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Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews, Part 15: Sons or Bastards
As we have proceeded through Hebrews chapter 11, we have sought to understand Paul’s reasoning in his descriptions of the faith of the patriarchs from a historical perspective: that the Old Testament accounts describing the lives of the patriarchs and saints exhibit that their faith was a Christian faith long before the advent of Christ Himself. In that respect, the Old Testament saints were Christians before the time of Christ, and they were never Jews. Paul spoke in this same regard in 2 Corinthians chapter 3, where he was describing how it was that the ritual elements and ceremonies of the law were being left unemployed, and speaking of those who were disobedient in the past he said that “14 Yet their minds were hardened; even to this day today the same veil remains upon the reading of the old covenant, which not being uncovered is left unemployed in Christ. 15 Then until this day, whenever Moses is read a veil lies upon their hearts. 16 But when perhaps you should turn to the Prince, the veil is taken away.” So according to Paul of Tarsus, the Old Testament scriptures are only for Christians, their significance is only revealed to those who accept Christ, and therefore nobody else has any authority to even comment upon them.
We have also sought to clarify some obscure details of Scripture, while elucidating the historicity of the accounts themselves. Here, as we approach the close of Paul’s famous discourse on the faith, we shall continue in that same endeavor. The historicity of the Old Testament is constantly being attacked by critics of modern denominational Christianity, and especially by critics of the Jews as well as by Jews themselves. What those critics do not realize is that the denominational churches have never actually taught Christianity, the Jews can never possibly understand it, and the Jews are neither the subjects nor the true heirs of the Old Testament Scriptures. First century Christians themselves insisted that the so-called “Gentiles”, the people of the nations of the Greco-Roman οἰκουμένη, were indeed the true subjects and heirs of the Scriptures, who had been alienated from Yahweh God many centuries before Christ. They also attested that the Jews are Edomites, not Israelites, and the historians Josephus and Strabo fully support that attestation. The Scriptures themselves, in both Old Testament and New, also support all of these assertions.
Furthermore, discussing Paul’s description of Moses and the events of the Exodus, we elucidated the fact that five ancient historians, four of them pagans, had accepted the accounts of Moses and the Exodus as being historical in nature. Three of these are Flavius Josephus, a Judaean, and the pagan Greek writers Strabo of Cappadocia and Diodorus Siculus, both of whom wrote before the time of Christ. None of these witnesses were Christians, and none of them, not even Josephus, were what we may fairly consider to be Jewish. Then from Josephus, we saw that a pagan Egyptian writer of the 3rd century BC named Manetho also accepted Moses and the Exodus account as being historical, and correctly dated it to the pharaohs of the 18th Dynasty. Finally, through Diodorus Siculus, we saw that another pagan Greek writer in Egypt named Hecataeus of Abdera had also accepted the accounts of Moses and the Exodus as being historical. Although the version of the Exodus account given by Hecataeus was more accommodating to the Egyptians, now we can say that so was the version given by Manetho, which is something that Josephus had overlooked.
Since our previous presentation in this series we have acquired a copy of the Loeb Classical Library volume of the fragments of Manetho, which was first published in 1940. While most all of Manetho’s original work is now lost, the fragments of his writing which survive show that other ancient writers had also cited him regarding his accounts of the Exodus. Theophilus of Antioch, a Christian of the late 2nd century AD, in an apologetic work entitled Apology to Autolycus, had cited Manetho and wrote that: “Moses was the leader of the Judaeans [using the Greek word found in all of the Hellenistic writings], as I have already said, when they had been expelled from Egypt by King Pharaoh whose name was Tethmosis. After the expulsion of the people, this king, it is said, reigned for 25 years and 4 months, according to Manetho’s reckoning.”
So we see in this two things which Josephus did not provide for us in his own citations of Manetho: first, that Manetho’s version of the Exodus account had the same perspective favorable to the Egyptians which we had seen in the account given by Hecataeus of Abdera that was cited by Diodorus Siculus. Secondly, and just as importantly, the account of the number of years in the reign of Tuthmose corroborates our assertion that Manetho must have referred to Tuthmose III, the only pharaoh with the name who had reigned for so long a time. By the popular accounts, Tuthmose III ruled Egypt for nearly 55 years, until 1425 BC. So where Manetho informs us that Tuthmose lived 25 years after the Exodus, our chronology of the period and our approximate dating of the event to 1450 BC are once again fully vindicated.
Discussing Hebrews chapter 11, in our last presentation of this epistle, we had ended with verse 32 where Paul had written in conclusion of his description of the faith of the Old Testament saints:
32 And what more do I say? For the time will fail me relating about Gideon, Barak, Sampson, Iephthae, and David and Samuel, and of the prophets:
And before we conclude Paul’s statement concerning these men we will comment on a few of them, although we will not speak of them all. The record concerning Gideon is plain, and as Paul himself wrote here, the time would fail us to speak of David and Samuel. We do have a few things to say about these others, things which are obscure or often overlooked.
Barak was indeed a man of faith, but no man is above criticism, not even men in the Bible. Many students of Scripture seem to overlook the fact that Barak was also a feminist, and was punished for that. When one seeks to persuade modern women that their place is with a husband and the raising of a family, it is often argued that there are many women who have successfully fulfilled capacities which are usually occupied by men. In this regard we may hear of a Joan of Arc or a Boudicca, a Cartimandua or an Isabella of Castille. But the exceptions should not be the rule, and men cannot voluntarily abrogate their responsibilities to women. Barak had done just that very thing, and for it he suffered the consequences.
So we read in Judges chapter 4, where it is apparent that there is already a problem among the men of Israel, simply because a woman was set to be a judge: “4 And Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, she judged Israel at that time. 5 And she dwelt under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in mount Ephraim: and the children of Israel came up to her for judgment. 6 And she sent and called Barak the son of Abinoam out of Kedeshnaphtali, and said unto him, Hath not the LORD God of Israel commanded, saying, Go and draw toward mount Tabor, and take with thee ten thousand men of the children of Naphtali and of the children of Zebulun? 7 And I will draw unto thee to the river Kishon Sisera, the captain of Jabin's army, with his chariots and his multitude; and I will deliver him into thine hand.”
Deborah, being recognized as a prophetess, which was a role that women could fulfill, Barak had the faith to know that he should not decline her demands, and that is fine. However while he should have been happy to comply, and it was his role to lead this army against the Canaanites, it is nevertheless recorded: “8 And Barak said unto her, If thou wilt go with me, then I will go: but if thou wilt not go with me, then I will not go.” So here we see that rather than assuming the responsibility he was given for himself, Barak wanted Deborah to go with him, thereby putting a woman in harm’s way on the field of battle. It is no wonder a woman was set to judge in Israel at this time, if this was the attitude of the men. So Deborah responded: “9 And she said, I will surely go with thee: notwithstanding the journey that thou takest shall not be for thine honour; for the LORD shall sell Sisera into the hand of a woman. And Deborah arose, and went with Barak to Kedesh. 10 And Barak called Zebulun and Naphtali to Kedesh; and he went up with ten thousand men at his feet: and Deborah went up with him.”
The legacy which every heroic warrior desires is to vanquish his enemies for himself. But because Barak had insisted that Deborah, the woman, go with him, he would be punished for it, so that a woman would get the glory that should have been his. Therefore Sisera, the enemy general, was killed by a woman, Jael, the wife of a man called “Heber the Kenite”. When Sisera fled to the tent of Heber seeking refuge, Jael, his wife, took a hammer and nail and slew Sisera. This deprived Barak of the glory which he himself should have had, if he were not such a feminist.
This compels us to discuss one more aspect of Scripture which is poorly understood. Moses married the daughter of a priest of Midian, however here one of the descendants of Moses’ father-in-law is called a Kenite. This leads many fools to assume that Moses’ wife was a Kenite by race and therefore that God condones race-mixing with the descendants of Cain. Nothing is further from the truth. Moses’ father-in-law was a Midianite by race, of the descendants of Abraham and his third wife, Keturah (Genesis 25, Exodus 2). The word Kenite can refer to the race of the descendants of Cain, as it is often used but the word can also refer to someone who is a smith by occupation. Jael was a woman who clearly had experience with a hammer and nail, and had a hammer and nail within easy reach, and this also reveals that her husband was a smith by trade, and not a Kenite by race. In the ancient world, women typically helped their husbands at their trade, so Jael knew exactly what she was doing with that hammer when she nailed Sisera.
Iephthae, or Jephthah, was chosen by Yahweh to free the children of Israel in Gilead from the oppression of the Ammonites, and he did, in spite of the fact that his brethren had at one time cast him out, because he was born of his father to another woman who apparently may have been a prostitute. Being delivered by such a man, that too is a message from Yahweh revealing for us the sinful nature of Israel at this time, that they deserved no better. Before he met the Ammonites in battle, it is recorded in Judges chapter 11: “30 And Jephthah vowed a vow unto the LORD, and said, If thou shalt without fail deliver the children of Ammon into mine hands, 31 Then it shall be, that whatsoever cometh forth of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the children of Ammon, shall surely be the LORD'S, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering.” However the words “burnt offering” in that passage are from a Hebrew word which has various uses and means only a going up, or an ascent, even a stairway. Although the Septuagint translators interpreted it to mean a burnt offering, that is not necessarily so since the word has other uses and that meaning is only implied in the context. The context would be fitting if an animal were involved, but we cannot force the meaning otherwise.
So after Jephthah’s victory over the Ammonites, we read: “34 And Jephthah came to Mizpeh unto his house, and, behold, his daughter came out to meet him with timbrels and with dances: and she was his only child; beside her he had neither son nor daughter. 35 And it came to pass, when he saw her, that he rent his clothes, and said, Alas, my daughter! thou hast brought me very low, and thou art one of them that trouble me: for I have opened my mouth unto the LORD, and I cannot go back. 36 And she said unto him, My father, if thou hast opened thy mouth unto the LORD, do to me according to that which hath proceeded out of thy mouth; forasmuch as the LORD hath taken vengeance for thee of thine enemies, even of the children of Ammon. 37 And she said unto her father, Let this thing be done for me: let me alone two months, that I may go up and down upon the mountains, and bewail my virginity, I and my fellows. 38 And he said, Go. And he sent her away for two months: and she went with her companions, and bewailed her virginity upon the mountains. 39 And it came to pass at the end of two months, that she returned unto her father, who did with her according to his vow which he had vowed: and she knew no man. And it was a custom in Israel, 40 That the daughters of Israel went yearly to lament the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite four days in a year.”
Jephthah’s daughter never sought to lament her life, but only her virginity. If she were going to die, it would be unlikely that Jephthah would so easily allow her to go off into the mountains for two months with her friends, and expect her to return. And when she returned it does not say anything about her being slaughtered in sacrifice, but only that “she knew no man.” Here is one example where the concise nature of the Scriptures and the lack of understanding of the complete cultural context cause a division of opinions which are difficult to reconcile. It is highly unlikely from the language here that Jephthah’s daughter was to be put to death. It is much more likely that she was dedicated to the service of Yahweh for the community, perhaps to the Levites and the Tabernacle, and therefore never married, being required to remain in perpetual virginity. So “she knew no man” after she returned from her lamentation over her virginity. Among the ancient pagan nations, this practice was common, as it is manifest in the Greek Pythia, the virgin priestess of Apollo, or in the Roman Vestal Virgins. There are interesting parallels to this story in Greek literature, especially involving the sacrifice of Iphigenia by Agamemnon before the siege of Troy. In any event, Paul accounted Jephthah as a man of faith who predicated his actions on his faith, and certainly not as a child-killer. The daughter certainly seemed to have at least as much faith as her father.
As for Samson, it must be observed that he had married a Philistine woman. The Philistines, according to Moses in Genesis chapter 10, were descended from Mizraim, the son of Ham, and ostensibly they were Adamic, related to the Israelites by race. While the children of Israel were commanded to keep separate from the uncircumcised, the distinction between Israelite and Philistine was religious and not racial, so while Samson evidently forsook his religious vows by marrying the foreigner, he was not committing fornication. We can contrast Paul’s mention of Samson without criticism to his mention of Esau as a profane man and a fornicator later in this chapter. Esau’s wives were Hittites, ostensibly the Hittites had become mixed with other races, and therefore Esau lost his birthright, since his progeny are condemned. The prophecy of Zechariah (9:6) indicates that many centuries after Samson, there were still Philistines dwelling at Ashdod who were not bastards. As for Samson, in spite of his errors he evidently had great faith, he predicated his actions on that faith, and in the end he overcame his pagan adversaries.
Because of the faith that these men had and acted upon, Paul writes of them:
33 who by faith prevailed against kingdoms, accomplished justice, attained to promises, stopped up mouths of lions,
The 3rd century papyrus P46 has verse 33 to read “By faith kings accomplished justice, attained to promises, stopped up mouths of lions”. The reading is unlikely since of all of these men mentioned by Paul, only David was a king. Paul continues:
34 quenched the power of fire, escaped the edges of the sword, were strengthened from weakness, became strong in war, made the encampments of aliens give way.
The phrase στόματα μαχαίρης is literally mouths of a sword, where the word for mouth is plural, and the word for sword is singular. Liddell & Scott attest that in this sense the word στόμα refers to “the foremost part, face, front … of weapons, the point... the edge of a sword”.
By faith the patriarchs “made the encampments of aliens give way”, and these verses are just as relative to Paul in the Christian era as they were in the period of the Old Testament patriarchs of which he speaks. The King James Version has “turned to flight the armies of the aliens”, which is also proper. As Yahshua Christ had said “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel”, and one purpose of the Messiah as it is expressed in Luke chapter 1 by Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, is “72 To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant; 73 The oath which he sware to our father Abraham, 74 That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear”.
The children of Israel still have enemies in the world, and are still awaiting deliverance from those enemies, which is the ultimate promise of Christ in His Revelation, as well as in the Old Testament prophets. While from the Old Testament period to the New it is evident that the historical names of the sheep and the enemies may have changed, nowhere is it evident that the nature and identity of the sheep and the enemies have changed, as we shall see in chapter 12 of this epistle. But as we have already said, the denominational churches have never taught true Christianity.
35 Women received their dead from resurrection, but others had been cudgeled to death, not accepting redemption that they would obtain a better resurrection.
In 1 Kings chapter 17 we see that Elijah the prophet was sent to the woman of Zarephath, who for her faith in feeding the prophet did not suffer from the famine which had stricken the land. Then we read from verse 17 of the chapter: “17 And it came to pass after these things, that the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, fell sick; and his sickness was so sore, that there was no breath left in him. 18 And she said unto Elijah, What have I to do with thee, O thou man of God? art thou come unto me to call my sin to remembrance, and to slay my son? 19 And he said unto her, Give me thy son. And he took him out of her bosom, and carried him up into a loft, where he abode, and laid him upon his own bed. 20 And he cried unto the LORD, and said, O LORD my God, hast thou also brought evil upon the widow with whom I sojourn, by slaying her son? 21 And he stretched himself upon the child three times, and cried unto the LORD, and said, O LORD my God, I pray thee, let this child's soul come into him again. 22 And the LORD heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived. 23 And Elijah took the child, and brought him down out of the chamber into the house, and delivered him unto his mother: and Elijah said, See, thy son liveth. 24 And the woman said to Elijah, Now by this I know that thou art a man of God, and that the word of the LORD in thy mouth is truth.” She should have already had faith enough, being fed during the famine where her supply of meal and oil never failed, but she was tested here once again.
There is yet another account of such a resurrection in 2 Kings chapter 4, involving the prophet Elisha.
There is a nuance to Paul’s language here which reveals something that we cannot overlook. This nuance is even perfectly evident in the King James Version, where this verse reads: “Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection.”
We have often asserted, teaching from Scriptures such as Isaiah 45:25 and Romans 11:26, that all Israel shall be saved. And while we have many other Scriptures to support our position, we are despised by many of our own Christian Identity brethren for this teaching. They should all be ashamed of themselves, and we are confident that one day they all will be ashamed, if indeed they are brethren.
Many Judaized Christians, even among those who call themselves Identity Christians, insist that one cannot be saved unless he professes to “believe in Jesus” and repents of his sins during his or her lifetime. Sometimes they insist on the performance of some work in addition, such as baptism. That belief is absolutely contrary to many passages of Scripture.
Here in this passage Paul says that, because of their faith, certain women saw their own children brought back from the dead. But others died, as the King James has it, “not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection.” Paul does not indicate that they will not be resurrected because of their lack of faith, but only that their resurrection will not be as good as the resurrection of those who have faith.
There are other witness to this. One is found in Daniel chapter 12 where it says “… and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. 2 And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” So evidently, rejecting the faith here on earth one is punished in this wold, and may be resurrected to everlasting contempt, not receiving the better resurrection of which Paul speaks. However the phrase “everlasting contempt” nevertheless indicates eternal life, otherwise it would not be everlasting contempt.
Another witness is found in Paul’s own writing, in 1 Corinthians chapter 3: “11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; 13 Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. 14 If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 15 If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” So once again, denying the faith in Christ leads to an absence of good works in the life of man, but even with no good works the man himself is still preserved. Ostensibly, being saved and having no reward, one has failed to receive the better resurrection which Paul mentions here, and that must also be the everlasting contempt described by Daniel.
It may be fitting to briefly discuss Romans chapter 11 where Paul says “26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: 27 For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. 28 As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers' sakes. 29 For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. 30 For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief: 31 Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy. 32 For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.” In Romans chapter 9 we learn that Paul is not talking about Jews here, but rather he is talking about the true Israelites left in Judaea, who were under the rule of the Edomite Jews. Even if they did not “believe in Jesus” during their lifetime, Yahweh God would still have mercy on them.
Paul explained why all Israel is assured salvation in Romans 11:29 where he said “For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” Reading the Old Testament prophets, Yahweh promised to justify “all the seed” of Israel (Isaiah 45), Yahweh promised to cleanse all the sins, all the transgressions, of Israel (Jeremiah 31:34, Ezekiel 37:23, Micah 7:19). In the closing verses of the prophecy of Micah we read “18 Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy. 19 He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea. 20 Thou wilt perform the truth to Jacob, and the mercy to Abraham, which thou hast sworn unto our fathers from the days of old.”
In Isaiah chapter 28 the sins of Israel are described and it is said that departing from Yahweh, they made a covenant with death and were in agreement with hell. Then in response the Word of Yahweh said to them that “your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand.” They could not lose their salvation even though they wanted to, because the promises to the fathers will certainly be kept
There are many other passages of Scripture which support our interpretation, in Romans chapter 5, in 1 Corinthians chapters 5 and 15, in 1 Peter chapters 3 and 4. We have discussed them all in the past, and we shall discuss them more in the future. Those who deny these things are denying these Scriptures, and they are no better than Jews, teaching that men are saved only by their own works or the profession of their own lips.
36 And others received trials [literally “trial”] of mockings and scourgings, then further of bonds and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, they were cut in pieces - having died by slaughter of the sword, they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being in want, being afflicted, being mistreated, 38 (of whom the Society was not worthy,) wandering upon deserts and mountains and in caves and in the holes of the earth.
At the beginning of verse 37, the Codices Sinaiticus (א) and 048 have “They were stoned [ἐλιθάσθησαν], they were tested [ἐπειράσθησαν], they were cut in pieces [ἐπρίσθησαν]”; the Codex Claromontanus (D) has “They were stoned, they were tested, they were tested”, an obvious error caused by the confusion of two similarly spelled words written consecutively: ἐπειράσθησαν (or ἐπιράσθησαν in א and 048) and ἐπρίσθησαν. The 3rd century papyrus P13, the Codex Alexandrinus (A) and the Majority Text have “They were stoned, they were cut in pieces, they were tested”; the text (ἐλιθάσθησαν, ἐπρίσθησαν) follows the 3rd century papyrus P46.
Here we see a reference to the persecution of the prophets of Yahweh, and how they have always been castaways from society, despised and forced to live as outsiders even in ancient Israel. While few of the trials of the prophets are recorded in Scripture, the foremost being the imprisonment of Jeremiah and then the trials of Daniel, first in the flames and then in the lion’s den, we do have a record of the imprisonment of Micaiah, in 1 Kings chapter 22 where Ahab is king of Israel: “8 And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat [king of Judah], There is yet one man, Micaiah the son of Imlah, by whom we may enquire of the LORD: but I hate him; for he doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil. And Jehoshaphat said, Let not the king say so. 9 Then the king of Israel called an officer, and said, Hasten hither Micaiah the son of Imlah.” When Micaiah did indeed give Ahab warning, that he would fall on the battlefield, it is then recorded that “27… Thus saith the king, Put this fellow in the prison, and feed him with bread of affliction and with water of affliction, until I come in peace.” Soon after, Ahab died in battle, but there is no further mention of the prophet. It is obvious from Scripture and from the world around us today, that those who uphold the truth concerning the Word of Yahweh are the most despised even among His Own people.
39 And all [א interpolates “these”], being accredited through the faith, have not acquired the promise 40 of Yahweh, foreseeing [P46 has “regarding”] for us something better, that not apart from us should they be perfected.
This passage indicates to us that Paul’s view of the acquiring of the promise is quite different than the view of most denominational Christians today, since he indicates that the Old Testament saints were perfected even though they died before the advent of the Christ, “not without us”, ostensibly referring to those of Paul’s own time. However Paul accounts his readers as having received the promises simply because Christ had come, and not necessarily because his readers already accept the Gospel. The entire purpose of this epistle to the Hebrews is to convince his readers that they should receive the Gospel.
So the Old Testament saints are equally perfected with those under the new covenant, whether or not in this earthly life they have ever heard the Gospel. But in spite of that equality, Christians who accept Christ have something better than that which was had by the Old Testament saints.
As we had explained when we began our presentation of Hebrews chapter 11: “these Old Testament saints whom [Paul] is about to describe had acted ‘In faith... not receiving the promises but having seen them from afar’, and the reference is to the assurance of the promises they had in Christ”. Once again, Paul speaks to these Hebrews as if they had already received the promises of God, not that Christ is the promise, but that seeing the advent of the promised Messiah they have now seen the assurance of the promise, as Paul had written in Romans chapter 15 that Christ came “to confirm the promises made unto the fathers...”
With this we shall commence with Hebrews chapter 12:
12 1 So therefore, we also having so great a cloud of witnesses lying around us, laying aside every pretension and easily attention-getting error, with endurance should run the race lying before us,
The King James Version has the verse to read, in part, “let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us”. While the admonition may be wholesome, we think Paul’s meaning is a little stronger. According to Liddell & Scott, the Greek word ὄγκος (Strong’s # 3591) is “bulk, size, mass...a heap... [and] metaphorically weight [in the sense of] trouble… [or] weight [in the sense of] importance, dignity, pride, and in bad sense self-importance [or] pretension...” Therefore it is “pretension” here in this context. The word εὐπερίστατος (Strong’s # 2139) is “easily besetting” in the King James Version, which Liddell & Scott follow in their definition since the word is not found in earlier Greek writings. In his own Greek-English Lexicon Joseph Thayer adds the definitions “skillfully surrounding… [and] well or much admired”. But for the related word περίστατος, which was used by Isocrates, Liddell & Scott have: “surrounded and admired by the crowd”, or in an active sense as it was used by the Greek historian Theopompos of Chios, “standing round and wondering, agape”. It was from the use of περίστατος by Isocrates that Joseph Thayer admitted arriving at his own definition of “much admired” for this word εὐπερίστατος here in Hebrews. For another related word, περίστασις, Liddell & Scott have “a standing round, a crowd standing round”. Therefore with all of these things being considered, here εὐπερίστατος is “easily attention-getting”, which in context fits quite well with pretension. The 3rd century papyrus P46 has εὐπερίσπαστος instead, which means “easy to pull away”, for which we may write “easily distracting” here. Both ὄγκος and εὐπερίστατος only appear here in the New Testament.
Pretension, the use of affectation to impress; ostentatiousness, by these things are people often deceived with fine speeches masking treacherous agendas. Easily attention-getting error, the wicked things which are said to fascinate or to shock people, to excite them in order to obtain a certain reaction. These tools the enemies of Christ have often used against His people in order to subvert Christian society. They still conduct themselves in that same way, constantly pushing the envelope which contains what is considered normal or acceptable closer and closer to the threshold of Sodom and Gomorrah. Christians should disregard all of these things and seek to walk in Christ. But more than that, Paul sought to encourage Hebrews to his cause, to run the race with him, to bring the gospel to the nations in order to reconcile the scattered children of Israel to Yahweh their God. For that reason he had admonished them in chapter 5 of this epistle, where he told them “For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God...” So Paul is encouraging these Hebrews, men who should know the law and the prophets, to endeavor to become teachers of the Gospel, thereby running the race, and, as he continues:
2 looking to Yahshua, the founder and completer of the faith, who for the sake of the joy lying before Him endured the cross, having despised shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of Yahweh.
We must amend a small portion of our commentary on Hebrews chapter 10. This is now the fifth time and final in this epistle that Paul has cited the opening verse of the 110th Psalm in relation to Christ. Here the King James Version has “author and finisher of the faith”, which is fine, but we do not think finisher is a good choice of words today; other translations more appropriately have perfecter. Once again, if the Old Testament saints were Christian, as Paul would insist, and if Yahshua Christ is the founder of the faith which they shared, then He must be one and the same with Yahweh the Father. As Paul had written in 1 Corinthians chapter 10, speaking of the Exodus from Egypt and the forefathers of the children of Israel, “2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat; 4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.” The Old Testament saints were Christians before Christ because Christ is indeed that Old Testament God, now incarnate as a man, the “firstborn among many brethren” as Paul had referred to Him in Romans chapter 8.
Yahshua Christ despised shame for the sake of the greater glory of God. Paul had quantified the faith of Moses in that same manner, where he said that Moses “24… refused to be called a son of the daughter of Pharaoh, 25 rather preferring to be mistreated with the people of Yahweh than to have the temporary rewards of error, 26 having esteemed the reproach of the Anointed greater riches than the treasures of Egypt, since he had regard for the reward.” In verse 3 Paul continues to speak of Christ:
3 Consider He who has endured such great controversy from wrongdoers [or “sinners”] in regard to Himself, that you not be wearied, your souls giving way.
Rather than “controversy from sinners in regard to Himself”, the 3rd century papyri P13 and P46 have “controversy from wrongdoers for them”, evidently referring to the previously mentioned “great cloud of witnesses”. These same papyri have the final clause of the verse to read “that you not be wearied, souls that have failed themselves”. The Codices Sinaiticus (א) and Claromontanus (D) have “controversy from wrongdoers for themselves”; the text follows the Codex Alexandrinus (A), and the Majority Text which varies only slightly. The context of the passage both here an in relation to the records of the Gospel determined which manuscripts we chose to follow in this instance.
4 Not yet have you resisted as far as blood, struggling against wrongdoing, 5 and you have utterly forgotten the exhortation which with you, as sons He converses: “My [D wants “my”] son, do not esteem lightly the discipline of Yahweh, nor faint being censured by Him. 6 For whom Yahweh loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives.”
Here Paul admonishes these Hebrews rather strongly, attesting to them that with all of the sin in their society, they have not fought against it in order to uphold the Laws of God. This should painfully remind them of their humbled state under both the oppression of the Edomites and the pagan administration of Rome. But it should also indicate to them that obedience to Christ is the way by which they would escape their disgrace.
The exhortation Paul quotes in verses 5 and 6 is from Proverbs 3:11-12, where it reads in the King James Version: “11 My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction: 12 For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.” However Paul follows the Septuagint, where the final clause of the passage differs significantly. Then Paul asks rather rhetorically:
7 You endure discipline; as sons Yahweh engages with you. For what is a son whom a father does not discipline?
As it says in Proverbs chapter 13: “24 He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.” And again, in Amos 3:2, speaking to the children of Israel collectively: “2 You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.”
8 But if you are without discipline, of which you all have become partakers, then you are bastards, and not sons.
The Greek word for bastard here is νόθος (Strong’s # 3541). Liddell & Scott define the word to mean “bastard, baseborn, i.e. born of a slave or concubine... opposed to γνήσιος… 2. at Athens, child of a citizen father and an alien mother… of animals, cross-bred… generally, spurious, counterfeit, supposititious [substituted for the real thing; not genuine], of persons and things...” Since the antonym of νόθος is γνήσιος, which appears in Paul’s writings on four occasions, it will serve us to see the definition of that word as well, from Liddell & Scott: “belonging to the race, i. e. lawfully begotten, born in wedlock…” For Christians, lawful wedlock is described in Genesis chapter 2, where a wife must be flesh of one’s flesh, and bone of one’s bone. Anything else is fornication and produces bastards, not sons or daughters. The word γνήσιος is derived from the word γένος, which according to that same source is “race, stock, family”. So a person who is γνήσιος is an authentic member of a particular race, and one who is νόθος is spurious, and does not actually belong to the race. A νόθος is therefore a bastard, or someone not belonging to the same Adamic race as the children of Israel.
Paul’s attitude here also reveals for us his view of all of the Old Testament saints whom he has extolled throughout chapter 11. If Paul despises and excludes bastards, we cannot imagine that he contradicted himself in his interpretations of Scripture. And if Paul informs us, as he does later in this chapter, that Esau was a fornicator and a profane man, for which reason he lost his birthright, once we realize that the sin of Esau was his race-mixing, we cannot imagine that Paul hypocritically judged Esau by different standards than he judged the rest of these Old Testament saints.
Therefore, Paul’s perspective throughout these chapters proves the following about the Old Testament figures which he has mentioned:
That the wife of Joseph was a woman of suitable Adamic lineage, since Jacob blessed his sons. Paul cited this blessing, and Jacob understood why Esau was rejected by his parents, as we shall see discussing the later half of this chapter of Hebrews.
That Moses’ wife was an Adamic Israelite, which the Midianites were, as he was not a fornicator like Esau. Paul would not laud one fornicator, and condemn another.
That Rahab was not a common whore, even though she is called a πόρνη in the Septuagint as well as by the apostles. We have seen that the word could very well have been used to describe an inn-keeper, who in a pagan city naturally had common whores lodging in her inn. At worst, Rahab was apparently what we may call a madam.
That Rahab could not have been a Canaanite, since Esau is labelled a fornicator because he had taken wives of the Canaanites, while Rahab was extolled for her faith.
That Jephthah could not have been a bastard by Biblical standards, even if is mother was a prostitute, since she was of the Israelite race and he was extolled for his faith.
That Samson could not have been a fornicator, as his Philistine wife was also of the race of Adam. He was likewise extolled for his faith.
Furthermore, there would certainly be no point to Paul’s statement in chapter 11 that the faith of these people “made the encampments of aliens give way”, if any of them were aliens or had been married to aliens. It may also be evident that Cain was a bastard, since Paul did not find him to be accredited. All of the fools who attempt to find mercy for bastards in Scripture are themselves denying Scripture. Even in the Revelation, in chapter 2, Yahshua Christ Himself says that he punishes fornicators by killing the children of fornicators, who are certainly bastards.
But here Paul has also shown us that only two types of so-called people are considered in Scripture: sons and bastards, and of these, only sons are accepted. As the apostle John had said in his first epistle (1 John 5:19), ostensibly speaking only to children of Israel, “We know that we are from of Yahweh and the whole Society lies in the power of the Evil One.” Speaking of the punishment of the children of Israel, it is written in Jeremiah chapter 30: “11 For I am with thee, saith the LORD, to save thee: though I make a full end of all nations whither I have scattered thee, yet will I not make a full end of thee: but I will correct thee in measure, and will not leave thee altogether unpunished.” This admonition is repeated in Jeremiah chapter 46: “28 Fear thou not, O Jacob my servant, saith the LORD: for I am with thee; for I will make a full end of all the nations whither I have driven thee: but I will not make a full end of thee, but correct thee in measure; yet will I not leave thee wholly unpunished.”
One is either a son, one of the children of Israel suffering chastisement for these ancient sins of the nation, or one is a bastard, and one’s fate is with all of those of whom Yahweh will make a full end. Never in Scripture are there any third parties, or any neutral parties which are mentioned. One is a son or a bastard, a wheat or a tare, a sheep or a goat, a good fish or a bad fish, a fig or a thorn, a grape or a thistle.
We may repeat many parables which substantiate these same concepts. However here we will repeat only a couple, starting with the parable of the net, from Matthew chapter 13: “47 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: 48 Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. 49 So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, 50 And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.”
Today we have this very circumstance, where in any of the nations where Israel is scattered, a dragnet would indeed take up so-called people of every kind, or race, as the Greek word which Christ had used is γένος. The good kind, or race, must be the sons of which Paul speaks here, and they are all gathered in vessels and preserved. None of the good kind is seen being thrown in the fire. But of every race, there is only one other kind, the bad kind, and none of them are thrown back into the sea. Rather, all of the other kind are thrown into the fire, without exception.
Many sophistic interpretations have been given in regards to the parable of the sheep and the goats, even by supposed Identity Christians. Here we will offer some comments of the parable, which is found in Matthew chapter 25:
“31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: 32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: 33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.”
Shepherds separate sheep from goats by sight, and not by asking each of them whether they were naughty or nice. The sheep and goats can only correlate to sons or bastards, which in the Bible is those who are authentically of the Adamic race and those who are not. The fact that all nations are gathered, just as in the parable of the net we see that nobody is excluded. Furthermore, the interpretation has to be consistent with that of the parable of the net as well as the plain word of the prophecies we have seen concerning the punishment of Israel and the nations in Jeremiah.
“34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? 38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? 39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”
Now there is an element of judgment based upon behaviour, but the sheep are judged by how they have treated the sheep, and we do not see any of the sheep being tossed into the fire. Rather, they are judged as a group.
“41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: 43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. 44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? 45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
Notice that the goats are judged not according to how they have treated other goats, but according to how they have treated the sheep! Yahshua told the sheep “inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me”, and then He told the goats, “Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these [meaning the sheep], ye did it not to me.” Being judged by how they have treated the sheep, the goats do not stand a chance in hell of getting to heaven.
Evidently, none of the goats are preserved, as none of them are invited to cross sides. They are judged as nations, for their race, and not as individuals. Note that they also have the same fate as “the devil and his angels”, and therefore they must have had their beginnings with the devil and his angels. They are not from of God, but rather, they are the flood from the mouth of the serpent – branches on the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil which were destined for the fire from the very beginning. For that reason the apostle Peter referred to non-Israelites as “evil beasts made to be taken and destroyed.” Unless one is a son, then one is a bastard, and there is no other choice.
Finally the parable concludes by saying: “46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.”
All of the seed of the children of Israel are promised justification by Yahweh God, on account of His promises to the fathers, not from works, lest anyone should boast, as Paul explained in Ephesians:
“8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
For that same reason, the apostle John said in his first epistle: “Each who has been born from of Yahweh does not create wrongdoing, because His seed abides in him, and he is not able to do wrong, because from of Yahweh he has been born.” It is not that man does not sin, as Paul had said that all men sin and fall short of the glory of God. Rather, it is that Yahweh promised Israel that He would forgive their sins, as it says in 1 John chapter 2, “1 My children, I write these things to you in order that you do not do wrong. And if one should do wrong, we have an Advocate with the Father: the righteous Yahshua Christ. 2 And He is a propitiation on behalf of our errors...” So if your Adamic seed is in you, you will not be condemned by God.
Created in Christ Jesus, if we were indeed created in Him, then we were created in Genesis and we are sons, and not bastards. And everyone who is not a son, must therefore be a bastard. Those who argue against the simple concepts so clearly expressed in these Scriptures can only be bastards themselves.
We are hated for this message, but we will never cease from announcing it, because it is the Gospel of Christ.