I just this very minute realized that the Hebrews this letter is written to are Jewish. Hence all of the messages tailored for Jewish people. Allow me to take a picture in my dunce cap, and then remove it. Time to move on now.
I joked about this earlier, but now I must ask: do Unitarians hate this letter? Or do they pick and choose a verse here and there to try and hold on to? Because Hebrews distinguishes God from Jesus Christ fairly strictly. Chapter 3 throws another wrinkle into the Unitarian theory: the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit seems awfully similar to God, though; I can see both being different names for the same entity.
The author chronicles the Holy Spirit speaking to Jews. It states that their ancestors “provoked” “tested” and angered God. They did this even though they had seen God’s wonders for 40 years in the wilderness. God turned away from them, and swore that they would never enter God’s rest. Unbelief was their downfall, it was the cause of their ruin.
I have a feeling that Hebrews is going to be one of those books that pisses me off with horribly structured sentences. Like, say, 4:10-11: “the one who enters God’s rest has himself rested from his own works, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest….”
The word of god will separate soul from spirit, joints from marrow. Everyone is naked before him, no creature can hide from him. Kinda boilerplate stuff.
This is kind of a bipolar chapter. It starts out continuing to paint Christ as a mortal man who was called to divinity. Hebrews is littered with references to Christ as the High Priest who was called by God, almost as many times as Christ is referred to as the son of God. I could be 100% wrong on this, but it feels like the author of Hebrews was trying to paint things from a Jewish perspective. And that meant not harping on Jesus being the promised one or the messiah.
Back to the chapter: the author decides it is time to insult everyone reading the letter. He says that the people of the Hebrew church have “become too lazy to understand.” They are like babies, who need milk instead of solid food. They have to mature and understand the message of righteousness.
Up next: Boring, boring, boring…
New installments of The New Testament In Review will be posted each Monday and Thursday. The new posts will always be on my blog, http://biffster.org. The entire series is accessible via http://biffster.org/ntir. If you are one of my Facebook friends, you can get an advance preview on my Facebook page. You can also follow me (@biffster) on Twitter to be alerted to new posts.