Study of Hebrews: “The Promise Foreknown”

Hebrews 1:1-2 | Hebrews 1:3a >

Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 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 1:1-2 ESV)

Traditionally considered to be a letter written to first century Christians in a time of severe oppression, the book of Hebrews is largely dramatic and highly unique.  The way that the book outlines the Old Testament and demonstrates how these shadows point to Christ almost give an impression that it could have been written by those two friends who Jesus met on the road to Emmaus.

The book starts by connecting us to a long tradition of how God chose to speak to his people.  “God spoke to our fathers by the prophets,” is a statement that characterizes the whole of the Old Testament as the record of a series of God’s “mouthpieces” who declared God’s will, word, and warning to the people not only of Israel, but how he would also finally make the way for full atonement of his people.  Each book of the Old Testament bares the mark of a prophet.  Moses, traditional author of the Pentateuch (the first 5 books), while not often thought of as a prophet absolutely operated as the one through whom God declared his judgment on Egypt and the salvation of his people from slavery.  Joshua and Judges also tell the story of people, men and women, who God used to make his will known and who called this people to repentance.  The books of history also tell of prophets like Samuel and Elijah and their word and deed that made known the knowledge of God.

After Malachi, however, there are 400 years of silence.

Did God speak?  We do have inter-testamental documents, which seem to suggest that he did.  However, no prophet, no mouthpiece, no one stating “thus says the Lord.”

Not, that is until one man who, wearing camel hair and eating honey and locust appeared walking out from the wilderness and declared that he had a new word from God.  The gospel of Mark quotes the prophecy from Isaiah:

As it is written in Isaiah the prophet,
“Behold, I send my messenger before your face,
who will prepare your way,
the voice of one crying in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight,’”
(Mark 1:2-3 ESV)

This was a new word from God, and not just any new word, it was a declaration that the promise was to be fulfilled.  The Lord God himself was on the scene and he would declare the hope of the nations.  Hebrews 1:1 acknowledges him as “the heir of all things,” and not only did he inherit everything but it says that Christ is he “through whom also [God] created the world.  Do you hear the weight of those words?  400 years of silence, thinking that for generations God has abandoned his people and may have even forsaken his promise.  For 4 centuries people cried out to God as they did in 400 years of slavery in Egypt, hoping beyond hope for a Savior.  And who should appear but the most unlikely of folk, John the Baptist, declaring that the promise was to be fulfilled, and the one to fulfill it was here!

Hebrews tells us that not only was Christ something important and that he was and is the Son who was promised, but it also reminds us that he was not just a new idea that God had, but that he was part of the plan from the beginning.  When the author says “through [him] also he created the world,” he says that Christ existed even before the beginning.  God always had his eyes set on our redemption.  He did not change his mind and try to make things easier on us.  We were always part of his plan, and he had prepared our way all along.

Hebrews 1:1-2 | Hebrews 1:3a >

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About Aaron Gardner

Aaron is a counselor and student of the Bible, passionate about sharing the good news of Jesus Christ. He lives in central Indiana with his wife, one-year-old son and their two dogs. View all posts by Aaron Gardner

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