The superiority of Christ Essay Example

The superiority of Christ Essay

THE SUPERIORITY OF CHRIST

Introduction

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Hebrews which is one of the books in Bible’s New Testament contains scriptures that point out on Christ’s superiority – The superiority of Christ Essay introduction. In this particular case, superiority is depicted through various comparisons with other subjects found in the Bible in order to portray the level of Christ’s superiority. The author of Hebrews has taken time to illustrate how superior Christ is through His authority as well as power and he has contrasted this with the power held by other lesser figures like Moses, priests and angles. This has clearly shown that Christ is superior to angels and the “teacher” he practiced to be. Christ is God’s only Son whose purpose on earth was to bring salvation to human beings. Christ superiority enabled him to die for human beings’ sins whereby in the form of God, He sacrificed himself rather than requesting for sacrifices from human beings in order to receive blessings. [1]A scripture in Hebrews chapter one and verses five to twelve establishes Christ’s position stating that Christ is God’s Son where God’s angles are obliged to worship him. This scripture continues to state that God has placed Christ above all other things and He will never change. This shows that not even angels who human beings perceive as mighty and holy exceed Christ’s superiority since God himself describes Him as the Omega.

Christ’s Superiority to Angels

Angles are greatly featured in the Bible where they are depicted as God’s messengers and they did exactly that. The Bible has cited the ancient communities who practically worshipped angels showing that they are accorded a very high status by human beings. Hebrews author intervenes and in the first chapter of this book and verse four, Christ is said to inherit a name that is more excellent than that of Angels. He has been exalted by God’s right hand which has not even happened to any of the angels. When Christ had been sent to the earth by His Father, He was referred to as God’s Son. [2]The fact that God is able to recognize Christ as His Son puts Christ in an honorable position which has no comparison to that held by angels. In all the passages written in Hebrews and the entire Bible as well, there is no one instance that God referred to angles as His Sons whom He have begotten but He said that to Christ. This implies that Christ was closer to God’s position than angles who God rated lower than Christ. In Hebrews chapter one and verse number five God is quoted declaring that He will become Christ’s Father and Christ will be a Son to Him. God only made such a statement to Christ but never to angels. Before getting to this point, Hebrew’s author revisited the situation where God had previously spoken to forefathers using prophets.

This has greatly changed in the New Testament where God makes use of His Son to address human beings since it is through Him that He created the universe. God did not declare of creating the universe through angels but did it through a more superior being who is Christ. In the second verse, the author notes that God appointed Christ as the heir of practically everything in the universe since He was God’s only Son. If angels fitted the position held by Christ in God’s throne, they would have been given part of this inheritance but God took time to show Christ’s superiority by not letting Him share His position with anyone including angels.

The manner in which Christ’s superiority is depicted above all angles has been divided into various parts by Hebrews author. The categories include Christ’s manifestation through the grace that has the power to save, superiority expressed in Christ’s divine person and the main purpose of delivering human beings. Hebrews chapter five and verses five to fourteen portrays Christ’s superiority to angles through His divinity. After bringing his Son to the world, God went ahead to command all angels to adore Him showing that Christ was superior to them. God is said to make winds for angels and blazes of fire for His servants. However, God made a better place for Christ as compared to what He presented to angles and servants.

The scripture in verse five of Hebrews chapter one records that God made it clear to Christ that He has already prepared a throne for Him which will remain forever. This was because; Christ had remained righteous and did not indulge in wickedness. Hence, God has placed Christ above all His companions and has anointed Him with oil in form of overwhelming joy. In verse thirteen of chapter one, God asks Christ whether there is any one angel that He had requested to rest upon His right hand up to when He will bring His enemies to his footstool. The answer to this question was very evident since this request was only made to Christ by God and not to any angel. Angels were described as ministering spirits whose duty was to serve heirs of salvation.

Christ’s superiority to angels is also shown through His grace that is able to save. In Hebrews chapter two and verses one to four, human beings are commanded to pay attention to God’s messages in order that they do not turn away from The Word. It goes on to compare impact of messages delivered by angels and those delivered by Christ. [3]Human beings are asked whether they realize that angels’ messages had been attached to people’s hearts. Those who went against angels messages were punished accordingly. On the other hand, Christ’s deeds and messages were greater than those of angles and human beings are asked whether they will opt to ignore salvation that is so great. Christ’s messages concerning salvation were first presented by God and confirmation on this was given by people who followed Christ and heard Him preach. This shows that the ability of Christ to bring salvation to human beings places Christ at a higher level than angels. This is because God had already made a decision that Christ was the only one who one was capable of delivering people and waited until Christ was of age. In the same chapter two of Hebrews and verses five eighteen, the main purpose that led to delivering of sins is outlined.

Christ’s superiority through His priesthood

Christ’s superiority is manifested in the position He took in priesthood. Hebrews chapter four and verse fourteen outlines His priesthood’s facts. Christ is recognized as High priest whereby He has been privileged to encounter heavenly life. Verse fifteen states that human beings have found a priest who has the ability to comfort sinners in their weakness. Christ was tempted in so many ways although he had not sinned. Christ is superior since although he encountered trials and temptations, He conquered all of them and proceeded to find mercy on sinners. Chapter five of Hebrews, verses one to four describes priesthood office held by Christ. The scripture records that high priests are normally picked from men and entrusted with the work of representing human beings in offering sacrifices in order that men’s sins are forgiven. High priests are in a position to show gentleness to ignorant people. The scripture goes on state that it is God who has the authority to select high priests just like He did to Aaron. Christ was appointed by God but was placed at a higher status than Aaron. Chapter five of Hebrews and verses five to ten outlines the qualifications that Christ possessed in order to be referred to as a great priest. The first qualification of Christ regarding His superior priesthood is that God appointed Him. God declared in verse six that Christ’s High priesthood will remain forever and it will be placed in Melchizedek’s order. Christ took up this priesthood office with diligence even after going through very difficult trials. [4]Christ’s priesthood was crowned when He was made the spring that would give rise to eternal salvation. Human beings are supposed to show respect for Christ as the superior priest through obeying Him. Christ’s superiority is also shown in comparison to priesthood held by other great figures like Melchizedek, Abraham and Aaron. These were also known as Aaronic priests as they followed Aaron’s lineage.

Aaron as one of the great priests supported and represented Moses in Battle but this did not make him superior than Christ. Aaron portrayed imperfection whereby he mobilized people to criticize the leadership of Moses and also assisted them in making of idol gods particularly the one known as golden calf.  This was contrary to Christ’s character whereby He helped people find the true way to salvation, making him perfect in all His deeds because He was God. Aaron’s behavior made him to be forbidden by God from entering the land that He had been promised together with the children of Israel. Hebrews’ author cuts a clear line between Aaron’s priesthood and that of Christ by putting Christ in Melchizedek’s order rather than that of Aaron. Melchizedek was a king that presented his worship to God in truth and was given the privileged to bless Abram, giving him the name Abraham. Melchizedek’s priesthood is recognized as superior to Aaron’s priesthood despite the fact that Aaron can still draw his lineage to that of Levi. According to Hebrews chapter seven and verses nine to ten, the author outlines that it is possible that Levi, also known as the tenth’s collector presented his tenth to Abraham. This is because at the time when Melchizedek had an encounter with Abraham, Levi still existed in his ancestor’s form. Hebrews author takes his time to explain the difference existing between priesthood’s order and he says that this is important in order to understand the situation where law was changed. Christ’s priesthood had a very great difference when compared to that of Melchizedek and Aaron since His priesthood was founded on greater power of life that could never be destructed. Despite the fact that God appointed both lineages, Hebrews author clearly states that Christ and not Melchizedek or Abraham, will give eternal salvation to everyone who obeys Him. [5]Christ’s superiority is recognized where He is exempted the role of making daily sacrifices since He had made one great sacrifice that is capable of redeeming human beings of their sins.

Christ’s priesthood is therefore taken to exceed Old Testament’s power and this has been explained in Hebrews chapter seven and verse twenty one. Explanation on this starts with God’s oath where Christ is declared a priest whose days will never come to end meaning that He was entrusted with a longer period of priesthood than other priests like Aaron. The scripture goes ahead to support God’s declaration for Christ whereby Christ is recognized as the assurance of a covenant that is better than the one made in Old Testament since it is based on greater and better promises. The previous covenant was declared imperfect and obsolete where Hebrews’ author quotes the words spoken by Jeremiah the prophet when explaining the difference between the old and new covenants. The scripture states that human beings will be granted inner knowledge concerning God’s will which will result to intimate relationship between God and human beings. The intimate relationship will also result to forgiveness of sins and God will not keep them in his mind anymore. Christ’s superiority through priesthood has been further manifested in reference to the Holiest of all places. [6]High priests were expected to get into this Holy Place carrying blood offering for themselves as well as for other human beings’ sins. However, Christ was superior to these other high priest and He therefore took with Him a greater blood offering which was in form of blood from his own flesh. This created a very big difference between Aaronic priests and Christ since Christ was accorded power by God to be able to sacrifice His blood in order that He could save human beings forever. Christ superiority through high priesthood is also portrayed where He is made to mediate between the two covenants. He set human beings free from wrongdoings that they had already committed when still operating under the previous covenant.

Christ’s Superiority to Joshua

Christ’s superiority is also manifested in the rest He has promised Christians. This rest is compared to that presented by Joshua. Verses one to three of Hebrews chapter two outlines the danger that human beings will experience when they fail to get heavenly rest through Christ. [7]God’s promise concerning His rest is said to still prevail and this leads to a warning to Christians not to despise it. Human beings are said to have previously heard the gospel but the fact that it was not connected with faith disqualifies its benefit to them. Another gospel that is preached by Christ is a different one as it has its basis on faith thereby benefiting people a great deal. Those who have received Christ’s gospel are assured of entering his rest. On the other hand, those who do not believe in Christ’s gospel will not be able to enter His rest. Christ’s superiority through His rest shows that for one to enter this rest he/she must accept and believe in it, making it a major determinant. Christ’s rest refers to both the rest hoped in eternal life and that experienced by human beings on earth when they accept and believe in the gospel. This is explained in verse four where God reserved one day, the Sabbath, for human beings to rest from their daily activities and worship Him. God also did the same and wanted people to utilize this day worshipping and studying Christ’s gospel. This shows the great recognition that God attached to Christ’s gospel compared to that of Joshua. [8]Joshua’s gospel concentrated on encouraging human beings particularly Israelites to keep the Sabbath holy. These people became disobedient and made the rest associated with keeping of the Sabbath inefficient as compared to that of Christ. Keeping of the Sabbath is equally important since it was commanded by God and forms part of the Ten Commandments. However, some who keep this day might not also enter Christ’s rest if they fail to believe in Christ’s gospel. God has set yet another day that is recognized as Today and on this Day, human beings should receive Christ’s gospel and believe in it in order to enter his rest. Verse eight of chapter four argues that if human beings had been granted this particular rest by Joshua, the day given by God would not exist. Human beings are urged to strive to enter Christ’s rest which is superior to that of Joshua.

Christ’s superiority to Moses

Christ is also recognized to be greater compared to Moses in Hebrews chapter three verses one to six. Believers in Christ are urged to wait upon Christ who is the champion as well as high priest that they confess. [9]Christ is then described of portraying faithfulness to God in the same way that Moses observed faithfulness as God’s servant. However, Christ’s faithfulness is accorded greater honor compared to that accorded to Moses. This is compared to a situation whereby someone who builds a house is of greater value than the building. The scripture in verse four of Hebrews chapter three goes ahead to state that all houses have builders but God’s takes the privilege of creating everything in the universe. [10]Moses maintained faithfulness in God’s house where he continued to give evidence of the gospel that would be presented to human beings in future. Christ’s faithfulness is said to surpass that of Moses since Christ is placed over the house of God towards which Moses showed faithfulness. People are described as God’s house if they cling to courage and also preserve their hope for eternal life through Christ.

Conclusion

Christ’s superiority has been outlined in a number of places within Hebrews’ scriptures. This superiority is put forward through comparison of Christ’s deeds and messages with those of other great figures who lived during the earlier times. Christ’s superiority is portrayed in His comparison with angels who are highly regarded by human beings. God is quoted recognizing the position of Christ in His throne and calling him His Son to who worship should be directed.  The same is not said to angels as God only recognizes them as servants existing in spiritual form but does not command people to worship them. Christ’s superiority is also compared to that of Joshua and in this case, the rest presented by Joshua is described as less superior to that presented by Christ. Other instances where Christ’s superiority is portrayed are in the analysis of Christ’s priesthood and comparison of Moses’ faithfulness to God.

REFERENCES

Berkley, Warren. “The Superiority of Christ; The expository files journal”: SAGE: (February 2001):1-2

Bruce, Wallace. The Epistle to the Hebrews; Commentary on the New

Testament: Grand Rapids, MI: (1990): 28

Buchanan, George. To the Hebrews: A New Translation with Introduction and

Commentary: The Anchor Bible Commentary: New York: (2003): 27-38

Cowdery, Ann. “Hebrews” Interpretation: New (1994): 282-286.

DeSilva, David. “Despising Shame; A Cultural-Anthropological Investigation of the Epistle to the Hebrews” Journal of Biblical Literature: New Jersey: (1994): 439-461.

Enns, Peter. “The Interpretation of Psalms in Hebrews” Westminster Theological Journal: California: (1993): 255-280.

Hofius, Otfried. “The Logic of Hebrews” Harvard Theological Review: California: (1999): 279-288.

Kaiser, Walter. “The Promise Theme and the Theology of Rest” Bibliotheca Sacra: New York: (April, 2005): 135-150.

Montefiore, Hugh. A Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews; “Entering God’s Rest:” Trinity Journal: New York: (Spring 2000): 25-43.

[1] Ann Cowdery, “Hebrews.” Interpretation (Fall 1994): 284

[2] Otfried Hofius, “The Logic of Hebrews” Harvard Theological Review (Spring 1999): 281

[3] Wallace Bruce, the Epistle to the Hebrews; Commentary on the New

Testament: Grand Rapids, MI: (1990): 28

[4] George Buchanan, To the Hebrews: A New Translation with Introduction and

Commentary: The Anchor Bible Commentary: New York: (2003): 34

[5] David DeSilva, “Despising Shame; A Cultural-Anthropological Investigation of the Epistle to the Hebrews” Journal of Biblical Literature: New Jersey: (1994): 458

[6] David DeSilva, “Despising Shame; A Cultural-Anthropological Investigation of the Epistle to the Hebrews” Journal of Biblical Literature: New Jersey: (1994): 460

[7] Walter Kaiser, “The Promise Theme and the Theology of Rest” Bibliotheca Sacra: New York: (April, 2005): 137

[8] Hugh Montefiore, A Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews; “Entering God’s Rest:” Trinity Journal: New York: (Spring 2000): 27

[9] Peter Enns, “The Interpretation of Psalm 95 in Hebrews 3:1-4:13.” Westminster Theological Journal: California: (1993): 273

[10] Warren Berkley, “The Superiority of Christ”; the expository files journal, SAGE: (February 2001): 1

 

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