The most inspiring part of Hebrews is its first two chapters. Hebrews 1 and 2 comprise probably one of the top introductions in the Bible. They describe a wonderfully moving vision of Christ and the God Family, and you need to study them.
There is a good reason why God inspired this vision, considering this book is mainly for the Laodicean era. God is revealing that a lot of His Family members have lost this vision! They do not see! They no longer understand God’s master plan and their place within it. God loves them and wants to restore this vision to them.
Notice how Paul begins: “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds” (Hebrews 1:1-2). God the Father is speaking to us through His Son. The Moffatt translation shows that Jesus Christ was appointed “heir of the universe.” God the Father speaks to His loyal remnant through the Inheritor of the entire universe. He is speaking to His Family!
Paul is talking about the Father and Son. He didn’t start the way the Apostle John did, who wrote about the Word and God (John 1:1). Paul talks about family—Father and Son! That is a vision in itself! God is a Family. This is about the good news of the Kingdom of God, which is the Family of God. This is the message of the Bible from beginning to end.
The word “Son” in Hebrews 1:2 holds extraordinary vision! Paul explains this vision throughout this chapter.
As we will see, Paul goes on to show that we have the same potential: God is going to bring “many sons unto glory,” and Christ considers us brothers (Hebrews 2:10-11). This is the most amazing vision in the Bible! Those in God’s true Church today are coheirs with Jesus Christ. God wants to add as many members and coheirs to His Family as He can. He wants to add you and me!
Paul wrote about this because he wanted the members to get back into their minds the vision they had lost!
Declaring the Father
As John 1:1 reveals, God and the Word had dwelled together in perfect unity for all eternity. The Word perfectly submitted to God. Time itself did not exist yet. Then the two of them created the angels, the universe and the Earth. Later, after the archangel Lucifer and the third of the angels under him rebelled, God and the Word created human beings.
Then the Word came to Earth as Jesus Christ—and at that point, He became the Son of God. This faithful Son had changed from the perfect, spirit body of a God Being into dust. And in that form, He continued to demonstrate His subjection and His loyalty to the Father. He didn’t rebel as the angels had. Christ remained completely sinless and perfect for His entire physical life.
Christ came to Earth to declare His Father (John 1:18). To this day, He is still turning human beings to the Father. Everything He teaches centers around that purpose. What loyalty—and what a contrast to this world of betrayal! He is a Son, and He is thrilled to be a Son! There is no hint of competition between Him and the Father. That is rare—God-rare.
In the book of Hebrews, Jesus Christ shows us how to honor the Father. The trouble with God’s people today is they do not honor the Father (Malachi 1:6). Why? That is what Paul is addressing: They have lost the Family vision!
Paul wrote that Christ said, “I will declare thy [God the Father’s] name unto my brethren …” (Hebrews 2:12). This is what a loving Son does. You and I need to do the same. Will you declare God’s name to this world? That is what this Work is doing. It is why we have been called ahead of the rest of humanity. We need to show this dark world that there is hope—hope that only the Father can give!
Closely study how Paul describes Christ in Hebrews 1:3: “Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his [God the Father’s] person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.” The Moffatt says Christ was “stamped with God’s own character.” He told His disciples, “[H]e that hath seen me hath seen the Father” (John 14:9). He and the Father are exactly the same in mind and spirit. Such unity and cooperation can only be found in the God Family.
If you read Hebrews 1:3 a thousand times, you will continue to get the message more deeply in your mind. It is that profound! There is nothing shallow about being sons of God. God is re-creating Himself. That is the greatest thing God can do—it is the pinnacle of His creative ability.
“[H]e had by himself purged our sins.” Christ didn’t have to be sacrificed to carry out His plan for the angels. Once angels choose to be either good or evil, their character is set. They will not change. They cannot die—they are immortal. With humans, however, the penalty for sin is death (Romans 6:23). Without Christ’s sacrifice, physical death would be the permanent end for all of us. However, we can also change—and turn away from our sin.
God and Christ have proved their love for all humanity by risking eternal separation. If Christ had sinned even once—even by dwelling on a wrong thought—in 33½ years on Earth, His death would have paid for His sins only. He would have died forever, ineligible for resurrection. Aside from the angels, God the Father would have been alone in the universe as the only God Being with no ability to expand His Family.
Christ proved His dedication to this cause: He came to Earth and was savagely beaten and brutalized. He didn’t even look like a man! (Isaiah 52:14). And He did that for you. He lived a sinless life—for you. He allowed Himself to be crucified for you. You need to make this personal.
When Christ was resurrected from the dead, He “sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Hebrews 1:3). He received glory far beyond anything any angel has ever received (verse 4). When He was transformed back into a Spirit Being, Christ became God’s firstborn Son. The God Family goal took a major step toward fulfillment. That Family consists of the Father, the Son and, soon, innumerable sons! God wants to give us the same glory He gave Christ! Humans have the opportunity to undergo the same miraculous process to become literal spirit-born sons of God!
Sons of God
Paul recognized how John skipped the angelic “Plan A” in his Gospel account, and he used that to teach a lesson to the Jewish Church members. The third of the angels who rebelled proved that God needed another plan. Paul tried to help the members see the magnitude of what God was offering them.
“For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?” (Hebrews 1:5). God never said these things to an angel—but He said them to Christ. And the astounding truth is, He is saying them to His begotten people today!
Here Paul quotes Psalm 2:7 and 2 Samuel 7:14. Psalm 2:7 says, “I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.” This is a prophecy of Christ being begotten as a human being—but it is also true of all those who are called into God’s Church and begotten with the Holy Spirit!
In 2 Samuel 7:12-14, God promised David that Solomon would build Him a house, and then said, “I will be his father, and he shall be my son.” God is talking about Solomon, a human being who was a type of Christ! He didn’t say a father and a son—but his father and my son: God made it very personal! God never said any such thing to an angel—but He said it of Solomon, and He said it of Christ—and He says it toyou.
Angels do not marry. They don’t have sex or reproduce (Matthew 22:30). Each angel was individually designed and created. The angels don’t experience anything like physical family. They are called “sons of God” only by virtue of having been created by God. However, they are not sons in the familial sense. They were not spiritually begotten by God, later to be born as full-fledged God Family members. But you are! If you are in God’s one true Church, you are spiritually in the womb. And God is doing all He can to make sure you are born into His Family!
When the third of the angels who were charged with placing the finishing touches on Earth decided instead to rebel and, in the process, wrecked the Earth, God knew He could trust only Himself to rule the universe. The angelic “Plan A” had failed, so God decided to use a more perfect plan: “Plan B.” He said, I have to re-create myself, or we will never be able to have anybody rule the universe. The whole universe is out there for us! That is our potential.
Being begotten by God through God’s Holy Spirit is where all our hope lies. Even if the Holy Spirit is not yet in you, but is working with you before baptism, you are on your way to being born into the very Family of God. If that sounds like heresy, you need to read God’s inspired Word more closely. The vision in Hebrews 1 and 2 is powerful! Some have even called it blasphemy—but it is the very Word of God!
You are being called to rule the universe because God knows that the angels—impressive as they are—could never be fully trusted to do that. The angelic plan failed, which is why God created mankind.
If you yield yourself to God today, you will rule over those brilliant, majestic beings. He never called the angels sons of God, but He calls you sons over and over and over.
In Hebrews 1 and 2, over and over Paul juxtaposes angels next to “sons of God.” He is making a striking comparison. He wanted the Jews to understand the unfathomable brilliance of the angels. He must have asked them, Do you realize—you puny, flesh-and-blood human beings—what your future is? God’s purpose for you is so much greater than that of the angels!
Look at how impressive the angels are! In 1 Chronicles 21:15, one angel had enough power to destroy Jerusalem! Revelation 1:20 describes the angels of the seven Church eras being like stars. They shine like the sun! Revelation 7:1-2 show angels “standing on the four corners of the earth,” working for God. Revelation 9:14-15 depict those angels having awesome power! Revelation 16 describes angels pouring out seven earth-destroying plagues!
Look at the angel who delivered the little book: “And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire: And he had in his hand a little book open: and he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot on the earth” (Revelation 10:1-2). Well, we are the people of the little book! The angels have faces that shine like the sun. They truly are spectacularly brilliant spirit beings. Yet their splendor is nothing compared to the Family of God! These beings are so impressive—yet in the World Tomorrow, they are going to minister to us! We’re going to be much higher in position than they—your Bible says that clearly.
If we will just stay loyal to God, we will rule alongside Christ from universe headquarters in Jerusalem over all the Earth and all the universe for all eternity! Our potential is to become brilliant beyond belief!
Have you ever noticed that whenever angels decide to try to overthrow God, God easily puts them down? Revelation 12:7-9 show how He simply hurled Satan and his demons to Earth and cleared the heavens of them! The righteous angels rejoiced to be rid of them—but now they are here on Earth, and they possess fearsome power. Still, it is nothing for God to defeat them in war! Lucifer ought to have known that. How do you fight the God who created you? That makes no sense—but many people rebel against God.
God wants you to think about this. It shows the magnitude of the potential God is giving us! Is it really true that God could give us so much? You’d have to say the Father’s sacrifice of His Son answers that question with a resounding yes!
What is it worth to be a son of God—and not just a son of God but one of the few who obeys God and does His Work before Christ’s return? That is the only way to receive a headquarters reward as part of the Bride of Christ.
Notice how Paul concludes Hebrews 1: “But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool? Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?” (verses 13-14). God never said to the angels, “Sit on my right hand.” The angels will never sit at God’s right hand on the very throne of David! As brilliant and impressive as they are, they were never given such potential.
They will never share His throne—but we will! “Them who shall be heirs of salvation” is you and me! We are going to sit at the right hand of God, ruling for eternity with Jesus Christ. Those mighty, brilliant, luminous angels minister to us, the “heirs of salvation.”
We are spiritually begotten, full-fledged members of the Family of God! God is re-creating Himself in us—which means we are going to be ruling with Him throughout eternity and over all the universe!
By creating the God Family, the Father and the Son are re-creating themselves in human beings. Physical family is a type of the God Family. Physical birth is a God-plane event! We will be born spiritually into the Family of God, which is also the Kingdom of God. We will then be brighter than the blindingly bright angels. What a calling God is offering us!
How does He achieve that creation of all creations? Through marriage and family. These beautiful gifts from God are only given to those who have universe-ruling potential! The angels were never offered that. This is why mankind has marriage, sex and family, but the angels do not. They are not being created into sons of God. They were never given that potential. The fact that you have the opportunity to get married and have a family proves that you have a potential far greater than the angels have.
You must really love God’s plan and understand what it is all about. You have to understand why marriage and family and love it. It is a God-plane relationship! Physical marriage is a type of our marriage to Jesus Christ. We should be acting like Christ and His wife now. We must be building His character and taking on the very mind of Christ. If we don’t, then how can we possibly rule with Him as His Bride for all eternity?
Today, sadly, 95 percent of God’s people lack this vision! During his 1985 Pentecost message, Mr. Armstrong warned the Laodiceans that they didn’t “get it.” They didn’t understand their calling. Even if you think it is firmly in your mind and feel confident in your understanding, you had better be careful. We must always be growing and deepening that understanding. We must not let this slip away as most of God’s people have. God will not allow anyone to drift into this wonderful future. This is a drop-dead vision we must hold tightly.
In eight verses in these first two chapters, Paul says the angels were never given the same potential as human beings (Hebrews 1:4-7, 13-14; 2:5, 7). That’s eight out of 32 verses—one fourth of them—showing that our potential is greater than that of the angels.
In Hebrews 2:6-8, Paul quotes King David: “But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him? Thou [God] madest him a little [while] lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: Thou hast 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.” God did put Earth in subjection under the angels, but they failed in their responsibility. God realized that to have other beings help Him in governing the universe, He would have to re-create Himself.
Read David’s meditation in Psalm 8:4-6, which Paul quoted. What IS man? David was thinking about God focusing so much attention on him. Compare our potential to that of the angels: We can become God beings! I’ll be his Father, and he shall be my son, the Father says. How far superior is God to an angel!
David was the one to whom God promised an everlasting throne. Now we have the new throne of David. God is creating a Family to rule over His Family and the universe for all eternity! This truth is so transcendent it is difficult to grasp—but we should be extremely excited about it!
Paul illustrates how great our salvation is, and then in Hebrews 2:1-3, he warns, don’t let that slip! Don’t neglect that salvation!
Verses 10-11 show that God is bringing many sons to glory in the Family of God—and that Christ “is not ashamed to call them brethren”! God never said that about an angel!
Give Earnest Heed
“Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip” (Hebrews 2:1). Paul was easing in to correct the brethren. He was about to give them some hard chastisement. Why? Because he loved them.
Some people probably thought Paul was being extreme or that he was misinformed. He wasn’t! Everything happened exactly as he said it would. But it did not come from Paul. It came from our High Priest, who speaks through men like Paul.
Mr. Armstrong faced the same backlash. Some said he was too extreme. They thought they were spiritual and righteous. But they were not! They weren’t even close to being ready to teach the world.
After Mr. Armstrong died, ministers began telling many lies about him. I came into the Church in 1961 after listening to Mr. Armstrong for years. Nothing those men were saying about him was true. Many of those men got people to follow them, but those people didn’t know their Bibles or obey God. You must not believe a man, apart from God. Only follow men as they follow Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1). You must know your Bible and prove who is following Christ. Let the Scriptures guide you, and you will never go wrong. Then you can discern who God is using. But if you cast that aside and follow mere men instead, you will have trouble.
Look at the world today. It is just as the Prophet Isaiah said: Nations are sick and faint of heart (Isaiah 1:5). This world needs teachers! It needs people who, as Paul wrote, give earnest heed to God’s truth.
“How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him” (Hebrews 2:3). Paul deeply valued instruction from those who were personally trained by Jesus Christ in the flesh. There were people in Paul’s day who heard Jesus speak firsthand. Their accounts confirmed what Paul was saying. Paul said, Don’t believe me; look at the proof of those who were with the Son of God!
“God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy [Spirit], according to his own will?” (verse 4). We must live by the power of the Holy Spirit, and then everything falls into place. Often in God’s Work we step out in faith, and then God works miracles!
You will have trials and tests, but God says you can rejoice in those because they help you recognize and overcome your faults. We all must be continuously overcoming and destroying our human nature. That requires the power of God. God provides us all the power we need to succeed. Christ is personally being directed by God the Father to ensure you make it into His Family. That is where the Father’s focus is and where Christ’s focus is.
Rule All Things
Paul repeatedly reminds us that we are to rule Earth and the universe. God plans to put the whole world in subjection under the firstfruits—those individuals chosen before the Second Coming (Hebrews 2:5, 8). You must make this personal. The world’s leaders today are inept. When Christ returns, a spiritual nation will be born in a day—through a resurrection. This nation will have proved that it will follow Jesus Christ.
Paul again quotes King David: “But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him?” (verse 6). This is a stunning question to ponder: why God would be so concerned about human beings and would focus so much attention on a little group of firstfruits. But that is just the beginning!
Man is so special to God! “Thou [God] madest him [man] a little [while] lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: Thou hast 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. …” (verses 7-8).
Think seriously about what these verses are saying! First, Jesus Christ has qualified to rule all things. He is not yet in charge of Earth; in fact, right now Satan is the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4). Christ has not yet begun to rescue the universe from its current state of waste and decay; He is waiting for us to be born spiritually! (Romans 8:19-23). But, as Hebrews 2:8 says, God has awarded Him all things. In a short time, Christ will take His rightful place as King of kings and Lord of lords (Revelation 19:16).
But that is not all: God is also offering all things to human beings! God is going to put the whole universe in subjection to man once He has re-created Himself in mankind! And to those who do His Work and declare the Family of God before the Second Coming, God gives special honor and glory! If you are loyal to Him and His Work today, you will be at headquarters forever.
The Jewish members of God’s Church during Paul’s day basically shrugged at the thought of their purpose and potential. The Laodiceans today say, “So what?” When you stray from your High Priest, Jesus Christ, your glorious future just doesn’t seem important anymore.
How do you explain 95 percent of God’s people turning away from this truth today? Hebrews gives us the answer. It is aimed at the Laodicean era. If you lose this vision, then you will neglect so great a salvation (Hebrews 2:3). Those who reject this calling will have to suffer the Great Tribulation. Amid that terrible suffering, 50 percent of them will repent. In the a.d. 70 holocaust, conditions grew so desperate that cannibalism was rampant! The Laodiceans will suffer even worse circumstances if they don’t turn back to God now. We love them and want to help them in any way we can. But we cannot help them if they will not allow it.
Paul was trying to help the Hebrews realize what they were giving up! He wanted to make this vision clear to Church members who had lost it. In this end time, the situation within God’s Church is even worse! Just look at what happened to the Worldwide Church of God after Herbert W. Armstrong died!
Always remember that Christ is preparing you to rule all things. This has notyet happened with man. “… But now we see not yet all things put under him. But we see Jesus, who was made a little [while] lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour …” (verses 8-9). Christ has already been crowned with glory and honor. He knows how to attain that spectacular victory—and He wants you to receive glory and honor as well! With a vision like this in your mind, you will be prepared to teach the world.
What a dynamic message! God is teaching us about His Family. Why would Paul and others who were martyred stand up to emperors like Nero, suffering hardships and losing their lives? Paul truly believed what he was teaching! He had the mind-stretching God Family vision.
Many Sons to Glory
Hebrews 2:10 gives us one of the most towering truths in this whole book: “For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory ….” Christ is God’s Son, and God is working right now to bringmanysons unto the glory of the God Family!
Many would balk at a statement like Paul’s. Yet it is in their Bible—the inspired Word of God! God is going to bring many, many sons to glory—all those who yield to Him. This is not just about being born; it is about receiving eternal glory! That should excite you more than anything—by far!
“For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one”—that is referring to God the Father and those whom He calls—“for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren” (verse 11). The Father is the origin. He begets sons and then turns them over to Christ. Christ then leads the Church, working with His people so they can share His throne to rule the world!
Christ considers us brothers and coheirs to His Family. Jesus Christ is our Brother. He is a Son of God, and so are you. What a majestic honor! He created us with a spectacular future. Could God give us anything greater? He gives you more love than you could ever imagine.
Christ was “made like unto his brethren” (verse 17)—His brothers, talking about us! What love God has for mankind! He sent His Son to Earth to suffer and die for us (verses 9, 14-18). Christ endured everything that foolish, deceived men did to Him in order to open up salvation to us. What wonderful, fathomless love! What commitment God has toward us.
Back to verse 10: “[T]o make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.” Christ is the Captain! He is leading us! A general in an army would usually be more in the background—but a captain is out there leading His men in battle!
That word could also be translated Author or Pioneer. Jesus Christ is the Pioneer of our salvation. Just as He was crowned with glory and honor, so will we also be as the Bride of Christ! We must follow His example to be born spiritually and obtain eternal life as He did.
When my great-granddaughter was learning to walk, she would fall, walk, fall, walk—it was a cycle of training. But every time she stumbled, she would get right back up and move forward. That is what God wants us to do. If we fall, He wants us to get up like a little child and go on. You are certain to finish this race if you keep moving forward.
Nothing will stop you if you stay with Christ. He needs a helpmeet, a wife to help Him. A husband and wife need each other. Children need unified parents who love each other, love their children, and love God.
‘I Sing Praise Unto You’
“Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee. And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me” (Hebrews 2:12-13). We should be declaring God’s name all the time—mostly by our example. That is what Jesus Christ did when He came to Earth and spent time with His brothers. Paul also endured some tough trials—but he also saw his glorious future. That caused him to sing God’s praises!
We have to be like Christ and Paul, and sing God’s praises. We need to see and fully comprehend this future. We need to be filled with God’s joy and decide to not be anything other than that. If we do, then we will sing praises to God. Yes, God allows trials. But we should rejoice even in our fiery trials because they help us turn to God. Our trials are given in love. If we trust God and not men, then no matter what challenges we face, we will be declaring His name and working fervently for Him.
We are entering difficult, perilous times just before the Second Coming. World powers in Asia, Europe and the Middle East are rising up. We are staring destruction in the face—much like the Jews of the first century were. Christ warned in Matthew 24 that if He didn’t return, every person on Earth would be obliterated! God is warning us!
But as perilous as the near future is, this is not a gloomy message if you focus on the vision of Hebrews 1 and 2. It is filled with good news. Understanding the future will cause the world to know God!
These introductory chapters of Hebrews contain tremendous hope. God jumps right into this mind-staggering vision because He knows that the Laodiceans have lost it. That is why they are Laodicean, or lukewarm!
Who else besides God’s Church recognizes the all-encompassing truth about the Father and Son, and the God Family? God is a Family! God is love. We cannot express with words how much God loves us. It is a love this world does not understand. But God will make sure they understand.
Most of mankind will not know God in this age. Human beings are deceived from childhood on up (Revelation 12:9). But God has a plan to solve this problem. After suffering the Great Tribulation—the worst suffering ever on Earth—people will begin to see that they must submit to God. They will get to know God by going through that intense trial. When they are humbled and see the need to submit to God, then God will teach them, and they will truly get to know Him.
Those who never knew God will be resurrected and have the chance to know God. Every person who has ever lived will be resurrected. If God didn’t give mankind that chance, most people would not have an opportunity to be in that Family. But Jesus Christ died for the whole world! The Father gave His only begotten Son so that all might be saved.
A new civilization is about to be introduced to the world, and it has begun in God’s Church today! God has given us so much truth and revelation and hope. We must grab hold of it and pour ourselves into finishing this Work. Isn’t the God Family vision so inspiring that you just want to share it with the world? God wants us to fill our minds with this message and to master the opportunities He gives us!