God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they.
It all starts and ends with Jesus Christ, the Son of God
The difference between how God spoke to the fathers previously versus how He now speaks in his Son
What’s the deal with bringing up angels in Hebrews? Realize that this is not a discussion about angels but about the overwhelming superiority of the Word of God in comparison to the words given to the fathers through the agency of messengers (angels)
For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it. For if the word spoken through angels proved unalterable, and every transgression and disobedience received a just penalty, how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard, God also testifying with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will.
Here, as much as anywhere in this letter, we must keep these individual statements in view of the whole. Otherwise, the meaning becomes twisted by a context of our own making.
Must pay closer attention? For the Jews, disobedience to the Law (the word spoken through angels) was incontestable. Of course, that doesn’t suggest they kept it … because they didn’t. But they understood the whole concept of consequences by many examples throughout their long history. Here, the writer presents a logical argument to the Jews regarding the far greater reason to listen to the word spoken in God’s Son.
What would cause the Hebrews to drift away from the message of God’s Son? It was their clinging to the message spoken through angels, the Law, the covenant that could never take away sin. Do we realize what this says about how sin got pushed back into focus so that it was front and center?
How does this relate to the situation in the church today? You see, this is where it should become better understandable or more relatable to us. In other words, bring the context of the letter into full view so that we can see how our Christian scene is pretty much the same, which in turn adds to our understanding of the original context. So, the real question for us today is … how does sin keep grabbing the spotlight in our modern Christian culture? Can we deny this fact?
How will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? For me, this always came across as referring to the afterlife. In other words, the danger of not escaping hell. But other than by reading it into certain verses or phrases, do we actually see the concept of hell posed anywhere in Hebrews?
What then could the writer of this letter be suggesting they won’t escape from if they neglect so great a salvation? How about the simplicity as stated just a bit farther in the letter:
Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.
Being subject to slavery all their lives. Why is this mindset of slavery — this sin-conscious perception we’ve adopted as part of the Christian life — so easy to overlook? I mean, we’re not just talking about some random thoughts that enter our consciousness, but rather a whole mindset, an alternate perception of life.