HEBREWS HIGH LITERARY STYLE and special focus on Christ's high priesthood set it apart from other New Testament books. Its unique contribution to the New Testament revelation of Jesus Christ is the disclosure of Jesus' fulfillment of the sanctuary, sacrifices, and priesthood established in the law of Moses.
The author refers to his work as a "word of exhortation" (13:22). Since the same Greek expression in Acts 13:15 refers to a synagogue speech, the term may identify this "epistle" as an expository sermon in written form. Hebrews is aptly described as a "word of exhortation", for exhortation or encouragement is the heart of the book's purpose (3:13; 6:18; 10:25; 12:5). The author repeatedly calls his readers to an active and courageous response (4:11, 14, 16; 6:1; 10:19-25).
The exhortation to persevere in the pilgrimage of faith is grounded in the author's proof that the Old Testament itself testified to the imperfection of the covenant at Sinai and its sacrificial system, thereby pointing ahead to a new High Priest - Jesus Christ. Jesus is better than the mediators, sanctuary, and sacrifices of the old order. He is worthy of "more glory" than Moses (3:3). The arguments from lesser to greater of 2:2, 3; 9:13, 14; 10:28, 29; and 12:25 ("if ... much less") underscore the greater grace and glory, and the greater accountability, which have now arrived in the new covenant mediated by Jesus. Unlike the earthly and external aspects of the Old Testament sanctuary, Jesus sanctifies us for the true worship of God, so that we draw near to heaven itself with clean consciences. He is the guarantee of this better covenant bond, for He links us inseparably with the God of grace.
- The Reformation Study Bible
Published by Ligonier Ministries, Sanford FL
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