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 no 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 prophesied 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: "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 Melchizedek.
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. I thank You and praise You with all the breath in me that Your consuming fire of judgement was poured out on Christ in my stead. There is so little time left on this earth before Your judgement is poured out. In Your love and mercy, You do not want any to be unsaved and to be thrown into the lake of fire but all to come to a saving knowledge of Christ. Use me in whatever way You choose, to speak Your words at the right time and in the right tone to the people You put in my life so that many may be saved. In Jesus' name, AMEN.
Never miss a post