His Superior Word

God’s superior word has been spoken in His Son. All previous words were partial, preparatory, and incomplete

Bible red ribbon - Photo by Timothy Eberly on Unsplash
The letter to the
 Hebrews exhorts believers not to abandon Jesus Christ when difficult times come. It does so by emphasizing the superiority of what God has provided in him, comparing the old Levitical system and its incomplete provisions with the new covenant inaugurated by God’s Son - [Photo by Timothy Eberly on Unsplash].

The letter demonstrates the superiority of Christ’s word, ministry, priesthood, covenant, and sacrifice over the services, priesthood, and animal sacrifices of the obsolete old covenant.

In doing so, it does not denigrate the old revelations, but instead, it shows by comparison how much the new covenant and revelation have surpassed the old.

  • (Hebrews 1:1-3) – “In many parts and in many ways of old, God spoke to the fathers in the prophets; at the end of these days, He spoke to us in a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom also he made the ages; Who, being an eradiated brightness of his glory, and an exact representation of his very being, also bearing up all things by the word of his power, purification of sins having achieved, sat down on the right hand of the majesty in high places.”

The letter is addressed to a Christian congregation experiencing pressure from outsiders. Consequently, some members are contemplating a return to the local synagogue to avoid persecution.

But doing so will necessitate conforming to the rituals described in the book of Leviticus. And it will also constitute the betrayal and dishonoring of the Son - (Hebrews 2:1-3, 2:15, 6:1-12, 10:25-39).

THESE LAST DAYS


According to the letter, “upon these last days,” the superior “Word of God” has been spoken in His “Son.” Thus, this revelation marks the end of one era and the commencement of another and a vastly superior age.

The Greek sentence begins with two adverbs - polumerōs and polutropōs – both compounded with the adjective polus or “much, many.”

Polumerōs is formed with meros or “part,” and polutropōs with tropos or “manner.” The terms stress different aspects of the past revelation “spoken in the prophets.” The previous word was partial (“in many parts”) and given in different “ways.” And presumably, the latter category includes prophecies, visions, dreams, and other forms of inspired communication.

God did speak before but only partially so. Three contrasts are presented to prove this fact. First, God spoke “of old” but now He speaks “upon these last days.” Second, He spoke to “the fathers but now “to us,” namely, the church. And third, He spoke “in the prophets” but now “in a Son.”

The previous revelations were promissory, preparatory, and incomplete. They did not reveal all that God intended to do; therefore, more complete disclosure is necessary.

As the letter will argue, the old Levitical system is incapable of achieving the “purification of sins” so desperately needed by all men. And while the older “word” is correct though incomplete, the final one is expressed through one who is a “son” and not one of the prophets.

The term “these last days” provides the time element for the new “sonly” word and the era it inaugurated. It began with his death, resurrection, and exaltation to “sit” in God’s very presence - (Acts 2:17, Galatians 4:4, Ephesians 1:10).

SON AND HEIR


In the Greek sentence, there is no definite article or “the” before the word “son.” The omission stresses the class or status of the one who is called “son,” not his identity. The “word” that God now speaks is by means of one who is a son, in contrast to prophets, priests, and angels.

A son is in the closest relationship with his father, and that familial closeness emphasizes his elevated status. As the “Son,” he is superior even to Moses and the angels. Consequently, his word is vastly superior to all others, period. It is not just one among many inspired words, but one with absolute and final authority

The “Son” in whom God now speaks is He appointed “heir of all things.” This is a verbal allusion to the second Psalm, a key passage used repeatedly in Hebrews.


Sunrise - Photo by Stripe Media on Unsplash
[Photo by Stripe Media on Unsplash]


Yahweh promised to give His Son and Messiah the “nations as an inheritance,” but the letter expands that original promise so that now he is the “heir of all things”:

  • (Psalm 2:7-8) – “I will tell of the decree: Yahweh said to me, You are my son; This day have I begotten you. Ask of me, and I will give the nations for your inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for your possession.

The “Son” reflects the brightness of the glory and is the exact impress of God’s essence. Not only does he hold an elevated position, but he reflects the very glory of God. This is not metaphysical speculation about the nature of Christ. Instead, it points to the surpassing greatness of the position he now holds.

FINAL AND SUPREME


Thus, the “sonly word” is superior to all past revelations and takes precedence over all that has gone before him. This is especially so in two distinct ways.

First, it is the last word in a long series of prophetic revelations. Second, Jesus himself is the consummation and fulfillment of all those previous and incomplete “words,” the “perfecter of our faith.”

Only in His Son is the final revelation of Yahweh found, not in the regulations of the Torah, the old priesthood, or its animal sacrifices. The Son came to fulfill what those things foreshadowed.

Thus, what preceded the “word spoken in a son” was preparatory, promissory, and never intended to be final. With the advent of Jesus of Nazareth, God has “spoken” with absolute finality, and nothing can ever be the same again.



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