In all likelihood, the book of Hebrews was written before the year A.D. seventy. The many references to the temple in the letter indicate that it was standing at the time of the writing. This pretty much requires that the book was written before the destruction of the temple by the Roman Tenth Legion. I’m not as concerned about the history as I am about the truth that is taught here. We just spent a few weeks looking at the life of Christ on Earth now let’s look at some of the consequences of his coming to Earth.
Listen while I read Hebrews 1:1-4. Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.
It is easy to draw the inference from this passage that the writer was present when Jesus did some of his teaching. He says that God has spoken to “us” by his son. In the original language, Greek, the words “by his son” could be translated “in son”! In the same way that someone might say that they are speaking in English. In other words, I believe that Jesus’ actions and his teaching could be the language through which God has spoken. You see…
God spoke in many ways. Let’s look at what the Psalmist said in Psalm 19:1-3. The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard.
To look at the sky is to see evidence of the existence of God. We see his power, wisdom, and his beauty. To look at the majestic Milky Way is to observe a demonstration of the glory of God! Rains and fruitful seasons, food produced from the earth, and joy in people’s heart, all bear witness to the fact that our Creator is a God of mercy, love and joy. Even those who by their wickedness suppress the truth cannot avoid the evidences of God’s existence and nature in the created order. Listen while I read Romans 1:19-20. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
The knowledge of God is common to all mankind. Even the atheists believe in God. Like the comedian Brad Stine said, “Dude, if you don’t believe God is real. How can he offend you?” He then goes on to say, “Who is more irrational, the guy who believes in a God he cannot see or the guy who is offended by a God he does not believe exists?” Then he adds, “You see beauty and you see the majesty of creation, for crying out loud, you see God in his handiwork.” I don’t know if you caught that but Brad Stine raises an important question. How can a person be offended by a being that he does not believe exists? God says in his word that people all over the world are without excuse because God has spoken through his invisible attributes, his eternal power and divine nature to all people everywhere. And wherever there were people who respond to God…
God spoke by the prophets. The prophets were not all willing participants in God’s revelation. Let me show you two examples. Exodus 4:10-12 But Moses said to the Lord, “Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue Then the Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.” There are a lot of people who I wish were conscious of God being with their mouth. You wouldn’t be hearing their mother say, “Watch your mouth young fella!” Another example is found in Jeremiah 1:4-9. Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth.” But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’; for to all to whom I send you, you shall go, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, declares the Lord.” Then the Lord put out his hand and touched my mouth. And the Lord said to me, “Behold, I have put my words in your mouth.
Moses had spent forty years in the wilderness following sheep. He was rejected by his adoptive family in Egypt when he was at the peak of his powers and in order to save his life he went into the desert. Now, after all that time, God speaks to him from a burning bush and tells him to go to Pharaoh and demand that God’s people be released from their slavery. He didn’t say to God, “I’ll get back to you on that! After I think about it a little bit.” Moses said that he was not an eloquent speaker and would the Lord please send someone else.
In a different setting, Jeremiah had the same attitude. Jeremiah had the problem of seeing himself as a youth. He may have been 20-30 years old but he would see himself as not an elder. He wasn’t an eloquent speaker. He did not know how to speak in a public setting.
These two men, along with many, many others, demonstrate for us that whatever God calls you to do he will enable you to do. Both Moses and Jeremiah were powerfully used by God in the years after their call. I sometimes wonder if they ever looked back on the day of their call and thanked God for all that he has done for them and through them.
God spoke to mankind in many different ways through the prophets. But, we are told that in these last days…
God spoke by His Son. In order to inaugurate his ministry, Jesus was baptized by John. Soon after that.. well let Mark tell you about it. Listen while I read Mark 1:14-15. Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
With John’s arrest, Jesus’ ministry began! The time was fulfilled and Jesus started telling people to repent and come to the kingdom. His every action and every word was a message from God. The son of God became the language of God to communicate to those who would believe in him about the very nature of God! Jesus was compassionate, caring and considerate. He treated all people the same. He spoke to Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews, pretty much the same way that he spoke to the Samaritan woman at the well. He treated the Canaanite woman whose daughter was sick with the same compassion as he treated Jairus, the ruler of the synagogue, when his daughter was ill. God spoke wonders through his son Jesus who was…
The heir of all things. The writer of Hebrews quotes from Psalm 2:7-8. Let me read it for you. I will tell of the decree: The Lord said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession.
The Son, because of his obedience, is established as the heir of all things. He does not yet possess everything because the drama of redemption is not played out. We are promised, in the Bible, that people will stand before his throne in heaven from every family, and every tribe, and every nation on earth. In his temptations in the wilderness, Satan tried to get Jesus to worship him with the promise that he would give him the authority over the whole earth. Jesus replied that we may only worship God and no one else! Jesus knew that finally, when he had been fully obedient, he would have all authority given to him in heaven and on earth. He, who would be appointed the heir of all things, already was…
The Creator. One passage that supports this is Colossians 1:15-16. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.
The Son had every right to the ownership of all things because he was the instrument through which the Father created the earth. We are told that in the beginning of the creation God said, “Let “Us” make man in our image…”. The God of heaven and earth was not consulting with the angels. He was speaking as the triune God; Father, Son, Holy Spirit! The Father and Son and Holy Spirit are all involved in the creation. In these last days God is speaking to the world in the person of the Son. The Son is the radiance of God. Jesus is the exact image of the Father. Jesus himself told Thomas, “If you have seen me you have seen the Father.” Jesus Himself is…
The glory of God. Listen while I read John 1:14. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
God’s glory is the created brightness that surrounds God’s revelation of himself. God’s glory is something that belongs to him alone and is the appropriate outward expression of his own excellence. The Bible often speaks of God’s glory. David asks, “Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory!” (Psalm 24:10) When the angels appeared to the shepherds on the night of Jesus’ birth, the Bible says, “The glory of the Lord shone around them”. When Jesus met with Moses and Elijah, on the mount of transfiguration, we are told that his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light. A bright cloud overshadowed Jesus and his disciples and they heard the voice of God. “This is my beloved son, with whom I am well pleased, listen to him.” (Matthew 17:5) Throughout the wilderness wanderings of the people of God the glory of God was with them in the form of a cloud by day and a column of fire by night. When Jesus came to earth he was, and is, the glory of God. When he returns to Earth he will come in the glory of his Father mounted on a white horse followed by the armies of heaven all mounted on white horses. Meanwhile, we look to Jesus as…
The imprint of God’s nature. Why doesn’t everyone see God? Paul answers that question in 2 Corinthians 4:3-6. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
Jesus is the exact imprint of God’s nature and that is exactly what Satan does not want the world to see. Therefore, he works to blind the minds of the unbelievers so they cannot see the gospel of the glory of Christ. When Adam and Eve were created they were created in the image of God. Satan intervened with the temptation to eat the forbidden fruit. To some degree mankind still reflects the image of God but it was marred enough in the Fall of man that it cannot be readily seen. God has had to intervene in the person of Jesus Christ to give mankind any possibility of being restored to that image. Jesus is the heir of all things, Creator of the world, he is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature. Also, he is…
The “glue” of the universe. Hebrews tells us that, “he upholds the universe by the word of his power.” The apostle Paul uses a similar metaphor in Colossians 1:17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
Scientists tell us that 96% of the known universe cannot be seen. And they divide that unseen material between something they call “dark energy” and “dark matter”. Those scientists who have made this “discovery” readily admit that they do not know what it is. Of course, it is very hard to identify something you cannot see. It seems obvious to everyone that something is holding everything together. After all, the universe is not falling apart, but it does seem to be expanding! At the same time it seems impossible for nothing to hold everything together!
One scientific website gives us this information: Since dark matter is invisible to (the) human eye it can only be detected through its gravitational influence on its surroundings. Basically, it is really difficult for us to comprehend that 23 percent of known universe is made up of this mysterious dark matter (23% dark matter vs. just over 4% of visible matter with the rest being the mysterious dark energy) http://sciencefactsandarticles.blogspot.com/2010/03/interesting-facts-about-dark-matter.html
Well, I submit to you that God is what is holding everything together or more correctly “who” is holding everything together. Jesus is the glue of the universe!
In the past God spoke in many ways through the prophets and as the last days began God spoke in Son who is the heir of all things, Creator of the universe, and the glorious image of God. He is the glue and he is…
Our purifier. 2 Corinthians 5:21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Jesus did not come into this world in order to save us and take us to heaven! His first coming was far more complex than that. In the book of Job, Eliphaz the Temanite asked the questions, “Can mortal man be in the right before God?” And, “Can a man be pure before his maker? (Job 4:17) Job, in a positive confession of faith answered his friend, “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth.” Jesus didn’t just come to save us! He came to redeem us and to purify us. On the cross of Calvary Jesus took our sins into his own body and put them to death. He made purification for our sins! He became sin though he had no sin of his own in order that we might become the righteousness of God in him.
In just a few words the book of Hebrews begins by telling us about Jesus who is far beyond our understanding. Jesus himself said he came that we might have life and have it abundantly. We need to join with the apostle Paul in saying that we desire to know him and the power of his resurrection. Jesus is the interpretation of God to those of us who live on earth. Everything we did not understand about God in the thousands of years between creation and the Christ is revealed to us in Jesus Christ. When we see him this clearly we bow our heads and bend our knees. I declare today that Jesus is my Lord! Is he yours? If not, today is the day of salvation this is an acceptable time to receive him as your Lord! Jesus is calling you home won’t you come today?
All scripture quotes are from: The Holy Bible: English standard version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.