Douglas Wilson – Surveying the Text: Hebrews

Posted On May 19, 2016

Introduction:

There are seven Old Testament passages quoted in the first chapter of Hebrews alone, and five of those seven passages have to do with the submission of the nations to Christ. That is what the entire book is about—and we are taught this through the author showing us that this is what the entire Old Testament is about. There are almost forty explicit quotations from the Old Testament here in this book, and this is not counting the numerous allusions and references. All of them fit into the story of the greater Joshua, subduing the nations of Canaan, that is, the nations of the world.

The Text:

“For he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Heb. 13:5bOpen in Logos Bible Software (if available)).

Summary of the Text:

This text is what we might call a naturally inspirational one. “I will never leave you” is a text you might want to have imprinted on a cocoa mug for a rainy day, or on a Christian inspirational poster portraying a glorious California sunset. But a far better image for such a poster would be a panoramic view of Normandy beach just before the invasion. This is a quotation from Deuteronomy 31, and here is the original context:

“The Lord thy God, he will go over before thee, and he will destroy these nations from before thee, and thou shalt possess them . . . And the Lord shall give them up before your face, that ye may do unto them according to all the commandments which I have commanded you. Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee” (vv. 3-6).

It is also noteworthy that this promise from Deuteronomy is also quoted in the next book, Joshua, the book that describes the course of the invasion. Note the military language.

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