Hebrews is one of my favorite books of the Bible. I couldn’t give any great reason why – perhaps it’s because of the saturation of Old Testament concepts and ideas, worked out in depth and applied to Christ. In Hebrews, one smells the blood of sacrificed animals, feels the heat of burnt offerings, smells the incense and is guided through the temple.
One sees the purpose of the old covenant and law, the priests in liturgy, the remembrance of sin every year. Then one comes to Christ – and the great themes of mediation, expiation and atonement come together and one sees the perfect sacrifice, Christ, who takes away our sin. We are told to pursue holiness and exorted to hold to the confessions of our faith, knowing that the blood of Christ allows to boldly go before the throne of God.
There’s raw, bloody power in Hebrews. It demands familiarity with the equally raw, bloody history of Israel – one cannot appreciate Hebrews (or the entire New Testament, for that matter, but in my mind this applies especially to Hebrews) without knowing Israel’s history. Hebrews calls to mind the grim stories of David, Jepthah and Saul – but shows the brilliant reality of Christ.