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Hebrews, book of the New Testament


an anonymous New Testament homily with closing greetings normally associated with the letter genre, written before c.A.D. 96. It is addressed to Jewish Christians who were being pressured to renounce their confidence in Jesus. The first part is an argument that Christ is superior to the angels and to Moses; it closes with an exhortation to faith in the form of a commentary on a passage from Psalm 95. Jesus' priesthood is of the eternal order of Melchizedek, which replaces the levitical priesthood of AaronAaron
, in the Bible, the brother of Moses and his spokesman in Egypt, and the first high priest of the Hebrews. He is presented as the instrument of God in performing many signs, such as the turning of his rod into a serpent and causing the rod to bud, blossom, and bear almonds.
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. His sacrifice of himself is superior to and supersedes the incessant round of sacrifices offered by the levitical priests because it effects expiation of sins and the cleansing of the conscience once and for all. Chapter 11 celebrates the heroes of the faith, leading into a concluding exhortation to endurance and godly living.


See studies by F. F. Bruce (rev. ed. 1988) and W. L. Lane (1991).

Hebrews, people


For history, see JewsJews
[from Judah], traditionally, descendants of Judah, the fourth son of Jacob, whose tribe, with that of his half-brother Benjamin, made up the kingdom of Judah; historically, members of the worldwide community of adherents to Judaism.
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; for religion, see JudaismJudaism
, the religious beliefs and practices and the way of life of the Jews. The term itself was first used by Hellenized Jews to describe their religious practice, but it is of predominantly modern usage; it is not used in the Bible or in Rabbinic literature and only rarely
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a book of the New Testament