Table of Contents
The Epistle of St Paul Unto the Hebrews
The 1st Chapter
God in time past diversely and many ways, spoke unto the fathers by Prophets but in these last days he has spoken unto us by his son, whom he has made heir of all things: by whom also he made the world. Which son being the brightness of his glory, and very image of his substance, bearing up all things with the word of his power, has in his own person purged our sins, and is sitten on the right hand of the majesty on high, and is more excellent then the angels, in as much as he has by inheritance obtained an excellenter name then have they.
For unto which of the angels said he at any time: You are my son, this day begat I you? And again: I will be his father, and he shall be my son. And again when he brings in the first begotten son into the world, he says: And all the angels of God shall worship him. And of the angels he says: He makes his angels spirits, and his ministers flames of fire. But unto the son he says: God, your seat shall be for ever and ever. The sceptre of your kingdom is a right sceptre. You have loved righteousness and hated iniquity. Wherefore God which is your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness above your fellows.
And you Lord in the beginning have laid the foundation of the earth. And the heavens are the works of your hands. They shall perish, but you shall endure. They all shall wax old as does a garment: and as a vesture shall you change them, and they shall be changed. But you are always, and your years shall not fail. Unto which of the angels said he at any time: Sit on my right hand, till I make your enemies your footstool: Are they not all ministering spirits, sent to minister, for their sakes which shall be heirs of salvation?
The 2nd Chapter
Wherefore we ought to give the more heed to the things we have heard least we perish. For if the word which was spoken by angels was steadfast: so that every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense to reward how shall we escape, if we despise so great salvation, which at the first began to be preached of the Lord himself, and afterward was confirmed unto us ward, by them that heard it, God bearing witness thereto, both with signs and wonders also, and with diverse miracles, and gifts of the holy ghost according to his own will.
He has not unto the angels put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak. But one in a certain place witnessed, saying. What is man, that you are mindful of him? After you had for a season made him lower than the angels: you crownedst him with honour and glory, and have set him above the works of your hands. You have put all things in subjection under his feet. In that he put all things under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. Nevertheless we yet see not all things subdued but him that was made less than the angels we see that it was Jesus, which is crowned with glory and honour for the suffering of death: that he by the grace of God, should taste of death for all men.
For it became him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, after that he had brought many sons unto glory, that he should make the Lord of their salvation perfect through suffering. For he that sanctifies, and they which are sanctified, are all of one. For which causes sake he is not ashamed to call them brethren saying: I will declare your name unto my brethren, and in the midst of the congregation will I praise you. And again: I will put my trust in him. And again: behold here am I and the children which God has given me.
For as much then as the children were partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part with them, for to put down through death, him that had lordship over death, that is to say the devil, and that he might deliver them which through fear of death were all their lifetime in danger of bondage. For he in no place takes on him the angels: but the seed of Abraham takes he on him. Wherefore in all things it became him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be merciful, and a faithful high Priest in things concerning God, for to purge the peoples sins. For in that he himself suffered and was tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.
The 3rd Chapter
Therefore holy brethren, partakers of the celestial callings consider the ambassador and high priest of our profession Christ Jesus, which was faithful to him that made him, even as was Moses in all his house. And yet was this man counted worthy of more glory than Moses: In as much as he which has prepared the house, has most honour in the house. Every house is prepared of some man. But he that ordained all things, is God. And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a minister, to bear witness of those things which should be spoken afterward. But Christ as a son, has rule over the house, whose house are we, so that we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of that hope, unto the end.
Wherefore as the holy ghost says: today if you shall hear his voice, harden not your hearts, after the rebellion in the day of temptation in the wilderness, where your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years long. Wherefore I was grieved with that generation and said: They *erre (error) ever in their hearts: they verily have not known my ways so that I sware in my wrath, that they should not enter into my rest. Take heed brethren that there be in none of you an evil heart in unbelief, that he should depart from the living God: but exhort one another daily, while it is called today, least any of you wax hard hearted through the deceitfulness of sin. *erre: from the word earnest, money paid as part payment to bind a contract or bargain. Hebrew meaning to pledge. We see here then, the hope or pledge that was in their hearts, was of them selves, and not devoted to believe in Gods promises.
We are partakers of Christ if we keep sure unto the end the first substance, so long as it is said: today if you hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as when you rebelled. For some, when they heard, rebelled: how be it not all that came out of Egypt under Moses. But with whom was he displeased forty years? Was he not displeased with them that sinned whose carcasses were overthrown in the desert? To whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest: but unto them that believed not? And we see that they could not enter in, because of unbelief.
The 4th Chapter
Let us fear therefore least any of us forsaking the promise of entering into his rest, should seem to come behind. For unto us was it declared, as well as unto them. But it profited not them that they heard the word, because they which heard it, coupled it not with faith. But we which have believed, do enter into his rest, as contrariwise he said to the other: I have sworn in my wrath, they shall not enter into my rest. And that spoke he verily long after that the works were made and the foundation of the world laid. For he spoke in a certain place of the seventh day, on this wise: And God did rest the seventh day from all his works. And in this place again: They shall not come into my rest.
Seeing therefore it follows that some must enter thereinto, and they to whom it was first preached, entered not therein for unbeliefs sake. Again he appoints in David a certain present day after so long a time, saying as it is rehearsed: this day if you hear his voice, be not hard hearted. For if Joshua had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. There remains therefore yet a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, does cease from his own works as God did from his.
Let us study therefore to enter into that rest, least any man fall after the same example, into unbelief. For the word of God is quick, and mighty in operation, and sharper then any two edged sword: and enters through, even unto the dividing asunder of the soul and the spirit, and of the joints and the mary (marrow?) : and judges the thoughts and the intents of the heart: neither is there any creature invisible in the sight of it. For all things are naked and bare unto the eyes of him, of whom we speak.
The 5th Chapter
Seeing then that we have a great high priest which is entered into heaven (I mean Jesus the son of God) let us hold our profession. For we have not an high priest, which cannot have compassion on our infirmities: but was in all points tempted, like as we are: but yet without sin. Let us therefore go boldly unto the seat of grace, that we may receive mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
For every high priest that is taken from among men is ordained for men, in things pertaining to God: to offer gifts and sacrifices for sin: which can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way, because that he himself also is compassed with infirmity: For the which infirmities sake he is bound to offer for sins, as well for his own part, as for the peoples. And no man takes honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.
Even so likewise, Christ glorified not himself, to be made the high priest: but he that said unto him: you are my son, this day begat I you, glorified him. As he also in another place speaks: You are a Priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec. Which in the days of his flesh, did offer up prayers and supplications, with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death and was also heard, because of his Godliness. And though he were Gods son, yet learned he obedience, by those things which he suffered, and was made perfect, and the cause of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him: and is called of God an high Priest, after the order of Melchisedec.
Whereof we have many things to say which are hard to be uttered: because you are dull of hearing. For when as concerning the time, you ought to be teachers, yet have you need again that we teach you the first principles of the word of God: and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat: For every man that is fed with milk, is inexpert in the word of righteousness. For he is but a babe. But strong meat belongs to them that are perfect which through custom have their wits exercised, to judge both good and evil also.
The 6th Chapter
Therefore let us love the doctrine pertaining to the beginning of a Christian man, and let us go unto perfection, and now no more lay the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, of baptism, of doctrine, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection from death, and of eternal judgement. And so will we do, if God permit. For it is not possible that they which were once lighted, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were become partakers of the holy ghost, and have tasted of the good word of God, and of the power of the world to come: if they fall, should be renewed again unto repentance: for as much as they have (as concerning them selves) crucified the son of God afresh, making a mock of him.
For that earth which drinks in the rain which comes often upon it, and brings forth herbs meet (worthy) for them that dress it, receives blessing of God. But that ground which bears thorns and briars, is reproved, and is near unto cursing: whose end is to be burned.
Nevertheless dear friends, we trust to see better of you and things which accompany salvation, though we thus speak. For God is not unrighteous that he should forget your work and labour that proceeds of love, which love showed in his name, which have ministered unto the saints, and yet minister. Yes, and we desire that every one of you show the same diligence, to the establishing of hope, even unto the end: that you faint not, but follow them, which through faith and patience inherit the promises.
For when God made promise to Abraham because he had no greater thing to swear by, he sware by him self, saying: Surely I will bless you and multiply you indeed. And so after that he had tarried a long time, he enjoyed the promise. Men verily swear by him that is greater than them selves, and an oath to confirming the thing is among them an end of all strife. So God willing very abundantly to show unto the heirs of promise, the stableness of his counsel, he added an oath, that by two immutable things (in which it was unpossible that God should lie) we might have perfect consolation, which have fled, for to hold fast the hope that is set before us, which hope we have as an anchor of the soul both sure and steadfast. Which hope also enters in, into those things which are within the veil, *whither the forerunner is for us entered in, I mean Jesus that is made an high priest for ever, after the order of Melchisedech. *whither=what ever place, result, or condition.
The 7th Chapter
This Melchisedech king of Salem (which being priest of the most high God, met Abraham, as he returned again from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him: to whom also Abraham gave tithes of all things) first is by interpretation king of righteousness: after that he is king of Salem, that is to say king of peace, without father without mother, without kin, and has neither beginning of his time, neither yet end of his life: but is likened unto the son of God and continues a priest for ever.
Consider what a man this was unto whom the Patriarch Abraham gave tithes of the spoils. And verily those children of Levi, which receive the office of the priests, have a commandment to take according to the law, tithes of the people, that is to say, of their brethren, yes though they sprung out of the loins of Abraham. But he whose kindred is not counted among them received tithes of Abraham and blessed him that had the promises. And with out *nay (no) saying, he which is less, receives blessing of him which is greater. And here men that die, receive tithes. But there he receives tithes of whom it is witnessed, that he lives. And to say the truth, Levi him self also which receives tithes, paid tithes in Abraham. For he was yet in the loins of his father Abraham when Melchisedec met him.
If now therefore perfection came by the priesthood of the Levites (for under that priesthood the people received the law) what needed it furthermore that another priest should rise, after the order of Melchisedech, and not after the order of Aaron? Now no doubt, if the priesthood be translated, then of necessity must the law be translated also.
For he of whom these things are spoken, pertains unto another tribe, of which never man served at the altar. For it is evident that our Lord sprung of the tribe of Juda, of which tribe spoke Moses nothing concerning priesthood. And it is yet a more evident thing, if after the similitude of Melchisedech, there arise another priest, which is not made after the law of the carnal commandment: but after the power of the endless life (For he testifies: You are a priest for ever, after the order of Melchisedech). Then the commandment that went a fore, is disannulled, because of her weakness and unprofitableness. For the law made nothing perfect: but was an introduction of a better hope, by which hope, we draw near unto God.
And for this cause it is a better hope that it was not promised with out an oath. Those priests were made without an oath: but this priest with an oath, by him that said unto him. The Lord sware, and will not repent: You are a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedech. And for that cause was Jesus a stablisher of a better testament.
And among them many were made priests, because they were not suffered (allowed) to endure by the reason of death. But this man, because he endures ever has an everlasting priesthood. Wherefore he is able also ever to save them that come unto God by him, seeing he ever lives, to make intercession for us.
Such an high Priest it became us to have, which is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher then heaven. Which needs not daily (as yonder high priests) to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the peoples sins. For that did he at once for all, when he offered up himself. For the law makes men priests, which have infirmity: but the word of the oath that came since the law, makes the son priest, which is perfect for ever more.
The 8th Chapter
Of the things which we have spoken, this is the pith (heart, core, center): that we have such an high priest that is sitten on the right hand of the seat of majesty in heaven and is a minister of holy things, and of the very tabernacle which God *pyght, and not man. For every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices: wherefore it is of necessity that this man have some what also to offer. For he were not a priest, if he were on the earth where are priests that according to the law offer gifts, which priests serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things: even as the answer of God was given unto Moses when he was about to finish the tabernacle: Take heed (said he) that you make all things according to the patrone (patron) showed to you in the mount. *pyght: plight from troth, as in betrothed to be married, solemn oath, faith.
Now has he obtained a more excellent office, in as much as he is the mediator of a better testament, which was made for better promises. For if that first testament had been faultless: then should no place have been sought for the second. For in rebuking them he says: Behold the days will come (says the Lord) and I will finish upon the house of Israel, and upon the house of Judah, a new testament: not like the testament that I made with their fathers at that time, when I took them by the hands, to lead them out of the land of Egypt, for they continued not in my testament, and I regarded them not says the Lord.
For this is the testament that I will make with the house of Israel: After those days says the Lord: I will put my laws in their minds, and in their hearts I will write them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall not teach, every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying: know the Lord: For they shall know me, from the least to the most of them: For I will be merciful over their unrighteousness, and on their sins and on their iniquities. In that he says a new testament, he has abrogated (canceled) the old. Now that which is disannulled and waxed old, is ready to vanish away.
The 9th Chapter
That, that first tabernacle verily had ordinances, and servings of God, and worldly holiness. For there was a fore tabernacle made, wherein was the candlestick and the table, and the show bread, which is called holy. But within the second veil was there a tabernacle, which is called holiest of all, which had the golden censer, and the ark of the testament overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot with Manna, and Aarons rod that sprung and the tables of the testament. Over the ark were the cherubims of glory shadowing the seat of grace. Of which things, we will not now speak particularly.
When these things were thus ordained, the Priests went all ways into the first tabernacle and executed the service of God. But into the second went the high priest alone, once every year: and not without blood, which he offered for him self, and for the ignorance of the people. Wherewith the holy ghost this signifying that the way of holy things, was not yet opened, while as yet the first tabernacle was standing. Which was a similitude for the time then present, and in which were offered gifts and sacrifices that could not make them that minister perfect, as pertaining to the conscience, with only meats and drinks, and diverse washings and justifyings of the flesh, which were ordained until the time of reformation.
But Christ being an high priest of good things to come, came by a greater and a more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands: that is to say, not of this manner building, neither by the blood of goats and calves: but by his own blood he entered once for all into the holy place, and found eternal redemption. For if the blood of oxen and of goats and the ashes of an heifer, when it was sprinkled, purified the unclean, as touching the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ (which through the eternal spirit, offered him self without spot to God) purge your consciences from dead works for to serve the living God?
And for this cause is he the mediator of the new testament, that through death which chanced for the redemption of those transgressions that were in the first testament, they which were called, might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. For wheresoever is a testament, there must also be the death of him that makes the testament. For the testament takes authority when men are dead: For it is of no value as long as he that made it, is alive. For which cause also, neither that first testament was ordained without blood. For when all the commandments were read of Moses unto all the people, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water and purple wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people, saying: this is the blood of the testament which God has appointed unto you. Moreover, he sprinkled the tabernacle with blood also, and all the ministering vessels. And almost all things, are by the law, purged with blood, and with out shedding of blood is no remission.
It is then need that the similitudes of heavenly things be purified with such things: but the heavenly things themselves are purified with better sacrifices than are those. For Christ is not entered into the holy places that are made with hands, which are but similitudes of true things: but is entered into very heaven, for to appear now in the sight of God for us: not to offer himself often, as the high priest enters into the holy place every year with strange blood, for then must he have often suffered since the world began. But now in the end of the world, has he appeared once, to put sin to flight, by the offering up of himself: And as it is appointed unto men that they shall once die, and then comes the judgment, even so Christ was once offered to take away the sins of many, and unto them that look for him, shall he appear again without sin, unto salvation.
Table of Contents