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Basic Facts from James (Part 1)

Although there were two men among the apostles who bore the name James, it is generally accepted that the inspired penman of the new testament book of James was one of our Lord’s four half -brothers (cf. Mark 6:3). The apostles who shared this name are James the son of Zebedee (and brother to John, Matthew 4:21), who was killed by the order of king Herod Agrippa I (Acts 12:1 – Herod died in 44 A.D.), and James the son…

Basic Facts from Hebrews (Part 15)

The book of Hebrews concludes with a series of brief, pointed commandments – the summary of all the “proofs” meant to help these Jewish Christians remain committed to Christ instead of turning back to Judaism. These commandments form a simple, reasonable summary, rooted in the fact that Jesus and His church are the fulfillment of everything toward which the law of Moses had pointed Israel. There are eight distinct commandments, together with six statements of exhortation and instruction that should…

Basic Facts from Hebrews (Part 14)

If the book of Hebrews is basically a sermon in written form (as many scholars describe it), then chapter twelve is the “invitation” at the conclusion of the sermon. The Holy Spirit summarizes all that has been said to this point with a “call to action” that begins with the instruction for Christians to lay aside or take off everything that could prevent us from finishing the “race” we have begun (cf. 1 Corinthians 9:24-27). The image is an athlete…

Basic Facts from Hebrews (Part 13)

The eleventh chapter of Hebrews is often described as faith’s “hall of fame” because of its emphasis on faith and the long list of examples of those whose trust in God and His promises motivated them to live in hope. “Faith” is often depicted in the world as a belief in something without any evidence on which to base that belief (or even belief despite evidence that contradicts it). While that definition of “faith” might be appropriate for many religious…

Boldness

by Cory Waddell, Bear Valley church of Christ, Denver, CO (This article from the Bear Valley church’s Daily Bread email struck me as worthy of being shared and considered – DR) “To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel…” Ephesians 6:18b-19 On January 2, during the NFL’s Monday Night Football broadcast,…

Basic Facts from Hebrews (Part 12)

Christians enjoy a blessing no Jew ever experienced, according to Hebrews 10:19-25. We are permitted to directly enter God’s presence – to “go beyond the veil” (a reference to the veil of the temple, that separated everyone except the High Priest from the “Most Holy Place” where the ark of the covenant represented the presence of God). Under the law of Moses, even the High Priest was allowed to “enter” God’s presence only one day per year, on the day…

Basic Facts from Hebrews (Part 11)

Hebrews 10:1-18 presents one basic lesson that the Jewish Christians of the first century urgently needed to understand (and it’s the same lesson that most of modern Christendom needs to grasp as well). That lesson, stated in vs. 1, is that “the Law” – the one delivered to Moses on Mt. Sinai, the “ten commandments” law that had governed the people of Israel and Judah for ten centuries – was a figure, a “shadow” that had outlined what God planned…

Basic Facts from Hebrews (Part 10)

Among the denominations of Christendom, one of the most overlooked lessons of the book of Hebrews is the statement in chapter 9:8-9 to the effect that the first tabernacle (the one revealed to Moses on Mt. Sinai, and constructed under his supervision, Exodus 25-40) was intended to serve as a figure for the time of the church. (The Greek word for “figure” is para-bolay, a parable or comparison.) The tabernacle – or since the time of Solomon, the temple –…