As we continue our study of Hebrews we now come to one of the best known passages in the Bible as we consider Jesus – The Living Word of God.
Our concluding study of the Hebrews writer’s exhortation for us not to follow in the disbelief of the Israelites who disobeyed God’s command to go up from Egypt and conquer the promised land of Canaan. In this study, we examine God’s promised rest.
In Hebrews 3:7-4:2, the author uses the Israelite’s failure to obey God in the wilderness after the exodus from Egypt as a cautionary tale for us not to harden our hearts to the Gospel message lest we not be able in the end to enter into God’s rest.
Having detailed the path of suffering, death, and resurrection to which Christ followers have received a heavenly calling, the Hebrews writer continues with an exhortation to remain faithful to our calling just as God’s servant, Moses, and the LORD Jesus Himself were faithful to theirs.
Having come in the flesh of a man, Jesus went to the cross for the redemption of all mankind from judgment for our sins. Then, being raised from the dead, Jesus is restored to His former glory, and has led the way for us to turn from our sins, and overcome death just as He has through faith in Him.
Having made the case of Jesus’ divinity, and given a strong admonishment not to disregard the Gospel of salvation in Christ preached by the prophets, the angels, Jesus Himself, and His disciples. The author of Hebrews now discusses Jesus’ dominion over all Creation, His incarnation in the flesh of a man, and our inability to perceive in our flesh His universal dominion because of the rampant evil presently in the world.
Having explained Jesus – God the Son’s relationship with the created angels and all creation, the Hebrews writer now turns his focus to the message of salvation through faith in Jesus. The writer admonishes us all to heed the preaching of this Gospel delivered by the prophets, the angels, the LORD Himself, and His disciples, which is confirmed by God through signs, wonders, miracles, and the pouring out of His Holy Spirit – as prophesied by Joel, promised by Jesus before His ascension, and fulfilled on the day of Pentecost after Jesus ascended to the right hand of the Father in Heaven.
Picking up our study in Hebrews at Chapter 1, Verse 4, we find a short discussion of Jesus’ superiority to angels, with Old Testament references used to convince the letter’s Jewish recipients of that superiority. Presumably, the author found a need to make this argument due to some misconception about Jesus’ relationship with the angels that was then prevalent among the Messianic Jewish congregation(s) to whom the letter was sent.
In Hebrews 1:1-3 we find a proclamation of the deity of Jesus Christ and His role in the creation of the world, the preservation of the world, and the salvation of the world from death brought to it through the sin of mankind. These declarations are made here at the beginning of Hebrews, specifically to a Jewish audience who were well familiar with the system of repeated ritual cleansing and sacrifice for the temporary atonement of sin laid out in God’s Law given to Moses. Jesus’ final and complete remission of all sin through His sacrifice on the cross is declared, alluding to the more detailed development of these concepts which we will find later in the book of Hebrews.
Introduction to Hebrews – Audience, Author, Date, Purpose, Main Themes