Israel in Hebrews – [Overview, King & Priest]

All Scripture quotations are from the 1901 American Standard Version unless otherwise noted.

We continue our study of Israel and the Church from the perspective of the writer of the book of Hebrews. He’s a Jewish Christian addressing a Jewish Christian audience about Old and New Covenant issues.


Before I began my study of Hebrews, I felt that if any book of the Bible offered insight regarding the relationship between Israel and the Church, it would be this one. I already knew that it did, but my study overwhelmingly confirmed it.


I read through Hebrews several times, each time in one sitting….taking notes as I went along. The benefit of reading books of the Bible like that is, that it allows us to get a bird’s eye view of the book. Once the general theme is understood, the details then become more clear.


Hebrews is a rich and wonderful book, and as you’ll see in this series, it confirms what we’ve been learning throughout our series in in regard to the relationship between Israel and the Church, namely:


  1. That we must interpret the Old Testament according to the New  Testament.
  2. That Christ fulfills the promises to Israel, and is True Israel.
  3. That in Christ, the Church is the fulfillment and continuation of Israel.
  4. That the Church is the Kingdom of Christ.
  5. That the New Testament doesn’t allow for a millennial kingdom, as taught by Premillennialists.
    6.   That the Kingdom of Christ leads us directly into the Eternal
          Kingdom, which occurs at the time of Christ’s return.
   7. That the emphasis of the New Testament is on the spiritual and heavenly, rather than the earthly.


Overview


Hebrews 1:1-2
1 God, having of old time spoken unto the fathers in the prophets by divers portions and in divers manners,
2 hath at the end of these days spoken unto us in his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom also he made the worlds;


At the very beginning of the book of Hebrews, we see that Jesus is the “heir of all things,” which includes the promises to Israel:


16 Now to Abraham were the promises spoken, and to his seed. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.
28 There can be neither Jew nor Greek, there can be neither bond nor free, there can be no male and female; for ye all are one man in Christ Jesus. 29 And if ye are Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, heirs according to promise.  (Gal 3:16, 28-29)


13 For not through the law was the promise to Abraham or to his seed that he should be heir of the world, but through the righteousness of faith.  14 For if they that are of the law are heirs, faith is made void, and the promise is made of none effect:  (Ro 4:13-14)


As believers we’re heirs of the promises through Christ:


6:12 that ye be not sluggish, but imitators of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises. (He 6:12)


Christ is the fulfillment of the OT, including the promises made to Abraham and his “seed.” The seed of Abraham is Christ. Those who belong to Christ are the seed of Abraham through Him. Thus true Israel are all those who are in Christ, both believing Jews and believing Gentiles. The nation of Israel has its fulfillment as spiritual Israel. The emphasis of the NT is on Christ and the spiritual, not the earthly.


Hebrews 1:3,8,13
3 who being the effulgence of his glory, and the very image of his substance, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had made purification of sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;
8 but of the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever; And the sceptre of uprightness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.
13 But of which of the angels hath he said at any time, Sit thou on my right hand, Till I make thine enemies the footstool of thy feet?  


In the first chapter of this book, we see the Priesthood (“purification of sins”) and Kingship (“sceptre of thy kingdom”) of Christ. We see this discussed in several other places in Hebrews:


2:9 But we behold him who hath been made a little lower than the angels, even Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that by the grace of God he should taste of death for every man. (He 2:9)


8:1 Now in the things which we are saying the chief point is this: We have such a high priest, who sat down on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens,
8:2 a minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, not man. (He 8:1-2)


10:11 And every priest indeed standeth day by day ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, the which can never take away sins:
10:12 but he, when he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; (He 10:11-12)


10:13 henceforth expecting till his enemies be made the footstool of his feet. (He 10:13)


12:2 looking unto Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising shame, and hath sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (He 12:2)


Jesus sits on His throne in Glory as both our Priest and King. He rules over His Kingdom, and serves as High Priest. We will discuss the Priesthood of Christ in more detail later on, but for now I just want to make the point that Jesus is presently in His kingdom, sitting at “the right hand of the throne of God” as both Priest and King. The significance of this dual role of Christ, as it relates to our subject, will become apparent as we go through this study.