Hebrews - Lesson One (Chapter 1) fundamentals

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1 Hebrews - Lesson One (Chapter 1) fundamentals

2 Opening Ice breaker question: Do you have any follow-up questions from the Introduction to Hebrews? Lesson #1 preparatory questions: Rate your knowledge level of the Old Testament low end high end Why do you rate yourself this way - give example(s) for your reasoning? While reading in the New Testament we often come across Old Testament references. How do you deal with those (look them up? skip them? ask someone about them)? Be prepared to share with the group why you choose to work with OT references in this way. 2

3 Explore the Text Hebrews 1:1-2a In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son Who is Jesus, and why would we put our faith in Him? That s where the study of Hebrews begins. Many see Jesus as only human. Some honor Jesus as the greatest teacher who has ever lived. Some see Him as a great prophet. Hebrews presents Jesus as far more than any of those shallow concepts. Hebrews reveals Jesus as the very Son of God, superior to anything else we know in our lives. The author first acknowledges how God the Father has revealed Himself through the prophets in the Old Testament. They were authoritative spokesmen. Review verbal inspiration : 2 Peter 1:21 John 14:26 2 Timothy 3:16 Because the Bible is verbally inspired there are four facts we know about God s Word: 1> It is always true John 17:17 2> It contains no mistakes (translations of God s Word might have mistakes, but not the original Word) John 10:35 3> It is powerful and is the means God uses to convert sinners to believers Luke 16: > It is complete Revelation 22:18 3

4 But now, Hebrews reminds us, God the Father has revealed Himself most directly and personally "by his Son." The author uses this terminology a dozen times in this book, usually as "Son" without any modifier. However, four times the phrase "Son of God" is used (4:14; 6:6; 7:3; 10:29). The Bible is filled with examples of the importance of the father/son relationship, especially as contrasted to the master/slave relationship (John 8:35 - Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever.) But here the father/son relationship is elevated to a different level as the author speaks about the unique relationship of God the Father and God the Son. Review only begotten : The most basic Scripture defining the unique relationship of God the Father and God the Son is John 3:16 using the phrase his one and only Son. Traditionally that is translated as only begotten Son. Ordinarily the Greek word monogene has the concept of a man fathering or begetting a child through his union with his wife. But when used of God it speaks not about physical begetting, but rather a relationship of love and oneness that the Father and the Son have shared from eternity. Though they are each unique and different persons of the Godhead, they are in complete unity and harmony. Hebrews 1:2b-3 whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. 3 The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. 4

5 Within these few words of explanation the author gives no less than six reasons for the superiority of God the Son because of his unique relationship with the Father: 1. Heir: this Son is not just some generic prophet or teacher. He is appointed (tithēmi = to assign to some task or function, appoint) as God the Father s heir (klēronomos = one who receives something as a possession, beneficiary, heir). 2. Co-creator: the Son through whom he made (poieō - to produce something material, to make) the universe. 3. The radiance of divine glory: God s glory is untouchable. No human is allowed to claim God s glory for himself. "I am the LORD; that is my name! I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols." (Isaiah 42:8). Yet God the Father can bestow His glory upon his Son as true God Himself - "The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth." (John 1:14). 4. The exact representation of God's being: Jesus exactly fits who God is. Look at the words. "Exact representation" (charaktēr = is something produced as a representation, reproduction, the exact expression/image of any person or thing, precise reproduction in every aspect). The phrase spells out that Jesus is the exact representation of God the Father s essential nature, being and person. 5. The sustainer and preserver of the universe: the Son sustains all things. "Sustaining" (pherō = to carry, to bear up, uphold, keep from falling). God the Son is identified as the preserver of the universe through His powerful Word. 5

6 6. Co-ruler: at God the Father s right hand is the place of honor and co-ruling. Review what it means to sit at the right hand of God : Ephesians 1:20-22 Philippians 2:9-11 Review what Jesus does at God the Father s right hand: Intercedes for us - Romans 8:34 Guides us - Luke 10:16 Rules everything for our good - Romans 8:38-39 Hebrews 1:4 So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs. When people are looking for wiggle-room (that is, reasons to not trust Christ in difficult times), they tend to minimize the authority and person of Jesus Christ. If they can make Him a great man among men, then they convince themselves they can choose whether or not to accept His words. Modern man practices this minimalization today with the so-called quest for the historical Jesus. If people find a way to reduce Jesus into a great teacher who was unfortunately crucified, then they believe they can think or do as they please. But if Jesus is, in fact, the Son of the Living God in a literal sense, then His word is final. Not everyone, including some Christians, are all that comfortable with Jesus being in complete control. 6

7 Hebrews 1:5-14 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"? 6 And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says, "Let all God's angels worship him." 7 In speaking of the angels he says, "He makes his angels winds, his servants flames of fire." 8 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. 9 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." 10 He also says, "In the beginning, O Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. 11 They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. 12 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." 13 To which of the angels did God ever say, "Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet"? 14 Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation? Now the author quotes a series of passages that point to the Messiah as God s Son. He contrasts angels as servants who worship and serve God (verses 6-7 quoting Deuteronomy 32:43 and Psalm 104:4). These angels are "ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation" (1:14). While angels have their place in God s kingdom work, none are ever placed on the same level as the Messiah nor referred to as having a direct role in the salvation of mankind. On the other hand, all the passages that refer to 7

8 the work of the Messiah place Him on an elevated plane as compared to any other being. To show the uniqueness and superiority of the Son, the author now quotes five Old Testament passages to define that superiority: Hebrew OT Quote Passage Reference 1:5a Psalm 2:7 "You are my Son, today I have become your Father." 1:5b 2 Samuel 7:14 "I will be his Father and he will be my Son," speaking of David s descendents, and ultimately the Messiah. 1:8-9 Psalm 45:6-7 "Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever... therefore God... has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy." 1:10-12 Psalm 102:25-27 "... and the heavens are the work of your hands... but you remain the same and your years will never end." 1:13 Psalm 110:1 "Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet" 8

9 Comprehending the Text (Answer at home discuss in the group) 1> How would you characterize the relationship between God the Father and God the Son (check the correct answer)? God the Father is stronger/older than God the Son. God the Son is just a bit lower than God the Father, but definitely superior to angels or human beings. God the Father and God the Son are equal, just different in person. 2> Understanding the difference between the divine and human natures of Christ (true/false): God the Son has existed from eternity. Jesus Christ has existed from eternity. God the Son was conceived and born of the virgin Mary. Jesus Christ was conceived and born of the virgin Mary. God the Son is eternal no beginning or end. Jesus Christ is eternal a beginning but no end (in the same sense that we are eternal a begging but no end). 3> How does the author show the divinity of Jesus: in verse 8? in verse 9? in verse 10? in verse 11-12? in verse 13-14? 9

10 4> According to verse 14, what were the angels created to do? Applying the Text to Our Lives (Answer at home discuss in the group) 1> How does God speak to us in 2009? 2> What are some false beliefs people hold about the angels and how would you respond to their mistaken understanding of where they fit into God s will? 10

11 3> What are some of the ways we can become more familiar with the Old Testament and its imagery for books like the letter written to the Hebrews? Other discussion topics Interpreting the Bible/Bible study. Using Bible study aides: - concordances - commentaries - Bible handbooks - others Cautions with using external sources for information: - interpreter s baggage - denomination slants - blatant false doctrine - others 11

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