Let’s turn to the Book of Hebrews, chapter one.
The Book of Hebrews is exactly what it says. It is written to the Hebrews, the Jewish believers. It is commonly accepted that Paul was the author of the Book of Hebrews. It is my opinion that that is correct. It has touches of Paul’s style in it.
They are at a transition of dispensation. When Jesus had the Last Supper with the disciples, when He took the cup. He said this cup is a New Covenant in My blood for the remission of sins. And so God has established now a New Covenant with the nation of Israel, which means that the old covenant is no longer valid. The temple worship, the sacrifices, the priesthood, is no longer valid, because God has now established in Jesus, a new and a better way!
So they are that transition of leaving the old covenant, with its tradition, and entering into the New Covenant, this new relationship with God, now made possible because of what Jesus Christ has done!
And there were many Jews who embraced the gospel. On the day of Pentecost, as Peter was preaching, some three thousand people believed and were added to the church. Just a few days later, at the miracle of the healing of the lame man, some two thousand more. We read that of the priests, many became believers. But then, there arose a problem in the church because those Jewish believers were still sort of held by tradition, to some of the old facets of the law. And they sought to make an admixture of the two covenants. They tried to mix together this new covenant of grace with the old covenant of the law. And thus some of them were even going so far as returning to the temple sacrifices. And this issue will be dealt with as we go through the Book of Hebrews. So this is a letter to the Jews concerning this New Covenant that we have in Christ Jesus.
So God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, So God, who at various times and in various ways, spoke in times past to the fathers by the prophets. The assertion that God had spoken. The Old Testament Scriptures are indeed the Word of God. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine and for reproof and for correction. Holy men wrote as they were inspired by the Holy Spirit. God spoke in different ways. He spoke through visions. He spoke through dreams. He spoke through similitudes. He spoke through an audible voice. He spoke through that still, small, inner voice. He spoke through circumstances.
So God in various times and in various ways spoke to the fathers by the prophets, 2Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, He has now in these last days spoken unto us by His own dear Son. Jesus pointed out how skewed their understanding of what God said, had become. He was constantly saying, you have heard that this is what God said, but I say unto you, as He was correcting the misinterpreting of what God had spoken to the people.
Jesus rebuked them because they, through their tradition, have really made the law of no effect. They had circumvented and bypassed the law by their tradition. Many of the things that the law said that they should not do, they were doing but they had their reason, their traditions, that said, well, it’s okay if you do it this way. And so where the law said you’re not to curse your father and mother, they said, just before you curse them, say, now look, this is for your own benefit. And if you put that before the curse, then you can go ahead and curse them. But just make sure you say, this is for your own good.
Thus, Jesus said, you’ve made the law of no effect. The Bible said if you swear by the altar, you have sinned. But they said, well, you can swear by the gold that covers the altar, and that’s okay. Jesus said, what is greater, the altar or the gold? The gold which is sanctified by the altar?
And so, these various things, and thus it was important that man know the truth of God. And as is usually the case, when you let men get involved, they complicate it. God taught very straight, plain, simply, His laws and His ways to the people. But then, they began to complicate it. There really isn’t much difficulty in understanding the Ten Commandments, but yet they began to complicate it. They had the Mishna, which was the oral tradition of interpreting the commandments. Then they developed the Talmud, which were the written tradition, that interpreted the Mishna, the oral tradition. It became more complicated all the time.
Look what we have done with the basic laws in the United States. I mean these men are hired, year after year, to figure out new things to make a law about. And it seems like there is no end to the laws that they are willing and wanting to write, to enforce their ideas, opinions and feelings. We realize that gradually through these, our freedoms are being eroded.
So God has spoken in these last days by His Son—clear, plain. And understanding of God is now possible by looking at Jesus! I can know God in truth as I look at Jesus.
Unfortunately, even with the church, we’ve through the years, have messed up the message of Jesus and confused the message of Jesus in so many places.
But God having spoken to us by His Son in the second chapter, therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should drift away from them. We, because God has spoken by His Son, we ought to pay attention and not to drift away. Because it’s the word, that was spoken by the messengers of the Old Testament, was steadfast and every transgression and disobedience received the just recompense of reward, how shall we escape if we neglect this great salvation, which at first was spoken to us by the Lord? So God has spoken to us through His Son. And then, sort of at the end of Hebrews, in chapter 12:25, see that you refuse not, Him that speaketh. Don’t refuse the words of Jesus! God has spoken to us by His own dear Son.
Speaking of the Son, he declares, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, Now the beautiful thing is, that God has declared that we are joint-heirs with Jesus Christ.
God has appointed Him the heir of all things and by whom also he made the worlds; In the beginning, God said, let Us make man in our image and after our likeness. The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, were active in creation. John said, in the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God and all things were made by Him and without Him was not anything made that was made.
Paul in Colossians, chapter one, declares again, concerning Jesus Christ, that by Him were all things made that are made, whether they are visible or invisible. By Him and for Him and He is before all things, and by Him all things consist!
3Who being the brightness of his glory, Jesus is the effulgent, the outshining. Now there was what they called the Shekinah, that glowing of God’s presence that was there in the Holy of Holies, just that glow of God’s presence. We are told here that Jesus is that glow, that outshining, that effulgent of God’s glory!
and the express image of his person, He is the express image of His person! He could say if you have seen Me, you have seen the Father! He is the express image of the person of God. The Greek word had a reference to the image that was made with a signet ring, where you press the signet ring into the wax, it leaves an express image of the ring. And so Jesus is the express image of God.
and upholding all things by the word of his power, He upholds all things by the word of His power. This is equivalent, by Him are all things held together!
Coulomb’s law of electricity speaks of the repelling force of positive charges. There is the attraction of opposite poles, but there is the repelling of the positive poles. So you take a magnet and you take the positive pole of a magnet against another positive pole and you’ll find it is pushing away. That’s Coulomb’s law of electricity. It’s just an observation that positive poles repel.
Now in the nucleus of an atom, you have protons or positive charges that are tightly clustered together, in defiance of the natural bent of positive charges to repel. What holds the positive charges together in the nucleus of an atom? Scientists speak of an atomic glue. They used to call them mesons. But it is a mystery of what holds the positive charges together.
Now, the scientists have learned that by bombarding the nucleus of an atom with slow moving neutrons, they can disengage the positive charges. And they start a fission, a nuclear reaction. And they can release tremendous energy. The force, the power, of an atomic bomb, is created by the positive charges acting according to nature. That is the natural thing for positive charges to repel. And if they can upset the balance of the nucleus of an atom, with these slow moving neutrons, they can create the tremendous explosion that we have observed in the atomic bomb. The force that holds the positive charges together has to be greater than the force that is released when the atom is upset.
It is interesting as Peter is talking about the end of the age, when the thousand years of Christ’s reign is over, and God creates a new heaven and a new earth. In 2 Peter 3:10, he said the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise. The elements will melt with a fervent heat. The earth also, and the works that are therein, shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy manner of living and Godliness as we look for and hasten unto the coming of the Day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire, shall be dissolved and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? You’d think that Peter was an atomic scientist. But he is describing what will happen when the Lord releases the material universe to be dissolved, when the protons are free from that hold and that power. And the whole things just goes up!
So, all things are upheld by the Word of His power and when he had by himself purged our sins, Jesus, has cleansed us from sin. John writes, the blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, cleanses a man from all sin!
And when He, by Himself purged us from our sins, He sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; His work is finished! On the cross He cried, it is finished! And He was talking about the redemptive plan of God! Through the death of Christ, it was complete. The way is now made for sinful man to approach the Holy God, through the New Covenant in the blood of Jesus Christ, whereby we are washed and purged from our sin, and thus have access unto the Father!
The effect of sin is always that of separating a person from God. God’s hand is not short that He cannot save. His ear is not heavy that He cannot hear, but the prophet said, your sin has separated you from God. That’s always the case. In order for us to have fellowship with God, the sin issue has to be resolved. And Jesus, through His death, purged us from our sins. There is no other way!
Jesus said, Father, if it is possible. If what is possible? If fellowship with God and man is possible by any other means, then Jesus prayed, let this cup pass from Me, nevertheless, not what I will, but Thy will be done. Had redemption been possible by man being good, by man being religious, by man being sincere, by man keeping a law, then Jesus would not have had to have died.
There would have been a standard, set, and we would all be required to keep that standard. But no man can keep God’s standard of righteousness. We’ve all sinned and come short of the glory of God. And thus we all need the redemptive plan of God, worked out personally in our own lives. By Himself, He purged our sin and then He sat down. The work is finished! And now He is able to receive and the Father will receive all who come to God by Him.
4Being made so much better than the angels, Now this word, better, is one that we are going to meet several times in the Book of Hebrews. Because the author is interested in showing that through Jesus Christ, we have a better way. Here, much better than the angels.
Hebrews 7:19, for the law made nothing perfect, but bringing in of a better hope. We have a better hope than they did under the law!
Hebrews 7:22, by so much was Jesus made a surety of a better covenant, much better than the covenant that said do and live, the covenant that said, believe, and live!
Hebrews 8:6, but now, has He obtained a more excellent ministry by how much also He is the Mediator of a better covenant, again, which was established upon better promises.
Hebrews 9:23, it was therefore necessary, that the patterns of the things in the heavens should be purified with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. He is talking about how they sprinkled blood on the Tabernacle. Everything that was used in the Tabernacle, it was necessary to sanctify them by the blood of the bulls and so forth, that they had killed, but the heavenly by a better sacrifice, even that of Jesus Christ.
Hebrews 10:34, for you had compassion of me in my bonds, typical of Paul, and you took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing that in your selves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance.
You’ve got in heaven, something much better, than the furniture in your condo down here. It’s much better than that old clunker that you have been driving. The heavenly substances are so much better because they are enduring! These are all temporal. Those are enduring! In heaven, a better and an enduring substance.
Hebrews 11:16, but now they desire a better country. He is talking about these men of faith in the Old Testament. That is, a heavenly, wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared for them a city.
Hebrews 11:35, women received their dead raised to life again, others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. If we suffer with Him, we will reign with Him!
Hebrews 11:40, God having provided some better thing for us, that they, the Old Testament saints, could not be made complete, apart from us.
Then in Hebrews 12:24, unto Jesus, the Mediator of the New Covenant and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things that than of Able. Able offered a more excellent sacrifice than Cain. But even a better sacrifice than Able, is ours through Jesus Christ.
So the better way, the better Covenant, the better resurrection, the better hope, all of these things are ours in Christ. Being made so much better than the angels.
Now the Jehovah Witnesses, today, seek to identify Jesus as Michael the archangel. And in their belief system, they do believe that Jesus is Michael, the archangel. They teach that.
The Mormons teach that Jesus is the brother of Lucifer. Lucifer was a cherubim, and thus, they would put Jesus down to an angel classification, being the brother of Lucifer. But Jesus is so much better than the angels. So he is going now to contrast Jesus and the angels.
as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. God has given Him a name that is above every name. That at the name of Jesus, every knee shall bow. Every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of the God the Father.
5For unto which of the angels said he (did God say) at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? He is quoting from Psalm 2:7. God didn’t say that to any of the angels. You are My Son! This day I have begotten Thee! Jesus said, God so loved the world, that He gave His only Begotten Son!
And again (God said), I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son? He is quoting from 2 Samuel 7:14.
6And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him. And so the angels are commanded to worship Jesus.
When Satan tempted Jesus, with the offer of the kingdoms of the world and the glory of Jesus, if He would bow down and worship him, Jesus quoted the Scripture, Thou shalt worship the Lord, thy God, and Him only. Only God is to be worshipped! But when God commands the worship of the Son, that equates to the fact that Jesus is God! Worship Him. He ordered to the angels. That’s out of Deuteronomy 32:43. It’s interesting, the writer of Hebrews was surely conversant with the Old Testament Scriptures, just quoting so many different passages. He was tying them together, the Scriptures that refer to the Son versus the angels.
7And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire. He quoting Psalm 104:4
8But unto the Son (In contrast, the angels are ministering spirits. They are servants.)
But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: Notice he said, Thy throne, O God! That’s from Psalm 45:6-7. If God calls Him God, then who am I to call Him anything less? This is one of those powerful Scriptures! You see when John wrote, he said in the beginning was the Word. The Word was with God. The Word was God. John called Him, God. When Jesus showed to Thomas the nail prints in His hand, Thomas said, My Lord and My God!
Paul said our citizenship is in heaven, whence we look for the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.
And here, God is calling Him, God! That should be sufficient!
But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, Oh God, is forever and ever!
a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. 9Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. And so God’s anointing, the oil of gladness.
10And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands: Again, referring to Him. He laid the foundation of the earth, the heavens are the works of thine hands. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
When you look at the vast universe in which we live, it gives you a little bit of a concept of how vast God must be, the Creator! The Bible speaks of Him, stretching out the heavens as a curtain. He talks about Him measuring the heavens with His span, holding the waters of the earth in the palm of His hand! Lord, in the beginning, You laid the foundation of the earth. The heavens are the work of Your hands. When I consider the heavens, the Psalmist said, the work of Thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained. What is man that you are mindful of Him?
When I go up to the youth camp, that beautiful clear, mountain air, the dark sky, you can still see the Milky Way. Probably some of you have never seen it. If you’ve lived around here for any length of time, you’ve probably never seen the Milky Way around here. But up there in the mountains, you can see the Milky Way. And you realize the millions upon millions of stars that make up this Milky Way galaxy. And we realize that our planet Earth, is just so insignificant, when compared to the universe.
Out here in one corner of the Milky Way, we have a star that we call the Sun. And around this star, there orbits the nine planets. Maybe we have found a tenth one. They believe they have. But these planets, just orbiting around. And poured out from the sun, we have this little planet, called earth, some eight thousand miles, approximately, in diameter. A speck of dust, orbiting around this star, we call the Sun, some ninety three million miles away, which happens to be just exactly the right distance to get the right amount of heat and energy to support life on the planet Earth. It was fortunate that that’s just the right distance!
This little planet out here, spins on its orbit at about a thousand miles a minute, so that we are spinning on this little planet as we go around the sun, in our orbit around the sun. The sun, in the same token is orbiting within the Milky Way galaxy. The earth, as I said, is about eight thousand miles in diameter. It is one million, two hundred thousand times smaller than the sun. The sun is orbiting at a speed of about thirteen miles per second. That’s very fast. Figure it out. The sun is eight hundred and sixty five thousand miles in diameter, one million two hundred thousand times greater than the earth in volume.
If you would carve out a hole in the center of the sun and leave a crust a hundred thousand miles thick, you could set the earth in the center of the sun, or the earth could orbit around inside of the sun and have. Wait a minute now, I have to think that one through. The moon! Set the earth in the middle, and let the moon rotate around the earth. And it could go on within the sun and you would have a hundred thousand miles to spare. That’s what it is. That’s a pretty big object, the sun.
Now when we send the rockets into space, we’re a little familiar with the power that it takes, the thrust it needs to develop, in order to get a rocket into orbit that weighs a few tons. We know the tremendous energy and force and thrust. What kind of thrust do you suppose it took to get sun moving in its orbit? What kind of thrust do you suppose it took to get the earth into orbit?
The earth has been continuing in its orbit around the sun and does continue. And there’s only a variation of just a few seconds in the orbit, year by year. It’s right on time. You say, wow, it’s right on time. There it is! It made its orbit again! What kind of thrust to get the sun into orbit?
The Psalmist said when I consider the heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have ordained. Oh, the vastness of the God that we serve! He flung the universe into space, all of the giant stars.
The sun is only a medium size star! It’s not even one of the big stars. Betelgeuse is so much bigger than the sun! When I consider the heavens! And I love to do that! He, it says, Lord, in the beginning, You laid the foundations of the earth and the heavens are the work of Your hands.
When I consider the heavens, the work of His fingers, and I realize, WOW!, this vast universe, the work of His fingers. I love the Psalm that says, and underneath are the everlasting arms. It doesn’t say that God holds you with His finger. He holds you with His arms! Underneath, the Everlasting Arms! I tell you what, if He can create the whole vast universe with the work of His fingers, I ought to feel very secure in His arms, underneath the everlasting arms! Oh, glory, I love it!
Now, 11They shall perish; We read about it in 2 Peter, there. One day, this whole vast universe, God is going to fold it up. It’s interesting how that those scientists that hold to the big bang theory, talk about how that at one time, all of the matter of the universe was the size of a dried pea. Now that’s sort of hard for me to comprehend. But all of the matter, all of the stars, all of the matter in the universe, was once condensed so tightly, so compactly, then the whole thing exploded and all went out into space. And here out in the Milky Way, this sun and as it was spinning, it threw off masses of heat, which became the planets and they fell into order away from the sun and all. They somehow go spinning too, and keep spinning.
I often wonder what keeps us spinning out here. It seems to me that we might slow down and stop spinning and then just show one face to the sun. But here we are and it just, they say that when we have expanded unto the fullness of this original explosion, then there will be a slow gathering back again, as the universe begins to collapse. And rather than expanding, it will start drawing back again, until it is all compacted into this powerful gravitational pull and it becomes just a small little dried pea again. And then there will probably be another explosion. Of course you understand, it takes some 15 billion years to get out to the full expansion and how long it will take to gather back, you won’t have to worry about it tonight.
But it was interesting, Jesus said, heaven and earth shall pass away, but My Word will never pass away! In Hebrews, here, we read of the enduring substance.
Peter said, seeing that all of these things, the universe, is to be dissolved, what manner of persons ought we to be? Surely, not materialists, because the material universe, will one day disappear. We need to be Spiritual.
They shall perish, but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; 12And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou (Oh Lord!) art the same, and thy years shall not fail. The unchanging God!
The universe? Yes, that doesn’t last forever. There was the burst of the universe. Just how, the scientists theorize, with a big bang. But others have other theories. But we don’t know. No one was there to observe and record it. But it’s going to pass away. Scientists will tell you that too.
As a vesture, God will fold them up. They will be changed. God said, behold I create all things in your life, (Isaiah 65). The word, create, there, is the same word in Hebrew as in Genesis 1:1. In the beginning God created. The word is bara. He brought out of nothing, the universe. The physicists say He brought it out of a little compact matter. But God said, I’m creating all things. Again He uses the word, bara. New heavens, new earth, the old heavens, the old earth will pass away and not be brought into mind. The future, the eternal future with God in the new universe, where the old sin is not to be brought into mind.
So Jesus, the Creator, is far superior, to any angel. 13But to which of the angels said he at any times, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool? Jesus is sitting at the right hand of the Father. And the Father, will one day, make His enemies, His footstool.
Speaking of the angels, He said, 14Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation? Angels are ministering spirits, sent forth to minister. But God didn’t say to the angels, just rest, sit at my right hand until I take care of all of the rebellion, which God will do in the Great Tribulation period.
But the angels are ministering spirits, sent forth to minister to those who shall be the heirs of salvation. He shall give His angels charge over thee, to bear thee up, lest at anytime you dash your foot against a stone. So we begin with Jesus, much better than the angels. He has spoken to us much better than the prophets of this new and the living way, which is much better than the old way through the law; therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard. That is the things that we have heard from Jesus, we need to pay attention.
Father, we thank You for the better way, which You have provided for us through Jesus Christ, the better covenant, the better hope, the better promises, the better sacrifice. Lord, we wonder as the Psalmist, who am I that You should be mindful of me? Who am I that You should love me? Who am I that You should give Your Son for me? Who am I that You should desire fellowship with me? Lord, those are mysteries that we don’t understand, but we receive them joyfully and gratefully, that You would love us, that You would want to fellowship with us, so much, that You would be willing to make such a great sacrifice to make it possible. Oh God, You are so good, so good to me. I thank You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Transcribed from “The Word For Today”, Pastor Chuck Smith, Tape #8206, (KJ Version)