Saturday, October 1, 2016

Seeking Guidance

Scriptural Reading: Hebrews 1:1-9
Devotional Reading: John 1:1-5, 10-14

There have always been those who did not believe in the authenticity of the Bible. However, in 1947 a shepherd boy named Juma was tending his goats in Qumran which is located on the northwestern shore of the Dead Sea and south of Jericho. Some of the goats strayed and he believed they had gone into a cave. It was getting late so he threw a rock into the cave but it sounded different. He called his cousins, Khalil and Muhammed. They decided to come back to investigate the cave for a treasure. This began the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls until 1957 in eleven caves.1 In the first cave alone seven scrolls were found. My favorite is the Isaiah scroll. It contains the oldest copy of the Old Testament ever to be discovered giving genuine authenticity to the Bible. For example, when I read Isaiah 52:13-53:12 regarding “The Suffering Servant” on The Digital Dead Sea Scroll, I found the meaning to be the same as I compared it with my Bible.2 Christ was prophesied by the great major prophet Isaiah and it was confirmed in one of the first seven scrolls found in the first cave. And as prophesied, He took the weight of our sins on His back through Resurrection that we might have the opportunity to choose eternal life. Why pass up this opportunity? John 1:4-5, 12 indicates that, “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it…But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become the children of God, to those who believe in His name.” (NKJV) Stand firm, seek the guidance of the LORD, and you shall prevail.

We are in Unit II – “The Sovereignty of Jesus” of the three units of the quarter. This is the first lesson of a five-lesson study. In the lesson today we shall focus on Jesus as the imprint of God and His Sovereignty, fulfilling the promise of righteousness and bringing in the choice of eternal life.

Jesus was sitting on a high mountain and began speaking to the multitudes what we refer to as the “Sermon on the Mount”. He assured them, “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.” (Matt 5:17 NKJV) The Jews were accustomed to hearing the Word of God through the Prophets. “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 also He made the worlds;” (Heb 1:1-2 NKJV) The Almighty Father had spoken to the people through the Prophets in various different ways. For example, God spoke through Abraham that the Redeemer would spring from his loins, God told Jacob that Jesus would be of the tribe of Judah, to David He told that Jesus would be of his house, to Micah God revealed that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem, and to Isaiah God revealed Jesus would be born to a virgin. God communicated in different methods to the Prophets. Prophecy was received through dreams, visions, signs, miracles, sometimes by His audible voice or when He wrote the Ten Commandments. However Prophets were men of God and limited and whatever method they used, their revelations of God were periodic and partial. They could not complete God’s work as they were of a sin nature. They were not finite as they were not God. None of them were able to understand the entirety of God’s revelation. Therefore, God chose His Son to speak for Him. Jesus completed the spoken Word begun by the Prophets. His superior standing over them qualified Him to be a trustworthy Guide. It was Jesus that God had first presented as heir of all things. It was through Jesus who God had made the universe. This spoke volumes for His superiority over the Prophets and why we should accept Him as our Guide in life.

Jesus is the most excellent messenger for God that was ever sent into this world. It is an excellent account of the glory of our LORD Jesus Christ. It is also a reflection of the glory of God. Heb 1:3 indicates, “who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,” (NKJV). All the perfections and shining found in God are also found in Jesus. The person of the Son is the true character and image of the Father God. Jesus revealed His Father to the disciples when He stated, “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.” (John 14:7 NKJV) He upholds the universe by the Word of His power. He is the Sustainer of life. Christ purged our sins with the glory of His grace and sat down at the right hand of the Father God on high. At the right hand He is receiving the highest honor and authority for the glory of His sufferings.

Christ is the Messiah, He is Divine, and He is God. (See Is 9:6, John 4:25-26, and John 10:25-30) He is the Son of God and God would in no way make Him lower than the angels. The writer of the book of Hebrews not only wanted the Jews to know that Jesus was far superior to the Prophets and far superior to the angels. Heb 1:4 reveals “having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.” (NKJV) The Jews held angels in very high esteem as God’s messengers. They could not believe there was a messenger with the Word of God who was superior. However, He inherited a more excellent name as He shed His blood on Cavalry. One of the Scriptures outlining His Supremacy is Colossians 1:15-20 which reads, “The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.” (NKJV) This Scripture certainly includes the angels as created either invisible or visible and things in heaven or on earth.

The writer of Hebrews 1 continues at verses 5-7, “For to which of the angels did God ever say, ‘You are my Son; today I have become your Father’ Or again, ‘I will be his Father, and he will be my Son’ And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says, Let all God’s angels worship him. In speaking of the angels he says, ‘He makes his angels spirits and his servants’ flames of fire.’” (NKJV) Immediately the writer refers the Jews to the Old Testament Scripture Ps 2:7 which stated “I will proclaim the LORD’s decree: He said to me, ‘You are my son; today I have become your father.” (NKJV) (Paul preached this Good News of the Resurrection in Jerusalem in Acts 13:32-36.) It is said that when Jesus was brought on this earth, when He ascended to the world above, or when He shall come again to judge the world, God will not suffer an angel to continue in heaven who will not be in subjection to Christ, pay adoration, and worship Him. All angels were created to serve both God and Him. The fallen angels and wicked men shall have to confess His divine power and authority and fall before Him. And the Apostle Paul writes at Philippians 2:11, “that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is LORD, to the glory of God the Father.” (NKJV)

God declares the accolades of His Son in Hebrews 1 at verses 8 and 9. "But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever: a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.” (NKJV) Since God called Jesus a God, it must be true. And since God placed Him on an eternal throne, it must be true. It was our Mediator’s work on the cross that earned Him the crown and the scepter of righteousness which is the scepter of His kingdom. The scepter is a staff carried by rulers as a symbol of their sovereignty. This was a poetic way of stating Jesus is the King of the kingdom and He ruled in justice and righteousness everlasting. Because He hates wickedness and excels in righteousness, God has anointed Him with the oil of gladness. This signifies the oil of gladness with which Christ undertook gladness and cheerfulness the suffering of the cross to become the Mediator of the World. It is that crown of glory He shall wear forever.


Written by Deborah C. Davis

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