Read verses 1-4
Q: Why would it be a particularly powerful statement that “God…has spoken”?
A: More than 400 years of silence occurred in what we call the “Intertestamental Period” between Malachi and John the Baptist’s announcement of the arrival of the Messiah. The writer of Hebrews is identifying Christ the Son not just as a direct messenger of God but as the Living Word.
Q: Why might this opening sound very familiar to that of the Gospel of John?
A: Christ is identified as the Living Word of God through whom God has not only spoken but the same Word “through whom also He made the world”. (v.2)
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.
— John 1:1-3
Q: Having established Christ the Living Word and Creator, what is the third characteristic assigned to Him?
A: “…appointed heir of all things”. (v.2)
For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him.
— Colossians 1:16
Q: How does the Son reflect the image and character of the Father?
- “…He is the radiance of His glory…” (v.3) – The Light of God.
- “…He is…the exact representation of His nature…” (v.3) – The Nature of God.
- “…He…upholds all things by the word of His power.” (v.3) – The Revelation of God.
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.
— Colossians 1:15
Q: What appears to be the single most important work of the Son which confirms in Him all these qualities of God?
A: “…He…made purification of sins…” (v.3) From the outset the importance of the central work of the cross is established.
Q: Who are the two groups which the Son is contrasted to in these verses?
A: “The prophets” and “the angels”, both messengers and servants of God, yet identified as being “much better than” them because of the work of the cross.
Q: How were God’s revelations given previous to Christ?
A: “…in many portions and in many ways”. (v.1) This is alluding to the fact that no prophet or previous messenger of God received the complete revelation.
Q: What kind of revelations were mainly given to Old Testament messengers?
A: Revelations which pointed to the Messiah, the final revelation from God. Christ is God’s “last Word”, so to speak, to the world, God’s final and full revelation.
Point: Anyone boasting they have received a “new” revelation from God is deceived as Christ is the final revelation being illuminated by God.
Application: Christ is not just the Word, the Heir, and the Creator, but the Light, the Nature, and the Revelation of God the Father Himself. He cannot be merely equated to being a prophet or messenger of God, but must be accepted as co-equally God. The qualifying difference in Christ from all others given for our benefit to confirm His identity and authority is the work of the cross.
Why the Law then? It was added because of transgressions, having been ordained through angels by the agency of a mediator, until the seed would come to whom the promise had been made.
— Galatians 3:19
“Which one of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? They killed those who had previously announced the coming of the Righteous One, whose betrayers and murderers you have now become; you who received the law as ordained by angels, and yet did not keep it.”
— Acts 7:52-53
“The Lord came from Sinai,
And dawned on them from Seir;
He shone forth from Mount Paran,
And He came from the midst of ten thousand holy ones;
At His right hand there was flashing lightning for them.
— Deuteronomy 33:2
Angels played such a vital role that Scripture reveals that the Law was given through their ministry. If Old Testament Jews paid attention to the Law given through angels, how much greater heed they should give to the Word of God through Christ who is greater than the angels. The author of Hebrews subsequently provides seven Old Testament quotations establishing Christ’s superiority to the angels, a testimony that Christ’s Word is greater.