This article has been curated from "Hebrews: the Book of Better Things" by Bill Britton, a series of messages written and published earlier in booklet form, which we considered so vital to present truth that we decided to put them in permanent book form.
LEAVING THE OLD TO EMBRACE THE NEW
Many scholars believe that the apostle Paul was the author of Hebrews, based on internal evidence, the style of writing, the revelation of grace, and the pattern of his logic. Paul, who was once the most orthodox of Jews, blameless in the matters of the Law, has had a vision of Christ and a revelation of the gospel of the grace of God. He now is the strongest opponent of the Law of Moses with its rituals, ceremonies, and animal sacrifices. He will not succeed in destroying the old order completely, nor will he be able to convince all the Jews to leave that dead system (it still has millions of followers today.) But he is sounding a clarion call to those Christians who have tasted the reality of Christ and want to follow Jesus into full Sonship. The message is that they will have to turn loose of the past and rid themselves of every remaining garment of the Jew’s religion. We have a better way. The shadows are gone... we have arrived at the substance.
Christians in our day are not very concerned about the controversy of Paul’s day between law and grace. So is the book of Hebrews relevant for us today? Yes! For today we are faced with an old order that is passing away and a new order that is coming in, bringing a revelation of Sonship... a higher order. The revelation of this high calling was given to the apostles in the early church, and they faithfully wrote it down. But it is obvious that the early church, the earnest or firstfruits of God’s order for His Body, did not fully reach that maturity and perfection in their generation. They certainly did not attain this maturity and perfection during the dark ages, and still have not, even up to our present time. But the work of God is ever progressive and gaining momentum continually.
And today we see the need for a new understanding of the book of Hebrews. It is the New Testament book of Sonship.
First of all, the Sonship of Jesus Christ; and finally, the revelation of the Body of Christ, the corporate, many-membered Son that inherits the Melchizedek priesthood order by virtue of being in Him. While the blind still lead the blind and the masses still stagger along in a dying system of “churchianity”and religion, we see a great company of Sons breaking forth into the glorious light of God’s new day.
So the need, now as then, is for God’s people to realize that they cannot hold on to the old system of religion, however well it served them in the past. Too many today, like the Jewish Christians back then, are trying to hang on to the best of two worlds. It won’t work. The Jewish Christians in the early church were constantly being hammered by the preachers of the circumcision. They were told that Jesus was their Messiah and that the Holy Spirit was for them too; but they were still obligated to fulfill the Law of Moses. Holy Spirit-filled preachers were using the only scriptures the church had to prove to them that they had to be circumcised, observe the Sabbath, keep going to the temple, and keep the Law in order to be saved. It sounded logical. If you have Jesus and the Law, how could you lose?
The argument was that you had to touch all the bases. Paul’s answer was that the old covenant and its laws were no longer one of the bases. God has done away with it. He has now instituted a better thing. And now, in our day, the Holy Spirit is being poured out upon all flesh, in many denominations and systems of religion. And men are still telling God’s people to take the new thing, but to stay in the old sectarian order. “This new thing is simply an improvement on the good old way,” they say.
THE SONSHIP JOURNEY IS THE BETTER WAY
The book of Hebrews begins with a glorious declaration as to how God speaks or reveals Himself to us. Once He spoke through prophets, those who spoke for Him and in His name. But now He speaks or reveals Himself in Sonship.
Hebrews 1: 1-2: Many were the forms and fashions in which God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets, but in these days at the end He has spoken to us by a son—a Son whom He has appointed heir of the universe... (Hebrews 1: 1-2 Moffatt)
Now dear friends, if you think that Jesus is keeping all the glory of this Sonship and heirship to Himself, then you just haven’t read Romans 8: 17, which tells us that we are “heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ.”Verse 29 of that chapter states plainly and emphatically that Jesus Christ is God’s Son but that He is the “firstborn among many brethren.”Further, Revelation 21: 7 says, “He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.”The unveiling of God in the person of a Son did begin in our Lord Jesus Christ, for He was “the beginning of the creation of God”(Rev. 3: 14). But it did not stop there. God ordained that Jesus would be the first, and that because of Him, and through Him, there would be a great harvest of the precious fruit of the earth. The Sonship of Jesus is complete; “it is finished.” God is still waiting patiently for “the precious fruit of the earth”(Ja. 5: 7). This harvest of Sons will be joint-heirs with Jesus, “Heir and lawful Owner of all things”(Heb. 1: 2 AMP).
BRINGING MANY SONS TO GLORY
First of all, we are talking here about Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God. The Bible refers to this entire dispensation of grace as “the last days.” The apostles wrote of their own days being the last days, and yet we know that today (over 2,000 years later), we are still in the last days. We read in Mark 15: 25 that Jesus was lifted up on the cross as our sacrifice at the third hour of the day, the time of the morning sacrifice. He remained on that cross until the ninth hour, the time of the evening sacrifice (Mk. 15: 33-34).
In other words, the work that He came to do (provide a way of salvation from sin for mankind,) was being done until the time of the evening sacrifice, when He cried, “…it is finished…”(Jn. 19: 30). Now we see another Son, a many-membered corporate Son known as “the church, His Body” come into view. Jesus said that because of what He did for us, we would do His works, as well as “greater works”(Jn. 14: 12). So we see a Son coming forth in the morning time of these last days, the dispensation of grace, and doing a work in the souls of men. And now, in the time of the evening sacrifice (the closing hours of these last days), we see the only begotten Son of God crying, “It is finished.”He is taken down from the cross, and pours Himself (by the Spirit) into a waiting Body of Sons. What the whole world now shall see is the ministry of “greater works”that Jesus promised. It is the time of the evening sacrifice. It is the time for the younger Son, the many-membered Son, the church, His Body, to be manifested. It was the firstborn Son who created this world and brought life to it. Now it is the younger, many-membered Son, who shall (in cooperation with Christ) restore the creation to divine order. They shall be joint-heirs together. This is why He is bringing many Sons to glory (Heb. 2: 10) and why we must be conformed to the image of God’s Son (Rom. 8: 29). This is what all creation is groaning and travailing for with earnest expectation (Rom. 8: 19-22). It is the time for the younger Son, the many-membered Son, the church, His Body, to be manifested.
So at the time of the morning sacrifice, God spoke in a Son, Jesus Christ. He expressed Himself fully in Jesus. The Son was the “express image”of the Father, “the brightness of his glory”(Heb. 1: 3). And now, at the time of the evening sacrifice, God shall again speak and manifest Himself through a Son. This time it is a corporate Son, of which Jesus Himself is the Head.
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