1 In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. ~ Hebrews 1:1-2
As we begin our study of the book of Hebrews, from the very beginning it is clear that its main subject is the Lord Jesus Christ. As we study this book, it will not be long before we recognize that according to this book, the Lord Jesus is superior to anything and everybody. He has to be, otherwise, the Bible would be less than God words, because the Bible presents Him, the Lord Jesus Christ, as God. And, today, we begin one of the most unusual adventures that we will ever embark upon. The book of Hebrews is a tremendously difficult book, if we lack a good working knowledge of the Old Testament.
The recipients of the book of Hebrews had a religious background that many of us do not have. They had been raised with a certain history with God. And, as a result, they had been given by God a set of beliefs. But, their beliefs had given way to certain traditions that became something different than what God intended. You see, the Jews had gotten to the point where they had more of a relationship with the symbols than God. God intended the symbols to help them to know Him personally.
From the third chapter of Genesis, we learn of the introduction of sin into the world. Sin threw a wrench into what God had in mind for His creation. And, after sin marred everything, before man could know God personally, his sin had to be dealt with. This is why God introduced the elaborate system of substitutionary atonement introduced in Genesis 3 and elaborated upon in Leviticus.
Hebrews is a book that has many deep and difficult to understand truths. One might say that to understand the book of Hebrews we must understand the book of Leviticus because the book of Hebrews is largely based upon the principles of the Levitical priesthood. In the book of Leviticus, we learn that God's way of dealing with man's sin is that a substitute take the place of man for the payment for man's sin. The problem is: ONLY GOD CAN PAY THE PENALTY FOR SIN because everyone and everything other than God can not pay the penalty. We just do not have the substance needed to measure up to and to sustain the truth.
In v.1 of today's text we read, "In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways."
God supernaturally spoke to man and the result of that communication is what we know as the Bible. Man, himself, could not reach outside the natural world. And, due to man's natural limitations, man could not reach outside into the supernatural realm. So, God had to enter into man's natural world. He did so first by speaking to the prophets of the Old Testament. So, God chose to communicate with man, and He chose to do so through a book, and then, a person. The book is the Bible and the person is His Son.
We would never know about God if He had not spoken. In fact, Christianity is God bursting into man’s world and telling him what He is like. God is not speechless nor is detached from His creation. He has been involved in this world since its beginning.
In this very first verse of the whole book of Hebrews we discover a play on words by the unknown writer. In the Greek text, the first three words in v.1 literally reads: "many portions," and "many different manners." This means God has spoken to us through thirty-nine different Old Testament books, and He used a variety of methods to get His message across to us. He spoke to men who wrote using visions, parables, types, and symbols. The Bible is the bi-product of God speaking to different people, using all different kinds of ways to reveal Himself to man.
God used forty different writers who all wrote over a period of about sixteen hundred years, in three different languages and on three different continents to bring us the Old and the New Testaments. While some of the Old Testament is history, other portions of it are writing as poetry and prophecy. And, all of it has at its main theme the Lord Jesus Christ who is the revelation of God to man.
This is why in v.2 of today's text we read, "but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe."
This one verse is one of the most important verses in all of the Bible. God first spoke to man through the Old Testament, but, it was not enough. The Old Testament is fragmented and difficult to put together and understand. In the Old Testament, God prepared His people for His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. And, as a result, God used those who came into a personal relationship with Him to share their experience with Him with others.
The complete and final revelation of God to man is seen in the Lord Jesus. God, who used to speak in many ways, in many forms, to many people has finally spoken in one way through one individual, Jesus Christ. The gospels according to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, all give His story and the epistles all comment on the fact that God came to earth in human form. And, the book of the Revelation tells where and how it will all end. This book, the Bible, is all about the Lord Jesus Christ, all of it, from the beginning to the end.
God made all that has been created through the Lord Jesus Christ. This means the Lord Jesus was there before the world was created. In Colossians 1:17 we learn "The Lord Jesus is before all things, and in him all things hold together." You see, the Lord Jesus is not only God's final and complete word to mankind, He is God. If He is not God, He can not be our Savior for only God can rise to the task of bearing the sin of all mankind.
C.S. Lewis once said, "I am trying here to prevent anyone from saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: 'I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God.' That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic, on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg, or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to."
My friend, have you come to the place where you have truly investigated the claims of the Lord Jesus Christ? If you have, great, I am sure you believe in Him. But, if you haven't, our study of the book of Hebrews will aid you in your investigation. At the end of this study you will discover the Lord Jesus is not only our Savior, He is also our Creator God. It is my prayer that you will see Him as never before and your personal relationship with Him will not only begin, but it will soar to places you never imagined.