Have you ever noticed that there is a hierarchy or “pecking order” in almost everything in life? For example, in business there is either a board of directors or an owner or owners at the top, managers (if there are any) in the middle and workers at the bottom. In the school system, there is a school board at the top, followed by superintendents and directors of various departments, then individual school principals, then teachers and then students.
There is also a hierarchy in heaven. God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are at the top, followed by angels and archangels. As part of the top level, Jesus is God’s final revelation of God, because he is God’s Son, the agent of creation, the very glory of God and one who cleanses us from sin. God spoke to his people through prophets in Old Testament times, and he speaks to us today through Jesus and the Bible. The Old Testament prophets could only give us pieces of truth. When Jesus came, all of these pieces came together and gained meaning. Unfortunately, in many cases the people reacted to the truth of God’s message by killing the prophets and Jesus when they should have obeyed the message ,”Don’t shoot the messenger.”
One problem in almost any organization that has more than a few levels is communication. Sometimes messages sent by higher levels are not conveyed clearly or in their original form. Here’s a good example:
Memo from Director General to Manager:
Today at 11 o’clock there will be a total eclipse of the sun. This is when the sun disappears behind the moon for two minutes. As this is something that cannot be seen every day, time will be allowed for employees to view the eclipse in the car park. Staff should meet in the car park at ten to eleven, when I will deliver a short speech introducing the eclipse, and giving some background information. Safety goggles will be made available at a small cost.
Memo from Manager to Department Head:
Today at ten to eleven, all staff should meet in the car park. This will be followed by a total eclipse of the sun, which will disappear for two minutes. For a moderate cost, this will be made safe with goggles. The Director General will deliver a short speech beforehand to give us all some background information. This is not something that can be seen every day.
Memo from Department Head to Floor Manager:
The Director General will today deliver a short speech to make the sun disappear for two minutes in the eclipse. This is something that cannot be seen every day, so staff will meet in the car park at ten or eleven. This will be safe, if you pay a moderate cost.
Memo from Floor Manager to Supervisor:
Ten or eleven staff are to go to the car park, where the Director General will eclipse the sun for two minutes. This doesn’t happen every day. It will be safe, but it will cost you.
Memo from Supervisor to staff:
Some staff will go to the car park today to see the Director General disappear. It is a pity this doesn’t happen every day.
Jesus solved this communication problem for us by coming down from heaven to live among us, experience what we as humans experience, and clearly convey the message of God’s love by his words, deeds and love for us.
As the Son of God, Jesus is superior to the world, even though he was not fully revealed to man until his death, resurrection and ascension. Because he became human, he was our representative before God. He was like a lawyer in a court case where God is the judge. He pleaded our case before Judge God, and he still pleads our case before Judge God today if he takes our case. Jesus became perfect by living as a human being while at the same time living a sin-free life and obeying God. He became the perfect sacrifice for us and the perfect example for us as Christians to follow. He calls on us to join him in worship.
God gave man dominion over all the earth, but that dominion was wasted because of Adam and Eve’s sin in the Garden of Eden. Man was told to take care of the earth, but we have not always shown good stewardship. We have wasted natural resources, polluted the earth and hunted many species of birds, fish and animals to the point of endangerment or extinction. Our stewardship of the earth has left a lot to be desired. God sees us and what we do in life. He sees what we are doing with the resources he has entrusted to us, even though he is at the top of the hierarchy and we are at the bottom.
The Letter to the Hebrews is about the person of Christ-his deity, humanity, supremacy, priesthood, sacrifice and glory. As I mentioned earlier in this message, God spoke to his people at various times and in various ways, and he still speaks to us at various times and in various ways today. All Old Testament revelations pointed to God’s final revelation in Jesus.
If we want to get to know God, all we have to do is get to know Jesus, and we get to know Jesus by reading and studying the Bible. God’s very nature is revealed perfectly in Jesus because Jesus is God. He is the one who upholds all things by the word of his power, and therefore he controls history. Christ’s birth is the greatest proof of God’s love and concern for humanity. God translated deity to humanity by coming to earth in the form of Jesus, and this final revelation was absolute, infallible and authoritative. The world in its entirety was given to Christ as the heir of all things. As the executor of God’s divine will, Jesus will return on day to enforce every clause.
In speaking of the world to come, the writer of Hebrews contrasts it with the present age. In the world to come, angels will not be in charge, but in the present age they rule the world by ministering with God in a role above humans and below God. In God’s original plan for the world, humans were second only to the angels in God’s hierarchy of creation. Humans are lower than angels for several reasons:
- Humans are physical beings, but angels are spiritual beings.
- Humans are subject to death, angels are not.
- Humans are bound by time and space, angels are not.
- Humans are bound to the earth, angels are not.
God’s original plan was for humanity to have domination over the world, but Adam and Eve delayed that plan. We are born to rule the world, but when we are born again at death we will regain our place of honour and glory. Jesus rules over creation now, but in time God will restore humanity to its intended place of authority. In order to do this, God had to become human and taste death for everyone. Union with God could not be restored without suffering. Christ’s sufferings were fitting because they completed the work of bringing us to God’s glory.
Believers become holy the moment they are saved, but they are also sanctified by God through the Holy Spirit as they grow in faith. They increase in holiness through the work of God. We take part in the process by reading, studying and obeying the Bible.
After his resurrection, Jesus called his followers “brethren.” By using this term, Jesus shows that he is willing to identify with people in their humanity and suffering. We are challenged to consider that we are members of God’s family. Just like families come together to help a member who is in trouble, God reaches his hand out to us. God will always be a light in the darkness of our sin-filled world. We can’t hide from that light because God will always find us and bring us back to him. The light reflects God’s glory and one day we will share that glory in heaven. Until then, we can reflect God’s radiance here on earth by doing the work God has called us to do and to show God’s love to our hurting world.
- Jeremiah, David: The Jeremiah Study Bible, NKJV (Brentwood, TN: Worthy Publishing; 2013)
- ESV Study Bible. Part of Wordsearch 11 Bible software package.
- Evans, L.H. & Ogilvie, L.J.: The Preacher’s Commentary Series, Vol. 38: Hebrews (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc.; 1985)
- MacArthur, J.F. Jr.: The MacArthur Study Bible, NASV (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers; 2006)
- Rebecca Barlow Jordan, “The Radiance of God’s Glory.” Retrieved from Christianity.firstname.lastname@example.org
- Dr. David Jeremiah, “Born to Rule.” Retrieved from email@example.com
- Berni Dymet, “What’s God Like?” Retrieved from Christianity.firstname.lastname@example.org