His Superior Word

The Letter to the Hebrews encourages believers not to abandon Jesus when difficult times come by emphasizing the superiority of what God has done in His “Son.” The Word “spoken” in Jesus is superior to the earlier revelations provided “to the fathers in the prophets.” The Letter compares the Levitical system with its incomplete provisions and repeated sacrifices to the “better” priesthood and “once for all” sacrifice of the “Son,” Jesus Christ.

Hebrews demonstrates the superiority of the ministry, priesthood, and sacrifice of Jesus over the priestly services and repeated animal sacrifices of the obsolete Levitical priesthood and the sacrificial rituals of the “former covenant.” Moreover, Jesus alone has “achieved the purification of sins.”

Bible Study - Photo by Ben White on Unsplash
[Photo by Ben White on Unsplash]

The Letter does not denigrate God’s past revelations, but it shows by comparison how much the “
Word spoken in a Son” surpasses the “words” made “in the prophets to the fathers.” It was sent to a congregation experiencing pressure from outsiders, and consequently, some members contemplated returning to the local synagogue to avoid persecution.

  • In many parts and in many ways of old, God spoke to the fathers in the prophets; upon the last 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 impress of his being, also, bearing up all things by the utterance of his power, having achieved purification of sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on High, By so much becoming better than the angels, by as much as, going beyond them, He inherited a more distinguished name” - (Hebrews 1:1-4).

God spoke partially to the “fathers in the prophets,” but now, He is speaking definitively “upon these last days in a Son.” The passage describes the accomplishments of the “Son” through several declarations, each prefaced with the relative pronoun “who,” and it alludes to the main proof text of Hebrews, Psalm 110:1, 4 - (See Studies in the Epistle to the Hebrews by Joseph B. Rotherham, The Restoration Library, page 21).

The final clause of the paragraph concludes with the word “Name” - The Son inherited a “more distinguished NAME.” This statement prepares the reader for the next paragraph in which the one identified as “Son” is compared to the “angels” of God.

If discouraged believers returned to the synagogue, it would be necessary for them to conform to the rituals of Leviticus. However, doing so would dishonor the “Son” through whom God has spoken. Hence, the severe warnings against apostasy threaded throughout the Letter - (Hebrews 2:1-3, 2:15, 6:1-12, 10:25-39).

The opening clause of the Letter begins with two Greek adverbs, polumerōs and polutropōs, both formed with the adjective polus, meaning, “much, many.” Polumerōs is formed with meros or “part,” and polutropōs with tropos or “manner.” They stress different aspects of the older revelations given “by the prophets.”

These individual prophetic “words” were parts of a larger but incomplete whole - “In many parts” - And each partial word was revealed in a different “way.” The latter category would include prophecies, visions, dreams, and other forms of inspired communication. God did speak before, but He only disclosed “glimpses and shadows” of His coming “good things.”

Three contrasts are presented. First, God spoke “of old,” but now, He speaks “upon these last days.” Second, He spoke to “the fathers, but now, “to us,” the Assembly. Third, He spoke “in the prophets,” but now, He is speaking in one who is “a son.”

The earlier revelations were promissory but incomplete. They did not reveal all that God would do for His children. Therefore, fuller disclosure was required. As the Letter argues, the priestly services and sacrifices of the Levitical priesthood were incapable of achieving the “purification of sins” and the “cleansing of the conscience.”


The term, “these Last Days,” provides the time element of this “Word.” It began with the Death and Resurrection of the “Son.” Afterward, he “sat down” in God’s presence where he now intercedes for his people as their “High Priest forevermore at the right hand of the Majesty in High Places” - (Acts 2:17, Galatians 4:4, Ephesians 1:10).

In the Greek sentence, there is no definite article or “the” before the term “son.” The omission stresses the class or status of the one who is called “son,” not his identity. The “Word” that God now speaks is through one who is a son.

Sons are in the closest relationship with their fathers. That familial closeness emphasizes his elevated status. As the “Son,” he is superior even to Moses, the greatest of the “prophets” though still a “servant” in the household of God. Therefore, the “Word” of the Son is superior to all others by its nature and contents.

God appointed Jesus as the “heir of all things.” This clause alludes to the Second Psalm. Yahweh promised to give His Son the “nations as an inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the Earth.” The Letter shortens but also expands the original promise so that now he is said to inherit “ALL THINGS” - (Psalm 2:7-8).

Jesus reflects the brightness of God’s glory and is the “exact impress” of His being. He expresses the glory and nature of God. Only in him can the essence and splendor of God be revealed and comprehended.

Thus, the “Word” of the Son is superior to all past revelations. This is especially so in two distinct ways. First, it is the last word in a long series of prophetic utterances. Second, the “Son” is the means of this communication and the consummation and fulfillment of those past “words.”

What preceded this final Word was preparatory, promissory, and never intended to be the final answer of God for His children. With the advent of Jesus, He has “spoken” decisively and with absolute finality, and nothing can or will ever be the same again.

  • These Last Days - (The era of the Levitical priesthood terminated with the arrival of the word in God’s Son, Jesus Christ, our High Priest forever)
  • Purification of Sins - (Having achieved the purification of sins, Jesus sat down at the right hand of God to intercede for his people as their faithful High Priest)
  • His Distinguished Name - (Having achieved the purification of sins, Jesus inherited a more distinguished name than the angels – Son)



The Purification of Sins