DISCOVERY for STUDENTS: Matthew, Hebrews, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 & 2 Thessalonians

Hebrews

Preeminence of Christ

source for questions

Hebrews 1:1 through 4:13

key verse for memorization

“But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.” (Hebrews 1:8-9)

background

The author of Hebrews, generally presumed to be Paul, pointed his readers in these four chapters to the superiority of Jesus Christ. Although the Jewish people had anticipated the coming of their Messiah for centuries, they had established their own form of worship at the expense of the Word of God. The author addressed this confusion by establishing in the first three verses that both the old (Judaism) and the new (Christianity) were religions “revealed” by God. Then he systematically detailed how Christ was:

  • Superior to the angels (Hebrews 1:4–2:18), 
  • Greater than Moses (Hebrews 3:1–19), and 
  • Provided a better rest (Hebrews 4:1-13), because Christ was supreme and completely sufficient for salvation.

The theme of better, a word used thirteen times in this book, was introduced in verse 4 of the first chapter. The writer contrasted the Old Testament system with the New Testament ministry of grace, bringing out that the Old was the “shadow” and the New was the “substance.” Christ had come to fulfill the Law and the prophets, conquering sin and freely providing eternal life for all who would come to Him.

Angels had been very important in the Jewish religion, mainly because angels assisted in the giving of the Law at Mount Sinai. False teachers of the day taught that God could only be approached through angels, and that these heavenly beings should be worshipped. It was critical that the writer of this book denounce such teaching; for that reason, he opened with a lengthy passage concerning Christ’s superiority to the angels. This passage is divided into three sections:

  • First, the writer affirmed the superiority of Christ. 
  • Second, he exhorted the readers to pay earnest heed to the Word God gave through His Son. 
  • Finally, he explained how Christ, with a human body, was still superior to angels who are spirits.
questions
  1. Why do you think the author makes such a point of Christ’s deity to these Hebrew Christians?
     
  2. The writer, in beautifully poetic language, described Jesus Christ in the opening verses of our text. Review the facts, attributes, and actions detailed in Hebrews 1:2-3, and write your own description of Christ based on your findings. 
     
  3. Angels are heavenly beings, and many times in Scripture we find where God used them. In what seven ways did the writer show that Jesus was superior to the angels? Hebrews 1:3-14
     
  4. In the first four verses of chapter 2, the writer set forth a strong warning against spiritual neglect. Why did he stress the danger of neglect? How might we tend to drift away or fail to pay full attention to what Jesus has said?
     
  5. In Hebrews 2:3-4, how did each Person of the Trinity participate in the delivery and confirmation of the salvation message?
     
  6. To the Jewish people, Moses was a great hero. He had brought their ancestors out of bondage in Egypt, received the Law from God himself on Mount Sinai, and written the first five books of the Old Testament. Still, in chapter 3, the writer points out the fact that Christ was superior to Moses. What points can be made about both in order to prove this?
     
  7. The writer warned the Hebrew Christians to “hear his [God’s] voice” and take heed lest their hearts become hardened and like their fathers. What lessons could be learned from the ancestors of the Hebrews? How can we “hear his voice” today? (Hebrews 3:7-11).
     
  8. Why is it so important for the Christian today to heed the Word and maintain true confidence in Christ? (Hebrews 4:1-3)
     
  9. We read in Hebrews 4:12 that the Word of God is quick, powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword. Explain what you think this means.
conclusion

What the Law could not do because it was weak through the flesh, Jesus has accomplished by the merits of His death and resurrection. The Law could never completely reveal God, but Jesus Christ can. He is the perfect reflection of God.