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A View from the Altar / Hebrews
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Category Archives: Hebrews

The New Covenant isn’t the Old Covenant

13-Jun-11

One of the most curious controversies in the Christian world revolves around the phrase “New Testament,” as in, “the last major section of your Bible.”  It comes as a surprise to folks of Baptist background to learn that many denominations view the New Testament as basically the same thing as the Old Testament with just […]

Once for all

24-Oct-10

When early believers contemplated returning to Judaism, Paul made a statement that should have caught them cold: The sacrifice of Christ for our sins was once for all (Heb 10:10-14), a thing that was done by God forever, never to be repeated, all sufficient, and thereby exclusive. It was plainly true that the blood of […]

Bloodshed

10-Oct-10

It would have been ugly to watch the religion of Moses being practiced.  Animals were sacrificed for all sorts of purposes, lambs and rams slaughtered, blood sprinkled here and there, daubed on the priests ear and toe, critter kidneys burned, doves killed, a cow beheaded….  When Solomon’s temple was dedicated, the Bible says 22,000 oxen […]

Aaron’s rod that budded (Hebrews 9)

26-Sep-10

In Hebrews 9 the inspired writer says the Ark of the Covenant contained a golden pot that had manna, the two tables of containing the ten commandments, and Aaron’s rod that budded.  These were tokens of God’s presence among the Israelites.  They were also unique foreshadowings of the Messiah who was to come.  The manna […]

Keeping track of times and seasons (Hebrews 8)

29-Aug-10

One of the big divisions in the world of evangelicals concerns the law of Moses and how it should be regarded.  Those who follow a branch of theology called “Covenant Theology” tend to regard the advent of the New Testament as a bumpless glide forward in the progress of revelation.  The more forceful proponents of […]

King of Righteousness

22-Aug-10

The Hebrew writer compares Christ to Melchizedek, the ancient priest identified in Genesis 14.  Melchizedek is the King of Righteousness and the King of Salem, which is the King of Peace. In the field of mathematics there are certain basic truths called axioms.  An axiom is a truth so basic that it cannot be derived […]

It is impossible (Hebrews 6)

08-Aug-10

The phrase, “it is impossible” from Hebrews 6:4 has troubled people of tender conscience since it was first written.  John Bunyan wrote about it in his autobiography Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners.  He wrote as though demons were trying to get him to renounce his faith in Christ, and under the torment he […]

Infancy (Heb 5)

23-Jul-10

Infants can’t handle much in the way of food.  Milk is about their limit, though they’re very demanding about getting it on time.  They have to grow and mature before they’re ready for steak and french fries. The Hebrew writer calls his audience “babes” because they need to be taught certain doctrines of the Scripture.  […]

Priesthood (Hebrews 5)

18-Jul-10

Hebrews 5 takes up the priesthood of Jesus Christ.  From the outset it’s clear that priest has a mediatorial function — he goes between us and God on our behalf offering gifts and sacrifices for sins (v1).  The tacit subtext is that a thrice-holy God cannot accept such things directly from sinners and rebels against […]

Pulling the bottom soda can (Hebrews 4)

12-Jul-10

Occasionally, grocery stores used to make a pyramid of cans in an aisle somewhere as a product display.  The practice has been discontinued because kids loved to cause an avalanche by pulling a can off the bottom.  Marketing failure, yes.  Spiritual lesson, yes.  Nothing is more vital to a structure than its foundation. One of […]

Christian rest (Hebrews 4)

08-Jul-10

Much of chapter 4 is occupied with the idea of the Christian’s “rest.”  Matthew Henry believed this is the rest that comes from a covenantal relationship with God through Christ.  In God’s covenant of grace, his people rely not upon their own deeds, but Christ’s, and his righteousness is the ground of their justification before […]

Clarifying things… ouch. (Hebrews 3)

05-Jul-10

Christians are obliged to be faithful to the Lord.  The writer of Hebrews reminds us of this in nearly every chapter of his letter.  How shall we escape if we neglect this great salvation? he asks early in the letter.  (He 2:3)  Chapter 3 gets to the heart of the issue he’s concerned about, which […]

A bit lower than angels (Hebrews 2)

01-Jul-10

This is for our friends from the Jehovah’s Witnesses who have been persuaded that Jesus is Michael the archangel. People apparently tried to dissuade the early Jewish Christians from worshiping Jesus by saying that Jesus was an angel.  In a similar way, we know the Gnostics tried to identify Jesus as a demiurge, and this […]

Filed under teacher, good and moral, not just a (Hebrews 1)

27-Jun-10

There is a trace of Christian pheromone left in our society, just enough so that haters of God feel obliged to nod in the direction of Jesus and say something to the effect of, “good moral teacher.” Even the least advanced Christian sees this as damnation by faint praise but labors to explain his objections […]