| Three Key Elements Used In Doctrine Creation
Used by permission, from the Agnostic Review of Christianity website
The Book of Hebrews in the New Testament is often proclaimed by fundamentalist Christians to be a masterful explanation of God's plan for humanity.
The Book of Hebrews didn't become part of the Bible without some controversy.
The Protestant theologian Martin Luther didn't seem to care much for the Book of Hebrews, but the Catholic Church accepted it as canon and it appears in the mainstream Bible that's presented to the public as the word of God today.
Although many people speculate that the author of Hebrews was Paul, there is no evidence that establishes such a speculation as fact. Whoever the author was, they are touted by fundamentalists to have been inspired by God and their writing represents God's infallible Holy Word.
If this is true then the standard for accuracy regarding anything in the Bible is by default set to an extremely high level if fundamentalist Christian assertions are to be taken seriously.
However, there are many items in the Book of Hebrews that indicate the writing is more a scripted piece of Christian advertising rather than something inspired and approved of by the all-powerful Bible God.
The writing in Hebrews exhibits three key elements commonly found in Christian indoctrination procedures.
Those three elements are:
- The borrowing of selected pieces of Old Testament scripture, which are then used to validate the credibility and authority of Jesus.
- The creation of a new doctrine that "overrides" God's Old Testament teachings and stipulations.
- The use of fear to persuade converts that God will be angry if the new doctrine is rejected.
The Book of Hebrews is filled with many verses that borrow pieces of scripture from the Old Testament teachings to make selling points, some of which also manage to contradict basic Old Testament teachings.
The Book of Hebrews also begins by asserting that Jesus was a created being, superior to the angels, and a representation or image of God's being.
[Of note: Created beings aren't eternal and this is not good news for Trinity proponents that insist Jesus is also eternal God.
Created celestial beings like angels may be immortal but they have a creator and didn't always exist.]
A prime example of borrowing can be found in Heb 1:5 where the celestial Jesus is given a special designation of "Son".
In order to reinforce the story line about the authority and special nature of Jesus, the author lifts segments of two verses from the Old Testament and incorporates them into his writing and then claims that these verses really refer to Jesus.
For unto which of the angels said he (God) at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?
The first lifted segment is from Psa 2:7, which is about King David being appointed by God.
Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.
I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me (David), Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.
The begotten son is David, when he was declared king and son by decree from God.
Jesus isn't anywhere in this scripture. God was speaking to David and Jesus never sat on the throne at any time nor does he appear in the Old Testament.
The second lifted segment is from 2 Sam 7:14, where God is telling David that Solomon will follow him on the throne. Solomon would build the temple in God's name and he would also be a son of God.
2 Sam 7:13-14
He (Solomon) shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever.
I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men:
But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee.
The Bible records that Solomon became king (1 Kings 2:12), built the temple (1 Kings 8:20), and held the throne until he died.
Jesus isn't present anywhere in 2 Sam 7:14, never sat on the throne, and never built a temple.
In this case the son being referred to is Solomon. [Contrary to pervasive and deceptive Christian advertising, being a "son of God" isn't something reserved exclusively for the New Testament character called "Jesus".
Adam was a son of God (Luke 3:38), the angels are sons of God ( Job 1:6), Israel is a son of God (Exo 4:22), Satan is a son of God (Job 1:6), as are the kings that sat on the throne such as David and Solomon.]
Both of these Old Testament verses (Psa 2:7 and 2 Sam 7:14) were dismantled, with the useful pieces of scripture carried off or hijacked by the author of Hebrews and then turned into "evidence" for the authority of the human sacrifice and new savior called "Jesus".
In another example, the author of Hebrews borrowed a piece of scripture from Psa 40 that served his purpose and ignored portions that would have negated the image of Jesus that he was trying to create.
There are several manufactured themes in the following verses:
Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.
By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
Jesus is portrayed as the speaker who comes to do God's will.
Jesus is portrayed as taking away the "first system" of the law and replacing it with a "second system", which is salvation through faith in a human blood sacrifice.
Jesus is portrayed as being the ultimate sacrifice for all people for all time.
Faith in the human sacrifice now trumps obedience to the Law of God.
In essence, the old religion has now been replaced by the new "Christian" religion, which uses the "Jesus" figure to validate its claims.
The circular reasoning used to persuade unbelievers that these are all credible assertions can be expressed as follows:
The Christian religion is valid and endorsed by the Bible God because Jesus is valid.
Jesus is valid because the Old Testament has Jesus described in it.
However, the borrowed piece from Psa 40 isn't about Jesus.
The Psalms are the reflections and thoughts pertaining to David and the revelation of God to him, which are often expressed as wisdom sayings.
The speaker in Psa 40 is David, not Jesus. David is the speaker who wishes to do the will of God.
Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me,
I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.
David is claiming that he follows the ways of the Lord, which includes keeping his laws.
Also from the Psalms of David:
The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.
The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide.
[Jesus didn't have all the law within his heart, as he proclaimed that all foods were clean in Mark 7:18. This action by Jesus is contrary to doing God's will and is an affront to God because all foods are not clean according to God's law (Lev 11). Those who attempt to subvert the law and lead others away from it are deemed wicked (Psa 119:115,155).]
The author of Hebrews 10:9 simply performed the following operation on Psa 40:7-8: They lifted the words "Then said I, Lo I come:" from Psa 40:7 (changing the first "I" to "he").
They then lifted the words "to do thy will, O my God" from Psa 40:8. They then combined the lifted pieces together to form "Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God". The end result of this operation is that Jesus has been retrofitted into the Old Testament Book of Psalms.
David is booted out and replaced by Jesus, who must be legitimate because Jesus can be found saying things that were written in the Old Testament. It's amazing how God works. Praise!
This manufactured illusion may be convincing to audiences that are susceptible to smoke and mirrors but this form of premeditated and contrived scriptural "proof" of Jesus doesn't hold up well if other verses in Psa 40 are to be taken seriously.
For example, if bits of Psa 40 can be cobbled together and used to validate and "prove" that Jesus as being the speaker in Psa 40, then it can just as easily be shown that Jesus was not the speaker.
Consider the following:
For innumerable evils have compassed me about: mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that I am not able to look up; they are more than the hairs of mine head: therefore my heart faileth me.
Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me: O LORD, make haste to help me.
Why didn't the author of Hebrews tell his audience that Jesus also said "mine iniquities have taken hold upon me"?
If Psa 40:7-8 are really all about Jesus then why isn't this quote from Psa 40:12 about Jesus as well?
Of course, the answer is that Jesus can't have any iniquities because it would ruin the alleged sinless and spotless nature that was trying to be created by the author in Heb 7:26:
For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;
Jesus, by definition, must be holy and undefiled. Therefore the author of Hebrews had no use for Psa 40:12. They only used the pieces of Psa 40 that were useful in selling the product.
As part of the new doctrine of a one size fits all savior, the author of Hebrews claims that Jesus is also a high priest of God and now holds the priesthood entirely by himself.
A new priesthood has replaced the old priesthood that God established in Exodus.
The support for this claim rests on a mysterious Old Testament character called "Melchizedek".
Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec.
Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.
In the Old Testament Melchizedec (or Melchizedek) has a grand total of 1(one) verse written about him (Gen 14:18) that gives information regarding who he was.
Melchizedek was a king and priest of God who blessed Abram (later called Abraham) after his victory while rescuing Lot.
Abram then gave Melchizedek 10% of the recovered property in return.
That's it. That's all there is in the Old Testament about Melchizedek.
The Jewish religious sect called Essenes may have regarded Melchizedek as a heavenly priest and righteous judge, who was an exalted immortal angelic being who visited the earth in human form and played the role of priest and king.
The Book of Hebrews may have been at least partially influenced by and aimed at Essene sect members as it defines Melchizedek as one without genealogy, without beginning or end (Heb 7:3).
The influence of the Essenes may have contributed significantly to the various New Testament doctrines that revolve around the character called "Jesus".
But the Essenes are not specifically mentioned in the Bible, nor is there anything in the Old Testament that establishes Melchizedek as anything other than a king/priest who lived long before the Law of God was given to Moses.
Extra-biblical writings about Melchizedek, like the Book of Enoch and many other writings, never made it into the official word of God known as the Holy Bible, and as such cannot be considered the inspired word of God.
They cannot be used as scriptural proof texts to validate doctrines found in the New Testament.
The earthly Melchizedek, as described in the Bible, lived hundreds of years prior to the law being given to Moses, and was not part of the Aaronic (Levitical) priesthood that was established during the days of Moses and his brother Aaron.
Melchizedek performed some priestly functions but not those of a Levitical priest.
The full service Levitical priesthood, which included sin sacrifices, superseded the priesthood of prior periods by God's decree in Exo 28-29. Sin sacrifices weren't established until Moses received instructions from God to set them up. Melchizedek wasn't at all involved with the Levitical priesthood nor did the office of high priest appear until the Levites assumed the functions of that office as ordained by God.
God also promised that the priesthood, through a lasting covenant, would belong exclusively to the Levites, the descendants of Aaron (Exo 29:9)(Num 25:13).
The Levites might have lost this exclusive office but they helped put down the rebellion of the people for worshipping the golden calf and God promised to bless them for their loyalty (Exo 32:29). The Levitical priesthood was then officially established in Exo 40.
The promise of the priesthood belonging to the Levites, through a perpetual covenant, is firmly reiterated in Jer 33:18-22. There is no mention whatsoever about another priesthood ever replacing it.
The justification for this doctrinal surprise is highlighted in following verses:
If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron?
First, the author of Hebrews attempts to discredit the Levitical priesthood.
The first part of Heb 7:11 makes a misleading statement. The initial laws, including the commonly referred to Ten Commandments, were given to the people (Exo 20) before the Levitical priesthood was officially outlined (Exo 29) and established .
As noted earlier, the Levitical priesthood was actually established (Exo 40) after the Israelites had worshipped the golden calf and the Levites redeemed themselves by putting down the rebellion by killing their fellow Israelites (Exo 32).
The author of Hebrews then introduces a "need" for a new priesthood in the second part of Heb 7:11. The justification for this new priesthood is because the author of Hebrews says it was needed.
This new doctrine conflicts with God's promise that the Levites would be his priests and would hold that office as part of a perpetual covenant (Jer 33:18-22). The next claim is:
For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.
The law doesn't have to change because the priesthood changes. The commonly referred to Ten Commandments were the same under the people's priesthood as they were under the Levitical priesthood.
The author of Hebrews wants people to think that a new priesthood (held by Jesus) is needed because the laws of God are being replaced. However, the new covenant defined by God in Jer 31:31-34 says nothing about God's laws being replaced by faith in a human sacrifice. No new priesthood is needed or authorized.
There is no priesthood which ever superseded the Levitical priesthood as the author of Hebrews claims.
Moses never mentioned that an "order of Melchizedek" would supersede the Levitical priesthood and Jeremiah says nothing about it.
Jeremiah stated that the Levites are priests by a perpetual covenant mandated by God (Jer 33:18-22).
Neither shall the priests the Levites want a man before me to offer burnt offerings, and to kindle meat offerings, and to do sacrifice continually.
And the word of the LORD came unto Jeremiah, saying,
Thus saith the LORD; If ye can break my covenant of the day, and my covenant of the night, and that there should not be day and night in their season;
Then may also my covenant be broken with David my servant, that he should not have a son to reign upon his throne; and with the Levites the priests, my ministers.
As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, neither the sand of the sea measured: so will I multiply the seed of David my servant, and the Levites that minister unto me.
The next claim is:
For he of whom these things are spoken pertaineth to another tribe, of which no man gave attendance at the altar.
For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood.
And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest,
Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life.
The author of Hebrew acknowledges that priests are to come from the tribe of Levi, not Judah.
An attempt is then made to "fix" the problem of Jesus not being a Levitical priest as required by law to preside over and offer a sin sacrifice.
Jesus doesn't qualify to be a Levitical priest, so a new priesthood is created in order for Jesus to become a priest and offer himself as a sin sacrifice.
All of this is "evident" simply because the author of Hebrews says it is.
The Old Testament confirms none of this doctrinal hocus-pocus.
The next claim is:
For he testifieth, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.
In Heb 7:17 the author of Hebrews attempted to make Psa 110:4 about Jesus when it is about David.
The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.
Heb 7:17 refers to Ps 110:4 which is about David, not Jesus. David and his son Solomon were priests like Melchizedek in that they performed some but not all priestly functions (2 Sam 6:17) (1 Kings 9:25).
While burnt and peace offerings existed prior to the Levitical priesthood, the full services of the Levitical priesthood did not. Instructions for sin offerings don't appear as a ritual until Exo 29. Until the tabernacle was built, there was no full service priesthood.
The next claim is:
For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof.
For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.
In the above verses, the author of Hebrews continues the work of deconstructing the law of God and the Levitical priesthood by labeling it as weak and useless. This contradicts Psa 19:7 where the law and its regulations are to be declared to be perfect and trustworthy.
The next claim is:
By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament.
And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death:
But this man(Jesus), because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.
Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.
For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;
The author of Hebrews proclaims that the priesthood of the immortal Jesus replaced the "old" Levitical priesthood and Jesus can provide a better form of salvation. The perpetual priesthood that God promised the Levites is canceled, the Levites are booted out the door, and in their place Jesus waltzes in.
The next claim is:
But now hath he(Jesus) obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.
For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.
In these verses, the author of Hebrews asserts that Jesus is the mediator of a new and better covenant.
The new covenant as defined by God in Jer 31:31-34 says nothing about people needing a mediator to establish a new contract with God. The new covenant would reaffirm God's existing laws and place them in the minds and hearts of the people. There is nothing about needing a human sacrifice savior to implement or mediate any of this.
The next claim is:
In that he (God) saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.
Christians often declare that the new covenant was immediately set in place when Jesus died on the cross. The author of Hebrews contradicts this by declaring that the old covenant is "ready to vanish away".
In other words, even after the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, the new covenant still hadn't been implemented.
Also of note is that the new covenant in Jer 31:31-34 states that the people would know God and no longer need to be taught about him. They would have the law in their hearts and would obey it under a new contract.
Ironically, rather than having God's law in their hearts and minds, Christians use the new covenant to excuse themselves from the law, claiming that they don't have to observe the strict Sabbath or any other statutes that are simply too inconvenient for them to follow. Christians that do this have simply hijacked the phrase "new covenant", redefined its stipulations, and then use it as justification for not following God's laws. This charade becomes even more glaring when Christians then preach to the world about their God having moral absolutes (laws) that transcend time.
The so-called moral absolutes of God are only binding when Christians want them to be.
Christianity needs to face up to the truth that the new covenant, as defined by God in Jer 31:31-34, has never arrived, nor does it need a special "priest" called Jesus to implement it.
The next claim is:
But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;
Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.
For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh:
How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
In these verses, The new high priest called Jesus is advertised as a superior blood sacrifice.
This is a concocted doctrine with no support if the laws of God are to be taken seriously.
Human sacrifices don't comply with God's law on sin sacrifices, nor does the new covenant as defined in Jer 31:31-34 call for such a thing.
Each person would die for their own sin and would redeem themselves by their own actions (Jer 31:30, Ezek 18:20-28). The next claim is:
And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.
In this verse, the author of Hebrews makes a false claim by stating that without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
In the Old Testament there are different types of sins that require different types of sacrifices or atonement. Forgiveness does not always require bloodshed. Offerings of fine flour (Lev 5:11), money (Exo 30:15-16), jewelry (Num 31:50) and prayer (Hos 14:1-4) can also atone for sin.
There is an important distinction between unintentional sin and intentional sin (Num 15:27-30). Unintentional sin or sins not committed willfully can be atoned for with a sin sacrifice involving blood.
Intentional sin or sin committed on purpose cannot be atoned for by a sin sacrifice.
Some intentional sins require a guilt sacrifice (Lev 5:14-26) to be made.
Other forms of intentional sin may be forgiven by the act of contrition and repenting (Ezek 18:20-30).
The new covenant would usher in an era where God's laws would be put in the minds and hearts of the people and God would forgive their sins.
But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.
Note that there is absolutely nothing in these verses that states the people will need to believe that a human sin sacrifice in order for their sins to be forgiven. There is nothing about people needing a savior.
The next claim is:
So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.
Once again, a human sacrifice savior called "Jesus" is advertised to be a legitimate sin sacrifice.
The author of Hebrews simply makes one assertion after another, and because it appears in the New Testament, fundamentalist Christians assume it must be the word of God.
Also of note is the doctrine of the second coming, where Jesus comes again for the faithful.
However, there is nothing in this verse which indicates that there would be a 2,000 year time gap between the crucifixion and the second coming of Jesus. Any believer who was waiting (see Heb 10:25) for Jesus to come back when this was written is long dead.
Instructions are given in order to keep people believing what they had been taught:
Let us (Christians) hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)
The Book of Hebrews was probably written to reassure people that Jesus was really coming back soon and that he wasn't a false Messiah. Note that believers are told to "keep the faith" because the promises of Jesus are trustworthy.
More evidence of this is found in the following:
For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.
For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.
Believers are told to have patience in order to receive their reward.
But the promise that something big would be arriving soon, without tarrying, turned out to be false.
Jesus never made good on the promise of a second coming, the sure sign of a false prophet, but that didn't stop the author of Hebrews from claiming that Jesus was worthy of more honor than Moses (Heb 3:3)
Of course, the "will of God" can be whatever a zealous believer or church official wants it to be.
In this case, God's alleged will involves believing in an invalid human sacrifice, a concocted priesthood, and a bogus prophecy about a second coming.
Rationalizing these flimsy doctrines and failed prophecies into the word of an all-powerful deity means job security for professional Christian apologists and the author of Hebrews was also quite skilled at doing so.
The third step of doctrine creation involves the repeated use of fear as a deterrent.
When a doctrine is sold to people as being the word of God, there needs to be a tool that frightens potential converts into accepting the doctrine as divinely inspired "truth".
The fear component also serves to keep those who are already converted from falling away or questioning the faith that they've accepted.
A fine example of this can be found in the following:
Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.
Note that unbelief is equated with "evil". A person must believe or they are accused of having an evil heart.
This black and white portrayal of evil has served fundamentalist Christianity well.
If a believer should start to question what has been taught to them, the literal "fear of God" is put into their minds in order to quell any thoughts that don't align with what the church hierarchy wants them to believe. Fundamentalist mouthpieces for God are experts at playing this card whenever one of the flock appears to be thinking for themselves and shows signs of no longer wanting to carry around the theological baggage that was sold to them by self-anointed preachers.
The Book of Hebrews tells believers to submit to authority figures:
Be obedient to those leading you, and be subject, for these do watch for your souls, as about to give account, that with joy they may do this, and not sighing, for this is unprofitable to you.
The authority of the Catholic Church is deemed by many believers to be the sole vehicle that guarantees that a believer has "proper" faith.
The Church embodies and carries on the teachings of Jesus and the original apostles, and with that comes the ability and authority to interpret scripture correctly. The context of scripture is to be interpreted by the Church Fathers and not left to the private interpretation of believers (ref: Council of Trent 1545-1563).
If a believer is reaching different conclusions than those put forth by the Church, then that believer needs to adjust their thinking. In other words, the traditions and teachings of the Church must be obeyed to be in good standing with God.
The Church, though its hierarchy, imparts wisdom to the masses and makes their lives easier because they are not burdened with the risk of being led astray by their own thoughts.
Of course, many fundamentalist Protestants differ with these claims and consider the Catholic Church to be a corrupted representation of Christianity. They view the Church as interfering with true "faith".
Some Catholics in turn proclaim that Protestants are actually "Protest_Ants", small-minded people who have fallen away from the Church and are biased and rebellious toward its authority, which was established by Jesus himself.
Ironically, Christianity itself departs from the living God because it replaces the law of God with a "new covenant" which centers on faith in a one size fits all human blood sacrifice.
Those who depart from God's law and who teach others to believe in false saviors are deemed wicked by the God of the Old Testament (Psa 50:16-17). Trinitarian Christianity goes even further, proclaiming that the character "Jesus" is actually God, despite God's earlier proclamations throughout the Old Testament that he is not a man (Num 23:19) and that there were no other saviors but him (Isa 43:10-11).
However, because the Bible can mean virtually anything believers want it to mean, "God" takes on the form of a cardboard cutout, a manifestation of personal and group theological whims, preferences, and speculations. Great amounts of energy and money are then spent propping up the cardboard cutout and advertising it as the "one true God", whose definition is tweaked and molded as expediency dictates.
The use of fear is again employed in the following:
He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:
Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?
In these verses, the author of Hebrews states that those who rejected the law of Moses were punished by death (the law of Moses is actually the law of God that was transmitted through Moses).
It then goes on to warn people that rejecting Jesus will be even worse than death.
In other words, if people thought rejecting some laws was painful, just wait and see what can happen if they reject Jesus! Punishment even worse than death will happen if you reject Jesus!
This is nothing more than blatant fear mongering, dressed up as pious righteousness.
Another threat is revealed here:
See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven:
For our God is a consuming fire.
The fear theme is again fairly obvious and use of words like obey, refuse not, and submit are evidence that no deviation from the prescribed teaching is to be tolerated. God will consume, presumably with hellfire, anyone who "refuses" what he speaks from heaven.
However, this all-powerful God doesn't really speak from heaven in a literal sense for people today.
Instead, this God appoints designated human mouthpieces to speak for him on earth.
More of the same fear based theology is seen here:
It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
So says the author of Hebrews, and because it appears in the Bible, it must be true.
If a New Testament writer asserts something (it doesn't really matter what they assert), it must be assumed to be the word of God because it's in the Bible.
Naturally, the deity referred to as "the living God" is whatever version the preacher has created in their mind or has had defined for them by religious officials.
In reality, it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the religious mouthpieces for God, who specialize in making assertions about things they can't establish as facts.
Aggressive religious expressions such as fundamentalist Christianity, while wearing a mask of peaceful intentions and high morals, often seeks to strive with any beliefs that don't conform to theirs and seeks to assert their power over others.
Rather than being based on "the power within", it's really based on fear and competition.
It also has no problem using the construct of an "Almighty God" to justify its behavior.