Saturday, November 17, 2007

Hebrews 2

The book of Hebrews flows like a beautiful symphony with all the melodious instruments playing their part. I love how it flows. I have been attempting to go chapter by chapter. The thing is that the Bible in its original context did not include chapters. It was just a letter written to a certain group of people. This is why it is so hard to just stop when a chapter ends. The chapters were inserted

Fact: The first person to divide New Testament chapters into verses was Italian Dominican biblical scholar Santi Pagnini (1470–1541), a system that was never widely adopted. Robert Estienne created an alternate numbering in his 1551 edition of the Greek New Testament. The first English New Testament to use the verse divisions was a 1557 translation by William Whittingham (c. 1524-1579). The first Bible in English to use both chapters and verses was the Geneva Bible published shortly afterwards in 1560. These verse divisions soon gained acceptance as a standard way to notate verses, and have since been used in nearly all English Bibles.

Hebrews 2
1 We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. 2 For if the message spoken by angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, 3 how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. 4 God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.
5 It is not to angels that he has subjected the world to come, about which we are speaking. 6 But there is a place where someone has testified: "What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? 7 You made him a little lower than the angels; you crowned him with glory and honor 8 and put everything under his feet." 8 In putting everything under him, God left nothing that is not subject to him. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to him. 9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.
10 In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering. 11 Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers. 12 He says, "I will declare your name to my brothers; in the presence of the congregation I will sing your praises." 13 And again, "I will put my trust in him." 13 And again he says, "Here am I, and the children God has given me."
14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death--that is, the devil-- 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. 16 For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham's descendants. 17 For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. 18 Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

The book of Hebrews is wonderful to me and I just love it. Starting in chapter 2 we see the hinging door word "therefore." Chapter one establishes the supremacy of Christ over the angels and over all creation making us listen a bit more to what He has said. The writer of Hebrews gives us a sharp warning to take heed since now we have Christ who has spoken and Him being much more than the angels; we ought to listen. In verse 2 my question would be "when did Christ speak through the angels?" We can look back to Acts 7:38 when Stephen is making the people gnash their teeth with his short history lesson of who killed the Savior.

Acts 7:38 This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sina, and [with] our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us:

This takes us back to Deut chapter 33 when it states: And he said, The LORD came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them; he shined forth from mount Paran, and he came with ten thousands of saints: from his right hand [went] a fiery law for them.

Who are these saints spoken of here? This is understood to be the angels spoke of here in Hebrews 2. If the Israelites experienced such swift judgement how much more if we disregard the Son? This will be a hard day when the people who neglect Christ stand before Him at their final judgement. Later in verse 4 it speaks of the wonderful acts done by Christ and the Apostles. These were done to confirm the gospel message and can be later seen to be done away with throughout the end of the New Testament. No! I am not into total cessationism but I firmly believe these signs were primarily done to authenticate the Gospel message and is NOT normative today. I say that with full understanding that God is totally sovereign and does as He pleases according to His perfect and good will.

Next we see this familiar quotation from Psalm 8. This is echoing the total sufficiency of God. He does not need us and is not like a nice teddy bear just wanting, lusting, or coveting our affection. God is sustained in Himself. We ask why oh Lord did you even bother in creating us? We are here according to the purpose of God.

Revelation 4:11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

Verse 9 talks about the fact that for a time Christ was made like man a little lower than the angels as well but lived the sinless, sacrificial, efficacious life for everyone so he would taste and defeat death. Now, everyone does not mean all. This everyone speaks of the one's who believe or shall we say the elect. The one's that have been chosen by the Father be able to come to the Christ. John 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

For a great understanding of the humiliation of Christ I would recommend you read through the book of Philippians. When verse 10 speaks of Christ being made perfect through sufferings, it is understood the Christ was 100% GOD and 100% man. He was divinely perfect but his flesh had to be subjected to the sovereign will of God. You can see this struggle in Christ' flesh at the garden of Gestheneme. Verse 12 is a quote from Psalms 22 where we see Christ likens himself to be our brethren since he understand our griefs and has been tempted like us but yet did not yield to sin making Christ all the more merciful-what a interesting contrast. We have a mediator who personally knows exactly how we feel and has mercy but still a standard of holiness.

Verse 16 speaks of Christ being an aide to the seed of Abraham. Certainly Christ is not talking about Himself here even though we know according to Galatians that Christ is the Seed. I am reading a book called, "Abraham's 4 Seeds" so now I will take the time to tell you who the seeds are speaking of.

1. The Natural Seed-includes all physical children, Isaac and Ishmael, Jacob and Esau, Jews and Arabs

2. Special Natural Seed-The nation, or children, of Israel, all of the physical seed of Jacob and his twelve sons.

3. Spiritual Seed-All believers of all ages, David and Paul, Jewish and Gentile believers, you and me.

4. Unique Seed-Christ he Messiah

In conclusion thus far we see that Christ is far more superior than the angels in pastime in which he spoke to the fathers through the prophets and angels. We also are warned not to neglect such a great salvation since we have had all the prophecies, fulfillment's in Christ and confirmations in works with the Apostles and Christ. We see that Christ has become such a greater High Priest than all the others before Him. He made a public mockery of the devil taking away the fear of death to all who have been predetermined to believe according the will of the Father. Glory be to GOD.

1 Corinthians 15:55 O death, where [is] thy sting? O grave, where [is] thy victory? The sting of death [is] sin; and the strength of sin [is] the law. But thanks [be] to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.