Saturday, June 13, 2009

Going Deeper (Week 2)

Going Deeper (Week 2 Day 2)
From 1:5-14, the author stringed together seven Old Testament passages to support his argument that the Son of God is superior to the angels. Can you identify these seven quotations, the Old Testament references, and their key points?

Quotation in Hebrews (OT reference; Key Point)
Heb 1:5a (Ps 2:7; He is the Son)
Heb 1:5b (2 Sam 7:14; He is the Son)
Heb 1:6 (Ps 97:7; He is to be worshiped)
Heb 1:7 (Ps 104:4; He is to be served by angels)
Heb 1:8-9 (Ps 45:6-7; He is to rule with righteousness)
Heb 1:10-12 (Ps 102:25-27; He is the Creator)
Heb 1:13 (Ps 110:1; He has the Victory)

Some extra thoughts
The author of Hebrews or the preacher (if you like to call him this way) is deliberately building up the attributes of Jesus in an escalated manner whereby the audience or the readers will not miss the point. He skillfully begins by pounding the idea that Jesus is the Son of God, both from divine perspective and humanistic (the use of 2 Sam 7:14 quotation) perspective, so that we understand that the foundation of all His attributes builds upon His relationship with God, which is also the author central theme in Heb 1:2-3 (remember Week 1 Day 4 chiastic exercise?).

The author ‘quotes’ his way to the final result of Jesus, which is, His victory over Satan and sins (Ps 110:1). If your understanding of Jesus is only wanting the victory of Christ without accepting His relationship with God, your worship to Him, your service to Him and His people, your submission to His rule and acknowledge all things are from Him including your life; take some time to let all these truths sink in you.

Going deeper is not an intellectual exercise; but really understand what God is saying through His word (as in Bible) to us, specifically. May you enjoy your journey into the depth of His word.

Going Deeper (Week 2 Day 3)
Verses 10-12 is taken from Ps. 102:25-27. The author of Hebrews has been quoting almost directly from the Septuagint (LXX), which is the Greek translation of the Old Testament. This psalm begins with “Hear my prayer, O Yahweh,” and it is “A prayer of an afflicted man, when he is faint, and pours out his lament before the LORD.” This is the superscription of this psalm. Take some time to read through Psalm 102 and explain why the author uses this quotation (Ps 102:25-27).

Commentator, Willem A. VanGemeren, classified Psalm 102 as one of the seven penitential psalms (Pss 6; 32; 38; 51; 102; 130; 143). Some of these psalms are so designated because of their confessional nature; others are classed in this category because of their use within the Christian community. Psalm 102 is an example of the latter. It emphasizes the suffering and discipline often associated with sin (cf. vv.10, 23-24). The psalm exemplifies the literary genre of an individual lament. This lament arises out of an exilic situation, when the godly together with the wicked had been exiled from the land. For other exilic psalms, see 42, 43, 74, 79 and 137.

The structure of this psalm reveals two basic literary elements: lament and prophetic-hymnic. Kraus explains the prophetic-hymnic section as a special exilic development. The godly felt that they too had been rejected by the Lord and that the fulfillment of all the prophetic promises was in doubt. The purpose of the prophetic-hymnic section was to set ablaze a fire of hope in the promises of the Lord within the hearts of the godly.

Though the author of Hebrews ends the quotation at Ps 102:27, but I believe that the conclusion thought of the Ps 102 which is echoed in verse 28: The children of your servants will live in your presence; their descendants will be established before you; ring in the mind of his readers and audience. And of course, the author is also equating Jesus as the Lord described by the Psalmist here. This is an assurance for his readers that they are indeed the people who are living in the presence of the Lord and the Lord is Jesus.

Going Deeper (Week 2 Day 4)
"Salvation" is a general word, but among first-century Christians it was used to mean salvation in Christ, either in its present or, as in this passage, future aspect. The word "salvation" (soteria) is used in Hebrews seven times, the most in any NT book; so the concept clearly matters to the author. His use of it here without explanation or qualification shows that it was already accepted by the readers as well as the author as a technical term for the salvation Christ brought.
Can you explain what salvation in Christ means?

Salvation in Christ means to have confidence of his or hers destiny that he or she will finally be with God from now on until eternity. And such confidence comes from what a person knows and believes of what Jesus Christ has done on the Cross for them.

Can you also locate the other six times, the word “salvation”, is used in the book of Hebrews? What is the context for each?

Verses (Context)
Heb. 2:3a (We cannot be indifferent to the salvation of Christ.)
Heb 2:3b (How the salvation of Christ being brought to us.)
Heb 2:10 (Salvation of Christ is explained in the light of Christ suffering on the Cross)
Heb 5:9 (Jesus Christ is the source of this salvation)
Heb 6:9 (There are better things accompanying the salvation in Christ)
Heb 9:28 (Salvation is the effect of Christ work on the Cross as our sacrifice)

Some extra thoughts
I hope that this exercise of tracing the use of the word ‘salvation’ gives you a better understanding that salvation is not only a technical Christian terminology. It actually has very explicit and clear meaning to it. Our salvation in Christ is not an abstract idea whereby we embraced without thinking. Our salvation is concrete as it builds on our understanding of what Christ has done on the Cross, both historically and spiritually.


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