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Hebrews

In Hebrews 11, the classic Hall of Faith, there are some strange textual anomalies. Those anomalies point at problems with author's witness, which in turn point at the vault near Sychar. Read on for more.

Hebrews Chapter 11

Hebrews does not have a named author, but we believe Paul to be the author of the inspired parts of that material. In the Testimony we rename that material as a letter to Jerusalem because Paul's writings are either to a person or to a place.

We have essentially copied over Hebrews Chapter 11, with certain changes. We drop stories that fail by rules from Acts 15 and we drop individuals that are out of order, suggesting they were added by editors later.

Hebrews 11 does not have the normal sense of the author writing about something they themselves have witnessed. Instead, Paul is writing about something he has read that was written in the past.

This is in part why we think this was written to Jerusalem, a city where they should know the historical texts. Paul is using a series of historical examples where people had to flee because Jerusalem itself only had until 70 AD when the Romans eventually burned it down.

Because of this particular writing style we should be able to track down the original material and think about how Paul uses it. This is where we find anomalies. Let me give some simple examples.

Enoch

Hebrews 11:5 indicates that Enoch did not taste death, and that there was a testimonial about him, that he pleased god.

When we go back to Genesis 5 and read about Enoch, we find that he did not die, because god took him away. This agrees.

But, when we go back to Genesis to read the testimonial, we find no such testimonial. We cannot read about whatever it was that caused his ride.

So where is Paul getting this idea? Where did he read it?

Abram

Hebrews 11:10 has a similar problem. Here Paul is explaining that Abram was looking for a city whose builder and maker is god.

This city, of course, is hinted at in Revelation, basically the size of an artificial moon. Not something on earth.

But the problem the Hebrews 11 passage presents is similar to Enoch. How does Paul know this about Abram? How does Paul know Abram was seeking a city in the sky when he departed Ur eventually for Shechem?

Abram was not seeking a city in Canaan. His departure from Ur was the act of faith that won him residency in that city in the sky. Eden is another name for that same place.

So where is Paul getting this idea? Where did he read it?

Moses

Hebrews 11:24-27 is yet another example of trouble in Hebrews 11. It gives quite a few details about Moses' motivation for leaving Pharaoh's house.

In normal Bibles we read that Moses fled to Midian for fear of his life. Hebrews 11 is a very different story, and rich with details that may have happened, but how does Paul know? Where did he read it?

Vault Copies

When Joshua went to the field ripe for harvest near Sychar, ie near Shechem, we believe he extracted the inspired, OT, vault copies left in that location by the prophet Jeremiah.

Until the past few weeks this is all that we thought was in that double cave.

But, imagine there were more texts in the cave. More than just the inspired versions of the texts which we find edited and buried inside today's Bible.

For the inspired NT writers, all of the attendees at the Acts 15 council, that set of Sychar documents was their canon. Their canon was not just the OT books, but all books in that vault, whatever they may have been.

The existence of books outside of our canon would explain this peculiar writing style we are exploring here in Hebrews 11.

More

In these examples we can mentally more or less cross the gap between the NT writing and the original text. The missing pieces are not very big.

This is not always the case, causing more trouble for what might have been in the vault. I will cover some of those examples next time.

More Later,

Phil