12/25/11 Hebrews 1:1-9
Leader: Pastor Biebert
Meeting Time: 8:00 AM & 10:15 AM
THE MIRACLE OF THE MESSAGE
The first readers of Hebrews were converts from the Jewish faith to Christianity. Since then they’d face discrimination and harassment. It could get worse. This Hebrew-Christian group was wondering about what it had given up – and what they had gained. Their old life seemed so stable and safe. It was tempting to go back to the protected Jewish faith.
What was the function of the Old Testament prophets (1:1)?
When the Jewish people before Jesus needed guidance, God sent them a prophet. People knew they could trust what that prophet said because God used miracles to officially endorse him.
In what ways was Jesus’ function similar? How was it different (1:2-3)?
What are the “last days” (1:2)?
All that we can see of God shines through Jesus. The eternal God completely corresponds to this Human. If we look at Jesus, we see exactly what God is like.
4. How does Jesus compare with God in terms of activity, authority, and relationship (1:1-3)?
There’s a connection between prophets and angels. Both are messengers God uses. It seems the Holy Spirit wanted to address people with a fascination about angels bordering on adulation. People often see angels as more approachable than God. It’s tempting to worship them because of all the power God gives them (Colossians 2:18). These quotes in the next few verses are from the first Bible translation. When Hebrews quotes the Old Testament, the wording is different. By this time, most Jews used a Greek Bible translation, called the Septuagint. Hebrews takes its more than 100 Old Testament Bible quotes from the Septuagint. One reason we don’t believe Paul wrote Hebrews is that he normally quotes more from the Hebrew text than from the Septuagint.
5. What do verse 5’s quotes tell us about the Old Testament’s understanding of the trinity?
Jesus stands beside God the Father as His Son, not below Him as a being God created. The term “firstborn” (verse 6) in the Bible does not always mean “born first.” God made Solomon the firstborn (Psalm 89:27) even though Solomon is listed tenth in the official genealogy (1 Chronicles 3:1–5).
6. In what sense is Jesus God’s “firstborn” (1:6)?
The Bible speaks a lot about angels. There are 108 direct references to angels in the Old Testament and 165 in the New. The Greek word angelos means “messenger.” The Bible taught that angels passed along God’s original written rules for living at Mt. Sinai (Acts 7:53; Galatians 3:19). 1:14 tells us that angels don’t have bodies of their own. God can let people see an angel by giving it temporary shape. Many Jews believed angels acted as God’s senate or advisory staff, that He did nothing without consulting them—that, for example, the “Us” in “Let Us make man in Our image” (Gen. 1:26) refers to this angelic committee. Jews even had names for this select angelic cartel – Raphael, Yuriel, Phanuel, Gabriel, and Michael.
Can you think of a time God gave angels fire- or wind-bodies (1:7; 2 Kings 2:11; 6:17)?
No one in the Bible ever calls an angel God. No holy angel ever let a human being or another angel treat him like God. The Bible does call Jesus God. Jesus makes this claim of Himself. The angels unanimously treat Him as their Creator and Ruler. The word “companions or sharers” (1:9) is also in 3:1, 14. There it means other Christians (it is comes up again in 12:8).
What does 1:8-9 call Jesus? Who are these “companions” of Jesus it talks about?
Jesus brings God’s final Word on things. He doesn’t contradict or revoke the prophets’ message. He made what the prophets said and wrote come true. Jesus not only paid the ultimate price to bring us in line with God’s demands. He came to tell us about God’s successful plan to rescue us.
1. What are some of the ways God has spoken in the past? Why is it good He chose “various ways”?
What difference does it make that Jesus is the “Son,” rather than another prophet or an angel?
How does this section connect to John 1:1-14? What’s the connection to Isaiah 52:7-10?