“This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!”
Hebrews 1:1-3 and Luke 9:28-35
The Book of Hebrews is the epitome of the Old Testament focused through Gospel lens. Nowhere does this Gospel message come into sharper focus than in these opening three verses of the epistle.
Christ, Christ, CHRIST
Many years ago I taught a Bible study on Hebrews and was especially struck during this prolonged look at that wonderful book with how central Christ is in our salvation. And how that all-importance of Christ in our lives actually crowds out and rids me of cherished notions I used to hold on to as Christian. Yes, I know that Christian readers might right now just skip over that sentence about Christ being central, as if I was stating the obvious. “Yea, I know all that. And…?”
But I am not stating the obvious. I am pointing out the overlooked. I mean that the utter, crucial centrality of Christ in our lives is something that is really neglected today: Many Christians are quite clear on what Christ did on the Cross. They have certainly heard enough sermons. And they think they are clear on how Christ will come for His own and take them to Heaven.
One major area that is unclear is that great, turbulent in-between period from Calvary to Glory: How to live the Christian life, how to walk with joy, discernment and integrity in a very complex, dark world which Christ – we profess! – conquered? We read that Christ has conquered the world (John 14) and that without Him we can do nothing (John 15:5), but we are fearful as if He hasn’t conquered – and we look for the Lord in all the wrong places. We forget that all the treasures we have are in Christ, and in His Word.
Well, one of the best ways to un-forget is to meditate on Hebrews 1:1-3 and to know in our hearts that Christ is the Beginner and Finisher of our faith, Alpha and Omega, Prophet, Priest, and King, and to know it in a practical way for our everyday life.
The Prophetical Last – and Lasting – Word: Christ!
Take a look at the first two verses of Hebrews 1:
“God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom He also made the ages (lit. “aeons”)”
Have you noticed the following?
1.Prophecy, from the perspective of this verse, is a thing of the past. He spoke in a variety of ways through prophets in the past, but now He speaks to us by His Son (lit. in Son).
2. It is the “last days” that is specifically marked out as a time when the Son is speaking. This is the exact opposite of what many teach; They use the fact that we are now supposed to be in the last days to explain and justify people prophesying (in the specific sense of fore-telling).
3. The “last days” or “last times” may not be what you think it is. Every time these phrases are found in the Bible they are addressed to Jewish people. Don’t take my word for it, look it up yourself. Paul, in writing to Gentiles, or speaking to them (as in Mars Hills) never mentions the term.
4. The ages were created through Christ. This refers not to planetary worlds (which would be out of context) but, considering the theme of this book, to the Jewish Age fading away into the Church Age, the New Heavens and New Earth . (A separate article is needed for this fascinating topic).
5. Most importantly of all, certainly for this series of articles, is the fact that all prophecy points to, and is completed in Christ. “The spirit of prophecy is Jesus”.
Christ is our prophet for today, our King, our Lawgiver, our Priest… everything. Salvation – all of it, every aspect – is of the LORD.
Luke 9:28-35 relates the Transfiguration incident, a baffling event for the disciples. When Peter, John and James saw Jesus transfigured and Moses and Elijah talking with Him Peter blurted out “Let’s make a shelter for all three of you!” But when the other two disappeared, leaving only Christ, God’s point was made. There is no more need for Moses or Elijah, personifying the Law and the Prophets, for God’s people. Christ is the One we need. To make absolutely sure of this point we have the voice of God telling them – and us:
“This is My beloved Son. Hear Him.”
The Law which came through Moses, the kingship inherent through him, the priesthood of Levi, the prophetical mantle of Elijah – all pass over to Christ.
Consider these points:
1. Christ as Prophet, Priest and King is found in these first three verses of Hebrews.
2. Every deviation in Christendom can be traced to losing sight of at least one of these three offices of Christ.
3. To know these offices, to trust in Christ as our Prophet, Priest and King is to have a strong safeguard against any grace-combating wind of doctrine.
4. The Christian, as Christ’s representatives on Earth, are to be Christlike in these three aspects: Prophets, priests, kings.
Now that last point, especially, requires careful qualifications. But it is found in Scripture. One of the main reasons why Christianity today is so anemic and marginalized – but we did it to ourselves! – is that we just do not know who we are and Whose we are!