Video available here: http://youtu.be/YXAEhaUaERY
Today we’re going to take a look at Hebrews chapter 1, which really gives us a great perspective on the eternal plan of God and the focus of our lives and our faith as Christians. It’s best summarized in the first 4 verses of the chapter, which say,
“In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. 3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. 4 So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs.”
This is pretty self-explanatory—God used to speak to us through the prophets, but now in the last days He spoke to us by His Son, Jesus Christ, who was the ultimate fulfillment of all the things he’s previously spoken of through the prophets. Jesus Christ was appointed heir of all things, and by Him all things were made. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of Him, demonstrating to us the character and nature of God the Father. Jesus provided sanctification for our sins, and He is infinitely superior to the angels for He inherited a superior position to them.
This whole section probably sounds foreign to those still in the message or those newly out of it—though isolated pieces of this chapter of scripture was quoted in the message it is highly unlikely that it was ever read in its entirety within a message church, for to do so would have rendered many of the points made in the message null and void.
First, that God no longer speaks to us by prophets, but “in the last days” speaks to us through His Son—There it is in Hebrews 1:1, as clear as day. In the PAST God spoke through the prophets, but IN THE LAST DAYS speaks through Jesus Christ. Amazing! It’s truly a glorious thing to think about the implications of this. Not that God doesn’t have prophetic utterances in the last days, because the truth of this is supported throughout the New Testament in verses like Acts 2:16-21 where Peter quotes Joel 2:28-32 about sons and daughters prophesying when the Holy Spirit comes, and in 1 Corinthians 14:3 where Paul says that those who prophesy speak for the up building and encouragement of believers. But this does say that the work of the prophets to lead God’s people is ceased—Jesus Christ is now rightfully in His place as Lord and King over believers, forever set apart as THE leader , THE Son of God, and THE Son of Man as opposed to A leader, A son of God, or A Son of Man.
We also see quite plainly that God exalted the Son and set Him in His position by The Father’s will. Verse 2 says that, “he has spoken to us by His Son,” and that he “appointed Him heir of all things.” It’s a hard pill to swallow for some—but God the Father and our Lord, Jesus Christ are relational to one another. Jesus Christ sits at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven—which is to say, Jesus Christ is not the Majesty in heaven but is distinct from Him, so much so that He can be describes as external to Him, sitting on the right hand of God the Father, the Majesty in heaven. Even so, we are told in verse 4 that He is superior to the angels—He has inherited a superior position to them, and in verse 2 we are told that through Jesus Christ all things were made. Jesus Christ then, is not some lowly human being or creation that was used of God—He was far greater than that! He is The Son of God, and He inherited Lordship over creation—in fact, it was by Him that creation was made.
The rest of the chapter quotes various Old Testament Scriptures, pulling them forward and identifying Jesus Christ the their fulfillment:
5 For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my Son; today I have become your Father”? Or again, “I will be his Father, and he will be my Son” ? 6 And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says, “Let all God’s angels worship him.” 7 In speaking of the angels he says, “He makes his angels spirits, and his servants flames of fire.” 8 But about the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever; a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom. 9 You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.” 10 He also says, “In the beginning, Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. 11 They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. 12 You will roll them up like a robe; like a garment they will be changed. But you remain the same, and your years will never end.” 13 To which of the angels did God ever say, “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet”?
We can see in the remaining verses of the chapter just how superior and exalted Jesus Christ is. First, Psalms 2:7, “I will be his Father, and he will be my Son.” Jesus Christ was the Son of God, and God was His Father—there is a relationship there, and it is as a Father to a Son. 2 Samuel 7:14 and 1 Chronicles 17:13 tells us that God would command all the angels to worship Him—Jesus Christ, which was done at the time of his birth and other times throughout His time on Earth. God differentiates Jesus Christ from his angels and servants. God says in Deuteronomy 32:43 that angels are but spirits and servants flames of fire, but His Son is described in Psalms 104:4 as being far above His companions and anointed with the oil of joy, and in Psalms 45:6-7 and Psalms 102:25-47 as the One who laid the foundations of the Earth, the everlasting One, the One who will grant those that perish everlasting life, and the One who will remain the same and whose years will have no end. In Psalms 110:1 we are told that God the Father will give victory over the enemy into the Hands of the One who sits on His right hand.
How amazing to discover just how magnified and exalted Jesus Christ is! He is not just a man, not just a servant, not just a prophet—He is far more than that. He is the giver of eternal life—the granter of salvation.
In verse 14, we are given the ultimate conclusion to the subject covered in Chapter 1 of Hebrews—“Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?” Both earthly angels and heavenly angels—all ministering spirits are sent to serve those who will inherit salvation—which WAS Jesus Christ, and through faith as an extension of His grace towards us, these angels are sent in order to minister to us as well on His behalf.
Were I to attempt to give a one sentence summary of this chapter it would be, “God sent the prophets of Old to point the way to Jesus Christ, and now that Jesus Christ has come we have everything we need to obtain salvation through Him.”
So what’s our take-away lesson from this portion of scripture? I think there are many that we can take away from this, but I believe the one that speaks the most to me is the fact that Jesus Christ is so superior to all other messengers and servants of God—He alone is the means to eternal life for He alone inherited it, and that through Him alone can we obtain salvation. It pretty much does away with all fears about missing “the message of the hour”, because the message of the Last Days is Jesus Christ and His teachings and work of salvation on the Cross, and the ‘essentials’ for salvation are contained entirely in Scriptures—in the Gospel accounts of Jesus Christ, and in the epistles that shed light on the meaning and application of the principles of Christ.
So if you’re still wrestling with guilt or worried about missing something, don’t worry! This chapter tells us plainly that if you’ve found Jesus Christ and believe upon Him alone, hearing His words and believing His teachings you’re listening to the message for the last days. So take a deep breath, and just allow that man-made burden to search and seek and discover and find salvation melt away. Just come to Jesus Christ, the Son of God! It’s really that simple. In the message we were always told that the Gospel was simple, but let’s be honest—1100 plus tapes, tons of rules, confusing doctrines, church age timelines, demonology, marriage and divorce…so many doctrines that required a great deal of work to learn and comprehend in order to even possibly qualify for bride status. And then there’s all the different rules about who is saved and who’s not, who’s bride and who’s not, who’s foolish virgin and who’s not, and none of the message churches agree with one another, and even from tape to tape things contradict each other—that is not simple. That is really, really complicated. That ‘simplicity’ requires a suspension of all reason, logic, and understanding in order to accept. It requires a great deal of cognitive dissonance to maintain, and it requires completely ignoring the facts in order to stick to the tapes.
But believe upon the Lord Jesus Christ—that’s simple. It’s not easy—but it is simple. And it starts with the acknowledgement OF Hebrews 1:1—that Jesus Christ IS the message of the Last Days—that He fulfilled all things and through Him all Truth has been revealed. That He is all that we need—that Salvation belongs to the Lord.