Better than the Prophets
10 February 2019 AM – Hebrews 1:1-3 – Heb19 – Scott Childs
Introduction: W. Max Alderman “The book of Hebrews contains a series of contrasts between the good things of Old Testament Judaism (which hinged on the law) and the better things of New Testament Christianity (which focuses on God’s grace and Christ’s willing and acceptable sacrifice). The law could never take away the sins of man; it could only put off the wrath of God for a period of time. Christ though, being a much better way, provided for the complete absolving of sin by His work at Calvary. He not only provided for us a way for salvation at Calvary; He also defeated the Devil.”
I believe Paul wrote the book. The Stephanus Greek text credits Paul as the writer of Hebrews. Paul’s style in Hebrews may be unique because of the content and the persecution. He wrote Hebrews after the ascension of Jesus to heaven (about A.D. 30), and before the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. The recipients were Jews tempted to return to Judaism. While some of the readers were professing believers (though unsaved), others were true believers. He calls them “brethren” (Heb 3:1), and “beloved” (Heb 6:9). Some of them were immature spiritually (Heb 5:11-14). They were well known to Paul (Heb 13:19, 23). A key word in the book is “better”, as Paul proves to us that Christ was better than all that came before Him.
Transition: As Paul begins this book, he introduces us to three facts that we need to know and believe.
The first fact we need to know and believe is …
1. God is the Author of the Bible
a. God is the ultimate sovereign
1) He is the only uncaused cause that exists.
2) Being eternal, God has always existed and always will.
3) He is the all-wise designer and creator of all that exists. The incredible amazing details in nature all point to an intelligent designer not to evolutionary accidents. (Romans 1:20) “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:”
b. God inspired the Bible
1) (2 Timothy 3:16) “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:”
2) (2 Peter 1:21) “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”
3) God, with His finger, wrote His commandments on the tables of stone. (Exodus 31:18) “And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.” The remainder of His Word, God had men write down what He dictated.
The second fact we need to know and believe is …
2. God Spoke by Prophets
a. This was not a one-time event
1) God spoke at sundry times. The idea here is that the Old Testament Scriptures contain many parts.
a) The O.T. consists of 39 books, Genesis-Malachi.
b) These contain about 4,000 years of history.
2) God spoke in divers manners. God used various ways to reveal and record His Word.
a) He chose to reveal His truth sometimes audibly, but often through dreams, visions or angels. “God previously spoke to Moses in the burning bush (Exodus 3), to Elijah in a still, small voice (I Kings 19), to Isaiah in a heavenly vision (Isaiah 6), to Hosea in his family crisis (Hosea 1:2).” Alderman
b) God recorded His truth in the form of law, history, psalms, proverbs, prophecy, types and parables.
b. God used many prophets
1) In time past, God used at least 23 men to record His Word in the Old Testament.
2) God calls them prophets. A prophet is one “who speaks out the counsel of God with the clearness, energy, and authority which spring from the consciousness of speaking in God’s name and having received a direct message from Him to deliver.” Trench
3) God spoke → prophets wrote → fathers read
4) The writings of the Old Testament are God’s recorded words spoken through prophets, but when Jesus, God the Son, became a man, God did something even better.
The third fact we need to know and believe is …
3. Jesus is Better than the Prophets (v.2-4)
a. God came to earth as the Man Jesus (v.2)
1) The phrase, in these last days, refers to the age in which we now live. It is the N.T. age.
2) Jesus is God the Son, the second Person of the Trinity (Jn 1:1). He became the living Word of God. He was more than a prophet. He spoke as God to men.
b. Jesus is superior to all the prophets
1) God the Father appointed or placed Jesus as heir of all things (v.2). As God the Son, he is heir of all things that exist.
2) Jesus, God the Son, create the worlds (v.2). He created all that exists. God did not first create Jesus and then have Jesus create all things as the Jehovah’s false Witnesses claim. Being two Persons of the same Being, both Jesus and the Father take credit for creation.
a) (Genesis 1:1) “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”
b) (Psalms 33:6) “By the word of the LORD Jehovah were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.”
c) (John 1:3) “All things were made by him [Christ]; and without him was not any thing made that was made.”
d) (Colossians 1:16) “For by him [Christ] were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:”
3) Jesus exists in the brightness of God’s glory (v.3). He radiates the glory or splendour of the Father. Like the Father, Jesus is Light (Jn12:46). Every aspect of His being and character radiates with purity, holiness, and divinity.
4) Jesus is the express image of God’s person (v.3). The word image describes a stamp or precise reproduction in every respect. Jesus is identical to the Father in eternality, character, knowledge and power, yet a different Person of the same Being (Col 1:15).
5) Jesus upholds or carries all things by the word of His power (v.3). He carries the weight of sustaining, feeding, preserving, governing, throwing down, raising up, comforting, and punishing all that He created. (Colossians 1:17) “And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.”
6) Jesus purged our sins on the cross (v.3). He purified our sins by His sacrificial death. (2 Corinthians 5:21) “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” My friend, if you do not let Jesus purge your sins, you will eternally pay for them yourself in hell.
7) Jesus overcame death, then ascended back to heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Majesty on high (v.3). He is the King of Kings. (Ephesians 1:20) “Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,”
O Truly, Jesus is FAR better than any prophet!
Conclusion: Review points. Today God wants us to believe these facts. These facts cannot be said of any human prophet, not Mohammad, not Joseph Smith or any other. No prophet is God the Son, Creator of all things, sharing God’s glory, existing in God’s exact image, and carrying the needs of the universe Himself. No prophet can purge your sins, raise from the dead, ascend to heaven and sit on God’s throne. Only Jesus can do all this. We have an awesome Saviour!
These facts are important for our doctrine but also for our salvation. The Bible is true. Jesus is God and He is the only way, truth and life that leads to heaven. If you have not yet trusted Christ, I urge you to do so today.
Song: Praise Him! Praise Him! 442