Christ In The Epistle To The Hebrews -- By: Ernest W. Burch

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 074:296 (Oct 1917)
Article: Christ In The Epistle To The Hebrews
Author: Ernest W. Burch

Christ In The Epistle To The Hebrews

Ernest W. Burch

Mitchell, So. Dak.

It is probably vain to speculate as to who were the first readers of this Epistle. But it is easy to see that the occasion of it was the existing need of emphasis upon the spiritual

presence of Christ in the world. Very likely in this second half of the first century, a generation after Jesus had arisen from the dead, too many still put their faith in the historical Jesus and bemoaned the fact that he had died. Hence the emphasis in our Epistle upon the “throne of grace,” the Session at the right hand of God, and the “sameness” of Christ, “yesterday, to-day, and forever.”

Jesus is presented under each of three different aspects. He is Son, King, and Priest. It will be convenient to study the exposition in that order.

Jesus The Son

This is the first name that greets the reader. On the one hand, “the prophets,” by whom revelation came in the past; on the other, the son (a son) in whom all revelation finds its climax. The latter is supreme among prophets, distinguished men like Moses and Aaron, even among angels (3:2–5; 4:8).

Congruous with the statement that the Son is begotten (1:5) he is said to be heir of all things, and to bear such an unique likeness to the Father that he is “the effulgence of his glory, and the very image of his substance” (1:3). One is reminded of what Jesus himself said to his contemporaries, “He that beholdeth me beholdeth him that sent me” (John 12:45). And to Philip, when he asked, “Lord, show us the Father,” the answer was, “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father” (John 14:9).

It is not at all likely that the first readers of the Epistle to the Hebrews questioned whether Jesus enjoyed an “eternal preexistence” or not. The writer’s high purpose was achieved when he had shown that the Son was entitled to any appellation or characteristic that befits God. He is a sorry quibbler who can read the first chapter of Hebrews and doubt the essential divinity of Christ.

A being who was present and creatively active at the creation (1:2) not only of this earth, but of “the worlds.” and who sustains an immanent relation to creation, yea, “uphold-


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