Although for many years thought
to have been written by the apostle Paul, the book of
Hebrews is now believed to have been authored by Barnabas,
Paul's friend and a Jew of the priestly tribe of Levi. Or
more likely Apollos, another associate of Paul who was a
Jewish Christian intellectual from Alexandria. The book was
written sometime prior to a.d. 70.
Primarily a written sermon that
was perhaps first delivered in a synagogue and subsequently
circulated, the book is aimed at those Jewish converts to
Christianity who at the time were having difficulty letting
go of Old Testament Jewish practices. The writer makes it
clear that the purpose of all earlier religious practices is
superseded by Jesus Christ. There is simply no more need to
continue with them. Jesus Christ is sufficient for our
salvation and is the complete and final revelation of God to
humanity, fulfilling the Old Testament and establishing a
new covenant or New Testament going forward.
This is a powerful message
combining the promise of better things with a warning to not
to ignore them.