The Climax of God’s Speech

mt-rainier-peak-516113-sw“Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son, whom He appointed the heir of all things, through whom also He created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of His nature, and He upholds the universe by the word of His power.” -Heb. 1.1-3a

I want to give a quote on this portion from Harold W. Attridge, an American scholar of the Old Testament:

The final and decisive address of God to humanity occurs not “of old” but, literally, “at the end of these days.” The phrase is derived from a scriptural expression of the future, which came to be used in an eschatological sense. The lively sense that the author and his community live at the final point of God’s dealings with humanity is not, of course, unique, but is shared by Jewish apocalypticists and by many early Christians.

…. God’s final address comes not through prophets but “though a Son.” The expression does not imply that there are many sons whom God could have chosen as agents of revelation. Rather the term emphasizes the exalted status of the final agent.

…. As the following chapters will indicate, that Son, seated at God’s right hand, is superior to all other agents through whom God’s word has come, particularly to the angels, to Moses, to Joshua, and to Aaron. God, moreover, speaks through this Son not only in word, but in deed, in the entirety of the Christ event, providing for humanity atonement for sin and an enduring covenant relationship.

(Hebrews, Harold W. Attridge; Hermeneia- A Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible; Fortress Press, Philadelphia 1989; p. 39, italics mine)

This portion from Attridge’s massive work on Hebrews struck me in profound ways when I read it recently.

With so much talk filling our ears from every side, the voice of God through the prophets of old is under severe attack. So much clamors for our attention by way of occupation, appetite, entertainment, and hobby, that we Westerners scarcely give the prophets of the Scriptures adequate time to take us deeper in the knowledge of God.

The words of the Scriptures are uniquely holy and true, and only on the foundations of the revelation of God given in them do we have the remarkable opportunity to come into an authentic vision and understanding of who He really is. Have you heard the Lord through the prophets, or do you prefer cheaper and less precious information from CNN, ABC, ESPN, the video rental store, or some other place?

How much time and how much of your heart do you really give to the Scriptures?

One of my friends used to say, “We ought not come to the prophets as if we’re going to read them, but rather, as giving them the opportunity to read us.”

Even more remarkable than the revelation of God which came through the prophets is the fact that “in these last days” God has spoken His “final and decisive address,” and that this address is found and summed up in the revelation of His Son. We need a recovery of the “lively sense” which this last days’ consciousness brings. As this scholar has so wonderfully written, “God, moreover, speaks through this Son not only in word, but in deed, in the entirety of the Christ-event, providing for humanity atonement for sin and an enduring covenant relationship.”

The Person and Work of the Son of God, and the glory which comes to the Father through Him, are the ultimate reasons for the Creation of all things. In Him, we see the Father. In Him, we find the door to eternal life. In Him, we find access to the real experience of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. To prefer watching the news or some other form of entertainment over seeing him in the prophets of the Scriptures is not merely a mishap. It is robbing our souls of the wonder and glory of a greater union with the God of history and eternity! How much more do we rob ourselves, if we neglect the revelation of God which comes to us “not only in word, but in deed, in the entirety of the Christ-event?”

Open up the Scriptures, saints. Pour through the prophets and allow them to grant you a grander vision of God. Read again of the Man Christ Jesus. Get swallowed up in His words. Get submerged in His acts. He is the climax of all that God has done and spoken throughout the course of history. You want to see the Father in greater measure? Look upon the Son. In that place of beholding Him over a lifetime, you will be changed into His image, and your joy will be full.

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