Hebrews 1:3: Alpha and Omega.

[3]…and maintaining all by the word of His power, [and] cleansing of sin having accomplished, was made to sit at the right hand of the majesty on high.  [author’s translation].

In v. 2, the writer taught that the Lord Jesus was the Originator of all things and that all things will ultimately be for His glory and honor.  To these words, the Lord Himself agrees:  “‘I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending,’ says the Lord,” Revelation 1:8.

1.  His Power.

“maintaining all.”  This is a present active participle.  In the “maintenance” of the universe, the Lord isn’t just holding up it’s dead weight.  There is movement and progress.  It is He Who maintains cohesiveness in creation, keeping everything together.  It is Christ Who promotes and forwards the development of God’s purpose to its predetermined goal.  Nothing is omitted or left to “chance.”  The universe is not some cosmic “Las Vegas,” where everything is a gamble, and the odds are stacked against us.

This verse puts to rest the notions that even many Christians have that God is merely a spectator in human history, that He changes His plans according to how men live, or that He has to wait on the sidelines of His own creation until we decide to send Him into the game.  God has indeed instituted many “Laws of nature” or secondary causes, yet He still is the great First Cause, upon which all others causes depend.

“by the word.”  The universe came into being by this same word, Hebrews 11:3, and it is through this word that it continues to exist.

“of his power.”  There are several words translated “power” in the NT.  From this particular word, we get such English words as “dynamo”, “dynamic”, “dynamite.”  It is power to get the job done, as it were.  And it is His power, inherent to Him as God the Son.  There is more than enough “dunamis” in Christ.  God’s will shall be accomplished.

2.  His Purging of Sin.

“cleansing of sin.”  This clause isn’t separate from what has been written before concerning God’s eternal purpose.  Indeed, such verses as 1 Peter 1:20 indicate that Calvary and its results were that purpose.  However we may speculate about the origin of sin, or attempt to “reconcile” divine sovereignty and human freedom and individuality, or even “define” them, for that matter, there can be no doubt that the death of Christ was “foreordained.”

This clause introduces the priestly office of Christ, which occupies most of the rest of the book.  It refers to the “result” of Christ’s death.  Sin wasn’t merely “covered,” as in the OT; it was “cleansed,” or taken away.  This is why Christ died, Ephesians 5:25-27.  It is mainly in this that the New Testament is far superior to the First Covenant:

Under Moses,  guilt could not be taken away; under Christ, it cannot remain.

3.  His Position.

“was made to sit at the right hand of the majesty on high.”  We’ve already shown that we differ from those who teach “the heavenly session” of Christ.  Though we don’t really want to get into it here, we do not believe such a view is true to the Scriptures.  Even Hebrews itself, as we shall see, doesn’t support the idea of the present reign of Christ, Lord of all though He is.  When He rules as the Scripture pictures it, the indescribable things that are going on right now all over this world will not be possible.

We admit that many have brought the Word of God into disrepute with their speculation and date-settings, none of which have happened.  But we also believe that those who seem to deny the value of the study of prophecy also bring the Word into disrepute.  There is no area of Bible study about which the true Christian dares to say, “I don’t care.”

What does Hebrews say about the present ministry of the Lord Jesus?  This is only a summary, but see Leviticus 16:11-16 for the OT background, then follow up with Hebrews 2:7; 4:14-16; 6:19-20; 7:24-25; 9:11-15, 23-24.  See also 1 John 2:1, 2.

The Cross was only part of the priestly work of Christ.  He took His blood and presented it to God and now is in the ministry of intercession for those for whom that blood was shed.  It is because of His intercession that we have what we have, and not because of any “goodness” on our part.

In every dark distressful hour,
When sin and Satan join their power,
Let this dear hope repel the dart,
That Jesus bears us on His heart.

Great Advocate, Almighty Friend,
On Him our humble hopes depend:
Our cause can never, never fail,
For Jesus pleads, and must prevail.

– Anne Steele, 1760

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One thought on “Hebrews 1:3: Alpha and Omega.

  1. Clarence, amen that the universe is not some cosmic Las Vegas. I need to know and believe God is in control and foreknew us and our destiny. Thank you, also, for the comforting words of Anne Steele you quoted. It’s a joy to know “Jesus bears us on His heart.”
    Blessings ~ Wendy

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