Our Next “Big Thing”—
Sefer Ivrim (The Book of Hebrews)
If you have been following the Mishkan David for any amount of time, you will have noticed that we focus largely on teaching the significance of controversial Biblical texts from a Messianic Perspective. We have articles on gnosticism, supercessionism, historical perspective, rabbinic midrash, and other foundational assumptions that affect how we understand what we read in the Bible.
Partly in order to directly address the recent controversy regarding “bi-polar… ummm, bilateral… ecclesiology” and partly as an exercise in demonstrating how to read Rabbi Sha’ul within his first century Jewish context, we spent a great deal of time reviewing the content of his letter to the Ephesian believers. In fact, that series of articles is going to press, even as we speak. The working title is, “Ephesians: A Handbook for Gentile Integration into Messianic Judaism”.
Following that model, we will next engage the letter to the Hebrews, using similar methodology. We will consider the writer’s purpose and style, highlighting aspects of the letter that employ midrashic techniques. This will be a novel approach to the letter—one you have likely not seen anywhere else. Notably, we will be providing lengthy review of all those source texts we see quoted in the letter. This is not just because we want to eat up time, but because we believe that the key to understanding Hebrews lies in having a solid grasp of the texts to which the author appeals. Most people fail to review the original sources in any great detail, and thus end up missing the point of the letter.
So, as we review the letter to the Hebrews, we will also find ourselves engaged in an in-depth reading of several of the Tehillim/Psalms and a few prophetic passages. You will find some of these cited explicitly by the author, and others which are not. There are a few key passages the Mishkan will be supplying as important background to the thoughts expressed in the letter, but not expressly quoted. Just in case you are wondering, two of the chapters that will prove most important to shaping our thinking on this wonderful letter will be Tehillim/Psalms 89 and Yirmeyahu/Jeremiah 33. That’s right… Jeremiah 33, NOT chapter 31. Everyone reads chapter 31, but hardly anybody knows what is in chapter 33! That’s why we will be giving that chapter an especially close read.
We hope you will both enjoy what is written here, as well as engage the conversation here on this site.
So, buckle up, and get ready for some challenging reading in the days and weeks to come! Hebrews is not an easy to letter to understand, but it is certainly very rewarding. It will be worth the trouble of learning to re-adjust our thinking so we can grasp the writer’s original purpose and meaning. We can promise… it won’t be what you think!