In his death, Jesus inaugurated the promised and vastly superior new covenant, rendering the old one obsolete.
According to Hebrews, the “word of the Son” surpasses all past revelations “spoken in the prophets.” He went beyond his predecessors, having “achieved the purification of sins,” and therefore, he “sat down” at the right hand of God and inherited “all things.” And among other things, his exaltation signaled the commencement of the “new covenant.”
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Jesus qualified as our high priest by participating fully in human sufferings, mortality, and death – Hebrews 2:5-18.
The priesthood of Jesus is one of the key subjects of the epistle to the Hebrews – He has become the “merciful and faithful high priest” for “his brethren.” The topic is anticipated in the opening paragraph of the letter, including the uniqueness of his priesthood. Unlike the Aaronic priests, the “Son achieved purification of sins,” then “sat down” in the “real” Tabernacle.
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Through a series of comparisons, Hebrews presents the supremacy of the Son over all his predecessors.
The letter to the Hebrews was sent to a congregation that was facing pressure from outsiders and the possibility of persecution, and therefore, some members were contemplating withdrawing from the assembly to return to the synagogue. The letter presents arguments why doing so will have catastrophic consequences for the individual believer.
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The “last days,” the age of fulfillment, began with the death, resurrection, and exaltation of the Son of God – Hebrews 1:1-3.
When we hear the term “last days” we assume it refers to the final short period of history just prior to the return of Jesus in glory. This is a logical assumption. Yet, the New Testament presents the present age as the era of fulfillment that began with the Death, Resurrection, and the Exaltation of Jesus.
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God’s supreme “word” has been “spoken” in His Son, and all previous “words” were partial, preparatory, and incomplete – Hebrews 1:1-3.
The epistle to the Hebrews compares what God achieved in Jesus to the partial provisions provided under the old covenant, and especially to the Levitical system. The contrast is between the finality of the “word” spoken in His “Son” and the incomplete revelations given in the “prophets.” What was preparatory under the old legislation has been superseded by the final “word in a son.”
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The “word” of the Son is superior even to the “word” of Moses, the “servant” in the house of Yahweh and the Great Lawgiver – Hebrews 3:1-6.
The letter to the Hebrews demonstrates the supremacy of the Son by comparing his “word” to those of angels and of Moses, his priesthood and sacrifice to the Aaronic priests and the repeated animal sacrifices of the Levitical system, and the new covenant inaugurated by him to the old one now rendered obsolete by the ministry and exaltation of Jesus.
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