Posts Tagged ‘Old Testament’


Hebrews has the Fulness of Jesus Christ in View.

He is superior in every aspect of His earthly life. His is superior to the angels, the old covenant, the Priests, the sacrifices. He is the realization of the Old Testament. He is the hope that substantiated their faith. He is the visible demonstration of the unseen and invisible God. What made Him superior to every aspect of what had come before was His Sonship.

sonship_toga_virilus

But in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. Hebrews 1:2

  • Because of His Sonship, Christ has a better relationship with Creator God. (1 vs. 5)
  • Because of His Sonship, Christ has an eternal throne (1 vs. 8)
  • Because of His Sonship, Christ is the faithful manager of God’s House. (3 vs. 6)
  • Because of His Sonship, Christ is made our Great High Priest (5 vs. 5)
  • Because of His Sonship, Christ suffered and learned obedience (5 vs. 8)
  • Because of His Sonship, there is punishment for all those who spurn Him (10 vs. 29)

Hebrews presents the truth that we can share in His Sonship

Sonship brother of JesusIn illustrating vividly the power of the Sonship of Christ, God wants us to realize the power of our Sonship! Hebrews is a book about the Potential of our Sonship! God makes that crystal clear early in chapter 2:9-16:

But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers, saying, “I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise.” And again, “I will put my trust in him.” And again, “Behold, I and the children God has given me.” Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham.

As Sons of God by faith, we are the offspring of Abraham, whose offspring are the children of promise.

Just as Christ grew in His Sonship through obedience during suffering, so we are challenged to grow through endurance in the face of hardship and tribulation. This requires FAITH!

togavirilustoga virilis ceremonyThis is where we are in Hebrews, at chapter 11, discovering the importance of Faith for our growth as Sons of God. The Hebrews in Rome knew fully what it meant to be the declared “Son of a Praetor”. Or a Senator. The father, who had absolute authority over his family, would declare one of his sons “toga virilis” and there would be a ceremony and celebration for the father has declared a son to oversee the inheritance when he was gone. The son had passed every test and endured years of training and education. Now he was a man, the “Son” of the Praetor, or the Senator. Birth into the home did not guarantee you would achieve toga virilis status. If there were no sons worthy, or no sons at all, then one would be adopted into the family. Sonship was everything in ancient Rome!

Hebrews 11 has OUR Sonship in View.

Without Faith, there can be no “Toga Virilis” Sonship!

Vs 1: Faith is two things-Substantiating and Demonstrating. Faith empowers our Unseen Hopes and Unseen Things.

A. Faith has three essential Attributes as noted in three men of faith:

  • The Attribute of Sacrifice – Abel
  • The Attribute of Pleasing God – Enoch
  • The Attribute of Salvation – Noah
  1. Faith Substantiates His Reality in your life (HE IS)
    1. Sacrifice (Abel)
    2. Serving (Enoch)
    3. Saving (Noah)
  2. Faith Empowers (Proves) God’s Rewards
    1. Abel offers blood sacrificeAcceptance (Abel)
    2. Ascension (Enoch)
    3. Heir of Righteousness (Noah)
    4. Jesus Christ is the Center of our Faith
  3. The Sonship of Christ is the Focus of our Faith
    1. Abel pictures the perfect atoning blood sacrifice that is Jesus Christ.
    2. Abel pictures the acceptance that all Sons of Faith share in Jesus Christ.

B. Faith is the only way you can please God (Be well accepted)(Heb 11:6)

To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. Ephesians 1:6

  1. Enoch pictures the Risen Christ, who pleased God (This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased)
  2. Noah pictures the Righteousness that is Christ and the Salvation we have in Him alone.

The Result of our Faith

Not necessarily to heal or make you rich or a mighty preacher of God. The ultimate result of your Faith is to bring you into Full Sonship of God! As Christ is formed in your life by faith, you attain Sonship.

But as many as received him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: John 1:12

sonship11For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. Romans 8:14-17

And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. Romans 8:23

For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. Romans 8:29

As indeed he says in Hosea, “Those who were not my people I will call ‘my people,’ and her who was not beloved I will call ‘beloved.’ ” “And in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ there they will be called ‘sons of the living God.’ ” Romans 9:25-26 (Quoted Hosea 2:23)

The Importance of Faith in our Growth as Sons of God

Why is faith so important in our attaining Sonship? Look at these examples of faith and see that they typify the very author of faith-Jesus Christ! Faith is Jesus Christ. Our Sonship is through Jesus Christ. There is no sonship without faith, because faith and Jesus are synonymous!

By faith Isaac invoked future blessings on Jacob and Esau.

  • ‘In Isaac your seed shall be called'” (Hebrews 11:18) Isaac is a type of Christ. He is the Son of Promise. We receive our sonship by trusting in the Promised Savior.
  • Isaac was taken to be sacrificed, yet at the last moment God stopped Abraham and said, there is a sacrifice, for I am Jehovah Jireh, God will provide. Jesus is our sacrifice.
  • Isaac blessed his two sons. We are blessed in Jesus Christ, by faith.
  • By Faith you can bless your children and grandchildren.

Jacob at PenuelBy faith Jacob, when dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, bowing in worship over the head of his staff.

  • Jacob was the son chosen to receive the birthright, for his brother was a fleshly man (Jesus the second Adam)
  • Jacob wrestled with the angel of God, and his name was changed to Israel, for he had power with God and man.
  • Jacob-leaned on his staff Heb 11_21Jacob here is blessing the sons of Joseph, worshipping God, and leaning upon his staff. He is a picture of the Savior, broken through the discipline of the Cross, and through his suffering, bringing blessing to sons.
  • Jacob is a reminder that our sufferings and trials will bring blessing as long as they lead us to lean upon our Savior.

By faith Joseph, at the end of his life, made mention of the exodus of the Israelites and gave directions concerning his bones.

Then Joseph made the sons of Israel swear, saying, “God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here.” Genesis 50:25

  • Joseph is a type of Christ. There is no mention of any failing in his life. He was sacrificed by his brothers, which later led to their salvation.
  • The Passover Lamb was not to have any bones broken.
  • Jesus had no bones broken, because He is our Passover Lamb.
  • So when Joseph gave instructions about his bones, it is a reminder that God gave directions regarding the bones of His Son.

And Ephesians says: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. Ephesians 5:30

  • Our strength of faith is in His bones!

Mom saves Baby MosesBy faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw that the child was beautiful, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.

  • There is no greater beauty to God than His Son Jesus Christ
  • Mary & Joseph took Jesus into Egypt because of the edict of King Herod.
  • God protected His son from the onslaught of Satan.
  • By faith we trust God to protect our children.

By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin.

  • Jesus denied the temptations of Christ, choosing rather to follow the will of His Father, rather than his own will.

Moses My IdolHe considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward.

  • Jesus set His face as a flint to the Cross, enduring the pain and shame, looking to the joy before Him

By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible.

  • Jesus endured the Cross, never fearing the anger of the crowd, for His face was set upon the joy of His Father

By faith he kept the Passover and sprinkled the blood, so that the Destroyer of the firstborn might not touch them.

  • Jesus became the Passover Lamb, sprinkling His Holy blood upon the wrath of God upon man, destroying the destroyer, death and sin.

By faith the people crossed the Red Sea as on dry land, but the Egyptians, when they attempted to do the same, were drowned.

  • Jesus walked on water as on dry ground, and promises His power in the storms of life, but all those who embrace the world will be overcome and judged.

By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days.

  • Jesus entered the walls of Jerusalem with the shouts of Hosanna ringing throughout the city. Seven days later He tore down the veil that separated Holy God from sinful man.

Meet Rahab the ProstituteBy faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies.

  • Rahab hung a scarlet cord outside her window. By that cord she was saved. Jesus hung on the bloody cross, securing forgiveness for the vilest sinner. He underscored that when he lovingly dealt with the woman taken in adultery.
  • Jesus is a friend of sinners. His great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandmother was a converted prostitute. 

And what more shall I say?

GIDEON-faith to blow the trumpetFor time would fail me to tell of Gideon,

  • Gideon brought a solitary action against the adversary
  • He built an altar, and himself offered sacrifice, as though he were a priest.
  • The altar was named Jehovah-Shalom — the Lord of Peace.
  • His own people cried out against his worthy action.
  • A sign, a prophecy, of dew — first on the fleece, the ground being dry — and then on the ground, the fleece being dry: thus is foreshadowed the work of the Holy Spirit, first in Israel and later more fully among the Gentiles.
  • Those who were gathered unto him, by the sound of the trumpet, were reduced to a faithful remnant, being separated to him by water, and the expression of their abhorrence of all false worship. Those who lapped like dogs foreshadowed Gentiles, faithful to their leader.
  • The destruction of the Midianite host prefigures the greater destruction of the Last Day oppressor, in the same plain of Jezreel.
  • A victory without weapons for the Lord’s people who “look on me and do likewise”.
  • These enemies meet their end at the very place which means an entering into inheritance for the people of God (Jdg 8:17,18).
  • Gideon’s words: “The Lord shall rule over you” — it is the Kingdom!
  • Seventy sons correspond in number with the nations of the world. (Gen 10 lists 70 names.)

barak_debBarak,

  • Barak the judge displays a timid and cowardly spirit,
  • Jesus is meek and lowly of spirit.
  • Barak would not battle without Deborah.
  • Jesus could do noting apart from His Father, and battled Satan in the power of the Holy Spirit.
  • The message of the Cross is that the weak and lowly triumph over the strong and arrogant devil.
  • His name means “lightning flash[1].”
    • For as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day. Luke 17:24
    • From the throne came flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder, and before the throne were burning seven torches of fire, which are the seven spirits of God, Revelation 4:5

Samson destroys templeSamson,

Everything about Samson and Jesus Christ is connected with three things: a promise, a sacrifice, and a name.

A PROMISE

  • Samson was born, lived and died according to the merciful promise and purpose of God to save his people (Jud. 13:5).
    Judges 13:5  “For, lo, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and no razor shall come on his head: for the child shall be a Nazarite unto God from the womb: and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.”

A NAME

  • Everything about this man was related to and for the glory of the name by which the Angel of the LORD revealed himself to Manoah and his wife (Jud. 13:18).
    Judges 13:18  “And the angel of the LORD said to him, “Why do you ask my name, seeing it is wonderful?”
  • Jesus is Wonderful (Isaiah 9:6)
    • It is his name which is the name of salvation (Acts 4:12).
    • It is in his name that we are accepted of God and forgiven (Eph. 4:32; Rom. 12:1-3; 1 Pet. 2:5).

A SACRIFICE

  • Everything Samson was and did for Israel was connected with, arose from, and pointed to a sacrifice (Jud. 13:19-21).
  • Judges 13:19-21  “So Manoah took a kid with a meat offering, and offered it upon a rock unto the LORD: and the angel did wondrously; and Manoah and his wife looked on. 20 For it came to pass, when the flame went up toward heaven from off the altar, that the angel of the LORD ascended in the flame of the altar. And Manoah and his wife looked on it, and fell on their faces to the ground. 21 But the angel of the LORD did no more appear to Manoah and to his wife. Then Manoah knew that he was an angel of the LORD.”

His Love Choices

  • He loved harlots
  • Jesus loved publicans and harlots, the sick and needy

Jephthah,

  • Name means “He will open” (Jesus is the Way)
  • Mighty man of valor (Jesus is our Victory)
  • Born of a harlot (Jesus was born of one accused of adultery)
  • Rejected by the leadership because of his birth (Jesus was rejected becasue he was from Nazareth)

of David and Samuel and the prophets— who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received back their dead by resurrection.

What does a life of Faith do for You?

1.  Spiritual Fullness in Christ.

Christ is the very definition of faith. Faith is built upon the qualities and characteristics of Jesus Christ. Take Jesus away and there is no faith.

walking-after-the-spirit-the-life-of-sonship2.  Sonship with Jesus Christ.

By Faith, TODAY, you can:

  • Conquer the world
  • Grow Justice
  • Live in Promises
  • Stop the accusations of Satan
  • Quench his fiery arrows
  • Win in battle by the Sword of the Word
  • Become strong in your weakness
  • Become mighty sons of God
  • Put the enemy to flight

Sonship comes on the shoulders of those who have suffered for Christ

Christian Martyrs in Neros GardenSome were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, and they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated— of whom the world was not worthy— wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.

No matter what you may endure, Jesus Christ is always with you in your sufferings. His faith will sustain you in your weakness. His faith will empower you to reach the finish line.

And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect. Hebrews 11:20-40

Martyrs_Last_Prayer (2)We are Sons of God, and those who have suffered before us share with us in our Savior, our brother, Jesus Christ.

What Does This Mean to You

  • You are not alone if you are living in Christ by Faith
  • His promises are sure, no matter the struggles you face.
  • This life is but preparation for Life with Him
  • As His Son or Daughter, “Be strong in the Lord and in the Power of His Mighty!” Your faith is in Him and His promises.
  • You are important for your faith joins you with faithful martyrs of the past.

We share faith with those who never received the Promise

nero murdered christian martyrs“In the year 64 A.D. during the reign of Nero, fire broke out in Rome. For six days and nights the fire burned. The greater part of the city was laid in ashes. The rumor got around that Nero himself had caused the city to be set on fire. This aroused great hatred in the people of Rome against the emperor. To turn this hatred away from himself, Nero accused the Christians of having set fire to Rome. The accusation certainly was not true, but large numbers of Christians were arrested and a terrible persecution followed. Many Christians were even crucified. Some were sewn up in the skins of wild beasts; then big dogs were let loose upon them, and they were torn to pieces. Women were tied to mad bulls and dragged to death. After nightfall Christians were burned at the stake in Nero’s garden (human lamp stands!). The Roman people who hated the Christians were free to come into the garden, and Nero drove around in his chariot wickedly enjoying the horrible scene” (The Church in History, by B.K. Kuiper, p.8).


[1] Warren Baker and Eugene Carpenter, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – Old Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2003), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: ” ‏בָּרָק‎”.

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5. Jesus Christ is Lord of all – especially Angels

  • Simply because Jesus is positioned above all does not guarantee He will be worshiped as Lord over all.
  • The Holy Spirit wants us to wrap our hearts around the Lordship of Jesus Christ, the view of Him upon the Throne!
  • The Holy Spirit wants Christ enthroned within our life, so that our living is centered upon His Majesty!

Why does the Holy Spirit consider this truth so important?

The teaching of Hebrews one should be obvious to everyone, right? But people through the ages tend to worship something or someone rather that Jesus Christ. Either they feel He is out of reach, that they must use an intermediary (as the Catholics & Orthodox Church with their ‘saints and icons’), or that He is just a “super angel” (as the Mormons and Muslims believe).

A. Consider the Jewish View of Angels

Galatians 3:19 Why the Law then? It was added because of transgressions, having been ordained through angels by the agency of a mediator, until the seed would come to whom the promise had been made.

Now the old covenant was brought to man and maintained by angelic mediation. The angels ministered between God and men to carry on the work of the old covenant. The Jews knew this and consequently believed in angels. Some of them believed in angels to such a degree that they actually worshiped angels.

B. This Developed into Heretical Worship

How do we know? By Paul’s letter to the Colossians

Colossians 2:18 Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind,

Paul’s statement in Colossians 2:18 shows that the self-appointed teachers at Colossae taught a doctrine of “false humility and the worship of angels.” But the pagan Greeks had no concept of angels. This is a tenet of Judaism and became further corrupted into the heresy of Gnosticism. Gnosticism (along with many other things), involved the worship of angels. Gnostics reduced Jesus Christ to an angel.

The tenor of the false doctrine at Colossae was that the Colossians were not complete in Christ (Colossians 2:8-9 See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily,) and needed to approach God through angelic beings. Since the angels are much inferior to the Supreme God, the Colossians would have to lower their sights, so to speak, by approaching angels first!

The basic thought seems to have been the Christian’s need to reach beyond Christ to a Supreme God through the mediation of angelic beings. These beings were of lower standing on the ascending scale to ultimate truth. Therefore the believers who sought to reach God directly or through one mediator, Christ, were presumptuous and needed a measure of self-abasement that would enable them to begin lower down on the scale. They could seek gradual completeness by invoking the mediation of lower, but more readily accessible, beings. This self-imposed humility, along with the active neglect of the body, would enhance their spirituality and their quest for completeness.

Paul’s evaluation of the Colossian heresy was that it did not amount to true humility, as they had thought, but to a type of pride and carnality — a mere “appearance of wisdom” (2:23) — that was denying the significance of Christ.

Paul corrected this heresy by stressing that all believers were members of the Body of Christ, who is the Head. Since Christ had triumphed over all “powers and authorities” (2:15), the members of Christ’s Body did not need anything beyond Christ.

So Chapter one is important to frame your view of Who Jesus Christ is, and how He relates to your faith walk!

  • Jesus is the Communicator of God’s Message to you
  • Jesus is the Creator who maintains this world through the power of His Word.
  • Jesus is the Conqueror, having purified this world.
  • Jesus is the one who is crowned as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

6. Scriptural Proof that Jesus Surpasses the Angels and is Worthy of ALL Worship

The Writer provides us five Scriptural Proofs that Jesus is better than angels. He quotes seven Old Testament verses as He weaves this truth into the New Testament,

Jesus Christ surpasses the angels in His Title, His Worship, His Nature, His Eternity, and His Destiny!

A. His TITLE (vs 4,5)

Hebrews 1:5 a more excellent name … for to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my Son, today I have begotten (gegennēka– become your Father) you?” Or again, “I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son?”

Jesus is better than angels, because He has a better name. To what angel did God ever say “you are my Son, this day have I begotten thee?”

1)    No angel was ever called “my Son”.

The idea in the words, “I have begotten thee” are “I have begotten thee to kingly dignity.” The reference is not to entrance into life, but to entrance to an office. The Messianic reference is to the Son’s resurrection (Acts 13:33), and to the declaration of the Father with reference to the character of the Son as Son of God, this declaration being substantiated by the resurrection of the Son (Rom. 1:4). But the writer reminds his readers that such statements were never made of angels.[1]

Acts 13:33 this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus, as also it is written in the second Psalm, “ ‘You are my Son, today I have begotten you.’

Romans 1:4 and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord,

2)    No Angel was ever “Begotten”

This is clarified in Hebrews 1:6 when He states:

Hebrews 1:6 And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says, “Let all God’s angels worship him.”

3)    Jesus Christ is prōtótokos[2]

This is a reference to Christ’s position not just the moment of His birth (time). It is a reference to right and authority. Jesus was the ONLY begotten Son of God. He was the only one whom God declared to be His Son, His prototokos!

Example of Jacob & Esau

There were two brothers in the Old Testament, one was named Jacob, and one was named Esau. Who was the oldest? Esau. Who was the prototokos? Jacob. Jacob was the prototokos. Esau was the oldest.

Example of Reuben

Genesis 49 tells us about the character of prototokos and what it means.

Genesis 49:3, “Reuben, thou art my first-born, my might and the beginning of my strength, the excellence of dignity, the excellence of power.”

Jesus is the strength, the excellence of dignity and power of God. Prototokos is not a time word; it is a right to rule word. It’s an authority word. And Jesus Christ is the prototokos in the sense that He has the right to rule.

Colossians 1:18, “And He is the head of the church, the body, who is the beginning, the first-born from the dead.”

John 3: 16 says that Jesus is the only begotten, but uses “monogenes” –the only one of that class (gene). Jesus is totally unique, the only gene, the only one.

John alone uses monogenés to describe the relation of Jesus to God the Father, presenting Him as the unique one, the only one (mónos) of a class or kind (génos), in the discussion of the relationship of the Son to the Father[3]

B. His Worship (vs 6)

Hebrews 1:6 And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says, “Let all God’s angels worship him.”

Because of His Position as the Only, the Unique, the First in position Son of God, Jesus is greater because of the Worship that is given to Him.

“And again when He bringeth in the prototokos into the world He saith let all the angels of God worship Him.”

Now the world here is not the common word for world, it’s the word for inhabited earth. Now in the mind of God Jesus was the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world. But as far as the Angels were concerned, the Begotten Jesus was a new thing. They did not quite understand. They had to be told to worship Jesus.

The word for world does not refer to ‘kosmos’ or creation.  It is the Greek ‘oikoumenēn’ which means the inhabited earth. Jesus was not declared the first begotten until the earth was already inhabited.

When the Angels sang at His birth, they were not worshipping Him. Listen to what they sang: Luke 2:14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. The angels did not quite understand what was going on. Peter writes:

1 Peter 1:10-12 Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.

The angels did not worship the Christ, for at that time He was made a little lower than them. Oh, I’m sure there were some who worshiped  like Gabriel, but the Bible says the Angels were like the prophets, standing on their “tippy toes” looking at Jesus and trying to figure out what was going on.

But the time will come when they will understand. That day is revealed in Revelation 5:

Here we see God sitting on the throne, holding a scroll which is the “Title Deed” to the earth. No one is found who is worthy to take the Title Deed and judge the Earth, and restore it to Creator God.  John starts to weep uncontrollably.

Revelation 5:5 But one of the twenty-four elders said to me, “Stop weeping! Look, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the heir to David’s throne, has won the victory. He is worthy to open the scroll and its seven seals.”

Then the Lamb steps forward and takes the scroll and opens the seals. He has gained to right, power and authority to return to the Earth and take possession of it, and to right the curse.

Look at what happens with the angels next:

Revelation 5:11-12 Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!”.

The angels say “oh, we understand now, and they immediately burst out in worship and praise!

This is angelic worship

Revelation 5:13 And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!”

Revelation 5:14 And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped.

That’s the Amen corner of heaven, those four living creatures.

God commands His angels to worship Him. And if God, in the Old Testament (Psalm 97:7 All worshipers of images are put to shame, who make their boast in worthless idols; worship him, all you gods!), commanded the angels to worship His Son, then His Son is God.

C. Jesus is Greater because of His Nature (vs 9)

Luke 24:27 refers to the conversation Jesus had with the two disciples walking to Emmaus. “And beginning at Moses and all the prophets He expounded unto them in all the Scriptures OT, “the things concerning Himself.”

There is no way that anyone, Jew or Gentile, will ever understand the Old Testament until he understands it in terms of Jesus Christ.

John 5:39 records a statement made by Jesus in the Temple, as He looked upon the Pharisees making a show of reading through the Old Testament. “Search the Scriptures.” (OT) “For in them ye think ye have eternal life and they are they which testify of me.”

Jesus lets everyone know that the Old Testament testifies of Him!

Jesus is also the theme of the New Testament. John gives us the purpose of the writing of his book, in John 20:31, “But these are written that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and that believing you might have life through His name.”

So both the Old Testament and the New Testament have as their theme, the person of Jesus Christ.

  • What the Old Testament concealed of Christ, the New Testament revealed.
  • What the Old Testament contained of Christ, the New Testament explained.
  • What the Old Testament gave in precept of Christ, the New Testament gives in perfection.
  • What the Old Testament presented of Christ in shadow, the New Testament presents in substance.
  • What the Old Testament presented of Christ in ritual, the New Testament presents in reality.
  • What the Old Testament presented of Christ in picture the New Testament presents of Christ in person. (John MacArthur)
    • The foretold is fulfilled,
    • Prophecy becomes history,
    • Pre-incarnation becomes incarnation.

There is no way that a man will ever understand the Old Testament apart from understanding and knowing Jesus ChristOnly Christ can remove the veil. Only Jesus Christ removes the veil and gives you understanding of the old covenant.

Jesus is superior to angels because of His nature. And here the Holy Spirit shows the basic difference in the nature of angels and of the Son Jesus Christ.

The Nature of Angels

1.  Angels are Created

  • Verse 7, “And of the angels, he saith who maketh His angels spirits and His ministers a flame of fire?”

Now here in this verse we see the nature of angels. What are angels? Well, first of all, who maketh His angels? That’s the word apotelo, to create. The antecedent of who is Christ. Who created angels? Christ. If Christ created angels He is what? Better than angels.

Hebrews 1:2 it says “By His Son whom He hath appointed heir of all things and by whom also He made the ionus.” He made the universe of time space. He made the ages. He made the world.

Jesus made the angels. So we know first of all that they are created beings.

“Who maketh His angels.”

What kind of pronoun is His? It is possessive. Whose angels are these? They are His own angels. He makes His own angels. This is a quote from Psalm 104:4.

2. Angels are Messengers of His judgments

Psalm 104:4 He makes his messengers winds, his ministers a flaming fire.

His ministers are winds and flames of fire. You say why would they be called winds? Well, invisible, powerful, rapid movement. Then they’re called flames of fire.  Angels not only blow or move rapidly and invisibly and powerfully to carry out God’s bidding, but they are also flames of fire. Fire usually refers to divine judgment.

  • Angels are God’s executioners. Angels execute judgment.
  • If you are an unbeliever, you do not want to be “touched by an angel.”

a.  Genesis Chapter 19 we see the destruction of Sodom.

Genesis 19:13-22 For we are about to destroy this place, because the outcry against its people has become great before the LORD, and the LORD has sent us to destroy it.” So Lot went out and said to his sons-in-law, who were to marry his daughters, “Up! Get out of this place, for the LORD is about to destroy the city.” But he seemed to his sons-in-law to be jesting. As morning dawned, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Up! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be swept away in the punishment of the city.” But he lingered. So the men seized him and his wife and his two daughters by the hand, the LORD being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city. And as they brought them out, one said, “Escape for your life. Do not look back or stop anywhere in the valley. Escape to the hills, lest you be swept away.” And Lot said to them, “Oh, no, my lords. Behold, your servant has found favor in your sight, and you have shown me great kindness in saving my life. But I cannot escape to the hills, lest the disaster overtake me and I die. Behold, this city is near enough to flee to, and it is a little one. Let me escape there—is it not a little one?—and my life will be saved!” He said to him, “Behold, I grant you this favor also, that I will not overthrow the city of which you have spoken. Escape there quickly, for I can do nothing till you arrive there.” Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar.

Angels are sent to destroy Sodom. And they had to grab Lot and his crew and drag them out of the city. Now you remember his wife was warned not to look back and she did and turned into a pillar of salt.

b.    We see this in Psalms 78

Psalm 78:49 He let loose on them his burning anger, wrath, indignation, and distress, a company of destroying angels.

c.     We see this in Matthew 13:

Matthew 13:41-42 The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Angels are created beings, created by Jesus Christ and possessed by Him. Angels then are created servants. They do not operate independently. They operate at God’s direction and Christ’s direction.

The Nature of Jesus

Hebrews 1:8 But of the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom.

a.    The Son is the eternal God!

The Father says to the Son, “thy throne Oh God is forever and ever.” The Father acknowledges the Son as God.

John 5:18 This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.

John 10:30 “I and the Father are one.”

1 John 5:20 And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.

Then in verse 9, He moves back to the incarnate Son-ship and sees Jesus incarnate.

b.    The Son Loves Righteousness

Hebrews 1:9 You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.”

This verse tells us something about Jesus in His incarnation. “You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness.” Now those words reveal not only the actions of Jesus, but His motives. He didn’t just do righteousness. He loved righteousness.

If you love God’s right standards, he would hate the wrong standards. The two are inseparable. One cannot exist without the other.

When there is true love for God there will be true love for righteousness and there will be total hatred for sin. Jesus hated sin. You see it in His temptation. You see it in His cleansing the temple. You see it in His death on the cross.

The more you and I become conformed to Jesus Christ, the more we’re going to find we love righteousness and hate sin. And you can pretty well tell how close to being conformed to Christ you are by your attitude towards righteousness and toward sin.

c.     Jesus is anointed above the Angels.

Hebrews 1:9 “therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.”

Companions simply means associates. The Greek word implies an association. And the point that is being made here is that Jesus Christ is greater than angels and angels were only messengers of God. Christ was a messenger from God, but greater than they. And so companions has reference to angels. And in the Old Testament Christ was even called the messenger of the Lord or the angel of the Lord.

And so He’s exalted above the others. That’s a clear statement that Jesus is better than angels. When Jesus Christ is anointed that puts Him on top. He is greater than His fellows, superior to angels. He is the anointed.

Jesus was God’s anointed. And notice that He was anointed with the oil of gladness. When did this happen? Jesus received His coronation when He went to heaven after His resurrection. It was at that time that the Father exalted Him and gave Him the name above every name. He assumed His kingship at His ascension.

Verses 8 and 9 establish Christ’s deity. They establish His exalted position. They mention His kingship. They reveal the excellence of His rule. They show the perfection of His incarnate character. They indicate His willing submission to God in Sonship. They announce His coronation. They reveal His preeminence. Just those two verses.

  • So His title, His worship, His nature show that He’s better than angels.

D. His Eternity (vs 10-12)

Hebrews 1:10-12 And, “You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of your hands; they will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment, like a robe you will roll them up, like a garment they will be changed. But you are the same, and your years will have no end.”

Here the Holy Spirit quotes Psalm 45:6-7 to show that Christ is better because He is the eternal creator and will exist eternally.

Hebrews 1:10 And, “You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of your hands;

If Christ was there in the beginning to create, He must have been before the beginning, which makes Him without beginning. To create in the beginning He must have been before the beginning and thus without beginning.

Hebrews 1:11 they will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment,

Jesus is no created being. He is eternal. He is immutable, which means He never changes. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. And so He contrasts the passing of the temporal with the eternal.

Hebrews 1:12 like a robe you will roll them up, like a garment they will be changed. But you are the same, and your years will have no end.”

The Holy Spirit is saying that everything folds up. Christ will roll the mountains up. He will roll the moons up. He will roll the planets us. He will roll the Stars and the planets. Thinks that in our mind are permanent, fixed, immovable, Christ will roll up like a used newspaper.

In 2 Peter we are told:

2 Peter 3:3-4 knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.”

People nowadays are saying that Jesus isn’t coming, that God is a myth, or He doesn’t care about us. Everything will continue like it is, you only go around once so grab for all the gusto you can. It is up to us to take care of this planet. So we need to watch carbon emissions. We need to curb global warming. We need to help Mother Nature.

This old planet is millions of years old and it’s got to last another million years.

“They shall perish, but thou remain. They shall become old as doth a garment.” Clothes get old you throw them away. And look at this, “as a robe you will roll them up.”

Did you know that God is going to roll up the heavens like an old coat?

In Revelation 6:14, we see the rolling up of the heavens:

Revelation 6:14 The sky vanished like a scroll that is being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place.

During the tribulation it will be as if the heaven’s are stretched to all the possible corners and the corners are all cut and it just rolls right up like a scroll. That is what will happen to the heavens.

2 Peter 3:10-13 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

And so men come and go. Worlds come and go. Stars come and go. Angels are subject to decay as the fall of angels indicates. Jesus Christ never changes, is never subject to change, is never subject to alteration. He is eternally the same.

Therefore Jesus is superior to angels in title, in worship, in nature, in eternity and finally in destiny.

E.  In His Destiny

Verses 13 and 14 tell us that the destiny of Jesus is greater than angels. This is the seventh Old Testament quote and it’s from

Psalm 110:1 The LORD says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.”

It climaxes the full superiority of Christ to angels. First we see the destiny of Christ and then that of the angels.

1.    The Destiny of Christ

Hebrews 1:13 And to which of the angels has he ever said, “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet”?

Well, the answer is no angel.

The destiny of Jesus Christ is that ultimately everything in the universe be subject to Him. That at the name of the Jesus every knee should bow, things above the earth, on the earth, and under the earth.

Jesus Christ in God’s plan is destined to be the ruler of the universe and everything that inhabits it.

1 Corinthians 15:22-27 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him.

You say when does that happen? It happens at His second-coming. It happens when He comes in glory.

Revelation 19:15-16 From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.

The destiny of Jesus Christ is an eternal reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords! Hebrews 1:13 says “Sit at my right hand”

Angels Never Sit! Why? Their work is never done. Fortunately, we Christians will be able to do that once in a while. Hebrews 4:9 says, “There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.” And you remember in Revelation 14:13 where “Blessed are they which die in the Lord for they shall rest from their labors.” But no angel ever sits down.

Jesus sits down because it’s over. He reigns.

2.    The destiny of angels in verse 14.

Hebrews 1:14 Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?

Angels are going to serve us forever. What do angels do for believers?

  • Angels protect & guard saints.

2 Kings Chapter 6. Elisha and his servant were being menaced by the king of Syria? Elisha and his servant are just being menaced, you know, by the king of Syria and they don’t have any way to defend themselves. But listen to this,

2 Kings 6:15-17 When the servant of the man of God rose early in the morning and went out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was all around the city. And the servant said, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” He said, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” Then Elisha prayed and said, “O LORD, please open his eyes that he may see.” So the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

You know who they were? They were angels.
  • Angels deliver from danger.

Remember the angels that grabbed Lot and his family and rescued them from the destruction of Sodom? Remember the angels went into the lion’s den with Daniel and stopped the lions’ mouths? Angels minister to us. We are never alone. Their destiny is to minister to us throughout eternity.

Jesus’ destiny is to reign. He surpasses the angels. So we find then that the son of God is superior angels in every way. And every one of his superiorities is confirmed in the Old Testament.

Jesus is Messiah. He is God in flesh. He is the mediator of a new covenant, better than the old.

Hebrews One is the first page of the Resume of Jesus Christ.

  • Titles: He’s called Son, Lord, and God.
  • Position: He is creating, sustaining, governing, redeeming, and purging sin.
  • Accomplishments:  He is omniscient, omnipotent, unchanging, and eternal.
  • Awards: He is the one to be worshipped by the angels and all creatures in the universe.
And so the Holy Spirit proclaims the superiority of Jesus Christ.

You say “So what?” Well, that’s undoubtedly what the writer thought you’d say. So He wrote the first verse of Chapter 2.

Hebrews 2:1-3 Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard,

If God expected a reaction to the law that came to the angels, what do you think He expects from you to that which came through Jesus Christ? Therefore, we ought to give Jesus more earnest heed for how shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation?

What is Your Destiny?

In 1991 a Gallup poll showed that 78 percent of Americans expect to go to heaven when they die. However, many of them hardly ever pray, read the Bible, or attend church. They admit that they live to please themselves instead of God. I wonder why these people would want to go to heaven.

In an article title, “Are We Ready for Heaven?” Maurice R. Irwin points out that only 34 percent of the American people who call themselves Christians attend church at least once a week. He says, “We sing, ‘When all my labors and trials are o’er, and I am safe on that beautiful shore, just to be near the dear Lord I adore will through the ages be glory for me.’ However, unless our attitudes toward the Lord and our appreciation of Him change greatly, heaven may be more of a shock than a glory.” Daily Bread, July 31, 1992.

Fast forward 20 years, and the number of Christians attending church is below 24%. Yet the majority of Americans continue to believe they are going to Heaven when they die…Many, I fear, will discover exactly what “Shock and Awe” truly is!


[1] Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies – Volume 2: Word Studies in the Greek New Testament, (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1973), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 44.

[2] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 1250..

[3] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 995.


Hebrews is the “Better” Book, about our Surpassing Savior

Hebrews 1:4 So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs.

  • Superior or (more excellent KJV) is diaphoros, which can mean varying, but in  this instance means different in a surpassing way.
  • Human salvation demands the divine disclosure of truths surpassing reason. Thomas Aquinas
  • So our Salvation depends upon a SURPASSING SAVIOR!
    • Everything about Jesus is Superior and Surpasses that which took place before Him.
    • Hebrews is the only book that specifically calls Jesus a priest, although implied in others
    • This is probably what Jesus explained to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:27)
    • Hebrews, more than any other book, expresses the unity of the message of the 66 books of the Bible
    • The author never refers to the human author of the Old Testament references, but always ascribes them to God or Christ!

A superior workman turns out a superior product, so Hebrews shows that the  Messiah, the Founder of the New Testament is better than the founders of the First Testament, who were the prophets, angels, Moses, Joshua, and Aaron. Therefore, the testament He brought in is superior to and takes the place of theirs. In the light of this, we can better understand the words, “But now hath He (Messiah) obtained a more excellent ministry than they (prophets, angels, Moses, Joshua, Aaron), by how much also He is the Mediator of a better covenant (the New Testament), which is established upon better promises”[1].

Commitment to Following Christ with all of your life will produce everything which is BETTER for you!

The Surpassing Life of Jesus

1. Jesus is superior to angels.

2. Jesus has a Name which is more excellent.

Hebrews 1:4 having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.

3. Jesus has a more excellent ministry

4. Jesus mediates a better covenant based upon better promises

Hebrews 8:6 But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises.

Hebrews 11:4 By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.

5. Through Jesus we have promise of better things

Hebrews 6:9 Though we speak in this way, yet in your case, beloved, we feel sure of better things—things that belong to salvation.

The Surpassing Life we share with Jesus

1. We Have a Better Hope

Hebrews 7:19 (for the law made nothing perfect); but on the other hand, a better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God.

2. We Have a Better Covenant

Hebrews 7:22 This makes Jesus the guarantor of a better covenant.

3. We have Better Promises

Hebrews 8:6 But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises.

4. We Have a Better Sacrifice

Hebrews 9:23 Thus it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.

Hebrews 10:5-6 Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, “Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body have you prepared for me; in burnt offerings and sin offerings you have taken no pleasure.

5. We Have Better Possessions

Hebrews 10:34 For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one.

6. We Have a Better Home

Hebrews 11:16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.

7. We will Have a Better Life

Hebrews 11:35 Women received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life.

Hebrews 11:40 since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.

The Surpassing Life Focus

1. Endure for the sake of Better

Hebrews 12:10 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness.

2. Sacrifice and Do good for the sake of Better

Hebrews 13:16 Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

3. Draw Near to God in Better Hope

Hebrews 7:19 For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.

4. Be Better at Provoking

Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:

5. Better produces Joy even in the face of loss and tragedy

Hebrews 10:34 For ye had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance.

Hebrews is the Better Book which details the Surpassing Life of Jesus Christ. Not only did Jesus surpass everthing before Him, He offers His surpassing life to us, so that our lives will benefit and share in His surpassing life. And if we share in His surpassing life, our lives will focus on Him, and that focus will produce changes in our works and priorities.


[1] Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies – Volume 2: Word Studies in the Greek New Testament, (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1973), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 142


“Though” and “through” differ only by one small letter—the letter “r.” In American Sign Language, “r” is made by crossing the middle finger over the index finger. But crossed fingers have a history as sign language that far predates ASL. In the first centuries of the Church, when Christianity was illegal and Christians were vigorously persecuted, believers found ways to communicate their faith in subtle ways. Accompanying a greeting or farewell, crossed fingers were a code sign, identifying Christians to one another as “people of the cross.” The crossed fingers were a mute symbol for the cross of Christ and the redemption Christ’s death on that cross brought to all people. Today, crossed fingers mean something very different. When placed behind one’s back, they mean that one does not mean what one is saying. When held in one’s lap, they mean one is hoping something will or will not happen. Russ Chiodo, Director of Emergency Services for Beaver County, PA, was the person in charge of picking up the body parts from the 132 people who died on the ill-fated USAir Flight 427 that crashed on its way from Chicago to Pittsburgh. When asked what it was like to bag body parts with no human faces left, Chiodo confessed to the sight that affected him the most. “The thing I’m not going to be able to forget for a long time is finding a hand with its fingers crossed—as if for luck.”

Isn’t it ironic that the gesture of crossed fingers, first instituted by the early church as a symbol of the Cross of Christ and a certainty of the promises of God in Jesus, has digressed to represent the exact opposite…mere luck. In the completed work of Christ on our behalf we have the 100% absolute assurance of our salvation and the absolute guarantee of an inheritance “incorruptible and undefiled, reserved in heaven for us” (1 Peter 1:4). Luck has absolutely NOTHING to do with it.

The Cross in Genesis 1-11

Understand that Jesus was in the world from the Creation! This study will confirm that Jesus has been the way of Salvation from the very beginning, through the “Principle of the Cross!” A Principle that mankind for the most part rejected, just as they rejected Jesus in the flesh.

John 1:1-5 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

John 1:9-18 The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth…And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.

Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and He is the Word of God. He has been in the world since He created it. Yet the world did not know Him. But all who received Him, who believed in His name, He gave the power and authority to become children of God. The Word became flesh, and we beheld His Glory. As we read last week, His Glory began at the Cross. At the Cross we see the Word of God full of Grace and truth. Because of the Cross we receive grace upon grace.

In 1 Corinthians 1, the Cross is described as a dividing point, a stumbling block, and a point of folly. So too is the Word of God.

Hebrews 4:11-13 Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

The Word of God is a sharp two-edged sword. It reveals the thoughts and intents of our wicked and deceitful hearts. No one can be hidden from the Word, for it exposes us to the one to whom we must give account.

Just as the Cross was lifted up above this world, so the Word of God is lifted up above mankind, and the Word of God will be our judge. The Word of God will judge believers and unbelievers alike.

The Word of God separates unbelieving men from God. The Word of God separates unbelieving Christians from resting in God. That is why Christians are encouraged to strive to enter the rest of God through the Word of God, because it is living and active, able to cut away the dross of the world and leave that which is pure before God.

A.W. Tozer: “Our uncrucified flesh will rob us of purity of heart, Christ-likeness of character, spiritual insight, and fruitfulness; and more than all, it will hide from us the vision of God’s face, that vision which has been the light of the earth and will be the completeness of heaven.”

The Word of God has this power the same way that Jesus Christ had the power to bring sinful men to Holy God, through the Cross! In fact, it is because of the Cross that we have the Word of God! As W. A. Criswell famously said, “throughout the Bible there runs a Scarlet Thread of Redemption!”

Because of the Cross…We Have the Word

As we look at all we have “Because of the Cross,” we need to remember three Principles of the Cross:

1. The Cross is the Wisdom & Power of God.

    • The Cross reveals the Heart of God, His delight in mercy, justice and righteousness.

2. The Cross is opposed to the wisdom and power of man.

    • The cross requires humility. The cross strips man of all rights and powers. The Cross reveals the foolishness of man’s attempts at standing and self-righteousness.

A.W. Tozer: “The man who is crucified is facing only one direction… He [cannot] look back. The crucified man on the cross is looking only one direction and that is the direction of God, and Christ and the Holy Ghost… The man on the cross… has no further plans of his own… Somebody else made his plans for him, and when they nailed him up there all his plans disappeared… When you go out to die on the cross, you bid good-bye–you are not going back!

We want to be saved but we insist Christ do all the dying. No cross for us, no dethronement, no dying. We remain king within the little kingdom of Mansoul and wear our tinsel crown with all the pride of a Caesar; but we doom ourselves to shadows and weakness and spiritual sterility.”

3. The Cross is the Perfect Blood Sacrifice required by God

    • God declared that life is in the blood. To bring life to ‘dead in sin’ mankind, a perfect blood sacrifice had to be made.

A.W. Tozer: “The old cross is a symbol of death. God salvages the individual by liquidating him and then raising him again in newness of life. God offers life, but not an improved old life. The life He offers is life out of death. It always stands at the far side of the cross.”

We will see the Principle of the Cross throughout the Old Testament. The Principle that death leads to resurrection. The principle of “death with a view to increase” that characterizes the Gospel.

First death, then life. Death [leads to] resurrection. When we consent to death, then the life of Jesus can flow unhindered from us. It is never the other way. We cannot claim resurrection life first, and then by means of that put the flesh to death. We must first bow to the cross, and then God will effect the resurrection. (Ray Steadman)

With these three Principles in mind, let us see that “Because of the Cross…we have the Word of God!

In the Garden

Genesis 3:6-7 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.

Something happened to Adam and Eve when they disobeyed God. Their eyes were opened and they could see their shame. Therefore, in their wisdom, they made some clothing out of fig leaves sewn together.

This is what I think happened. Psalm 104 1-2 says that God is clothed in splendor and majesty, covering himself with light as a garment. Adam and Eve, created in the image of God, were clothed in light. When they sinned, the light was gone, and they felt the shame of their sin. They attempted to cover up their shame. This is man’s wisdom. No repentance, simply cover it up, cope with it, pull yourself up by the bootstraps and move on.

Here is where we see the Cross first lifted up.

God calls out to Adam and says, “where are you?”

Adam says:

Genesis 3:10-13 And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

Sin has entered into the hearts of Adam and Eve. Instead of open fellowship with God, they feared Him and even hid from Him. Instead of repentance and return to God, they blame someone else.

God’s response is to place a curse upon man and woman and even the serpent.

But God’s solution to sin was the Principle of the Cross.

Genesis 3:21 And the LORD God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.

Here we see the first sacrifice for sin. Adam and Eve had to watch as God took one of those peaceful animals that they cared for, and kill it. They had to watch blood flow for the first time. Can you imagine how they felt? An innocent animal had to die because they disobeyed. They had to wear that animal’s skin. It was a constant reminder of God’s plan. Sin is always answered with sacrifice. Moreover, Sacrifice always results in Grace.

  • God covered them in Grace. (His provision allowed them to live)
  • God expelled them in Grace. (He did not want them to live in sin forever)

God must have instructed them in the Way of the Cross and the need for blood sacrifice to keep their relationship with God.

When they had children, they taught them about the need for an acceptable sacrifice unto God.

Cain

In Genesis 4, Cain, the oldest, brought a sacrifice from the fruit of the ground. He decided there was no need for a blood sacrifice.

Abel brought the firstborn of his flock. God accepted Abel’s offering, but disregarded Cain’s. Cain became angry.

Genesis 4:6-7 The LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.”

The purport of the divine rebuke to Cain was this, “Why art thou angry, as if unjustly treated? If thou doest well (that is, wert innocent and sinless) a thank offering would have been accepted as a token of thy dependence as a creature. But as thou doest not well (that is, art a sinner), a sin offering is necessary, by bringing which thou wouldest have met with acceptance and retained the honors of thy birthright.” This language implies that previous instructions had been given as to the mode of worship; Abel offered through faith (Heb 11:4).[1]

Therefore, Cain, instead of humbling himself to God and offering a sacrifice for his sin, reacted in pride and offered what he thought was appropriate. He used his wisdom instead of God’s instruction. God rejected the sacrifice, for there was no provision for sin.

God would have accepted his offering if it had been accompanied with a blood sacrifice. But without blood, there is no remission of sins. Without the cross, we have no standing before God. God disregards us because of our sin.

Cain’s pride led to greater anger. Instead of offering a blood sacrifice to God, he shed the innocent blood of his brother. The Bible says, “Cain rose up against his brother.”

Instead of humbling himself before God in the shadow of the Cross, Cain rose up in pride and arrogance and murdered his righteous brother. Pride is always the enemy of the Cross.

Jude speaks of people that follow the “way of Cain”

Jude 1:10-11 But these people blaspheme all that they do not understand, and they are destroyed by all that they, like unreasoning animals, understand instinctively. Woe to them! For they walked in the way of Cain and abandoned themselves for the sake of gain to Balaam’s error and perished in Korah’s rebellion.

The way of Cain applies to all those who approach God in man’s wisdom and man’s pride. The way of Cain denies the mercy of God found through blood atonement.

We can see this in the lineage of Cain-for it is the glorification of the flesh and all that man can do.

Look at the ability and pride of Cain:

  • Genesis 4:17, he is a builder of cities.
  • Genesis 4:21, he is the father of music.
  • Genesis 4:22, he is the father of craftsmen in brass and in iron.

As W. A. CRISWELL says:

Civilization without God is the line and the seed of Cain. It is the story of Sodom; it is the story of Gomorrah; it is the story of Babylon; it is the story of every great city and every great civilization that leaves God out of it. That is the story of Cain. It is the glorification of what man can do apart from God.

Seth

Therefore, Cain continued to multiply the kingdom of man. The Kingdom of man is represented by the line of Cain. The kingdom of man is represented by the mark upon his forehead. The kingdom of man was corrupting God’s kingdom. So God appointed a man, Seth.

Finally, after 130 years, Seth was born to Adam, a son in his own likeness, a son that God had appointed. Seth had a son Enosh, and at that time people began to call upon the Name of the Lord. (Gen 4:26)

Perhaps the Kingdom of God could be built now. But no, sin was at work.

Genesis 6:1-4 When man began to multiply on the face of the land and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of man were attractive. And they took as their wives any they chose. Then the LORD said, “My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years.” The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown.

The sons of God (Seth’s line) started marrying the daughters of man. (I know most people think Angels intermarried, but Jesus made it clear that Angels’ can’t reproduce). I believe that the Godly children of Seth who were to raise up God’s Kingdom design intermarried with the fleshly Kingdom of Man line of Cain. This produced mighty men, men whose pride and abilities knew no bounds. The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. Instead of humble men offering themselves to God, proud and arrogant men walked in the “Way of Cain.” The pride and arrogance of man was opposed to humility and sacrifice before God. They denied and even rebelled against the Principle of the Cross.

Therefore, God was grieved, for He was not able to practice mercy, justice and righteousness because of the sinfulness of man. But “Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” Noah alone was following the principle of the Cross. (Gen 6:8)

Noah and his family alone survived the worldwide flood that God sent upon sinful man. Through the flood, God reformed His creation, and brought forth a family that would follow the principle of the Cross.

1 Peter 3:18-20 For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; in which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison, who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water.

Noah preached the principle of the Cross, but man in his wisdom refused the message of the Cross.

He preached through Noah “when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah.” For 120 years, Noah had preached the Word of God. He saved his family but no one else. It was the Spirit of Christ who spoke through Noah in Noah’s day. In Christ’s day, those who rejected Noah’s message were in prison. The thought is that Christ’s death meant nothing to them just as it means nothing to a great many people today who, as a result, will also come into judgment.[2]

After the flood is over and the ground has dried, God opens the Ark and Noah and his family walks upon the cleansed Earth. Noah immediately builds an altar and offers sacrifices of all the clean animals and birds on the ark. This is the first time the word “altar[3]” is used in the Bible—Genesis 8:20.

3mizbēaḥ: A masculine noun meaning the altar, the place of sacrifice. It is a noun formed from the verb zāb̠aḥ, which means to slaughter an animal, usually for a sacrifice.

This is the principle of the Cross. It is the picture of redemption. The blood is poured out upon the altar and the animal is consumed in a fire unto the Lord.

Genesis 8:21-22 And when the LORD smelled the pleasing aroma, the LORD said in his heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth. Neither will I ever again strike down every living creature as I have done. While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.”

God’s creation was restored through the principle of the Cross. The wisdom of God had prevailed over the wisdom of man. Man had survived the flood through the provision of God. Man was now offering the right offering to God in humility and praise. The burnt offering signified that this was a complete offering to God!

Nimrod

Now it does not take long to see man’s pride rear its ugly head in God’s renewed creation.

Genesis 10:8-10 Cush fathered Nimrod; he was the first on earth to be a mighty man. He was a mighty hunter before the LORD. Therefore, it is said, “Like Nimrod a mighty hunter before the LORD.” The beginning of his kingdom was Babel, Erech, Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar.

Nimrod’s Kingdom was not built on the principle of the Cross, but on rebellion and pride. In fact, the idea that Nimrod was not a mighty hunter before the Lord, but rather a mighty hunter AGAINST the Lord.

(Adam Clarke) His name Nimrod comes from ‏מרד‎, marad, “he rebelled”; and the Targum, on 1 Chronicles 1:10, says: Nimrod began to be a mighty man in sin, a murderer of innocent men, and a rebel before the Lord. The Jerusalem Targum says: “He was mighty in hunting (or in prey) and in sin before God, for he was a hunter of the children of men in their languages; and he said unto them, Depart from the religion of Shem, and cleave to the institutes of Nimrod.” The Syriac calls him a warlike giant. The word ‏ציד‎  tsayid, which we render hunter, signifies prey; and is applied in the Scriptures to the hunting of men by persecution, oppression, and tyranny. Hence it is likely that Nimrod, having acquired power, used it in tyranny and oppression; and by rapine and violence founded that domination which was the first distinguished by the name of a kingdom on the face of the earth[4]

Nimrod was building a kingdom opposed to the Lord, opposed to the principles of the Cross. This kingdom was all about man, and what man could do. It was a kingdom built on the foundation of Cain, a Kingdom that did not need God, did not need to sacrifice to Him.

Genesis 11:4-6 Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.” And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of man had built. And the LORD said, “Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them.

God saw that man could do anything and the wisdom of man was united against the wisdom of God. Therefore, God did a “BLAH” thing. People started speaking “blah blah blah.” Once again God had displayed His power and wisdom to man. Once again, man ignored Him.

As we continue with the next phase of God’s redemptive plan, we will see a man called out of idolatry and man-worship. We will see a man whose very life was lived in the shadow of the cross.

The principle of the Cross is the thread that runs throughout the Bible.
  1. The Cross is the Wisdom and Power of God
  2. The Cross is opposed to the wisdom and power of Man
  3. The Cross is the perfect Blood Sacrifice

We have seen that God’s plan for this world and for us His creation has always been fellowship and life. Yet that must be done in humility and holiness. When sin entered this world, it made us men that rebel against God’s ways. We are inclined to stray, to be independent, to seek our own welfare. Humility, dependence, repentance are foreign to our nature. Therefore, we rebel against the Cross. We refuse to sacrifice to God in His way. We want to maintain control. Therefore, we deny the power and wisdom of God.

Without Christ, our lives are a sequence of “blah blah blah” to God. We are ants scrambling over the excrement of our pride and arrogance. All this can be changed by submitting to the Cross.


[1] Robert Jamieson, A.R. Fausset, David Brown, A Commentary: Critical, Experimental, and Practical on the Old and New Testaments, (Toledo, OH: Jerome B. Names & Co., 1884), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “GENESIS”.

[2] J. Vernon McGee, Thru The Bible with J. Vernon McGee, (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1983), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “Chapter 3”.

[3] Warren Baker and Eugene Carpenter, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – Old Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2003), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “mizbēah.”

[4] . Adam Clarke, A Commentary and Critical Notes, (New York: Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, 1826), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “Genesis 10”.