Hebrews (01): The Supremacy of the Son (Heb. 1:1-4)

Date: 10/7/2018
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Hebrews 1:1–4 ESV - Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2 but 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. 3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs
Introduction?Hebrews is a challenging book. In the first place it speaks frequently in references to the LXX version of the OT, and of that many of the lesser known aspects of the tabernacle rites and priestly aspects of the OT. Many Christians are only familiar with the language of Hebrews about these matters, rather than the Hebrew Scriptures, and the subsequent Greek version of the OT (LXX). Moreover, the conceptual world of the writer is not obvious. It is not merely Jerusalem’s temple. Actually, term “temple” (hieron) never appears in the book, but “tabernacle” (skene) is found nice times. Though, there is some hint that the temple is standing, given the present tense descriptions of priestly actions (8:5, 13:10). And there is a strong allusion to the coming destruction of the temple as well, “But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear (aphinismos, be destroyed)” (8:13). Rather, it seems that the writer uses a Hellenistic view of the OT which is brought into service of the fulfillment in Jesus Christ. Foremost commentator William Lane says, “Undefined are the identity of the writer, his conceptual background, the character and location of the community addressed, the circumstances and date of composition, the setting in life, the nature of the crisis to which the document is a response, the literary genre, and the purpose and plan of the work. Although these undefined issues continue to be addressed and debated vigorously, no real consensus has been reached” (WBC). Even so, the main themes are readily understood. In the first passage we see the basic themes which will guide the unfolding of the book.?
The Supremacy of the Word of the Son
The diversity of OT revelation
The “last days” “at the end of these days” - the “last days of the old covenant”
c) The unity of new covenant revelation: “by a  Son” - Not by servants and stewards, but by a son.

The Supremacy of the Work of the Son
a) Thesis statement of the book:  Hebrews 1:3b–4 - “When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they”
b) Jesus brings about a new exodus: language of Exodus (to the “hebrews”), signs and wonders.
c) Jesus is “perfected” via incarnation/suffering which is the LXX translation of the Hebrew “receive the hand/ordination.” Perfection is “ordination” (Leithart).
d) His work: He upholds the world, made purification of sins (1:3), brings many sons to glory (2:10); rendered powerless the devil (2:14); and made propitiation for the sins of the people (2:17).

Through incarnation unto HIs death-conquest-ascension, Jesus has shown sonship and received the complete inheritance of the cosmos, especially the leadership of His people, the new Adamic humanity.   

Gregg Strawbridge Gregg Strawbridge, Ph.D., is the pastor of All Saints Church in Lancaster, PA. He became a committed follower of Jesus Christ at age 20, discipled in the context of a University Navigator Ministry. As a result of personal discipleship he went on to study at Columbia Biblical Seminary (M.A., Columbia, SC, 1990), as well as receive a Ph.D. in education and philosophy... read more