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The Letter to the Hebrews

Giusto de' Menabuoi, Paradise, Padua Baptistry's frescoed dome, 1375-1378, Public Domain.
Giusto de' Menabuoi, Paradise, Padua Baptistry's frescoed dome, 1375-1378, Public Domain.

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Introduction to The Letter to the Hebrews

It should be recalled that in the early days the Christian church was mainly Jewish in membership. The Apostles were Jews, and their converts were drawn for the most part from the synagogues. For a brief period these converts maintained what may be termed dual membership. They attended the Christian assemblies and received Christian instruction, but they also maintained their connection with the Jewish synagogues. However, the Jewish leaders soon called a halt to these proceedings, and the Jewish Christians were compelled to choose between membership in the Christian church and membership in the synagogue. If they desired to be “in” with a Christian group, they were ruled as definitely “out” as regards their connection with the synagogue.

During the early period of Christian activity, this excommunication from the synagogue did not greatly concern the Jewish Christians. Their enthusiasm for the new teaching, coupled with Christian fellowship—and above all, their belief in the speedy return of their Lord—enabled them to accept without question whatever hardships they were called upon to endure. But with the passing of the years, their hopes regarding the return of the Lord were not fulfilled, and their enthusiasm began to wane.

Then came the persecutions, in which Jewish Christians suffered severely because of their beliefs. Small wonder, therefore, that many of these Jewish Christians began to have second thoughts regarding their severance from the synagogues. In those days the synagogue was regarded as the center of the community, and excommunication meant being cut off from practically all the worthwhile things of life. Therefore during this period (approximately A.D. 70-85) there was a marked defection of Jewish Christians from the church.

Thus it was that a very important New Testament book was written in an effort to stem this tide of defection and to win back those who had already defected—the book we now know as “the Epistle to the Hebrews.” This Epistle is an outstanding literary work, in which the writer presents Christian teaching as superior to all the Jewish beliefs and traditions. He does not detract from Judaism in any way, but points out in various ways the superiority of Christianity as compared with Judaism. He indicates that Judaism is good, but Christianity is by far the better way. He therefore urges all Jewish Christians who may be wavering in their faith, or losing their earlier enthusiasm, to press forward, and “run perseverance the race that is set before us. looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2).

Author of the Epistle: In most modern versions of the New Testament, the Epistle to the Hebrews is given without the author’s name. But the King James Version still follows an old Eastern tradition, and attaches Paul’s name to the Epistle. Possibly this tradition had its origin in a praiseworthy desire to insure an undisputed place in the New Testament for such an outstanding piece of Christian literature.

Martin Luther is credited with the suggestion that possibly Apollos (see Acts 18:24 and I Corinthians 1:12) was the author of Hebrews, and there are several indications, both in the Epistle and elsewhere, which support this suggestion. Apollos was an Alexandrian Jew—possibly educated at the University of Alexandria; and Hebrews is written in what is termed the Alexandrian style. Apollos is described in the New Testament as “an eloquent man, well versed in the scriptures” (Acts 18:24), and this description would apply to the writer of Hebrews. Furthermore, Apollos spent considerable time at Ephesus and Corinth, and possibly this was the area first affected by the defecting Jewish Christians. It would certainly appear, therefore, that Apollos was a man well qualified for this important piece of work.

Date of the Epistle: The main purpose of Hebrews, together with its contents, indicates that the Epistle was written about A.D. 80, or shortly thereafter.

Metaphysical notes: Problems of defection were not peculiar to the early church. Defections of various sorts continued throughout Christian history, with individuals or groups drifting back to their former ways of thinking and living. Even today, there are persons whose enthusiasm for high ideals and Truth principles tends to wane, and then there is a noticeable falling off in their interest and activities as regards spiritual things. Thus the entire theme, besides many passages in the Epistle to the Hebrews, may be regarded as having important present-day application. We can still profit by the admonition to “run with perseverance the race that is set before us,” and to “lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet” (Hebrews 12:1-12).

Also, the method of presentation used in this Epistle is one that can be profitably followed today. It will be noted that the writer does not condemn the older forms of religion, but places emphasis upon the advantages of the new way. He recognizes that many of the old forms and customs were good for former times; but he then points out that the new revelation through Jesus Christ is infinitely superior, and leads to higher spiritual developments. Such a method of presentation does not arouse antagonism, but opens the way for a fair consideration of all the new possibilities.

The word Hebrews is also significant. This word has been explained as indicating persons who have pressed onward, or have passed over, to regions beyond. All of this is exemplified in the call and activities of Abraham, when the Lord said to him, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you” (Genesis 12:1). Metaphysically, “The Hebrews surely represent the thoughts in man that have come up out of the purely material and passed over to a higher concept of God and His laws, into a closer and clearer relationship with God. These thoughts are, however, still under law, the law of sin and death; for true freedom, spiritual understanding and realization, life and peace, come only by the still higher way—which is the Christ method, the way taught and demonstrated by Jesus Christ” (MBD/Hebrew).

Then, in all this “passing over,” recognition must be given to the work of faith. Jesus said, “Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment” (John 7:24)—and we are enabled to “judge right judgment” by the perceptive power of faith. Under these circumstances, we are not disturbed nor dismayed by appearances, but we press forward to “receive as an inheritance” wherein is that “city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Hebrews 11:8-10).

Introduction to The Letter to the Hebrews by Herbert J. Hunt, former Dean of Bible Studies for the Unity School of Christianity.

Hebrews 1

(Online: ASV WEB)

The Christ Within Moves Us From Idea To Action

1:1 God,1 having in the past spoken to the fathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 1:2 has at the end of these days spoken to us by his Son,2 whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom also he made the worlds. 1:3 His Son is the radiance of his glory, the very image of his substance, and upholding all things by the word of his power,3 when he had by himself made purification for our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; 1:4 having become so much better than the angels,4 as he has inherited a more excellent name than they have.

  1. God. God is the great source of all things, the generator which gives origin. (RW/God)
  2. has spoken to us by his Son. Christ used in place of “Son of God” is the spiritual self of every individual, our Divine Mind or the Christ within each of us. Christ is the is the one complete idea of perfect human in Divine Mind. As the perfect human, they are the embodiment of all divine ideas. (RW/Son of God)
  3. by the word of his power. The revelation of the order of the power humanity exerts to change energy from one plane of consciousness to another, from thought to the more concrete plane in word. (RW/power)
  4. angels. See 1:5 below.

Our Inner Christ Moves Us From Idea To Action

1:5 For to which of the angels1 did he say at any time,

"You are my Son.

Today have I become your father?"[1]2

and again,

"I will be to him a Father,

and he will be to me a Son?"[2]

1:6 Again, when he brings in the firstborn into the world he says, "Let all the angels of God worship him." 1:7 Of the angels he says,

"Who makes his angels winds,

and his servants a flame of fire."[3]

1:8 But of the Son he says,

"Your throne, O God, is forever and ever.

The scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your Kingdom.

1:9 You have loved righteousness,3 and hated iniquity;

therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness above your fellows."[4]

1:10 And,

"You, Lord, in the beginning, laid the foundation of the earth.

The heavens are the works of your hands.

1:11 They will perish, but you continue.

They all will grow old like a garment does.

1:12 As a mantle, you will roll them up,

and they will be changed;

but you are the same.

Your years will not fail."[5]

1:13 But which of the angels has he told at any time,

"Sit at my right hand,

until I make your enemies the footstool of your feet?"[6]

1:14 Aren't they all serving spirits, sent out to do service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?4

  1. angels. A messenger of God or the projection into our consciousness of a spiritual idea. (RW/angel)
  2. today I have become your Father. Identifies God as Father and suggests a relationship with humans that is “closer than breathing and nearer than hands and feet.” (RW/Father)
  3. Righteousness. A state of our natural harmony established in consciousness through the right use of God-given attributes. Love is a state of righteousness. (RW/righteousness)
  4. Salvation. Salvation is the freely given restitution of humanity to its birthright, freeing us from limitations that have plagued our existence as a result of following our senses instead of the Christ within. By following the Christ Mind within, our minds can be cleansed of erroneous thoughts and we are freed from all limitations. (RW/salvation)

Fillmore Study Bible annotations compiled by Susan St. John.

World English Bible Footnotes:

Hebrews 2

(Online: ASV WEB)

Be Sure To Concentrate On God’s Salvation1

2:1 Therefore we ought to pay greater attention to the things that were heard,2 lest perhaps we drift away. 2:2 For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense; 2:3 how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation3--which at the first having been spoken through the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard; 2:4 God also testifying with them, both by signs and wonders, by various works of power, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to his own will?4

  1. The centering of the attention on a particular idea is the nucleus of a spiritual confidence or faith. Concentration forms a mental magnet in the mind to which thought substance rushes like iron filings, bringing the forces, whether mental or physical, to a common purpose.
  2. things that were heard. Thoughts lowered in vibration to the level of sense perception. The things that appear are the formulations of our ideas of ourself and God. Behind everything is a thought. We must still the senses to perceive the higher vibration of thought. (RW/things)
  3. how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation. The belief that Jesus in an outer way atoned for our sins is not salvation. Salvation is based solely on an inner overcoming, a change in consciousness. It is a cleansing of the mind, through Christ, from thoughts that take us away from our spiritual birthright to regain conscious possession of our God-given attributes. It comes as the result of redemption; the change from sin to righteousness. Salvation comes to us as a free gift from God. It embodies a knowledge of God that frees us from all limitations and points the way by which mind and body may be lifted up to the spiritual place of consciousness. (RW/salvation)
  4. according to his own will. Truth is simple and easily mastered principle. Complexity arises because of the variety of ways in which men apply these principles, which in turn depends on the varying degrees of their understanding.

Exaltation Through Honouring Suffering

2:5 For he didn't subject the world to come, of which we speak, to angels. 2:6 But one has somewhere testified, saying,

"What is man, that you think of him?

Or the son of man, that you care for him?

2:7 You made him a little lower than the angels.

You crowned him with glory and honor.[7]

2:8 You have put all things in subjection under his feet."[8]

For in that he subjected all things to him, he left nothing that is not subject to him. But now we don't see all things subjected to him, yet. 2:9 But we see him who has been made a little lower than the angels, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that by the grace of God he should taste of death for everyone.

2:10 For it became him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many children to glory, to make the author of their salvation perfect through sufferings.1 2:11 For both he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all from one, for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brothers[9], 2:12 saying,

"I will declare your name to my brothers.

In the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise."[10]

2:13 Again, "I will put my trust in him."[11] Again, "Behold, here I am with the children whom God has given me."[12] 2:14 Since then the children have shared in flesh and blood, he also himself in like manner partook of the same, that through death he might bring to nothing him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, 2:15 and might deliver all of them who through fear of death2 were all their lifetime subject to bondage. 2:16 For most certainly, he doesn't give help to angels, but he gives help to the seed of Abraham. 2:17 Therefore he was obligated in all things to be made like his brothers, that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make atonement for the sins of the people. 2:18 For in that he himself has suffered being tempted, he is able to help those who are tempted.

  1. made perfect through sufferings. It has been said the only complete catastrophe is the catastrophe from which we learn nothing. There’s a growth possibility in every experience. To whatever the experience is, much as you hesitate to express it, it’s your divine appointment. Don’t miss it through indulging, and resistance, and self-pity. Some persons look at God through their troubles. Other persons look at their troubles through God. If you look at your troubles through God, it’s to begin with a basic premise God is the ground of your being, realizing that God the good is all-present, omnipresent, all-knowing. Truth is, when you set a course of righteousness for yourself, you tend to invariably run into what (are called) the crosscurrents of your own static thought. This is dramatized in the form of the adversary. Some folks fail to understand that when you set a new course for yourself, such as you begin to study the truth, begin to work out, spiritual consciousness in your life, sometimes for a while things get worse, you stir up a lot of stuff. Consciousness begins to rebel. You have a kind of a crosscurrent within yourself, both against this what I call the force of inertia that pulls against you. You’re trying to go in one direction, it’s pulling you back in the other because it wants to go the way it always has been. So you set up all these crosscurrents in consciousness. Despite the suffering, there is within it the opportunity for growth and betterment. (Eric Butterworth Unity Podcast #75, “Why Doesn’t God?”)
  2. deliver all them who through fear of death. Death is always the result of a failure to recognize God as the source of wisdom and life. When the soul falls short in this respect, it sings and there is a physical dissolution that is but the outer symbol or mental negation or spiritual inertia. The dissolution of the body is the "second death". The first death is where the consciousness has lost sight of spiritual wisdom and sunk into the belief that God is absent from humanity and the universe. If we allow ourselves to live in the senses and fail to recognize our spiritual selfhood and our relation to Being—we are already virtually dying. We are only minimally alive when we are more in the senses than the spirit on the animal plane, because the senses will fail before long. (RW/dying)

Fillmore Study Bible annotations compiled by Susan St. John.

World English Bible Footnotes:

  • [7] v2:7. TR adds "and set him over the works of your hands"
  • [8] v2:8. Psalm 8:4-6
  • [9] v2:11. The word for "brothers" here and where context allows may also be correctly translated "brothers and sisters" or "siblings."
  • [10] v2:12. Psalm 22:22
  • [11] v2:13. Isaiah 8:17
  • [12] v2:13. Isaiah 8:18

Hebrews 3

(Online: ASV WEB)

Moses the Emerging, Christ the Expressing

3:1 Therefore, holy brothers,1 partakers of a heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Jesus;2 3:2 who was faithful to him who appointed him, as also was Moses3 in all his house. 3:3 For he has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who built the house has more honor than the house. 3:4 For every house is built by someone; but he who built all things is God. 3:5 Moses indeed was faithful in all his house as a servant,4 for a testimony of those things which were afterward to be spoken, 3:6 but Christ5 is faithful as a Son over his house; whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the glorying of our hope6 firm to the end.

  1. holy brothers. [and sisters!]
  2. Jesus. The Man of Nazareth, son of Mary; the Saviour of mankind according to present-day Christian belief. Metaphysically He is the I AM in man, the self, the directive power, raised to divine understanding and power–the I AM identity. (RW/Jesus)
  3. Moses. Moses means drawing out, extracting, i.e., from the water, representing humanity’s development in consciousness of the law of their being, from the negative side, but with great possibility. As always, in the Kingdom of God, our of seemingly negative conditions comes the new growth. (MBD/Moses)
  4. servant. The elemental force of Being, ever at hand to carry out one's demands. (MBI/John 2)
  5. Christ. The incarnating principle of the God-man; the perfect idea of God; the divine human which unfolds into the true person, perfect, and blessed with eternal life by measuring up to the divine standard, fulfilling the law of righteousness. Christ abides in each person as their potential perfection; the only begotten Child of God; living Principle working in humanity. (RW/Christ)
  6. Hope. The expectation of good in the future. It is a quality of sense mind because it is subject to time. It is of human-mind, and not of God as is Faith which goes beyond time and space. (RW/hope)

Warning Against Conscious Or Subconscious Barriers

3:7 Therefore, even as the Holy Spirit says,

"Today if you will hear his voice,

3:8 don't harden your hearts, as in the provocation,1

like as in the day of the trial in the wilderness,

3:9 where your fathers tested me by proving me,

and saw my works for forty2 years.

3:10 Therefore I was displeased with that generation,

and said, 'They always err in their heart,

but they didn't know my ways;'

3:11 as I swore in my wrath,

'They will not enter into my rest.'"[13]

3:12 Beware, brothers, lest perhaps there be in any one of you an evil heart of unbelief,3 in falling away from the living God; 3:13 but exhort one another day by day, so long as it is called "today;" lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. 3:14 For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our confidence firm to the end: 3:15 while it is said,

"Today if you will hear his voice,

don't harden your hearts, as in the rebellion."[14]

3:16 For who, when they heard, rebelled? No, didn't all those who came out of Egypt by Moses? 3:17 With whom was he displeased forty years? Wasn't it with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness?4 3:18 To whom did he swear that they wouldn't enter into his rest, but to those who were disobedient? 3:19 We see that they were not able to enter in because of unbelief.

  1. as in the provocation. Provocation in Greek (parapikrasmos) means “rebellion against God”. Rebellion is an open defiance and resistance to an authority to which one owes allegiance when one believes they are not being fairly governed. In rebellion against tragedies of this earthly plane, we must recognize that our own thoughts and words are the cause of the conditions and not an imposition by their true authority, God. (RW/rebellion)
  2. forty. completeness; as long as it takes. (MBD/forty days and forty nights)
  3. Unbelief. Belief is an inner acceptance of an idea that can function consciously or subconsciously. Many false individual and race beliefs operate in the subconscious. We must watch for the false Belief in the notion of separateness and our resistance to the belief in the Christ as the only true source of expression. (RW/belief)
  4. wilderness. The wilderness represents in individual consciousness the multitude of undisciplined and uncultivated thoughts. (RW/wilderness)

Fillmore Study Bible annotations compiled by Susan St. John.

World English Bible Footnotes:

Hebrews 4

(Online: ASV WEB)

The Rest That God Promised

4:1 Let us fear therefore, lest perhaps anyone of you should seem to have come short of a promise of entering into his rest. 4:2 For indeed we have had good news preached to us, even as they also did, but the word they heard didn't profit them, because it wasn't mixed with faith by those who heard.1 4:3 For we who have believed do enter into that rest, even as he has said, "As I swore in my wrath, they will not enter into my rest;"[15]2 although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. 4:4 For he has said this somewhere about the seventh day, "God rested on the seventh day from all his works;"[16] 4:5 and in this place again, "They will not enter into my rest."[17]

4:6 Seeing therefore it remains that some should enter therein, and they to whom the good news was before preached failed to enter in because of disobedience, 4:7 he again defines a certain day, today, saying through David so long a time afterward (just as has been said),

"Today if you will hear his voice,

don't harden your hearts."[18]

4:8 For if Joshua had given them rest, he would not have spoken afterward of another day. 4:9 There remains therefore a Sabbath rest for the people of God.3 4:10 For he who has entered into his rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from his. 4:11 Let us therefore give diligence to enter into that rest, lest anyone fall after the same example of disobedience. 4:12 For the word of God is living, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and is able to discern the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 4:13 There is no creature that is hidden from his sight, but all things are naked and laid open before the eyes of him with whom we have to do.

  1. Because it wasn’t mixed with faith by those who heard. Good News is not profitable, and so does not lead to rest, unless mixed with faith—a deep inner knowing that that which is sought is already ours for the taking (See Hebrews 11:1). Without variation, faith brings results that appear miraculous, but are simply inspired by the faith of each of us. (RW/faith). Greek “pistis” (πιστιν) “state of believing on the basis of the reliability of the one trusted” (A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament 818).
  2. As I swore in my wrath, they will not enter into my rest. The individual who does not conform to the law but thinks and acts in opposition to it cannot rest because the “wrath of God” is really the working out of the law of Being destructively or inharmoniously (MBD/wrath).
  3. A Sabbath rest for the people of God. The Sabbath is a state of mind that a person enters or acquires when they goes into the silence of their own soul, into the realm of Spirit. There they find true rest and peace. The ‘seventh day’ means the seventh or perfect stage of one's spiritual unfoldment where a person finds rest and peace. The Sabbath can be enjoyed at any hour. People show their lack of understanding and limit their happiness by confining the Sabbath to any one of the days of the week (MBD/sabbath).

Jesus the Great High Priest

4:14 Having then a great high priest,1 who has passed through the heavens,2 Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold tightly to our confession.3 4:15 For we don't have a high priest who can't be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, but one who has been in all points tempted like we are, yet without sin. 4:16 Let us therefore draw near with boldness to the throne of grace,4 that we may receive mercy, and may find grace for help in time of need.

  1. Great high priest. Jesus dedicated Himself to the cause of Truth.
  2. Who has passed through the heavens. Jesus permeated the entire realm of thought and interpreted the highest (the thought of God) as love. He entered the realm of spiritual power and learned its law, so that He controlled it and expressed it.
  3. Our confession. Greek homologias (ὁμολογίας) “expression of allegiance, agreement” (Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament 709).
  4. The throne of grace. The high consciousness of love and power that is found in Divine Mind. In this consciousness all power abides, and we avail ourselves of it by claiming it through Christ.

Fillmore Study Bible annotations compiled by Susan St. John.

World English Bible Footnotes:

Hebrews 5

(Online: ASV WEB)

Jesus the Great High Priest (continued)

5:1 For every high priest, being taken from among men, is appointed for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins. 5:2 The high priest can deal gently with those who are ignorant and going astray,1 because he himself is also surrounded with weakness. 5:3 Because of this, he must offer sacrifices for sins for the people, as well as for himself. 5:4 Nobody takes this honor on himself, but he is called by God, just like Aaron was. 5:5 So also Christ didn't glorify himself to be made a high priest, but it was he who said to him,

"You are my Son.

Today I have become your father."[19]

5:6 As he says also in another place,

"You are a priest forever,

after the order of Melchizedek."[20]

5:7 He, in the days of his flesh, having offered up prayers and petitions with strong crying and tears to him who was able to save him from death, and having been heard for his godly fear, 5:8 though he was a Son, yet learned obedience by the things which he suffered. 5:9 Having been made perfect, he became to all of those who obey him the author of eternal salvation, 5:10 named by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek.2

  1. The high priest can deal gently with those who are ignorant and going astray. “Jesus symbolized the indwelling Christ which withdraws to the superconscious Mind. Sitting at the right hand of God symbolizes the executive power of the indwelling Christ. From this high vantage point, it is enabled to work with the disciples (man's faculties) and aid them in all ways.” (The Story of Jesus Soul Evolution, Charles Fillmore, Dec 1947, pg 1242).
  2. After the order of Melchizedek. See Hebrews 7:11-28. The divine will established in man in righteousness, justice, and peace (king of righteousness, king of justice, king of Salem, Salem meaning peace). Melchizedek really refers to the Christ mind or superconsciousness, that which when ruling in man's consciousness establishes and maintains right doing, perfect adjustment, peace, and perfection (MBD/Melchizedek).

Warning against Falling Away

5:11 About him we have many words to say, and hard to interpret, seeing you have become dull of hearing. 5:12 For when by reason of the time you ought to be teachers, you again need to have someone teach you the rudiments of the first principles of the oracles of God. You have come to need milk, and not solid food.1 5:13 For everyone who lives on milk is not experienced in the word of righteousness, for he is a baby. 5:14 But solid food is for those who are full grown, who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern good and evil.

  1. You have come to need milk, and not solid food. Milk the simplest form of food and represents the truths which are easily discerned and appropriated. “Solid food” represents the deeper truths which require study, meditation and concentration order that they may be ap propriated and assimilated the mind. Paul here reproves those who continue to feed on milk when they should be partaking of solid food, and imparting to others the Word of Life. Notice that he says to these milk-fed Hebrews, “You have become sluggish hearers.” This the condition that come to all who neglect the eating of the word of God, the Bread of Life. Their spiritual ears become dulled and they cannot hear the higher truths. One must either move forward or slip backward. “Babes Christ” must grow up to the full stature of manhood Christ Jesus (Unity, July 1915).
  2. Have their senses exercised to discern good and evil. By declaring our senses to be spiritual and by speaking the increasing word of the I AM to every one of them, we multiply their capacities and give them a sustaining vigor and vitality. This is done through the simple word of the I AM, backed up by the realization of its spiritual power (RW/senses).

Fillmore Study Bible annotations compiled by Susan St. John.

World English Bible Footnotes:

Hebrews 6

(Online: ASV WEB)

From First Principles to Perfection

6:1 Therefore leaving the doctrine of the first principles1 of Christ, let us press on to perfection2--not laying again a foundation of repentance3 from dead works, of faith toward God, 6:2 of the teaching of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. 6:3 This will we do, if God permits. 6:4 For concerning those who were once enlightened and tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit, 6:5 and tasted the good word of God,4 and the powers of the age to come, 6:6 and then fell away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance; seeing they crucify the Son of God for themselves again, and put him to open shame. 6:7 For the land which has drunk the rain that comes often on it, and brings forth a crop suitable for them for whose sake it is also tilled, receives blessing from God; 6:8 but if it bears thorns and thistles, it is rejected and near being cursed, whose end is to be burned.

6:9 But, beloved, we are persuaded of better things for you, and things that accompany salvation, even though we speak like this. 6:10 For God is not unrighteous, so as to forget your work and the labor of love which you showed toward his name, in that you served the saints, and still do serve them. 6:11 We desire that each one of you may show the same diligence to the fullness of hope even to the end,5 6:12 that you won't be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherited the promises.

  1. First principles. Greek: Logion (λογίων) “saying, teaching” (Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, pg 598)
  2. Let us press on to perfection. A state of consciousness completely free from any negation by affirming the truth of being for man (Divine mind) as the law of our being (RW/perfection).
  3. Repentance. Change one’s mind, change of thought to allow humans to do away with the ‘shortcoming attitude’ about the nature of ourselves. To open the opportunity to align with God mind that sees humans in perfection (MBD/repentance).
  4. And tasted the good word of God. Hebrews 6:4-6 refers to people who have left behind the first principles of the doctrine of Christ, and have gone on unto perfection. The heavenly gift of which they have tasted is the Life of God within their bodies, for they understand and are seeking to demonstrate the redemption of the whole man, which includes the body. They have tasted the powers of the world to come, that they have quickened within themselves the God-qualities or spiritual powers, even to the extent of bringing forth the Christ Child—the New Birth. (Unity, July 1917).
  5. We desire that each one of you may show the same diligence to the fullness of hope even to the end. Christian people have, for centuries, been staying in the beginning of the Christ word and doctrine. Over and over again, they have been laying the foundation of repentance, but they have never gone on in the overcoming life until they reached perfection. (Unity, November 1921, p.461).

The Certainty of God’s Promise

6:13 For when God made a promise to Abraham, since he could swear by none greater, he swore by himself, 6:14 saying, "Surely blessing I will bless you,1 and multiplying I will multiply you."[21] 6:15 Thus, having patiently endured, he obtained the promise. 6:16 For men indeed swear by a greater one, and in every dispute of theirs the oath is final for confirmation. 6:17 In this way God, being determined to show more abundantly to the heirs of the promise the immutability of his counsel, interposed with an oath; 6:18 that by two immutable things,2 in which it is impossible for God to lie, we may have a strong encouragement, who have fled for refuge to take hold of the hope set before us. 6:19 This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and entering into that which is within the veil; 6:20 where as a forerunner Jesus entered for us, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.

  1. Surely blessing I will bless you. Blessing imparts the quickening spiritual power that produces growth and increase (RW/blessing). Spiritual quickening is the wakening of the whole person to what they are in the sight of God, making them wide awake, and full of their truthful power (RW/quickening).
  2. Immutable things. Greek ἀμετάθετος, ametethatos. Unchangeable, unalterable (Greek-English Lexicon, pg 53).

Fillmore Study Bible annotations compiled by Susan St. John.

World English Bible Footnotes:

Hebrews 7

(Online: ASV WEB)

The Priestly Order of Melchizedek

7:1 For this Melchizedek, king of Salem,1 priest of God Most High, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, 7:2 to whom also Abraham divided a tenth part of all (being first, by interpretation, king of righteousness, and then also king of Salem, which is king of peace; 7:3 without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God), remains a priest continually.

7:4 Now consider how great this man was, to whom even Abraham, the patriarch,2 gave a tenth out of the best spoils. 7:5 They indeed of the sons of Levi who receive the priest's office have a commandment to take tithes3 of the people according to the law, that is, of their brothers, though these have come out of the body of Abraham, 7:6 but he whose genealogy is not counted from them has accepted tithes from Abraham, and has blessed him who has the promises. 7:7 But without any dispute the lesser is blessed by the greater. 7:8 Here people who die receive tithes, but there one receives tithes of whom it is testified that he lives. 7:9 We can say that through Abraham even Levi, who receives tithes, has paid tithes, 7:10 for he was yet in the body of his father when Melchizedek met him.

  1. Melchizedek, king of Salem. “King of Salem,” and “priest of God Most High,” who “brought forth bread and wine” for Abram on his return from the slaughter of the heathen kings who had taken Lot captive (Gen. 14:18; Heb. 7). Of Jesus Christ it was said that He should be a priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek (Psalms 110:4; Heb. 5:6). (MBD/Melchizedek)
  2. Abraham, the patriarch. The power of the mind to reproduce its ideas in unlimited expression. The ability of the mind to make substance out of ideas, called faith. Abraham represents humanity’s faith of God understanding that our faith is the ‘father/Abraham’ of manifested thoughts an acts. Abraham represents the early development of humanity’s development of consciousness from the ‘Adam man’ (MBD/Abraham).
  3. Tithes. The understanding of agreement that God and humanity are in partnership regarding their finances. It acknowledges God as our source of supply and it is the surest way to demonstrate ‘plenty’ because it exemplifies God’s own law and way of giving (RW/tithe, RW/tithing).

Another Priest, Like Melchizedek

7:11 Now if there was perfection through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people have received the law), what further need was there for another priest to arise after the order of Melchizedek, and not be called after the order of Aaron? 7:12 For the priesthood being changed, there is of necessity a change made also in the law. 7:13 For he of whom these things are said belongs to another tribe, from which no one has officiated at the altar. 7:14 For it is evident that our Lord has sprung out of Judah, about which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning priesthood.

7:15 This is yet more abundantly evident, if after the likeness of Melchizedek there arises another priest,1 7:16 who has been made, not after the law of a fleshly commandment, but after the power of an endless life: 7:17 for it is testified,

"You are a priest forever,

according to the order of Melchizedek."[22]

7:18 For there is an annulling of a foregoing commandment because of its weakness and uselessness 7:19 (for the law made nothing perfect), and a bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God. 7:20 Inasmuch as he was not made priest without the taking of an oath 7:21 (for they indeed have been made priests without an oath), but he with an oath by him that says of him,

"The Lord swore and will not change his mind,

'You are a priest forever,

according to the order of Melchizedek.'"[23]

7:22 By so much, Jesus has become the collateral of a better covenant.2 7:23 Many, indeed, have been made priests, because they are hindered from continuing by death. 7:24 But he, because he lives forever, has his priesthood unchangeable. 7:25 Therefore he is also able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, seeing that he lives forever to make intercession for them.

7:26 For such a high priest was fitting for us: holy, guiltless, undefiled, separated from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; 7:27 who doesn't need, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices daily, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. For he did this once for all, when he offered up himself.3 7:28 For the law appoints men as high priests who have weakness, but the word of the oath which came after the law appoints a Son forever who has been perfected.

  1. There arises another priest. Melchizedek really refers to the Christ mind or superconsciousness, that which when ruling in man's consciousness establishes and maintains right doing, perfect adjustment, peace, and perfection. This priest “has been made, not after the law of a fleshly commandment, but after the power of an endless life.” (MBD/Melchizedek)
  2. Jesus has become the collateral of a better covenant. A covenant is an agreement that represents the principles of rules by which men are able to gain their true spiritual heritage and possess the riches of the kingdom of God (MBD/covenant).
  3. For he did this once for all, when he offered up himself. The Christ covers all our imperfections with His high consciousness, but at the same time requires of us the sacrifice or putting away of sense consciousness, with its demands, and dedication to the wholeness of Truth.

Fillmore Study Bible annotations compiled by Susan St. John.

World English Bible Footnotes:

Hebrews 8

(Online: ASV WEB)

Mediator of a Better Covenant

8:1 Now in the things which we are saying, the main point is this. We have such a high priest, who sat down on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, 8:2 a servant of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, not man. 8:3 For every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices. Therefore it is necessary that this high priest also have something to offer. 8:4 For if he were on earth, he would not be a priest at all, seeing there are priests who offer the gifts according to the law; 8:5 who serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things,1 even as Moses was warned by God when he was about to make the tabernacle,2 for he said, "See, you shall make everything according to the pattern that was shown to you on the mountain."[24] 8:6 But now he has obtained a more excellent ministry, by so much as he is also the mediator of a better covenant,3 which on better promises has been given as law. 8:7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. 8:8 For finding fault with them, he said,

"Behold, the days come," says the Lord,

"that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah;

8:9 not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers,

in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt;

for they didn't continue in my covenant,

and I disregarded them," says the Lord.

8:10 "For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel.

After those days," says the Lord;

"I will put my laws into their mind,

I will also write them on their heart.4

I will be their God,

and they will be my people.

8:11 They will not teach every man his fellow citizen,[25]

and every man his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,'

for all will know me,

from the least of them to the greatest of them.

8:12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness.

I will remember their sins and lawless deeds no more."[26]

8:13 In that he says, "A new covenant," he has made the first old.5 But that which is becoming old and grows aged is near to vanishing away.

  1. a copy and shadow of the heavenly things. [An imperfect expression of a divine Idea].
  2. tabernacle The temporal body of humans; when in the wilderness of sense, humans worship God in a ‘tent/tabernacle’ or transitory state of mind, which manifests a perishable body. However, this flimsy body holds all the furnishings of the great temple that is to be built. The BODY OF EVERY HUMAN is a promise of an imperishable temple. (RW/tabernacle)
  3. covenant. see Hebrews 7:22 (MBD/covenant)
  4. I will put my laws into their mind, I will also write them on their heart. An allusion to Jeremiah 31:33.
  5. In that he says, "A new covenant," he has made the first old. Humanly speaking, a last will sets aside all wills previously made, rendering them void and of no effect. The divine will differs from the human will in this respect, for the last will of God, which we call the New Testament, does not invalidate the first, but rather fulfills it.

Fillmore Study Bible annotations compiled by Susan St. John.

World English Bible Footnotes:

Hebrews 9

(Online: ASV WEB)

The Physical Consciousness and the Divine within Humans

9:1 Now indeed even the first[27] covenant had ordinances of divine service, and an earthly sanctuary.1 9:2 For a tabernacle was prepared. In the first part were the lampstand, the table, and the show bread; which is called the Holy Place. 9:3 After the second veil was the tabernacle which is called the Holy of Holies, 9:4 having a golden altar of incense, and the ark of the covenant overlaid on all sides with gold, in which was a golden pot holding the manna, Aaron's rod that budded, and the tablets of the covenant; 9:5 and above it cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat, of which things we can't speak now in detail.

9:6 Now these things having been thus prepared, the priests2 go in continually into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the services, 9:7 but into the second the high priest alone, once in the year, not without blood, which he offers for himself, and for the errors of the people. 9:8 The Holy Spirit is indicating this, that the way into the Holy Place wasn't yet revealed while the first tabernacle was still standing; 9:9 which is a symbol of the present age, where gifts and sacrifices are offered that are incapable, concerning the conscience, of making the worshipper perfect; 9:10 being only (with meats and drinks and various washings) fleshly ordinances, imposed until a time of reformation.

9:11 But Christ3 having come as a high priest of the coming good things, through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation, 9:12 nor yet through the blood4 of goats and calves, but through his own blood, entered in once for all into the Holy Place, having obtained eternal redemption. 9:13 For if the blood of goats and bulls,5 and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled, sanctify to the cleanness of the flesh: 9:14 how much more will the blood of Christ,6 who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

9:15 For this reason he is the mediator of a new covenant,7 since a death has occurred for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first covenant, that those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. 9:16 For where a last will and testament is, there must of necessity be the death of him who made it. 9:17 For a will is in force where there has been death, for it is never in force while he who made it lives. 9:18 Therefore even the first covenant has not been dedicated without blood. 9:19 For when every commandment had been spoken by Moses to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of the calves and the goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, 9:20 saying, "This is the blood of the covenant which God has commanded you."[28]

9:21 Moreover he sprinkled the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry in like manner with the blood. 9:22 According to the law, nearly everything is cleansed with blood, and apart from shedding of blood there is no remission.8

  1. sanctuary. The secret place within man's being where he has a rendezvous with God (RW/sanctuary)
  2. priests. Metaphysically, priests represent thoughts that spring from and belong to the love faculty in individual consciousness. As ministers and priests in the Temple and in the Temple worship they signify our natural religious tendencies, not necessarily spiritual. (MBD/Levites)
  3. Christ. Metaphysically, Christ is the divine-idea man (MBD/Christ).
  4. blood. Blood expresses a spiritual principle, resting on pure ideals (no combinations of components), but is manifested in mind and body, and used to purify the mind and heal the body. See v22: “nearly everything is cleansed with blood”. (RW/blood)
  5. blood of goats and bulls. Animal sacrifice is symbolical of what takes place in man when the lower sense life (represented by animals) is given up (sacrificed). When man enters into the higher understanding of life, for which the Christ stands, the lower “atones” for the higher. Man's powers and faculties are thus brought into harmony.
  6. blood of Christ. The life contained in God’s Word. It is spiritual energy that purifies and redeems humans by pouring into our life currents a new and purer stream, cleansing the consciousness of dead works to enable humanity to serve the LIVING GOD. (RW/blood of Christ)
  7. mediator of a new covenant. Jesus proved anew that, by loving the things of spiritual significance and seeking to express them, man enters into a vital relation with God and finds the satisfaction that is “life indeed.” This bringing of life and immortality to light gave men a new understanding of God and led them to enter into a new relation with him.
  8. apart from shedding of blood there is no remission. When the life of the flesh (the ways of error) is abandoned (shed), the power of the Spirit “remits” sin by enabling men to lay hold of the higher life. One can establish oneself in the consciousness of the Christ only when one has abandoned the old sense consciousness altogether.

The Divine nature of Humanity releases the energy of error

9:23 It was necessary therefore that the copies of the things in the heavens should be cleansed with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices1 than these. 9:24 For Christ hasn't entered into holy places made with hands, which are representations of the true, but into heaven itself,2 now to appear in the presence of God for us; 9:25 nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest enters into the holy place year by year with blood not his own, 9:26 or else he must have suffered often since the foundation of the world. But now once at the end of the ages, he has been revealed to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. 9:27 Inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once,3 and after this, judgment,4 9:28 so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time,5 without sin, to those who are eagerly waiting for him for salvation.

  1. sacrifice. The refining process of releasing the Godliness energy into their appropriate places in human mind an body carrying out the ascension of matter to mind and mind to Spirit. (RW/sacrifice)
  2. For Christ ... into heaven itself. [The writer implies that the atoning work of Jesus was not rising from the dead but rather ascending into heaven. If so, the same may be said of the followers of Jesus. (MH)]
  3. Inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once. [Unity, teaching reincarnation, never commented on this verse. In the final chapter of Emilie Cady's God A Present Help (1912 edition, never published by Unity), Emilie Cady says “Since there is but One Life in the universe, and that Life is the Eternal God who is without beginning or end, how can there be any reality in death?” (MH)]
  4. and after this, judgment. The description of the Last Judgment, as given in the Gospels, has been used to terrify men and women and thus compel them to unite with the church; but in this day of enlightenment people are not so easily led or driven by fear. They ask for understanding. When they seek light concerning the judgment it is given, and they learn that the judgment is all a matter of divine law. They find that for every departure from this law they must suffer, not in some future time of great tribulation, not in a great judgment after death, but in this life—here and now (MBD/judgment)
  5. a second time. (1) From the spiritual viewpoint there is no such thing as time in the way that man has come to regard it (MBD/time). (2) [“Time in this culture is the unfoldment of an event, or and therefore has no particular duration except that the event is completed. The participants decide when the event is done.” ESL Foreign to Familiar: A Guide to understanding Hot and Cold-Climate cultures, Sarah Lanier, 77-83. (SSJ)]. (3) [Time and Space are only necessary so that spiritual beings may have a human experience (God's Reach, Glenn Clark, p.206) (MH)]

Fillmore Study Bible annotations compiled by Susan St. John.

World English Bible Footnotes:

Hebrews 10

(Online: ASV WEB)

Releasing Error Makes Perfect

10:1 For the law, having a shadow of the good to come, not the very image of the things, can never with the same sacrifices year by year, which they offer continually, make perfect those who draw near.1 10:2 Or else wouldn't they have ceased to be offered, because the worshippers, having been once cleansed, would have had no more consciousness of sins? 10:3 But in those sacrifices there is yearly reminder of sins. 10:4 For it is impossible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sins. 10:5 Therefore when he comes into the world, he says,

"Sacrifice and offering you didn't desire,2

but you prepared a body for me;3

10:6 You had no pleasure in whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin.

10:7 Then I said, 'Behold, I have come (in the scroll of the book it is written of me)

to do your will, O God.'"[29]

10:8 Previously saying, "Sacrifices and offerings and whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin you didn't desire, neither had pleasure in them" (those which are offered according to the law), 10:9 then he has said, "Behold, I have come to do your will." He takes away the first, that he may establish the second, 10:10 by which will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

10:11 Every priest indeed stands day by day serving and often offering the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins, 10:12 but he, when he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God;4 10:13 from that time waiting until his enemies are made the footstool of his feet.5 10:14 For by one offering he has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. 10:15 The Holy Spirit also testifies to us, for after saying,

10:16 "This is the covenant that I will make with them:

'After those days,' says the Lord,

'I will put my laws on their heart,

I will also write them on their mind;'"[30]

then he says,

10:17 "I will remember their sins and their iniquities no more."[31]

10:18 Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.

  1. make perfect those who draw near. [Transformed from a shadow of God to an image of God. See RW/image. (MH)]
  2. Sacrifice and offering you didn't desire. Burnt offering transmutation of physical forces to the next higher plane of action, a process of body refinement. (MBD/offering)
  3. but you prepared a body for me. A freewill offering, that could be a distinguishing factor for the actions of Jesus, is a law of life in that there is acknowledgment what is freely received (life) can be freely given to realize the highest good of humanity. Giving measures receiving: “Freely ye received, freely give” (Matt. 10:8) RW/offering, freewill.
  4. on the right hand of God. The directive and executive power of Divine Mind. The Christ commands this.
  5. from that time waiting until his enemies are made the footstool of his feet. An allusion to Psalm 110.

A Call to Persevere

10:19 Having therefore, brothers, boldness to enter into the holy place by the blood of Jesus, 10:20 by the way which he dedicated for us, a new and living way, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; 10:21 and having a great priest over the house of God, 10:22 let's draw near with a true heart in fullness of faith,1 having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and having our body washed with pure water, 10:23 let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering; for he who promised is faithful.

10:24 Let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good works,2 10:25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as the custom of some is, but exhorting one another; and so much the more, as you see the Day approaching.3 10:26 For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more a sacrifice for sins, 10:27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and a fierceness of fire which will devour the adversaries. 10:28 A man who disregards Moses' law dies without compassion on the word of two or three witnesses.4 10:29 How much worse punishment, do you think, will he be judged worthy of, who has trodden under foot the Son of God, and has counted the blood of the covenant with which he was sanctified an unholy thing, and has insulted the Spirit of grace? 10:30 For we know him who said, "Vengeance belongs to me," says the Lord, "I will repay."[32] Again, "The Lord will judge his people."[33] 10:31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

10:32 But remember the former days, in which, after you were enlightened, you endured a great struggle with sufferings; 10:33 partly, being exposed to both reproaches and oppressions; and partly, becoming partakers with those who were treated so. 10:34 For you both had compassion on me in my chains, and joyfully accepted the plundering of your possessions, knowing that you have for yourselves a better possession and an enduring one in the heavens. 10:35 Therefore don't throw away your boldness, which has a great reward. 10:36 For you need endurance so that, having done the will of God, you may receive the promise.

10:37 "In a very little while,

he who comes will come, and will not wait.

10:38 But the righteous will live by faith.

If he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him."[34]

10:39 But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the saving of the soul.

  1. fulness of faith. From Revealing Word we learn that Faith empowers us to do what may seem impossible to our human mind. It draws us from our deep inner knowing and, once beginning to energize the Christ energy, is the stabilizing factor that keeps us on the path to perfection. (RW/faith)
  2. Let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good works. As we become so firmly established in our consciousness of Truth that we can associate with others yet remain unswayed by their human, changeable thoughts and emotions, we become great powers for good in helping to establish the race thought in Truth. Our presence uplifts and steadies others—the crowd in which we mingle. “Ye are the salt of the earth, Ye are the light of the world.”
  3. as you see the Day approaching. The time of fulfillment, manifest wholeness and perfection having come out of human limitation, expressing the Christ consciousness more fully. At this point we may feel the need to be with other people even more to share the most perfect consciousness, drawn by the love in us.
  4. A man who disregards Moses' law dies without compassion on the word of two or three witnesses. If a person stays by himself, keeps his religious views to himself, and does not share his inspirations and joys with others, if he never listens to the opinions and convictions of others, nor considers them, he becomes narrow and one-sided.

Fillmore Study Bible annotations compiled by Susan St. John.

World English Bible Footnotes:

Hebrews 11

(Online: ASV WEB)

The Meaning of Faith

11:1 Now faith1 is assurance2 of things hoped for, proof of things not seen.3 11:2 For by this, the elders obtained testimony. 11:3 By faith, we understand that the universe has been framed by the word of God,4 so that what is seen has not been made out of things which are visible.

  1. Faith. The perceiving power of the mind linked with the power to shape substance; Spiritual assurance; the power to do the seemingly impossible. It is a magnetic power that draws unto us our heart’s desire from the invisible spiritual substance. Faith is a deep inner knowing that that which is sought is already ours for the taking. (RW/faith). It is the spiritual foundation of that which humanity is meant to bring forth. We become conscious of and increases our faith through prayer (affirmation of eternal Truth that has not yet come into consciousness) and by acting on the deepest impulses of our soul (RW/prayer). When we fail to exercise faith we become bound by fear, falling short of our capacity to use God-given faculties and powers, seemingly standing still, which amounts to stagnation, death.
  2. assurance. [In the original Greek, assurance is hypostasis. While it is figuratively rendered as assurance in the ASV, WEB, and NRSV, the term is translated literally in the King James version as substance, and it literally means the Real spiritual essence, substance or divine idea behind all manifest things. From this well-known understanding in metaphysical religion, we see faith as our capacity to shape substance as we need and desire and that which provides confidence about humankinds place in the Cosmos. (MH)]
  3. things not seen [External realities beyond the physical senses.]
  4. the universe has been framed by the word of God. Faith makes clear to us what science has lately proved, namely that the manifest creation has come into being from the realm of the unmanifest or invisible. The universal life energy or “word of God” is the motive power or divine will that causes all manifestation.

The Examples of Abel, Enoch, and Noah

11:4 By faith, Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain,1 through which he had testimony given to him that he was righteous, God testifying with respect to his gifts; and through it he, being dead, still speaks. 11:5 By faith, Enoch2 was taken away, so that he wouldn't see death, and he was not found, because God translated him. For he has had testimony given to him that before his translation he had been well pleasing to God. 11:6 Without faith it is impossible to be well pleasing to him, for he who comes to God must believe that he exists, and that he is a rewarder of those who seek him.3 11:7 By faith, Noah,4 being warned about things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared a ship for the saving of his house, through which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.

  1. Abel, Cain. Abel is the mind that controls the animal functions; more closely related to spiritual consciousness than the physical (MBD/Abel). Cain is the power of the mind to reproduce its ideas in unlimited expression; rulership by centralized power (MBD/Cain). Abel believed that God is worshipped most truly in the highest realm of man’s consciousness. The animal kingdom, since it is composed of sentient creatures endowed with the faculties of sensation and perception, is higher than the nonsentient plants of the vegetable kingdom. Abel therefore offered to God in symbolic form a higher consciousness than did Cain.
  2. Enoch. Entrance into and instruction in a new state of thought and understanding, a new spiritual consciousness, a new life in Christ (MBD/Enoch). The grandson of Adam, Enoch proved through faithfully living in God consciousness that the curse pronounced upon Adam “Dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return” is not a universal law to which all men are subject, but that it applies only to the disobedient. Enoch translated his body from flesh to Spirit, and did not return to dust.
  3. He who comes to God must believe that he exists, and that he is a rewarder of those who seek him. (“diligently” seek him, ASV). Concentrated attention of the mind on an idea of any kind is equal to prayer and will make available the spiritual principle that is its source in proportion to the intensity and continuity of the mental effort. (Jesus Christ Heals, p48)
  4. Noah. The consciousness at rest and obedience from which our learning from our enthusiasm for things of sense, grows; a state of consciousness where ‘race’ thoughts (generations of error) are cleansed. (MBD/Noah) Noah rested in faith, using it as a guide to future conduct, and through relying upon the divine assurance so gained, developed foresight and foreknowledge of things to come. He was therefore able to survive the flood, when all those without such foresight perished.

The Faith of Abraham

11:8 By faith, Abraham,1 when he was called, obeyed to go out to the place which he was to receive for an inheritance. He went out, not knowing where he went. 11:9 By faith, he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a land not his own, dwelling in tents, with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise. 11:10 For he looked for the city which has the foundations, whose builder and maker is God.2 11:11 By faith, even Sarah herself received power to conceive, and she bore a child when she was past age, since she counted him faithful who had promised. 11:12 Therefore as many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as innumerable as the sand which is by the sea shore, were fathered by one man, and him as good as dead.

11:13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen[35] them and embraced them from afar, and having confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. 11:14 For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own.3 11:15 If indeed they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had enough time to return. 11:16 But now they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed of them, to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

11:17 By faith, Abraham, being tested, offered up Isaac. Yes, he who had gladly received the promises was offering up his one and only son; 11:18 even he to whom it was said, "In Isaac will your seed be called;"[36] 11:19 concluding that God is able to raise up even from the dead. Figuratively speaking, he also did receive him back from the dead. 11:20 By faith, Isaac blessed Jacob4 and Esau, even concerning things to come. 11:21 By faith, Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff. 11:22 By faith, Joseph, when his end was near, made mention of the departure of the children of Israel; and gave instructions concerning his bones.

  1. Abraham. The power of the mind to reproduce its ideas in unlimited expressions (MBD/Abraham).
  2. For he looked for the city which has the foundations, whose builder and maker is God. We owe to Abraham our first clear knowledge of the true God, His spiritual and holy nature, and the undivided devotion that we are to render Him. He was made great, first by his faith in God. Next, he was great in patience, in working toward the realization of his hopes and desires. He lived at peace with the Canaanites, among whom he was a stranger. He built up a Godlike character and realized the joy of achievement in the spiritual realm. These attainments all fitted him to become the founder and the inspiration of an enduring people.
  3. seeking a country of their own. Paul says we seek a country from which we came forth, and to which we shall return. We are travelers that have wandered away from home and have not found our wanderings pleasant. The outer man looks upon the home he is seeking as a place fixed in the heavens, but a fuller realization of Truth shows that this home is in the place Jesus pointed out—“the kingdom of God is within you.” Having once established yourself in this place it is an easy matter to externalize it. (Temple Talks, Series 3, Chapter 4, Obedience)
  4. By faith, Isaac blessed Jacob. How did Isaac and Jacob develop faith? Both these men used faith to steady and clarify their vision of character and were able to discern what their sons and grandsons would become in later years.

The Faith of Moses

11:23 By faith, Moses, when he was born,1 was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw that he was a beautiful child, and they were not afraid of the king's commandment. 11:24 By faith, Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, 11:25 choosing rather to share ill treatment with God's people, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a time; 11:26 accounting the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he looked to the reward. 11:27 By faith, he left Egypt,2 not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible. 11:28 By faith, he kept the Passover, and the sprinkling of the blood, that the destroyer of the firstborn should not touch them.

  1. Moses, when he was born. Moses means drawing out, extracting, i. e., from the water. The birth of Moses represents man’s development in consciousness of the law of his being, from the negative side. Water represents universal negation; but water also represents the great possibility. Out of seemingly negative conditions comes the new growth. When we are in what seems Egyptian darkness, and weak as water, we are ripe for the higher understanding. The thoughts that rule in the darkness are bent upon putting out all the children of light, but if we are of the house of faith, as were Moses’ parents, then our desire to bring forth the higher consciousness will find a protector. We must care for the infant thought of Truth and surround it with the ark of love and trust, right in the midst of its seeming enemies. (MBD/Moses)
  2. By faith, he left Egypt. Moses’ fleeing to the wilderness represents the discipline that we must undergo when we have sought the exalted One. Horeb means solitude, that is, we have to go into the solitude of the within and lead our flock of thoughts to the back of the wilderness, where dwells the exalted One, the divine I AM, whose kingdom is good judgment. There we are in training forty years, or until we arrive at a four-sided or balanced state of mind.

The Faith of Other Israelite Heroes

11:29 By faith, they passed through the Red Sea as on dry land. When the Egyptians tried to do so, they were swallowed up. 11:30 By faith, the walls of Jericho fell down,1 after they had been encircled for seven days. 11:31 By faith, Rahab the prostitute, didn't perish with those who were disobedient, having received the spies in peace.

11:32 What more shall I say? For the time would fail me if I told of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and the prophets; 11:33 who, through faith subdued kingdoms, worked out righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,[37] 11:34 quenched the power of fire,[38] escaped the edge of the sword,[39] from weakness were made strong, grew mighty in war, and caused foreign armies to flee.2 11:35 Women received their dead by resurrection.[40] Others were tortured, not accepting their deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. 11:36 Others were tried by mocking and scourging, yes, moreover by bonds and imprisonment. 11:37 They were stoned.[41] They were sawn apart. They were tempted. They were slain with the sword.[42] They went around in sheep skins and in goat skins; being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated 11:38 (of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts, mountains, caves, and the holes of the earth.

11:39 These all, having had testimony given to them through their faith, didn't receive the promise,3 11:40 God having provided some better thing concerning us, so that apart from us they should not be made perfect.

  1. By faith, the walls of Jericho fell down. Moses, the law, ever urges man forward to greater expressions of inherent abilities, but the law requires adherence to certain principles, as it urges the children of the real to go forward. Moses, in Joshua 1:1,2, represents the evolutionary force of new ideas that have grown in the subconsciousness until they have lifted Israel (our true, spiritual thoughts) out of the depths of sense (Egyptian) bondage into a higher life expression. He has led the new ideas safely through the wilderness of our untried and undisciplined mind to the border of Canaan; then he gives up his leadership to Joshua.
  2. who, through faith subdued kingdoms ... and caused foreign armies to flee. What quality in the mind causes men to persist in doing that which to the sense perception seems impossible? A short name for it is faith. Faith is the assurance of hope. Columbus began with hope, which gradually strengthened in his mind, until it became substance, which is the ultimate of every idea one firmly believes in and assiduously cultivates. Faith, then, is not confined to religion, but has to do with every department of life. Faith is one of the fundamental ideas in Divine Mind and is made active in man's consciousness in whatsoever place he may elect to put it. It works in small things as well as great—take your choice. If you want to remove mountains, you must have the faith of God. A very small quantity of that kind of faith will do it, according to the teaching of Jesus.
  3. didn't receive the promise. What “advantage has the believer in God over the materialist or the unbeliever? The believer is convinced that all creation rests on a spiritual foundation and that the manifest comes out of the unmanifest—that invisible realm of causation, which is completely charged with the creative principle of life or “word of God.” The materialist, or unbeliever, having no such faith on which to stand, lacks understanding of the source or first cause of life. He rejects the firm foundation of faith.

Fillmore Study Bible annotations compiled by Susan St. John.

World English Bible Footnotes:

Hebrews 12

(Online: ASV WEB)

The Example of Jesus

12:1 Therefore let us also, seeing we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses,1 lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 12:2 looking to Jesus, the author2 and perfecter3 of faith,4 who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising its shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

12:3 For consider him who has endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, that you don't grow weary, fainting in your souls. 12:4 You have not yet resisted to blood, striving against sin; 12:5 and you have forgotten the exhortation which reasons with you as with children,

"My son, don't take lightly the chastening of the Lord,

nor faint when you are reproved by him;

12:6 For whom the Lord loves, he chastens,5

and scourges every son whom he receives."[43]

12:7 It is for discipline that you endure. God deals with you as with children, for what son is there whom his father doesn't discipline? 12:8 But if you are without discipline, of which all have been made partakers, then are you illegitimate, and not children. 12:9 Furthermore, we had the fathers of our flesh to chasten us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much rather be in subjection to the Father of spirits, and live? 12:10 For they indeed, for a few days, punished us as seemed good to them; but he for our profit, that we may be partakers of his holiness. 12:11 All chastening seems for the present to be not joyous but grievous; yet afterward it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been exercised thereby.

12:12 Therefore, lift up the hands that hang down and the feeble knees,[44] 12:13 and make straight paths for your feet,[45]6 so that which is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed.

  1. a cloud of witnesses. [See the painting, Giusto de' Menabuoi, Paradise, Padua Baptistry's frescoed dome, 1375-1378, at the start of Fillmore Study Bible: Hebrews. The cloud of witnesses speak from a higher dimension. (MH)]
  2. the author. [Greek term for author is archēgos, meaning the chief leader, prince, one that takes the lead in any thing and thus affords an example, a predecessor in a matter, pioneer. You may recognize the word archetype coming from this word. In metaphysical Christianity, we refer to archēgos as the Wayshower. (MH)]
  3. and perfecter. [Greek term for perfecter is teleiōtēs, meaning finisher, a perfecter, one who has in his own person raised faith to its perfection and so set before us the highest example of faith. (MH)]
  4. of faith. See previous chapter.
  5. For whom the Lord loves, he chastens, and scourges every son whom he receives. Law is the orderly working out of the Principle, or Principle in action. When people do not work in harmony with the Principle they build up error states of consciousness. These later manifest in the body and affairs in many inharmonious ways, such as sickness, pain, discord, strife, poverty and death. This explains the text in Hebrews 12:6, "Whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth." If people did not reap the result of their error in suffering, they would never seek the kingdom of God, or right ideas, that they might come into right relation with the Great Principle of Being. When we understand the Principle and work from it, in harmony with the Law, all things will be possible to us. (Unity, September 1918, p.232).
  6. make straight paths for your feet. [An allusion to Isaiah 40.] When we steadfastly hold in mind a conviction that what we believe in exists and is to become visible, we attract unseen energized substance to us and give it the form of our conviction. Conviction is the mold in which unseen substance crystallizes and becomes visible.

Warnings against Rejecting God’s Grace

12:14 Follow after peace with all men,1 and the sanctification without which no man will see the Lord, 12:15 looking carefully lest there be any man who falls short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and many be defiled by it; 12:16 lest there be any sexually immoral person, or profane person, like Esau,2 who sold his birthright for one meal. 12:17 For you know that even when he afterward desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for a change of mind though he sought it diligently with tears.

12:18 For you have not come to a mountain that might be touched,3 and that burned with fire, and to blackness, darkness, storm, 12:19 the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which those who heard it begged that not one more word should be spoken to them, 12:20 for they could not stand that which was commanded, "If even an animal touches the mountain, it shall be stoned[46];"[47] 12:21 and so fearful was the appearance, that Moses said, "I am terrified and trembling."[48]

12:22 But you have come to Mount Zion,4 and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable multitudes of angels, 12:23 to the general assembly and assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, 12:24 to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant,[49] and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better than that of Abel.

12:25 See that you don't refuse him who speaks. For if they didn't escape when they refused him who warned on the Earth, how much more will we not escape who turn away from him who warns from heaven, 12:26 whose voice shook the earth then, but now he has promised, saying, "Yet once more I will shake not only the earth, but also the heavens."[50] 12:27 This phrase, "Yet once more," signifies the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that have been made, that those things which are not shaken may remain. 12:28 Therefore, receiving a Kingdom that can't be shaken, let us have grace, through which we serve God acceptably, with reverence and awe, 12:29 for our God is a consuming fire.[51]5

  1. Follow after peace with all men. Harmony and tranquillity derived from awareness of the Christ consciousness. Until world peace is based on the divine law of love and this law incorporated into the pact of peace as well as into the minds of those who sign the pact, there will be no permanent peace. (RW/peace)
  2. Esau. The body or physical vigour. In the immature consciousness the natural human is moved by desire. Appetite and passion are satisfied regardless of the higher law. The feeling of our inward rebellion when we are changing our modes of thought. (MBD/Esau)
  3. For you have not come to a mountain that might be touched. An allusion to Mount Sinai, Exodus 20:18-21.
  4. But you have come to Mount Zion. a A fortified hill that David took from the Jebusites. David built his palace there (II Sam. 5:7), and the place was called the city of David. Later Zion became a part of the city of Jerusalem. In referring to the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, Zion symbolizes spiritual consciousness. Metaphysically, Zion is Love's abode in the phase of the subjective consciousness where high, holy thoughts and ideals abide. (MBD/Zion)
  5. consuming fire. Symbolizes cleansing and purification, the fire of the Spirit of reality. The whole universe is alive with a divine, living spiritual energy that consumes all the rubbish of sense and materiality, burning eternally when it meets rubbish. The fire consumes only when it meets anything unlike itself. In purified humanity is manifested as eternal life. (RW/fire)

Fillmore Study Bible annotations compiled by Susan St. John.

World English Bible Footnotes:

Hebrews 13

(Online: ASV WEB)

Service Well-Pleasing to God

13:1 Let brotherly love continue. 13:2 Don't forget to show hospitality to strangers, for in doing so, some have entertained angels1 without knowing it. 13:3 Remember those who are in bonds, as bound with them; and those who are ill-treated, since you are also in the body. 13:4 Let marriage2 be held in honor among all, and let the bed be undefiled: but God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterers.3

13:5 Be free from the love of money,4 content with such things as you have, for he has said, "I will in no way leave you, neither will I in any way forsake you."[52] 13:6 So that with good courage we say,

"The Lord is my helper. I will not fear.

What can man do to me?"[53]

13:7 Remember your leaders, men who spoke to you the word of God, and considering the results of their conduct, imitate their faith. 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.5 13:9 Don't be carried away by various and strange teachings, for it is good that the heart be established by grace, not by food, through which those who were so occupied were not benefited.

13:10 We have an altar from which those who serve the holy tabernacle have no right to eat. 13:11 For the bodies of those animals, whose blood is brought into the holy place by the high priest as an offering for sin, are burned outside of the camp.[54] 13:12 Therefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people through his own blood, suffered outside of the gate. 13:13 Let us therefore go out to him outside of the camp, bearing his reproach. 13:14 For we don't have here an enduring city, but we seek that which is to come.6 13:15 Through him, then, let us offer up a sacrifice of praise to God[55] continually, that is, the fruit of lips which proclaim allegiance to his name. 13:16 But don't forget to be doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.

13:17 Obey your leaders7 and submit to them, for they watch on behalf of your souls, as those who will give account, that they may do this with joy, and not with groaning, for that would be unprofitable for you.

13:18 Pray for us,8 for we are persuaded that we have a good conscience, desiring to live honorably in all things. 13:19 I strongly urge you to do this, that I may be restored to you sooner.

  1. angels. A messenger of God; a projection into the consciousness of the spiritual idea direct from the Fountainhead. The word of truth in which is centered the power of God to overcome all limited beliefs and conditions. (RW/angel)
  2. marriage. Metaphysically, marriage between two dominant states of consciousness; a union of the higher forces in being with the lower and we are quickened in every part. Higher consciousness is poured out for us. (RW/marriage)
  3. sexually immoral and adulterers. (Sexually immoral, fornicator, ASV): One who debases the spiritual nature (RW/fornication). Adulterer: One who mixes thought, errors that have existence in unrepented feelings, have not come under the authority of the Spiritual self (I AM) (RW/adultery).
  4. Be free from the love of money. If the mind is free from attachment to money or love of it, and lovingly concentrated on the divine substance, there is never failure in the demonstration. (Keep a True Lent, p.106)
  5. yesterday, today, and forever. [An often-used phrase that God is abiding, eternal, and unchangeable. It’s message is to trust God. In this passage, the writer is saying to beware looking to politics (verse 7) or faddish religion (verse 9) to solve problems. “Divine law worked yesterday, is working today, and will work forever to bring about order and balance in all things” (Unity Correspondence Course, Series 2, Lesson 11, Annotation 7, What is the sure way to establish justice in one's affairs?)(MH)]
  6. For we don't have here an enduring city, but we seek that which is to come. [A city whose builder and maker is God. See Heb. 11:10.]
  7. Obey your leaders. [Trust you minister.]
  8. Pray for us. [and see your minister as a friend.]


13:20 Now may the God of peace, who brought again from the dead the great shepherd of the sheep with the blood of an eternal covenant, our Lord Jesus, 13:21 make you complete1 in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

  1. complete. Perfect, ASV. See Heb. 12:3.

Final Exhortation and Greetings

13:22 But I exhort you, brothers, endure the word of exhortation, for I have written to you in few words. 13:23 Know that our brother Timothy has been freed,1 with whom, if he comes shortly, I will see you. 13:24 Greet all of your leaders and all the saints. The Italians greet you. 13:25 Grace be with you all. Amen.

  1. Timothy has been freed. Metaphysically, Timothy is inspired reason united with faith (Paul). [See the Introduction. The church is coming under attack.]

Fillmore Study Bible annotations compiled by Susan St. John.

World English Bible Footnotes:

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