Hebrews 3:1-6; 8:1-2; 12:1-2, 22-24
DJB I just suggest these Scriptures, dear brethren, as presenting to us some of the glories of the Lord Jesus Christ, and desiring, as our brother said in prayer, that we might get some fresh views of Him and His Person and excellence. There is, of course, nothing new in Scripture; the Scripture is its own record, but we come back to it looking for what we might call fresh impressions of what the Scripture contains.
As regards titles and offices, I think they mainly relate to the Lord Jesus. That is to say that He fills many of the needs of God as desiring to have to do with men, and, through grace, of men as desiring to have dealings with God. It may be said of the Holy Spirit, of course, that He is the Comforter and the Earnest, and maybe has other titles as well. But Scripture, I think, dwells a good deal on the titles of the Lord Jesus Christ. And the Epistle to the Hebrews is one – not the only one, obviously, but one – good place to look to see what the Spirit has to say about the offices that the Lord Jesus fills.
I read these Scriptures in the order in which they occur in the Epistle, because that is just the easiest way to keep them in mind. But I did not have in mind to suggest that there was any progression through the passages we have read. They each stand by themselves, apart from the close connection that there is between chapter 3, “the Apostle and High Priest of our confession,” and what there is in chapter 8, where the apostle himself says that a summary of what has gone before is that “we have such a one High Priest Who has sat down on the right hand of the throne of the Greatness in the heavens.” And he then says that He is “Minister of the holy places and of the true tabernacle.” So, I think it is good to think of the High Priest and the Minister perhaps in somewhat the same context.
I would add a little word as to the Epistle to the Hebrews, not as needing to teach my brethren anything about them, but just to keep in mind the context, that it was originally written, primarily, to converted Jews. They brought with them the heritage of the Old Testament, which we are privileged to have as a heritage as well. But to them it was in danger of becoming a burden, in that it was rather liable to hold them back from embracing the important point, that what they had known of God under the Old Covenant, they now needed to know in the light of the New Covenant. One of the great purposes of the Epistle, as I understand it, is to help these saints to see the Old Testament as presenting what the Epistle itself speaks of as a shadow of the things that were to come (ch 10:1). If we are helped to see the Old Testament in that light, it actually casts a greater glory on the New. But the apostle is helped to show, I think, that everything in the Old Testament – having particularly in mind the five books of Moses – has its counterpart in the New Testament, and in particular that every feature that enabled God to draw near to men, and men to draw near to God, is now seen in the Lord Jesus Himself, and in Him alone.
In the Old Testament, it needed both Moses and Aaron to work out being the apostle and high priest, but what the Scripture here says is that the Lord Jesus is sufficient to fill both of those offices. It is put very attractively and simply in John’s Gospel, “He came out from God and was going to God” (John 13:3). That was just the line of my thought; I should be glad of all that the brethren can help us with.
MJC I am interested in the fact that the writer to the Hebrews develops very much the thought of the Lord as High Priest, and establishes clearly that He is a Priest for ever according to the order of Melchisedec (ch 7:17). But not a lot is said about the Apostle side. What can you say to us about that?
DJB Well, some of that, of course, is expressed in the very first verses of the Epistle, that God has had many other ways of speaking, but “at the end of these days,” he says – in Messiah’s day – He “has spoken to us in the Person of the Son” (ch 1:1 2). And that goes on into chapter 2: “We should give heed more abundantly to the things we have heard” (v1). That is what God has said to us in the Lord Jesus. But I think it probably is true to say that the Epistle is more occupied with our approach to God than His coming out towards us. Would you think that?
MJC Yes, I think that helps us to see it. The term “Apostle” means ‘sent one.’ He was sent forth from God.
DJB Yes, He was the full Representative of God. The first chapter, of course, brings out that He was more than that, but in this context, as Moses was able to convey God’s mind – he was an instrument of God to reveal His mind – thus the Lord Jesus has fully opened up God’s mind to us, as we were just seeing in John 17 last night.
I think it is interesting to see, too, that the house of God is presented here. It is a dwelling place for God, and it is the Lord Himself Who is the Builder of that house. He is its Foundation and He is its Cornerstone, and He is actually its Builder as well. And, so that we should not be in any doubt what is meant by the house, verse 6 tells us: “Whose house are we.” I think it is a great moment in our souls when we are able to move beyond churches and even meeting rooms to see that the house of God is the people – living stones, as presented elsewhere (1 Pet 2:5), but God’s work, and the Lord’s building.
MJC The type, really, can go only so far. Moses was faithful in all His house as a ministering servant. We now see Christ as Son over God’s house.
DJB Yes, He has full authority there, and we do well to come under His authority, and that authority, when we come to it, is in chapter 8: that He is Minister of the holy places. It is His place, and we look to Him for His lead.
PKL It says of Moses, “He is faithful in all My house” (Num 12:7). There is no doubt about it, it was God’s house that was being spoken about. Could you say a bit more about the house of God? We have been taught that we are always in it. Could you distinguish it from, perhaps, the body and the assembly?
DJB As I understand it, it is God’s dwelling place. It is where God finds a home among His people. It is made up of living stones, and in that sense it is not so very different from the temple (1 Cor 3:16). But it does also carry with it the idea of responsibility. 1 Timothy has something to say about that, it being “the pillar and base of the truth” (ch 3:15). But I think what is prominent here is that the Lord has come here to bring back to God those among whom God can dwell. And we shall enjoy that, and provide a dwelling place for God, if “we hold fast the boldness and the boast of hope firm to the end” (v6). That is not about whether we are saved or not saved – other Scriptures will answer that question – but this is what is provided practically now by way of a dwelling place for God. What do you think?
PKL I was noticing that the High Priest is linked with it. If we look at the Old Testament type, the high priest operated generally, as far as I can see, in and around the tabernacle. He may have come outside and done things, I do not know, but we do not get much of that. It is mainly to do with his service in the tabernacle, or approach to God on behalf of the people. I just thought that was interesting, as linking with the house.
DJB Yes. You spoke also about the body, and, in a sense, each time the Scripture makes these references, it is speaking of the same thing, but in different relations. The “body” has particularly to do with what belongs to the Lord Jesus and is expressive of Him and is responsive to Him. It is a personal and intimate link, and it is one way in which Scripture speaks of it, “His body, which is the assembly” (Col 1:24). The “assembly” has in mind, I think, the saints as called out to serve God. There might be glory to God in the assembly throughout all generations of the age of ages (Eph 3:21). That is where God is glorified, and the Lord loves the assembly, and loved it sufficiently to give Himself for it (see Eph 5:25).
PKL So we each perform a function in the body – there should be no sleeping members. Every member has to operate for the good of the body and, as you say, the Head of the body is the Lord Himself.
DJB Yes. I think it is helpful to see that in the First Epistle to the Corinthians the apostle brings in the idea of the body in chapter 12, and there he speaks as if he just had a whole body in mind. He refers to parts of the body in the head, for example (vv 16 17). When he comes to write to the Ephesians he presents the body with Christ personally as its Head, and all the joints and members function, and function well, as they relate themselves to Christ as Head. They are two different views, and I think it is as well to keep them separate, but to know that they are related.
TJK It is interesting that it is “Christ” here Who is the preservation. “The boldness and boast of hope” are linked with Christ as Son over His house. If we had only Paul’s ministry, we might think of the Apostle as being the Head, the chief office, but it is “Christ” here. Could you say something about that? We have drawn attention to the Apostle earlier, and the High Priest, but now we have come back to “Christ” as Son over His house.
DJB And we have one more important word at the end of verse 1 – “Jesus.” Those two names are presented here so that we might be in no doubt Who it is and how personal it is to the One Who came here and was alone here – had no true companions here at all. But the One Who came low enough to be known as Jesus, Saviour, is the One Who now sets things forward for God. In fact, I think that all the Scriptures we have read point to the Lord Jesus being the means by which God has a relationship with man and man with God. There will come a day for His taking the reins of government over the earth, but that is not the theme of this Epistle, really. This Epistle views the saints as strangers and sojourners in this world, but having a heavenly calling – “partakers of the heavenly calling” (v1). In heaven everything relates to God in His place.
DEG His priestly service includes some of the things that are more personal to us, does it not? Things that are a comfort to us – I was thinking of how He is the good Shepherd, He is the Friend of the sinner. Those things are involved in that priestly service as well – what is carried up to God.
DJB Yes, there would not have been time to study them today, but there are some other Scriptures in this Epistle: He has entered in as Forerunner for us within the veil (ch 6:19 20). He has gone there before us. “I go to prepare you a place” (John 14:2). That is why He is there.
We ought, perhaps, to look at chapter 8. For any of us who sometimes find the previous chapters at all difficult, the Spirit of God has graciously provided a summary. The summary is really to call attention to the Lord Jesus. He is the High Priest. He has sat down. And that is important – it takes us back to the first chapter where it says that the Lord has “set Himself down on the right hand of the Greatness on high” (v3) – that is, it was His right and title to do so. Later on, we shall see how earthly high priests could go in, and they had to come out again, and there was no entry any more for another year. But the Lord Jesus has sat down there. His work is complete.
MJC We do not normally read of any high priest on earth sitting down; they always stood.
DJB They went in, but they had to come out. And having done so, they could not go in again for a long time.
MJC Does that suggest the greatness of Christ, in that once for all He has dealt with the whole question of sin, and sins, so that He can sit down? The side is seen of rest and complacency.
DJB Yes, it makes way, ultimately, for the saints to be seated as well. That is not in this chapter, but it makes way for the saints to share the rest that God has in Christ.
GKB I was just considering the alternative rendering of “sat down,” given in the note (ch 8:1), which is ‘set Himself down,’ which gives a slightly different view of the permanence and deliberateness of the move that He has made.
DJB And His right to do so. We know that God has given Him honour and glory, but the Lord was entitled to that place. He has ascended up on high in His own power and dignity.
MJC The next time the Lord stands up, it will be to come forth in power and great glory (Matt 24:30).
DJB Yes. It is interesting: at the moment He is seated on His Father’s throne. It fulfils Psalm 110. But He will have His own throne.
RPM What does the thought of the throne convey? It is a place of power, I suppose.
DJB The majesty of Godhead. The kings on earth have thrones – it is a mark of their supremacy. Anyone needing to approach the throne needs to recognise the glory and authority of the one whose throne it is. Well, God remains supreme, and the Lord Jesus has taken a wonderful place which is His by right as the Son of God. But He takes it in order that He might present His people to God and give a lead in their service. Chapter 2 brings that out very beautifully, that “in the midst of the assembly will I sing Thy praises” (v12). That is a wonderful and amazing thing, that the Lord Jesus, the Son of God, takes up the praises of His God and Father. But it is so; it is in Scripture, and I think a little experience confirms it. The Lord Jesus – He leads the praise.
MJC Everything in these verses is of God. “The true tabernacle, which the Lord has pitched, and not man.” God was pleased, and took account of the tabernacle that was pitched on earth, because it spoke of Christ. But now, we have something established in the heavens, do we not?
DJB Yes, every word here carries weight. It is the true tabernacle. The one of which we read in Exodus, and elsewhere in the Old Testament, was just a shadow of what was to come. Here we reach the reality, and it is God’s handiwork. Man is not asked to have any part in making it – it is God’s work. It is very emphatic – “Which the Lord has pitched, and not man.” Man is excluded from God’s work.
DAC It is interesting what you are saying about sitting down. I was wondering what more could be said about the role that the Lord Jesus would play as the High Priest in that position.
DJB Well, the Old Testament is a good lead to what is meant by the High Priest. We might take the word “priest” first of all without the word “high,” because a priest is one who is available to God and to man. He is available to God to make the mind and feelings of God known to man. He is available to man so as to enable man to draw near to God. Now, when we come to add the word “high,” the High Priest is the One Who is supreme in that regard, and He now gives a lead to every bit of priestly service towards God.
There are still priests, and you and I ought to be among them. Peter says we have been made a kingly priesthood (1 Pet 2:9). We are all meant to have part in priestly service. The sad thing is that the word gets spoiled by its worldly associations, as if it were an office for down here, with robes, and glory for man. But actually it expresses the role of man as both drawing near to God and rightly representing Him here, and that is something which all of us, brothers and sisters, ought to seek to do. What do you think?
MJC I was thinking of John’s view, in Revelation 1: He has “made us a kingdom, priests to His God and Father” (v6). That is what we are brought into. But the high priest in the old economy, in relation to what we are reading of, really was one who took a lead and took a great responsibility. His work was to be accomplished on the Day of Atonement.
DJB Yes. We shall never know, I suppose, exactly how things would have worked out had it not been for the sin, in the Book of Leviticus, that led to there being access only on the Day of Atonement (Lev 10:1 2, 16:2). We have a sense of the tremendous loss that there was as a result of that sin. But, nonetheless, there was the Day of Atonement, and the high priest did go in and make atonement, and he came out. Well, I think we can say that for us, the Day of Atonement, and more than that, has now been accomplished!
TJK That would be important, because here the writer has already established that our High Priest is of a different order, a better order, an eternal order compared with the Aaronic order. We know that the Aaronic order had very beautiful garments and a very high status, and when Aaron was inaugurated, the whole people saw the glory of God (Lev 9:23). So, how much better is our High Priest!
DJB Yes, it is very interesting what it says at the beginning of chapter 10, the law had “a shadow of the coming good things,” but then it adds, “Not the image itself of the things” (v1). The shadow gives some impression; the image would need to be a complete representation. And the Spirit of God is saying that nothing can fully represent the reality of the Son of God having come forth from God and going back to God, taking His saints with Him.
PKL So the Lord represented God better than anyone can represent another. We have an envoy or an ambassador who represents his country, but he can represent it only so far. But the Lord Jesus was God, and He came as Man, so He represented God in the fullest way that could ever have been made known to us.
DJB Yes, indeed.
PKL And I was just wondering whether the thought of the High Priest links in any way with the thought of a Mediator. They are distinct, but are they on the same line of the service of the Lord towards us?
DJB Yes, I think they are on the same line. We have the Mediator in the First Epistle to Timothy; we also have it in the final verse we have read (ch 12:24). A mediator is one who is the means whereby God expresses Himself to others, such as ourselves. “God is one, and the Mediator of God and men one, the Man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim 2:5). The Mediator of the New Covenant is the One through Whom God makes the New Covenant effective. So, in that sense, everything hangs upon the Lord Jesus Christ. I do not want to claim to be too precise, but I think the thought of the Priest has particularly in mind approach to God and God’s approach to man. That is simply how I see it.
What do you think?
TAH I was just thinking that what we have been discussing has reinforced that the only approach to God is through Jesus and what He has done, “the new and living way” (Heb 10:20), and it is through His blood. This has just reinforced it.
DJB Yes. I think one great feature of the Epistle to the Hebrews is that the Lord is sufficient for everything. There is that Old Testament Scripture, “They shall hang upon him all the glory of his father’s house” (Isa 22:24). He is sufficient to sustain it all.
And, if we just come for a moment to chapter 12, the first few verses, He is sufficient to sustain us on our journey here. The apostle has spent a long passage on men and women of faith in chapter 11. Now, when he comes to chapter 12, he is really saying that we have all these examples, but there is one supreme Example, and we do well to look steadfastly on Him.
MJC I am just wondering, in connection with what we were saying as to what is mediatorial, whether from our side we come firstly via Christ as Mediator, and then, having known the question of our sins dealt with, we come into the liberty of sonship and the understanding and appreciation of Christ as High Priest.
DJB I think that is the way of it. The Mediator is an office which God has given to the Lord as One in Whom He could have full confidence that His mind would be expressed and His will would be done. That is the Mediator. And, as a result of that, we are able to avail ourselves of Him as our High Priest.
PKL Moses was the first one who was in that office, to be a mediator – a type of the mediatorship of Christ in a very remarkable way. God would not have dwelt among the people if Moses had not interceded for them; “He said to Him, If Thy presence do not go, bring us not up hence” (Exod 33:3, 15).
DJB Yes, he was singled out from the outset, and all his experiences were cumulative to the point where he could represent God to men, including Pharaoh of course. He was equal to representing God in every way that was needed. He did not think he was sufficient; God said, ‘I will make you sufficient’ (Exod 4:10 12).
PKL He was prepared to be blotted out (Exod 32:32) – a wonderful type of the Lord.
DJB Yes. There is a very happy little reference in Mr Darby’s ministry, where he refers to Moses saying, “I will go up … perhaps I shall make atonement” (Exod 32:30). He says that when it comes to the Lord, He did make atonement, and then went up; there is no “perhaps” (Synopsis Vol 4, p222).
GKB We cannot help being impressed by the Lord’s perfection, whatever role He was in. Moses failed, as we know all these men failed, but the perfection of the service of our blessed Saviour is something to dwell upon.
DJB And to take heart from, because He is the One to Whom we belong.
GKB He is operating on our behalf in so many of these roles.
DJB Yes.
DEG And through that service everything is acceptable to God that we bring. It would not be otherwise – only on account of His service is it acceptable; it is in accordance with God’s own mind. It is very wonderful.
DJB Yes, He takes up what little we may feel we have. It is interesting, and comforting, that the Old Testament makes provision for large offerings and lesser ones, and comes down to “two young pigeons.”
MJC Do you have a thought on “Jesus the Leader and Completer of faith”?
DJB Well, I think I see something of “Jesus the Leader,” in that He is the supreme Example to us of what faith is. There were men of faith, and women of faith, in the Old Testament, but the Lord’s example of faith – well, He is supreme in that faith. It is a most remarkable thing, I think we were just saying yesterday, that faith should be connected with the One Who is the Son of God, but nonetheless He did move through this world in faith. Now, when it comes to “Completer of faith,” I have to admit, I am not so clear. What do you think?
MJC Well, I was looking firstly at Mr Darby’s footnote in Acts (ch 3:15): the one who begins and sets a matter on. I suppose, following that, it is the idea of things being completed. The work of God has been begun in our souls, and He will complete it.
DJB The Lord Jesus, of course, shows the results of the life of faith. He went through His life depending upon God, and He went all the way to the Cross and to the grave. He “by the eternal Spirit offered Himself spotless to God” (Heb 9:14). In that sense we can say that He is the Completer, in that He has fulfilled all that faith means, and has gone up on high where faith is no longer needed.
MJC I was thinking of that, because of where the Lord is, in the divine presence; He is no longer in this scene. We are, and until we pass out of this scene, faith is needed.
DJB Yes, and there is a suggestion here that while we are on the road, we are on the way to that same scene where faith will be completed. In fact, does the apostle not say that to the Corinthians? “And now abide faith, hope, love; these three things; and the greater of these is love” (1 Cor 13:13). And just before that he has spoken of many things that will not be needed any more. ‘Faith and hope shall cease,’ the hymn says, ‘And love abide alone’ (Hymn 310).
TAH What do you think “the joy lying before Him” encompasses?
DJB Well, the context is one in which the apostle is encouraging brethren to stand firm in the face of trial. That is the context of this chapter. And so he is encouraging them to persevere in the steps of the Lord. He says, ‘The Lord went to death and through death, having in mind and in full assurance that the result of it would be glory to God and His own satisfaction in having His bride.’ I do not think we would be right to say that the Lord had nothing else before Him but His joy. I think there would be some other aspects to consider, such as the claims of God, and the will of God being fulfilled in bringing about a new creation: there are many things that were involved in the death and resurrection of Christ. But this is presented for our particular encouragement, that the Lord went that way having a goal, and the goal has been fulfilled. And the apostle is saying, ‘And you should take heart from that and go the same way.’ Would you see it that way?
MJC Yes, because the Lord ever had the will of God before Him, and I think the joy is in contrast, if you like, to the suffering.
DJB Yes, it is. Of course, it cost Him more than anything that it ever could cost us. I say that soberly, knowing that there are believers now and in times past who have suffered intensely for their faith. But we are called upon to look on Jesus, Who shows what faith is and where it ends.
TJK It is part of His high priestly prayer, is it not? “That they may have My joy fulfilled in them” (John 17:13). He had already given them His peace, and now it is the prospect of His joy being fulfilled in us – remarkable blessings, as we were saying yesterday.
DJB It stands among the tests of where we are and what we are as Christians. Have I got peace? Have I got joy? Have I got assurance? I am not to look to have them in myself, but Scripture presents them to me as available in Christ. It would be a good thing for us to be happy, would it not?
Just a word as to what is over the page. Once again the apostle is pointing to a contrast between the Old Covenant and the New. And he reminds them of all the most solemn features of the Old Covenant. In verses 18 to 21 the apostle does not spare himself, he goes over every really intimidating feature of the old regime. Now he says, ‘But that is not what you have come to:’ “ye have come to Mount Zion.” Well, I did not exactly have in mind to speak of all these features; they are there. But in particular, “Ye have come … to Jesus, Mediator of a New Covenant.” If we look back a few chapters, we shall find that the apostle found particular pleasure in contrasting the Old Covenant and the New. It rests, as I think has been said earlier, on “better promises” whereby we draw near to God.
PKL Some of the messianic Jews we came across call the New Testament the New Covenant, and the Old Testament the Old Covenant. The two words are very close, but it is a good way of looking at it – the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. The New Covenant is set out in the New Testament, and the Old Covenant in the Old Testament.
DJB Yes, I think the words are, in practice, very similar in their thought. A testament is a witness to the mind of the one whose testament it is. The ‘last will and testament’ is where an individual sets out his or her thoughts for those who are to come afterwards. In the New Testament we have God’s present mind for His people.
PKL Mr Darby’s note is helpful on “new:” ‘Neos; not the usual word for new covenant, which is kainos. Neos is “new” in the sense of fresh, youthful. Kainos is new as wholly different. “The new (kainos) man,” Eph 4:24, i.e. it is not the old; neos, Col 3:10, it is not grown old.’
DJB Yes, earlier in referring to the Old Covenant it is, “In that He says New, He has made the first old; but that which grows old and aged is near disappearing” (ch 8:13). The idea there is that the Old Covenant has had its day. And, with all reverence, we can say it has; it has had its day. “The law has been our tutor up to Christ” (Gal 3:24), but it has had its day, and it is a great pity to see anyone putting themselves under law. It leads to confusion of thought, and it has a number of sad consequences. Very real believers can put themselves under law, and it is a great pity to do so.
MJC Well, we start our week, each week, with some impression of the New Covenant.
DJB Yes, yes, I trust we do. What does the New Covenant mean to you?
DAC It links it here with the blood of sprinkling, which is Christ’s death for us, and our entering in to newness of life. That is my understanding of it.
DJB Yes. It is the assurance of God’s heart and mind toward us, which does not change.
MJC It is a cup of blessing (1 Cor 10:16).
TJK Without taking you off the subject, you read the whole list; do you have any impression as to the order or sequence, as to why they are in that order or sequence?
DJB I do not really know. The contrast is with Mount Sinai, so the first comparison is: not Sinai, but Zion. That is God’s dwelling place and the place of mercy. And he then enlarges on that: “The city of the living God, heavenly Jerusalem.” It is very interesting, I think, how soon the Spirit led the early believers to recognise that the title “Jerusalem” had a heavenly counterpart. Paul speaks of it to the Galatians. He says that Jerusalem down here is still in travail; it is a sad place. “But,” he says, “the Jerusalem above is free, which is our mother” (Gal 4:25 26). That is where we belong. I do not know that I could say much about the angels or the universal gathering, but “the assembly of the firstborn who are registered in heaven” – well, I trust that includes you and me, and many others. And then, “And to God:” one of the titles of God, “Judge of all.” Not necessarily, I suppose, by way of condemnation, but the One who does right: “Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?” (Gen 18:25). It is a remarkable list.
MJC It goes on from “God, Judge of all” to “the spirits of just men made perfect.” It seems as if there is an accomplished correspondence between God and those that have been brought into this blessing. Is that how you see it?
DJB I think so. I do not have any sense of condemnation in those words, “God, Judge of all,” but God’s right and supremacy. “The spirits of just men made perfect” – well, I suppose that includes all the saints; chapter 11 says that it actually gathers up the Old Testament saints as well, those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb (Rev 19:9). Everyone who has had faith in God according to their light has an invitation there. And then, “Jesus, Mediator of a New Covenant.” Again, just the name Jesus is brought in: very touching that, “He shall save His people from their sins” (Matt 1:21).
TJK I wondered if there was a thought of going inward from the mountain on which the city is placed and then, in the city, those who are still alive dwelling, in heavenly places. Then, in the temple – God being the temple – we have the spirits there protected; in the Revelation they are spoken of as being under the altar (ch 6:9). And then in the holiest place we have the Ark, Jesus, with the blood of sprinkling.
DJB Once he comes to Jesus, the apostle actually has no more to add. He is finished at that point, he has reached his goal.
TJK We cannot get any closer than the Ark.
MJC It is interesting that, having said that, he then comes back to Abel. Really, that brings us right back to the incoming of sin.
DJB It does. Abel has had a mention in chapter 11 as one of the first of faith. He offered “a more excellent sacrifice than Cain,” and, we might say, he paid a high price for it. He paid with his life, and the apostle says that Abel’s blood is a witness to murder, the spirit of the world, and a witness to the results of devotion here. The apostle says that what the blood of Jesus now has to say is more precious than that. It is the work of redemption; there was no redemption through Abel’s sacrifice. It is a “speaking better than Abel.”
MJC The whole line of faith is taken into account.

3 February 2013