Study Notes

Hebrews 1:1-2


This morning, I undertake a daunting and difficult task. In my mind, the three most challenging New Testament books to study and teach are the Gospel of Matthew, the Epistle to the Hebrews, and the Book of Revelation. Matthew is difficult because of the many parables which our Lord tells. Revelation, because of the symbolism and prophecy. And Hebrews simply because of the original audience to which it is written.

The epistle to the Hebrews is just that: a letter written to the Hebrews - the Jews who had accepted Jesus Christ as their Messiah. But the author is addressing a certain difficulty, a precarious position that many of them had come to: they were slipping deeper and deeper back into Judaism.

Who was the author? The text never says. I have always been greatly annoyed by those who insist it was one person or another. Was it Paul? Was it Barnabas? Was it Apollos? We cannot know for sure. Admittedly, after spending much of this week examining the debate, I could wax eloquent on keys to determining or refuting Pauline authorship, but realize that would be long and laborious, and would not benefit our study one bit. So, because the letter is anonymous, we will treat it that way.

However, regardless of the human instrument that God used, we do know that the author was in actuality the Holy Spirit.

It was written before the destruction of the temple in 70 AD, which will be evident as we proceed, and most good Bible historians place it around 67 to 69 AD.

So, let's jump in and see how the writer of Hebrews begins and what he has to say.

1:1-2 God

He begins with the fact that God is and God speaks. God has never wasted time trying to convince atheists that He exists. He simply states that He is. It is evident to all who would look with an open mind. The Scripture simply says,

Ps. 19:1 The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.

If you look around, you know there is a God. Even if you look inside yourself, you know there is a God, for the Bible says,

Rom. 1:19-20 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.

So, wherever you are looking, you know there is a God. It takes a lot of sin and hardness of heart to convince yourself that there is no God.

Of course, some have boldly made the statement that there is no God. An old friend of Judy's has been confronted by some atheists lately. Ray Comfort, pastor of evangelism at Judy's old church, was contacted by Ron Barrier, the national spokesman for American Atheists Inc. He challenged Ray to a debate in front of 300 atheists in Orlando, Florida. Ray agreed, and even said that he would buy his own plane ticket. But when Mr. Barrier read Ray's book on Atheism, he cancelled the debate.

You see, Ray's book is called, "God Doesn't Believe In Atheists: Proof the Atheist Doesn't Exist." And it logically and flawlessly proves the existence of God.

The great thing is, however, that people in the American Atheists Inc. organization got wind that the debate was cancelled. People began writing Ray hate mail, calling him chicken. When he publicly clarified that it was not he who cancelled the debate, the pressure was suddenly on Mr. Barrier. Now, not only is the debate back on, but the group is paying for Ray's ticket!

Ray then asked if he could bring in his book for distribution to the AAI members. They said, "Sorry, we don't allow Christian literature to be marketed at our convention." He said, "No, I want to give the books away. Do you promote censorship?" So now, they have given him permission to do this as well.

The debate topic is entitled "Does God Exist," and will take place this April 13th.

Ray will undoubtedly have little trouble proving that the Scriptures are true when they proclaim,

Ps. 14:1 THE fool has said in his heart, "There is no God."

God Spoke

So the writer of Hebrews assumes you know that God is. He tells us also that God has spoken. This is important, for you will find many other unbelievers who can't deny an internal knowledge that there is a God, but who try to keep themselves from having to be accountable to Him.

They will say to you, "Well, I believe there is a God out there, but that He created the ingredients of life on this earth, the circumstances by which life could evolve, and He's pretty much been 'hands off' ever since."

But God has not left us alone to figure things out as we go. He has spoken.

In The Prophets

How did He speak? First, He spoke to the prophets and through the prophets. Via many messengers and many methods, God made His will known to us. Enoch warned of judgment upon the ungodly. Noah preached righteousness, Moses gave the law, David spoke of the eternal throne that God would establish, and Hosea warned of the consequences of turning from God. Many more messengers communicated the heart, mind, prophecies, and laws of God to the human race. These things were written down and became what we call the Old Testament.

In His Son

Earlier, God spoke through the prophets. Now, He has spoken through Jesus. Why? Because He is a greater messenger than the prophets? Unlike the prophets, He is not a sinner. Remember that although the prophets spoke the Word of God, they themselves did not have the nature of God. For example, James clearly told us,

James 5:17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours...

We saw the failings and shortcomings of Noah, of Moses, of David, of Jonah, and the rest. Even Isaiah, when in the presence of the Lord, said,

Isa. 6:5 ..."Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips..."

Jesus had no sin. Rather,

1John 3:5 ...He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin.

But an even more important reason to have Christ as the messenger is that He Himself IS the message! That which the prophets had prophesied was about Jesus Christ.

You may recall that after the death of Jesus on the cross, many of the disciples were discouraged. Even three days later when some of the women said they saw Him alive, it was not enough to keep some of them from going on home.

Two of his disciples decided to head back to Emmaus, to return to their old lives. As they were walking along, Jesus came up to meet them. They were kept from recognizing Him, and He asked them what they had been talking about as they walked.

"Are you the only one around here that doesn't know what's gone on," they asked. "Haven't you heard about the miracle-worker Jesus? We thought He was the Messiah, but our leaders killed Him. Then some women came and told us He'd risen from the dead, but we're having trouble believing that."

Luke 24:25-27 And He said to them, "O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?" And beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.

Everything that the prophets had proclaimed had spoken of Him. Now the Message Himself is the messenger. God has spoken to us in these last days through Jesus. Will we listen?

Heir Of All Things

Now, the Father has appointed His Son Jesus Christ to be heir of all things. That means everything that belongs to the Father will be given to the Son. Everything on this earth, in the universe, all power, all authority.

While that transfer of ownership may not mean anything to you, or sound very exciting to you, it should. Because, you see, when we are born again, we are called sons of God. As John wrote,

1John 3:1 See how great a love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God; and {such} we are...

We who are Christians are sons of God! What does that mean? Remember what Romans 8 says:

Rom. 8:14-17 For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, "Abba! Father!" The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with {Him} in order that we may also be glorified with {Him.}

If Christ is to inherit everything, and we have become fellow heirs with Christ, what does that mean? Exactly what it says! We will inherit all that Christ inherits - everything!

He Made The World

The Father made the world through His Son Jesus Christ.

John 1:1-3 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being by Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.

John 1:11-13 He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, {even} to those who believe in His name, who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

He created the world. He then came to us, bringing a message. Many rejected Him, but if we believe His message, then we become children of God, and fellow heirs with Him.

What is the message? Simply this: Sin has separated you from God. You cannot reach Him because of it. But because He loves you, He has reached down to you. Although your sin brings a death penalty, He stood in your place, taking your death sentence by dying on the cross. If you accept that and give your life to Him, you will be born again.

Rom. 10:9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus {as} Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.

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