Paul is thought to be the writer even though nothing explicitly states it. It was part of early church history and that shouldn't be discounted.
There is no particular audience it seems to me that it was directed toward. Just to believers to help them grow in their faith and understand more of God. Though there is a subscript at the end that says it was written to the "Hebrews". Just which church, or which people is still a subject for debate. So it was written to Jewish believers of the Christian faith. It's good to have that for context.
So it's a book for scholars and historians to debate, but it is also a book, that as part of the inspired word of God, is there for us to learn from.
I do know that it starts differently than all the other books we've done so far. This is a chapter that shows how Christ is superior to other messengers from God: prophets and angels.
1Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2but 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. 3He 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. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.How's that for a sermon start? :)
The author gives us a bit of a history about how God has been working.
First through prophets.
Now through his son.
Who is his son?
- appointed to be heir
- heir to all things
- through his son, God created the world
- he is the radiance of God's glory
- is exactly the same as God in his nature
- he upholds the universe by the word of his power
- made purification for our sins
- Sits on the right hand of Majesty
- is Superior to angels since the name he inherited is greater than theirs.
We know the Christ Jesus our Lord is God's son. This fact itself makes Christ better than the prophets. Then he talks about what God has done through his son, and what his son controls. None of the prophets can match this. In this first section he also starts to talk about how Jesus is better than the angels as well.
Here's what Matthew Henry has to say (courtesy of e-sword):
The glory of his office, and that in three respects: - [1.] God hath appointed him to be heir of all things. As God, he was equal to the Father; but, as God - man and Mediator, he was appointed by the Father to be the heir of all things, the sovereign Lord of all, the absolute disposer, director, and governor of all persons and of all things, Psa_2:6, Psa_2:7. All power in heaven and earth is given to him; all judgment is committed to him, Mat_28:18; Joh_5:22. [2.] By him God made the worlds, both visible and invisible, the heavens and the earth; not as an instrumental cause, but as his essential word and wisdom. By him he made the old creation, by him he makes the new creature, and by him he rules and governs both. [3.] He upholds all things by the word of his power: he keeps the world from dissolving. By him all things consist. The weight of the whole creation is laid upon Christ: he supports the whole and all the parts. When, upon the apostasy, the world was breaking to pieces under the wrath and curse of God, the Son of God, undertaking the work of redemption, bound it up again, and established it by his almighty power and goodness. None of the ancient prophets sustained such an office as this, none was sufficient for it.Christ's word alone runs the world.
Can you imagine it? I can't even really conceive of it. To have that kind of power that YOUR WORD ALONE runs things? I can see in a company a boss man having that final authority, but we're talking the world and all it's complexities. Here rain, there sun, then we'll give an earthquake there, and over there smooth seas. We'll manage the animals, the people, the plants and so on and so forth. It's a huge undertaking, and Christ speaks, and so the world is.
I need to sit with that for a while. I"ll be back hopefully Monday. :) lots to think about here.