Superior Word

God’s superior “word” has been “spoken” in His Son. All previous “words” were partial, preparatory, and incomplete. 

Jesus - Photo by Bruno Martins on Unsplash
The letter to the
Hebrews exhorts believers not to abandon Jesus Christ when difficult times come, and it does so by emphasizing the superiority of what God has provided in him by comparing the old Levitical system and its imperfect provisions with the new covenant inaugurated by His Son - [Photo by Bruno Martins on Unsplash].

The letter will demonstrate the superiority of Christ’s word, ministry, priesthood, and sacrifice over the services, priesthood, and animal sacrifices of the obsolete old covenant. It does not denigrate the old revelations, but it stresses how much the new has surpassed them all.
  • (Hebrews 1:1-3) – “In many parts and in many ways of old, God spoke to the fathers in the prophets; at the end of these days, He spoke to us in a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom also he made the ages; Who, being an eradiated brightness of his glory, and an exact representation of his very being, also bearing up all things by the word of his power, purification of sins having achieved, sat down on the right hand of the majesty in high places.”
The letter is addressed to a Christian congregation experiencing pressure from outsiders. Consequently, some members are contemplating a return to the local synagogue to avoid persecution but doing so will necessitate conforming to the rituals described in the book of Leviticus. And it will also mean the betrayal of the Son of God and apostasy - (Hebrews 2:1-3, 2:15, 6:1-12, 10:25-39).

THESE LAST DAYS

The letter begins by declaring that at the start of “these last days,” the superior “Word of God” was spoken in His “Son” at the start of “these last days.” Thus, it marks the end of one era and the commencement of another.

The Greek sentence begins with two adverbs - polumerōs (Strong's #G4181) and polutropōs (Strong's #G4187– both compounded with the adjective polus or “much, many.”

Polumerōs is formed with meros or “part,” and polutropōs with tropos or “manner.” The terms stress different aspects of the past revelations made “in the prophets.” These previous “words” were partial (“in many parts”) and given in different “ways.” And presumably, the latter category included prophecies, visions, dreams, and other forms of inspired communication.

God did speak before but only partially so. Three contrasts are presented that demonstrate this fact:
  • First, God spoke “of old” but now He speaks “upon these last days.” Second, He spoke to “the fathers, but now “to us,” that is the church. And third, He spoke “in the prophets” but now “in a Son.”
The previous revelations were promissory, preparatory, and incomplete. They did not reveal all that God intended to do; therefore, a more complete disclosure was necessary.

As the letter will argue, the old system was incapable of achieving the “purification of sins” so desperately needed by the people of God. And while the past “word” was correct, though incomplete, the final “word” has been expressed through one who is a “son” and not one of the prophets.

The term, “these last days,” provides the time element for the “word spoken” in the Son and the era inaugurated by it, which began with his death, resurrection, and exaltation to sit” in God’s very presence - (Acts 2:17, Galatians 4:4, Ephesians 1:10).

SON AND HEIR

In the Greek sentence, there is no definite article or “the” before the word “son.” The omission stresses the class or status of the one who is called “son,” not his identity. The “word” that God now speaks is by means of one who is a son, in contrast to prophets, priests, and angels.

A son is in the closest relationship to his father, and that familial closeness emphasizes his elevated status. As the “Son,” he is superior even to Moses and angels. Consequently, the “word” spoken in him is vastly superior to all others, period. His word is not just one among many inspired words, but one with absolute and final authority.

The “Son” in whom God speaks is the one whom He appointed “heir of all things.” This is a verbal allusion to the second Psalm, and a key passage used repeatedly throughout Hebrews.

Yahweh promised to give His Son and Messiah the “nations as an inheritance,” but the letter expands that original promise so that now he is the “heir of all things”:
  • (Psalm 2:7-8) – “I will tell of the decree: Yahweh said to me, You are my son; This day have I begotten you. Ask of me, and I will give the nations for your inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for your possession.
The “Son” is the eradiated brightness of the glory and the exact impress of God’s essence. Not only does he hold an elevated position, but he reflects the very glory of the Most-High. This is not metaphysical speculation about the nature of Christ. Instead, it points to the surpassing greatness of the position he now holds.

FINAL AND SUPREME

Thus, the “sonly word” is superior to all past revelations and takes precedence over them. This is especially so in two distinct ways.

First, it is the last word in a long series of prophetic revelations. Second, Jesus himself is the consummation and fulfillment of all those previous and incomplete “words,” the perfecter of our faith.”

Only in His Son is the final revelation of Yahweh found, and not in the regulations of the Torah, the old priesthood, or animal sacrifices. The Son came to fulfill what those things foreshadowed. Thus, what preceded the “word spoken in a Son” was preparatory, promissory, and never intended to be final.



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