“Hebrews… Doctrine for which Dispensation?”

Will a Jew in the Tribulation be able to open up his own epistle and find confirmation that he needs faith plus works for salvation?

To whom does Paul write and what does he say?

Although the epistle is written to all physical descendants from Abram the Hebrew (Gen 14:13), he addresses two groups of Jews - those under Mosaic law and those partakers of Christ the Messiah.

While Paul's acknowledges that some Mosaic `enlightened' Jews had progessed to `the end' in Jesus Christ the Messiah and thereby became `illuminated', he urges both groups to consider and desire `the end' which is in Jesus Christ the Saviour and have `his rest'.


But isn't an 'enlightened' (Heb 6:4 ) or `illuminated' man (Heb 10:32 ) a Christian? No. Under Aaron (Heb 5:4), whose name means `enlightened' (Num 8:2, Num 4:16), the Mosaic Jew is referred to as `enlightened' (Heb 6:4). However, those whose beliefs had shifted to the doctrine of Christ (Heb 6:1) were now addressed as the `illuminated' (Heb 10:32), thereby being called `once enlightened' (Heb 4:6).


Doesn't  'tasted ...gift', and`partakers ..Holy Ghost' (Heb 6:4) make them Christians?

 No. The following people were non-Christian Jews who had tasted the word of God, the scriptures (Heb 6:5) and partook of the Holy Ghost (not necessarily permanently) - David (Mark 12:36) holy men of God (2 Peter 1:21), Jeremiah (Heb 10:15-17), the prophets (1Pet1:11).


What is the doctrine of Christ?

It's the doctrine containing all six elements of Heb 6:1-4 as taught by Jesus Christ himself as the Messiah.


What is `the end' for the Jew?

The scriptures outline three, but in this epistle, Paul refers to only two of them. Ultimately, the final destination for both the `enlightened' Jew under Moses and the `illuminated' Jew of Christ was full assurance of hope to `the end' in Jesus Christ as the Saviour (Heb 6:11). In the course of this labour, there were those who had reached a `halfway' point which Paul also describes as an end, which is `the end' as a partaker of Christ (Heb 3:14). There is another 'the end' (Matthew 24:14; Dan 12:8­-Dan 12:13) involving Tribulation faith and works (Rev 12:11; Rev 14:12), but the above meanings preclude this `end' from the Hebrews epistle.


 How does Paul describe their struggle to arrive at these ends?

For the Mosaic Jew they are urged to `hold fast the confidence ...firm unto the end' (Heb 3:6) and to 'hold the beginning ...confidence stedfast unto the end' (Heb 3:14).

Now, for the partakers of Christ, they are encouraged to `shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end' (Heb 6:11). and furthermore to `Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering...' (Heb 10:23 a)

However, for both groups they are exhorted to `Cast not away ... confidence ...ye have need of patience.' (Heb 10:35 a,Heb 10:36 a). Secondly, Paul urges them to `...labour ...to enter into that rest..:' (Heb 4:11 a) and thirdly, `let us lay aside every weight, and the sin ... let us run with patience the race ...Looking unto Jesus' (Heb 12:1 b, Heb 12:2 a).


But doesn't `labour ... to enter into that rest' (Heb 4:11) mean working for your salvation in the Tribulation?

No. Perhaps the reader may identify with the struggle that can go on for many years for the person wanting `spiritual' rest. Various attempts may produce temporary relief in other religions, new age, yoga, meditation etc. When finally saved by God's grace by believing on Jesus the Saviour, the struggle stops and "Ah! The rest!". However, you had a labour to get there! Looking back on it all, you weren't working for your salvation.


Were the `enlightened' (Moses) and `illuminated' (Christ) Jews finding it a labour to get into Jesus' rest?

Yes. For the `enlightened' Mosaic Jew to become an `illuminated' partaker of Christ, meant cataclysmic separation from their traditions, kinsmen and beliefs. Being cast from family and friends, they would have had to fend for themselves. For the Christian helping `illuminated' it meant further labour as they `endured a great fight of afflictions' and `were made a gazingstock both by reproaches and afflictions' (Heb 10:32-33). Furthermore, while the `enlightened' viewed them as traitors, Rome saw them as just another sect to be exterminated. At Pentecost, these two stages happened in `one hit', without labour as it were, when the Mosaic Jew knew that Jesus was both Lord and Christ (Acts 2:36)


What is"the sin'(Heb12:1) that besets?

 It is `unbelief' (Heb 3:12, Heb 4:11) that easily besets the `enlightened' Mosaic Jew to consider that Jesus Christ could be `the author' (Heb 12:2) and the `illuminated' Jew of Christ from entering `the rest' in Jesus `the finisher' (Heb 12:2).


What does it mean to `sin wilfully'?

 Because they had rejected the blood of Jesus, the, `illuminated' Jews, were still dealing with willful sins under Levitical law which demanded trespass sacrifices which Jesus Christ endorsed. But Paul says "I've shown you how the Levitical blood is only a shadow of the real thing - and by rejecting him, you wipe your feet on him. Furthermore, you shame a once holy sacrifice, by continuing to perform it." In other words, if you were a football coach you wouldn't take a once revered but dead footballer out of his coffin and prop him up in the front row week after week. This would treat him in an `unholy' manner.

What is `the day approaching' Heb 10:25? This is the `another day' of Heb 4:8. In the context of Heb 10:19-25 it is the day of entering the rest of Jesus. Many people join a church, get baptized and try to live a good moral life. However, they can see a day approaching when they must make a decision - to get saved or leave. Now a good pastor  will urge them to not forsake 'the assembling' - hoping they get saved. These people parallel Paul's `illuminated' Jews who follow Christ and try to be like him, but reject him as Saviour.

Is Hebrews 13 addressed to Christians? No, but the Christian may take practical and spiritual advice from the chapter. Paul uses familiar Jewish landscape and terms to convince the Jew.

Some verses explained are:

V1 'Brotherly love' is not an exclusive term for Christians.

V2 Implies that Jesus is their stranger.

V4 A nice way to say 'You Jews are whores. Leave the 'enlightened   and illuminated beds' and be married to Jesus.'

V5-6 Echoes Deut 31:6-8. God Jehovah is Jesus the Saviour.

V7 Follow the Christians faith to `the end' in Jesus.

V8 This reinforces Jesus of Heb 4:8; 6:20; 10:19 and Heb 12:24

V10-13 Embeds Jesus into their familiar Jewish background.

V15 Blood sacrifices have been replaced with praise.

V18 A good conscience is the purged conscience (Heb 9:14 ) in Jesus.

V23 Timothy's Jewish connection is evidence for Paul's argument.

Connecting the dots ...

God addresses the Hebrews one last time with Paul writing the entire 13 chapters while in prison for the 2nd time, around 67AD (Heb 10:34;13:23-24). God so loves the apple of his eye, they are given their very own gospel in Matthew (37AD) and then their exquisitely timed epistle just prior to Jerusalem's demise.

Does Paul point to any upcoming Tribulation and needed faith and works for the 'illuminated'?

No, on the contrary. The Jew being dull of hearing (Heb 5:11) has a history of deafness toward God and so he ceases to warn them in this epistle. He only talks of 'better promises' (Heb 8:6) of a better 'new covenant' (Heb 8:8); 'I'll be to them a God...they to me a people'; `merciful to their unrighteousness'; `sins and iniquities ...remember no more' (Heb 8:10-12). That's all they could hear (Matt 13:15) and wanted to hear. Warnings about future bloodshed and works would've been like water off a duck's back.


What is the salvation doctrine of Paul's epistle to the Hebrews?

Only one - "Jesus"rest' is 'the end', resulting from your 'labor' to 'believe' him as Saviour". Tribulation faith and works for salvation is not revealed in this epistle.


Can the Tribulation Jew be saved by adopting this doctrine of this epistle?

No, it'll be too late. Their salvation 'end' in the Tribulation will be the doctrine of Rev 12:11 and Rev 14:12, of faith and works. The Jew will need more than this epistle's 'believe' to have his `end' in Jesus' rest. They can have Jesus as the finisher of their faith up to the Tribulation or as their `Tribulation author', having to finish with their own works.


For the Tribulation Jew, it will be a pointless exercise to study Hebrews for confirmation that he needs faith and works to be saved. Why? It's not mentioned. However, reading other passages in the Bible will show him this necessity.

Harley Hitchcock

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