The Book of Hebrews is a letter to a group of Christians. We
do not know who they were. ‘Hebrews’ is another name for Jews. So, many people
think that they were Jews. (That means that they belonged to *Israel’s people.)
But the man who wrote this letter did not call it ‘Hebrews’. Someone else gave
it this name many years later. The letter says a lot about God’s promises to
the Jews. It talks about the Jews’ special house for God (chapter 9) and how
they *worshipped him there. They killed animals to show that they were sorry.
They were sorry for the wrong things that they had done.
We do not know where these Christians lived. Some people think
that they lived at Rome. That is the capital city of the country that we call
Italy. Other people think that they lived at Jerusalem, the capital of *Israel.
They may have lived somewhere else.
We do know that other people were causing a lot of trouble for
these Christians. They still believed Jesus, but they were not strong. So, the
writer is trying to make them stronger Christians. He says to them: ‘Do not
stop believing Christ, but go on, to believe him more and more strongly.’
He tells them to think about Jesus. He explains clearly who
Jesus is. And he explains what Jesus has done for us. Jesus is God’s great and
powerful Son. He is much, much greater than the *angels. He is much, much
greater than Moses and Joshua, who were great leaders of *Israel’s people many
years ago. He is a much, much greater *priest (a special servant of God) than
*Israel’s *priests. They did wrong things sometimes, but Jesus never did
Jesus became a human person, like us. So he understands us
completely. He offered himself to God as our *sacrifice when he died for us. He
was the only *sacrifice that could really make us good and clean. He saves us
completely. He has opened the way for us to come near to God. We can know God
because of Jesus.
We must always continue to remember Jesus. He has gone in
front of us, as our leader, and we must follow him. We must look beyond the
troubles that we have sometimes during our lives on earth. Jesus had great
trouble on our behalf. His Spirit will make us strong to go on living for him
here. And after that, we will live with him and we will have no more troubles.
We must also remember all the other people who have believed
God. Even before Jesus came to the earth, many people believed God. They often
had great troubles, but they still believed. Chapter 11 of Hebrews tells us
about some of these people.
We do not know who wrote the Book of Hebrews. Some people
think that Paul wrote it. He wrote many of the other letters in the *New
Testament. (That is the part of the Bible that describes Jesus’ life and work.)
Most people agree that the writer wrote this letter about *AD 60-70. That was
about 30-40 years after Jesus died.
The Book of Hebrews includes many words from the Old
Testament. (That is the part of the Bible that describes events before Jesus’
life on earth.) We show where these words come from in the Old Testament by
straight brackets like this: [………..].