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Hebrews 1 by Robert Dean
Series:Ascension and Session of Christ (2005)
Duration:1 hr 0 mins 19 secs

Hebrews Lesson 16    June 16, 2005

 

We are in the third verse in Hebrews 1.  The context is very important.

 

Corrected Translation

 

Vs. 1 After God spoke in a variety of fragments and in various forms in time past to the fathers by means of the prophets

 

Vs. 2 He has in these last days spoken to us by the Son whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom he also made the ages;

 

Vs. 3 Who being the radiance of His glory and the exact image of His person, and Upholding all things by the word of His power, after he had by himself made purification for our sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on High.

 

The main idea is that He has spoken. There is finality to it. The fullness of revelation is guaranteed through the Second Person of the trinity. Then we go into a list of things that characterize the Son. Seven things are listed. First, He was appointed the heir. History is moving to a finalization in a particular direction. There is meaning and purpose and definition to history.  Henry Ford said that history was just one damn thing after another. But history is not just a bunch of random events. The Lord Jesus Christ is overseeing this. It is moving toward the inheritance that is given to the Son.

 

Secondly, He made the ages. He made the dispensation. He moves things along through the dispensations. 

 

Then there is a shift at the beginning of verse 3 indicated by the nominative relative pronoun. He is the radiance of glory. "Upholding" has the idea of moving things along. He moves all things along by the coming of his power. He is the exact image of God. He is the same. He is undiminished deity. He has authority over history to move history along. "He made purification for our sins" refers to the work on the cross. We have the aorist middle participle of poieo. He sat down is the verb kathizo

 

The last issue is the session of Christ. That is, He sat down at the right hand of God. We are getting into the doctrine of the ascension and session. It underlies everything in Hebrews. It is alluded to in almost every chapter. You could say that it is the foundation of the writer of Hebrews. He challenges them to hang in there no matter what the test or temptation is. He challenges them to hang in there because there are long-term consequences. We are not just living for today. That brings in the whole arena of eschatology and why it is important to study eschatology. About 28% of the Bible was prophetic when it was revealed. One of every 5 verses is unfulfilled today. That is significant. If you don't have a proper understanding of eschatology you cannot have a personal sense of your eternal destiny. When you look at the Scripture, you see Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Zephaniah, and Zechariah. All these books talk so much about the day and the things in the future. They are given to Israel in times of national crisis. It is given to comfort Israel with the reality that despite the chaos now ultimately God will fulfill as these promises to you. You may lose everything you have but God has not lost control. God will fulfill His purpose. Prophecy gives us comfort and stability in times of crisis. Whenever that time may be, the study of doctrine of the ascension and session relates to the doctrine of the kingdom. 

 

When Christ was about to ascend in Acts 1:6 the disciples had a question.

NKJ Acts 1:6 Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, "Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?" 7 And He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. 8 "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."

 

The concept of the kingdom is not an easy subject to fully understand in terms of all the complexities. There are kingdom parables in Matthew 13. It has some interpretive problems. We need to understand what is going on in terms of the kingdom today. One of the reasons that it is so important is that 99% of Christians today think that we are in some form of kingdom. That changes your understanding of the ministry of the Holy Spirit and God's plan for Israel in the future. I sure don't feel like I am living in the kingdom. This is the issue. When the disciples asked Christ if He was going to bring in the kingdom he put them off. That is so crucial today.  What is being taught is that the kingdom is inaugurated at the first advent rather than postponed.  It affects everything. That is why these are very important terms. 

 

It changes so many things – the role of the Christian in politics and law, the spiritual life and what the church is doing in this age. When they ask him if He will bring in the kingdom, He says no but that they will get the Holy Spirit. There is a connection between the giving of the sending of the Holy Spirit and the future kingdom. When he put you together, we will see that the Holy Spirit is today. Something profound today. He prepares us for the future kingdom. 

 

NKJ Acts 1:9 Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. 10 And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel,

 

He took off like a rocket from Cape Canaveral. The angels appeared. 

 

NKJ Acts 1:11 who also said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven."

 

Why did he come back? We learned that the kingdom is postponed. So we ask several questions.

 

  1. Why did Christ have to ascend at all? Why not just begin the kingdom? Why didn't He just give them the kingdom?
  2. Why did Christ have to ascend before sending the Holy Spirit? It has something to do with what He is doing in this age. John 16:7
  3. Why did He have to ascend before giving the spiritual gifts? Eph 4:7-13. The ascension has something to do with the distribution of spiritual gifts. Once again you get this training idea.
  4. What is the connection because the ascension of Christ and the giving of the gifts?

 

We need to know the context of Hebrews 1. The last thing in verse three is that He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty. In verse 4, it says he became higher than angels. In the authority of his elevation above the angels in his humanity. In His deity he always was higher than the angels. He did not lose that when He became incarnate.  He always upheld everything but in his humanity he had to gain that as the son of David. 

 

Imagine that some evil empire arises in Europe and defeats the English. So we have expatriates that flee England and form an army. Some one like Prince Harry who was born to the throne enters a British army and enters as a private. He works his way up the ranks and becomes a general. He leads the army back to England and frees the homeland. He achieved by right of birth and by overcoming obstacles and earned. Jesus Christ does the same thing by analogy. He enters human history as a man and is elevated over the angels so that in his humanity he is seated at the right hand of God the Father. He is the son of David and is able to come back and rule the earth.  It ties together a number of doctrines. That seems to be what the writer of Hebrews had some. By His inheritance he has a more excellent name. That brings us to the end of the first four verses.  Then in verse 5 we have

 

NKJ Hebrews 1:5 For to which of the angels did He ever say: "You are My Son, Today I have begotten You"? And again: "I will be to Him a Father, And He shall be to Me a Son"?

 

Do you see the connection he makes here? Now we go back to a number of Old Testament passages. It says that it is foretold. Then we will extrapolate that to understand the Scripture and its relationship to the high priesthood of Christ. A high priest does not function without a priesthood underneath him. He has priests to serve with Him. That is where we come in. We serve with Christ if we suffered with Him. So we to all of these thing together. If you do not have a good dispensational focus here, you will miss what is going on and end up like all the communicators of Hebrews. You think that every thing superiority of Jesus. To get to something.  At the end of each section of the book there is a doctrinal development and then an application and a warning to believers not to give up the ship in terms of your Christian life. He warns believers not to give up the ship. We are to keep pushing forward. Keep Bible doctrine number one. All of this is to prepare you to rule as kings and priests in the millennial kingdom. 

  1. The Jews expected as one coming Messiah. They did not distinguish between the first advent and the Second Advent. They though he would just come and they would go into that glorious time.
  2. The Jews wanted the crown before the cross, the glorious Messiah before the suffering Messiah. They must understand that He would have to suffer first and reign second.  They focused on the glories then the suffering that goes on at the cross for our salvation.

 

NKJ 1 Peter 1:10 Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, 11 searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow

 

That is talking about Old Testament prophets.  They search all of the text, every verse.  They try to understand who He is and when he will come.

 

The prophets understood there was a two-fold ministry of the Messiah, suffering and glory. In the life of Jesus, if you will go through the gospels there is a pattern that is found related to the kingdom. Initially there is an offering of the kingdom to man. He comes offering the kingdom.  The more He offers it, the more resistance there is from the religious leaders until finally they come to a crisis and they reject the king.  Matt 12. They accused Christ of being indwelt and controlled by Satan. It was called the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. Only the Jews in the time of the Messiah could commit blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. Judgment came in 70 AD. What Jesus said in the passage indicates that because they blasphemed the Holy Spirit they will be judged.  Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit could only occur at the time of the Messiah. There are 6 or 7 other views. The other view is that it is a rejection of Him as Messiah. Arnold Fruchtenbaum ties it to the history of the nation and the fifth cycle of discipline of 70 AD. It really fits to the passage. It is specifically related to judgment of 70 AD. If the kingdom was offered and the king crucified, what happens to the kingdom? Where did it go? That is the issue.

 

 

  1. John the Baptist, Jesus and the disciples all proclaimed a message about the proximity of the kingdom. "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." It is an offer. It challenges the Jews to reject the legalistic system introduced in the second temple period with the rise of the Sadducees and Pharisees. They had to change their minds about this and Him as the Messiah.  And then, the kingdom would come. 

 

NKJ Matthew 3:2 and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!"

 

NKJ Matthew 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."

 

NKJ Matthew 10:5 These twelve Jesus sent out and commanded them, saying: "Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans. 6 "But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7 "And as you go, preach, saying, 'The kingdom of heaven is at hand.'

 

To understand Jesus' ministry in the first two and a half years, you have to understand that it is focused on presenting him as the king.

 

 

  1. Near the mid point of his ministry, the Jewish leaders rejected Jesus as Messiah leading to the postponement of the kingdom

 

How do we know it was postponed? To have a kingdom, you have to have a king. Now the role of the king in the Messianic Kingdom, to what sonship does this relate to? The Son of David.  Right now he is not on the Davidic throne. Most people whether in covenant theology or this new progressive dispensationalism have Him sitting on the Davidic throne in heaven. This changes so much. But it really that He is at the right hand of God. He does not come as the Son of David until the end of the time period. So the kingdom postponed. What happened to it?

 

  1. The postponement of the kingdom called for a postponement of the glories of the

kingdom. So Israel will not experience all of the glories that God promised in the Old Testament. It is not yet. What is that about the Holy Spirit does not happen in the passages on the New Covenant. Jer 31. It talks about no need for man to teach his neighbor because everyone knows the Word. There will be no pastors in the millennial kingdom. Everyone will know doctrine intuitively. Now we have to learn it. Every one will know it in the millennial kingdom.

  1. Postponement means the issue of the kingdom relates to the distinct plans of God for Israel and the church. Something new is going to happen in history. If it had been prophesized then the Jews would say, "We knew we were going to fail." To tell them would have destroyed the legitimacy of the offering of the kingdom. 
  2. Postponement means there will be an unforeseen departure and a second coming. If the kingdom is postponed then what Jesus would be able to say it had to be a legitimate offer and there had to be no indication in the Old Testament that He would depart.

 

NASB John 6:62 "{What} then if you see the Son of Man ascending to where He was before?

 

This brings in another sonship title. On the other hand the Son of God emphasizes his deity. Son of man emphasizes His humanity. That is the idea in the Hebrew idiom. In the Hebrew there is no of place where it says the son of a fool or a son of murders. You say that they are a son of that quality. Barnabas, the traveling companion of Paul on his first missionary journey, means 'son of encouragement' because he encourages. So when Jesus calls Himself the Son of God means that He is God. The title son of man has significant meaning. It is a term that comes right out of Daniel 7. It is loaded with all kinds of kingdom meanings for the Jews. When he says the Son of man it means that emphasis on his humanity that He must ascend to where He was before the incarnation. The son of man is now being connected o the eternality of Christ and His pre-incarnate status as the second person of the trinity. 

 

NKJ John 16:28 "I came forth from the Father and have come into the world. Again, I leave the world and go to the Father."

 

This is news to the disciples that He is leaving. It is to your advantage that he goes away.

 

NKJ John 16:7 "Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.

 

There is our connection in the spiritual life of the Church Age.

 

  1. The result of the ascension. Rejection of Jesus as messiah meant Jesus had to expand his base. He is coming to his people but the people did not accept Him. All through the Old Testament up to the incarnation he is people reject him. So what did he do now? He goes to plan B. They do not replace Israel but they are going to have a new destiny and a new purpose.
  2. The next stage is to bring in a new people to fulfill certain objectives related to the angelic conflict. The Jews failed but they did not have the completed canon, the filling of the Holy Spirit, or a spiritual life based on the Holy Spirit. In fact their salvation was provincial because Jesus Christ had not come yet in contrast to the church age believer.

 

The church age believer will be able to do something in the appeal trial that no one else could do.  That is why the angelic officer is given an evaluation of each church. This whole thing gives you a new appreciation of what is going on in your life. It is something that he is doing in each of our lives to prepare us for that future destiny. A couple of principles underlie this. The Jews are earthly people with an earthly destiny and an earthly purpose. But the church is a heavenly people with a heavenly destiny and a heavenly purpose. This means there is a different basis for living the spiritual life to day than in the Old Testament. It is supernatural life that demands a supernatural means of execution. The Christian life is impossible without the Holy Spirit. You can only do it in the filling of the Holy Spirit. If you are not there, you are trying to do it on your own in the old sin nature. You are being prepared now or that future wedding feast. Hold that thought.

 

That future wedding feast challenges the heavenly purpose related to being the bride of Christ. A bride is a helper. The wife is the assistant, the one who helps him in fulfilling his God given destiny. Our role with the church is that we are being prepared as a helpmate to the Lord Jesus Christ in the future kingdom when we will co-reign and co-rule with Him. 

 

Why the ascension?

  1. The Old Testament envisioned one coming, not two.
  2. Jewish rejection brought a postponement of the kingdom.
  3. Now an unanticipated age (church age) begins. It was not foretold in the Old Testament.
  4. The Church Age is unique because of the role of the Holy Spirit in the spiritual life. You can't pull yourself up by the bootstraps and do it on your own. Most people are running around trying to do just that. 
  5. Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to give birth to the church at Pentecost. The church is a living organism. We are all part of the body of Christ. It is one dynamic organization.
  6. Immediately after the ascension, Christ was seated at the right hand of the throne of God above all other powers, authorities, angelic and human. This seating of Jesus at the right hand of God the Father is called the session, from the Latin sessionem, the act of sitting.
  7. During the session, Jesus is not passive but is involved in the calling out of the new people, the church, which is called His body and he is the head.  Eph 1:22-23. As the head he distributes gift through the Holy Spirit.

 

NKJ 1 Peter 3:22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him.

 

Poreuomai means to go on a journey. The aorist passive participle indicates a physical thing. He is not "beamed" up. He moved physically through the heavens. He is seated in some spot in His humanity. He is finite and always will be in His humanity..

 

NKJ Hebrews 4:14 Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession [the doctrine that we believe].

 

We see in that verse the connection. 

 

NKJ Hebrews 4:15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.

 

There is a connection there between His testing and sanctification with preparation for the cross and being seated at the right hand of God. 

 

NKJ Ephesians 1:20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. 22 And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church,

 

That is where the Apostle Paul really shines through in the New Testament. He talks about the church and the relationship of Christ as the head of the church and the head of the church as the bride of Christ. Paul never develops the doctrine of the priesthood of Christ. It is the writer of Hebrews that unpacks that doctrine. This presumes a certain understanding because you are united with Christ in positional truth and in the baptism of the Holy Spirit at the instant of salvation. That means that you have a direct connection to the one at the helm of the universe. 

 

In his humanity, he is in authority over man kind and lower than the angels.

 

Now we come to Ephesians 4:7.

 

NKJ Ephesians 4:7 But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift. 8 Therefore He says: "When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, And gave gifts to men."

 

Psalm 68:18 is quoted. He talks about the ark being taken to the top of the temple mount as a picture of God's ascending over the enemies of Israel. This takes place in I Sam 6 just after David defeated the Jebusites in II Sam 5. II Sam 7 talks about the Davidic Covenant. It all falls together. It is so tremendous when you can get to the point that the threads are al tied together. The ark is taken to Mt. Zion as a symbol of God's victory over the enemies of Israel. Paul takes the whole thing, His ascension on high, His ascension to Mt. Zion. It is the distribution of gifts from his victory. 

 

NKJ Ephesians 4:9 (Now this, "He ascended" -- what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.)

 

NKJ Ephesians 4:11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,

 

Apostles and prophets were limited to the first century. Evangelists were given to the church for a purpose that is described in verse 12. Pastors and evangelists are like football coaches. They equip the team. The evangelist equips the team. He is not the one who witnesses and gets all the unbelievers saved. Americans have been in a lie that evangelists do the evangelism. Everyone follows that all the way down to Billy Graham. But that is not what the Scripture says here. It is saying that the gift is to equip the member of the body of Christ to be effective in witnessing. It is our job as people who do not have the gift of evangelism to learn to do it effectively. Then the gift of pastor teacher is given. Evangelists should be under the authority of a pastor. Most do not know enough to stay out of trouble. As serve one another. The whole body interacts. That is why there are so many passages about "one another." We encourage one another. We pray for one another. It says admonish one another. We are to teach one another. We are to encourage one another. We are to love one another. We are one big happy family. Well, we ought to be.

 

NKJ Ephesians 4:13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ

 

To a mature man, to pleroma, the fullness of Christ is related to being fully Christ like

 

8.  Once the church is complete and has completed its mission, then the Messiah will return in victory and establish the Jewish millennial kingdom.

 

 So there is a training ground going on so that we will be prepared. That gives us an overview.  Next time we will get into the Old Testament. These things hang in the background of Hebrews l.