Hebrews 1:1-2

Date
October 27, 2013
Psalms
57
Songs
5 bleeding wounds, be still my soul, crown him with many crowns
Text:
Heb 1:1-2 1Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.

Introduction

  1. The superiority of Christ, the preeminence of Christ held out to the early Jewish converts to Christianity to prevent them for sliding back into Old Testament forms of worship, neglecting the salvation offered in Christ.
  2. How would you begin this argument if you were to make it? Where would you lay your foundation?
  3. Paul begins his argument with the nature of God speaking.
  1. Christ is superior to everyone and everything.
  2. The Old Testament was given to point the way to the Messiah
  3. Preparation, presentation, preeminence.
  4. Preparation

God speaks

  1. What is the nature of God speaking in the Old Testament
    1. God speaks with authority
      1. When God speaks you listen. Period. It is not optional. It is not for believers only. When God speaks, all of humanity, indeed all of creation is meant to obey.
      2. All authority in heaven and on earth is God's. And he has spoken to us. How will we respond.
    2. God speaks to reveal himself
      1. If we are to know anything about God, God must speak. We cannot come to a knowledge of him outside of his revelation to us.
      2. And what does he reveal to us, mainly his Son, who is his exact imprint, his exact image. If you know the Son you will know God.
      3. John 14:8-9 8Philip said to him [Jesus], “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” 9Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
      4. John 14:6-7 6Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
      5. If God speaks to reveal God to us who cannot know him outside of his revelation to us, who is better prepared to reveal God to us than his own Son who is the exact imprint of his nature?
    3. The purpose of the old testament was to prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ the Messiah.
      1. The Old Testament was written severally or diversely. As Paul points out, it came in many times and in many ways. Yet the diversity, the multiplicity all pointed to one thing. The coming of the Messiah.
      2. In the Old Testament God spoke. He spoke with authority. He spoke to reveal himself. He spoke severally, diversely, in many times and in many ways:
        1. by dreams, visions, inspirations, voices, angels, types, signs, miracles, wars
        2. by promises, threats, special messages and prophecies, public sermons, line upon line precept upon precept
        3. by Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, Isaiah, and Ezra
      3. by all these things and more; by all these men and more God spoke of the coming of Jesus Christ the Messiah, his Son who would serve faithfully to this end: to reconcile lost, fallen, hopeless humanity into restored relationship with God.
      4. And now, he is here. The one about whom God speaks is here, the one by whom all things were created has come, and he has finished his work and sat down at the right hand of God in glory having accomplished all the will of God Almighty.
      5. Therefore God has made him the heir of all things.
        1. Phil 2:9-11 9Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
    4. This is the foundation laid: the very nature of prophesy: God speaking.
      1. And the one of whom God has spoken has walked among us and spoken to us. Listen to him. As God himself said, resounding from the heavens,
      2. Matt 17:5b-6 “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” 6When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces and were terrified.

The prophet

  1. Exod 20:18-21 18Now when all the people saw the thunder and the flashes of lightning and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking, the people were afraid and trembled, and they stood far off 19and said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, lest we die.” 20Moses said to the people, “Do not fear, for God has come to test you, that the fear of him may be before you, that you may not sin.” 21The people stood far off, while Moses drew near to the thick darkness where God was.
  2. Deut 5:24-29 24And you said, ‘Behold, the LORD our God has shown us his glory and greatness, and we have heard his voice out of the midst of the fire. This day we have seen God speak with man, and man still live. 25Now therefore why should we die? For this great fire will consume us. If we hear the voice of the LORD our God any more, we shall die. 26For who is there of all flesh, that has heard the voice of the living God speaking out of the midst of fire as we have, and has still lived? 27Go near and hear all that the LORD our God will say and speak to us all that the LORD our God will speak to you, and we will hear and do it.’ 28“And the LORD heard your words, when you spoke to me. And the LORD said to me, ‘I have heard the words of this people, which they have spoken to you. They are right in all that they have spoken. 29Oh that they had such a mind as this always, to fear me and to keep all my commandments, that it might go well with them and with their descendants forever!
  3. Heb 12:18-21 18For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest 19and the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them. 20For they could not endure the order that was given, “If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.” 21Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear.”
  4. Deut 18:15-19 15“The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers-it is to him you shall listen- 16just as you desired of the LORD your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly, when you said, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God or see this great fire any more, lest I die.’ 17And the LORD said to me, ‘They are right in what they have spoken. 18I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. 19And whoever will not listen to my words that he shall speak in my name, I myself will require it of him.
  5. Jesus speaks
    1. The winds obeyed him
    2. No one ever spoke like this man
    3. Men fell down
  6. When Jesus spoke, it wasn't like other men speaking. Not even the prophets spoke like Jesus.
  7. When Jesus spoke he spoke as God and he spoke on God's behalf at the same time.
    1. It was direct and yet indirect. It was mediated and yet unmediated.
    2. When Jesus spoke it was the mediated word of God.
      1. John 7:18 The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood.
      2. John 8:26b he who sent me is true, and I declare to the world what I have heard from him.”
      3. John 12:49 For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment-what to say and what to speak.
      4. John 17:8 For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me.
    3. When Jesus spoke it was the direct word of God full of glory, grace, and truth. Jesus spoke, and the storms obeyed, men forgot themselves returning to their masters empty handed, and when he said "I AM" his attackers fell to the ground.
    4. If it wasn't direct it would be in types and shadows like of old. It would still be God's word but it would be stripped of enough glory so that we could bear it.
    5. If it wasn't mediated it would be too glorious for us to bear. Christ is our perfect, superior, preeminent mediator. He is our prophet who speaks to us a better word.
    6. Yet there is another way in which Christ speaks. This phrase, "speaks a better word" comes from Hebrews and it isn't talking about Christ speaking to us.
      1. Heb 12:24 and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.

Mosaical law compared to the Gospel of Jesus Christ

  1. As we have said, Paul lays this as the foundation of his epistle. It is a compare and contrast of God's revelation. Where the law and the gospel, the old and the new are alike and where they are distinct.
    1. Alike
      1. Neither of them was from men
      2. Their prime Author is God
        1. This is God the Father
          1. "his Son" vs 2
          2. John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
          3. God, God the Father, is the peculiar author of both law and gospel;
      3. 2Tim 3:16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,
      4. 2Pet 1:19-21 19And we have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, 20knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone's own interpretation. 21For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
        1. [Time permitting turn here and back up to verse 16] Owen: This the apostle lays down as an acknowledged principle with the most, that both law and gospel received their original from God himself; proving also, as we shall see in the progress of our discourse, to the conviction of others, that such a revelation as that of the gospel was foretold and expected, and that this was it in particular which was preached unto them.
    2. Distinct
      1. Manner of revelation
        1. Many times vs at once (one dispensation of grace and truth)
          1. four principal parts or unfoldings
            1. Adam
              1. the promise of the seed
              2. the principle of faith and obedience to the fathers before the flood
              3. Seth, Enos, Enoch, Lamech, and others included
            2. Noah
            3. Abraham
            4. Moses
              1. David
              2. Propets of the divided kingdom
              3. Prophets under Ezra
          2. This, then, is that which in this word the apostle minds the Hebrews of, namely, that the will of God concerning his worship and our obedience was not formerly revealed all at once to his church, by Moses or any other, but by several parts and degrees, — by new additions of light, as in his infinite wisdom and care he saw meet
          3. Now, in this very first word of his epistle doth the apostle clearly convince the Hebrews of their mistake, in their obstinate adherence unto Mosaical institutions. It is as if he had bidden them consider the way whereby God revealed his will to the church hitherto. Hath it not been by parts and degrees? hath he at any time shut up the progress of revelation? hath he not always kept the church in expectation of new revelations of his mind and will? did he ever declare that he would add no more unto what he had commanded, or make no alteration in what he had instituted?
        2. Many ways vs one way (by the Spirit dwelling in Christ communicating to his apostles)
          1. various ways of God’s revealing himself to the prophets,
            1. by dreams, visions, inspirations, voices, angels,
          2. or the ways of his dealing with the fathers by the prophets,
            1. by promises, threats, gradual discoveries of his will, special messages and prophecies, public sermons
        3. One way and one manner
          1. by His preaching the gospel who was anointed with the Spirit without measure
          2. does this include the apostles?
      2. Times and seasons of revelation
        1. Of old vs last days
          1. The days of the prophets vs the days of the prophet
      3. Person to whom the revelation of them was made
        1. Fathers vs us
      4. The person or persons by whom these revelations were made
        1. The prophets
          1. Luke 1:70 as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old, #
        2. The prophets vs the Son
          1. so in these last days he spake in the Son; that is, in him personally present with the church
          2. Matthew 15:24 Lost sheep of Israel
          3. Owen: In answer unto this speaking of God in the prophets, it is asserted that in the revelation of the gospel God spake “in his Son.” This is the main hinge, on which all the arguments of the apostle in the whole epistle do turn; this bears the stress of all the inferences afterwards by him insisted on.
  2. Nature, use, and efficacy

The Son

Outline

  1. The authority committed unto him as "heir of all"
  2. The ground and wisdom of committing that great power and trust unto him, “through whom also he created the world:”

The prophet

  1. Exod 20:18-21 18Now when all the people saw the thunder and the flashes of lightning and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking, the people were afraid and trembled, and they stood far off 19and said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, lest we die.” 20Moses said to the people, “Do not fear, for God has come to test you, that the fear of him may be before you, that you may not sin.” 21The people stood far off, while Moses drew near to the thick darkness where God was.
  2. Deut 5:24-29 24And you said, ‘Behold, the LORD our God has shown us his glory and greatness, and we have heard his voice out of the midst of the fire. This day we have seen God speak with man, and man still live. 25Now therefore why should we die? For this great fire will consume us. If we hear the voice of the LORD our God any more, we shall die. 26For who is there of all flesh, that has heard the voice of the living God speaking out of the midst of fire as we have, and has still lived? 27Go near and hear all that the LORD our God will say and speak to us all that the LORD our God will speak to you, and we will hear and do it.’ 28“And the LORD heard your words, when you spoke to me. And the LORD said to me, ‘I have heard the words of this people, which they have spoken to you. They are right in all that they have spoken. 29Oh that they had such a mind as this always, to fear me and to keep all my commandments, that it might go well with them and with their descendants forever!
  3. Heb 12:18-21 18For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest 19and the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them. 20For they could not endure the order that was given, “If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.” 21Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear.”
  4. Deut 18:15-19 15“The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers-it is to him you shall listen- 16just as you desired of the LORD your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly, when you said, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God or see this great fire any more, lest I die.’ 17And the LORD said to me, ‘They are right in what they have spoken. 18I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. 19And whoever will not listen to my words that he shall speak in my name, I myself will require it of him.
  5. Unmediated mediated truth
  6. Jesus speaks
    1. The winds obeyed him
    2. Men fell down
    3. No one ever spoke like this man

&c

Last days:

  1. Last days in NT
    1. 1Tim 4:1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons,
    2. 2Tim 3:1 But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty.
    3. 2Pet 3:3 knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires.
    4. 1John 2:18 Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour.
    5. Jude 1:18 They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.”
  2. Last days in OT (days of the Messiah)
    1. It is the last days of the Judaical church and state, which were then drawing to their period and abolition, that are here and elsewhere called
    2. Hosea 3:5
    3. Isaiah 2:2
    4. Numbers 24:14
    5. No sooner had he done his work but scepter and scribe departed from Judah; they ceased to be a church and nation.
    6. Granting that the Messiah was to come to their government and worship, they labored to keep them up, and to restore them being cast down, that so they might prolong their expectation of that as to come which indeed was already past. This, in the righteous and holy providence of God, proved the means of their ruin; for their endeavor to maintain their liberty, rule, and government, after the coming of the Messiah, was the cause of the utter overthrow of all rule, authority, and public worship amongst them ... Their endeavor to restore themselves into a state and people, under their false Messiah Bar-Cochba, was the means of their utter desolation from all hopes of being a people and nation any more