The Weekend Word
The Book of Hebrews best reflects my thesis that the Old Testament is the Bible and the New Testament is the divine interpretation of this Bible.
Whenever a big book or movie comes out such as Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter, Christian publishers feel compelled to bring out their versions, you’ve seen them, Finding Jesus in Lord of the Rings or in Harry Potter. Consider Hebrews as Finding Jesus in the Old Testament.
So, who wrote Hebrews? We don’t know. Who was it written to? We don’t know. When was it written? Before the Temple was destroyed.
1 Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets,
- God spoke to our fathers. Think about it – God has spoken.
- We take that for granted. We are talking about Special Revelation
- God reveals himself to us – we do not discover God.
- Natural revelation gives us evidence that God exists and leaves us without excuse Rom 1
- However, all we can really tell from natural revelation is
- He exists
- He is powerful
- He is mad
- But divine revelation is what reveals to us who God is – the trinity.
- How did God speak in the past? Long ago?
- By the prophets
- Includes Moses, David etc – not just Isaiah, Jeremiah etc.
- What do you think it means – “at many times and in many ways”?
2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.
- Last days – how long are the last days? This has been going on for quite some time.
- Do people mock Christians when we speak of being in the last days? 2 Peter 3 / Jude 1
- God’s word is always present tense – the now & the not yet – we are always in the now.
- It was the last days for this author, for Paul & Peter, for Luther and for us.
- God is still speaking today through his Son. This is not in addition to the ways of the past – the old ways have ended and today it is through Jesus alone.
- How does Jesus speak to us today? Through the Bible
- The Bible is outside of us – not the “God in us” – our feelings etc. What happens when our “feelings” tell us Go and the Bible tells us No?
- What is this heir of all things? That is a pretty bold statement to apply to someone who was nailed to a tree. When we are in Jesus – when we are joined to Jesus, we too become the heirs.
- In baptism we are put into Jesus and in the Eucharist Jesus puts himself into us.
- So Jesus is speaking, what is Jesus saying to us? We say to Jesus “Lord I don’t want to mess up – who should I marry, where should I go to school – should I take this job? etc.
- Jesus says, “I forgive you, I love you, you are mine.”
- Now this gets a little dicey because you have to watch out when people today say;
- Well that was then, but today he speaks to us through Muhammad; or today he speaks to us through Joseph Smith; or today he speaks to us through _______
- By His Son – we could do a whole 10 week class on just who is the Son and the relationship between the Father and Son … but we won’t, I will leave that to others.
- But how is the Son described here
- There will be 7 descriptions – which I think is on purpose.
- Just as there are 7 prophecies to begin Matthew and 7 Miracles to begin John.
- Heir of all things – who is an heir? – Because he is God’s Son
- Creator of all things – How many things is all things? John 1 & Col 1
As we will see next time the writer, the preacher puts his whole case in the next few verses. But for discussion, I think
1.) Barnabas was the writer – in fact I think this was actually a sermon presented to these people.
2.) I believe “these people” to be an isolated Jewish congregation(s) who were feeling the pressure of being outcasts from Jews, from Gentiles and from the Roman authorities and have advanced ideas to return to Judaism.
3.) This letter was written to encourage them to stay, that what they had was superior to anything they could return to.