Final Word in the Son

God’s final and complete “word” has been “spoken” in His Son. All previous “words” were partial, preparatory, and incomplete – Hebrews 1:1-3

Bible and Sun - Photo by Timothy Eberly on Unsplash
epistle to the Hebrews compares what God achieved in Jesus to the partial provisions under the old covenant, especially to the Levitical system. The contrast is between the finality of the “word” in His “Son” with the provisional revelation provided by the “prophets.” What was preparatory under the old legislation has been superseded by the final “word in a son.” - [Photo by Timothy Eberly on Unsplash].

Hebrews demonstrates the superiority of the Son’s word, ministry, priesthood and his sacrifice over the services, priesthood, and sacrifices of the Levitical regulations. The epistle does not denigrate those past revelations, but it stresses how much the new revelation has surpassed all that came before - What was incomplete is now complete in Jesus.
  • (Hebrews 1:1-3) – “In many parts and in many ways of old, God spoke to the fathers in the prophets; at the end of these days, He spoke to us in a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom also he made the ages; Who, being an eradiated brightness of his glory, and an exact representation of his very being, also bearing up all things by the word of his power, purification of sins having achieved, sat down on the right hand of the majesty in high places.”
The letter was addressed to a Christian congregation near the city of Rome that was experiencing pressure from outsiders. Some members were contemplating a return to the local synagogue to avoid persecution, which would have necessitated conforming to many rituals required by the Book of Leviticus - (Hebrews 2:15, 10:25-34, 12:4, 13:24-25).

The epistle’s purpose is pastoral. It encourages believers to remain in the congregation despite outside hostilities. A return to the synagogue would mean apostasy and the betrayal of the Son of God - (Hebrews 2:1-3, 3:6, 12-14, 4:1, 11-13, 6:1-12, 10:26-31, 10:35-39).

It begins with its main proposition: At the start of the “these last days,” the final, full, and superior “Word of God” has been spoken in the “Son,” and the “word of the Son” marks the end of one era and the commencement of another.

In the Greek text, the sentence begins with two adverbs, polumerōs and polutropōs. Both are compounded with the adjective polus or “much, many.” Polumerōs combines it with meros, or “part.” Polutropōs is combined with tropos, or “manner.” Both words stress different aspects of the past revelation “in the prophets.” It was partial (“in many parts”) and given in different “ways.” Presumably, the latter category included prophecies, visions, dreams, and other forms of inspired communication.

God did speak before, but only partially so - here a little, there a little. Three contrasts are presented that demonstrate this:
  1. God spoke “of old,” but now, “upon these last days.”
  2. God spoke to “the fathers” (ancient Israel), but now, “to us,” the church.
  3. God spoke “in the prophets,” but now, “in a Son.”
The previous prophetic words were promissory, preparatory, incomplete; they did not reveal all that God intended to do. A more complete revelation was necessary. As the epistle argues, the old system was incapable of achieving the “purification of sins.”

The past “word” was correct but incomplete. However, the complete “word” is expressed in one who is a “son.” The term “last days” provides the time key for the “word”; it began with the Death and Resurrection of Jesus, and his exaltation to God’s right hand ushered in the era of fulfillment - (Acts 2:17, Galatians 4:4, Ephesians 1:10).

In the Greek sentence, there is no definite article or “the” before the word “son.” Omitting it lays stress on the class or status of one who is a “son,” and not on his individual identity. The “word” that God now speaks is by means of one who is a son, in contrast to prophets, priests, and angels.

A son is in the closest relationship to a father, and that closeness emphasizes his elevated status. As the “Son,” he is superior even to Moses; consequently, the “word” spoken in him is vastly superior to all others, period. His word is not just one among many other inspired words, but instead, one with absolute and final authority.

The “Son” in whom God now speaks is the same one who was appointed by Him to be the “heir of all things,” an allusion to the second Psalm, a text used several times in the epistle. Yahweh promised to give His Messiah the “nations as an inheritance,” but the epistle has expanded that promise to make him the “heir of all things”:
  • (Psalm 2:7-8) – “I will tell of the decree: Yahweh said to me, You are my son; This day have I begotten you. Ask of me, and I will give the nations for your inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for your possession.
The “Son” is the eradiated brightness of the glory and the exact impress of God’s very essence. Not only does he hold an elevated position, but he reflects the very glory of God. This is not metaphysical speculation about the nature of Christ; instead, it points to the surpassing greatness of the position he now holds because of his obedient death - (“Having achieved purification of sins, he was appointed heir”).
The reference to the “purification of sins” anticipates the epistle’s discussions about the superior priesthood and sacrifice of Jesus, and especially their permanent results. As a result of his achievement, the Son “sat down on the right hand of majesty.”

Under the Levitical system, the high priest entered the sanctuary only on the annual Day of Atonement, and he never “sat down” or remained long within it. In contrast, Jesus entered the true sanctuary “once for all” and “sat down,” where he now remains as High Priest. The description emphasizes the completeness of his priestly act and his exaltation to reign on the divine “throne,” where he remains until God again “introduces the first-begotten into the habitable earth.

The “word” spoken in the Son is superior to all past revelations in two ways. First, it is the last and final word in a long series of revelations. Second, the Son himself is the consummation of these past and partial revelations - “The perfecter of our faith.”

The goal of the epistle is to exhort believers to hold fast to the vastly superior “word” they now have in Jesus. His full and final “word” surpasses all past revelations, whether disclosed by prophets, priests, angels, or even Moses.

Only in His Son is the final revelation of Yahweh found, not in the regulations of the Torah, animal sacrifices, circumcision, the phases of the moon, or the observation of holy days. The Son came to fulfill what those things foreshadowed. What preceded the “word spoken in a Son” was preparatory and promissory, not final.


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