Today’s readings.. (Esther 5,6), (Amos 9), (Hebrews 1,2)
Today we began reading the letter the Hebrews. Many of its verses are full of meaning! It is important to grasp the flow of reasoning – and not to take one phrase or sentence out of its context. The writer was most probably Paul; but since it is written primarily for the Jews – and he had fallen out of favour with many of them because he worked among the Gentiles and was converting so many, but had not (as they thought he should) taught them to keep the Jewish laws and practices, Paul was unpopular. This may explain why this epistle (more suitable to call it a book) was circulated without the author being named.
He starts by telling them “God spoke to the fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things” [1 v.2] and “after making purification for sins (i.e. dying for our sins) he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs” [v.3,4]
It was Centuries later that theologians in the by then ‘Roman’ church came up with the concept referred to as ‘the mystery of the Trinity’ – and the man-made creeds which then resulted confuse human understanding. The creeds seem to have influenced translators a little in their rendering of Greek prepositions, en, dia, etc, But read the total context and we will grasp the obvious flow of Paul’s reasoning.
Verse 8 is interesting, it is the only verse in the Bible in which Jesus is called ‘God.’ (apart from when the astonished and doubting Thomas said, “My Lord and My God”) Verse 8 and 9 quote Psalm 45 verses 6 & 7 which prophesy about Jesus that “Your throne O God is forever and ever … you have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God. has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.” Jesus represented God, he said, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father” [John 14 v.9], but he wasn’t the Father. In the same way in Old Testament times angels represented God on special occasions.
Do true believers represent Christ? Well Jesus told Paul on the road to Damascus, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” [Acts 9 v.4]. Jesus has “ransomed people for God … and you have made them a kingdom … and they shall reign on earth.” [Rev. 5 v.9,10] and will surely represent Christ in a special way at that time. The 2nd chapter in Hebrews presents us with a heart-searching challenge and question, “… we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it … how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?” [v,1,3]