28 Dec. Hebrews 1:1-4

28 Dec. God speaks through his Son Jesus Christ

"In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets many times and in many different ways. But now in these last days God has spoken to us through his Son."

"God has chosen his Son to own all things, and through him he made the world."

"The Son reflects the glory of God and shows exactly what God is like. He holds everything together with his powerful word."

"When the Son made people clean from their sins, he sat down at the right side of God, the Great One in heaven. The Son became much greater than the angels, and God gave him a name that is much greater than theirs."

          (Hebrews 1:1-4)


 

The Book of Hebrews provides a powerful link between the New Testament stories about Jesus and the Old Testament account of God's covenant with the Jewish people.

The author explains how, in the Old testament scriptures, God spoke many times to the Jews through the prophets. God’s message came through Samuel (see 1 Samuel 7:3), Ahijah (see 1 Kings 14:1-17), Elijah (see 1 Kings 17:1), Elisha (see 2 Kings 7:1-2), Amos (see Amos 2:6), Isaiah (see Isaiah 1:4), Jeremiah (see Jeremiah 2:1-3) and Ezekiel (see Ezekiel 6:1-7).

He goes on to tell the believers that, in these ‘last days’, God has spoken through his son, Jesus Christ, through whom he created the universe, and who will possess all things at ‘the end of time’: “The Son reflects the glory of God and shows exactly what God is like” (Hebrews 1:3).

Then he finishes his opening introduction by saying that after Jesus achieved forgiveness for the sins of mankind (by dying on the cross) he had finished his work. And so he ‘sat down’ (to indicate his work was finished) in heaven at the right-hand side of God’s throne.

The 'Letter to the Hebrews' was written to Jewish believers who were facing persecution for their faith in Jesus Christ. It was written at the height of anti-Jewish hatred following the outbreak of the Romano-Jewish war in 66AD, but before 70AD, as the Temple in Jerusalem was still in existence prior to its destruction by the Romans.

For many centuries, it was believed that Paul was the author of this letter. This is now regarded as highly unlikely as the style is quite different to Paul’s other letters and the author (unlike Paul) was someone who had neither met Jesus nor had a personal encounter with the risen Lord Jesus (see Hebrews 2:3).

The author, however, was clearly well known to the early Jewish believers and was well respected by them. The letter may have been written by Joseph the Levite – better known to us as ‘Barnabas’ – the Jewish priest from Cyprus (see Acts 4:36), who was an early believer in the Jerusalem church.

Barnabas – a nickname meaning ‘the encourager’ – became a fellow-worker with Paul after he befriended him following Paul’s conversion (see Acts 9:27), brought him from Tarsus to Antioch in Syria (see Acts 11:22-26 and Map 22), and accompanied him on his first missionary journey (see Acts 13:1-14:28 and Map 23).

If Barnabas wrote the Letter to the Hebrews, it is quite likely that he was writing to the Jewish believers in Antioch – where there was a large Jewish population and many Jewish Christian believers.

The photo shows the River Orontes at Antioch (Antakya, in modern-day Turkey) where the Letter to the Hebrews may have been sent.

You can read more about Antioch and the Letter to the Jewish believers @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/biblejourney1/17-the-letter-to-the-jewish-believers-in-antioch54426/the-letter-to-the-jewish-believers/


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