Christianity in the Apostolic Age

By George T. Purves | Go to book overview

III THE FINAL TRANSITION FROM JUDAISM TO CHRISTIANITY

296. THE Epistle to the Hebrews turns our attention once more to Christianity in Palestine; not, however, merely to the condition of the Jewish disciples (sect. 172), but to the larger fact of the real transition which apostolic teaching effected from the religion of Moses to Christ. There can be little doubt that it was written shortly before the fall of Jerusalem (sect. 273), and that the increasing troubles of the Jewish nation, the evident approach of the crisis in her history (see Heb. x. 25), the widening separation of even the Jewish Christians from their former associations, together with the rapid growth of Gentile Christianity, suggested to the author his exposition.

297. The epistle presents Christianity as the legitimate and divinely intended result of the religion of Moses. It supplies a place in apostolic teaching the loss of which would have been irreparable. Judaic Christianity had hitherto presented the gospel as the true interpretation of the law, and remained devoted to the observance of the ritual. The apostle of the Gentiles had wrought out, by deed and word, the independence of the gospel both from Jewish ceremonialism and from the attendant disposition to rely for salvation upon works of all kinds. Yet it was assumed by all that the religion of Moses had been

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