Daily Arts Web Nucleus


Discover the Arts! Each day a different image from the Literary, Performing, or Visual Arts representing a portion of Scripture
plus an explanation with links

2016 November 29

Esau and Jacob (1640s)
Matthias Stom (c. 1600 - after 1652)
Dutch Golden Age Baroque Style; Caravaggisti Movement
The Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia
Image Source: Web Gallery of Art

     Explanation: In Hebrews 12, the writer tells us that the heroes of the faith which he told us about in the previous chapter are a great cloud of witnesses who are watching our struggles in the faith. We should, therefore, lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily besets us and run with endurance the race that is set before us. We should look to Jesus who initiated and who finishes our faith, similar some think, to a referee who oversaw ancient athletic competitions, beginning the games and distributing prizes afterwards. We should follow the example of Jesus who, for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross and disregarded the shame, and now sits at the right hand of God (1-2).
     We should consider what Jesus endured when sinners strove so much against him. Unlike him, we have not yet resisted to blood in striving against sin. The trials which we endure are called "chastening," which in the Greek original, means "child-training." It ranges from mild to severe and is called "chastening," "rebuke," "scourging," and "correction." It causes grief. Nevertheless, it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who are exercised by it, So we should give our heavenly Father the same reverence and subjection which we gave to our earthly fathers. And we should not despise it, nor faint under it. We should stop drooping and wobbling under it; we should make straight paths for our feet; and we should be healed (3-13).
     We should follow peace with all men and holiness, without which no man will see the Lord. We should not allow bitterness to destroy us and others. We should not be like Esau who sold his birthright for a single meal. Afterward, he could find no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears (14-17).
     We are not being confronted by God in the terrifying way that he addressed Moses and the people of Israel at Mount Sinai. No one could come near him; and his voice was so terrifying that everyone, including Moses, exceedingly feared and quaked. Instead, we have come to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of the new covenant, whose sprinkled blood speaks of better things than Abel speaks of.
      This may be an allusion to Hebrews 11:4, "By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh." Essentially, Abel speaks to us of the value of our faith and our obedience. By these, Able, by God's grace, was declared righteous. Christ, on the other hand, speaks to us of the value of his obedience. By his obedience we are made righteous and cleansed from all sins (via the "sprinkling" mentioned in this chapter).
     Or, it is possible to understand verse 24 as a reference to the blood of Jesus in contrast to Abel's blood (the blood of his sacrifice, or the blood from his murdered body). In either case, the blood of Jesus is the blood of a more excellent person than Able. It has eternal, saving value. Able's blood does not.
     Or, Abel's blood may refer to the blood of his sacrifice. Because of it, and the faith that motivated it, God pronounced him righteous. The sacrifice had value for Abel only. Christ's blood has saving benefit for multitudes. Or there may be a reference to the blood of Able which cried to God from the ground after Able murdered him. In this case, Able testified to Cain's guilt. By contrast, Christ's blood testifies to the forgiveness and innocence of all who rely on it and him for salvation (18-24).
     The chapter closes with warnings. We must not refuse God when he speaks to us. Those on earth did not escape when they refused God's earthly messenger, Moses. Much less will we escape from him who speaks from heaven. His voice shook the earth once, and it will shake both heaven and earth in time to come. Only things which cannot be shaken will remain. We have been given a kingdom which cannot be moved. So we should have grace and serve God with reverence and godly fear for our God is a consuming fire (25-29). ]
     [Sermons: Martyn Lloyd-Jones. Russell D Moore. Various. ]
     [Illustration: Today's painting depicts a key event mentioned in today's chapter, Esau selling his birthright. By this act he fell away from God forever. ]


          [THEMATICALLY AND CHRONOLOGICALLY RELATED SCRIPTURES: Hebrews 12: Proverbs 3:11-12; Numbers 27:16; Isaiah 35:3; Proverbs 4:26; Deuteronomy 29:18; Genesis 25:31; Exodus 19:16; Exodus 19:12-13; Deuteronomy 9:19; Haggai 2:6; Deuteronomy 4:24. ]

          [ CHRONOLOGY: GENERAL. Patriarchs (Traditional). Judges # 1. Judges # 2. Kings # 1. Kings # 2. Prophets # 1. Prophets # 2. NT # 1. NT # 2. NT # 3. ]

          [ MAPS: Maps # 1. Maps # 2. Maps # 3. Maps # 4. Maps # 5. ]

          [ COMMENTARIES, ETC: GENERAL: Bible Study Tools; Bible Hub: Study Light; Blue Letter Bible // PSALMS: Monergism: Precept Austin: The Treasury of David; John Gill; John Calvin - Volumes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5]

          [ MUSIC: GENERAL: The Cyber Hymnal // PSALMS: Genevan Psalter (Instrumental). VARIOUS ARTISTS: Micha'el Ben David. Sons of Korah. Fernando Ortega. Janet Isaac Morrison. Music of the Bible Revealed - Suzanne Haik-Vantoura. Dr. David Erb. Gregorian Chants. ]


Gospel Harmony - Summary. | The Harmony of the Gospels - Augustine. | Gospel Harmony Chart - Online Bible. |

Greek Harmony of the Gospels - Robertson - (Downloadable PDF). | Gospel Harmony in English - Robertson - (Downloadable PDF).

*** For Additional word studies use one of the Greek Interlinear Bibles below. ***

Mounce Interlinear. Bible Hub Greek Interlinear. Scripture 4 All Greek Interlinear Bible.

Book Outline:

1. The Doctrine of Christ & its Implications (Hebrews 1:1 - Hebrews 10:39) - 60 A.D. Italy
2. The Exhortations to Believe Christ and to Obey Him (Hebrews 11:1 - Hebrews 13:25) - 60 A.D. Italy

Hebrews 12

2. The Exhortations to Believe Christ and to Obey Him (Hebrews 11:1 - Hebrews 13:25) - 60 A.D. Italy

     1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
     3 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. 4 Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. 5 And ye ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: 6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. 7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? 8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. 9 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? 10 For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. 11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.
     12 Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; 13 And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed. 14 Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: 15 Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled; 16 Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. 17 For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.
     18 For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest, 19 And the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard intreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more [be repeated to them]: 20 (For they could not endure that which was commanded, And if so much as a beast touch the mountain, it shall be stoned, or thrust through with a dart: 21 And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I [myself] exceedingly fear and quake:) 22 But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, 23 To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, 24 And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.
     25 See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven: 26 Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. 27 And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. 28 Wherefore we receiving a a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: 29 For our God is a consuming fire.

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