Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews, Part 16: The Sins of Esau, No Birthrights for Bastards
Finishing his description of the faith of the Old Testament saints, Paul of Tarsus had referred to them as a “great a cloud of witnesses lying around us”, a reference to either the well-known past history of his Hebrew readers, or perhaps allegorically to the parchments upon which the accounts were written, lying around him as he wrote this epistle. In any event, Paul’s explanations were meant to describe how these Old Testament saints had acted upon their faith, and were therefore accredited for their actions.
Christians, even Identity Christians, sometimes see faith as some mystical substance which can rather magically save them regardless of what they may do in this world. They have it all wrong. While none of us are perfect, we must at least endeavor to keep the commandments of Yahweh our God and the expectations of Christ if we expect the favor of God. We can go back to our description of the Roman jailer in Acts chapter 16, which we had also discussed when we presented Hebrews chapter 4 here a couple of months ago. There we said, in part, that:
… as it is described in the Book of Acts, once the warden of the jail where Paul and Silas were kept realized the power of Yahweh, the God of Paul and Silas, when the earthquake had opened the doors of his jail, he went to Paul and inquired what it was that he must do to be “saved”. The jailer, who was about to slay himself fearing what would happen if any of the prisoners escaped, was a Roman pagan. Therefore he had no consciousness of the possibility of eternal life in Jesus. He only sought earthly salvation from the punishment he expected for which he nearly killed himself…. [But when he was about to do so Paul intervened and we read:] “28 But with a great voice Paul cried out saying ‘Do nothing evil to yourself! For we are all here!’ 29 And requesting a light he burst in and coming trembling fell before Paul and Silas, 30 and leading them outside he said ‘Masters, what is necessary for me to do that I be saved?’ 31 And they said ‘Believe in the Prince Yahshua and you and your house shall be saved.’”
When the jailer in Philippi was afraid that his prisoners escaped, Paul assured him that they were all present. The jailer must have been relieved, but feared his position and the Roman authorities above him, because of the circumstances, deciding that he should trust Paul he asked “what is necessary for me to do that I be saved?” When the jailer asked this, he had no concept of Jesus and he was ignorant of Christian concepts of salvation, being a pagan. He just didn’t want to lose his earthly hide. Paul’s perspective was different. Paul was confident the prisoners were not going to escape, so the jailer would not be punished, and he was indeed focused on the greater prospect of salvation in Christ. So Paul assured him that accepting the faith in Christ he and his whole house would be preserved, and Paul said this even though his house had not yet heard of Jesus, because keeping the commandments of Christ and loving one’s brother are the way to life in this world. Therefore speaking of the jailer of Acts chapter 16 we concluded:
The jailer being the head of his house, if he chose to keep the commandments of Christ then the household would follow by necessity. Turning to Christ, the jailer and his household would ostensibly keep the commandments of Christ, and that is the way to preservation in this life, by which the children of Israel can hope to establish the Kingdom of Heaven on earth….
Doing what Christ has commanded, Christians hope to be preserved in this world, and not only in the world which is to come. The jailer understood Paul’s words in practical terms, and not within the artificial paradigm which has been constructed by the denominational churches. Once again we can cite Paul’s words in Philippians chapter 2 where he said “14 Do all things apart from murmuring and disputing, 15 that you would be perfect and with unmixed blood, blameless children of Yahweh in the midst of a race crooked and perverted - among whom you appear as luminaries in the Society, 16 upholding the Word of Life for a boast with me in the day of Christ...”