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Hebrews 2



TUESDAY, October 6


The concept of Jesus is Better continues in this chapter.  The first comparison that is made is between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant.  The second comparison actually picks up the comparison at the end of chapter one: Jesus is better than the angels.

As the chapter opens we are exhorted to pay attention to the message of the New Covenant so that we don’t drift away from it.  This doesn’t mean we can drift away from or lose our salvation.  But it does mean if we not intentional about staying focused on the Gospel, we can drift away from the powerful truths that make up that message.

Verse 2 is about the Old Covenant or the Law.  Although we don’t read about angelic involvement in the giving of the Law in the Book of Exodus.  Stephen spoke about it (Acts 7:38), Paul wrote about it (Galatians 3:19), and the traditions of Judaism supported it.  The point here is not to prove angelic involvement but to remind the readers that every transgression of the Old Testament Law had a penalty and/or punishment attached to it which included animal sacrifices, restitution, excommunication and even death. 

If that is true about the Old Testament Law then we should be even more careful with the Gospel.  In verse 3, the idea of neglecting or ignoring is actually a reference to “being careless with”.  In other words, if you reject the Gospel, there is a greater and eternal punishment that accompanies such rejection.

As the writer continues he takes the possibility of ignorance out of the equation.  People can’t say they didn’t know.  Here’s why.  The end of verse 3 speaks to the fact that Jesus proclaimed the Gospel and the original disciples and followers communicated it.  Verse 4 adds that God proved the Gospel by signs and wonders and miracles.

As we get to verse 5, we are reminded that God did not put the angels in charge of what is to come.  In the Greek it is obvious that this is a reference to the future Millennial Kingdom. This verse reminds us that Jesus will be the undisputed King of that kingdom.

In verses 6-8, the writer reminds us of Psalm 8:5-7.  Verse 7 here speaks of the Son of Man (Jesus) being made “for a little while lower than the angels”.  This is a reference to Jesus’ incarnation.  When He came in the flesh, He emptied Himself of His divine glory and much of His divine privilege (Philippians 2:6-8).  But that was just during His incarnation.  At His glorification, Jesus resumed all of His divine glory, His divine privilege, and His divine position.

Verse 8 tells us that part of this resulted in everything being in subjection to Jesus.  Everything is in His control.  Then the Bible makes a most interesting statement: “At present we don’t see everything in subjection to Him”.  This points to the fact that there are many who have rejected Jesus and His rule deciding instead to live how they want to.  As a result, sin and its impact continue to grow.  But never doubt that Jesus is in control of everything and there is a day coming that He will totally exercise that control.

In verse 10, we are reminded that as a result of our new birth and subsequent adoption, we are children of God and a brother/sister to Jesus.  He is obviously our big brother and stands exponentially above us but we are, nevertheless, the children of God.  The reason this brotherhood exists is (verse 17) Jesus became one of us which was necessary if He were going to be our propitiation or atonement or the “absorber of God’s wrath” on our sin for our benefit.  No angel could have ever accomplished that. Only Jesus, the Son of Man, could do that.

Hebrews 1




Today we get to start a new book, the Book of Hebrews.  It is a general epistle.  That means it was not written to a particular individual like 1 Timothy was for example.  It also was not written to a specific church like Colossians was for example.  Instead it was written to a group of people that were scattered around like 1 Peter was for example.  By the title of the book, we can assume that this letter was written to Christ followers who came out of Judaism.  There is also some evidence that it was also written to some extent to those who still adhered to the Jewish religion. In other words, this letter could have been used as an apologetic to help convince those who were not saved to accept Jesus.

In many ways, the book of Hebrews has one theme.  That theme is Jesus is better. Throughout the book we see Jesus compared to a lot of different things including a lot of things and people from the Old Testament.  But it doesn’t matter what you compare Jesus to.  Jesus is better. 

As the book opens we read where God had spoken many times in many ways. The many times idea speaks to the progressive prophetic revelations of the Old Testament.  Those revelations were not constant.  There were times God would raise up a prophet and speak through him.  There were other times in the Old Testament that it seems God was not speaking additional revelation through a prophet.  The many ways idea speaks to things like covenants, a legal code, a burning bush, angels, a fiery mountain, dreams, visions, signs, wonders, a still, small voice, etc.  One thing to remember here is all of this evidence of how much God truly does want us to know Him and to know what He has to say.

But now God has spoken to us through His Son.  Jesus is not merely the instrument through which God’s message is communicated.  He is actually the message itself.  God’s final revelation is the person of His Son.  So, even as important as the Old Testament prophets were, Jesus is better. By the way, the messages of the prophets were progressive.  The message of Jesus is final.  There is no further revelation from God.

In verse 4, we are reminded that Jesus is superior to the angels.  The Bible is full of angelic activity: some of it from fallen angels; some of it from the good guys.  The holy angels accomplished a lot throughout the pages of Scripture.  By the way, I think they are still accomplishing a lot today.  But none of them is as great as Jesus.  And none of them could accomplish what Jesus did.  Much of the rest of the chapter has to do with a comparison between Jesus and the holy angels. 

You might wonder why so much space is given to the comparison of Jesus and angels.  There are a couple of reasons.  One is there is some evidence of angel worship among the Jewish people at that time.  The other reason is just the prominent place angels held in the theology of first century Jewish thought.  As a result, those with a Jewish background needed to be reminded of the superiority of Jesus.

That doesn’t mean angels weren’t or aren’t important.  As verse 14 says, they are ministering spirits sent to serve in behalf of those who are saved and who will one day inherit the fullness of their salvation.

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