Better (Part 1)

Christ is better

(A word study from the Book of Hebrews)

This is the first of a three-part series.

There are two keys to understanding the book of Hebrews. The first is to identify the audience to who it is addressed. Acts 21:20 explains the target.

20 And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord, and said unto him, Thou see, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe; and they are all zealous of the law:

The book of Hebrews is addressed to the Jews which are still zealous [aggressive pursuers] of the Old Testament law. It’s addressed to Christians who do not understand that they are no longer under the law of death but are now under the law of the spirit of life.

The second key is the word “better”. This is a legal argument comparing what the Mosaic Law offered and what Jesus Christ provided due to his obedience unto death, three-day burial, and resurrection from the dead and ascension to the right hand of God. Everything that was available under the Law is good but Jesus brought something better. Better means a higher quality value than the other or superior excellence. Twelve times Paul says that Jesus Christ is “better” in the Book of Hebrews and we will review each verse.

  1. Better than the angels

The first occurrence in Hebrews 1 highlights that Jesus is “better than the angels”.

4 Being made so much better than the angels, as he has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.

In Hebrews 1 Jesus is “better than the angels” but in Hebrews 2 he is a “little lower than the angels”. There seems to be a contradiction.

7 You made him a little lower than the angels; you crowned him with glory and honor and did set him over the works of your hands:

8 You have put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him.  But now we see not yet all things put under him.

9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.

This phrase is a quote from Psalms 8

5 For you have made him [Jesus] a little lower than the angels and have crowned him with glory and honor.

The word “angels” is a mistranslation in almost every bible translation. The Hebrew word is Elohim as in Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God [Elohim] created the heavens and the earth. Therefore, the proper translation should be “a little lower than God” instead of “a little lower than the angels”. The translators could not fathom that Jesus could be a little lower than God so they changed the word from God to angel.

 

4 Being made so much better than the angels, as he has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.

 

Jesus is better than the angels because he is a little lower than God. The accuracy of the Word of God is astounding. He is better than the angels because he has the name above all names, Christ Jesus, to which every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess.

  1. Better Hope

The second occurrence is in Hebrew’s 7. We will review the entire chapter to understand the context.

1 For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him;

Melchisedec is the King of Salem [Peace].  The blessings of Israel are upon Abraham and his progeny due to the promises of God. Melchisedec crosses path with Abraham after his victorious battle with five kings and blesses Abraham.

2 To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace;

Abraham gives Melchisedec a tenth of spoils from the battle.

3 Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like to the Son of God; stays a priest continually.

Melchisedec could not trace his lineage but like the coming Messiah abides as a priest continually.

4 Now consider how great this man was, to whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils.

We are asked to consider the greatness of Melchisedec because Abraham voluntarily gives him tithes.

5 And truly they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brothers, though they come out of the loins of Abraham:

 

The Levites (the priests) are commanded to receive tithes of their brethren according to the Mosaic Law.

 

6 But he whose descent is not counted from them received tithes of Abraham and blessed him that had the promises.

Melchisedec was not a Levite but yet was a priest that received the tithe from Abraham after blessing him.

7 And without all contradiction, the less is blessed of the better.

8 And here men that die receive tithes; but there he receives them, of whom it is witnessed that he lives.

9 And as I may so say, Levi also, who receives tithes, paid tithes in Abraham.

10 For he was yet in the loins of his father when Melchisedec met him.

11 If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron?

12 For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.

13 For he of whom these things are spoken pertain to another tribe, of which no man gave attendance at the altar.

14 For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning priesthood.

Jesus Christ was of the tribe of Judah and of the Levites.

15 And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there rises another priest,

16 Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life.

17 For he testifies, you are a priest forever after the order of Melchisedec.

18 For there is truly a cancelation of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof.

19 For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by which we draw near to God.

 

The law made nothing perfect, but the better hope does. What is the better hope? In the Old Testament, the Israelites looked forward to Christ’s first coming. Their hope was the resurrection. The church has a better hope because we can look forward to his second coming. The hope of Christ’s return is summarized in 1 Thessalonians 4

13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep [dead], that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.

14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.

15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent[precede]  them which are asleep.

16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

 

This section is about Christ returning for his saints when we meet him in the air and in Revelations we will be with Christ when he returns to the earth with his saints. Glory Hallelujah!!!

  1. Better Testament

Continuing in Hebrews 7,

 

20 And inasmuch as not without an oath he was made priest:

21 (For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him that said to him, The Lord swore and will not repent, You are a priest forever after the order of Melchisedec:)

22 By so much was Jesus made a surety [guarantee] of a better testament.

Jesus Christ is a guarantee of a better witness. Why is he a better witness? Because each believer can say “I have Christ in me, the hope of glory”. This includes eternal life, the ability to operate all nine manifestations, agape love (the love of God), the peace of God, etc. In the Old Testament, only select offices had holy spirit upon them: priests, prophets, kings, and some artisans.  This was only to perform certain work and it was given conditionally. There was limited access to the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament, but there is unlimited access today.

23 And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death:

24 But this man, because he continues ever, has an unchangeable priesthood.

25 Why he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come to God by him, seeing he ever lives to make intercession for them.

26 For such a high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;

27 Who needs not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once when he offered up himself.

28 For the law makes men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, makes the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.

Jesus Christ was the final priest. We no longer need a high priest to enter the holy of holies one day each year on our behalf.

 

 

 

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