THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS: PART 1
The Epistle to the Hebrews is the only letter in the New Testament other than I John without any greeting or identification of its author. The two most likely candidates are Apollos and Barnabas. Why were these two chosen as candidates? Apollos because he was an eloquent Jew who knew the Scriptures well (Acts 18:24), and Barnabas because he was a Levite (Acts 4:36). The only clue to the writing was in the closing remark, "Those from Italy greet you" (13:24).
The epistle was not addressed to specific churches or individuals. The epistle is a presentation of Jesus Christ as High Priest, and especially addressed to Jewish believers.
Repeated use of Old Testament quotations and images suggests that those addressed people had a Jewish background. Repeated warnings were given against spiritual unbelief which revealed the recepients were contemplating renouncing the Christian faith (2:1-4; 3:7-4:14; 5:12-6:20; 10:19-39; 12:12-29).
THE SUPERIORITY OF JESUS CHRIST
Hebrews sets out to show that Christianity is superior to Judaism because Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the High Priest and the author and finisher of salvation. He is superior to angels (1:4) and to Moses (3:1-6). Christ is the character and essence of God. Jesus, the Son of God became flesh and was made like His brethen in all things (2:17) to bring many sons into glory (2:10),
PART ONE: THE SUPERIORITY OF THE PERSON JESUS CHRIST
I. THE SUPERIORITY OF JESUS CHRIST OVER THE PROPHETS
Son of God
- Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds... when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;
Prophets foretell the future of things to come, but cannot create things out of nothing whereas Jesus Christ, son of God is God's manifestation on earth who created the heavens, the earth and all the living things on the earth, animals, plants, human beings. the sun, moon, and galaxy of stars. He is the original Creator of all things in the world, animated and inanimated.
II THE SUPERIORITY OF JESUS CHRIST OVER THE ANGELS
A. HIS DEITY
There are thousands of angels who were created by God, but Jesus is God's Manifestation on earth. He represented God and all power and authority were given to Jesus to act on earth.
- Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.
- And let all the angels of God worship him.
Heaven and earth created by Christ
- And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the fountation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands:
There are thousands of angels, but only one Son of God, Jesus Christ, .
- The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels;
- But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels.
- Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?
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B. FIRST WARNING: DANGER OF NEGLECT
We were warned, lest we slip and forget God entirely.
- Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.
2 Chronicles 29:11
- My sons, be not now negligent: for the Lord hath chosen you to stand before him, to serve him, and that ye should minister unto him, and burn incense.
1 Timothy 4:14
- Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.
- Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works: or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.
C. BECAUSE OF JESUS' HUMANITY
Jesus was created human because He could die as an human being (2:7). A little lower than angels who cannot die as humans do. By the grace of God, Jesus could taste death through suffering and He was sinless. God is a Spirit and cannot die, so He sent Jesus to die for us.
Children are of flesh and blood and Jesus was like us and through His sacifice to die on the cross, He was victorious over death and the evil one. Through His sacrifice and death, we are now able to receive salvation from God. As a human, He was sinless. Because of His Holy Spirit in us, we are able to resist Satan, the evil one.
- And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father) full of grace and work.
Jesus fasted forty days and nights and was then tempted by Satan. He withstood temptation and was victorious. Before Jesus died, He knew the agony He would suffer and He prayed to God to strengthen Him so He could go through the suffering. Jesus prayed to God to take away the cup of suffering if it were possible, but He then said not according to His will, but the Lord's will. God's will is supreme, and Jesus submitted to His will.
- Jesus wept.
Jesus was human and wept when He saw Mary weeping for her brother Lazarus. Human beings cry when their loved ones die.
III. THE SUPERIORITY OF CHRIST OVER MOSES
A. CHRIST IS SUPERIOR TO MOSES IN HIS WORK
- Who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house.
- For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house.
- For every house is builded by some man, but he that built all things is God.
Moses led over six hundred thousand men, not counting children out of Egypt for forty years in the wilderness to go to the Promised Land. That was quite a feat!
Jesus lived on the earth for thirty-three and a half years. In the last three and a half years, He performed a myriad of miracles such as never been heard or seen before, turning water to wine, healing the blind, cleansing the lepers, healing the paralytic, stilling the storm, casting out the demoniacs, feeding of five thousand, four thousand, healing the deaf and dumb, raising the dead, and a host of other miracles.
Moses was faithful in his work for the Lord God, and was chosen to lead the Israelites out of the land of Egypt where they were exiled since the time of Jacob and his family who migrated to Egypt due to a very severe famine in Canaan. Jacob and all his eleven sons and their families decided to join Joseph in Egypt for there was plenty of food in Egypt.
God had revealed to Joseph that there would be plenty of food for seven years followed by seven years of drought. Joseph conveyed the message to Pharaoh and was put in charge of all provisions in the land. Joseph collected the food in times of plenty and stored them. When famine struck Egypt and the surrounding countries, Egypt had plenty of food to spare.
In some sense Moses was the saviour of his people for leading them out of Egypt where they became slaves to Pharaoh. God favoured Moses and gave him the Ten Commandments for the Israelites to observe.
Jesus, on the other hand was the Son of God, or in other words was God incarnate as "man".on earth. He had all the frailties of man, but Jesus was sinless for He depended on the will of God to see him through.
B. SUPERIOR TO MOSES IN PERSON
- And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant. for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after;
- But Christ as a son over his own house, whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.
Moses was a man with limitations, though he was extraordinary. When first called by God to speak with Pharaoh, he refused because he said he could not speak well. On the journey to the Promised Land, he struck the rock twice when God told him to strike it once and water gushed out from the rock. God said Moses disbelieved Him and he was not allowed to set foot in the Promised Land (Deu. 32:48-52) for he trespassed against the Lord in the waters of Meribah Kadesh because Moses did not sanctify the Lord.
The Lord sent Jesus into the world to set up a kingdom on earth by sacrificing Himself to die on the cross for mankind, and He completed His task on earth. As a man, Jesus was without sin, but felt all the frailties of man, He was tempted by the devil, felt hunger, pain, and rejection like human beings, but He overcame all tests. Jesus was far more superior to Moses as a person.
C. SECOND WARNING: DANGER OF UNBELIEF
The Second Warning was about the danger of unbelief. If the Israelites refused to believe in the Almighty God, they would be lost for ever and never receive salvation.
- Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.
- But exhort one another daily, while it is called Today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
- Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.
- Well, because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not high-minded, but fear.
- So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.
- Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.
Believe in the superiority of Jesus Christ over the Prophets, over the Angels and over Moses because of His Deity, His Humanity, His Work, and His Person. Be warned of the Danger of Neglect (First Warning and the Danger of Unbelief (Second Warning). Forewarned is to be forearmed. God be praised!
The Epistle to the Hebrews: Part 1
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