AN INTRODUCTION TO THE BOOK OF HEBREWS
We do not know exactly who wrote the Epistle to the Hebrews. Perhaps it was Apollos. According to Ac.18v24-28, he was a well-read Hellenistic Jew from Alexandria in Egypt. Martin Luther guessed that he wrote it. Tertullian (A.D. 150--230) said that Hebrews was a letter from Barnabas. Adolf Harnack and J. Rendel Harris speculated that it could have been written by Priscilla (Prisca). William Ramsey suggested that it was done by Philip. However, the traditional position is that the Apostle Paul wrote Hebrews. About the end of the second century, Clement of Alexandria thought that Paul originally wrote the letter in the Hebrew language and that it was later translated by Luke or someone else into polished Greek. From the very beginning, the Eastern Church attributed the letter to him, but the Western Church did not accept this until the fourth century. Eusebius (A.D. 263-339?) believed that Paul wrote it, but Origen (A.D. 185-254?) was not sure. Regardless of who wrote it, it is certainly a superb, literary, Greek masterpiece which is well-organized, logical, and comprehensive.
Whoever the author was, this individual wanted to reassure Jewish believers that their faith in Jesus as Messiah was secure and reasonable. He tried to prepare them for the impending disaster--the Temple in Jerusalem, with its attendant animal sacrifices, would soon be destroyed by the Romans, just as Jesus had predicted (Matt.24). There was no further need for the Temple, because Jesus had cleared the way for direct access to God's throne (Heb.4v14-16; Heb.10v19-22; compare Matt.27v51). Animal blood was no longer necessary, because the blood of the Lamb of God (Jn.1:29) now continually takes away sin (Heb.9v18-26). Jesus' system is vastly superior to the abolished Jewish system.
The date is also a matter of conjecture. However, it seems certain that it was prior to the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D., because the Temple was still standing at the time Hebrews was written (Heb.10v11; Heb.13v10-11).
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