Old Testament: Lamentations 4:1-5:22
Lamentations 4:1-5:22 A Patriotic Pray-er
Chap. 4 Jeremiah further describes the devastation of Judah and Jerusalem. He says the false prophets were treated like lepers when they were finally identified for leading everyone astray (v. 13, 15). Would that Christians would more readily discover the false prophets today. Jeremiah told us that “you will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart” (Jer. 29:13). Believers can recognize false prophets and unsound doctrine the same way.
Chap. 5 Though Jeremiah has not personally sinned, he takes on the sins of the nation in his prayer (cf. Dan. 9:1-19). He asks God to restore Judah.
New Testament: Hebrews 2:1-18
Hebrews 2:1-18 Shock And Awesome
The writer is saying that if the law given to Moses was mediated by angels (v. 2, later Judaism held that angels were involved in the giving of the law) and Christ is greater than angels, we should pay attention all the more to the message of the gospel. Remember the writer is dealing with devout Jews who had come to Christ but are in danger of drifting back to the law and customs of Judaism. In the not distant future, the entire sacrificial system would cease when the Temple was destroyed by the invading Romans. The book of Hebrews is normally dated in the late 60’s A.D. and the Temple was demolished in 70 A.D.
The author asked the Hebrews how they could possibly ignore such a great salvation that was given to them through Christ and then confirmed by miracles (vv. 3-4). Note that the signs and wonders confirmed the message, they were not simply for the believers’ enjoyment. They were also performed by the apostles not by the average church attender (v. 4, cf. Acts 2:43; Acts 5:12; 2 Cor. 12:12). Their purpose was to confirm that the message of the gospel was from God and superseded the Old Testament message. God can certainly do signs and wonders today if He wants to but they were mainly to confirm the message of the Resurrection. Beware of false prophets today claiming to perform signs and wonders. They were done in New Testament times according the will of the Holy Spirit (v. 4b).
Angels will not rule supreme in the future but Christ will (v. 8). In fact, believers will rank higher than angels in the next world (vv. 7-8). Psalm 8:4-6 is quoted in vv. 6-8 to show that for a short while (v. 7a) Christ was ranked lower than angels when he became a man. He will later have all subjugated to Him (v. 7b-9; cf. Ps. 2:7-9; Ps. 110:1; Phil. 2:9-11).
Yahweh, in His wisdom, deemed it necessary that Christ mature through sufferings (v. 10). NIV translates the NASB “author” as “pioneer” which makes a little more sense (ESV renders it, “founder”). We all have the same Father as Christ, therefore we are brothers with Christ. What an amazing truth! In verse 12 and 13, Ps. 22:22 is quoted along with Isa. 8:17-18. Jesus Himself calls his Jewish apostles His brethren (John 20:17).
Jesus taking on our form of flesh and blood enabled Him to conquer Satan and death (v. 14). Jesus did not rescue the angels who had fallen but He did rescue the Jews (v. 16). It was necessary for Christ to become a man to be a perfect sacrifice for men (v. 17c) but also so He could be our eternal high priest (v. 17b, cf. Heb. 7:24-25, 28). He is the living sacrifice for our sins (v. 17d). The offering of bulls, goats and other animals was only temporary looking forward to the perfect sacrifice.
Christ suffered and was tempted (RSV) or suffered through his temptations so that He can be compassionate since He experienced the difficulties of being a man (cf. Heb. 4:15; 5:2).