Passage: Hebrews 1, 2, 3, 4 (RSV)

Hebrews 1

1In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets;
2but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.
3He reflects the glory of God and bears the very stamp of his nature, upholding the universe by his word of power. When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
4having become as much superior to angels as the name he has obtained is more excellent than theirs.
5For to what angel did God ever say, "Thou art my Son, today I have begotten thee"? Or again, "I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son"?
6And again, when he brings the first-born into the world, he says, "Let all God's angels worship him."
7Of the angels he says, "Who makes his angels winds, and his servants flames of fire."
8But of the Son he says, "Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever, the righteous scepter is the scepter of thy kingdom.
9Thou hast loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; therefore God, thy God, has anointed thee with the oil of gladness beyond thy comrades."
10And, "Thou, Lord, didst found the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of thy hands;
11they will perish, but thou remainest; they will all grow old like a garment,
12like a mantle thou wilt roll them up, and they will be changed. But thou art the same, and thy years will never end."
13But to what angel has he ever said, "Sit at my right hand, till I make thy enemies a stool for thy feet"?
14Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to serve, for the sake of those who are to obtain salvation?

Hebrews 2

1Therefore we must pay the closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.
2For if the message declared by angels was valid and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution,
3how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard him,
4while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his own will.
5For it was not to angels that God subjected the world to come, of which we are speaking.
6It has been testified somewhere, "What is man that thou art mindful of him, or the son of man, that thou carest for him?
7Thou didst make him for a little while lower than the angels, thou hast crowned him with glory and honor,
8putting everything in subjection under his feet." Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. As it is, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him.
9But we see Jesus, who for a little while was made lower than the angels, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for every one.
10For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through suffering.
11For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified have all one origin. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brethren,
12saying, "I will proclaim thy name to my brethren, in the midst of the congregation I will praise thee."
13And again, "I will put my trust in him." And again, "Here am I, and the children God has given me."
14Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same nature, that through death he might destroy him who has the power of death, that is, the devil,
15and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong bondage.
16For surely it is not with angels that he is concerned but with the descendants of Abraham.
17Therefore he had to be made like his brethren in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make expiation for the sins of the people.
18For because he himself has suffered and been tempted, he is able to help those who are tempted.

Hebrews 3

1Therefore, holy brethren, who share in a heavenly call, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession.
2He was faithful to him who appointed him, just as Moses also was faithful in God's house.
3Yet Jesus has been counted worthy of as much more glory than Moses as the builder of a house has more honor than the house.
4(For every house is built by some one, but the builder of all things is God.)
5Now Moses was faithful in all God's house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later,
6but Christ was faithful over God's house as a son. And we are his house if we hold fast our confidence and pride in our hope.
7Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says, "Today, when you hear his voice,
8do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, on the day of testing in the wilderness,
9where your fathers put me to the test and saw my works for forty years.
10Therefore I was provoked with that generation, and said, `They always go astray in their hearts; they have not known my ways.'
11As I swore in my wrath, `They shall never enter my rest.'"
12Take care, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God.
13But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called "today," that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
14For we share in Christ, if only we hold our first confidence firm to the end,
15while it is said, "Today, when you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion."
16Who were they that heard and yet were rebellious? Was it not all those who left Egypt under the leadership of Moses?
17And with whom was he provoked forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness?
18And to whom did he swear that they should never enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient?
19So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.

Hebrews 4

1Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest remains, let us fear lest any of you be judged to have failed to reach it.
2For good news came to us just as to them; but the message which they heard did not benefit them, because it did not meet with faith in the hearers.
3For we who have believed enter that rest, as he has said, "As I swore in my wrath, `They shall never enter my rest,'" although his works were finished from the foundation of the world.
4For he has somewhere spoken of the seventh day in this way, "And God rested on the seventh day from all his works."
5And again in this place he said, "They shall never enter my rest."
6Since therefore it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience,
7again he sets a certain day, "Today," saying through David so long afterward, in the words already quoted, "Today, when you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts."
8For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not speak later of another day.
9So then, there remains a sabbath rest for the people of God;
10for whoever enters God's rest also ceases from his labors as God did from his.
11Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, that no one fall by the same sort of disobedience.
12For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
13And before him no creature is hidden, but all are open and laid bare to the eyes of him with whom we have to do.
14Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.
15For we have not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.
16Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

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