Monday, July 21, 2008

Hebrews 1:1-4

In anticipation for an exegesis course I hope to take this Fall, I began translating in the book of Hebrews.  I outlined the passage elsewhere and will share two insights here:

(1) In verses 1 & 2, there is a comparison of the agency of God's revelation, in times past through prophets, in times contemporaneous to the readers of Hebrews (then and now), through "the Son."  The author then attributes qualities of deity to the Son and says, "[The son has] become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they."  The rest of the chapter, as well as the rest of the book, contains arguments that Jesus Christ is better than a number of things related to the Old Covenant: Prophets & angels (cf. v1, both of whom were mediators of the Old Covenant), priests/Levitical priesthood, OT Israel (in regard to the 'rest' they never quite received from their enemies), etc..  This superior person, Jesus the Messiah, the high priest and the offering, has all authority and he is worthy of our allegiance, even in difficult times.  Dr. Alan Tomlinson (MBTS) has suggested that a central imperative of Hebrews is to hold the confession that Jesus Christ is indeed the high priest, he is the offering, and one's legitimacy as a believer is proved by faithfully enduring to the end.

(2) Hebrews 1:2-4 makes the following assertions about "the Son":
a. Agent of God's revelation
b. Appointed heir over all things
c. Agent of creation
d. Deity, having the glory and nature of God
e. Carries all by his powerful Word (cf. creation)
f. Sat down and the right hand of the Majesty on high (i.e., authority and completion of earth-mission).
g. Made purification for sins (before 'sitting down')
h. Became 'much better' than angels and inherited a 'greater name' (probably refers to his ascension/exaltation: cf. 2:5-10 - Christ became lower than the angels at his incarnation in the sense that he took on the nature of a man, man who was made 'a little lower than the angels', thus at his ascension he "became as much better").

I would appreciate some discussion, especially on the parenthetical comments of letter 'h'.  

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