Daily Devotional 5-31-16

The Book of Hebrews:

I. Prologue (1:1–4)

In a majestically constructed opening paragraph, the writer introduced his readers at once to the surpassing greatness of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Son, he declared, is the par excellence vehicle for divine revelation. In asserting this, he implicitly contrasted Him with the prophets of old and explicitly contrasted Him with the angels.

1:1–2a. The central assertion of the Prologue is made here. Though God has variously (polymerōs kai polytropōs, lit., “by various means and in various ways”) revealed Himself in the past, Old Testament prophetic revelation has now received its end-times climax through God’s Son. However highly the readership regarded that former revelation, the writer implied they must now listen most closely to the Son.

1:2b–4. In a series of subordinate constructions which are part of a single sentence in the Greek, the author set forth the Son’s greatness. The unified structure of the writer’s sentence is hidden by the NIV which breaks it down into several sentences. To begin with (v. 2b), the Son is the designated Heir of all things. This is obviously as it should be since He is also their Maker—the One through whom He made the universe (tous aiōnas, lit., “the ages,” also rendered “the universe” in 11:3). The reference to the Son’s heirship anticipates the thought of His future reign, of which the writer will say much.

But the One who is both Creator and Heir is also a perfect reflection of the God who has spoken in Him. Moreover His Word is so powerful that all He has made is sustained by that Word. And it is this Person who has provided purification for sins and taken His seat at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven (cf. 8:1; 10:12; 12:2). In doing so it is obvious He has attained an eminence far beyond anything the angels can claim.

As might easily be expected in the Prologue, the writer struck notes which will be crucial to the unfolding of his argument in the body of the epistle. He implied that God’s revelation in the Son has a definitive quality which previous revelation lacked. Moreover the sacrifice for sins which such a One makes must necessarily be greater than other kinds of sacrifices. Finally the Son’s greatness makes preoccupation with angelic dignities entirely unnecessary. Though the Prologue contains no warning—the writer reserved those for later—it carries with it an implicit admonition: This is God’s supremely great Son; hear Him! (cf. 12:25–27)

Hodges, Z. C. (1985). Hebrews. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, pp. 780–781). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.