Study Guide

Hebrews Power

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[God] has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom he also created the worlds. He is the reflection of God's glory and the exact imprint of God's very being, and he sustains all things by his powerful word. When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs. For to which of the angels did God ever say, "You are my Son; today I have begotten you"? Or again, "I will be his Father, and he will be my Son"? And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says, "Let all God's angels worship him." (Hebrews 1:2-6, NRSV)

[God] Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; 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 on the right hand of the Majesty on high: Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son? And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him. (Hebrews 1:2-6, KJV)

Jesus: he's kind of a big deal. The author makes clear that Jesus is not only God's Son, but also a super powerful force in the universe. Even the angels need to bow down and worship him. Oh, snap.

We do see Jesus, who for a little while was made lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor. (Hebrews 2:9, NRSV)

We see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour. (Hebrews 2:9, KJV)

Jesus went down to Earth to become human? Yeppers. According to Hebrews, Jesus' true power comes from his understanding and empathy towards humanity.

He himself likewise shared the same things, so that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by the fear of death. (Hebrews 2:14-15, NRSV)

He also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. (Hebrews 2:14-15, KJV)

Who's got the power? Um, not the devil, that's for sure. Evil had a hold on the world for a little bit, but through his death and resurrection, says the author, Jesus kicked the butt of death and evil.

Jesus is worthy of more glory than Moses, just as the builder of a house has more honor than the house itself. (For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.) Now Moses was faithful in all God's house as a servant, to testify to the things that would be spoken later. Christ, however, was faithful over God's house as a son. (Hebrews 3:3-6, NRSV)

For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house. For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God. And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after; But Christ as a son over his own house. (Hebrews 3:3-6, KJV)

Well that's forward: "Jesus is worth of more glory than Moses." According to Hebrews, Jesus is kind of like a new and improved and more beloved Moses. When you consider that the author is writing to a Jewish audience, it takes a lot of chutzpah to make a claim like that.

Christ did not glorify himself in becoming a high priest, but was appointed by the one who said to him, "You are my Son, today I have begotten you"; as he says also in another place, "You are a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek." (Hebrews 5:5-6, NRSV)

Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee. As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec. (Hebrews 5:5-6, KJV)

Jesus may have authority, but he's not a power grabber. It wasn't his idea to appoint himself high priest forever and always—it was God's. And you really can't argue with the Big Guy.

He holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. Consequently he is able for all time to save those who approach God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. For it was fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, blameless, undefiled, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens[…] The law appoints as high priests those who are subject to weakness, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made perfect forever. (Hebrews 7:24-26, 28, NRSV)

But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens[…] The law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore. (Hebrews 7:24-26, 28, KJV)

Jesus is like a human high priest, but—according to Hebrews—way, way better. He holds his post forever and he's never sinned. Pretty sweet qualifications to put on your priestly résumé, don't you think?

The main point in what we are saying is this: we have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a minister in the sanctuary and the true tent that the Lord, and not any mortal, has set up. (Hebrews 8:1-2, NRSV)

Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man. (Hebrews 8:1-2, KJV)

If you thought the human high priest had power, you might want to take a peek at Jesus. He isn't fumbling around in earthly temples: he's going straight for the source of power in the universe—God.

Christ did not enter a sanctuary made by human hands, a mere copy of the true one, but he entered into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. Nor was it to offer himself again and again, as the high priest enters the Holy Place year after year with blood that is not his own; for then he would have had to suffer again and again since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the age to remove sin by the sacrifice of himself. And just as it is appointed for mortals to die once, and after that the judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin, but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him. (Hebrews 9:24-28, NRSV)

Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation. (Hebrews 9:24-28, KJV)

According to the author, Jesus saved the world with blood, but it was a one-time deal only. That's how powerful his sacrifice was, and that's why it's that much better than anything humans could dream up.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8, NRSV)

Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. (Hebrews 13:8, KJV)

A deity that never changes? Sounds pretty powerful.

May the God of peace, who brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, make you complete in everything good so that you may do his will. (Hebrews 13:20-21, NRSV)

Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do his will. (Hebrews 13:20-21, KJV)

God brings people back from the dead? And establishes eternal covenants? Does the list ever end? (Answer: no.)

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