This book is different from most other New Testament letters in that whilst it ends like a conventional letter, it does not have an opening salutation.
This makes it very difficult to determine who wrote it. In my view the anonymity of the writer is deliberate, because the writer does not wish to detract from the main object of his writing, which is to present the greatness of the person and work of Christ. Against the backdrop of Judaism and the revered heroes of the Jewish Commonwealth, the writer, in an utterly compelling letter, demonstrates by way of comparison and contrast why no one or nothing can be compared with the person and work of Christ.
The table below shows the dynamics of his convincing argument.
|CHRIST COMPARED AND CONTRASTED WITH||TEXT||WHY?|
|Prophets||Chapter 1. 1-3||God spoke in the past through His servants the prophets but their messages were incomplete and piecemeal. Now, finally, God has spoken in His own Son. The Lord Jesus Himself is the final message to mankind.|
|Angels||Chapter 1. 4-2.16||In Judaism, angels were revered because of their involvement with the giving of the law to Moses on Sinai, Gal. 3. 19, etc. Christ, however, has been acknowledged by God to be His eternal Son; therefore the message revealed in Christ must be greater. If therefore every breach of the law was severally judged, how much greater will the judgement be for neglecting God’s offer of salvation through Christ?|
|Moses||Chapter 3. 2-4.6||Moses was merely a servant in God’s house. Christ is not only described as the house, but as the Son of the house. Moses led the people of God, but through unbelief many failed to enter the Promised Land. Belief in Christ will mean that God’s people will continue to the end.|
|Joshua||Chapter 4. 8-13||Although Joshua led the people into the Promised Land, he could not give them rest. Christ, the heavenly Joshua, will lead His people into the permanent rest of God.|
|Aaron||Chapter 2. 17-18
Chapter 3. 1
Chapter 4. 14-16
Chapter 5. 1-9
Chapter 6. 20
Chapter 13. 11-12
|Aaron’s priesthood was linked to ineffective sacrifices as well as an earthly tabernacle. Christ not only fulfils the Aaronic priesthood in terms of His calling, but His priesthood is after the order of Melchizedek. It is shown to be superior in the nature of His office, in Himself, in the effectiveness of His sacrifice, and His ministry in the heavenly sanctuary|
|Covenant and Mediator||Chapter 8.1-9.28||The old covenant established at Sinai had been ratified by animal blood being shed. If the old covenant had been effective there would have been no need for a new one. The death of Christ has ratified the new covenant, which is superior to the old one therefore it follows that He must be the mediator of a better and eternal covenant.|
|Sacrifices||Chapter 10.1-18||The Levitical offerings were linked to a system that only mirrored reality; they could never completely take away the consciousness of sin. There was therefore a constant remembrance of sin every year. By Christ’s one single sacrifice, however, He has forever perfected, for all time, those who are being sanctified. Proof of this superior sacrifice is reflected in the fact that after His sacrifice He sat down in God’s presence; something totally alien to the Aaronic order of priests.|
Intertwined with this argument are warnings about neglecting salvation, but also wonderful stories of those who exercised faith in God to encourage us.
The title of W. E. Vine’s commentary on Hebrews Christ All Excelling is a fitting motif for the whole letter.