Outline Studies in Hebrews, Chapter 4-5

All Pitying in His Sympathy


In this chapter we find Christ as the Sanctuary Rest; He is the true Rest-Giver, Matt. n. 28-30. We own that Christ is

Greater than Joshua in His victory, v. 8; Josh. 23. 1.

Greater than David in the sanctuary, v. 7; Ps. 95. 6-11; 132.

Greater than Caleb in His consistency, Heb. 3. 16b.

Greater than Solomon in His clemency, 4. 16.

Chapter 4 may be analysed as follows:

1. The Rest of God, vv. i-ii; to save us from wavering. The Call to Rest, 1-2. Exhortation – to godly fear. Encouragement – a promise. The Evangel preached – unto us, unto them. Effect – no profit because of lack of faith. The Character of the Rest of God, 3-10. Creation Rest, v. 4: Rest typified – a work done. Canaan Rest, w. 8-9: Rest prophesied – victory won. Christian Rest, v. 3: Rest realised – faith exercised. Celestial Rest, v. 9: Rest anticipated – promise embraced. Sad possibility, vv. 1, 2b, 6b: failed to appropriate, to appreciate, to arrive. Sure promise, His Rest: signified, v. 1; realised, vv. 3, 10; satisfied, v. 10.

Compare this chapter with Leviticus 23 and 25:

The Sabbath Day – Rest from physical toil, 23. 1-3.

The Sabbatic Week – Rest in spiritual life, 23. 10-22.

The Sabbatic Month – Rest in spiritual worship, 23. 24-32.

The Sabbatic Seventh Month–Rest in spiritual frames of mind, 23. 34-44.

The Sabbatic Seventh Year – Rest in spiritual freedom, 25. 4-7.

The Sabbatic Jubilee – Rest in spiritual hope, 25. 8-55.

Note. Study the life of Joshua as a type of Christ. There are over forty points in which they were alike, but Christ is greater in many ways. He was better because of Distinct Sonship, Diligence in service, Dependence upon God, Devotion to duty, Displacement of all other servants. Unlike Joshua, Christ never depended upon flesh and blood, Num. 13.

He was never directed by human wisdom, Josh. 3. 3-4.
He was never dismayed by superior forces, 8. 1; 10. 2.
He was never deceived by any enemy, 9. 4.
He was never defeated in any conflict, 7. 4.

2. The Word of God, w. 12-13; to save us from wilfulness.
Living – it possesses life.

Piercing – it possesses penetration. Active – it possesses energy. Discerning – it possesses perception. Sharp – it possesses power. Stripping – it leaves us naked. Manifesting – it lays open like the priestly knife on the animal.

3. The Priest of God, w. 14-15; to save us from weakness.
The Assuring fact – we have a great high Priest.

The Appropriate Person – the Son of God, ch. 1; Jesus, ch. 2.

The Ascended Priest – passed through the heavens. The Acceptable nature – touched, accessible, suitable.

4. The Throne of God, v. 16; to save us from wandering.
Right of approach – comes right up to the throne.

Relief obtained, mercy – withholding what we deserve.

Resource at hand, grace – imparting what we do not deserve.

Augustine’s confession was, “O God, Thou maddest us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee".

Suggestions for Study. What is said about the rest of God; what do you consider this is? What is the function of the

Word of God? Seven things are true of “our Priest'*; what are they? Read the Old Testament quotations mentioned here.



The title “High Priest” does not occur in any other Epistle. “High Priest” and “Great High Priest” are referred to seven-teen times in Hebrews; “Priest” and “Priests” ten times; “Priesthood” five times. The subject of Priesthood is introduced in 2. 17-18 and developed in 4. 14 to 5. 10. Here, it is compared with Aaron’s priesthood; in chapter 7 it is contrasted to Aaron’s by being likened to Melchisedec’s. The section may be analysed as follows:

1. The Encouragement of His Priesthood, 4. 14-16. Its

Consciousness of Possession. "We have” (a present participle) indicates that He exists and acts as Priest continuously without intermission.

Character of the Priest.

Dignity - “great”, personally and officially.

Authority - “high”, pre-eminent in His office.

Sympathy - “Priest”, who cares, comforts, welcomes all.

Victory - “passed into the heavens”, Col. 2. 15; Eph. 4. 8-10. He wears the priestly mitre and kingly diadem.

Humanity - “Jesus”, speaking of nearness, experience.

Sufficiency - “Son of God”, stressing His Authority from God, His Access to God and His Acceptance before God.

Ability - “touched”, because tempted yet triumphant.

Contact with the Throne.

"Draw near”, as used of Philip, Acts 8. 29. Here, there is mercy for justification and grace for sanctification.

"Hold fast” – teaching applied to the conscience; we must keep clinging to it and never give it up. “Come boldly” (or, right up to) – teaching applied to the heart. He understands and undertakes.

2.The Excellency of His Priesthood, 5.1-10. His Credentials.

Suitability, w. 1-4.

Ordination, 1. He must resemble man and be Human; He must reveal God and be holy. “Taken from among men” (see 2.17) – He is no stranger to those whom He represents. “For men” – so as to adjust their relations with God.

Compassion, 2 – the Lord in His sympathy and strength.

Representation, 3 – the Lord mediating before God and ministering blessing to men. His sacrifice was absolute and final, 10. 10.

Consecration and Call, 4. Aaron’s call honoured him, but Christ’s call glorified Him, 5. Christ had divine Appointment, 4; Approval, 1-2. Anointing, 10. He was heralded Son at the incarnation, Ps. 2, and honoured Priest at His ascension, Ps. no. Sufficiency, vv. 5-10.

Greater than Aaron in qualification, 5.

Greater in His consecration, 6; eternal not partial, 7. 28.

Greater in His identification, 7. The intensity of His prayer life and the agony of His sufferings followed from His sinless suffering Manhood, marked with the essential credentials of high rank and noble office.

Greater in His devotion, godly piety. He learned what obedience to the Father’s will costs in a world ruled by sin.

Greater in His accomplishment, 9. He obtained eternal salvation for obedient saints.

Greater in His recognition, 10. Saluted by God as Priest.

Greater in His resources, 10. The order of His Priesthood was eternal, with no depletion of His resources.

Greater in His benediction, Num. 6. 25-26; Luke 24. 50-53.

3. The Evil of Spiritual Poverty, 5. 11-14. Our Condemnation.

Disappointed Teachers, 11. The scholars were not receptive; they were sluggish of hearing. Their dulness made it difficult for the writer to explain his subject.

Declension apparent, 12. Degrees of spiritual knowledge: infants, invalids, full grown men. Some required milk.

Diet used, 13-14. “Milk” – first principles of Christ, 6. 1.

"Strong meat” – ministry relating to the High Priesthood of Christ.

Note the contrasts: babes – men; milk – strong meat; babes – teachers; unskilful – full age, senses exercised. The word “exercise” is used only four times in the New Testament; Heb. 5. 14; 12. 11; 1 Tim. 4. 8; 2 Pet. 2. 14.

Suggestions for Study. Salvation of the believer through priesthood is one of the themes in this book; trace all references. In what way does Christ perfectly fulfil the requirements of Priesthood? Study Psalm 110 with this chapter and with all the other New Testament quotations from it.


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