Prerogatives of the Divine Son

1 God, having spoken in time past1 to the fathers by the prophets in many portions and in various ways, has spoken to us in these last days by His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who, being the outshining of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had made provision for the purging of our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to the angels as He, by inheritance, has obtained a more excellent name than they.

The Son, the Angels, and the Testimony of Scripture

For to which of the angels did He ever say:

“You are My Son,
This day I have begotten You.”2

And again:

“I will be a Father to Him,
And He a Son to Me.3

And again, when He brings4 the firstborn into the world, He says:

“Let all the angels of God worship Him.”5

And of the angels He says:

“Who makes His angels winds,
And His ministers a flame of fire.6

But to the Son He says:

“Your throne, O God, is forever and ever,
And uprightness itself7 is the scepter of Your kingdom.
You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness;
Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You
With the oil of gladness above all Your companions.”8

10 And:

“You, O Lord, in the beginning, laid the foundation of the earth,
And the heavens are the work of Your hands;
11 They will perish, but You will remain;
They all will grow old like a garment,
12 And like a robe You will roll them up;
Like a garment they also will be changed.
But You remain the same,
And Your years will never fail.”9

13 And to which of the angels has He ever said:

“Sit at My right hand,
Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.”10

14 Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to serve the heirs of salvation?

Notes

  1. Or long ago
  2. Ps. 2:7
  3. 2 Sam. 7:14
  4. Or And when He again brings
  5. Deut. 32:43 (Septuagint, Dead Sea Scrolls); Ps. 97:7
  6. Ps. 104:4
  7. Lit. the scepter of uprightness is the scepter
  8. Ps. 45:6, 7
  9. Ps. 102:25–27
  10. Ps. 110:1

 

Salvation Through the Son

For this reason we must attend all the more closely to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. For if the word spoken through angels proved sure, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense, how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken through the Lord, and later was confirmed to us by those who heard Him, God bearing witness together with them, both by signs and wonders, by various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to His own will?

For He has not put the world to come of which we speak in subjection to angels. Rather, one has testified in a certain place, saying:

“What is man that You are mindful of him,
Or the son of man that You look after him?
You have made him a little lower than the angels,1
You have crowned him with glory and honor,

And set him over the works of Your hands.2
8 You have put all things in subjection beneath his feet.”3

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 subject to him. We do, however, see Him who was made a little lower than the angels—even Jesus—crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death; a death he died so that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.

The Son Perfected Through Suffering

10 For it was fitting for God,4 for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the pioneer of their salvation through sufferings. 11 For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one Father,5 for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brothers, 12 saying:

“I will declare Your name to My brothers;
In the midst of the assembly I will sing Your praise.”6

13 And again:

“I will put My trust in Him.”7

And again:

“Behold, I and the children whom God has given Me.”8

14 Inasmuch then as the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, so that through death He might break the power of him who held the power of death—that is, the devil—15 and release those who through the fear of death were all their lives subject to bondage. 16 For surely it is not angels that he helps,9 but the seed of Abraham. 17 Therefore in all things He had to be made like His brothers, that He might become a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For in that He Himself has suffered temptation, He is well able to come to the aid of those who are being tempted.

Notes

  1. Or possibly for a little while You have made him lower
  2. Many mss omit this phrase
  3. Ps. 8:4–6
  4. Lit. Him
  5. Or of one origin, nature, or family
  6. Ps. 22:22
  7. 2 Sam. 22:3; Is. 8:17
  8. Is. 8:18
  9. Or For surely his concern is not for angels

 

Patterns of Faithfulness

Therefore, holy brothers, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, who was faithful to Him who appointed Him, just as Moses also was faithful in all his house. For this One has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, by just so much as He who built the house has more honor than the house itselfFor every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God. Now Moses was indeed faithful in all his house as a servant, for a testimony of those things that would be spoken later on; but Christ was faithful as a Son over His own house, whose house we are if we hold fast our confidence and the hope in which we glory.1

Therefore, just as the Holy Spirit says:

“Today, if you should hear His voice,
Do not harden your hearts as in the provocation,
As in the day of testing in the wilderness,
Where your fathers tested Me, proved Me,
And saw My works for forty years.
10 Therefore I was angry with that generation,
And I said, ‘They always go astray in their heart,
And they have not known My ways.’
11 As I swore in My wrath,
‘They shall not enter My rest.’”2

12 Beware, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; 13 but instead exhort one another daily, as long as it is still called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we have become partakers of Christ if indeed we hold our initial confidence firmly until the end, 15 while it is still being said:

“Today, if you should hear His voice,
Do not harden your hearts as in the provocation.”3

16 For who, having heard, provoked Him? Was it not all who came out of Egypt, led by Moses? 17 And with whom was He angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose corpses fell in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but those who did not obey? 19 So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.

Notes

  1. Many mss add firmly till the end.
  2. Ps. 95:7-11
  3. Ps. 95:7, 8

 

Entering God’s Rest

Therefore, since1 a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear, lest any of you should seem to have come short of it. For indeed good news has been proclaimed to us, just as it was to them; but the word that they heard did not profit them, since they were not united by faith with those who heeded it.2 3For we who have believed enter that rest, just as He has said:

“As I swore in My wrath,
‘They shall not enter My rest.’”3

And yet from the foundation of the world His works were finished. For in a certain place He has spoken of the seventh day in this manner: “And on the seventh day God rested from all His works”;4 5and again in this passage: “They shall not enter My rest.”5

Since, therefore, it remains for some to enter it, and since those to whom it was first proclaimed failed to enter because of disobedience, He again appoints a certain day— calling it “Today”—when, a great while later, He spoke through David in the words just quoted:

“Today, if you should hear His voice,
Do not harden your hearts.”6

For if Joshua had given them rest, He would not have spoken of another day after that. Therefore, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. 10 For he who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his own works, just as God did from His.

11 Let us therefore make every effort to enter that rest, lest anyone fall by following the same pattern of disobedience. 12 For the word of God is living and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and exposed to the eyes of Him to whom we must give an account.

A Sympathetic High Priest

14 Seeing, then, that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but who in all points was tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Therefore, with boldness let us draw near to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Notes

  1. Or while
  2. Some mss since it was not mixed with faith in those who heard
  3. Ps. 95:11
  4. Gen 2:2
  5. Ps. 95:11
  6. Ps. 95:7, 8

 

For every high priest taken from among men is appointed on behalf of men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins. He can deal gently with those who are ignorant and going astray, since he himself is also subject to weakness. Because of this, as for the people, so also for himself, he is required to offer sacrifices for sins. And no man takes this honor to himself, except when he is called to it by God, just as Aaron was.

An Eternal High Priest

So also Christ did not glorify Himself so as to become High Priest; but it was He who said to Him:

“You are My Son,
This day I have begotten You.”1

Just as He also says in another place:

“You are a priest forever
According to the order of Melchizedek.”2

In the days of His flesh, He offered up prayers and supplications with tears and strong cries to Him who was able to save Him from death; and He was heard because of His godly fear. 8Though He was a Son, He learned obedience through the things that He suffered. And having been made perfect, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him, 10 being called by God: High Priest according to the order of Melchizedek. 11 Concerning Him we have much to say, but it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.

Pressing on to Maturity

12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you yourselves need someone to teach you once again the basic principles of the oracles of God; indeed, you have come to need milk, and not solid food. 13 For everyone who partakes of milk alone is inexperienced in the word of righteousness, for he is still a child. 14 But solid food is for the mature, whose senses have been trained by constant practice to discern both good and evil.

Notes

  1. Ps. 2:7
  2. Ps. 110:4

 

Therefore, leaving behind the elementary teachings about Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, 2 or of instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And this we will do if God permits.

For in the case of those who once were enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and who then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since1 yet again they crucify to themselves the Son of God, and expose Him to public disgrace.

For land that drinks in the rain that often comes upon it, and brings forth vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is also cultivated, receives a blessing from God; but if it brings forth thorns and thistles, it is unapproved and close to being cursed, whose end is to be burned.

Pressing on to Assurance

But, beloved, though we speak in this manner, we are convinced of better things concerning you; yes, things that accompany salvation. 10 For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love that you have shown toward His name, in having ministered—and in still ministering—to the saints. 11 And we desire that each one of you continue to show the same diligence, resulting in the full assurance of hope until the end; 12 that you not become sluggish, but rather become imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

13 For when God made His promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, 14 saying, “Truly, in blessing I will bless you, and in multiplying I will multiply you.”2 15 And thus, by patiently enduring, he obtained the promise. 16 For men always swear by that which is greater, and with them an oath given in confirmation is the end of all dispute. 17 In the same way, God, desiring2 more abundantly to show the heirs of the promise the immutability of His purpose, interposed3 with an oath, 18 so that by two immutable things in which it was impossible for God to lie we might have strong encouragement—we who have fled for refuge by 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 that enters within the veil, 20 where the forerunner has entered for us—Jesus himself—having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.

Notes

  1. Or while
  2. Gen. 22:17
  3. Or determining
  4. Or confirmed it with

 

The King of Righteousness

For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham as he returned from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, to whom also Abraham gave 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 means “king of peace”. Without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but instead being made like the Son of God, he remains a priest continually.

Now consider how great this man was, to whom even the patriarch Abraham gave a tenth of the choicest spoils! Moreover, those of the sons of Levi, who receive the priesthood, do indeed have a commandment in the Law to receive tithes from the people, that is, from their brothers, even though their brothers also come from the loins of Abraham. But this man, whose descent is not traced from them, received tithes from Abraham, and also blessed the one who had the promises. But it is beyond dispute that the lesser is blessed by the greater. And in the one case, mortal men receive tithes; but in the other, one receives them of whom it is testified that he lives on. Indeed, in a manner of speaking, even Levi, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham, 10 for he was still in the loins of his father when Melchizedek met him!

Perfection Through Christ, Not Levi

11 Therefore, if perfection were through the Levitical priesthood (for based upon that priesthood the people received the Law), what further need was there that another priest should arise according to the order of Melchizedek, rather than one designated according to the order of Aaron? 12 (For when the priesthood is changed, there is necessarily a change of law as well.) 13 For He of whom these things are spoken belongs to another tribe, from which no man has ever officiated at the altar. 14 For it is evident that our Lord arose from Judah, a tribe of which Moses spoke nothing concerning priests. 15 And the change of which we speak is still more evident if, in the likeness of Melchizedek, there arises another priest 16 who has appeared, not according to a law of physical descent,1 but according to the power of an endless life. 17 For it is testified of Him:

“You are a priest forever
According to the order of Melchizedek.”2

18 For on the one hand there is an annulling of the former commandment because of its weakness and unprofitableness 19 (for the Law made nothing perfect); while on the other hand, there is the bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God.

20 And inasmuch as this did not occur without an oath 21 (for assuredly they became priests without an oath, but He with an oath through the One who said to Him:

“The Lord has sworn
And will not change his mind:
‘You are a priest forever’”3)

22 by so much more Jesus also has become the guarantee of a better covenant.

23 Moreover, the former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing on. 24 But He, because He continues forever, holds an unchangeable priesthood. 25 Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost4 those who come to God through Him, since He ever lives to make intercession for them.

26 For it is indeed fitting that we should have such a High Priest, one who is holy, innocent, undefiled, separate from sinners, and exalted above the very heavens; 27 who does not need daily, as those high priests do, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people’s; for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. 28 For the Law appoints as high priests men who have weakness; but the word of the oath, which came after the Law, appoints a Son, made perfect forever.

Notes

  1. Lit. a law of a fleshly command
  2. Ps. 110:4
  3. Ps. 110:4
  4. Or completely, perfectly, forever

 

Our Heavenly High Priest

Now this is the main point of the things we are saying: We have such a High Priest, one who is seated1 at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a Minister of the holy places, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord erected, not man.

For every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices. Therefore it was necessary that this One also have something to offer. Now if He were on earth, He would not be a priest at all, since here there are already men who offer the gifts prescribed by the Law. They serve a copy and a shadow of the heavenly things, which is why Moses himself received a warning from God when he was about to erect the tabernacle. For He said, “See that you make all things according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.’2 But now Christ3 has obtained a more excellent ministry than theirs, inasmuch as He is also the Mediator of a better covenant, one that was founded4 on better promises.

Superiority of the New Covenant

For if that first covenant had been faultless, no occasion would have been sought for a second. For finding fault with them, He says: “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 like the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; for they did not continue in My covenant, and so I disregarded them, says the Lord. 10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their minds and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they will be My people. 11 No longer shall each one teach his countryman, and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. 12 For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and their sins I will remember no more.”5

13 In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.

Notes

  1. Lit. who sat down
  2. Ex. 25:40
  3. Lit. He
  4. Or enacted
  5. Jer. 31:31–34

 

The Earthly Sanctuary

Now even the first covenant had regulations for a service of worship and the earthly sanctuary. For a sacred tent was built and furnished: The first part—which contained the lampstand, the table, and the loaves of presentation—was called the Holy Place. And behind the second curtain there was a second room of the tent called the Holy of Holies. It contained a golden altar of incense and the Ark of the Covenant, overlaid on all sides with gold. In it were stored a golden jar that held the manna, Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tablets of the covenant. And above this1 were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. But of these things we cannot now speak in detail.

Now when these things were thus prepared, the priests would continually enter into the first part of the tent, performing their sacred duties. But into the second part the high priest alone entered, once a year, and not without blood, which he offered for himself and for the sins of the people committed in ignorance. By this the Holy Spirit was signifying that the way into the Holiest of All was not yet made manifest so long as the first tabernacle still stood. This also serves as a symbol for the present time, in which both gifts and sacrifices are offered that cannot perfect the conscience of the worshiper— 10 seeing that they relate only to food and drink and various washings, mere physical regulations imposed until the time of reformation.

The Heavenly Sanctuary

11 But when Christ appeared as a High Priest of the good things that have come,2 he entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, a tabernacle not made with human hands, that is, not of this creation. 12 And not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. 13 For if the blood of bulls and goats, and the ashes of a heifer, all sprinkling the unclean, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, 14 how much more shall the blood of Christ, who, through the eternal Spirit, offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? 15 And for this reason He is the Mediator of a new testament, since now a death has occurred in payment for the transgressions committed under the first covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.

A New Testament

16 For where there is a testament, there must of necessity be the death of the testator.3 17 For a testament takes effect only after men are dead, since it carries no force at all so long as the testator lives. 18 Therefore not even the first covenant was inaugurated without blood. 19 For when Moses had proclaimed every commandment of the Law to the people, he took the blood of calves and goats—along 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 God has commanded you.”4   21And in the same way he sprinkled both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry with blood. 22 Indeed, according to the Law, almost all things are purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin.

23 Therefore it was necessary that the copies of the things in the heavens should be purified with such things as these, but the heavenly things themselves with sacrifices better than these. 24 For Christ did not enter holy places made with human hands—which are mere copies of the true—but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us. 25 Nor did He do so that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place year by year with the blood of another, 26 for then He would have had to suffer over and again since the foundation of the world. But now, once, at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. 27 And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once, and after that to face judgment, 28 so also Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin, but to bring complete salvation to those who eagerly wait for Him.

Notes

  1. Lit. it
  2. Some mss the good things to come
  3. Or it is necessary to prove the death of the testator
  4. 4. 24:8

 

OT Shadow, NT Substance

10 For the Law, having only a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of those things, can never make perfect those who draw near with these same sacrifices, which they continually offer year by year. Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipers, once cleansed, would have had no more consciousness of sins. But in these 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 came into the world, He said:

“Sacrifice and offering You did not desire,
But a body You have prepared for Me.
In whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin
You took no pleasure.
Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come—
In the scroll of the book it is prescribed for Me—
To do Your will, O God.”1

Having previously said, “Sacrifices and offerings and whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You did not desire, nor did You take pleasure in them” (all of which are offered according to the Law), He then says, “Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.” He takes away the first that He might establish the second. 10 By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

Finality of the New Covenant

11 And every priest stands ministering daily, offering over and again the same sacrifices which can never take away sins. 12 But He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God, 13 from then on waiting till His enemies should be made His footstool. 14 For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.

15 And the Holy Spirit also testifies to us; for after saying, 16 “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws upon their hearts, and I will write them upon their minds,” 17 He then adds, “And their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.’2 18 Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin.

19 Therefore, brothers, since we have boldness to enter the Holiest Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He opened for us through the veil (that is, His flesh), 21 and since we have a great High Priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the custom of some, but instead exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day drawing near.

A Solemn Warning Against Shrinking Back

26 For if we deliberately keep on sinning after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and a raging fire3 that will devour the adversaries. 28 Anyone who has rejected the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 Of how much worse punishment, do you think, will he be considered worthy who has trampled the Son of God under foot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge His people.”4 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

32 But call to mind again the former days, in which, after you were enlightened, you endured great conflict and suffering: 33 partly by being made a public spectacle through reproaches and tribulations, and partly by becoming companions of those who were so treated; 34 for you had compassion on the prisoners, and joyfully accepted the seizure of your property, knowing that you yourselves had a better possession, and one that would remain. 35 Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. 36 For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise:

37 “For in just a little while

He who is coming will come, and will not delay.
38 Now My righteous one shall live by faith;
But if anyone draws back,
My soul has no pleasure in him.”5

39 But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who keep on believing to the saving of the soul.

Notes

  1. Ps. 40:6-8
  2. Jer. 31:33-34
  3. Or and of a raging fire
  4. Deut. 32:35
  5. Hab. 2:3, 4

 

Faith’s Hall of Fame

11 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the men of old obtained a good testimony from God.

By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that what is seen did not come forth from things that are visible.

Faith in the Beginning

By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained a testimony that he was righteous, God himself bearing witness concerning his gifts; and through this, he—though dead—still speaks.

By faith Enoch was taken up so as not to see death, and he was not found, because God took him up;1 for before being taken up he obtained this testimony, that he was pleasing to God. And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

By faith Noah, being warned of things not yet seen, was moved with godly fear, and so prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that is according to faith.

The Faith of Abraham

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place that he would later receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as though it were a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise; 10 for he waited for the City that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.

11 By faith Abraham received strength for the laying down of seed—though Sara herself was barren, and he past the time for conceiving children—since he judged Him faithful who had promised. 12 Therefore, from one man, and him as good as dead, children were born, as many as the stars of the sky for multitude, and as innumerable as the sands on the seashore.

Faith, Vision, Eternal Good Hope

13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen and welcomed them from afar, and having confessed that they were foreigners and sojourners on the earth. 14 For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. 15 And if in fact they had been thinking of the country from which they had come forth, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But as it is, they desire a better country, which is to say, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a City for them.

The Faith of the Patriarchs

17 By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac. Indeed, he who had received the promises was offering up his only begotten son18 of whom it was declared, “In Isaac shall your seed be named”2— 19 for he had concluded that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which also he received him back, in a figurative sense.

20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau, even concerning things to come.

21 By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and worshiped Godleaning on the top of his staff.

22 By faith Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the exodus of the children of Israel, and gave instructions concerning his bones.

The Faith of Moses

23 By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden 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 faith Moses, when he came of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25 choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, 26 esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he looked to the reward.

27 By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is unseen. 28 By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, lest he who destroyed the firstborn should touch them.

29 By faith they passed through the Red Sea as if through dry land, whereas the Egyptians, attempting to do the same, were swallowed up.

By Faith They Overcame

30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they were encircled for seven days. 31 By faith Rahab the harlot did not perish with those who disobeyed,3 having received the spies in peace.

32 And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, and also of David and Samuel and the prophets: 33 who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness,4 obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became mighty in battle, and turned to flight the armies of the aliens.

35 Women received back their dead, raised to life again. But others were tortured, not accepting release, that they might obtain a better resurrection. 36 Still others endured trial of mockeries and floggings, yes, even of chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two,5 they were slain with the sword. They went here and there in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, and ill-treated— 38 men of whom the world was not worthy, wandering about in deserts and mountains and caves and openings in the earth.

39 And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, still did not receive the promise, 40 seeing that God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they could not be made complete.

Notes

  1. Gen. 5:24
  2. Gen. 21:12
  3. Or disbelieved
  4. Or enforced justice
  5. Some mss add they were tempted

 

Endurance and the Race of Faith

12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and the sin that so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 always looking to Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Discipline: A Mark of Sonship

For consider Him who endured such hostility of sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls: In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the shedding of your blood. And you have forgotten the exhortation that speaks to you as to sons:

“My son, do not take lightly the discipline of the Lord,
Or become discouraged when you are reproved by Him;
For whom the Lord loves He disciplines,
And He scourges every son whom He receives.”1

Endure hardship as discipline: God is dealing with you as 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, and not sons. Furthermore, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us, and we showed them respect. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of our spirits and live? 10 For indeed, they disciplined us for a few days as seemed best to them; but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. 11 Now at the time all discipline seems painful, and not joyful; yet afterwards it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

Guidelines for the Faithful

12 Therefore strengthen the hands that hang down, and the knees that are weak, 13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather healed.

14 Pursue peace with all men, and the holiness without which no one shall see the Lord. 15 Watch carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any poisonous root, springing up among you, cause trouble, and by it many become defiled; 16 lest there be any sexually immoral or profane person like Esau, who for a single meal sold his birthright. 17 For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no room for a change of heart in his father, though he sought it diligently with tears.

Joy in the Gospel Mountain

18 For you have not come to a mountain that may be touched, and to a consuming fire, and to blackness and gloom and tempest, 19 and to the blast of a trumpet and the sound of words, such that those who heard begged that no further word should be spoken to them. 20 For they could not endure what was commanded: “And if so much as a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.”2 21 Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that even Moses said, “I am filled with fear and trembling.”3

22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to thousands upon thousands of angels in festal gathering, 23 and to the assembly of the firstborn whose names are recorded in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, 24 and to Jesus, the Mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better things than that of Abel.

Hope, Fear, and an Unshakeable Kingdom

25 See that you do not refuse Him who is speaking. For if they did not escape who refused Him who warned them on the earth, how much less shall we escape if we turn away from Him who warns from heaven, 26 whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I will shake, not only the earth, but heaven as well.”4 27 Now this expression—“Yet once more”—signifies the removal of those things that are shaken (which is to say, created things), so that the things which cannot be shaken may remain. 28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us have grace,5 through which we may offer to God an acceptable service of worship with reverence and godly fear. 29 For our God is a consuming fire.

Notes

  1. Prov. 3:11, 12
  2. Ex. 19:12, 13
  3. Deut. 9:19
  4. Hag. 2:6
  5. Or let us have gratitude

 

Concluding Moral Directives

13 Let brotherly love continue. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for in doing this, some, without realizing it, were actually entertaining angels.

Remember the prisoners as if you were chained with them, and those who are being mistreated, since you yourselves also are in the body.

Let marriage be held in honor among you all, and let the marriage bed remain undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.

Let your way of life be free from the love of money; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you or forsake you.”1 Therefore, we may boldly say:

“The Lord is my helper;
I will not fear.
What can man do to me?”2

Concluding Spiritual Directives

Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering carefully the end result of their way of life, imitate their faith: Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Do not be carried away by diverse and strange teachings; for it is good for the heart to be established by grace, and not by ceremonial foods, which were of no profit at all to those who participated in them. 10 We have an altar from which those who serve in the tabernacle have no right to eat.

11 For the bodies of those animals, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest as an offering for sin, are burned outside the camp. 12 Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people through His own blood, suffered outside the gate. 13 So then, let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach. 14 For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the City to come. 15 Therefore through Him let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, confessing His name. 16 And do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.

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 so with joy and not with grief, for that would not be profitable for you.

Pray for Us!

18 Pray for us; for we are confident that we have a good conscience, in all things desiring to conduct ourselves honorably. 19 And I urge you all the more to do this, so that I may be restored to you the sooner.

Benediction, Exhortation, Farewell

20 Now may the God of peace who, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, brought up from the dead that great Shepherd of the sheep—Jesus our Lord— 21 equip you with every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

22 Now I appeal to you, brothers: Bear with this word of exhortation, for I have only written in brief. 23 Know that our brother Timothy has been set free; if he comes to me soon, I will see you with him. 24 Greet all your leaders, and all the saints. Those from Italy greet you. 25 Grace be with you all. Amen.

Notes

  1. Deut. 31:6, 8; Josh. 1:5
  2. Ps. 118:6