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Hebrews 1:1-4:16 by Robert Dean
Series:Hebrews (2005)
Duration:1 hr 3 mins 10 secs

Hebrews Lesson 39    December 29, 2005

 

NKJ Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart. 5 Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass.

 

Before we get started this evening I thought I would help you understand some things that are going on in our own culture. We know that we live in a society that has given itself over to all of this post-modernist, multi-cultural diversity sort of nonsense. So everything has to have equal play unless of course you are a biblical Christian. Then of course you get ignored. Some of you have noted that not only are we encouraged to have a Happy Ramadan or a Happy Hanukkah but also a Happy Kwanza. Many of you don't know where Kwanza came from and I hear people ask where it came from. There are different ideas. The news media folks have different ideas. But I was reading Ann Coulter's column which she devoted to an explanation of the origin of Kwanza and I learned a few things. I had known the general framework of this but there were a few things that she pointed out that I wasn't real familiar with. So in the spirit of multicultural diversity and in the spirit of honestly and truthfulness I thought I would read parts of her column to you. You can go online and read the column for yourself if you wish. 

 

President Bush's 2005 Kwanzaa message began with the patently absurd statement: "African-Americans and people around the world reflect on African heritage during Kwanzaa."

I believe more African-Americans spent this season reflecting on the birth of Christ than some phony non-Christian holiday invented a few decades ago by an FBI stooge. Kwanzaa is a holiday for white liberals, not blacks.

It is a fact that Kwanzaa was invented in 1966 by a black radical FBI stooge, Ron Karenga, aka Dr. Maulana Karenga. Karenga was a founder of United Slaves, a violent nationalist rival to the Black Panthers and a dupe of the FBI.

In what was probably ultimately a foolish gamble, during the madness of the '60s the FBI encouraged the most extreme black nationalist organizations in order to discredit and split the left. The more preposterous the organization, the better. Karenga's United Slaves was perfect. In the annals of the American '60s, Karenga was the Father Gapon, stooge of the czarist police.

Despite modern perceptions that blend all the black activists of the '60s, the Black Panthers did not hate whites. They did not seek armed revolution. Those were the precepts of Karenga's United Slaves. United Slaves were proto-fascists, walking around in dashikis, gunning down Black Panthers and adopting invented "African" names. (That was a big help to the black community: How many boys named "Jamal" currently sit on death row?)

Kwanzaa itself is a lunatic blend of schmaltzy '60s rhetoric, black racism and Marxism. Indeed, the seven "principles" of Kwanzaa praise collectivism in every possible arena of life -- economics, work, personality, even litter removal.

When Karenga was asked to distinguish Kawaida, the philosophy underlying Kwanzaa, from "classical Marxism," he essentially explained that under Kawaida, we also hate whites. While taking the "best of early Chinese and Cuban socialism" -- which one assumes would exclude the forced abortions, imprisonment for homosexuals and forced labor -- Kawaida practitioners believe one's racial identity "determines life conditions, life chances and self-understanding." There's an inclusive philosophy for you.

Coincidentally, the seven principles of Kwanzaa are the very same seven principles of the Symbionese Liberation Army, another charming invention of the Least-Great Generation. In 1974, Patricia Hearst, kidnap victim-cum-SLA revolutionary, posed next to the banner of her alleged captors, a seven-headed cobra. Each snake head stood for one of the SLA's revolutionary principles: Umoja, Kujichagulia, Ujima, Ujamaa, Nia, Kuumba and Imani -- the same seven "principles" of Kwanzaa.

With his Kwanzaa greetings, President Bush is saluting the intellectual sibling of the Symbionese Liberation Army, killer of housewives and police. He is saluting the founder of United Slaves, who were such lunatics that they shot Panthers for not being sufficiently insane -- all with the FBI as their covert ally.

It's as if David Duke invented a holiday called "Anglika," and the president of the United States issued a presidential proclamation honoring the synthetic holiday. People might well stand up and take notice if that happened.

Kwanzaa was the result of a '60s psychosis grafted onto the black community. Liberals have become so mesmerized by multicultural nonsense that they have forgotten the real history of Kwanzaa and Karenga's United Slaves -- the violence, the Marxism, the insanity. Most absurdly, for leftists anyway, is that they have forgotten the FBI's tacit encouragement of this murderous black nationalist cult founded by the father of Kwanzaa.

Now the "holiday" concocted by an FBI dupe is honored in a presidential proclamation and public schools across the nation. Bush called Kwanzaa a holiday that promotes "unity" and "faith." Faith in what? Liberals' unbounded capacity to respect any faith but Christianity?

A movement that started approximately 2,000 years before Kwanzaa leaps well beyond merely "unity" and "faith" to proclaim that we are all equal before God. "There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:28). It was practitioners of that faith who were at the forefront of the abolitionist and civil rights movements. But that's all been washed down the memory hole, along with the true origins of Kwanzaa.

 

Now that you know where Kwanza came from and that it is a promotion of hate-the-whites radical black politics from the 60's, you can go enjoy Kwanza. 

 

Now let's be refreshed by a study of the Word of God. 

 

Hebrews 4

 

Last week we finished up the section that ended in 4:14 which is according to the structure of Hebrews the second major division in the book. So tonight what I want to do as is our pattern as we are going through these studies is stop and back up and lift our eyes away from the text a little bit so that instead of doing verse-by-verse detailed exegesis and analysis, we can stop and reflect and look at what the writer is saying in terms of a broad overview of these first four chapters. Remember that when this was written it was probably a written and edited form of what was once given as a sermon, probably a 5 point sermon closing with two broad application challenge sections in the last three chapters. So when Hebrews was originally given this was a Sunday morning exposition of Scripture. It gives us some idea of how they understood the exposition of Scripture in the early church. But the congregation would have heard the entirety of this as one message. It challenges you in your understanding of how well the ancients were able to focus and concentrate during an hour or two hour message. 

 

That's the case of Hebrews. We also realize that once it was written down and passed around from congregation to congregation and they received it like a letter, the pastor would stand up and read through the entirety of Hebrews in one sitting. So the early church heard this as one unified message. What happens today is that we come into a book like Hebrews and do our analysis and verse-by-verse exegesis, but we forget to step back and look at it in its entirety so that we catch the impact of the original message. That is why I try to take the time as we go through this to back up and lift our eyes above the text and look at the overview. 

 

Before we begin there are a few things that I want to remind you of as a background from the Scriptures as a whole. First of all throughout the Old Testament we have to recognize that there is a promise to Israel of a coming kingdom. Again and again and again there is this promise of a coming kingdom that is grounded on the covenants that God gave to Abraham and later to David. In the Abrahamic Covenant they were promised a specific piece of real estate and that there would be an everlasting seed, a multiplicity of descendents through Abraham; and then through them there would be a worldwide blessing. 

 

In the Davidic Covenant there was a promise that a descendent of David would sit on the literal throne of David in Jerusalem and rule the kingdom and there would be an eternal dynasty. So we know that from at least 2000 BC there was a promise of a future kingdom and these promises were explained in more and more detail as the centuries went by. 

 

So I want to remind us of a few of these promises before we get started this evening.

 

NKJ Isaiah 2:1 The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.

 

NKJ Isaiah 2:2 Now it shall come to pass in the latter days That the mountain of the LORD's house Shall be established on the top of the mountains, And shall be exalted above the hills; And all nations shall flow to it.

 

This is the latter days of Israel, their kingdom. 

 

That is the temple mount in the future Millennial Kingdom. 

 

This indicates that all nations, all the gentiles, will go to Jerusalem to worship at that future temple.

 

NKJ Isaiah 2:3 Many people shall come and say, "Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, To the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, And we shall walk in His paths." For out of Zion shall go forth the law, And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.

 

Israel will be the center point of worship in that future kingdom.

 

NKJ Isaiah 2:4 He shall judge between the nations, And rebuke many people; They shall beat their swords into plowshares, And their spears into pruning hooks; Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, Neither shall they learn war anymore.

 

So according to verse 4, it will be a time of unprecedented peace for there will be no war or violence or international calamity. 

 

Incidentally this is the verse is yanked out of context and put over the entry to the United Nations. So you have to realize that this is a messianic promise and by adopting it as their slogan at the UN, they are claiming a messianic role for themselves.  It shows that the UN has at its very core a religious orientation. They claim to be a tool for bringing in the kingdom. Think about that the next time they talk about the UN. 

 

NKJ Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

 

NKJ Isaiah 9:7 Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.

 

This is a second passage that emphasizes the future kingdom. This passage is very familiar at Christmas time. 

 

Note the relationship to the Davidic Covenant there. 

 

This pictures that time that the ruler will be God Himself. It relates deity to the Son of David. 

 

NKJ Daniel 2:44 "And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.

 

It's an eternal kingdom established by God over against all the human kingdoms.

 

NKJ Daniel 7:13 " I was watching in the night visions, And behold, One like the Son of Man, Coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, And they brought Him near before Him.

 

NKJ Daniel 7:14 Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, Which shall not pass away, And His kingdom the one Which shall not be destroyed.

 

All of these verses together teach that there will be a future kingdom on the earth when the Messiah, that promised anointed ruler that is a descendent of David, will reign over a literal, physical kingdom on the earth. From these passages we see that the Messiah will be a royal king, a descendent from David according to the Davidic Covenant which is explained in both II Samuel 7 and Psalm 89.

 

The Old Testament prophets understood that the king would not be simply a human king though. Even though He is a descendent of David, they understood that the scope of His kingdom was such that no human could fulfill that requirement. Every kingdom requires a king that was powerful enough to establish the kingdom, knowledgeable enough to rule the kingdom, wise enough to administer the kingdom. What human king would be able to organize, administer, rule and maintain a kingdom that included all the nations of the earth? It was clear to the ancient prophets that no one but God could be equal to the task. So it was clear that the Messiah, the coming king, would not only be human but by necessity would have to be God Himself. This is why you have passages such as Isaiah 7:14.

 

NKJ Isaiah 7:14 "Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.

 

Immanuel means God is with us. There was a clear understanding that Son would be God and that the Son would also be true humanity. That is important because in the next year if you haven't noticed there will be a block buster movie released in May based on the block buster best selling novel The Da Vinci Code. The claim in The Da Vinci Code is that Jesus never claimed to be God and the concept of deity of Jesus was adopted by the early church at the Council of Nicea in 325 BC. It says that it was something forced upon the church in order to provide some basis of unity and some level of strength. Of course that is totally fraudulent and goes against church history. 

 

Here we have a book that we are studying in Hebrews that clearly that clearly recognizes the full deity of the Second Person of the trinity who becomes flesh. This is the foundation for the first four chapters – Jesus is God who takes on humanity. Hebrews was written sometime in the 60's, 62-63-64 AD, somewhere in that period. 

 

We know that Clement of Rome who wrote his epistle sometime in the 90's was familiar with the text and content of Hebrews because he quoted it numerous times. By 90 AD Clement of Rome was fully aware of everything that was taught in Hebrews. So Hebrews and the emphasis on the deity of Christ clearly predate Clement. It predates a number of other church fathers in the second century who also affirmed the full deity of Jesus Christ. So the idea is that this was something that gradually evolved in the early church and was foisted on the church by a bunch of white male western Europeans. We always get it, don't we guys? They think that the white male western Europeans forced this on the church. It is all part of Greek philosophy according to them. But you never had anything like this in Plato or Aristotle or any other of the Greek philosophers. 

 

It is clear though from the Old Testament that the Messiah would be both man and God. 

 

NKJ Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

 

The child that is born is clearly human. 

 

The Son that is given is clearly the divine Son of God.

 

His name which indicates identity would be based on terms related to deity. These are all terms that are loaded with the concept of deity.

 

NKJ Isaiah 9:7 Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.

 

So the backdrop for understanding Hebrews is this concept that there is a future Messianic Kingdom. But we go beyond what we have looked at so far to understand the framework introduced by a couple of other passages. 

 

We understand from Psalm 2:7 that the Messiah will come, but He must await the giving of this kingdom. God has to do something with His enemies. This is indicated again in Psalm 110.

 

NKJ Psalm 110:1 A Psalm of David. The LORD said to my Lord, "Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool."

 

There is this waiting period prior to the acquisition of the kingdom that takes place in the time period indicated by Daniel 7. This Messiah who is going to come and establish a kingdom is also a priest according to Psalm 110:4. 

 

NKJ Psalm 110:4 The LORD has sworn And will not relent, "You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek."

 

All of these passages were well known by the early church. Some of these psalms were memorized by Jews and early Christians alike. They were familiar with these concepts unlike most modern Christians who don't have a familiarity with the Old Testament or with Old Testament theology and with the things that are taught about the Messiah in all of these passages. Most modern evangelicals have a hard time understanding this because they don't know the Old Testament. The recipients of the book of Hebrews understood these things. They understood these connections. So the writer of Hebrews is going back to all of these different passages in the Old Testament and he interconnects them in order to drive home some specific points for this group of hearers. They are Jews who are being threatened by various forms of adversity and persecution and are on the verge of throwing in the towel, leaving Christianity behind, and going back to Judaism. So there is this warning addressed to them that they need to pay attention to the realities that the Old Testament describes about the Messianic Kingdom and about how adversity and testing play a role in the maturing of the Church Age and a warning if they give up and go back to Judaism. The same principle applies to every believer because we all go through times of discouragement. We all go through times of testing and times of doubt. We need to recognize that it is more than just some philosophical system. It is more than making sure that we get into heaven. There are some serious things that God is doing in your life as a believer in preparation for the future. That is the theme that we find in Hebrews. 

 

NKJ Revelation 20:6 Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.

 

This verse talks about the millennium and Church Age believers in the millennium. 

 

It is not the idea of a part, but the idea of a share. 

 

Revelation 20:6 tells us that there are two functions that we are going to have in the future Millennial Kingdom. One is to be priests to God and priests of Christ under His high priesthood. And we are going to rule and reign. There is a ruling and reigning responsibility that is part of that divine administration in the Millennial Kingdom. It is not just a kingdom that is ruled by one person. There is an administration, a cadre of leaders that will administer the kingdom throughout that period of time. That cadre is made up of believers who advanced to spiritual maturity during the Church Age. This is the backdrop for understanding the message of Hebrews.

 

So let's go back to the beginning and think our way through what the writer of Hebrews has been saying so that we can prepare ourselves for the next major division.

 

The first 5 verses form a prologue, an introduction. It introduces the main ideas that are going to be developed throughout the course of the epistle. The main idea of the first 4 verses is given in the main clause of verse 2. 

 

NKJ Hebrews 1:2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds;

 

That is the large overriding principle for the whole book of Hebrews. God has spoken to us. If God has spoken to us that implies a certain response from you. The reality is as Francis Schaffer put in the title of one of his basic books "God Is There and He Isn't Silent". God has spoken and because He has spoken it is mandatory that we listen and that we respond. Otherwise there are dangerous consequences to being disobedient to what God has said. So we are told that God has spoken to us by means of His Son.  This indicates a final and complete revelation. 

 

Now who is the Son? The Son is qualified by 8 statements given in these 3 verses from verse 2 through 4. He is the appointed heir indicating a future inheritance. He is the one who made the world indicating He is the mediate creator of the world under the authority of God the Father. 

 

NKJ Hebrews 1:3 who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,

 

He is the revelation of His glory. John in John 1 tells us.

 

NKJ John 1:18 No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.

 

This is the role of the Son to be that which flashes forth to express and to explain the glory of God. Note that word "glory". It is a key word that is picked up in chapter 2 and 3 in the second main point. 

 

Fourth, He is the image of His person the express identical image of God.  He is full deity. 

 

Fifth, He upholds all things by the word of His power. It is Jesus Christ who is sustaining the universe. He not only made it, He sustains it moment-by-moment. So the doctrine of creation as laid out in Genesis is not just based on some ancient near eastern myth. It is a profound doctrine that must be taken literally. You throw out the 24 hour 6 day creation in Genesis you undercut everything else in the Bible. You can't mess with a literal understanding of Genesis 1 or it destroys everything else biblically. So it is not an option. Jesus Christ created everything and He sustains everything.

 

Sixth He is the one who cleansed our sins. 

 

Seventh, He is now seated at the right hand of the Majesty on High. That immediately brings to mind Psalm 110:1 which will be quoted later on in the chapter. He is seated at the right hand. This indicates that He is waiting for something which what is indicated in the very first verse of the next section. It tells us that the focus is on the world to come. The focus of this epistle is on what God is doing and preparing us for in the future. Our present reality is completely oriented to the future destination that God has for us.

 

Eighth, we are told that the Son has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than the angels. In that last point in verse 5 opens the door and is a transition into the main idea of the first point in this five point sermon of Hebrews. That first point is oriented to who Jesus Christ is as the creator God over the angels.

 

In verses 6-14 the point is that God has designated the eternal Son to be the future righteous ruler in contrast to the angels who are creatures made to serve God. God has designated the Second Person of the trinity who is already identified as the eternal Son and creator to be the future righteous ruler in contrast to angels who are creatures. So we see the connection being made in this first point between the human Son and the divine Son. This is brought out immediately in the two quotes in verse 5.

 

The section from 1:5-1:14 is built on an analysis of 7 Old Testament quotations.  In verse 5 we have a quote from Psalm 2:7 

 

NKJ Psalm 2:7 "I will declare the decree: The LORD has said to Me, 'You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.

 

That is the way it should be translated based on the Hebrew of Psalm 2:7. It's an emphasis on the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God. The writer of Hebrews connects Psalm 2:7 which emphasizes the divine aspect of who the Messiah is with the Davidic or human aspect in the second quote which is from Psalm 89:26-7. This is part of the Davidic Covenant.

 

NKJ Psalm 89:26 He shall cry to Me, 'You are my Father, My God, and the rock of my salvation.'

 

It is also related to II Samuel 7:14.

 

We are told that the angels will worship Him.

 

NKJ Hebrews 1:6 But when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says: "Let all the angels of God worship Him."

 

NKJ Hebrews 1:7 And of the angels He says: "Who makes His angels spirits And His ministers a flame of fire."

 

There is a contrast. Verse 7 is a quote from Psalm 104:4 and is designed to emphasize the fact that angels are made. They are creatures over against this Messianic Son who is the one who made all things. That indicates that the angels are lesser than the Son.  The Son is equal with God. The angels are creatures. 

 

Then in verse 8-9 we see that the Son is going to be established on the throne. That throne will be characterized by righteousness.  This is based on two quotes from Psalm 45:6-7 and Isaiah 61:1. 

 

NKJ Hebrews 1:8 But to the Son He says: "Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your Kingdom.

 

NKJ Hebrews 1:9 You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of gladness more than Your companions."

 

That immediately picks up the idea from the Old Testament of the Messianic Kingdom that would be eternal.

 

That brings in the idea that this Messianic ruler is going to have a group of companions. The imagery that comes across there is that of David when he was out of favor with Saul. Saul is persecuting him. David has been anointed king. Saul is still on the throne in Israel but is persecuting David. David had to flee to the wilderness of Judah and while he is down in Engedi and other places other outcasts are gathered with him. As he gathers this group of outcasts who are all being hounded by Saul, as he gathers them together they become his companions and he forms the nucleus of his future administration by these men who are considered by Saul to be ne'er-do-wells. They are looked down upon them as not being unworthy. Yet when David comes into his kingdom, it is those companions later called David's mighty men who become the core of his administration in his kingdom. That is the foundational imagery that we have as the background of Hebrews. We as the church are considered outcasts and we will be joined with the Lord as rulers during the future kingdom. 

 

So verses 10-12 focus on Christ as the eternal creator. It is a quote from Psalm 102:25-28. It focuses on the fact that this current heaven will disappear but the Lord's kingdom will go beyond that because He is the creator. So that is the contrast between the Messianic King as creator and the angels who are mere creatures. Verse 13 introduces that contrast. 

 

That brings in the idea of a present time waiting for the destruction of the enemies so that the kingdom can be established. It introduces a present role of theses angels. Notice that the angels are said to be creatures back in verse 5. They were created to be ministers of God according to that quote. Part of that ministry role is given in verse 14.

 

NKJ Hebrews 1:14 Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?

 

We saw that the concept of salvation there isn't the idea of immediate justification salvation. It is the idea of the future fulfillment of everything that God has saved us for in the coming of the kingdom. So the salvation there is not something that happened when we trusted Christ as Savior. It is what we are destined for when we realize everything that God has saved us to become. 

 

Then there is a warning. The first practical warning comes in the first four verses of chapter 2. This is the first challenge. It is an application. It follows a didactic section. Verses 1:5 down through 1:14 explain who Jesus Christ is in reference to these Old Testament passages, indicating that He is fully divine and fully human. He is the one who is going to establish the future reign. In His person He is superior to the angels. 

 

Then he is going to draw out an application. It is not a mere doctrine. The hypostatic union isn't just something that is interesting to learn to demonstrate that Jesus is more than just a man. It has significant implications for our day to day life. 

 

This is introduced in 2:1.  There is a challenge.

 

NKJ Hebrews 2:1 Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away.

 

In other words don't just listen and collect doctrines in your notebook. Pay attention to these because they need to change your life.  They need to change the way you think. They need to change the way you orient yourself to what is going on in your life. The warning there is "lest we drift away." You will be tempted to drift away and think of Bible class as something you do of secondary significance if you don't realize that Bible class is teaching you how to think biblically so that you can put this into practice day in and day out. The Holy Spirit uses that to produce spiritual growth and spiritual maturity which prepares us and gives us the capacity for leadership, the capacity for responsibility that we will have when we are ruling and reigning with the Lord Jesus Christ in the future kingdom. 

 

We have this emphasis on hearing. We have this emphasis on the Word. We need to give heed to the things we have heard. Why?  God has spoken to us in these last days.

 

NKJ Hebrews 2:2 For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward,

 

Stop a minute and think about that verse. What the writer is doing is introducing us to the broad idea that Old Testament saints received their revelation of the law at Mt. Sinai. It was mediated through the angels. They had all the various manifestations of God there. They even heard the voice of God. But instead of being obedient, they were disobedient. There were consequences to their disobedience. They were saved but they lost something. That idea becomes the main understanding or the main idea in the warning passage that comes at the end of the second point. So he is building a case each time we go through one of these points in Hebrews.  Information that has already been introduced will be further expanded and developed. So he begins the introduction in verse 2. 

 

That is the main point. If there were serious consequences to the Jews in the Exodus generation for their failures, what do you think will happen to us if we take this salvation package lightly, if we don't make it the highest priority in life to grow and mature as believers? That is the thrust of the first challenge and first application. 

 

Now in review what we learned is that first of all the Father designated the Second Person of the trinity the Son of God to be a faithful ruler. Second we learned that the Son is first and foremost full deity. Deity is not something added to humanity, but humanity was something added to His deity. Third, we learned that the Son entered into human history in order to become the Davidic Son to establish the Davidic Kingdom. Fourth, we learned that the divine Davidic Son will establish a righteous reign that extends to eternity. It extends beyond the Millennial Kingdom on into eternity after the present heavens and earth has been destroyed. Fifth, we learned that His kingdom is now on hold. It is not present in this life. This is made clear in 2:5 when it talks about the world to come. The sixth point is we need to prepare for it. We Church Age believers need to be preparing ourselves today for that future responsibility in the kingdom. That's the first point.

 

Then we move to the second point, which begins in 2:5 and extends down to 4:16. The focus here is on the world to come as laid out in verse 5. 

 

Then in verses 6-7 there is a quote from Psalm 8:4-6 as well as Job 7:17. Psalm 144:3 has the same ideas. It is a key Old Testament concept related to the destiny of man. The question that is being answered is - why is man so important? Why does God care about human beings? More importantly, why does God care about you and your spiritual life?  Because God has an overarching plan. He has a purpose in creating man. That purpose it seems was hurt by the fall. What we find out is that God in His wisdom knew what would happen in the fall and God established a broader plan that will eventually be fulfilled in the ideal man who is the Lord Jesus Christ. 

 

So a question is raised. 

 

NKJ Hebrews 2:6 But one testified in a certain place, saying: "What is man that You are mindful of him, Or the son of man that You take care of him?

 

NKJ Hebrews 2:7 You have made him a little lower than the angels; You have crowned him with glory and honor, And set him over the works of Your hands.

 

That is who man is in an unfallen state. 

 

Ultimately, how does that get fulfilled? In the Lord Jesus Christ as we will see in the next few verses. 

 

Man was created to rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the air and the beasts of the field. That was his original intent, but things got messed up when Adam sinned. 

 

NKJ Hebrews 2:8 You have put all things in subjection under his feet." For in that He put all in subjection under him, He left nothing that is not put under him. But now we do not yet see all things put under him.

 

It has been marred by sin. So how is God going to reverse what happened as a result of the fall? It comes through Jesus and this is part of why He had to become a man. The Second Person of the trinity had to enter into human history in order to solve the sin problem and to fulfill the divine purpose of man in ruling over all creation. 

 

Verse 9 states the foundation.

NKJ Hebrews 2:9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.

 

He goes to the cross to die as a spiritual substitute for us. Why? In order to redeem mankind and bring them back to his original purpose.

 

Jesus is crowed with glory and honor. We just saw that phrase back in verse 7. When Adam fell in the garden (that is why it has to be taken as a literal Adam and a literal Eve and a literal garden) man's glory and honor were tainted, destroyed.  So when Jesus comes and He suffers death, He is then crowned with glory and honor. 

 

NKJ Hebrews 2:10 For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.

 

Man starts off with glory and honor. He loses that glory and honor because it was destroyed by the darkness of sin.  Christ comes to the cross and fulfills the mission of redemption so that man can be restored to his original purpose and destiny. So Jesus Christ is crowned with glory and honor. He can then lead all believers into glory. You have to follow the key words as you move through the text. 

 

How does He do that? This is introduced by the concept of sanctification in the next few verses. Jesus Christ had to come in order to set the pattern for how spiritual growth takes place.  He could only doing that by becoming a man and demonstrating that as a man, by using the tools that God gave Him, He could surmount the tests, the adversity, and the suffering that we all go through and He could demonstrate that God's Word and the Holy Spirit are sufficient for giving us victory over every problem that we face in life.

 

NKJ Hebrews 2:11 For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren,

 

There is that companion concept again. He calls us brethren because we go through that same process that He does. We seek to implement the same tools that He did in spiritual growth. As a result of that if we are advancing spiritually there will be a time at the Judgment Seat of Christ when our name will be declared to the brethren.

 

NKJ Hebrews 2:12 saying: "I will declare Your name to My brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You."

 

Other verses emphasize that the basis for advance in the spiritual life is trust in Him. That is really important because in the flow of the overall argument, what is going to happen in the warning? The warning is going to be based on the fact that the Jews in the wilderness failed to trust. Jesus in contrast trusted God consistently through His life. Therefore He achieved what God intended for Him to achieve. But the Jews failed.  Because they failed and were disobedient they didn't enter into His rest.

 

The warning goes on to say that there is a rest for us. We can enter that rest if we trust God. The rest as I will point out isn't entry into heaven. It is entry into the full rewards related to our future destiny in the Millennial Kingdom.  So the emphasis in verse 13 and 14 is on the faith rest drill as the foundational mechanic for advancing in the Christian life. 

 

Verse 14 goes back to the fundamental principle of the necessity of the hypostatic union.

 

NKJ Hebrews 2:14 Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil,

 

 The Second Person of the trinity had to share fully in humanity.  He wasn't just and apparition.  He wasn't some imaginary ghost that floated through life.  He had to be fully human in order to fulfill His task in conquering death and paying for our sins. 

 

NKJ Hebrews 2:15 and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

 

This is what prepares Him to be a merciful and faithful high priest.  Now that is a key idea - this word faithful.  Notice that it is picked up in the next paragraph at the beginning of chapter 3. 

 

He went through all of this testing and He faithfully trusted God day in and day out.  He never failed. It qualified Him to go to the cross. At the cross He paid the penalty for our sins.  He goes into the grave. He is raised from the dead. He ascends to heaven where He is seated at the right hand of the Father. He is glorified so that He can then bring many sons to glory. He is going to work with us in order to help us get there. That is the point of verses 17 and 18.

 

NKJ Hebrews 2:17 Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.

 

NKJ Hebrews 2:18 For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.

 

That's the goal. He has to aid us. We have to rely upon His assistance in order to follow Him in glory. The concept of His faithfulness is emphasized again in 3:1-6. Jesus Christ was faithful in all that was given to Him. 

 

NKJ Hebrews 3:2 who was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was faithful in all His house.

 

NKJ Hebrews 3:3 For this One has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as He who built the house has more honor than the house.

 

The concept of glory continues to be developed. 

 

Because He is the Son of God, He is worthy of more glory than Moses.

 

Then we come to a conclusion that starts in 3:7and goes down through 4:16. This is crucial. This is where he drives the point home.  He begins with an extended quote from Psalm 95:7-11. 

 

NKJ Psalm 95:7 For He is our God, And we are the people of His pasture, And the sheep of His hand. Today, if you will hear His voice:

 

Psalm 95 was written by David. We don't know that from reading Psalm 95. We know that because Hebrews 4:7 says that David wrote it. David wrote it 400 years after the Exodus generation failed in the wilderness. What David does is he goes back to what happened in the wilderness and their failure. The principle was that their failure to trust God caused them to lose the promised rest and not enter into the Promised Land. So David after meditating upon that event writes Psalm 95 as a psalm related to the Messianic Kingdom. It is one of the messianic psalms related to the kingdom. As he reflects upon the Exodus generation's failure to enter the land because they didn't believe God, he challenges his own generation that "if you want to enter the kingdom of God today you must listen to His voice." They could not be disobedient, not be faithless like the Exodus generation. So Psalm 95:7-11 is a quotation taken by the writer of Hebrews and then applied to his generation in roughly 63 AD. The writer of Hebrews by universalizing this applies it to any believer in the Church Age. So the command is just as true for us today as it was for first century believers and just as true for them as it was David's generation. Time is sort. Don't put off for tomorrow what you can do today. 

 

"Today if you will hear His voice." What does that remind you of? It means to change your priorities – change your scale of values – change your life of unbelief to a life of walking by means of faith in the Scriptures. So there is a warning that begins to be developed in verse 12 with a challenge that we are to encourage or challenge one another daily while it is called today. 

 

That word for harden was a word that had been applied to the Exodus generation. It means to be stiff, to be resistant against God, to stiffen your resolve, to resist what the Word says and not apply it, to be more concerned about the day-to-day cares of life and the details of life than what the Word of God has to say. The warning is based on the failure of the Exodus generation. 

 

NKJ Hebrews 3:16 For who, having heard, rebelled? Indeed, was it not all who came out of Egypt, led by Moses?

 

NKJ Hebrews 3:19 So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.

 

We saw that the idea of rest is used three ways in this section. It is used of God's creation rest having created in 6 days.  He then ceased His work on the 7th day. That became a pattern for God's promise to Israel.  Having gone through the slavery in Egypt for 400 years they would enter into the Promised Land and they would experience rest from their labor in the Promised Land. But that generation failed so they didn't enter the rest. That is taken in turn as an analogy to our living our lives entering into the future rest of the Millennial Kingdom. So there are three rests that we talked about that are given in this chapter – God's creation rest, Promised Land rest, and future kingdom rest

 

Just as David brought the urgency of the past into the present of his generation, so the writer of Hebrews brings this urgency into our generation. Three times he quotes this. Why? It is so easy for us to get caught up in the day-to-day details of life and to be distracted from a divine eternal purpose. It is easy for us to forget that God has provided everything for us and that we have to live in complete contrast to the values, standards, and lifestyle of the world around us. We are headed to a different destiny. There remains for us this promise of a rest. This is in 4:9.

NKJ Hebrews 4:9 There remains therefore a rest for the people of God.

 

It is yet future. It is not referring to the past rest of the Promised Land. It is referring to a future that is ours that is based on labor.

 

NKJ Hebrews 4:10 For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.

 

This isn't works related to salvation. It is living the Christian life, putting into application what you have learned. I don't know about you but that's the labor. It takes effort to go to Bible class sometimes, to study the Word, to implement the principles of God's Word. That is the labor talking about. When we enter into the kingdom we no longer have that labor. That will be a thing of the past. So there are two broad commands that are given as a result of that. One is in verse 11 and another is in verse 16.

 

NKJ Hebrews 4:11 Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience.

 

Work hard at it. Make an effort at it. This is your goal. This is your task. Be goal oriented about this. Be diligent to enter that rest. 

 

Make an effort to be sure that you are going to enter the Millennial Kingdom. Why? Because, the Word of God is living and powerful. The Word of God is going to expose in your life and in my life the rationalizations, the failures. It is the Word of God that exposes in our thinking the failures, the human viewpoint, and all of the rationalizations that we have. If it isn't exposed in this life by the written Word of God, then trust me when we are face to face with the Lord at the Judgment Seat of Christ, it will be exposed by the Living Word as He makes a distinction between divine good and human good. No creature is hidden from His sight. All will be revealed. 

 

But nevertheless we go back to the principle. The writer concluded with in 2:17-18 that we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens and is seated at the right hand of God the Father. He isn't one who doesn't sympathize with our weaknesses. He does. He understands what we are going through because when it comes down to it we are judged by a peer who has gone through the same things we went through. He has gone through the same testing, the same adversity, yet without sin. 

 

We have our second command as a result of this. 

 

NKJ Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

 

We have sustenance in our trials, in our testing, in our adversity in this life because we have a high priest who has gone through it just like we have. Therefore we are to go the Father constantly in prayer about this because our High Priest will be sure that we are sustained. This is done through His Word and the Holy Spirit and it is based on grace. 

 

So what we see in these first four chapters is a challenge to be future oriented. God has a destiny for us that doesn't apply to this life, but it applies to the future life. When we are absent from the body and face to face with the Lord, we will be evaluated at the Judgment Seat of Christ. On the basis of that evaluation we will be given a place in the kingdom. We will be given a role in the kingdom to rule and reign with the Lord Jesus Christ. That place is going to be determined by the capacity that we develop in this life to think biblically based on the advance in our spiritual life so that we can rule and reign with the Lord Jesus Christ.  It is a true future orientation. 

 

There is a threat that we can jeopardize the whole thing by acting like the Exodus generation. Notice that the Exodus generation failed ten times according to Numbers. Each time they failed, God forgave them. They confessed their sin. They got back in fellowship.  But see they didn't advance spiritually. They didn't solve the problems that kept getting them out of fellowship. There was no forward advance. That happens with a lot of people. They think that it is all about confession of sin. "As long as I confess my sin, it's okay." They use I John 1:9 as a license to sin. 

 

What we learn here is that the Exodus generation got forgiveness and got forgiveness and got forgiveness. But because they didn't advance and deal with the problem of inherent unbelief in their soul and they never went forward, they jeopardized entry into the Promised Land. The same thing can happen to believers in the Church Age. We think that it stops with confession of sin, but it doesn't. Confession of sin just gets us back to the launching pad to go forward in our spiritual growth. But if we don't grow spiritually and advance to spiritual maturity where there is capacity for righteousness, capacity for leadership, capacity to rule and reign with Jesus Christ; then we jeopardize that future inheritance. This gets developed even more in chapter 5 as we look at Jesus Christ in terms of His priesthood and His high priesthood and how that relates to our present role in the Church Age.

 

We will begin there in three weeks.