Summary: Exposition of Hebrews 1:1-4
October 20, 2002
First Church of the Brethren
H. Kevin Derr
“God has spoken”
1In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in
various ways, 2but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of
all things, and through whom he made the universe. 3The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and
the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had
provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. 4So he
became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs.
God has spoken to us, to humanity in the past in, as the author of Hebrews says, in many
and various ways. The record of our faith history begins with God walking with humanity in the
Garden of Eden, but then the fall separated us from our God. From that point until the coming
of Jesus the Christ of the Living God, God spoke to us through his prophets. But in these last
days, God spoke to us through a son. If nothing else is should be cause for us to pay attention
to what has happened, to regard the wonder of this revelation that God has given to us.
If we begin to look at the Old Testament we will see that the prophets did communicate
the message of God to the People of God in many different ways. Irenaeus said concerning
them, “The prophets used to prophesy, not by word alone, but in visions also, and in their
manner of life, and in the actions which they performed, according to the suggestions of the
Spirit (2.331)” Today we will be looking at the first four verses of Hebrews chapter one. We
will see the following themes ( ) which will be developed in this text as well as working with
issues of Christology, (who Jesus is).
As we work through the book of Hebrews we will continue to work at some of these very
matters of theology and faith development. I ask you to keep the following ideas in your minds
as God speaks to us through the text of the Book of Hebrews.
I. “In the past God spoke . . .”
A. If you are anything like me, I have a tendency to rush past the first few words of
introductions, so I can get to the heart of the matter, if you will, and yet in doing so, it
is so easy to miss wonderful blessings that God has for us.
1. Here is an example of what incredible things can happen when we pay
attention to the first few words. “In the past God spoke. . . .” It doesn’t sound
complex or difficult, and it may even sound unimportant. But, if you would
look a little closer with me, I think that you will see some vital information.
A. In the past, implies that there is something that has been finished, and
something new is happening now. In the past this happened, but now
this is what is going on...
B. What happened in the past? God spoke. This does not sound like a
tremendous revelation, we knew that God spoke in the past, but what
does it mean that God speaks?
1. It means that God is not passive. From the outset of the Book to
the Hebrews, our God is an active God, God has been active in
2. Perhaps we should be asking now, how is God active?
3. Remember the story of creation? Verses 3, 6, 9, 14, 20 and 24
each begins with “And God said, ‘Let there be... light, etc...’”
A. Things happen when God speaks
B. Powerful things happen when God speaks
C. 1In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at
many times and in various ways
1. In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets,
Abraham, Moses, Samuel, David, Isaiah, and the many others
that God used to speak to his people.
A. Some spoke the Law like Abraham, others spoke in
parables like Nathan, others in Psalms like David, still
others like Hosea, Micah and whose words are recorded
for us in the books that bear their names.
B. Through them, there was always the promise of
something yet to come, a fuller revelation, a greater
promise yet to come. It is heard in God’s call of
Abraham, in the promise of the son, in the promise of
God to David and at some many points throughout the
B. In the past God spoke to his people through the prophets, but now, God is speaking in