Who wrote the book of Hebrews?
In the chapter Paul the false Apostle I mentioned that many scholars believe the book of Hebrews was not written by Paul. In spite of the fact that the message of Hebrews is similar to that of Paul's message in that he believes the Law has been done away with, I agree with the scholars for a number of reasons. First, unlike every other letter written by Paul, the author of Hebrews does not identify himself. Secondly, the author's grasp of the Greek language is superior to Paul's and is very eloquent compared to Paul. Paul regularly starts a thought-line and then losses it as he runs off on a tangent. The writer of Hebrews follows a very systematic strait forward line of reasoning from which he does not swerve. And third, the style of writing is significantly different than that of Paul's. Paul's style is to continually refer to himself with the use of personal pronouns like "I", "me", "my", and "mine". The author of the book of Hebrews refers to himself only 7 times in the entire book. Paul's self-interest is especially evident in Romans and 1st and 2nd Corinthians where he uses personal pronouns 103,175 and 103 times respectively in these three books. The author of Hebrews coming in at only 7 times was obviously not as interested in making something of himself.
Of the possible choices for author of Hebrews there is really only one good candidate and that person is Apollos. Apollos was a leader in the early Messianic movement and he is mentioned ten times in the New Testament. Twice in the book of Acts, and eight times by Paul himself. We are first introduced to him in Acts 18:24.
Now a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures, came to Ephesus. This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately* the things of the Lord...
* The commentary that Apollos "taught accurately", comes from Luke's point of view.
Paul also speaks of Apollos as a prominent leader with an apparently significant following. His name is mentioned right along with the likes of himself, Peter, and Yeshua.
Now I say this, that each of you says, "I am of Paul," or "I am of Apollos," or "I am of Cephas," or "I am of Christ." 1Corinthians 1:12
Note the order of the names. Apollos is the closest to Paul who names himself first. Paul undoubtedly thinks highly of Apollos because Apollos generally agrees with his doctrine. We know that Apollos was influenced by Pauline doctrine through Aquila and Priscilla who themselves spent much time with Paul and later "explained the way of God more accurately" to Apollos. Acts 18:18-28
If indeed Apollos was the author of Hebrews it would make perfect sense why he did not identify himself as the author of the book. The book was written to the Hebrew people. Unlike the way most of us use names today, the Jewish people made much of a person's name. A name was supposed to tell you something about that person. Apollos was not named after the God of Israel or any of the patriarchs as most non-Hellenic Jews were. He was a Greek Jew, born in Alexandria Egypt and named after the pagan god Apollo the son of Zeus! A book with a name like Apollos attached to it would automatically have three strikes against it in the eyes of most Hebrew people.
Is Hebrews any better?
It makes little difference who wrote the book of Hebrews. It is the subject matter of the book which is most important. As I have shown, Paul is a false apostle and his words are far from being the infallible word of God. But if Paul did not write the book of Hebrews, the question arises: Is the book of Hebrews doctrinally sound? Being it is a favorite among many Christians, this question needs to be answered. There might be a few who might be willing to go way out on a limb and question Paul as long as they can hang on to Hebrews. All aspects of the book of Hebrews should be viewed from both of two perspectives. They are the personal style with which the author paints his picture, and the actual subject matter and doctrine of the book. First, the style of thought.
The style of thought.
Whether it was written by Apollos or not, the author of the book of Hebrews was unquestionably steeped in Hellenistic philosophical thought styles. As mentioned in a previous chapter, early in the first century, there was another Jewish scholar... a prolific writer and expositor of the Hebrew Bible known as Philo Judaeus of Alexandria. Interestingly enough, Alexandria Egypt is the same place Apollos was born! Alexandria was a Mecca for those of Greek Platonic philosophical studies, complete with one of the ancient world's most exhaustive libraries. The style of Philo's writings are remarkably similar to some of those found in the book of Hebrews. In the foreword of C.D. Yonge's translation of Philo's works, David M. Scholer makes these observations:
Philo has also often been considered especially significant for the conceptual background of the Epistle to the Hebrews. It seems clear that there is no evidence that the author of Hebrews had read Philo and that the author utilizes a whole range of Jewish traditions, some of which have remarkable similarities to the writings of Qumran and the writings of Philo. As the recent commentator on Hebrews Harold W. Attridge, observes: "...there are undeniable parallels that suggest that Philo and our author (of Hebrews) are indebted to similar traditions of Greek-speaking and -thinking Judaism". One passage in Hebrews illustrates the possible connections between the thought worlds of Philo and the author of Hebrews. In Hebrews 8:5 the author argues: "They offer worship in a sanctuary that is a sketch and shadow of the heavenly one". The distinction between a "Heavenly reality" and the observable, phenomenal world as "Sketch and shadow" is a (Middle) Platonic idea, but bears much in common with Philo's expressions of these ideas.
As a person reads the book of Hebrews it quickly becomes evident that the author views all historical events recorded in the Hebrew Bible as sketches, shadows, and figures of things that were to come. This way of viewing history is so predominant in the book of Hebrews that it has taken on a philosophical life of its own in the mind of the author. So strong is this view, that the historical events themselves begin to lose relevance concerning the actual people of history to whom the events occurred! All of history is viewed as having the sole purpose of teaching through allegory the only people who really mattered... themselves. It is a very self-centered manner in which to view history... a Greek style as common in that day as is the scientific way of viewing events today. Largely due to the book of Hebrews, this allegorical way of viewing history continues to be alive and well in many corners of Christianity today.
The next thing that becomes painfully obvious as one takes an overview of the book of Hebrews is that there is no literal physical or earthly interpretation of any prophecies in the Bible. None, zip, nada! This is especially true concerning the many prophecies of the Messianic age. It is very important to note the fact that the writer of Hebrews makes absolutely no mention of a Messianic age to come. All prophecies are given a past-tense and fulfilled, heavenly interpretation. There is a reason for this. From here, we now get into the subject matter of the book of Hebrews.
The subject matter/doctrine of Hebrews
Throughout all of Jewish history, believers in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob have eagerly looked for the promised Messiah to bring the peace on earth which God had promised. But the early Messianics had a problem. Yeshua, the one who they thoroughly believed to be the Messiah was gone. And to add insult to injury, there was certainly no peace on earth. This sad fact was finally driven home and all hope lost in the year 70 when Rome sacked Jerusalem and destroyed the temple. For a number of reasons, many scholars believe Hebrews was written some time after the destruction of the temple around 80-85. One obvious reason being that the author is strangely silent concerning the second temple. Up until the destruction of the temple, most Messianics believed Yeshua would return in their lifetime to set up the kingdom of God and begin fulfilling the great bulk of Messianic prophecies that remained unfulfilled. These prophecies mandated that temple worship, complete with burnt offerings, be in full operation.
After the destruction of the temple there were only two ways to answer the problem if one was to continue believing Yeshua was the Messiah. Either Yeshua would return and rebuild the temple at some later date, or the Messianic prophecies were not supposed to be understood in a literal physical fulfillment here on this earth. Also for many, there was one other pesky problem that needed an answer. The question was, what did Yeshua's sacrifice accomplish in the way of fulfilling any need for animal sacrifice! Many Greek Jews as well as Gentiles had a severe aversion to animal sacrifices to start with. This is where the book of Hebrews comes in. In short, the author rises to the occasion to answer these problems by reasoning that everything has been fulfilled in a heavenly sense by Yeshua's sacrifice. But then the author bolsters his logic several times in his letter with intimidation tactics. He threatened damnation on those who didn't agree with him and fall in line. This is nothing more than an extortive tactic used by many in Christianity today and throughout history. More on this later.
Along with the prophecies concerning the Messiah, Hebrews makes much of a new covenant. This new covenant we will also look at shortly. But first, let's look in more detail at some of the Messianic prophecies the book of Hebrews deals with .
The Messiah as King and Priest
Early on in the book of Hebrews the author begins to rest much of his ongoing line of logic on the assumption that the Messiah (Yeshua) is to be similar to Melchizedek as prophesied in the Psalms. The writer of Hebrews quotes Psalm 110:4:
"The Lord has sworn and will not relent, "You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek." Hebrews 5:6 NKJV
It is precisely how the Messiah is like Melchizdek that is in question here. The writer of Hebrews is correct in interpreting this passage as a Messianic prophecy, but completely misses the point of how Messiah is like Melchizedek. Hebrews makes the connection this way.
For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God,...without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God...
Therefore, if perfection were through the Levitical priesthood, what further need was there that another priest should rise according to the order of (likeness of) Melchizedek, and not be called according to the order of Aaron. ...
For it is evident that our Lord arose from Judah, of which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning priesthood. And it is yet far more evident if, in the likeness of Melchizedek there arises another priest. Excerpts Hebrews 7:1-15.
The author of Hebrews claims that Yeshua is like Melchizedek in two ways. Like Melchizedek, Yeshua supposedly has no father, mother or genealogy, and secondly, he is like Melchizedek in that he is not of the Levitical priesthood. The notion that Yeshua had no genealogy is a bit of a head-scratcher! We have both his maternal grandfather Heli's genealogy in Luke 3:24-38, and his adoptive father Joseph’s genealogy in Matthew 1:1-17. (These presuppositions will be further established later) What's even more ironic is Hebrews' second ascertain which states that Yeshua was like Melchizedek in that he was not of the Levitical priesthood because he was of the tribe of Judah. Question: If Yeshua has no genealogy, how can Hebrews assert Yeshua was from the tribe of Judah?! Also note that the idea Melchizedek had no father or mother is also preposterous. But because Melchizedek's parents aren't mentioned in Genesis, and in the mind of the writer of Hebrews it's all just an allegory for us anyway, he can go ahead and try to sell this logic.
After drawing the conclusion that Yeshua is of a different priesthood than that of the Levites, Hebrews continues with this bit of logic.
"For the priesthood being changed, of necessity there is also a change of the law." Hebrews 7:12
To which I must ask... Why? Who said so? Where is that written? The Law is not the priest's law... its God's Law! Any and all priests are to execute God's Law no matter what their genealogy! In spite of this fact, it should be noted that Yeshua does in fact have Levitical priesthood blood! This fact renders Hebrews' argument invalid from the start. More in a bit. But the author of Hebrews then continues to build on this phony presupposition, and much like Paul, does away with the law of Moses... actually going so far as to call it old or obsolete. (Hebrews 8:13)
Back to the prophecy from Psalms. If the connection of the Messiah to Melchizedek is not as Hebrews would have us believe, then what is the connection? The answer is to be found in the Psalm itself.
The Lord shall send the rod of your strength out of Zion. Rule in the midst of Your enemies... The Lord has sworn and will not relent, Your are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek. (excerpts from Psalm 110:2-4)
This is without question a Messianic prophecy. The Messiah is referred to here as "the rod" and he must of necessity be a king... a descendant of David of the tribe of Judah. So the Messiah is like Melchizedek simply by reason that he is both king and priest in one.
Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High. Gen. 14:18
The kingdom and priesthood have always been separate in Israel's history. The Messiah is the one who is to bring the two together into one office. How the Messiah is like Melchizedek is really very simple. Hebrews makes it more difficult than it really is.
There are other wonderful Messianic prophecies that corroborate this King and Priest in one person picture.
"Behold, the days are coming,’ says the Lord, ‘that I will perform that good thing which I have promised to the house of Israel and to the House of Judah: ‘In those days and at that time I will cause to grow up to David a Branch of righteousness; He shall execute judgment and righteousness* in the earth. In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will dwell safely. And this is the name by which she will be called: "THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS" For thus says the Lord: ‘David shall never lack a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel; nor shall the priests, the Levites, lack a man to offer burnt offerings before Me, to kindle grain offerings, and to sacrifice continually.’"
Jeremiah 33:14-18 NKJV
*It is the king's responsibility to "execute" judgment from the throne, and it is the priest's job to "execute" righteousness by officiating at the altar.
"Take the silver and gold, make an elaborate crown, and set it on the head of Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest (a Levite). Then speak to him saying, 'Thus says the Lord of hosts, saying: "Behold the Man whose name is the BRANCH! From his place he shall branch out, and he shall build the temple of the Lord; Yes, he shall build the temple of the Lord. He shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule on his throne; So he shall be a priest on his throne, and the counsel of peace shall be between *them both."’
* NKJV footnote = "Both offices". (King and Priest)
Some rabbis believed the Messiah would come from the tribe of Levi based on this passage from Zechariah. The previous passage from Jeremiah 33 at first appears to be asking the impossible if one person is to fill both offices of king and priest. It says that David will not "lack a man" (obviously a descendant), and the Levites will also not "lack a man"... so this too must mean a priestly descendant of Levi. The only way these prophecies can work in a single person is if the Messiah is a type of half-blood union of each tribe. It would appear that no one has put together the fact that Yeshua is just such a person with 50% pure Levitical priesthood blood from his maternal grandmother!
Since Yeshua had no physical earthly father, it logically flows that his physical bloodlines would be identical to that of his mother Mary. Mary's father Heli was a direct descendant of David. We have his genealogy in Luke 3:23-38. Where it says Joseph was the son of Heli, we should understand that he was Heli's son-in-law, and not his literal physical son anymore than Yeshua was Joseph's physical son. Joseph's physical genealogy is found in Matthew 1:1-16. Mary's father was a direct descendant of David, but Mary's mother was a full-blooded descendant of Aaron of the tribe of Levi. We know this because Elizabeth, the wife of Zechariahs the priest, had to be a full-blooded Levite woman. The priests, the sons of Aaron, were required by the Law to marry only Levite woman. (Leviticus 21:13,14) Luke 1:5 says that Elizabeth was just such a person in that she was "of the daughters of Aaron". Here is the interesting part. In Luke 1:36 one translation tells us that Elizabeth was Mary's cousin! The Greek word actually means close next of kin, so the only other possibility would be that Elizabeth was Mary's aunt! Considering Elizabeth was "well advanced in years" and therefore significantly older than Mary, it is more likely that Elisabeth was in fact Mary's aunt. So for Mary to be Elizabeth's niece would mean that Mary's mother had to be a full-blooded Levite sister to either Elizabeth or her full-blooded Levite husband Zacharias. If Mary was Elizabeth's cousin, it would mean that Mary's mother was a full-blooded Levite sister to one of Elizabeth's parents! Either way, for Mary to be a close relative to Elizabeth means that Mary's mother had to be a full-blooded Levite woman. Levite women were permitted to marry outside the tribe as did Mary's mother when she married Heli, a descendant of David of the tribe of Judah. So this means that both Mary and Yeshua are physically 50% Davidic blood and 50% Priestly Levitical blood. With genealogical credentials like Yeshua's, every Jew should stand up and take notice. No one could possibly come along with records that begin to rival these that are documented in millions of copies of the Bible all over the world today!
Considering the fact of Yeshua's 50% priestly bloodline and the concept of him being both king and priest, something interesting he said at his baptism needs to be viewed in a new light. Bear in mind that it is the kings responsibility to execute judgment from the throne, and the priests responsibility to execute righteousness by officiating at the altar. This is not to say that the King has no need of righteousness or the priests of judging a matter. It simply means that each has their responsibility before God and the nation to see that their respective divine mandates are executed.
When Yeshua came to John and asked John to baptize him, John immediately recoils at the thought.
Then Yeshua came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. And John tried to prevent him, saying, "I have need to be baptized by you, and are you coming to me?" But Yeshua answered and said to him, "Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness." Matthew 3:13-15
John was accustomed to baptizing people in response to their repentance of sins. It was a symbolic public declaration of a new birth into a new life of righteous living. He knew Yeshua had no need of such a baptism because he had no sin to turn from! It is Yeshua's answer to John's protest that is interesting here. He said, "it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness". Yeshua indicated to John that this was not to be the usual type of baptism. His baptism was to "fulfill all righteousness". I believe Yeshua's baptism was a type of anointing into the priesthood where righteousness is to be fulfilled. And this baptism was to be done by John, a Levite, the son of Zacharias and Elizabeth who were full-blooded Levites.
Back to king and priest in one
The book of Ezekiel prophesies in great detail of the Messianic age as well as the third temple period and all that goes with it. The following are a few excerpts. As you read, notice how royalty is officiating at the altar in the third passage . The first two passages are given to establish that the prince mentioned in the third passage is in fact the son of David.
"I will establish one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them—My servant David. He shall feed them and be their shepherd. And I, the Lord, will be their God, and My servant David a prince among them; I, the Lord, have spoken." Ezekiel 34:23,24
"David My servant shall be king over them, and they shall all have one shepherd; they shall also walk in My statutes, and do them. Then they shall dwell in the land that I have given to Jacob My servant, where your fathers dwelt; and they shall dwell there, they, their children, and their children’s children, forever; and My servant David shall be their prince forever. Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them, and it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; I will establish them and multiply them, and I will set My sanctuary in their midst forevermore. My tabernacle also shall be with them; indeed I will be their God, and they shall be My people. The nations also will know that I, the Lord, sanctify Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forevermore." Ezekiel 37:24-28
"All the people of the land shall give this offering for the Prince in Israel. Then it shall be the Prince’s part to give burnt offerings, grain offerings, and drink offerings, at the feasts, the New Moons, the Sabbaths, and at all the appointed seasons of the house of Israel. He shall prepare the sin offering, the grain offering, the burnt offering, and the peace offerings to make atonement for the house of Israel." Ezekiel 45:16,17
Here we have royalty acting in the office of High Priest. We also have animal sacrifices for sin being offered during the Messianic age. This is not the only mention of burnt offerings during the Messianic age. More will be mentioned about this later. But this picture obviously throws a major monkey wrench in the logistical gears of the book of Hebrews.
Yeshua and the Messianic age
Since the book of Hebrews is wrong in explaining away these prophecies as being fulfilled in a heavenly sense, I must agree with the only other option. I believe that Yeshua is alive and will return to this earth to fulfill the remaining great bulk of Messianic prophecies. At that time he will deliver Israel and ascend the throne of his earthly father David, and begin his priestly ministry. This picture is also found in the book of Revelation in spite of the fact that it conflicts with the book of Hebrews. In the gospels, Yeshua said himself on numerous occasions that he would return to set up the kingdom of God, but there is an even more specific picture given in the book of Revelation.
"And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Yeshua and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Messiah for a thousand years. But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Messiah, and shall reign with him a thousand years." Revelation 20:4-6
No doubt, it is during this thousand year reign taht all the kingly and priestly Messianic prophecies will be fulfilled.
Hebrews and the new covenant
In Christianity, the doctrine of the new covenant supposedly began at Yeshua's crucifixion, and is the final word on which is based the belief that the law of Moses is an old covenant and "obsolete". This doctrine is where the very terms "Old Testament" and "New Testament" have their origin. The old King James version uses the word "testament" whereas most others use "covenant". This new replacing old doctrine could not be farther from the truth. In the book of Hebrews, this doctrine is fueled by a desperate-for-an-answer misinterpretation of another Messianic-age prophecy. Remember, the author of Hebrews was attempting to give a fulfilled-in-full explanation to all the prophecies concerning the Messiah. The reasoning is that since the Messianic age obviously didn't physically occur on earth, it must have occurred in some other way or place. Again, in the text of the book of Hebrews, there is absolutely no mention of a literal future fulfillment on earth of any of these prophecies. In the author's mind, it has already come.
In Hebrews 8:8-10 the author himself quotes the passage from Jeremiah where God makes mention of a new covenant. This passage in Jeremiah is located in the middle of a section where there are many Messianic-age prophecies, not the least of which is chapter 33 as quoted above. Notice how the following prophecy begins and it's similarity to the chapter 33 prophecy. This passage reads:
Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the Lord. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. Jeremiah 31:31-33
First notice to whom the new covenant is to be made. It is "with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah". This is a very important point to note. Hebrews makes no comment on this point though. Instead, the only conclusion the author draws from this prophecy is this grand leap of logic.
In that He says, "A new covenant," He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away. Hebrews 8:13
The prophecy from Jeremiah of the coming new covenant is given specifically to Israel and Judah... and no one else! Sorry Gentile Christianity. And if this were not enough to end the matter, the description of what the new covenant will be completely does away with any notion that there is anything old or obsolete with the Law of Moses! God says;
"...this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel... I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts;..."
The new covenant is not a new and different law. It is the same identical law! The only difference is that Israel will be given a new heart that will instinctively know all of God's law and have the desire to perform it. But even after quoting this part of the prophecy, the writer of Hebrews continues to neglect the obvious fact that this new covenant is obviously the same law. After starting with the erroneous presupposition that the days to come spoken of in the prophecy are now here, all the author of Hebrews is able to derive from this passage is that, since those days are here, there must now exist the new covenant. And if there is a new covenant, then the previous one must be old and obsolete! But none of these assumptions are true.
The new covenant is to be enacted in the future during the Messianic age when Yeshua returns, the third temple is built, and the sacrificial system re-instituted. Again, there are many beautiful prophesies if this time. In the book of Ezekiel, starting with chapter 40 through to the end of the book, are 9 chapters dedicated solely to the description of the third temple period, which is the Messianic age. According to these prophecies every jot and tittle of the Law of Moses will stand. As God spoke to Ezekiel and built toward these chapters, He began making many references to that time to come. Here is one that speaks of the same new covenant.
"For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land. Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them. Ezekiel 36:24-27
Yeshua and the new covenant
On one occasion, Yeshua also made mention of the new covenant. It was during the last Passover supper the evening before his crucifixion.
Likewise he also took the cup after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is shed for you." Luke 22:20 & Mark 14:24
Yeshua was undoubtedly referencing the same prophecy in Jeremiah. What he meant by this statement is that one of the things his sacrifice would purchase is the new covenant as prophesied in Jeremiah. But, though the purchase price for the new covenant was paid for at the time of Yeshua's crucifixion, that did not mean the new covenant would begin immediately. Only a few verses earlier, Yeshua clearly pointed this fact out.
Then he said to them, "With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God." Luke 22:15,16
Question: Until what is fulfilled? Answer: The new covenant, established by his blood... represented in the cup of Passover! When? Not immediately, but much later in the kingdom of God when he returned... the Messianic age! Remember, Yeshua was celebrating Passover with disciples who were Jews. He was speaking to Jews, children of Israel, concerning the new covenant which was promised to their ancestors. He was not in any way speaking to the Gentile world, nor was he indicating to anyone that Moses was finished. And as far a Yeshua's position on Moses goes, he had clearly said in the sermon on the mount that as long as the earth lasted (which must also include the grand-finale 1000 year Messianic age), not one jot or tittle of Moses would pass away. Matthew 5:17,18
Paul and the new covenant
Not only does Hebrews completely misinterpret the new covenant prophecy in Jeremiah, but our resident false apostle Paul is in perfect agreement with the author in assuming the new covenant has already come. His take on the new covenant adds another dimension. It's not for Israel... it's for Gentile believers who are in his eyes the new true Israel of God! (Galatians 6:15,16)
"...who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant,..." "Therefore, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech--unlike Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the end of what was passing away. But their minds were hardened. For until this day the same veil remains un-lifted in the reading of the old testament (old covenant), because the veil is taken away in Christ." 2Corintians 3:6a,12-14
If it were not bad enough that Paul had likewise erred in assuming the new covenant had come, he has to top the error by lifting himself above Moses in the eyes of the Gentile Corinthian believers! Well... enough of Paul in this chapter.
The extortive threat tactics of the author of Hebrews
The author of Hebrews is also well known for making fearful warnings to those who do not get in line and agree with his doctrine. Many Christians have spent sleepless nights worrying about the implications of certain passages in Hebrews. The most notable of them are these.
Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. Hebrews 4:1
For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the world to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put him to an open shame. Hebrews 6:4-6
For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. Anyone who has rejected Moses' law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know Him who said, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord. And again, "The Lord will judge His People." It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Hebrews 10:26-31
Concerning this last quote, if the argument is true that Yeshua's crucifixion was the finale all-encompassing only sacrifice to make atonement for sins, then Hebrews might legitimately make some of the warnings it does. But as I have shown and will further establish in the next chapter, What about burnt offerings, the author is far from correct in his presuppositions. It must also be pointed out that the idea of backsliders not being able to repent is a perfectly foreign concept to both the prophets and Yeshua. See Ezekiel 18:19-32 and Matthew 18:10-14
Of course, all those who employ these extortive threat tactics thoroughly believe their doctrines are correct and they honestly believe they are doing others a priceless favor if they can manage to convince them to agree. But what this philosophy really amounts to is the end justifies the means. It is very common in many religious institutions today and is used regularly on easily impressionable children. It would be a repulsive tactic even if their doctrines were correct! But, as I have shown, the doctrines of Paul and of Hebrews are severely flawed from the start. So I would encourage others to not be struck with fear by their intimidating words. They are not the words of God.
There are many other logistical problems with the lines of reason in the book of Hebrews. One could easily write another book on these errors in logic and philosophy alone. In the next chapter, we will look at the subject of burnt offerings. Much of the misunderstanding of this issue also comes from the book Hebrews. As this subject is addressed it will further establish the errors of Hebrews. The issues I have covered thus far in this chapter are the main presuppositions on which the remaining doctrines and arguments in the book of Hebrews are based. The remaining arguments fall under the weight of these errors.
So is Hebrews better? Absolutely not! The book of Hebrews most certainly is not the infallible word of God, nor is it one bit better than any of Paul's books. The truth of the matter is, because it attempts to do away with God's law, if Hebrews is not the worst book in the Bible in the eyes of heaven, it is second only to some of Paul's works.