Hebrews 1 • February 1, 2023 • w1390
Pastor John Miller begins our survey through the book of Hebrews with a message through Hebrews 1:1-14.
1:1 God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; 3 who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. 5 For to which of the angels did He ever say: "You are My Son, Today I have begotten You"? And again: "I will be to Him a Father, And He shall be to Me a Son"? 6 But when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says: "Let all the angels of God worship Him." 7 And of the angels He says: "Who makes His angels spirits And His ministers a flame of fire." 8 But to the Son He says: "Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your Kingdom. 9 You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of gladness more than Your companions." 10 And: "You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands. 11 They will perish, but You remain; And they will all grow old like a garment; 12 Like a cloak You will fold them up, And they will be changed. But You are the same, And Your years will not fail." 13 But to which of the angels has He ever said: "Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool"? 14 Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?
The unique thing about the book of Hebrews, and the thing that interests so many people, is that we don’t know who the human author is. The book of Hebrews has the most disputed issue as far as the authorship, but it is undisputed as to its inspiration and beauty. The book of Hebrews is written by an anonymous person. I can’t help but believe that it was written by Paul the Apostle.
I’m always curious how the number one thing so many people want to know, when it comes to the book of Hebrews, who wrote it. Commentaries will spend pages after pages talking about all the different pros and cons of different people they think wrote the book—maybe Luke, might be Barnabas, some people think Apollos. There are all these different theories as to who wrote the book of Hebrews. We don’t know who wrote the book of Hebrews, but my guess is that Paul the Apostle wrote it. I think that as you read the book of Hebrews, it seems Pauline in the way it’s written, in the style and the knowledge that Paul had. I don’t know who else could’ve written a book of this nature.
We don’t know who the writer is, but we do know a little bit about the recipients. First, a couple things that we don’t know about the recipients. We don’t know for sure where they lived. We don’t know if they lived in Rome or Israel, we just don’t know where they lived. I’ll read a verse in just a moment that gives some insight. We do know three things about them. They were believers. This is very, very important and we will be developing background as we go through the whole epistle, they were addressed as believers in Jesus.
Secondly, they were immature believers. This is significant. They were needing to grow and mature and to graduate to the meat of the Word. They were believers, but they were immature and were wavering in their faith. They were Jews who had come to faith in Jesus Christ as Messiah. This is probably the most important thing for you to understand to be able to understand the book of Hebrews. They were Jews, and the early believers in Jerusalem were Christians who were Jews. They were being persecuted for being Jewish Christians, so they were going through a time of difficulty, adversity, and persecution. Here’s the thing, they were actually getting discouraged in their Christian life and were wanting to go back to Judaism. Basically, the whole book of Hebrews is very simply written to these Jews to encourage them not to go back to Judaism, to go on in Christ.
One of the key words is the word “better,” that Christ is better than the old covenant, better than the Judaic system, and that they didn’t need to go back, they needed to go forward. He’s writing to encourage them. These were believers who were discouraged, going back to Judaism. The great Donald Grey Barnhouse used to say, “Hebrews was written to Hebrews to tell them to stop being Hebrews.” They were Jewish, but they were following Christ.
What we’re going to learn through the book of Hebrews is that Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of biblical Judaism that the prophets spoke about, the law pointed to, that it all pointed to Jesus Christ; and when you come to Christ, you have God and don’t need to go back to the old Judaic systems. It also encourages us that we don’t need religion, we have a relationship with the true and living God found in the Person of Jesus Christ.
Turn with me real quickly, we’ll be right back to Hebrews 1:1, to Hebrews 13:22. We see that the writer of the book of Hebrews actually describes the letter that he wrote and what it was. He says, “And I beseech you, brethren,” there again is the indication that they’re believers, “suffer the word of exhortation,” there it is, allow, submit to, or receive the word of exhortation, “for I have written a letter unto you in few words.” Hebrews is described here as a “word of exhortation,” so it’s a word of encouragement. He encourages them not to give up, not to get discouraged, not to go back, not to backslide but to progress. It’s encouragement for us to grow in our fellowship with God, in our knowledge of God in His Word and in our Christian faith.
Look at Hebrews 13:23, “Know ye that our brother Timothy is set at liberty; with whom, if he come shortly, I will see you.” Evidently, the writer of the book of Hebrews either knew Timothy personally, was familiar with him or associated with him, which would indicate Paul the Apostle, and then says, verse 24, “Salute all them that have the rule over you, and all the saints. They of Italy salute you. 25 Grace be with you all. Amen.” “They of Italy salute you,” would indicate that Paul was writing from the place of Rome. Some believe, and I think there is good reason to believe this, that he wrote this letter at the same time he wrote Philippians, Colossians, Philemon, and Ephesians, those prison epistles, that he actually wrote it to the believers possibly there in Rome or maybe believers that were Jewish that were in the city of Jerusalem.
Go back with me to Hebrews 1. In understanding the book that Jesus Christ is the better covenant and the better Priest and better than prophets, I want you to look at this outline that I gave you before we get into our text. If you have that with you, keep it with you. I’m going to kind of develop a couple different approaches. We see first of all that “Christ Is Better Than The Prophets,” we’re going to look at that tonight. Secondly, we see that “Christ Is Better Than The Angels,” Hebrews 1:4-2:18, and that “Christ Is Better Than Moses and Joshua,” and “Christ Is Better Than Aaron And The Levitical Priesthood,” Hebrews 4:14-10:18, then says it’s “A better covenant,” we have “A better sanctuary,” “A better sacrifice,” and the “Application Of The Argument,” Hebrews 10:19-13:25.
There are five warning passages in the book of Hebrews. Another way you outline the book of Hebrews is to see in Hebrews 1-6 that “Christ Is Superior In His Person;” in Hebrews 7-10, “Christ Is The Priesthood And The Order Of Melchizedek;” in Hebrews 11-13, “Following Christ Is A Superior Principle,” that it’s a principle of faith not rites or rituals.
We’re going to be looking at this first section tonight, Hebrews 1:1-3, and we’re going to see that “Christ Is Better Than The Prophets.” I love the way the book of Hebrews begins, Hebrews 1:1, “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, 2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds, 3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.”
There’s no way that you could ever exhaust in one teaching session these first three verses of the book of Hebrews. It’s one of the grand beginnings in any book of the Bible, and what a great place to start, the starting point with God. The writer starts not with his name, not with a salutation, not with a normal greeting, not to whom he’s writing to, but he just starts, “God.” It’s on par with Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth,” one of the greatest verses in the Bible. It’s on par with, “God, who at sundry,” different, “times and in divers manners,” different ways, “spake in time past unto the fathers…Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds.”
It also is kind of reminiscent of John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” It’s also reminiscent of 1 John 1:1, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; 2 (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;).” You really, really should marinate your mind and your heart in Hebrews 1, especially these first four verses. The first three verses is “Christ Is Better Than The Prophets,” and I want you to see it in the outline; beginning in verse 4 down to Hebrews 2, to the end of the chapter, “Christ Is Better Than The Angels.” Tonight we see, “Christ Is Better Than The Prophets.”
Notice, “God,” it’s assumed that He exists. He’s not defending the existence of God, but two things, “God, who at sundry times and divers manners, “ different times and manners. That “sundry times” in my King James translation actually means different portions. It has what’s called the idea of progressive revelation. These three verses are a part of the classic passages on what we know to be the doctrine of revelation. It’s a broad subject, but the idea is that God reveals Himself to man. God cannot be known apart from Him taking the initiative and the action and revealing Himself to us because God is infinite and we’re finite, because God is transcendent and we can’t reach God, God must come to us. It’s what’s called the doctrine of revelation—how God chooses to reveal Himself.
In the book of Job, Job cried out saying, “Canst thou by searching find out God?” and the answer is obviously no, we can’t find God by searching; but God can actually come to us. These are marvelous verses on how God actually reveals Himself to us. One of the ways He reveals Himself is progressively, verse 1, “…sundry times,” or different portions. What that means is that God, in the Old Testament, progressively over time, in different periods of time, revealed Himself to man and no one time did He fully disclose everything about Himself or His purpose, plan, or program. Little by little, line upon line, precept upon precept, the prophets got little tiny smatterings or pictures of God, His purpose, and His plan. It took a thousand years for the Old Testament to be put together as God revealed, and then it comes to the Old Testament end where we have John the Baptist who’s the last of the Old Testament prophets and the first of the New Testament’s preachers, but it’s progressively being revealed. In 1 Corinthians 13, Paul actually said, “For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.” It’s what’s known as progressive revelation, little by little God revealed Himself to man in the Old Testament time.
Then, “…and in divers manners,” is interesting as well. It means different ways. In different portions of time God revealed portions of His plan, and in the Old Testament He did it in different ways. Again, this is the subject of revelation. How did God reveal Himself? Well, He’s revealed Himself in creation, He’s revealed Himself in our conscience, He’s revealed Himself through dreams, through visions, through angels, through theophanies and Christophanies, through prophets, and through the spoken Word. We studied the Ten Commandments on Sunday morning. The Ten Commandments are a revelation of God of His holy law and His nature and character. Actually, we never think about that, but the Ten Commandments reveal God to us that God is holy and righteous, and He wants to be exclusively worshiped. All these different ways, so “…sundry times and in divers manners,” God initiated revealing Himself. You might say verse 1 is God speaking. God is there, and God is not silent. There is a God, and God has spoken. A lot of times people say, “If there’s really a God and He really exists, then why doesn’t He reveal Himself?” He has revealed Himself in many different ways, many different fashions, and many different times.
Notice how the revelation is described in verse 1, “…in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,” so in the Old Testament He used the prophets and spoke to the fathers. Now, this phrase in verse 1, “…unto the fathers,” is not just a reference to the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, it’s an expression that’s a reference to all of the people of God in the Old Testament, all the people of Israel. All of the people of God in Israel in the Old Testament, God revealed Himself to them by the prophets. You have prophets that spoke, you have prophets that wrote, you have prophets that prophesied and received dreams, visions.
How about all the visions that Daniel got in the Old Testament. How about God appearing to Moses. How did He reveal Himself to Moses? In a burning bush. Remember He said, “Take off your shoes. Where you’re standing is holy ground.” God revealed Himself on Mount Sinai, and it was such an awesome experience. You couldn’t even get near the mountain. If you got too near to the mountain, God would strike you dead because of His holiness. All these different ways…God came to Abraham and spoke to him. God spoke to Elijah and Jeremiah and Isaiah. They were the prophets. The prophets were highly venerated—highly respected by the people of Israel. Again, remember he’s writing to Jewish Christians who are getting discouraged with their Christianity in Christ wanting to go back to Judaism, the old covenant, so he says, “…in time past,” we had the prophets and they spoke unto the fathers.
Notice in verse 2 we have how God spoke finally, completely, and totally in His Son Jesus Christ, “Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son,” in the Greek it’s literally in Son, “whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds.” In verse 1, we have a look back how God spoke to the prophets at different times and different ways. Then, in verse 2, God’s last Word to man. The cool thing about this is that this is what the book of Hebrews really is: Jesus Christ is God’s last Word to man. If you reject God speaking in the Person of His Son, then you won’t have God, you won’t hear God, and you won’t be saved. If you forsake Christ, go back to the old system, there’s no salvation there. God spoke once and for all and finally in His Son, Jesus Christ. He is the culmination and the completion of God’s final Word to man. The revelation to man is found in the Person of His Son, Jesus Christ.
The phrase, “these last days,” actually include the coming of Christ with the incarnation and the crucifixion, His resurrection, and the first advent of Christ until today. Sometimes we talk about, “Well, we’re living in the last days,” but when the book of Hebrews was written, Christ shows up and we have the last days, so we’re living in the last days of the last days. The last days actually began with the advent of Christ, and it will culminate in the Second Coming of Christ when He sets up His Kingdom and reigns for a thousand years and that flows into the eternal state.
Verse 2, “Hath in these last days spoken unto us,” so God does speak. How does God speak? In, by, and through His Son, Jesus Christ. This is the revelation of God in Christ. Jesus Christ is the final revelation of God to man, God’s final Word to man.
I didn’t mention it in my little brief introduction, but Hebrews is one of the most Christ-exalting books of the New Testament—any book in the Bible for that matter. It’s Christ-exalting because He’s setting forth Christ as better or superior than the old covenant, so it’s a Christ-exalting book, which is interesting that we don’t know the human author because as the Holy Spirit inspired the human author, the true author is the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit has come to glorify Jesus Christ, not man. In this most Christ-exalting book, it’s interesting we don’t know who the human author is, and you have very few references to the Holy Spirit. He doesn’t talk about Himself, He talks about Jesus Christ and glorifies Him, so He says, “…spoken unto us by his Son.”
In John 1:18, the Bible says, “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.” Actually, that verse says, “…the only begotten God, who is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.” That word “declared” means to explain. It’s where we get our word exegete from. Jesus Christ came to explain God to us, and we’re going to see in this chapter He is God Himself. This chapter very clearly teaches the deity and the sovereignty of Jesus Christ, so He is God.
Remember when Jesus was talking about going to the Father and Phillip said, John 14, “Show us the Father, and we’ll be satisfied.” Jesus said, “Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father.” Jesus is not the Father but He, we’re going to see in this text, reveals Him, He explains Him, He exegetes Him. Why would you want to leave Christ, in Whom God has spoken His final Word, the greatest revelation of God to man, and go back to the Old Testament covenant and prophets? That’s not to say the prophets were uninspired or unimportant, but it was progressively pointing to the coming of Christ, progressively revealing God’s plan, and it was fulfilled when the fullness of time came and God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, born under the law, to redeem them that were under the law. This is a great, great passage about God revealing Himself in the Person of Jesus Christ. It goes right alongside Colossians 1 where we have that marvelous passage on the glories of Christ.
Notice we begin in verse 2, and I want you to follow me very closely. I don’t want to get too bogged down, but if you’re taking notes, we have seven statements about the glories of who Christ is. They’re kind of tucked in hidden in this verse, but they’re marvelous. There are seven statements about who Christ is, His deity, and His majesty. It says, “Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son,” so He does speak, “spoken unto us,” the writer of Hebrews, those he’s writing to, and us as believers today.
Referring to Jesus Christ, here’s the first of the seven statements, “whom he hath appointed heir of all things,” that’s the first one. Jesus Christ will be the heir of all things. Now, by right of His deity, He inherently has and owns all things. We’re going to see that He’s the Creator and the sustainer of all things. But because of His incarnation, because of His crucifixion, because of His substitutionary death on the cross, His resurrection, and ascension, because He came from Heaven to earth, died on the cross, “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him,” Philippians 2, “and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow…that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Jesus, one day, is going to inherit all things, so He’s the “…heir of all things.”
Notice the second statement, “…by whom also he made the worlds.” In the first statement, He’s the, “heir of all things,” all created things are going to go to Him, so it’s all going to come back to Christ. Then, He’s the One who created all things, “…by whom also he made the worlds.” The Greek word “worlds” is the word aionios. It has the idea of not just the created physical world, but it has the idea of ages or epochs or times. He’s not only the creator of the worlds, but He’s the creator of eras, epochs, times, periods, and history which actually means that He is on the throne ruling all things. When you look at the world and how bad it’s getting and you get all upset, remind yourself that Jesus created everything, He’s on the throne, it’s all going to come back to Him, and that He’s the One that created the worlds, the aionios—the epochs, the times, the periods. All of history has been called His story, and it’s God’s plan unfolding.
Here’s the third, verse 3, “Who being the brightness of his glory.” The “brightness” of the glory of God is seen in the face of Jesus Christ. Again, I don’t want to spend too much time, it could get a little tedious, but the manifestation of God, the glory of God, the beauty of God is seen in the Person of Jesus Christ both in His humanity and again in His deity. Everything Jesus said, everything Jesus did, they saw the glory of God.
When Jesus went on the Mount Transfiguration, which is a great cross-reference for these verses, and pulled back the veil of His humanity and allowed His deity to shine forth, they saw His glory. Did you notice who was with Him on that Mount Transfiguration? Moses and Elijah, the law and the prophets, pointing to Jesus. Finally, they disappear, Jesus is there alone with Peter, James, and John, and the Father speaks and says, “This is My beloved Son…hear ye him.” The voice of the prophets and the law fades, but the voice of Christ continues. They saw His majesty. They saw His glory, so this emanated out from Christ. Christ was God in flesh. He was, veiled in flesh, the Godhead see, Hail th’ incarnate Deity! It was the express glory of His majesty.
Then, it says, “…and the express image of his person,” that’s the fourth. The word “image” means something that would strike a piece of metal and leave an impression in it. We get our word character from that Greek word. When you look at Jesus, you’re actually looking at God, “…the express image.” It’s like a photo. In Colossians, He’s the express image of the Father. No one, nothing can reveal God like Jesus. He’s the express image, the exact replica, of God.
The fifth is, “…and upholding all things by the word of his power,” that’s Colossians 1:17, He’s holding all things together. We sing the song, “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands,” and the sixth, “…when he had by himself purged our sins,” this is His work of redemption. And the seventh, “…sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.” That’s the last one. Trust me, they’re there. I didn’t probably get them laid out properly, but there are seven statements there. When it says, “…when he had by himself purged our sins,” it speaks of the fact that He, and He alone, was the Redeemer. Jesus Christ is the revealer of God to man and the Redeemer of man to God. He created the worlds, He sustains the worlds, He will inherit the worlds, He will inherit all things. It all goes back to Him someday because He is the One who purged our sins by dying on the cross. This is the death and crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
When it says, “…sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high,” that means that He’s seated at the place of power, authority, and supremacy. God is not a Man that He has a right hand, but it’s a figure of speech which means the place of superiority, the place of authority, and the place of the finished work of Jesus Christ where He sat down. In the Old Testament covenant with the tabernacle and the temple, there was never a place to sit for the priest because his work was never done. Jesus has gone to Heaven, the heavenly tabernacle, and has sat down or finished His work. All the way through the book of Hebrews we’re going to see that Jesus has completed and finished the work of atonement and that we can just trust Him by faith and be saved.
Now, the writer starts in Hebrews 1:4 by switching the subject from, “Christ Is Better Than The Prophets,” by the way, before I leave it, in verse 2, God spoke by His Son, He’s the Prophet; then in verse 3, “…he had by himself purged our sins,” He’s our Priest; and in verse 3, “sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high,” He’s our King. Jesus is the Prophet, He speaks; He’s the Priest, He purged our sins; He’s the King. They would be wondering, “Well, we don’t have a prophet or a priest or a king in Christianity,” and he makes it clear to them, “Jesus is those things—He’s our Prophet, our Priest, and He’s our King.”
In verse 4, “Being made so much better,” I didn’t specifically mention that word, but it’s probably the most frequently repeated word in the book of Hebrews, “better, better, better, better, better, better, better.” We have a better order, we have a better covenant, we have a better sanctuary, we have a better sacrifice, all the way through, better, better, better. He’s trying to encourage these believers, “Don’t go back to Judaism, Christ is better. You have a better sacrifice, a better covenant, a better sanctuary.”
Why would he want to argue that Christ is better than angels? All through the Old Testament angels were involved in God revealing Himself. Angels were involved in the giving of the law, so the Jews venerated and held in highest regard angels. Sometimes people today get off on angels to an inordinate position. We’re going to see that Jesus Christ is the One who created angels, He is the One who is worshiped by angels, He’s better than angels. He’s trying to tell these Jewish believers that the old covenant they believed was mediated by angels—when Moses got the law, it was angels that gave him the law—and that Jesus Christ is better than angels. This subject runs from Hebrews 1:4-2:18, the end of the chapter, so we’ll be on it for a couple of weeks.
Let’s read to the end of the chapter, and we’ll wrap this up. He says, “Being made so much better than the angels,” so in chapter 1, verses 1-3, He’s better than the prophets, He’s God’s last Word to man; now, He’s “…better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.” He has a better name than they. They’re God’s servants, this is God’s Son. “For unto which of the angels said he at any time,” I’m just going to give the references to you, if you want to write them down, but again, I have numbered them for you. There are seven Old Testament references, most from the book of Psalms. As you go through the book of Hebrews, every chapter has at least one reference from the Old Testament, and much of it is from the book of Psalms as well as Leviticus, Deuteronomy, and other passages. Let me give them to you. There are seven references taken from the Old Testament book of Psalms, from verse 5 to the end, verse 14.
The first one he’s quoting Psalm 2:7, “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?” There are two Psalms that are mentioned there. The first is Psalm 2:7, and then Psalm 89:26, which is also a reference from 2 Samuel 7:14, so he’s going back to the Old Testament to show us that Jesus Christ is better than the angels, “Thou are my Son, this day have I begotten thee.” What that reference is to probably begins with the incarnation and then goes to the resurrection, that Jesus Christ was the first begotten of God the Father, not in created but in position. It’s not an order of time, it’s an order of importance, “…this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?” In 2 Samuel that’s a reference to Solomon the son of David, God speaking to David about Solomon, but the writer of Hebrews under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit makes it clear that this is a reference to Jesus Christ as well.
Then, in verse 6, he says, “And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world,” a reference to Christ, “he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.” That is Psalm 97:7. That’s the third reference. It’s interesting that the Jehovah’s Witnesses believe falsely that Jesus Christ was created by God as Michael the Archangel, that He actually was created by God an Archangel, Michael, and then became Jesus the Son of God. But the Bible says here that the angels are called to worship Him, so that means Jesus is divine, that He is God because we’re only to worship God. If you worship an angel, that is a violation of God’s commands. We’re not to worship anyone but God.
In verse 7, “And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire.” He’s quoting in verse 7, Psalm 104:4, the Son in contrast to the angels who were ministering spirits, “…his ministers a flame of fire.”
Here’s verse 8, “But unto the Son he saith,” quoting Psalm 45:6-7, “Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.” This is a marvelous verse that you want to make sure you note in your Bible and keep in mind where God the Father calls Jesus, God the Son, God. This is a verse the Jehovah’s Witnesses do not know what to do with. This is a marvelous verse where God the Father is calling God the Son. Some people say, “Well, there’s nowhere in the Bible where Jesus is called God,” and obviously that’s not true because here it is in Hebrews 1:8 where God calls Jesus God, “Thy throne, O God.” This is God the Father talking about God the Son. Jesus is indeed God.
Verse 9 describes Jesus, “Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.” Beginning in verse 10, down to verse 11, and even into the first part of verse 12, he’s quoting from Psalm 102:25-27. In the Psalm, it’s Jehovah or Yahweh, so Jesus is Jehovah, “And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth,” there’s the description of Him being the Creator, “and the heavens are the works of thine hands: 11 They shall perish,” that is, the heavens, “but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; 12 And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail. 13 But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool?” which, by the way, is the seventh quote from the Psalms. It’s Psalm 110:1, “Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.” I believe that that’ll take place at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ when He rules over His enemies. “Are they not all ministering spirits,” referring to angels, verse 14, “sent forth to minster for them who shall be heirs of salvation?”
This subject does not stop here. As you go into Hebrews 2, I just want to point it out to you, it starts with the first warning passage of which there are five. The first warning passage is in Hebrews 2:1-4, that we should not drift away from the Word of God. Look at it with me real quickly. “Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip,” or literally we should drift away from them. This is what they were doing. “For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward; 3 How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; 4 God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?”
Hebrews 2:1-4 is the first of five warning passages, and we’re going to go into it in more depth next Wednesday night. The five warning passages are first of all, let us not drift from the Word; secondly, let us not doubt the Word; thirdly, let us not grow dull toward the Word; fourthly, let us not despise God’s Word; fifthly, Hebrews 12, a warning against disobeying God’s Word. That’s why we have these warning passages or these exhortation passages throughout the book of Hebrews: Don’t go back; don’t give up; don’t throw in the towel; continue to grow in Christ, He’s better than prophets, He’s better than angels.
Notice at the end of verse 14, there’s a lot of things we could look at, but in talking about angels he says they’re, “…ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation,” there’s a little information there about angels. They’re created by God to serve God’s people, those who are heirs of salvation. Even before we were saved, I believe, God’s angels were watching over you, protecting you, and keeping you. If you’re a child of God, angels are watching over you, protecting, and keeping you. Notice he says, “…who shall be heirs of salvation?” which is interesting. He didn’t say those who are saved but, “…shall be heirs of salvation?” Because salvation has, as I’ve always brought out, three tenses: We’ve been saved, we’re being saved, we shall be saved. He’s talking about the fact that when our salvation is complete and we are glorified, we who have been justified and sanctified will be glorified and that angels are watching over us, but they’re serving.
Jesus is the revealer of God; He’s the Redeemer of mankind, He shed His blood to redeem us from sin, purged our sins; He is the sustainer, the Creator, the goal of all creation; He is God in the flesh. God said unto Him, “Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness,” so all these statements are pointing to Jesus Christ. Why would you want to go back? Why would you want to leave Christ? He’s better than prophets, He’s better than the angels, and we who are “heirs of salvation,” angels serve and take care of us, but Jesus Christ is our Savior. He is our Redeemer.
The book of Hebrews, as we go through the book on Wednesday nights (and I’m going to try to move a little faster and we’ll just survey through) is going to show us that we have Christ, we have all that we need—we don’t need to go to any other religious experience, we don’t need to go back to Judaism. I don’t know why, but it’s fashionable for some Christians to think that going back to Judaism and its rites and rituals, feast days, and so forth, makes them more spiritual. Well, evidently, you haven’t read the book of Hebrews. Christ is the substance; the old covenant is a shadow. Why would you go back to the shadows when you have the substance, which is Jesus Christ?
Pastor John Miller begins our survey through the book of Hebrews with a message through Hebrews 1:1-14.