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Hebrews 1-4 Common English Bible (CEB)

The Son is God’s ultimate messenger

In the past, God spoke through the prophets to our ancestors in many times and many ways. In these final days, though, he spoke to us through a Son. God made his Son the heir of everything and created the world through him. The Son is the light of God’s glory and the imprint of God’s being. He maintains everything with his powerful message. After he carried out the cleansing of people from their sins, he sat down at the right side of the highest majesty. And the Son became so much greater than the other messengers, such as angels, that he received a more important title than theirs.

Speaking to the Son and angels

After all, when did God ever say to any of the angels:

You are my Son.
        Today I have become your Father?[a]

Or, even,

I will be his Father,
        and he will be my Son?[b]

But then, when he brought his firstborn into the world, he said,

All of God’s angels must worship him.[c]

He talks about the angels:

He’s the one who uses the spirits for his messengers
        and who uses flames of fire as ministers.[d]

But he says to his Son,

God, your throne is forever
        and your kingdom’s scepter is a rod of justice.
You loved righteousness and hated lawless behavior.
        That is why God, your God,
        has anointed you with oil instead of your companions.[e]

10 And he says,

You, Lord, laid the earth’s foundations in the beginning,
        and the heavens are made by your hands.
11 They will pass away,
        but you remain.
They will all wear out like old clothes.
12         You will fold them up like a coat.
They will be changed like a person changes clothes,
        but you stay the same,
        and the years of your life won’t come to an end.[f]

13 When has he ever said to any of the angels,

Sit at my right side
        until I put your enemies under your feet like a footstool?[g]

14 Aren’t all the angels ministering spirits who are sent to serve those who are going to inherit salvation?

Listen to the Son’s message

This is why it’s necessary for us to pay more attention to what we have heard, or else we may drift away from it. If the message that was spoken by angels was reliable, and every offense and act of disobedience received an appropriate consequence, how will we escape if we ignore such a great salvation? It was first announced through the Lord, and then it was confirmed by those who heard him. God also vouched for their message with signs, amazing things, various miracles, and gifts from the Holy Spirit, which were handed out the way he wanted.

Jesus is the enthroned human being

God didn’t put the world that is coming (the world we are talking about) under the angels’ control. Instead, someone declared somewhere,

What is humanity that you think about them?
        Or what are the human beings that you care about them?
For a while you made them lower than angels.
        You crowned the human beings with glory and honor.
        You put everything under their control.[h]

When he puts everything under their control, he doesn’t leave anything out of control. But right now, we don’t see everything under their control yet. However, we do see the one who was made lower in order than the angels for a little while—it’s Jesus! He’s the one who is now crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of his death. He suffered death so that he could taste death for everyone through God’s grace.

Qualified to be a high priest

10 It was appropriate for God, for whom and through whom everything exists, to use experiences of suffering to make perfect the pioneer of salvation. This salvation belongs to many sons and daughters whom he’s leading to glory. 11 This is because the one who makes people holy and the people who are being made holy all come from one source. That is why Jesus isn’t ashamed to call them brothers and sisters when he says,

12 I will publicly announce your name to my brothers and sisters.
        I will praise you in the middle of the assembly.[i]

13 He also says,

I will rely on him.[j]

And also,

Here I am with the children whom God has given to me.[k]

14 Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, he also shared the same things in the same way. He did this to destroy the one who holds the power over death—the devil—by dying. 15 He set free those who were held in slavery their entire lives by their fear of death. 16 Of course, he isn’t trying to help angels, but rather he’s helping Abraham’s descendants. 17 Therefore, he had to be made like his brothers and sisters in every way. This was so that he could become a merciful and faithful high priest in things relating to God, in order to wipe away the sins of the people. 18 He’s able to help those who are being tempted, since he himself experienced suffering when he was tempted.

We are Jesus’ house

Therefore, brothers and sisters who are partners in the heavenly calling, think about Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession. Jesus was faithful to the one who appointed him just like Moses was faithful in God’s house. But he deserves greater glory than Moses in the same way that the builder of the house deserves more honor than the house itself. Every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything. Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant in order to affirm the things that would be spoken later. But Jesus was faithful over God’s house as a Son. We are his house if we hold on to the confidence and the pride that our hope gives us.

Respond to Jesus’ voice now

So, as the Holy Spirit says,

Today, if you hear his voice,
    don’t have stubborn hearts
        as they did in the rebellion,
        on the day when they tested me in the desert.
That is where your ancestors challenged and tested me,
        though they had seen my work for forty years.
10 So I was angry with them.
I said,Their hearts always go off course,
        and they don’t know my ways.
11 Because of my anger I swore:
        They will never enter my rest![l]

12 Watch out, brothers and sisters, so that none of you have an evil, unfaithful heart that abandons the living God. 13 Instead, encourage each other every day, as long as it’s called “today,” so that none of you become insensitive to God because of sin’s deception. 14 We are partners with Christ, but only if we hold on to the confidence we had in the beginning until the end.

15 When it says,

Today, if you hear his voice, don’t have stubborn hearts
        as they did in the rebellion.[m]

16 Who was it who rebelled when they heard his voice? Wasn’t it all of those who were brought out of Egypt by Moses? 17 And with whom was God angry for forty years? Wasn’t it with the ones who sinned, whose bodies fell in the desert? 18 And against whom did he swear that they would never enter his rest, if not against the ones who were disobedient? 19 We see that they couldn’t enter because of their lack of faith.

Enter the rest

Therefore, since the promise that we can enter into rest is still open, let’s be careful so that none of you will appear to miss it. We also had the good news preached to us, just as the Israelites did. However, the message they heard didn’t help them because they weren’t united in faith with the ones who listened to it. We who have faith are entering the rest. As God said,

And because of my anger I swore:
        They will never enter into my rest![n]

And yet God’s works were completed at the foundation of the world. Then somewhere he said this about the seventh day of creation: God rested on the seventh day from all his works.[o] But again, in the passage above, God said, They will never enter my rest![p] Therefore, it’s left open for some to enter it, and the ones who had the good news preached to them before didn’t enter because of disobedience. Just as it says in the passage above, God designates a certain day as “today,” when he says through David much later,

Today, if you hear his voice,
        don’t have stubborn hearts.[q]

If Joshua gave the Israelites rest, God wouldn’t have spoken about another day later on. So you see that a sabbath rest is left open for God’s people. 10 The one who entered God’s rest also rested from his works, just as God rested from his own.

First summary of the message

11 Therefore, let’s make every effort to enter that rest so that no one will fall by following the same example of disobedience, 12 because God’s word is living, active, and sharper than any two-edged sword. It penetrates to the point that it separates the soul from the spirit and the joints from the marrow. It’s able to judge the heart’s thoughts and intentions. 13 No creature is hidden from it, but rather everything is naked and exposed to the eyes of the one to whom we have to give an answer.

14 Also, let’s hold on to the confession since we have a great high priest who passed through the heavens, who is Jesus, God’s Son; 15 because we don’t have a high priest who can’t sympathize with our weaknesses but instead one who was tempted in every way that we are, except without sin.

16 Finally, let’s draw near to the throne of favor with confidence so that we can receive mercy and find grace when we need help.

Common English Bible (CEB)

Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible

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