May 2011

7765 - Heavens to Perish

Since our lives are so finite in God’s vast eternity we are stretched when we are challenged to consider that any part of God’s creation may have limits; but such is the situation for today’s study.

Listen to Hebrews 1:10-12:
[God] says, "In the beginning, O Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will roll them up like a robe; like a garment they will be changed. But you remain the same, and your years will never end."

Here Father God is speaking to His Son, as He affirms that the Son was the One who laid the foundations of the earth and the heavens at the beginning of time. Genesis 1:1 tells us: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

Throughout Scripture the act of creation is ascribed to The Son. As we have shared previously, everything, which is matter as well as all the unseen dynamics which govern the interaction of these things were brought into being through the spoken command of The Son. The law of gravity and the laws of nature; the law of centrifugal force; entropy, magnetism, aging and all such controls were put into operation by the Son of God, the Christ.

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7764 - Eternal Throne

As the writer of Hebrews is telling about the superiority of the Son of God to various beings, he speaks about the throne of the Son, which will last forever.

Let’s consider Hebrews 1, verses 8 & 9 today.

But about the Son he says, "Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever, and righteousness will be the scepter of your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy."

Notice that in this passage Father God is speaking to God-the-Son, so the Father is authenticating that the throne of your kingdom will last forever.

Since the Father & the Son predate all created things, the throne of the Son was established before the heavens & the earth were created. That means that as we look back we never see a time when the throne of the Son did not exist. It is obvious that the term throne here denotes the rule or kingdom of the Son.

This statement also looks forward forever; therefore, past the end of time. This means the rule of Christ over his kingdom always has been and always will be.

The comparison being made in this greater passage is the enduring nature of the rule of the Son, whereas the angels have a limited expectation.

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7763 - Angel Characteristics

Before continuing our study through the book of Hebrews let’s consider a close look at a few more characteristics of angels.

A few people have asked: “How powerful are angels?” As one studies various incidents in which angels are involved we may conclude there is no limit of what they can do. Have you noticed how seldom is more than one angel sent on a service mission by God? This fact enhances the thought that, generally speaking, only one angel is necessary.

Let’s first look at a scene from the history of Judah. When Hezekiah was king in Judah, Sennacherib, King of Assyria, invaded Judah and captured many cities. He sent the leaders of his army to threaten Jerusalem. King Hezekiah & the leaders of Judah humbled themselves and prayed to God.

The prophet Isaiah notified King Hezekiah that the Lord God had given positive, assuring words regarding the King of Assyria. The Lord Almighty had said, “he will not enter this city; I will defend this city and save it for My sake and the sake of David my servant.” (2 Kings 19).

As the people of Jerusalem slept that night, the angel of the Lord, just one angel, went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand men in the Assyrian camp. When the people of Jerusalem got up the next morning the surrounding tents of the enemy were filled with dead bodies. All of the fighting men and the leaders and officers in the camp of the Assyrians had been annihilated by the Lord’s angel. Scripture tells us King Sennacherib broke camp and returned to Nineveh.

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7762 - Angels Part 3

As we are studying in the book of Hebrews we notice the emphasis in much of chapter 1 is the superiority of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, over the angels. Today we learn more about the angels.

Hebrews 1:7 says: In speaking of the angels, he says, “He makes his angels winds, his servants flames of fire.”

The emphasis here seems to be the variableness or changeability of the angelic ones as they are called upon to be ministers of God.

Let’s look into some of the services in which one or more angel has been called upon to accomplish a task for God’s.

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7761 - He Created Angels

Our Bible studies are now focused upon the book of Hebrews. The early verses in this book have many references to angels, but there is not much explanation of these heavenly beings; so we want to pause and catch a glimpse into these figures called angels.

Where did angels come from? How many are there? These are things we would like to know as we talk about angels.

Did they exist before the Biblical record began?

Let’s examine the Scripture and get some answers to our questions.

Colossians 1:16, speaking about Jesus Christ, clearly declares: “By him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.”

The Gospel of John (1:3) says: “Through Him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.”

Revelation (4:11) adds: “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.

These verses clearly teach us that everything which exists in the heavenly realms or the realm of earth had its beginning under the creative power and understanding of the Son, Jesus Christ. So, angels were created by the Son. There is nothing in existence, other than the Father & the Son, which can claim a beginning outside the creation of the Son.

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7760 - Angels Worship Him

The book of Hebrews opens with a radiant testimony of the splendor of the Son of God. One of the comparisons is with angels.

Let’s look at Hebrews 1; verses 4 and 5:

So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs. For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my Son; today I have become your Father”? Or again, “I will be his Father, and he will be my Son”? And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says, “Let all God’s angels worship him.”

That opening sentence requires some investigation. How did the Son become superior to angels?

Since the Son created the angels it would be obvious that he is greater.

And some ask, why the fascination with angels?

The main message in Hebrews is directed to those in the Jewish community. Their view of angels was very much more elevated than with other people. Angels had played important parts in the history of the Jews.

Angels had been used by God to interface with the Jewish people on many occasions. The angel of the Lord appeared to Moses with instructions for delivering Israel from Egypt; and the angel of God protected Israel in their exodus. Angels also were instrumental in delivering the Law through Moses

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7759 - On His Throne

In our study of Hebrews we now come to one of the premier truths about the ministry of the Son, Jesus Christ.

In Heb. 1:3 we read, “After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.”

The first phrase of this sentence tells about the very purpose for the Son’s coming to earth.

When Adam sinned God’s Spirit, which resided in Adam departed the throne room in Adam’s human spirit.

Omniscient God knew this would occur; therefore, Precious, loving God had already formulated a plan in heaven whereby mankind would be ransomed from sin and given an opportunity to willfully chose to invite His Spirit to return and take up residence in the human spirit of man.

This was the eternal, redemption plan of Trinity God for humanity. The details were to remain a mystery through the ages, but insight into the plan is contained in most every book of the Old Testament.

Peter relates that the prophets searched intently and with great care, seeking to understand the time and circumstances to which God’s Spirit was pointing in predicting the suffering of Christ and the glories that would follow.

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7758 - The Sustainer

In our past few studies we have been carefully examining each powerful statement about the Son given in the early verses of Hebrews. God is calling our attention to certain facets about His Son in ways we do not often consider.

Today we want to examine the statement found in verse 3, which tells us that the Son is, “sustaining all things by his powerful word.”

Several thoughts about this phrase deserve consideration.

We have previously commented about the use of the title “Son” in this early part of Hebrews. Of course, this is reference to the Son of God, the glorified Lord Jesus Christ.

These verses give penetrating attention to the position and work of Jesus in His reestablished authority and glory, after completing his servanthood for humanity here on earth.

We have focused some attention upon the Son’s task of creation, which occurred long before he came to earth in human flesh. He Himself is declared by Scripture to be the One who created all things from nothing. There was nothing in the material realm before he created it. The Hebrew uses the term ‘bara’ which is to make from nothing for all of creation, until he made man.

When describing the creation of man three different Hebrew words are used to describe this act. Those words are “bara” - to create from nothing; “Asah” - to make from something; and “yatsar” which means to shape or form. God formed the body of man from the dust of the ground (Gen.2:7); but the intricate inner being of man was created from nothing after the very image of God.

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7757 - Exact Image

The book of Hebrews opens with several affirmative, descriptive statements regarding the exalted superiority of Jesus Christ, Son-of-God.

Today let’s focus on two phrases in verse 3 relating to the Son.

“The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being.”

These words give assurance that Jesus Christ is God himself. The verb tense is present tense, dispelling the false rumor that Jesus never rose from the dead, which was circulated by the Jewish leaders in an attempt to destroy the truth of the resurrection.

“Son” is a title of reference, which often is applied to Jesus Christ. Jesus used the title “Son of God” as well as “Son of Man” in reference to himself while on earth.

“Son of God” expresses the deity of the Lord Jesus, whereas the “Son of Man” distinguishes Him in the days of his earthly humanity. The use of the term Son is an inference of His oneness with God in the glory, which he enjoyed with Father God even before the world existed.

It is a mystery for man to understand but Jesus, The Son, declared, “I and the Father are One.” One reason the Son came to earth clothed in human flesh was to declare the very nature of God in visible form to people of flesh. John’s gospel tells us (1:18): “No one has ever seen God, but God the only Son, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.” Thus, the Son demonstrated the very nature and form of invisible God, so that we could gain more understanding of infinite, exalted God.

Hebrews declares the Son is the radiance of God’s glory.

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7756 - Heir and Creator

In the opening paragraph of Hebrews are splendid declarations of the superiority of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, as compared to the prophets of old and to the angels of heavenly realms.

Let’s look today at chapter 1, verse 2:

“but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.”

Our last study focused on how God has spoken to mankind by His Son. This, of course, refers to the message given to the people of earth in and through the Son of God. In His birth, life, death and resurrection, Jesus is the only One ever to experience life as Son-of-Man and also as Son-of-God.

The verse we read told us that Father God appointed Jesus as heir of all things. To us, the word ‘heir’ carries the idea of one who becomes inheritor of an estate upon the Father’s death. This definition has no meaning for Jesus because Father God is eternal and will never die. That word also describes one who is possessor, sovereign, or lord. Notice, this is something resembling a title, and so it could be with Jesus.

This title does not relate to His ‘begotten’ state as the Son-of-God. Rather, this title ‘heir’ relates to the Father’s recognition of Christ’s service as the Son-of-Man. In becoming the Son-of-Man, Jesus was unique. He was fully human, in which form he alone qualified as the sinless lamb to be sacrificed for the sins of the human race.

Another important point: while in flesh, Jesus had laid aside the use of his divine powers for his entire human life on earth. He was fully God, but He never used His personal divine powers during His earthly life. He lived in total dependence upon Father God, and He always obeyed the Fathers instructions. He told people He did not come to earth to do His own will, but to do the will of the Father. This truth was emphasized in that last night with the disciples when he declared to them that it is the Father living in me, who is doing his work, and anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.

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7755 - God Spoke

Today we want to explore the idea expressed at the beginning of Hebrews that “God spoke.”

Listen to Hebrews 1:1-2a:

In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son...

Prophets were men chosen by God to speak out the counsel and message of God to mankind. They were the mouth piece of God as they spoke forth the many messages which God had for people throughout Old Testament history.

God spoke at many times and in various ways, showing that God is not an impersonal, hidden God who only speaks occasionally to people.

From the very first, God’s desire was that He would have a personal relationship with His people creatures. Adam was made with a body and soul and human spirit. This human spirit is the place in man, which was designed by God for communion and fellowship with Himself. God’s Spirit would reside there and the relationship was meant to be mutually enjoyable and beneficial.

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7754 - Five Warnings

As we begin our study of the book of Hebrews we call attention to five forceful warnings from God to the believers in the newly founded Church there in the first century.

But these warnings equally apply to Christians of all centuries so let’s look at them in outline form before we dig into our verse by verse study of this book.

The first warning appears in chapter 2, verses 1-3:

We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. For if the message spoken by angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation?

Here is a clear and sobering warning that believers must not drift away from the gospel truth. Our primary focus should be to obey Jesus and do what pleases Him.

The second warning is found in 3:7 through 4:13. Let me read 3:12-14.

See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first.

The warning here is against an unbelieving heart which turns away from the living God. As believers we should be encouraging other believers to likewise hold to the truth, and do not let the sin of unbelief rob us of knowing and serving Jesus.

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7753 - Hebrews - Introduction

Today we open our Bibles to the book of Hebrews as we begin a study of this important book in God’s plan for redemption and reconciliation of His human creatures back to Himself after our relationship was broken by the sin of Adam.

Hebrews points us to the truth that the Old Testament account reveals the Law as a preview type of sacrifice, which became the reality in Christ Jesus on the cross.

Hebrews binds together the Old Testament and the New Testament in the person and work of Jesus Christ. The emphasis is upon the superiority of Jesus Christ over all competing options.

The deity and humanity of Jesus are amply authenticated.

No other Biblical work so clearly answers the reasons for the sacrifice of Christ, and reveals the extensive blessings derived through His sacrifice.

This book is crimson with the precious blood of Jesus, the Lamb of God, the fulfillment of the required Levitical sacrifices according to God’s plan and schedule, throughout the ages. Furthermore, Christ is fully established as the High Priest for all believers.

There is a clear emphasis upon the privilege of the believer in relationship to Jesus Christ, and a strong challenge upon the believer to mature to a vigorous faith.

The inferred conclusion of Hebrews is that Christ Jesus meets the spiritual needs of all people, of every tongue, and of every nation.

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