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Contrasts

1 In the past God has spoken many times and in various ways to the fathers through the prophets.

2 In these last days He spoke to us through [His] Son, whom He established heir of all things, through whom He made the universe (ages);

3 He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His being (substance),
furthermore, sustaining (bearing) everything by His powerful word. Having made purification for sins He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven (in high places),

4 He becoming so much better than the angels as the name He inherited is more excellent.

Introduction

1 In the past God has spoken many times and in various ways to the fathers through the prophets.
2 In these last days He spoke to us through [His] Son, whom He established heir of all things, through whom He made the universe (ages);

Contrasts:

There are many contrasts that we come across during our life.

Some we will appreciate, whilst there are others that may leave us cold.

Perhaps it would be good for us to consider what the word contrasts means:

to show unlikeness;

to highlight differences;

to expose opposite natures;

to show different purposes.

It comes from to Latin words:

contra (against)

stare (to stand).

Therefore, the meaning is to stand against.

Not the same as compare, which is to highlight similarities.

To begin with let us think of some of the contrasts that make us feel good.

Then let us think of contrasts that may make us shudder.

Are there any contrasts that we see in God’s word?

Yes, there are many contrasts in God’s word, so lets have a look at some of them:

[3] And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.

[4] God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness.

Genesis 1.3-4.

This is the contrast of light.

Next let us look at one of the great contrasts that we all appreciate:

[27] So God created man in His own image,

in the image of God He created him;

male and female he created them.

Genesis 1.27.

Here we can see the contrast of man from woman.

Then there is the contrast of life from death:

“You are free to eat from any tree in the garden;

[17] but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.”

Genesis 2.15.

Jesus took the same theme when He saidsaid:

[13] “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.

[14] But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

Matthew 7.13-14.

It is a choice that we are given and it is the choice of contrast: life or death.

There is a sense in which Paul takes up this theme:

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 6.23.

Once again the contrast of life from death.

Before this Jesus makes the same contrast:

“He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters.”

Matthew 12.30.

The book of Hebrews is a book of contrasts.

The writer begins by making a contrast.

He contrasts the former spoken words of God from the present word of God.

What is that contrast?

He begins with history, and states that God has spoken throughout history.

The, in verse two the writer moves on to state that in these last days God had spoken in a far greater way, and that is through Jesus.

The writer is stating that the word of God coming through Jesus is a greater revelation that the word of God coming through the prophets.

1) God has a history of speaking.

What are the first recorded words of God?

[3] And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.

Genesis 1.3.

What are the last recorded words of God in the Old Testament?

[5] “See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes.

[6] He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse.”

Malachi 4.5-6.

These words are a promise that Elijah would return before the coming of Jesus.

Jesus confirmed that John the Baptist was Elijah:

[10] The disciples asked him, “Why then do the teachers of the law say that Elijah must come first?”

[11] Jesus replied, “To be sure, Elijah comes and will restore all things. [12] But I tell you, Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but have done to him everything they wished. In the same way the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands.” [13] Then the disciples understood that he was talking to them about John the Baptist.

Matthew 17.10-13

However, we must deal with the fact the John denied that He was Elijah.

W Barclay states that disputes among Jews over money and property would be dealt with by Elijah. It would be Elijah who would decide Jews from non-Jews. It was Elijah who would anoint the Messiah to His Kingly Office; and Elijah would raise the dead so that they could share in the Messiahs’ kingdom.

We know from verse 21 that John denied that he was that prophet. How are we to understand this, since later on Jesus said that Elijah had come (Matthew 17.12)?

Perhaps the answer is that John was rejecting the understanding and expectations of their thinking about Elijah, whilst retaining the essential message of Elijah. He was rejecting the accepted view surrounding the coming of Elijah, but at the same time retaining the angelic and prophetic word spoken to his father Zechariah:

[17] And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

Luke 1.17

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