HEBREWS - Chapter 1 (2024)

HEBREWS – Chapter 1

Tuesday Morning Bible Study

February 5, 2024, October 4, 2011

Pastor Carolyn Sissom


The Letter to the Hebrews is one of the wonderful mysteries of the Bible.  Scholars attribute it to Paul because there is more evidence that Paul wrote it than any of the other candidates.  We know because of the richness, depth of understanding and revelation that it was inspired by the Holy Spirit and written only by the pen of man.  That is enough for me.  In language and learning, the letter to the Hebrews ranks first among NT writings.  Its argument is as brilliant as its theme is exalted.  Though it is written as a warning to those who were once enlightened by the gospel of Jesus Christ to not go back into Judaism, for me it is the most liberating book of the New Testament.


That it was written to the Hebrews (whether the race or a group of Messianic Jews), it is a revelation of the completed work of redemption for a race of people.  For the Christian, we soar in the Heavenlies as the author takes the sacred elements one by one and shows us how they are inferior to what we have in Christ.  The best of Judaism can’t possibly bring us to what we already have in Christ. 


When the writer compares Jesus to the prophets, we are in awe to see how great Jesus is.  When he compares the Lord with angels (so highly revered by the Jews), we are overwhelmed to discover that Jesus is greater than any angel.  The comparison continues with the writing daring to compare the Lord with Moses.  Every Jew believes Moses is the greatest man who ever lived.  The writer unequivocally states that Moses is inferior to Jesus.


Next, we hear that God offers His people a better covenant through Christ than He offered Israel at Mt. Sinai.  Our heart begins to pound. Wow!  Faith leaps within us as we are cheered on by the heroes of faith who believed but had not seen. 


Then he speaks of Jesus as our high priest.  The Jewish high priest went in once a year stepped behind the veil and sprinkled the blood of the sacrifice on the mercy seat.  The writer states this action was nothing more than a symbol or picture of Jesus’ sacrifice.


Our heart leaps with joy to know that Jesus’ single sacrifice is good for eternity!  Countless sacrifices were made in Jerusalem over 15 centuries.  Jesus’ one sacrifice is greater than all of them put together!  Never again will any sacrifice ever have to be made for sin.


Jesus’ sacrifice for us is so perfect that we can go directly into the presence of God.  Yes, right into the Most Holy Place of heaven itself. (4:16).


The sacrifice of Christ was the real one.  All those that were made before His, were merely symbols or shadows of the offering of Himself to God on behalf of sinful men.  His once for all sacrifice really did put away my sins---past, present and future!  Because His work was so perfect, we have become the righteousness of God in Him (2 Cor. 5:21)!


Even the high priest of Israel could not go into God’s presence any time he wished and relax as his own son!  All the rituals of Israel could not make a sinner a child of God, but Jesus did!


To go back to the killing of animals and endless offering for sin would be to deny the finished work of the Cross.  It would be ridiculous to trade the real for the shadow.  Jesus is all we need.


This is the only book in the New Testament that tells us about the Lord’s priestly ministry. 


That it was written by Paul:  He was the first to fully explain the death and resurrection of Christ as the focus of God’s plan of salvation.  It was he who first understood the new nature of God’s people now made up of Jews and Gentiles bound together in one body.  He was the first to see how God’s new action in Christ fits together with his special relationship with the people, Israel. It was he who first spread the gospel effectively around the Gentile world, telling people simply of Jesus the Savior, and not requiring them to become Jews.   He was the first to announce in the message to the Romans that God is ready to receive all men who will come to Him on the basis of Faith alone.    If a person will accept God’s righteousness by putting his complete trust in Jesus, then God, by His power, makes that sinner as righteous as Himself.  This is the message of salvation through faith---period.  Then the revelation of Hebrews as creator, prophet, priest, and king.


Hebrews 1: 1-3:  God, who in the old days and in divers manners spoke to the fathers by the prophets.  In these last days He has spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the worlds:  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 Himself purged our sins, sat down on he right hand of the Majesty on high.


The nation began with God speaking to Abraham.  From that time onward, He began to reveal Himself and His plans through the prophets.  I believe people err if they take this scripture to mean that the Lord no longer speaks through prophets.  I believe the Office of Prophet is a gift to the church chosen and appointed by Jesus Himself.  I believe the prophetic gifts are gifts of the Holy Spirit for all Christians in the New Testament Church.    I believe the Lord continues to speak to people and his creation by the Holy Spirit giftings given to the Ecclesia.  


In the N.T., by the same Lord and Holy Spirit, the New Covenant was revealed to us by His Son and His Holy Spirit through the Apostles and Prophets of the New Covenant which is His Church and the establishing of the Kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven.


The book of Hebrews begins with the author comparing the message of Christ with the O.T. prophets and showing that Jesus is superior to them inasmuch as His revelation is superior to theirs.  All of the O.T. prophets saw in part and knew in part.  This is also true of the New Testament Church. 1 Cr. 13: 9-12:  For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.  But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.   Paul is here speaking of the perfect law of love, the knowing realm of the Holy Spirit. Vs.12: For now we see through a glass darkly; but then face to face; now I know in part; but then shall I known even as also I am known.


The revelation of Jesus Christ came wrapped up in a Person, who is the Son of God.  The author of Hebrews shows that Jesus is superior because He is Divine and we are only human.  He was not merely a man of God to speak for Him, as were the prophets, He was God Himself.


The O. T. prophets used speeches and dramas to get their message across.  All Jesus had to do was “BE.”  Jesus is the truth of God.  Jesus is the mind of God.  He is the sum total of all that can be known about God. 

In verse three, the author presents the greatness of Jesus as God’s Son in two wonderful pictures:


 First, He is declared to be the radiance of God’s glory.  In order for Him to be that radiance, He would have to be related to the Father in the same way.  Jesus is the shining of God among men.  He came to bring many sons to Glory. Hebrews. 2:10: For it became Him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.


His character and nature are so precisely that of the Father, that to look at Jesus is to see exactly what the Father is like.  That is why Jesus said, “He that has seen Me has seen the Father(Jn. 14:9).


He is the Creator of all things.  Therefore, He was in on earth’s history from the beginning.  He is also in on the close of earth’s history, for He is the “heir of all things.”


Yet, He is also active between the beginning and close of earth’s history, for He sustains and directs the entire activity of the universe from His Kingdom.  All power in Heaven and earth has been given to Him.


The Lord not only sustains the physical world, He also redeems it and mankind.  Romans 8:19: For the earnest expectation of the creature waits for the manifestation of the sons of God… (Vs. 21) Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.  For we know that the whole creation groans and travails in pain together until now.


The O. T. prophets saw Jesus’ day and the promise of forgiveness of sins.  Jesus secured forgiveness for our sins.  His purging not only takes away our guilt for sin, but also removes the consciousness of it, so that we can enjoy fellowship with God.


Jesus is at this moment seated in the place of supreme power.  This means when we come to Him for help, there is no problem He can’t handle.   In Greek the idea of majesty means there is no other greatness.  Thus, there is none greater than Christ!

Much of the original text of Hebrews was written in the Greek.


Heb. 1:4: Being made so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.


That He is superior to the angels proves the fact that He has inherited a more excellent name.


Heb. 1:5 For to which of the angels said He at any time, ‘You are My Son’, this day have I begotten you?  And again, I will be to Him a Father, and He shall be to Me a Son?  And again, when He brings in His First Born into the world, He says, “And let all the angels of God worship Him.”


The writer of the Hebrews has finished comparing Christ with the prophets.  He now shows His superiority over the angels and will spend the rest of this chapter and the next doing it.  We can rejoice that the writer made it abundantly clear the difference between the ministry of angels, the ministry of the saints, and the ministry of the Son.  Even today there are sects of Christianity that do not believe in the ministry of angels.  The angels were sent as ministering spirits in the O.T. and according to the writers of the New Testament that order of the Kingdom of God has not changed.


Many Jews believed God was too holy to make a direct contact with man; therefore, everything He did, He did through angels.  They also believed that the Lord did not give the Law directly to Moses, as we read in Exodus, but gave it to the angels, who in turn gave it to Moses.  Paul consents to this idea in his letter to the Galatians. “the law was ordained through angels(Gal. 3:19). It was necessary to show Christ’s superiority over the angels.  You and I don’t need to see Jesus compared to the angels, there are many sects today who without this scripture would be worshipping angels. 


The writer quotes seven passages from the O.T. to prove Jesus’ superiority.


He quotes from Psa. 2:7:  You are my Son, this day have I begotten you.  It is true that angels have been referred to as ‘sons of God,” but always as a group.  Only Jesus is called “The Son of God.”   (2 Sam. 7:13-14) is a prophecy to David that David will be the Lord’ son.  However, we accept that as a prophecy of Jesus being born into the House of David.


For his third proof of Jesus’ superiority, the author turns to the 97th Psalms.  97:7b: worship Him, all you gods.   The writer of the Hebrews quotes this verse as “worship Him, all you angels.” 


Heb. 1:7-8: And of the angels he says, “Who makes His angels spirits, and His ministers a flame of fire.”  But to the Son he says, “Your throne, O God is forever and ever; a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom.”


Angels then are created servants.  He quotes Psalm 104:4. Who makes His angels spirits; His ministers a flaming fire.   Even though Jesus entered the human stream via a physical birth, He was not created at that time.  He exists eternally. 


He then quotes Psa. 45:6 Your throne O God is forever and ever; the scepter of your kingdom is a right scepter.


These words were addressed to a king of Israel at his enthronement.   The prophets and scholars have ever since been convinced that it was referring to the Messiah.  The king who was being enthroned was probably of the line of David, and the promise is to the “Greater Son of David,” the Messiah.


Heb. 1:8: You have loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even Your God has anointed You with the oil of gladness above your fellows.”


This is the joy unspeakable and full of glory this is the righteousness of Christ.   Phil 3:9: Be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.


1:10-12: And You, Lord in the beginning have laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of your hands. They shall perish; but You remain; and they all shall wax old as does a garment;


This is the sixth quote from the O.T. 102: 25-27:  This is a Messianic Psalm.  “It was You, Lord, Who made the earth from nothing and with Your own hands made the heaven.  They will perish and go back to nothing, but You will remain; they will wear out like old clothes.  Some day You will fold them up like a tattered cloak, and exchange them for something new.  You, however, will remain the same and never grow old”. (C. S. Lovett)


Judaism has been fulfilled by Christianity.  The writer sees the gospel as fulfillment of the Jewish faith. Therefore, he takes passages which originally applied to the king of Israel, the Psalmist, David, and applies  all to Christ.


The differences in interpretation from the O.T. to the N.T.  is because he is quoting from the Greek text, not the Hebrew.  In calling Jesus, Lord, he is addressing Him by the highest name ascribed to Deity.  The word “Lord” is used here is the same as Yahweh/Jehovah, granting to the eternal son, ‘that name which is above very name’. (Phil. 2:9) (Eph. 1:21) (1 Pet. 3:15).


1:13: But to which of the angels said He at any time, sit on My right hand, until I make Your enemies Your footstool?  Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?


This is the 7th quote from the O.T.  The writer brings forth the mighty 110th Psalm.  This is quoted more often in the N.T. than any other O.T. passage.  This is the one used by Jesus to silence the Pharisees when they challenged Him (Mt. 22: 41-45).


Angels were never meant to rule---even the highest of them.  They were designed to serve.  As such they are not to be compared with the Son Who created them.  They are sent to serve---“the heirs of salvation!” This means all of us who are God’s sons through faith in the Lord Jesus (1 John 3: 1, 2).  They minister to us as they did to Jesus (Luke 22:43).  Theirs is the task of watching over us and ministering to us as God directs.  They minister for God.  They are His servants, not ours.  They serve us on His orders.  They perform the spoken Word of God on our behalf under the unction of the Holy Spirit.


Pastor Carolyn Sissom

Eastgate Ministries Church, 10115 West Hidden Lakes Lane, Richmond, TX 70406


Scripture from K.J.V.; Quotes as noted from C. S. Lovett, comments and conclusions are my own and not meant to reflect the views of those who I entered into their labors.

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