All the revelation from God, both written and real, is about bringing all those who have faith in Him into eternal dwelling with Him. This eternal plan of redemption is focused on what God planned to do before the creation in order to introduce into this world the incarnation of Himself for the purpose of taking all believers out of this world.
Deliverance from this world is good news to all of us who all our lives have realized that this life cannot be all there is. God knew that reasonable people would come to this conclusion. So from the very beginning when mankind was created through Adam and Eve, sincere people realized that it is not possible to live without sin against God. With the creation of mankind, therefore, there was need for a divine plan of forgiveness for sin that would eventually be introduced into this world. So the promise of a Seed of deliverance was made (Gn 3:15). In view of the Seed to come, those who put their faith in God waited for the mystery that God would eventually reveal (Gn 3:15).
The promise of the Seed of woman continued throughout history from the time when Adam and Eve were driven from the Garden of Eden until the last century B.C. The fulfillment of the seedline promise was eventually announced with a cry from a babe in a manger in Bethlehem. The good news (gospel) of the incarnate Son of God was finally activated, for the time had been fulfilled (See Lk 2:8-20). Anno domini (A.D.) became a paradigm shift in history.
“When the fullness of time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under law, in order to redeem those who were under law, so that we might receive the adoption as sons” (Gl 4:4,5).
A. Gospel revelation through the Son (1:1-4):
From the beginning of time, and until the revelation of the Word into the flesh of a babe in Bethlehem, God worked for millennia to prepare the world for the arrival of the One who would redeem souls out of the world. In preparation for the arrival of the incarnate Seed, God, through chosen prophets, laid the foundation of faith for the incarnational birth. He did so through dreams, visions, historical events, and the preaching of the message of His Seed through His chosen people Israel.
When Israel was near unto completing her purpose for existence as a nation, God’s final message to the world was through the incarnate Son of God. So “in the beginning [of the world], was the Word [God the Son], and the Word was with God, and the Word was God [divine/deity]” (Jn 1:1). “All things were made by Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made” (Jn 1:3).
“He [the Father] has appointed [His Son] heir of all things.” The reason the Son of God was the heir of all things was logically based on the fact that all things were created by Him (Cl 1:16). And thus, it was only right that all authority over all things eventually be given to the Son. It was also logical that He would be given the right to reign over all things (Mt 28:18; Ep 1:21-23; Ph 2:9-11). Since the Son was the origin of all things, then it was only reasonable to conclude that all things should be brought under His control when He ascended on high.
Through the incarnation of the Word (Jn 1:14), the brilliant identity (glory) of God was revealed to mankind (2 Co 4:4). The Son was “the exact image of His nature,” in that Jesus reflected the spiritual nature of the Father. Since God is love (1 Jn 4:8), then it was necessary that the love of God through the sacrificial offering of the incarnate God be revealed to man in the form of man. To accomplish this objective, the Son of God, “being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God” (Ph 2:6). Therefore, “He made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant and being made in the likeness of men” (Ph 2:7). Subsequently, “the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us” (Jn 1:14).
The revelation of the incarnate Word was the “exact image of His [God’s] nature” of love, for God so loved His creation that He was willing to come in the flesh of man in order to bring a resurrected people of faith into His company forever (Jn 3:16).
From the beginning, God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit have upheld “all things by the word of His power.” As the Creator, the Son did not create that which would be out of control, or digress into chaos. We must never conclude, therefore, that a chaotic world was created, nor that this world was left to itself to imploded into nonexistence. The world will not be destroyed by any natural catastrophe, or cosmic collision of the heavenly bodies. It will be terminated only when the eternal God determines that it has fulfilled its purpose for its existence (See 2 Pt 3:10-13). Once this world ceases to produce citizens for heaven, then we assume that it will be terminated, for it will have at the time of termination concluded the purpose for which it was created.
The guarantee of our hope is the good news that the resurrected and ascended Word is King of the universe, and thus, all termination of this world is under His control. The present function of His kingdom reign is over all creation. We must view the reign of King Jesus to be far beyond the church of His obedient subjects. If we do not, then these statements of the Hebrew writer make no sense. These statements are not about church (us), but about the totalitarian control of the Son of God over all things. The fact that the universe is not out of control is evidence that His reign is over all that which must be controlled.
When the King has finished the purpose for the creation of both His spiritual and physical kingdom realm, it is then, and only then, that the King will terminate the existing habitat of His reign. It will be then that the prophecy of Paul will become the new reality:
“And when all things are subjected to Him, then will the Son also Himself be subject to Him who put all things under Him, so that God may be all in all” (1 Co 15:28).
But before this finality of world events, the King must accomplish a gospel mission in order to populate His new habitat to come. The gospel mission of the Son was not only to purify us of sin, but also to sit “down at the right hand of the Majesty on high” in order to reign over His present habitat. It was on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2 when the first announcement was made of this galactic gospel reign of King Jesus. And when the multitudes who were present on that memorial day heard this, “they were cut to the heart” (At 2:37). It was the gospel of the kingdom reign of the resurrected Jesus that motivated the people to plead for instructions as to how they should submit to the reigning King Jesus. The answer to their pleas was simple: “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ” (At 2:38).
The incarnate Word, the Son of God, was the gospel revelation of God’s love for us. It was in His eternal redemptive plan that He became an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Once this mission was accomplished, He was resurrected, and subsequently ascended to the heavenly throne room with authority over all things. “He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high” in order to function as our King and high priest.
Because of who the incarnate Word is, and what He did for the redemption of those for whom He offered Himself on the cross, He is now “so much better than the angels.” And because of who, what and where He now is, “He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.”
There are those today who view Jesus as simply a good teacher of the Jews. There are those who have exalted Him only to the status of “prophet.” In the historical context of the audience to whom these words were addressed, it seems that some had moved Jesus into being just another angel of God.
But unless we move beyond Jesus as just a man, and beyond the misconception of Him being just another angel, we will never come to a full realization of who He now is as King of kings over all things (1 Tm 6:15). If our understanding of Jesus can never get beyond His presence with His disciples on the roads of Palestine, we will always have a limited understanding of the power of the gospel. We will know Him only according to the flesh (2 Co 5:16). Now that He as ascended to the right hand of God, if we continue to limit His present kingdom reign we will suck all the power out of the effect of His gospel reign on our hearts.
And herein is the theme the Hebrew writer seeks to promote throughout the remainder of his defense of the gospel. It was the reigning King Jesus who cut people to the heart on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2. It is that same power of His present kingdom reign that will cut people to the heart today. This is the continuing power of the gospel in the lives of those who have obeyed the gospel.
Angels announced the arrival of the One who would be the Savior of the World (Lk 2:8-12). But the atoning sacrifice and eternal priesthood of the incarnate and ascended Son of God goes far belonged Jesus in the flesh. Angels were not offered for the sins of the world. Neither has any angel ascended on high. This work and reign belong only to the Christ whom we no longer know according to the flesh.
We may conceive in our own minds the wandering Rabbi Jesus among the Jews two thousands years ago who taught in the synagogues. We may even exalt Him, as the Samaritan women, to being a prophet (Jn 4:19). And then we may elevate Him to being the Messiah in fulfillment of all prophecies concerning the Messiah (Lk 24:47). Jesus was all these things. However, unless we can move our concept of Jesus into being the incarnate and ascended Son of God who now upholds all things by the word of His kingdom power, His power of the gospel will have only a limited affect on our lives. The less we now consider the power that Jesus exercises as our King, the less power His gospel has on our lives.
[Next in series: February 11]