Heb 1:1-3 In what way is the revelation that we have as Christians better than the revelation that was given to the Jews prior to the time of Christ? In what five-fold way is the revelation of the Son superior to that of the prophets? See Heb 1:2-3a. What does the author mean that Jesus was appointed “heir of all things”? See Psalm 2:8, Mat 28:18. What was the response of the Jews to the superior revelation of the Son? See Mat 21:33-39. What did they hope to gain by killing the heir? See also Lk 20:13-14. Are Christians today likewise attempting to gain the world by crucifying afresh God’s Son? See Heb 6:6. What warning to Christians who were being tempted to revert back to the “safety” of the Jewish religion is found in Jesus’ parable? See Lk 20:15-16. What does Heb 1:3 teach us about the nature of Jesus and His relationship to the Father? About His past and present ministry? Cf. Heb 7:25, 8:1, 10:12, 12:2. What implication does the present ministry of Christ have for those who would forsake Him?
Note: Gnosticism was a widespread belief held in various forms by a host of cultic groups in the second century. It arose from the seeds of Greek philosophy and was watered with elements of the Jewish and Christian religions. The common belief of Gnosticism was that God is good, matter is evil and salvation is through gnosis, meaning a secret knowledge dispensed by a given sect. Important to our understanding of this letter was the reasoning that if Christ was truly a man in the flesh He must have descended from God through a devolving line of angelic beings (that would later be called Aeons) and so was in fact inferior to the angels. While these ideas didn’t come to full bloom until the second century, they were already present in the first century influencing people’s understanding of both the Jewish religion and the gospel.
Heb 1:4-6 What is the first reason the author says Christ is better than the angels? See Heb 1:4. What does it mean for one person to have a more excellent name than another person? Does the author refer to one’s given (first) name, or the family name? What is it about a person’s name that bestows honor? What is the name more excellent than that of the angels that Jesus has inherited? See Heb 1:5. Give examples of people who are honored by virtue of their family name. What response is elicited from the angels because of the more excellent name of Jesus? See Heb 1:6. How does this also argue that Christ is better than the angels? Is the lesser worshiped by the greater, or vice versa?
Heb 1:7-14 For what third reason does the author argue that Christ is superior to the angels? I.e., what contrast does the author draw between the angels in Heb 1:7 and the Son in Heb 1:8-12? How does the author’s use of the LXX version of Ps 104:4 differ from the way the Hebrew is translated in our Bibles there? Read Ps 45 from which Heb 1:8-9 is quoted; what other Messianic themes are found there? With what fourth reason does the author consummate his argument that Christ is better than the angels? See Heb 1:13. What is the significance of this quotation from Ps 110:1? Cf. Heb 1:3, 10:12-13, Mat 22:42-45, Acts 2:34-36. Read Ps 110, and note the Messianic themes there which the author of Hebrews will continue to elaborate upon. What do Heb 1:5-13 teach us about the author’s view of Scripture? Do we hold the same high and authoritative view? Is such reflected in our daily personal study? In contrast to the role of the eternal Son as both righteous King and holy Priest, what is the role of the angels? See Heb 1:14; cf. Gen 19:15-16, Ps 91:11-12, 103:20, Dan 3:28, Mat 1:20, 2:13, 13:41,49-50, 18:10, 24:31, Lk 1:19, 16:22, Acts 5:19, 10:3-4, 12:5-10,21-23, 27:23-24. Considering the profound ministry of the angels for the sake of those who will inherit salvation and the fact that in comparison to the Son they are but a wisp of wind or flame of fire, what are we to understand about the benefits of Christ’s ministry on behalf of His saints?
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- What is the relationship between Jesus’ sacrifice and our redemption, forgiveness and receiving an inheritance per the terms of the covenant / will that was effected by His death?
- From what, and to what, are we saved? Is it Jesus’ death alone that saves us? What part does His resurrection have in our salvation?
- Does the justice of God demand the satisfaction of blood before He will forgive, similar to what pagans throughout history have believed?
- What was the purpose of the Old Testament sacrifices?
- Does blood alone atone for sin?
- How does Christ’s death render powerless the devil?
- To whom was Christ’s life given as a ransom? From what are we ransomed?
- Why did Jesus not only die, but suffer and die? If all that was necessary was His shed blood, why didn’t God sovereignly ordain a more merciful death for His own dear Son?
- What is the relationship between a will or testament, and a covenant? What was willed to Jesus as an inheritance from His Father, and what was willed to us through the new testament in His blood?