This is Part 2 in a 4 part introduction to Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews.
One of the main things Paul wrote about in his epistle to the Hebrews is that Jesus is better than the other people the Jews hold dear in their religion, and he offers better things than they have in their doctrine. So today we are going to look at these ways Jesus is better.
Jesus is better than the prophets – Heb 1:1-2 – God spoke to the Jews throughout the Old Testament by the prophets. When he spoke to them personally, they were so afraid that they said they never wanted to hear him speak to them again [Ex 20:19]. Thus, he spoke to them through Moses and promised that he would later speak to them through another Prophet like Moses [Deut 18:15-18]. That’s why, when Jesus was here the first time, the Jews said that he was that prophet or one of the other prophets [Matt 16:13-14; Jn 6:14]. Yet, Jesus is the Son of God and better than the prophets because he is the heir of all things and the creator of the worlds [Heb 1:2]. He is the express image of God [Heb 1:3].
Jesus is better than the angels – Heb 1:4-14 – angels were important to Jews. They ordained the law [Gal 3:19] and one traveled with the Jews in the wilderness [Ex 23:20]. These are sons of God but Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God [Jn 3:16], He has the inheritance [Heb 1:4] and he has the throne [Heb 1:8]. Notice he is God manifest in the flesh. There’s more on his comparison to angels in chapter 2.
Jesus is better than Moses – Heb 3:1-6 – this would be hard for a Jew to swallow, but it is the absolute truth. Look at Acts 15:1, 5. The council in Jerusalem was over this matter of Jesus being sufficient without Moses and the law of Moses.
Jesus is better than the Levitical priests – Heb 7:11-17 – Jesus is a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec [see Heb 5]. Jesus’ priesthood is an everlasting priesthood, and he “is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners and higher than the heavens,” [Heb 7:24-28].
And, as if these things are not enough by themselves, Jesus offers better things than the Jews currently have in their religion. With Jesus, Israel has a:
Better rest – Heb 4:1-9 – the rest of the millennial reign of Jesus Christ is better than the rest of Canaan. They lost Canaan under the kings. But they will have rest and their inheritance in Canaan for an everlasting possession under Jesus Christ.
Better hope – Heb 7:19, 6:18-20 – Jesus Christ provides better hope than the Jews had under the law in Canaan. It is the hope of eternal life [Titus 1:2].
Better testament – Heb 7:22 – the covenant under Moses was a covenant of do [Deut 6:23-25]. The new covenant under Jesus Christ is a covenant of done [Heb 8:8-13].
Better tabernacle – Heb 9:11 – the first tabernacle was made by hands and is gone. The tabernacle of Jesus is made without hands and is eternal.
Better blood – Heb 9:12-15 – the blood of bulls and of goats could not take away sins. The blood of Jesus purges your conscience and provides you with eternal redemption.
Better sacrifice – Heb 10:10-14 – the priests had to daily sacrifice under the old covenant. Jesus made on e sacrifice for sins for ever.
Better mount – Heb 12:18-24 – Jews met God at Sinai before and went to the earthly Jerusalem. But they will be with God on mount Sion and they will come to the city of God, the heavenly Jerusalem in the future.
Better kingdom – Heb 12:26-28 – they lost their kingdom by attacks from the Assyrians and the Chaldeans in the Old Testament. But they will have an everlasting, unmovable kingdom under Jesus Christ.
Conclusion: now these are things that the Jews heretofore have rejected. Yet, Paul preached them to the Hebrews because they must know that these things are true and the Jesus Christ is definitely their Messiah, Savior and King. They will have to believe Jesus in the Tribulation and understand that these things are so. They will not be able to escape if they neglect so great salvation [Heb 2:3].