Pay Attention!

Ayear0823pThat’s what orange signs along the highway do—they warn you to pay attention. The first explicit warning in the Book of Hebrews is in 2:1-3.

The book reminds you that in the Old Testament, disobedience was punished. The author mentions the Law as having given through angels. He may have in mind Deuteronomy 33:2 and Psalm 68:17, as well as references in writings made between the Old and New Testaments. In the New Testament the activity of angels in connection with the giving of the Law is mentioned in Acts 7:53 and Galatians 3:19, as well as this passage in Hebrews. The point is that, as glorious as were the angels, they were not the source of revelation in giving the law, but were simply a means, helpers that God used in communicating his will to his people. God was the ultimate speaker, but it was indirect speech. Hebrews is contrasting that, as you look back to Hebrews 1:1-2, with the revelation in the Son. He is far more glorious than they. Continue reading “Pay Attention!”

Better than Angels!

ps10424cAmerican Christians like to read about angels, as the present flurry of news concerning Alex Malarkey’s retraction of The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven indicates. The Bible is a much more reliable place to learn about angels, though even there you are likely left with unanswered questions. One of the lengthier passages dealing with angels is Hebrews 1:5-14, but even there the angels though an important topic, are introduced to show the way that Christ is better than they are.

The Son is one of a kind. He alone is addressed as “Son.” Note the force of the negative argument: Scripture must speak in areas of doctrine and worship. Its silence indicates that the title “son” does not belong to angels. Rather, only Christ is addressed this way. Hebrews quotes Psalm 2:7. Sonship, in an additional, messianic sense, began with the resurrection of Christ, Acts. 13:33. “He will be my Son” ultimately is addressed to Christ. The original statement (2 Samuel 7:14) applied to Solomon, David’s son, but that is only a partial fulfillment. Solomon fell far short of the perfection needed. Christ is the heir to David’s throne, Luke 1:32; the triumphal entry. The language, in its fullness, belongs to Christ. Here, as at some other points, Hebrews does not make a theological point and then support it by quoting Scripture. Rather, the quotations from Scripture carry the flow of thought, and he intersperses some comments. Continue reading “Better than Angels!”

The Magnificence of the Son

glory_6007cHebrews 1:3-4 points you to the greatness of Christ by focusing on his name. Christ has inherited a superior name. Christ is Son from all eternity. The superior name Christ inherits is “Son.” Christ is eternally Son. Although v. 4 refers to an acquired, messianic sonship, behind it lies the eternal relationship between the first and second persons of the Trinity. Beware of any denial of the eternal sonship of Jesus Christ. He is the second person of the Trinity from all eternity. The Son is the Maker of the universe, v. 2b. Creation is a function of being God himself. Christ is Creator, John 1:3; Colossians 1:16; and Proverbs 8:27-29. The glory of Isaiah 40 is his. Christ, as your maker, has a sovereign claim on you. Continue reading “The Magnificence of the Son”

God Has Spoken. Are You Listening?

hear_10924cBecause you are made in the image of God, communication is crucial. Hebrews begins (1:1-2) by telling you of the Christ who is the One in whom God has spoken.

God spoke in the prophets. God used to reveal himself in various ways. God gave his revelation in portions. Sarah Koenig’s popular podcast, “Serial,” gave bits and pieces of a complicated murder case, keeping listeners involved. God’s revelation in the Old Testament was written over a period of 1100 years, Moses to Malachi. God spoke in various ways: thundering from Sinai, a quiet voice to Elijah, visions to Daniel, engraving the Ten Words in stone, speaking a parable to David through Nathan, a glorious vision recounted by Isaiah, and preaching by Amos, Continue reading “God Has Spoken. Are You Listening?”

A Word of Exhortation

nt17cWhen you begin to read a document, you want to find out what kind of document it is. You sort mail. What kind of writing is Hebrews?

In order to appreciate that Hebrews is God’s Word to you, look at a couple of questions. Who wrote Hebrews? (Who is the “I” in Heb. 13:22?) Who is the human author? Is it Paul? The text does not identify the author. The eastern church accepted Paul as the author in the 2nd century, the west not until the 4th. Support for Pauline authorship seems to have grown out of a defense of the book’s place in the canon. Origen denied Pauline authorship. The style is not Paul’s. Who is the human author? Suggestions include Barnabas, Stephen, Apollos, Silas, Philip, Priscilla, Peter, and others. Origen wrote: “But as to who actually wrote the epistle, God knows the truth of the matter.” Continue reading “A Word of Exhortation”