for our God is a consuming fire.Hebrews 12:29(NASB)
The book of Hebrews was particularly important for Jewish believers, in the early Church. Step by step it showed that Christ was superior to angels and of greater importance than Moses, Aaron and Joshua. It identified Jesus as preeminent among prophets, priests, kings and the entire angelic realm. Hebrews is the book that showed believing Jews, that the New Covenant promised through Jeremiah, had been cut at Calvary.
It explains that Jesus is the Mediator of a new, and better covenant, and that His service, sacrifice, mission and ministry surpassed everything that had gone before. It stresses the importance of living by faith and not by works of the law, for without faith it is impossible to please God - for faith in Christ is the key to the promised kingdom, which He holds in His pierced hands. Yes, Jesus is the preeminent Person, Who has been appointed Heir of all things.. and through Whom, God also made the world.
It identified the Man, Christ Jesus.. as God's anointed King and His appointed Judge. It admonishes us all to look to Jesus, trust His word and hold Him in the highest esteem, while giving a series of warnings against reverting back to the pre-cross sacrificial system, given to Israel - for Christ, our Passover Lamb, has already been sacrificed for us - not with the old leaven of the Mosaic Law, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
After the pre-eminence and superiority of Christ has been systematically laid out, the reader's focus is drawn to the future, and we are exhorted to hope in the Lord, and be submissive to God's chastening in our lives, for the Lord corrects and disciplines those He loves, so that we will grow in grace and become increasingly like our Lord and Saviour - for we are heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ.
From beginning to end, we can have not doubt that the target audience of Hebrews was originally believing Israelites - Jews who had become part of the one new man in Christ, for it gives repeated warnings not to revert back to the old religion of pre-cross Israel. The Mosaic Law was given by God to point us to Christ. The old Law was not given to achieve salvation - for in Christ are the words of eternal life, and through Him alone will come the prophesised kingdom of heaven on earth.
The promised kingdom is one that cannot be shaken, and the awesome revelation of the coming King of kings, should fill our hearts with reverential wonder and godly fear - for we read that our God is a consuming fire. The very God of gods, Whose thunder resounded around Mount Sinai, which caused the Israelite to tremble, as the mountain burned with fire.. and as the trumpet blast grew louder and louder, is here described as a consuming fire, Whose righteous judgement must fall on all that is sinful, and burn up every work that is fleshly, unholy, carnal and ungodly.
We justly deserve to be punished for our sin, with the consuming fires of God's holy wrath, but Jesus took the punishment that we deserve, and God's righteous judgement was poured out upon His head, in full measure, instead of ours. He is not only superior to men and angels, but He is the Passover Lamb, the Sin Offering, the First-fruit from the dead and the great and dreadful Judge.
He is the Apostle and High Priest of our confession and He is our Mediator, Who has redeemed us, from being consumed in the fire of God's anger - with His own blood - and He stands at the heavenly alter interceding on our account. Jesus is the Mediator of the New and Better Covenant, of which we have been made ministers - by faith in Him, and today He is acting as our intercessory High Priest, after the order of Melchisedec.
The more we read, mark, learn and understand the Old Covenant, God's plan of salvation, the dispensation of Israel and the Old Testament Scriptures.... the more we will understand the significance of the New Testament writings, and the New and Better Covenant, that was cut at Calvary - and of which we are made ministers.
Heavenly Father, how amazing and awesome You are. I realise that it is a terrible thing for a sinner to fall into the hands of the almighty and holy God. Thank You that the fires of Your consuming judgement were poured out on Christ, in my stead. Thank You that the New Covenant, which was promised to Israel, was cut at Calvary, and that by grace, through faith in the Lord Jesus, Church-age believers have also become its beneficiaries, and been given the ministry of reconciliation, during our sojourn on earth. I pray that I take to heart the truths that are laid out in Hebrews, and do not seek to incorporate elements of the Law into my worship, knowing that I have been saved by grace, through faith, and not by fleshly works of the Law. Use me I pray in the ministry of reconciliation, in the time I have left on earth, and this I ask in Jesus name, AMEN