Study: What did God promise He would do for His people in the “latter days?”
Apply: Look at all the promises God fulfilled in the past. How should this help us to trust Him for the promises not yet fulfilled?
Share: Years ago when I was doing door to door work as a literature evangelist, I met a woman who told me, “Jesus never did anything for me!” I was surprised. How would have responded to this woman? Hint: See Genesis 12:3, Romans 5:18-19, Hebrews 2:9.
Read Together:Hebrews 1:1-5. Define the main idea of this passage.
Study: What are some of the things that this passage teaches us about Jesus?
Apply: Why is it important to know that Jesus is greater than the angels?
Share: While studying with a protestant family about the spirit of prophecy, the wife told me, “In Hebrews 1:1-2 it says God used to speak to us by prophets but now speaks to us by His Son. This means God no longer uses prophets. He just uses His Son.” How would you have responded to this comment? Hint: See 1 Corinthians 12:28 and Ephesians 4:11-13.
As I plan for 2022, I realize God does not need me to dream and make plans as much as He just needs me to surrender my dreams and submit to His plans. I need to allow God to take my life in 2022 and do whatever He pleases with me, in order to prepare the way for His kingdom. For Elijah, that meant being taken up into heaven in a flaming chariot. For John the Baptist that meant being beheaded and dying alone in prison. I need to give God permission in 2022 to use me like Elijah or John the Baptist – whichever way will bring Him the most glory. John the Baptist was just as precious to Jesus as was Elijah. God did not favor Elijah in the flaming chariot any more than He favored John the Baptist when he was beheaded. They were both just as precious to God, and both were just as successful in bringing glory to God.
Some of us wish for a better lot in life in 2022 than we had in recent years. Some of us wish for better jobs and positions. Some of us are unhappy where we are, but that does not mean that God is using us any less. A young friend of mine at church recently got her first job. A few weeks later I asked her how her job was going, and she told me she was going to quit because her boss aggravated her. I told her no matter where she worked for the rest of her life, she will most likely always have a boss that aggravates her, so she should just get used to it. She is not alone. Many have ambitious hopes for 2022 and dream of some kind of a promotion. However, worthwhile promotions don’t come from our selfish ambitions.
True promotion comes from God.
For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another. Psalms 75:6-7 KJV
I believe the book, Ministry of Healing has some wise counsel for us regarding our life work.
Many are dissatisfied with their lifework. It may be that their surroundings are uncongenial; their time is occupied with commonplace work, when they think themselves capable of higher responsibilities; often their efforts seem to them to be unappreciated or fruitless; their future is uncertain. Let us remember that while the work we have to do may not be our choice, it is to be accepted as God’s choice for us. Whether pleasing or unpleasing, we are to do the duty that lies nearest. “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.” Ecclesiastes 9:10. If the Lord desires us to bear a message to Nineveh, it will not be as pleasing to Him for us to go to Joppa or to Capernaum. He has reasons for sending us to the place toward which our feet have been directed. At that very place there may be someone in need of the help we can give. He who sent Philip to the Ethiopian councilor, Peter to the Roman centurion, and the little Israelitish maiden to the help of Naaman, the Syrian captain, sends men and women and youth today as His representatives to those in need of divine help and guidance. -Ellen White, Ministry of Healing, pages 472-473.
A son of a friend of mine was pitching in the minor leagues, and he, along with the rest of us, had dreams of him pitching in the World Series one day. I was hoping to see him pitch in a world series game here at Tropicana Field, either for or against the Tampa Bay Rays. He made it to Triple A, but before making it to the majors, an injury set him back and he had to retire from baseball without ever fulfilling his ambition to pitch in the majors. After baseball he became a police officer. Sadly, one night he was called to the scene of a suicide. The family was very distraught. The friend’s son spoke words of hope and comfort to them. Later the family wrote a thank-you letter to the police department thanking the officer for being there for them and bringing them hope and comfort in their darkest hour. When my friend told me about the letter her son received, I told her that was worth more than a hundred world series championship rings.
It was not John the Baptist’s dream to be beheaded in prison, but he prepared the way for God’s kingdom more than anyone else could.
It was not the ambition of a young maiden to be a slave in a foreign country, but it was there that she led Naaman to God.
It was my friend’s son’s ambition to pitch in the major leagues, but it was while working as a police officer that he helped a family when they needed help the most. He could not have helped them like that while celebrating a world series victory on the baseball diamond.
Are you willing to surrender your ambitions and submit your life to God in 2022? Are you willing to let him use you in 2022 any which way that will glorify Him? Whether it’s like Elijah in a flaming chariot or John the Baptist dying alone in prison?
But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. Mark 10:42-45
I believe the book of Hebrews should definitely be considered with the other four gospels. It is a continuation of the Life of Jesus. It gets us up to date on what Jesus is currently doing. Jesus did not just ride off in the sunset after the resurrection. He is actively changing lives, healing and forgiving just like when He walked the earth. So I like to call the book of Hebrews the fifth gospel, right after Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
Hebrews was written for two reasons.
1.To turn people’s attention to Jesus’ ministry in the heavenly sanctuary. This book, written just 4 or 5 years before the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem, was meant to turn the heads of people away from the earthly sanctuary. Even today people in Israel weep for the old sanctuary to be rebuilt. Instead they should be looking at Jesus and where He is today. They should put their hope in Jesus and not a man made temple. Just as the book of Hebrews directed people to put their hope in contemplating Jesus instead of a temple that was soon to collapse, so today Hebrews encourages us to put our hope in Jesus instead of a social security system that is about to collapse or a stock market that may soon crumble and fall.
2.To encourage people’s faith that Jesus is the Messiah and will return. The new Christian believers were expecting Jesus to return right away, and many, especially in the face of persecution were losing faith when He did not come back right away. Hebrews 1 points out that Jesus was God. Hebrews 2 points out that this God did indeed become a man just like us. In Hebrews 3 and on, it points us to what Jesus is currently doing as our High Priest before He returns.
Here is a brief summary:
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
This same Jesus who came to earth and died, is also God. He made the worlds! Many were beginning to doubt if He was the Messiah since He did not come right back. Shall we look for another? No. Jesus was God.
Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For verily he took not on [him the nature of] angels; but he took on [him] the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto [his] brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things [pertaining] to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted. Hebrews 2:14-18
This same Jesus who is God also became a man just like us.
Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus; Hebrews 3:1
Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast [our] profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as [we are, yet] without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:14-16
Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. Hebrews 7:25
This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Hebrews 10:16-17
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset [us], and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. Hebrews 12:1-4
This same God who became a man is now our High Priest. Did you notice in Hebrews 7:25 that not only does He live as our intercessor, but it is the reason why He lives. We are the reason He came to earth. We are the reason He died and we are the reason He rose again. He is obsessed with us! He loves us! His whole universe revolves around us. Does your universe revolve around Him?
And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after; But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end. Hebrews 3:5-6
For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end. Hebrews 3:14
Let us hold fast the profession of [our] faith without wavering; (for he [is] faithful that promised;)And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some [is]; but exhorting [one another]: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins. Hebrews 10:23-26
Time and time again Hebrews encourages us to hold fast our profession and confidence, that Jesus is the Messiah and will return. Hebrews 10:26 is not telling us there is no forgiveness if we willfully make a mistake. Hebrews is talking about the sin of unbelief. That is what the whole book is about, affirming our belief, profession and confidence that Jesus is the Messiah and will return. The point being made is that if after all the evidence we have that Jesus is the Messiah, if we choose not to believe, there will not be another Messiah come who will make a sacrifice for sin. Jesus is that Messiah. He died for us. He is interceding for us now and will return. Don’t lose hope! Don’t lose confidence! Don’t lose your profession! Encourage each other more and more that Jesus is our savior as the day approaches when He will return!
So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation. Hebrews 9:28
Study: In verse 3 how did Satan try to make Jesus doubt God’s Word? Hint: Matthew 3:17. How did Jesus overcome these temptations? By His own power of by Scripture? Are the same resources available to Jesus available to us? See article, Every Word of God Proves True.
Apply: What passages from Deuteronomy or any of the Scriptures for that matter have you used to defeat Satan?
Share: A passenger in your car says she does not need to wear a seatbelt because she trusts in God. Which incident in this passage will help you answer your passenger?
“And it shall come to pass afterward That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your old men shall dream dreams, Your young men shall see visions. And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days. “And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth: Blood and fire and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness,” Joel 2:28-31 NKJV
In Jeremiah 7:1-7 and Micah 6:1-8 Jeremiah and Micah seem to be borrowing from Deuteronomy and yet they are not referencing Moses or giving him credit. Of course back then people knew Scripture so well that it went without saying when Moses was being quoted. This was not considered plagiarism. Of course we know great portions of the New Testament quote, reference and borrow from the Old Testament. This leads me to my second thought.
In Acts 17:11 the people searched the Scriptures, obviously the Old Testament, to see if what Paul was preaching was true. Could it be that Paul and the other New Testament writers were the lesser lights in their day referencing or pointing to the greater light in the Old Testament? Were Jeremiah and Micah the lesser lights in their day pointing to the greater light in the books of Moses? If so, can one be a lesser light in his or her day but still be inspired by the same Holy Spirit who inspired Moses? This leads me to my third thought.
If God raised up prophets like Jeremiah and Micah to remind people what was written in the books of Moses, could God raise up prophets in the last days to remind people of forgotten truths in Scripture? And if so…
Then if the book of the law needed to be rediscovered in 2 Kings 22:1-20, what writings of inspiration may need to be rediscovered by the church of today?
And now, your thoughts?
PS for further study in the Bible on last day prophets click here.
Apply: Are there portions of the law or Scripture that we need to be reminded of or simply start putting into practice?
Share: An older church member laments that some of the inspired writings of earlier days seems to be forgotten and needs to be rediscovered, much like the book of the law in Josiah’s time. Do you agree? Disagree? Why?
Study: What is Jeremiah telling the people, and how does it relate to what was already written in Deuteronomy?
Apply: Israel received a similar message from both Moses and Jeremiah. What is your reaction when you receive similar messages from different people? For example when your mother says you need to exercise more and then you hear the same thing from your wife?
Share: A class member shares that Jeremiah had to remind God’s people of messages Moses already taught in Deuteronomy. She then references Joel 2:28-31, and says God may also use last day prophets to remind us what was already taught in the Bible. Do you agree or disagree? Why? Click here for ideas.
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only...James 1:22.