The theme of an epistle is usually stated in the introduction. The first four verses of Hebrews is one sentence and it declares the theme of the book. Hebrews is about Jesus Christ and is a further expansion of the message that He preached to His own people in His earthly ministry (2:1-5). What was that message? It was the gospel of the kingdom (Matt. 4:17, 23). Israel will enter her kingdom under the blood of the new covenant (Jer. 31:31-34). The book of Hebrews is a transition book taking the Hebrews from the old covenant to the new and from the tribulation to the kingdom (8:1-13; 12:11-29). Hebrews reveals the changes in the law in preparation for entering the kingdom (7:12, like Deuteronomy).
The first two verses of the book make it clear that it is written to the Hebrew people which is the earliest name of Israel (Hebrews, Israelite, seed of Abraham, 2 Cor. 11:22). To whose fathers did God speak to through His prophets in time past? To whom did Christ speak in His earthly ministry (Matt. 15:24)? The plural pronouns “us”, “we”, and “our” which are used throughout refer to the Hebrews. This book deals with:
• The history of the Hebrews (3:7-4:2)
• Their promises and covenants (4:1; 8:6)
• Their salvation (1:14; 2:3)
• Their hope (3:5-6; 11:1; 2:5; 12:25-29)
There are 29 direct quotations from the OT and 53 clear allusions to it for a total of 82 references to the OT in just 13 chapters! It was written during the Acts period and definitely before 70 AD because Jerusalem had not been destroyed when it was written (10:11).
The key word in Hebrews is "better" (13 times). Christ is shown to be better than the angels, Moses, and Aaron, and that in Him is a better sacrifice, priesthood, and covenant. The writer of Hebrews speaks of a better:
1) Hope (7:19)
2) Testament (7:22)
3) Covenant (8:6)
4) Promises (8:6)
5) Sacrifices (9:23)
6) Substance (10:34)
7) Country (11:16)
The writer refers to his letter as a "word of exhortation" (13:22). The main exhortation of the letter is stated in the middle of it (6:1-2). There is a danger of the people falling away (6:4-12) and drawing back to perdition (10:26-39). The national salvation of Israel occurs at the second coming of Christ (Acts 3:19; Rom. 11:26-27). That is the reason some passages in the Hebrew epistles make it sound like the people are saved and others that they are looking to be saved. The difference is between individual and national salvation.
I. Doctrinal (1-10)
II. Practical (11-13)
I. A Better Person: Jesus Christ, the Son of God (1-6)
A. Christ compared to the angels (1-2)
B. Christ compared to Moses (3-4)
C. Christ compared to Aaron (5-6)
II. Better Priesthood: After the order of Melchizedek (7-10)
A. Better order: Melchizedek, not Aaron (7)
B. Better covenant: new, not old (8)
C. Better sacrifice: God’s Son, not animals (9)
D. Better sanctuary: heavenly, not earthly (10)
III. Better Principle: Faith (11-13)
There has always been a debate over who wrote the book of Hebrews. If it was important for us to know who it was, God would have revealed it. Most think that Paul wrote it. The title of the book in most Bibles is, “The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Hebrews.” The titles of the books are helpful, but they are not part of the inspired text of scripture.
The two strongest passages used to support the view that Paul was the writer are not conclusive:
Heb. 13:23-25 - Timothy was a common name, this may not be the same Timothy that was Paul's son in the faith. If these verses proved that it was Paul who wrote the letter, it would mean he wrote it after Acts 28 because it was written from Italy. That would mean he ignored all the revelations he had already received concerning the Body of Christ and regressed in doctrine. In fact, he would have contradicted some of his own doctrine (Heb. 3:6, 14).
2 Pet. 3:15-16 – Note that v.15 does not say that the letter he wrote to the Jews was scripture. Not all of Paul’s epistles were given by inspiration (he wrote an epistle to the Corinthians before 1 Corinthians, 1 Cor. 5:9). Those that were written by inspiration of God are preserved in the KJB, and they all start with same word, “Paul.” That was token of his epistles (2 Thess. 3:17).
Reasons that Paul did not write Hebrews:
Hebrews contains major doctrinal and dispensational differences from Paul’s epistles
Paul would be under his own curse if he wrote it (Gal. 1:6-9)
Someone who heard Christ in His earthly ministry wrote it (1:2)
It concerns the last days of Israel, not the Mystery Age (Acts 2:17)
It does not contain the token of his epistles (2 Thess. 3:17)