"THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS" God's Perfect Spokesman (1:1-3) INTRODUCTION 1. In our introductory lesson, we saw how "The Epistle To The Hebrews" is unique in its beginning... a. There is no mention of the author's name, nor the recipients b. Rather, it starts like an "essay" - cf. He 1:1-3 2. We also noted regarding the purpose of the epistle... a. To encourage Jewish Christians to remain steadfast in their faith b. Accomplished by showing the superiority of Christ and the New Covenant 3. That superiority is demonstrated through a number of contrasts... a. The very first contrast begins in these first three verses b. In which Jesus is contrasted with the prophets of the Old Testament 4. In this lesson, we shall take a close look at the contrast... a. Noting how God spoke "in time past", and how He speaks "in these last days" b. Observing how Jesus is certainly qualified to be "God's Perfect Spokesman" [We begin by considering what is said regarding...] I. GOD'S SPOKESMEN "IN TIME PAST" (1) A. THE EXPRESSION "IN TIME PAST"... 1. Refers to the period of time prior to the coming of Jesus 2. I.e., that period of time described in the Old Testament (Genesis-Malachi) B. GOD SPOKE "TO THE FATHERS BY THE PROPHETS"... 1. The "fathers" would be the ancestors of the Israelites 2. The "prophets" would include great men like Samuel, Elijah, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel a. The Hebrew word for "prophet" means "one who boils over" b. It refers to one who is inspired by God to speak for Him - cf. 2Pe 1:21 3. At times, the prophets themselves were unsure of what they spoke - 1Pe 1:10-12 C. GOD SPOKE "AT VARIOUS TIMES AND IN DIFFERENT WAYS"... 1. His revelation did not come all at once, but progressively at different times 2. His methods varied as well, using visions, dreams, symbols, etc. [So God has clearly revealed Himself as One who "speaks"; that is, He communicates His will to mankind! What He revealed through His prophets "in time past" is certainly wonderful, but now consider what we learn regarding...] II. GOD'S SPOKESMAN "IN THESE LAST DAYS" (2-3) A. THE EXPRESSION "IN THESE LAST DAYS"... 1. Literally, "at the end of these days", which may be understood as referring to either: a. The closing period of the Jewish age (cf. Milligan) b. The period of the Messiah (most commentators) 2. The Old Testament often spoke of "the last days"
- e.g., Isa 2:2; Micah 4:1 3. As such it often had special reference to the age of the Messiah a. The apostles spoke of their time as the time of this fulfillment - Ac 2:16-17 b. Thus it denotes the final phase of history, brought on by the first coming of Christ, continuing until His second coming and the consummation of all things - cf. He 9:26; 1Pe 1:20; 1Co 10:11 B. GOD "HAS SPOKEN TO US BY HIS SON"... 1. God has spoken once again, but note the contrast! 2. "In time past" it was through "prophets"; but "in these last days" it is by "His Son"! a. God has sent His own Son to speak for Him! b. As wonderful as the prophets were, how can they compare to God's own Son? -- There is no contrast, especially as we read on and notice... C. THE EXCELLENCE OF "GOD'S PERFECT SPOKESMAN"... 1. Jesus is "the appointed heir of all things"! a. The author may have had Ps 2:8 in mind, for in verse 5 he quotes from Ps 2:7 b. As the "beloved Son", it is only natural that He would be the appointed heir c. What does "all things" include? 1) All that the Father has! - Jn 16:15 2) The authority to raise and judge the dead - Jn 5:26-29 3) The authority to rule in heaven and on earth - Mt 28:18 4) This authority Christ has even now! - Ac 2:36; 10:36; Ep 1:20-22; 1Pe 3:22; Re 1:5 2. Jesus is "through whom He (God) also made the worlds"! a. Not only the "Heir", but also the "Creator"! b. For it was through the Son that God created the universe - cf. Jn 1:3; Col 1:16 1) All things were created "by (or through) Him" (He is the Creator) 2) All things were created "for Him" (He is the rightful Heir) 3. Jesus is "the brightness of His (God's) glory"! a. In Jesus we see the very radiance of the glory of God! b. As John wrote, "...we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father..." - Jn 1:14 c. When we behold Jesus, we see an extension of the glory of God! 4. Jesus is "the express image of His (God's) person"! a. He is the exact representation of God's being and character! - cf. Col 2:9 b. Therefore Jesus could say... 1) To Thomas: "If you had known me, you would have known my Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him." - Jn 14:7 2) To Philip: "He who has seen Me has seen the Father;" - Jn 14:9 5. Jesus is "upholding all things by the word of His power"! a. Not only the Creator, but also the Sustainer of the universe - cf. Col 1:17 ("in Him all things consist") 1) By His word the universe holds together! 2) All He has to do is say the word, and the universe is no more! b. Note well: 1) This illustrates the power of His Word 2) Shall we not listen when He speaks? - cf. Lk 6:46 6. Jesus has also "by Himself purged our sins"! a. A clear reference to His death on the cross for our sins b. This speaks to His role as our Redeemer, a theme that will be prominent later in this epistle - cf. He 2:17; 9:26,28 7. Jesus has also "sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high"! a. This Jesus did when He ascended to heaven - Ep 1:20; 1 Pe 3:22 b. Sitting at the right hand of God is a place of honor, but for Jesus it is also a place from which He reigns! 1) As indicated in Ep 1:21-22; 1Pe 3:22 2) It is true that He is waiting for the His enemies to be made His footstool (He 10:12-13), but He is reigning until that time! - cf. 1Co 15:25-26 3) As stated in Ps 110:1-2, from which the author to the Hebrews quotes, the Messiah was to "rule in the midst of Your enemies" c. Thus Jesus is truly "the ruler over the kings of earth" - Re 1:5; 17:14 CONCLUSION 1. The sentence does not end with verse three... a. It continues on into verse four, with a declaration of Jesus' superiority over angels b. But that verse and the rest of the chapter we shall save for the next study 2. But what have we seen in this lesson? a. God is clearly a God who speaks, He makes His Will known to mankind! b. And now He speaks through His Son, Who is: 1) The appointed Heir of all things! 2) The Creator! 3) The brightness of God's glory, the express image of His person! 4) Our Sustainer, Redeemer, and King! How can one turn their back on Him? Especially when the Majesty on high proclaimed at the Mount of Transfiguration: "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!" - Mt 17:5 Are you heeding the words of the Beloved Son, "God's Perfect Spokesman"? - cf. Mt 28:18-20; Re 2:10