It’s a corny joke and I apologize for repeating it but when we see the word “therefore” in the Bible we need to stop and consider what it’s there for. At the end of Hebrews 5, we find a warning against those that have failed to mature. The writer laments that believers who should be on solid food (of God’s Word) still need to be given milk like infants. So 6 begins with a call to move on to maturity, leaving the elementary things behind.
I would argue that verses 9 – 12 sound more like the Apostle Paul than practically anything else in Hebrews. I mentioned in the first post of this series that there was a case to be made for, and against, authorship by Paul. If Hebrews were not written by Paul it is certainly Pauline in nature, probably a disciple of Paul, one of the many young pastors or church leaders he trained. The author of Hebrews, in verse 10, describes the work done and love shown, and in verse 11 describes his own desire to encourage the recipients of this letter. The language in verse 12, describing imitators of the faithful, harken to letters of Paul that encourage his listeners to imitate him as he has imitated Christ. So we have two choices: either Paul is the writer or someone imitating him did a remarkable job.
The final section of this chapter describes the certainty of God’s promise. Since he had nothing greater to swear by he swore by himself when making promises to Abraham. Abraham waited and obtained the promise. This is almost foreshadowing of Hebrews 11, often referred to as the hall of fame of faith. Like Moses did when writing the Pentateuch, the author of Hebrews goes back to the beginning and repeats much of the history of Israel, reviewing all the acts of faith that catch us up to the present. We’ll get there. We have a sure and steadfast hope that Jesus enters behind the curtain – because we are still making a comparison between Jesus and Old Testament high priests, declaring Jesus to be greater. He went behind the curtain into God’s presence on our behalf as he is a priest, like Aaron and his sons in terms of his service but like Melchizedek in that his priesthood does not end.
More on Abraham and Melchizedek next time.