculations. And that is the result of their yielding to the fleshly desire to reinterpret what they did not want to hear.

9:8† ^The author means the heavenly holy place. But the earthly one does reveal the way into heaven, because Yom Kippur teaches the necessity of cleansing from all sins, and not just sins of ignorance (cf. Lev. 16:30). The sanctuary was cleansed of all sins then, which is a type that in the future there will be a Yom Kippur in which the worshippers themselves are cleansed of all sin by Messiah’s divine life (of which blood is the symbol). By limiting the cleansing of the sanc­tu­ary to sins of ignorance, the Church (or author) has in fact destroyed what it reveals in type about Messiah’s final cleansing in the eschatological Yom Kippur.

9:10† ^The Church (or author) does not believe Leviticus 4-6 when it says sins of ignorance were forgiven. They interpret the Levitical Service as relating to the purely physical or symbolic ● But Jer. 33:17-22 would contradict the author. The Levitical Priesthood continues in the age to come—which is to be the time of reformation. Would the author have known this? Not necessarily, since the Church deleted that passage from the Septuagint.

9:12† ^holy place: the author means he laid down his physical life in order to purify the pathway to the heavenly sanctuary. This theory of atonement is applied in the wrong place. What Messiah truly did was pay the penalty of sin for those who repent on earth, and his life cleanses us on earth who repent. The way into heaven did not need to be repaired. There was never anything wrong with it. The author thinks heaven needed to be cleansed (cf. 9:23), and that is his theory of atonement. (Only the faithful need to be forgiven and purified, not heaven.) His view is similar to that of the Gnostics who thought the first seven heavens needed cleansing because they were below the eighth perfect heaven.

9:16‡ ^Because where a will is, there must of necessity be the death of the one who made it.‡ In this vss. 16-17 the ESV (also NET, CJB, HCSB, and NIV) correctly translates with the word “will,” whereas in vs. 15 and 18, “covenant”; this is because the context of vs. 16-17 exposes the equivocation of the author on the meaning of the word διαθήκη, which in ordinary Hellenistic Greek means a will or testament, but in biblical Greek means a covenant. The reason for the equivocation is that it is considered legal for a patron to rewrite a last will and testament, or to cancel it and write a new one (for whatever reason), but this legal permissiveness does not apply to a covenant. The author is aiming for an argument to do away with the first covenant for one he claims is better. By calling it a will or testament, by equivocation, he gains a legal foundation for abolishing the first.

Tim Hegg states, “It is highly unlikely that the author of Hebrews would use diatheke in vs. 15 in its normal sense of ‘covenant,’ and then switch to using the same word to mean ‘last will and testament’ in vv. 16-17” (Hegg, page 293, The Epistle to the Hebrews). It would be unlikely if the author was not equivocating. It would be unlikely if the assumption that the book is canonical were true. But to say that a covenant is not valid until a covenant maker dies is not true about a covenant. It is only true of a will. A will has no force until the maker dies. Covenant blessings and curses, on the other hand, have force as soon as the covenant is made.

9:17† ^It is better not to mistake a ‘covenant’ for a ‘will’. A better expla­na­tion is that Messiah paid the penalty for the broken marriage covenant so that he could renew the marriage covenant with Israel. The idea that the covenant was not valid before Messiah died because it was a will (in his opinion) is the author's attempt to logically exclude the original covenant from being a valid covenant. Even when considering the fact that Yahweh knew the covenant would be broken, the covenant was still valid before Yeshua died, for those trusting and being faithful, in view of the fact that he would die to renew it for the repentant. Thus the covenant is valid both before it is broken and after it is renewed, whereas a “will” is only in effect after the maker dies. It is true that Yahweh gave Israel a bill of divorcement (Jer. 3:8; Isa. 50:1), but it is also true that the covenant was perfectly valid before Israel transgressed with idolatry, and because of Yeshua he is able to dispose of the divorcement bill and restore the original covenant.

In the days when I was first exposed to the contradictions between Torah and Hebrews, I had the tendency to reinterpret the author, even against the force of his context and Greek so as to make him agree with Torah. So at one time, I was guilty of doing what others do, but I have long since seen that I erred. It is ill advised for Messianics to try and reinterpret the book this way just to hang onto its assumed canonical status. This is because honest translators and interpreters will be able to take such attempts and demonstrate that they are just attempts to rewrite what the author says.

Hegg proposes the to translate Hebrews 9:16-17, “For where there is a covenant, the one who ratifies it must represent himself as dead in the covenant ratification ceremony. For a covenant is only guaranteed on the basis of the oath taken in regard to sacrificial animals, for it is never valid while the one making the covenant lives, that is, has failed to represent himself as dead in the event he acts falsely against the covenant.” Hegg has added so many words here to what the texts really says, that one is left in amazement as to how Hegg’s meaning can be obtained from the plain Greek (or other English translations).

Is it even true that a covenant maker has to represent himself as dead? Not in any near eastern covenant I know of. One has only to agree to the penalty of death for faithlessness, which is a real agreement in which one agrees to become as the dead sacrifices when walking between the pieces if they should prove faithless. But that is not representing oneself as dead. Further, if making the covenant is representing oneself as dead, than after violating the covenant, one could say they were only being represented as dead, and are represented as dead, and therefore, they do not really have to die. In fact, no party to such a covenant would have to really die, since the meaning of making of the covenant is now redefined by Hegg as representing oneself as dead.

Hegg redefines the word φέρεσθαι, such that it means death is only brought forward, i.e. to the attention of the covenant maker, and he represents the matter as if the literal Greek supports his contention, as opposed to the usual translation, “be the death” (NAS). The text reads, “θάνατον ἀνάγκη φέρεσθαι τοῦ διαθεμένου”, and literally it says, “Death [is] necessary to be borne of the one himself making covenant.” The sense of φέρεσθαι given in LSJ is, “to bear, endure, suffer,” from which we can see the idea of suffering death, or enduring it, is the explanation of bearing it. Such would be the ordinary way of taking the words in Hebrews 9:16.

In Hebrews 17:a, Hegg points out that νεκροῖς is plural, lit. “dead ones.” “Because a will upon dead ones is sure;” And somehow this observation is supposed to point us in a direction other than the literal death of the will makers. Meyer rightly explains, “ἐπὶ νεκροῖς: in the case of dead persons, i.e. only upon condition that the author of the διαθήκη is dead, or has died. βεβαία: firm or inviolable (comp. Hebrews 2:2), inasmuch, namely, as, after the death of the testator has supervened, the abrogation or alteration of the testament on his part is no longer possible.” So the plural means “dead persons,” i.e. dead will makers.

The last clause of vs. 17 is not a representing oneself as dead, but “ἐπεὶ μήποτε ἰσχύει ὅτε ζῇ ὁ διαθέμενος” = “since never it has force when lives the one having made the will.” The aorist participle, διαθέμενος, represents the will making as prior to “has force;” that is, wills are made before they have force, because putting them into force is delayed until the will maker dies. Covenants have force as soon as they are made. Hegg has given us no reason to suppose the author is saying anything different than the usual translations.

9:19† ^For when every commandment was spoken by Moses to all the people according to the Law, he took the blood of the calves and the goats, with water and scarlet wool and hys­sop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people,† According to Exodus 24:3-8, the blood was from bulls פָּרִים (trans. “oxen”), and not “goats” or “calves” (LXX: little calves). Why does the author think goats were involved? because, he is conflating the ratification of the covenant with other ceremonies where goats were involved, and he does not remember it rightly. Some argue that “Paul” was given special revelation on things omitted from Exodus 24. How does it help the argument to put in details that can be questioned by a Jewish audience as errant? others suppose that “Paul” put in traditional elements not mentioned in Exodus 24. But again, it is not in the tradition, only supposed to be, and how does this help his argument when others might question the veracity? None of these excuses are parsimonious. The simplest and easiest explanation is that the author got his facts wrong.

On the occasion mentioned, in Exodus 24:3-8, when the covenant was ratified, there is no mention of sprinkling with “water”, using “scarlet”, or using “hyssop.” These are details from three other ceremonies. 1. cleansing of a Leper, 2. cleansing of a house, and 3. preparation of the ashes of the red heifer. The “water” comes from Lev. 14:5, 14:50; Num. 19:9. The “scarlet” is from Lev. 14:4,6, 49; Num. 19:6. The “hyssop” is from Lev. 14:4; 14:49, and Num. 19:6. Defenders of Hebrews argue that these details were given to “Paul” by special revelation, or that they came from the traditions and had to be confirmed by special revelation. This is ad hoc speculation, and it does not help. Why would details be included that could only be used to question the veracity of the book? Would not the Spirit instruct the author to stick to the Scriptural account, to forestall needless questions from Jews knowing Exodus 24, who might not believe it because of the embellishments? This makes the ad hoc speculation as great a difficulty as the original errors trying to be explained away.

Exodus 24 says nothing about the book itself being sprinkled with blood. If the author is speculating or misremembering here, then it is an obvious case for the non-canonicity of Hebrews. So, what supporters propose, is that the author had a special revelation, or that it was revealed to him that some bit of Jewish tradition was actually valid. But this begs the question of how the Holy Spirit would have thought including a detail that looks wrong would help gain acceptance of the message in the book! Is it not more parsimonious to simply suppose that the Church made a mistake in canonizing the book? Which is easier to believe: 1. That the bishops who told us the book is canonical are wrong, or 2. that the host of anomalies and disagreements with the Law do not exist?

9:21† ^And in the same way he sprinkled both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry with the blood.† Moses did not sprinkle, “the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry” “with blood”, but only the altar when it was set up: see Lev. 8:15, 19; The author is confusing “blood” with the “oil” that was actually used for this purpose; cf. Exodus 40:9. Never at any time was the menorah, the table of showbread, the tent, or the curtains sprinkled with blood, but they were anointed with oil. (Blood was applied to the ark and the incense altar—Lev. 4:7; 16:18). The text says, “And thou shalt take the anointing oil, and anoint the tabernacle, and all that is therein, and shalt hallow it, and all the vessels thereof: and it shall be holy” (Exodus 40:9). Do you see that the ‘oil ... shalt hallow it’? The objects were ‘hallowed’ i.e. ‘sanctified’ by the oil (Exodus 30:36). So almost all things are not ‘purged’ by blood. Atonement is made for the holy place once a year on the mercy seat (Lev. 16:16-20) and incense altar (compare Lev. 4:7; 16:18), and this is good for the whole tent of meeting and everything in it. The blood does not have to be put on all the objects, just the ark cover and the incense altar. There is simply no way to acquit the author of this error.

9:23† ^Therefore it was necessary for the copies of the things in the heavens to be cleansed with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.† Here we have the assumption that things in heaven need purification. However, this is not so. For things in heaven do not need purification, since they can never be defiled. The holy objects in heaven, by nature, purify anyone who touches them. If an object is sufficiently holy, then the holiness flows off of it to all around it. It is the nature of God that whenever something unclean approaches unto his glory that his holy fire consumes the uncleanness, and depending on the heart of the one approaching, it also consumes the unrepentant person entirely. This is seen in Isaiah 6:5-7, where Isaiah himself is preserved, because his heart was right, and in the case of Korah (Numbers 16:35) where the 250 who approached to offer incense before Yahweh were consumed by fire.

The consumption of a sinner by fire is not a better sacrifice. It is the lesser good. Rather, the better sacrifice is the one for the repentant one who lives, and the offering made on earth by Mĕssiah. The author is drawing the attention of the reader away from Mĕssiah ultimate and unsurpassed sacrifice on the cross, on earth, in time.

The author’s doctrine is unique. It occurs no where in Scripture, that the physical things in heaven, need cleansing, and not just ordinary heavenly things, but sacred objects just as the heavenly altar (Rev. 6:9, 8:3, 8:5, 9:13, 14:18, 16:7).

The presence of Yahweh purifies sin away without sacrifice, because he is life and nothing defiling or having to do with death can touch his glorified presence. If an unbeliever were to come into contact with the divine for a moment his sin would be purged away in an instant. For this reason, the Almighty does not normally permit one to approach him in his heavenly glory without due repentance and a substitutionary offering. Otherwise, he is bound to consume the worshiper. Yăhwēh could sanctify and purify the sin of the whole world against its disposition if he so desired, merely by exposing it to his presence, but Yăhwēh is just, and will not so allow it to happen this way without repentance of the one’s approaching and the acknowledgment that death is deserved of them through atonement.

The very idea that heaven, where the Almighty dwells in glory, can be con­tam­inated is blasphemy against the nature of the Almighty. For this reason, it is written concerning the New Jerusalem, where God will put his throne, “And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomi­nation, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life” (Rev. 21:27). And also, “And I saw no temple therein: for Yăhwēh Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it” (Rev. 21:22). The New Jerusalem is the heavenly reality after the pattern of the holy of holies on earth. The relative dimensions are the same. But there is no Temple in the city because Yahweh in his purity is the Temple. Since no defilement is allowed in, no sacrifice is necessary there. Any defilement must be first removed before coming to the city, otherwise fire will come out from the presence and consume the one who attempts to enter the gate without purity (Rev. 20:9)! In like manner Aaron’s two sons were consumed (Lev. 10:1-3). For YHWH said, “I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me”!

It might be argued that the sons of god presented themselves in heaven, and that they were unclean spirits (Job 1:6-12; 2:1-7), however, this was permitted in the same manner that Isaiah was permitted. They may have still been at some distance from God in his glory as the seventy on the mount (Exodus 24:10-11), or may have been granted a temporary purification from the altar as Isaiah. It might be argued that Satan’s iniquity defiled heaven, yet it was not the presence of God that was defiled, but only those in heaven that were not near the throne, which is the heavenly temple; and when Satan tried to approach the Almighty after his sin, it was revealed by the presence; and instead of destroying him by fire, he fell like lighting out of heaven, i.e. he was not allowed to approach.

Why does Hebrews say ‘better sacrifices’ using the plural ‘sacrifices’? Surely Yeshua’s sacrifice is better than the Levitical offerings. But were does the author come up with the idea that Yeshua’s offering is more than one sacrifice? The purpose of Yeshua’s offering was not to purify heaven, but to forgive our sins and to make it possible to purify us, so that one day when He is finished purifying us we may dwell there. Yes, the author of Hebrews mistakenly presents the purif­ication as already complete, because he has separated the physical and the spiritual into two planes according to Hellenistic and Gnostic dichotomy. And finally, to claim that heavenly sacrifices are better is blasphemy against Messiah’s sacrifice on earth, and blasphemy against the covenant, because the Levitical service was not ineffective.

It is possible that the author’s real theology lies in the idea of the seven heavens, which in the Gnostic view had various levels of physicality, and because of contact with the physical were defiled. “Suffering” is conceived of as the ‘sac­rifice’ which purifies the seven heavens, with their defiled ‘things,’ at least on a temporary basis to allow the passage of the Gnostic ‘saint’ into the eighth sphere. The author may consider the saints the brothers of Christ in that they too are ‘living’ sacrifices that purify the heavenlies. If this is the case, then it may be explained how the author can utter such a statement as in 9:23, within his own thinking.

By suffering and shedding the physical the Gnostic sacrifices the physical to gain the spiritual. Therefore as the Gnostic moves through the seven heavens, they are less and less physical. The heaven of the seventh sphere was considered the domain of the Hebrew God, whom they rejected for one whom they called their father in the 8th heaven, which was considered totally devoid of anything created or non-physical. The Gnostics considered themselves to be the sacrifices that purified the first seven heavens, by the act of detaching themselves from the physical by ascetic exercises.

The author is completely exposed to the charge of error when he claims these other sacrifices in heaven are better than Mĕssiah’s sacrifice. Some commentators have sought to equate these sacrifices in the plural with Mĕssiah, yet they have failed to show that his sacrifice was applied to objects in heaven for cleansing.

Furthermore, by saying the heavenly things need cleansing by better sacrifices, the author is implicitly rejecting the cleansing power of the earthly offerings for the holy objects of the Tabernacle. Why were the Levitical offerings insufficient to cleanse the altar of incense and the ark? The glory of the Almĭghty dwelled between the Ḳerūvi̱m of the ark. He dwelt there when it was in a purified state, which was renewed once year. The offerings prescribed in the Law were completely sufficient for Yăhwēh to dwell there. So then, what need is there for “better sacrifices” to cleanse the heavenly objects? For he considered the earthly offerings sufficient for his heavenly presence!

The author has but one aim here, and that is the tear down and defile the Levitical Covenant. The origin of his pious sounding argument is Satanic.

9:24† ^did not enter: this contradicts the fact that Messiah stood in the earthly holy place by the altar of incense as the Messenger of Yahweh ● a copy: the author means the earthly tabernacle. But Messiah did speak to Moses face to face there. So he had to enter it.

9:26¹ ^or “foundation.”

9:26† ^But now once at the consummation of the ages he has been manifested to abolish sin. consummation of the ages: The author uses the exact same phrase that Yeshua uses for prophesying the end of the age (ἐπὶ συντελείᾳ τῶν αἰώνων). See Matthew 13:39, 40, 49; 24:3; 28:20 (συντελείᾳ τοῦ αἰῶνος). The author believes that the end had arrived in his day. He was mistaken by two millennia. A second witness to the same error is given in 10:37, and another confirmation in 10:25 ● abolish sin: Notice that the author does not say “forgive” sin. It appears that the author never means forgive in the sense of canceling a deserved penalty. Here he uses a different word, “abolish, set aside”. That is because, the author thinks all sin is expiated (or cleansed) for all men. Many Christians agree and say that Messiah died for all sin means that all sin is expiated. The Gnostics claimed the same thing. But the truth is that the sacrifice of Messiah is only applied to forgive sin when the sinner repents and puts his faithful trust in Messiah, and further the truth is that cleansing is not complete until Messiah returns.

9:28† ^Mĕs­si­ah ... will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await him.† It does not mean “as sinless”, and it would be senseless to point out that Messiah was without sin the second time, when clearly he was the first. The author means “apart from sin”, or “without reference to sin” in the eschaton. This is because he believes all sin was expiated the first time. All sin was cleansed away, and the faithful are already pure and spotless in his opinion. They just have to realize it, you see. So at the second coming there is no cleansing of sin (cf. Lev. 16:30; Zech. 3:9) according to his teaching. It is all mystically cleansed away from the faithful. One can be sure the author allows for some cleansing of sin of the unbelievers. But this will be the judgment. The author means that there is no sin of the faithful to cleanse at the second coming. The wicked will be cleansed, so to speak, not because they are not purified, but because they chose not to realize it or chose to remain attached to the material. Such is the author's opinion derived from the Gnostics. The Gnostics were a little confused, but that is not our problem. Their problem is that they rejected the source with the answers: the Law of Yăhwēh.

10:1† ^For the Law, since it has a shadow of the good things to come and not the image of matters, can never by the same sac­rifices year by year, which they offer continually, make perfect those who draw near. The author means “only a shadow” excluding atonement. The author proves this is what he means in vs. 4. And the author, saying the same thing in 9:10, does use the word “only”: “but deal only with food and drink, etc,” and he does not mention atonement after the word only. So atonement has to be eliminated from his list of exceptions. See also 9:9. Therefore, the author means that the Levitical service was never efficacious for sins, and this is the sense most Christians take from the text. The author defines that “atonement” in Leviticus does not “take away sins” (cf. 10:4). If a sin of ignorance is confessed, and repented, then the sin has been cleansed by repentance and confession. All that remains to be taken away by the offering is the sin-penalty. Since the sacrifice was made, and the priest did make atonement by it, it is clear that the only remaining need was met: taking away the sin-penalty for the sin of ignorance. Any son of Yisra’ēl who sinned in ignorance and went through repentance and the procedure outlined in Leviticus would come away with the assurance that their sin was forgiven if they were faithful to believe Gŏd’s words.

Leviticus says that the priest made kipper for the sinner (וְכִפֶּר עָלָיו הַכֹּהֵן וְנִסְלַח לוֹ ,Lev. 4:31). There can be no doubt that what Scripture says the priest does, the author of Hebrews says the priest cannot do. The author says the Law only does x,y and z. Atonement is not on his list of what the law does. But the Law says the Priest makes atonement by the offering. This is denied by the author. His “only” does not include atonement.

The author tries to deceive us by diverting our attention from the issue that the priest did make atonement, to the effects of the atonement. The author says atonement did not make the worshiper perfect. This is a classic straw man argument. He has redefined atonement to mean perfection of the worshiper. Of course the worshiper was not made perfect, and Leviticus never claims the worshiper was made perfect. Mĕssiah’s sacrifice does not make the Christian perfect either. So really, if the author wants to argue that imperfect people prove the invalidity of the offering, then he disproves his own faith in perfecting ability of Mĕssiah’s sacrifice. Gnostically oriented thought rejected physical evidence of lawbreaking and imperfection. And they defined perfection in the unseen world of the spirit. In this way, they kept their beliefs from being tested or refuted.

The Levitical Service was quite efficacious for forgiveness of sins of ignorance and circumstance, and it did serve its cleansing function for ritual impurity of people and sanctuary just as Yahweh intended, and will do so in the age to come. See Jer. 33:17-22; Mal. 3:3. In contradiction, the author is emphasizing that the Law only has one use, which is to be symbolic for something else. This specious argument would not be appreciated by the Israelites who took offerings to the tabernacle for sins of ignorance, nor by the Priest who cleansed the Sanctuary, in that age, or in the one to come! (cf. Eze. 40-48; Jer. 33:17-22; Mal. 3:3).

10:4† ^For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.† Since we are told that offerings for sins of ignorance (or circumstance) resulted in forgiveness, this statement cannot be true, because it contradicts the Torah (cf. Lev. 4:20, 26, 31, 35; 5:10, 13, 16, 18; 6:7). For the sin of ignorance was repented of and purged from the soul by the Spĭrit, and the offering removed the penalty. So the sin of ignorance was taken away, both in fact, and in penalty. It was taken away in fact by confession and repentance, leaving only the penalty of sin for the sacrifice.

Ritual defilement was considered sin according to the Levitical Law, and therefore must be included in the definition of sin according to the Scripture. In the case of ritual contamination, the proper immersion, and sin offering would remove sin’s defilement, or if a holy object had not been defiled, then proper sanctification before hand, and sin offering before hand would prevent defilement, such that the sanctification of the object continuously expiated any sin that might come into contact with it. This is why anyone who touched the altar became holy. It is to be noted that in 9:6 the author mentioned “sins of ignorance”, but he does not say he believed the offering to be efficacious for them, and in fact, he cannot believe so based on his other statements in 9:10, 10:1. So the notion that the Levitical code does not take away “sin” is wrong from both the sin of ritual defilement, and the sin of ignorance.

10:5‡ ^Therefore, when he comes into the world, he says: Sacrifice and offering you hast not desired, but a body you have prepared for me;‡ The author has attempted to quote from Psalm 40:6, but he has substituted the word “body” in the place of “you have bored out my ears” (אָזְנַיִם כָּרִיתָ לִּי), and interpreted body to refer to the sacrifice of Mĕssiah against the context that obedience is better than sacrifice. Before the book of Hebrews, there is no text or manuscript attesting to a reading of “body” for Psa. 40:6. The most ancient source is from Irenaeus (AD 135-202) and attests to the reading of the MT Hebrew text: “aures autem perfecisti” (Against Heresies 4.17.1). Irenaeus’ quotation translates, “but mine ears hast Thou perfected” (Old Testament Quotations in Hebrews, Georg Walser, pg. 108, § The source is an early Greek LXX, evidenced by Irenaeus counting of Psalms according to that source, “Irenaeus counts the Psalms according to the LXX (some lines later he mentions the comparable criticism of the offerings “in quinquagesimo Psalmo” = LXX Ps 50/MT 51) and agrees to κατηρτίσω of the LXX and Hebrews (“perfecisti” contradicts the Hebrew verb “dig”). But he presupposes ωτία or ὦτα (the classic plural), an equivalent to the Hebrew “ears.” Thus, we confidently know that the “ears” of the Hebrew occurred in the text of a LXX manuscript from the late second century. Last, but not least, that corresponds to the more recent translations listed in the Hexapla (Aquila, Symmachus, Theodoitan, etc.)” (Psalms and Hebrews: Studies in Reception).

“All the [later] Greek manuscripts [than those mentioned above] (B, א, A, etc.) read a facilitating σῶμα. However, all the manuscripts were more recent than Hebrews, which is the first witness for σῶμα. Therefore he [Rahlfs] suggests that Hebrews created the variant and the Greek manuscripts took it over. Pierre Grelot recently renewed that explanation” (Psalms and Hebrews: Studies in Reception).

The oldest Greek witness of Psalms agreeing with Hebrews is Papyrus Bodmer, well after Irenaeus. By the way Irenaeus did not accept Hebrews into his canon of books, and even as late as Jerome, Hebrews was admitted to be of doubtful authority.

It is proposed by the above source that “body” entered the LXX tradition as a dynamic equivalent to “ears.” In that case body would signify to the Greek a body prepared to obey the commandments. This explanation recognizes that the MT Hebrew text is correct, and proposes that σῶμα came into the text as a functional equivalent, introduced by a Greek translator, who thought that “ears” would be misunderstood. This speculation is based on the assumption that an alteration by the author of Hebrews could not have contaminated the tradition to the extent that it did. This is an argument from silence and lack of earlier manuscripts than Hebrews. Textual studies have shown that the entire extant tradition has been contaminated by errant readings in other places, only to be disproved by new discoveries! The Christian motivation to assimilate the LXX text to σῶμα was extremely high.

Even if someone other than the author of Hebrews corrupted the text with “body,” the author’s Christological argument for the sacrifice of Mĕssiah based on this word is completely contrary to the context of Psalm 40. The Psalmist is teaching that obe­dience is better than sacrifice. King David is reflecting on Deut. 17:14-20, and also on Saul’s downfall. Saul thought sacrifice was better than obedience, and Samuel corrected him (1Sam. 15:22). Samuel’s teaching does not stop at animal sacrifice: to obey is even better than Messiah’s sacrifice. Which is better, to obey Messiah in the first place, or to lay another sin on him? It is quite obvious that to obey is better than even Messiah’s sacrifice. So the author has poisoned the text to elevate sac­rifice over obedience, and has denied the teaching of Ps. 40:6-8 by substituting one sacrifice for another sacrifice.

As mentioned before, the author reinterprets the meaning of atonement as perfection (cf. Heb. 10:1, 4). The Gnostics believed that their immortal soul was perfect from eternity, and so interpreted Mĕssiah’s sacrifice as suffering to “make contact” with the 8th heaven, where the immortal soul came from. The author is not quite a full fledged Gnostic, or he is a closet Gnostic, more closely sticking to Scriptural reality, to better deceive the faithful. He, evidently, believes that human beings are in need of perfection. We can agree with this point, but the author is claiming perfection in the present, on the basis of the reinterpreted meaning of atonement and the sacrifice of Mĕssiah. In this case, he does not see, or does not admit his incorrect interpretation of the Psalm. If the sacrifice of Mĕssiah does perfect the person in the here and now, then it does not contradict the notion that obedience is better than sacrifice. For the sacrifice would be obedience. But the reality is that the sacrifice does not perfect the Christian, and so the author is wrong.

Lawless Christians claim that Christ kept the law for them and fulfilled it in his sacrifice, so that no faithfulness or obedience is required to remain in the faith. So they are following in the heretical theology of Hebrews. They have redefined the terms like the emergent Church Cult. They redefine the meaning of atonement to mean make perfect, and then reinterpret a Psalm teaching that obedience is better than sacrifice as accomplishing obedience by sacrifice.

There is a better way, and that better way is sound Messianic teaching that embraces the whole Law and Prophets, and understands theological terms according to their revealed contexts.

10:6† ^Again, the author has decided to alter the LXX (Septuagint). The Hebrew text and LXX read, “you have not asked.” The author’s alteration is more expansive. David is only talking about sacrifice and grain offering in place of obedience, and whole-ascending and sin offerings in place of obedience. Yahweh does not “ask” for these sacrifices. He asks for obedience. Yes, there are those who would rather bring sacrifice than obey. It should not be thought that such sacrifice is efficacious. The Hebrew word for “ask” is Sha’al שָׁאָל, the root of King Saul’s name שָׁאוּל. King Saul would rather sacrifice than obey. Messiah’s sacrifice should not be elevated above obedience either.

10:7‡ ^The author omits the end of the verse, which is included here in [ ]. David was doing his duty to learn the Law (Deut. 17:18-17:20), and as the chief administrative authority cōhēn, he also has to apply it to the Congregation of Israel. The Law is in the king’s “heart” so that “his heart may not be lifted up above his countrymen and that the may not turn aside from the commandment” (Deut. 17:20). So by replacing obedience with Messiah’s sacrifice, the author teaches that sacrifice is as good as obedience, and indeed, this is what the Reformation doctrine of imputed righteousness teaches—essentially that one does not have to obey, but can just believe, and obedience will be accounted through sacrifice. Such doctrine is false.

10:8† ^Sac­rifices and offerings and whole ascending sacrifices even for sin you have not desired, nor hast you taken pleasure in them (which are offered according to the Law)... according to the Law: Again, stating the speciously “obvious,” the author states a falsehood. The disobedience of King Saul in offering unauthorized sacrifice rather than obeying Yahweh’s word through his prophet is what Yahweh did not ask for. Saul’s offerings were not according to the Law! They were in fact illegal, because Saul took up the priestly duty of the Levites and did not wait for Samuel, the Levite (cf. 1Chron. 6:28; Jud. 17:7), or the priests with him to officiate (cf. 1Sam. 13:8-14; 15:15, 22). So in fact, the sacrifice that Yahweh did not ask for—that sacrifice was not according to the Law. So again, the author of Hebrews is incorrect to compare lawful sacrifices with illegal sacrifices, and wanted sacrifices with unwanted sacrifices.

The author’s solution is not obedience, but to redefine Mĕssiah’s sacrifice as accomplishing the obedience that is the duty of the faithful. This is kept the law for you theology rather than the truth that he died for our sins.

10:9‡ ^Behold, I have come to do your will, ...[O Al­mĭgh­ty, your Law is within my heart.] The author omitted the words in [ ] from his quotation of Psalm 40. These words give the essential context that obedience is the goal that is better than sacrifice. The everlasting nature of the original covenant is made plain in Lev. 26:44-46. He says, “I will remember for them the covenant of the first ones.” So the first covenant has to be made new, and there is no different second one. See Jer. 33:17-22. See also Luke 1:72-75.

10:10‡ ^By this will we have been sanctified through the sacrifice of the body of Yĕ­shua the Mĕs­si­ah once for all. sanctified: The author seems to be treating sanctification (being made holy) as already completed. This contradicts Paul in Gal. 5:5 as well as good Scriptural teaching. The Gnostics would interpret it to mean they were perfected in spirit. ● body: “Life” would be more correct, and must include his resurrection life ● The past tense teaching of sanctification is an error. The statement is essentially the same as saying the sacrifice of Christ makes one perfect, or via Christ’s death the law is kept for you. But that is not what his death means, since the law is rejected.

10:13† ^See commentary on Psa. 110:1-4.

10:16‡ ^All the words in [ ], the author has left out. The key part is, “they shall not teach again,” and “they shall all know me.” Does all Israel, and all Judah know Yahweh yet? Of course not! So the passage has not been fulfilled. This context is fatal to the author’s thesis of perfectionism just after the cross. It says that the fulfillment of the new covenant is eschatological in the last days. Yeshua’s blood is the blood of the new covenant, but who says he is done cleansing Israel and Judah in their hearts. As it says, “I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day” (Zech. 3:9).

10:17‡ ^Why did the author leave, “I will forgive” out of the quotation? The reason is that it might imply that there were sins to be forgiven with the new covenant at some future point in time. The author does not want to allow for any future forgiveness since he believes perfection is already here, so he deletes the words and runs the remaining words together with the next clause. The author’s belief is that all sins were forgiven at one point in time, but that is not what the cross teaches. Forgiveness of transgressions was made possible by the cross, but it does not happen (is not applied) until an individual repents and seeks forgiveness. So with the new covenant in place, in the age to come, some from the nations will repent and join with the house of Israel and Judah, and then forgiveness will be applied to them. The sacrifice was at the cross, but it only becomes efficacious to the individual when he or she repents.

10:18‡ ^Of course, Messiah is not offered again as a sacrifice for trans­gression (serious sins, rebellion), but our author has mistakenly combined the sacrifice with the efficaciousness of the sacrifice into one time. In truth, the act of the sacrifice and the efficaciousness are separated in time. The offering only be­comes efficacious upon repentance of sin and seeking of forgiveness. So then, the offering is always available to forgive new sin that is repented of. Therefore, what the author states is only half true on the above consideration. There is, additionally, the consideration of the Levitical Service. Until such time as Israel and Judah are perfected, or such time as any from the nations joining are perfected, and the Levitical Service is restored, there will remain the sin offering, and the guilt offering for sins of ignorance (circumstance), and so long as the Levitical Service operated between the cross and its final destruction ca. AD 131, those offerings were efficacious for sins of ignorance, and will be again when the Temple is rebuilt, and also in the age to come for the nations. Messiah’s offering will atone for sins of ignorance if the Temple Service is lacking; however, it is the divine will that such sins of ignorance be confessed and paid for by the Levitical Service, and not Messiah.

10:22† ^confidence: It is a mistake to think that forgiveness of the penalty also means that the faithful are fully sanctified and sufficiently cleansed to enter the most holy place in heaven. Gnostics, and many Christians afterward have mis­takenly thought they were perfected enough. The blood (resurrection life) of Yeshua is still cleansing us (cf. 1John 1:7-9).

10:25‡ ^Arch-synagogue: The Greek term here is τὴν ἐπισυναγωγὴν and is formed after the example of τὸν ἐπίσκοπον, “the overseer, the bishop”; in the days of our author, the actual meeting places were still called “synagogues,” and the people called the “assembly” (ἐκκλη­σίαν). Only in this case the author has put the word ἐπι in front of the usual term. And he calls it “our arch-synagogue,” or more generically, “over-synagogue.” He has thus reached the point of being able to promote his bishop as the leader above all others. And it appears that he is writing on behalf of a bishop (cf. 13:17), perhaps someone supporting a Diotrephes that has recently replaced a Timothy.

10:26† ^no longer: if the author had said there is no longer expiation, or atonement he could have avoided an error, because even after willful sin, the sacrifice of Messiah remains, even if the person has no forgiveness from it until he repents. The author denies second chances. See 6:6.

10:28† ^without mercy: This is what the author says. It is not what the Law says. The author does not actually accept the Law himself. The statement put here is a gross exaggeration of the teaching of the Law. In an attempt to support the author Nestle-Aland (27th) list three Scriptures: Deut. 17:6; Num. 35:30; Psa. 109:12. The Numbers text deals with murder only. Deuteronomy 17:2-7 pertains to transgression of the covenant by idolatry. Failure to confirm the covenant only resulted in a curse (Deut. 27:26), not in death. Only certain crimes were punishable by death. The Psalm 109:12 text clearly applies to someone who is unrepentant and under the curse. David is not saying that there should be no divine mercy to the repentant, even though he or she may have sinned. The criminals on the cross committed crimes deserving of death, but one was granted mercy on the cross, even though he still had to die. The author’s grievous false teaching is that judgment was “without mercy.” It is in fact not too late to repent after sin, and still suffer the physical judgment required. The author’s tactic is the classic teaching that the Law is only a stern master and never has any mercy. The author only uses his mistake with the Law as a tool to make a greater threat concerning Christ, which is explained as “grace” even though he has redefined atonement.

10:29‡ ^deserve: the conclusion does not follow the premise. The author’s Arch-synagogue denied a second repentance to keep its followers from questioning their teaching on the first one (6:6). And so they misrepresented the Law, which did allow repentance after transgression! They want their followers misled, and to keep them in the fold they exaggerate the severity of the Law so that they can be even more severe ● sanctified: The author uses the aorist to make sanctification a remote (completed) event. He places it entirely at the cross.

10:37† ^The Greek text here is identical to Is. 26:20: μικρὸν ὅσον ὅσον = “very very little”, or “greatly greatly little”, or “much much little”. The phrase translates the Hebrew כִמְעַט־רֶ֖גַע (=“a little moment”). The context of Is. 26:20-21 shows it deals with the second coming, but the time phrase is taken out of context by the author. It is clear from Heb. 9:26 that the author teaches the crucifixion was very near the “consummation of the ages” (ἐπὶ συντελείᾳ τῶν αἰώνων). Further indication of nearness is given in 10:25, “the day drawing near” (ἐγγίζουσαν τὴν ἡμέραν). Matthew 24:3 uses the same words as Hebrews for the end of the age (συντελείας τοῦ αἰῶνος). Yeshua also refers to the end this way in Mat. 13:39, 40, 49; 28:20. No scriptural text misleads us like Hebrews about the expectation of the end, not James 5:7-8 [listed in the margin of NA-27th] (see EHSV), not 1John 2:18, and not Rev. 1:1, 3; 2:5, 16; 3:11; 22:6, 7, 10, 12, 20. See EHSV for defense of those verses, so often taken out of context to attack those books. But the author of Hebrews has buried himself in a falsehood and given two witnesses to prove it. In 9:26 he uses language that can only be interpreted one way, and in 10:37 he uses a compound phrase that can only mean right around the corner!

The author dovetails a quote from Hab. 2:3 into the text here, which is a Messianic prophecy and refers to the coming of Messiah. But the author has seriously misinterpreted the prophecy and taken it out of context. Habakkuk introduces the quote with, “For the vision is still for the appointed time...if he tarries, wait for him...He will not be too late.” (cf. EHSV Hab. 2:3). But the last word of the verse is ambiguous in Greek and Hebrew. It can mean, “be too late” or “delay.” The right choice is obvious from the context (be too late). But the author chooses “delay” as the sense. Then author of Hebrews changes the prophetic time frame by writing a new introduction to the phrase, “in a very very little while” imitating language from Isa. 26:20 (LXX). Since the vision is about Messiah’s coming to put down Babylon, the author cannot be correct to say it will not delay in the first century AD. Here is the full Hebrew from Hab. 2:3-4: “For the vision is still for the appointed time; He rises up at the end, and He will not be made false. If He tarries, wait for him; for the One coming will come; He will not be too late. behold, she is heedless—she is not upright—its soul in it; but the righteous by His faithfulness will live.” “She” refers to Babylon.

10:38‡ ^Hebrews does not quote Hab. 2:4 like Paul (Rom. 1:17; Gal. 3:11). Paul says: ὁ δὲ δίκαιος ἐκ πίστεως ζήσεται = but the just by faithfulness will live. Nor does he quote it like the LXX here, which has, ὁ δὲ δίκαιος ἐκ πίστεώς μου ζήσεται = but the just by My faithfulness will live. Hebrews has ὁ δὲ δίκαιός μου ἐκ πίστεως ζήσεται = but My just one by faithfulness will live. First, the author differs from Paul, indicating once more that Paul is not the author—though most Christians have been deceived into thinking so in the past. Second, the author’s quotation does not correspond to the Hebrew text or the LXX. The author has put the word, “my” where no other Hebrew or Greek LXX MSS has it. After the tampering we went through on Psalm 40:6-8 we should suspect that the position of the word “my” (μου) is solely the responsibility of the author. The positioning of ‘my’ also shows the author did not understand Paul or the text. The Hebrew text reads בֶּאֱמוּנָת֥וֹ —by his/His faithfulness. Paul quoted elliptically, by ... faithfulness so as not to force the interpretation of His/his (and to correct the one sided interpretation of the LXX). Paul interprets it both ways, of Messiah’s faithfulness, and of the righteous person’s faithfulness. The LXX says, “My faithfulness” choosing one interpretation over the other. But Hebrews chooses neither interpretation, and repositions the “my”! If the author had any understanding of Paul, he would have done no such thing. The book was written late (ca. 80-90) during the second generation (cf. Heb. 2:3, 13:7; 5:12; 10:32), far enough afterward for the author to promote his Arch-Synagogue (ἐπισυναγωγὴν, cf. 10:25), and long enough for the Gnostic heresy and antinomianism to grow into a major movement.

Hab. 2:4a. Literal Hebrew: “Behold, she is heedless—she is not upright—its soul in it;” “She” refers to Babylon. The author misquotes in reverse order. He quotes the LXX, “if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him” after “But my righteous one shall live by faithfulness”. The Hab. 2:3-4 LXX has it the other way around, and the Hebrew clause order agrees with the LXX clause order. If the clause order is kept as the LXX has it, then the subject of , “if he shrinks back” becomes the subject of “the one coming will come, and will not delay” in Hab. 2:3. This is proved by the NETS translation (Pietersma and Wright): “for when it comes it will come and not delay. If it draws back, my soul is not pleased in it.” It is evident that the text makes no sense. Why would God not be pleased with his own vision of deliverance? He appointed the time for it. Why would he not be pleased with the time of his choice? The LXX is certainly wrong at this point because it destroys the Messianic sense of Hab 2:3. But Hebrews’ solution is just as bad. It destroys the Messianic sense of Hab. 2:4 by limiting the sense to the faithfulness of the righteous man (who may shrink back). Paul would be against this. So is the Nahal Hever 8HevXIIgr MSS from the late first century BC. We don’t know whether to blame the current LXX reading on assimilation to Hebrews, or someone else, but all the evidence is against the author’s version. The author could well be guilty, as he surely is with Psalm 40.

11:1‡ ^trust: the author gives a re-definition of ‘trust’ (πίστις) as the object of trust. Today we see this usage of trust in ‘trust fund.’ It is not just that trusting is involved. The thing trusted is the trust. The trust is the substance of the trust. In this way πίστις is defined as a reservoir or asset which one draws upon. One man says I trust my boss to pay me, but he knows he must continue to faithfully work to keep his job. The other man trusts his trust to pay him, without having a job at all, except trust in the trust. This kind of ‘trust’ is the Gnostic kind, and it is dead, being without works.

The Hebrews 11:1 definition of “faith” is clearly not covenant fidelity, but more like a combination of believe only and realization of one’s connection to divine power.

11:4† ^In the Gnostic view of things the “confidence” or really “essence of things hoped for” is an immortal spiritual substance that is an emanation of the eternal father spirit (paternal depth) that comes from within one’s self. Therefore, it does not die, and surviving death it speaks beyond the grave.

11:7† ^He became an heir of the righteousness which is according to trust. καὶ τῆς κατὰ πίστιν δικαιοσύνης ἐγένετο κληρονόμος. The thought is not Pauline because of two things. Firstly it is drawing attention away from the fact that Nōâḥ was already righteous by faithfulness before he built the ark or acted on Gŏd’s words (cf. Gen. 6:9). Secondly, the eschatological righteousness by faithfulness only comes at the end of the age, or resurrection, when Mĕssiah returns to perfect the saints (cf. Gal. 5:5). And Nōâḥ lived 360 years after the flood, and does not inherit the final perfection until the resurrection. In Romans 4:13, Paul uses the phrase, “the righteousness of faithfulness” to describe something that A̕v̱raham was living in a state of, and not something he would inherit. The promise is that he would inherit the world. The author of Hebrews, therefore, at a minimum has scrambled Paul’s ideas, and in doing so is probably aiming at an alien righteousness that is obtained by some Gnostic means apart from real obedience to the commandments.

11:11† ^By trust even Sarah herself received ability to conceive, even beyond the proper time of life, since she considered him faithful who had promised; conceive: The Scripture makes no such statement. The author’s definition of faith is taking on its true nature as Sarah is finding within herself the essence (reality or substance) of what she hopes for. If anything, Sarah was the doubter ● promised: It seems rather that she laughed at the promise. That’s how Isaac got named. Gen. 18:15 says that Sarah had fear in her heart when she lied. She did not consider Yăhwēh faithful.

11:16† ^But as it is, they desire a better one, that is a heavenly one. In some sense paradise on earth is heavenly, as heaven and earth were originally connected. But here the author appears to be spiritualizing the literal promise of the land, replacing it with a heavenly concept divorced from the literal promises. This interpretation is consistent with the author’s theology denying the covenant.

11:16‡ ^That is, a heavenly one. The author is writing after the Revelation of Yōḥanan, and this is, no doubt, an allusion to the New Yerūshalayim, only in the author’s theology it is assumed to have no connection with the land of Yisra’ēl. The author was no doubt familiar with Paul’s drash in Gal. 4 on the Yerūshalayim above concerning the promise vs. the oral Torah (tradition), but he misunderstood it the way most Christians have. Once a legitimate concept or phrase has been reinterpreted, the original sense is lost, and the phrase can be used to imply a lie due to the theology grafted onto it. The New Yerūshalayim is a heavenly city, because it comes from heaven, and will be the perfect city, but that this someone conflicts with the earthly promises to Yisra’ēl is a Gnostic reinterpretation, or one of replacement theology, whereby Christians have automatically in their minds separated the concept of the New Yerūshalayim from having anything to do with “old” covenant promises.

11:21‡ ^By trust Ya‘aqōv̱, as he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Yōsēf, and bowed down on the top of his staff. The reference is supposed to be to Gen. 47:31. But the author follows the Septuagint (LXX): “καὶ προσεκύνησεν Ισραηλ ἐπὶ τὸ ἄκρον τῆς ῥάβδου αὐτοῦ.” This is not according to the Hebrew text which says, “וַיִּשְׁתַּחוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל עַל־רֹאשׁ הַמִּטָּה”, Then Yisra’ēl bowed himself in worship upon the head of the bed. Additionally, the author has gotten the events backwards. Gen. 47:31 is sometime before he blessed the sons of Yōsēf according to Gen. 48:1. Meyer observes:

More correctly, according to Knobel: “and Israel bowed himself upon the head of the couch, inasmuch as he had before, during his conversation with Joseph, been sitting upright upon his couch (comp. Genesis 48:2), but now leaned forward to the upper end thereof, and blessed God for the granting of the last wish”). The LXX., however, read the vowels הַמַּטֶּה, and their translation was followed by our author in this passage as elsewhere.

The Pulpit Commentary states:

"Bed" seems more likely to have been intended, inasmuch as the bed on which the patriarch lay is twice again mentioned (Genesis 48:2; Genesis 49:33) in the account of the closing scene; and we find also a similar expression used of David in his old age (1 Kings 1:47).

John Gill discredits Jerome, upon whose shoulder the canonization of Hebrews partly rests, saying:

and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff; not that he "worshipped the top of his staff", as the Vulgate Latin version renders it, either his own, or Joseph's, or any little image upon the top of it; which would be an instance of idolatry, and not faith,

11:27† ^By trust he left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing him who is unseen. But Mōshēh wrote, “Then he said, “Who has set you up as a boss man and judger over us? Will you kill me, you ¹talker as that, you have killed the Egyptian?” Then Mōshēh feared; then he said, “Surely the thing has become known.” Then Pharaoh heard this thing; then he sought to kill Mōshēh. Then Mōshēh fled from the face of Pharaoh” (Ex. 2:14-15). The author of Hebrews directly contradicts Mōshēh.

11:31† ^This is quite a bit weakened from James 2:25, “And in the same way was not Raḥav̱ the harlot also made righteous by works, when she re­ceived the messengers and sent them out by another way?” And also from 1 Clem. 12:1, “By her faithfulness and hospitality Raḥav̱ the harlot was saved,” which agrees with similar statements in the gospels, e.g. “Your faithfulness has saved you” (Luke 7:50).

11:35‡ ^And others were tortured, not accepting their release, in order that they might obtain a better resurrection. This actually refers to the Apocryphal book 2 Maccabees 6:30. John Gill cites, “So the seven brothers, 2 Maccabees 7:9, 11, 14, 29, 36; and Eleazar, 2 Maccabees 6:21, 28, 30, "Though I might have been delivered from death, I endure these severe pains, being beaten." ”

11:37‡ ^They were sawn in two. Again the author has cited tradition. Meyer cites the sources, “According to early tradition, that suffered by Isaiah at the hands of Manasseh, king of Judah. See Ascens. Jes. vat. v. 11–14; Justin Martyr, Dial. c. Tryph. 120; Tertull. de Patient. 14, Scorpiac. 8; Origen, Epist. ad African.; Lactant. Institt. iv. 11, al.; Tr. Jevamoth, f. 49. 2; Sanhedrin, f. 103. 2.”

11:39‡ ^To be sure, the author believes that perfection arrived for the Saints at the cross. The author represents them as not receiving the promise. And indeed in Paul the promise of perfection still is to be waited for (cf. Gal. 5:5), but the author believes it is the end of the age then, at his time, and teaches that the cross has already perfected the saints and abolished sin. This theology comes from Gnostic sources.

12:2† ^faith: The author’s wording could be interpreted to mean that “the faith” was authored only during Messiah’s ministry (AD 30-34), and that it was perfected at the cross, but that would be the Gnostic interpretation. Sadly, though, it is what many Christians think ● right hand: Gnostics would have interpreted this to occur in the eighth heaven. They would say that their “father” was not the God of Israel, but above the seven heavens of Israel’s God, and that the sitting down marked the point of perfection. Only here, and possibly in the disputed longer ending of Mark does Psalm 110:1 appear to be marked as dispensationally significant. Elsewhere it teaches the equality of Messiah with the God of Israel, and that He had been at His right hand from time immemorial, only to die, and then return to that position to time immemorial and onward. See Mat. 22:44; Mark 12:36, 16:19; Luke 20:42; Acts 2:34.

12:18† ^handled: See 1John 1:1. The Gnostics regarded the material as evil, and the Creator of the material as evil ● blazing fire: See Rev. 1:14-15; Dan. 7:9-10; 10:6; Isa. 30:27. The author’s words are very careless at the least because in his time the Gnostics would have spoken exactly this way concer­ning the God of Israel.

12:20† ^could not bear: The Scripture records no violation of the command not to touch the mountain. See 10:22. The Gnostics claimed that they were pure enough to touch the throne of God ● Exodus 19:12-13, paraphrased rather inaccurately.

12:21† ^Again, the author has gotten something seriously out of place (cf. 9:1-4). The nearest text to this is Deut. 9:19, and this is not the time that Yahweh spoke the Law out of the cloud and fire.

12:22† ^have come: The author does not say “will come,” but “have come”, which is to say, like the Gnostics, he regards Zion and Jerusalem as entirely spiritualized concepts. ● heavenly: but Revelation speaks of the “New Jerusalem coming down out of heaven.” It is well connected to earth since a river flows out of it onto the earth (Rev. 22:1-2), and joins with the river from the Temple (Eze. 47:12). The author considers all these things a present spiritualized perfection, and not a future physical reality.

12:23† ^firstborn: Compare Heb. 10:25 ● perfect: Again the author eschews the physical resurrection. He also believes that the righteous dead are “made perfect” before the resurrection and apart from the perfect body to be given when Messiah returns.

12:25‡ ^But Ex. 20:22 “I have talked with you from heaven” would nullify the author’s contrast. Gnostics would have interpreted the God of Israel as earthly, and their “father” as someone else above the God of Israel in an eighth heaven. The author does give the distinct feeling that he is talking about two different beings here. The phrasing of the text is agreeable to the Gnostic, although the author himself is not a Gnostic. He is simply catering to Gnostic thought, or to put it another way, saying what they want to hear.

12:26† ^Haggai 2:6. The extent to which the author has used this text out of context is shown by the very next verse, Haggai 2:7, ‘“And I will have made quake all the nations. And the desirable things of all the nations will have come, and I will have made this house to be filled with glory,” has spoken Yăhwēh of Armies.’ So we see at once the shaking does not mean the “removing of those things which can be shaken” (τὴν μετάθεσιν, ὡς πεποιημένων: the removal, as having been made). And indeed, the shaking does not result in the removal of the Temple, but in it being filled with glory, which is quite the opposite of what the author wishes for the Levitical Service.

12:27‡ ^Again the argument is agreeable to the Gnostic rejection of the physical creation. The created things are shaken, but the non-created things are not, because for the Gnostic the created things are by material or soulish nature evil, and non created things are only evil by way of contamination with matter or matter oriented souls. The author is not a Gnostic, but the author has cast his words to be acceptable to the Gnostic paradigm rejecting earthly fulfillment. And this thinking system, rejecting the Messianic Kingdom coming in power on earth, is embedded in the Church to this day.

12:29† ^Using the author’s definition, and not a theologically imposed one to deliver him from fault, the “kingdom which cannot be shaken” is not of “created things” (cf. vs. 27, πεποιημένων). Haggai 2:6 and its context make no dichotomy between created things and uncreated things. But the author of Hebrews does. Once we get over the hurdle of realizing that the author contradicts the Torah and the Prophets, (and attempting to read correct theology back into his meaning) it is not hard to see how his way of phrasing matters fits into the prevailing gnostic culture of the Church at that time.

13:2† ^2John 1:5-11 has different advice concerning strangers bringing a teaching. If they do not keep the commandments of Mĕssiah we are not to greet them, or if they deny that the Almĭghty has come as Mĕssiah in the flesh, then they are not to be shown hospitality. One the other hand, someone who is simply in need may be shown hospitality, but the author is encouraging his followers to do it because they might be entertaining angels. If so, this teaching of a reason for being motivated to that end is unique to Hebrews, and should be added to its many other new doctrines. Rather the command to love the neighbor, and the reward in heaven is the objective and true reason for loving strangers in need.

13:4‡ ^It should never be denied that Gnostic Teachers or the Lawless do not cloak their doctrine in morality or real truths to make it more attractive.

13:5† ^Deut. 31:6, 8: “He will not abandon you, and he will not forsake you.” Deut. 31:9, “Then Mōshēh wrote this law. Then he have it unto the priests, the sons of Lēυi̱....” A text without a context is a pretext.

13:6† ^Psa. 118:6, “Yăhwēh is for me. I will not fear. What can man do to me?”

13:9† ^In the context of the letter, this statement is directed against the laws of clean and unclean food.

13:10† ^What altar is the author speaking of here? Could this be the Mithraic mysteries reinterpretation of the Passover? Could this be the work of the Nicolaitans at Ephesus? It would seem so. For the author puts down the Levitical Service in the same sentence.

13:13‡ ^There was a le­gi­timate altar outside the camp, and Yĕshūa̒ was crucified very near it. It was on the Mt. of Olives. The author is using this fact to legitimize having an altar in his own Arch-Synagogue (cf. 10:25). If so, then the author was one of the Nicolaitans. It is not easy to say because many specialized in duplicitous language with the sound of orthodoxy, but interpreted differently. The Gnostics were specialists in the art of symbolical reinterpretation, and could often deceive the orthodox into thinking they were orthodox.

13:17† ^This statement is self serv­ing of the Arch-Synagogue (see 10:25). What the author is saying is that they should obey the monarchical bishop.

13:23† ^Paul’s disciple. We should not, however, assume that Ti­mo­thy sympathizes with the author’s arguments. The errors in the book point to someone with close ties to Jewish Gnostics of Alexandria, who had adopted Christianity, but were anti-Levitical. Whatever the case, this statement seems to be strategically placed as a second witness to Pauline authorship, to be put alongside the oral testimony of those who circulated the book of Hebrews. This judgment or one like it is justified by the fact that the author introduces numerous heresies against the Law of Yăhwēh, and in doing so leaves a long trail of contradictions and inconsistencies.