Christ in the Book of Hebrews

Paul's chief object in the book of Hebrews is to exalt the Nazarene, the One that the Jews despised.

By ROBERT HARE, Veteran Minister, New-South Wales, Australia

Paul's chief object in the book of Hebrews  is to exalt the Nazarene, the One that the Jews despised. So he takes up four great arguments in demonstrating his position.

The first is that Christ is higher than the an­gels. (Heb. 1:4.) Christ inherits the name of His Father—God. (Verse 8.) The angels are called upon to worship Him. (Verse 6.) He is the Creator, and the angels are but ministering spirits. So Christ is above the cherubim and the seraphim and all the hosts of glory.

The second argument is that Christ is greater than Moses. (Heb. 3;3-6.) Christ is a Son over the house. Moses is a servant in the house. Moses was the Hebrew ideal man. Dr. Young speaks thus of him: "As a historian, an orator, a leader, a statesman, a legislator, a patriot, and a man, Moses stands preeminent." Paul had to show that Christ was above Moses. He was the Son; the other a worthy servant.

The third argument demonstrates that Christ was higher than Abraham. (Heb. 7:1-7.) Abra­ham recognizes himself as holding a lower posi­tion when he paid tithe to Melchizedek. Since Christ belongs to the order of Melchizedek, consequently, He, too, is higher than Abraham. Abraham is known in Scripture as the "friend of God," but Christ is higher than Abraham.

The fourth argument is perhaps the most in­teresting of all. Christ is higher than the Levit­ical priesthood, because He belongs to the deathless line of Melchizedek. Notice how, in Hebrews 7:8, the contrast is brought in be­tween the priesthood where men die, and that where they do not die. Melchizedek never died. He is spoken of as having no beginning of days. Not being a Jew, he is said to have "neither beginning of days, nor end of life." (Heb. 7:3.) If he had died, this could not have been said. The Melchizedek priesthood is spoken of in Psalms 110:4. There the priest­hood is declared to be everlasting, so it stands in contrast with all the dying priests of the Aaronic line.

"Moreover, here mortal men receive tithes : there one receives them about whom it is witnessed that he lives." Heb. 7:8 (Weymouth's translation).

"In the one case tithes are received by mortal men; in the other case by one about whom there is the statement that his life still continues." (20th Century New Testament.)

"And here indeed dying men take tithes, but there one of whom it is witnessed that he liveth." (Rother­ham's English New Testament.)

In closing up his argument in chapter 7, verse 26, Paul places Christ "higher than the heavens." Going on in chapters 8, 9, and 10, Paul shows the work of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary. In chapter ii, he tells of the heroes and martyrs who dared to suffer and die for Him. In chapter 12 we have Christian charac­ter set forth. And in chapter 13, verse 8, Paul declares Christ "the same yesterday, and today, and forever."

I am persuaded that no one can clearly un­derstand the book of Hebrews apart from these simple arguments. God has given to Christ a name that is above every name. (Phil. 2 :6-ro.) In the book of Hebrews, Paul demonstrates this great truth.

Higher than all the kings of earth,

Linked with the great Divine,

High priest to all eternity,

Your living Christ and mine.

Touched with our sorrows and our cares,

He walked and toiled below.

Wept with the weeping ones of earth,

And shared with human woe.

But now, far from the glory land.

He views a ruined race,

High priest through whom all human sin

And wrong may yet find grace.

And then, sometime in day to be,

When storms have all passed by,

He comes in full salvation's power,

That love no more may die.

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By ROBERT HARE, Veteran Minister, New-South Wales, Australia

October 1947

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