Sabbath School Lesson for January 8-14, 2022

Overview of Lesson 3

The first few verses of Hebrews sets the tone for the entire book. They help us see…

  • the meaning of living in the “last days” (Sunday)
  • how God spoke to us through His Son (Monday)
  • that Jesus was was the “brightness of His glory” (Tuesday)
  • how the universe was made (Wednesday)
  • the meaning of  being God’s only “begotten” Son (Thursday)


If Jewish Christians, or even Gentile ones, were going to have their faith renewed after suffering so much for God’s cause, they would need a healthy dose of Jesus to encourage them in their newfound faith. The book of Hebrews begins by reminding them who Jesus was.

Simply put, Jesus Christ was the Promised Son they had been looking for ever since Adam and Eve, through whom the promise first came (Genesis 3:15). As a matter of fact, this Promised Son was much more than they could have imagined. Abraham, David, and all who longed for the Messiah, may not have realized that God Himself would be that Son. God in the flesh would defeat Satan at the cross by sacrificing Himself and dying the death we rightly deserve.

Memory Text: “But in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being.” Hebrews 1:2, 3 NIV

Our Redeemer, the One who re-creates us in His image, was also the Creator, who created us in the first place. He not only created our world, but all of the worlds. The whole universe is the handiwork of this awesome God they knew as Jesus of Nazareth.

Sunday: In These Last Days

Hebrews 1:2 contains a curious phrase: “in these last days”. In what sense were the Hebrews living in the last days, an expression we also use to identify “the time of the end”?

Prophets used different forms of the expression in different ways. Deuteronomy 4:30 and Jeremiah 23:20 spoke of “latter days” to indicate some time in the future when their predictions would come to pass. Daniel, however, also used the expression “the time of the end” to more specifically identify the last days of earth’s history (Daniel 8:17, 12:4).

Jesus had fulfilled many of God’s promises during and after His time on earth. Naturally, the early Christians held high hopes that His return and the establishment of His heavenly Kingdom would be fulfilled soon, perhaps even in their lifetime. A careful study of Daniel, however, indicates that the time of the end they were anticipating wouldn’t occur until after the end of Daniel’s 2300 day/year prophecy (Daniel 8:14), a time period we believe began in 1844.

What the Hebrews did know was that most of the promises had already been fulfilled through Jesus. His resurrection, their deliverance from Satan’s power, and the new spiritual life He gave them were all they needed to joyfully continue their faith journeys with confidence and strength.

Bible Verses to Explore:

Hebrews 1:2

  • What does it mean to you to be living in the last days?

Monday: God Has Spoken to Us by His Son

The first four verses of Hebrews is thought to be the most beautiful sentence in the New Testament for its rhetorical qualities. Its main theme is the fact that God’s Son is more than qualified to be His spokesman. As a matter of fact, Paul, the author of Hebrews, proclaims boldly in this passage that Jesus is our Creator, the One who spoke the universe into existence and upholds it by His word. Paul, after his conversion experience on the road to Damascus, never seems to have doubted the deity of Christ.

Although four centuries had passed since the ministries of Malachi, Ezra, and Nehemiah, God now spoke through a much superior spokesman: Jesus Christ, the promised Messiah.

Paul gave them hope that the words of Christ would help them understand more fully the meaning of the Old Testament scriptures. It would be like having the picture on the box of a jigsaw puzzle to help guide us in fitting the pieces together. Jesus was their key, and ours, for understanding the entire word of God. He could do this, because He was the Word of God (John 1:1).

Bible Verses to Explore:

Hebrews 1:1, 2 and John 1:1-3

  • How were Paul and John alike in their assessment of who Jesus was?
  • Why is creation a feature that elevates Jesus to the level of being God?

Tuesday: “He Is the Radiance of the Glory of God”

We are able to reflect the light and glory of God, but Jesus was the only human being who could claim to be the source of that light. John 1:9 says he was the “true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world”.

The radiance, or brightness, of His glory, spoken of in Hebrews 1:3, is followed by the assertion that He was the “express image of His person”. We are made in His image, but are a dim reflection of His glory. To be the “express” image of God means that He was the exact representation of His Father. No human could ever duplicate the precise picture of God He projected to the world (2 Corinthians 4:6). No wonder Jesus explained to Philip that “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9).

This divine brightness was witnessed at the Mount of Transfiguration, when Matthew records that “His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light” (Matthew 17:2).

Bible Verses to Explore:

Hebrews 1:3 and 2 Corinthians 4:6

  • What does the light projected from Jesus teach us about God?

Wednesday: Through Whom He Made the Universe

It’s obvious in the beginning of Hebrews that the world was made and sustained by none other than God’s own Son, Jesus Christ, the Messiah. This very important fact enables Him to be our Judge as well. The One who spoke all living beings into existence is also the One who knows us well enough to judge us in the end.

Jesus was not just God’s helper during the creation of our planet, or even the universe. He actually did the work by the power of His word. The same One who spoke to them through the prophets was the One who said, “Let there be light”. They could rest assured that Christ’s authority would be able to sustain them through their most difficult trials.

Paul, when preaching in Athens, declared that “in Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). He is responsible for our every breath and heartbeat. So long as we are alive, God will have an interest in our wellbeing. This acknowledgement of God’s involvement in our lives would have been a comforting thought for many of the downtrodden saints Paul was trying to reach in the book of Hebrews.

Bible Verses to Explore:

Isaiah 42:5, 44:24, 45:18 and Nehemiah 9:6

  • Why is it important to believe that God created us?

Hebrews 2:10, 5:8, 9

  • Why is it important to remember that Christ suffered?
  • What does Christ’s suffering have to do with our own?

Thursday: “Today I Have Begotten You”

The fifth verse in Hebrews presents the fact that Jesus was God’s begotten Son. We usually equate the term “begotten” with being fathered or created. But does it mean, in this case, that Jesus was created by God the Father, making Him less than God?

John and other disciples certainly didn’t think so. John 1:3 tells us that “all things were made by Him”, referring to the Word of God, or the Messiah. Hebrews 13:8 claims that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever”. There was never a point in time, where God’s Son didn’t exist. The same can be said of God the Father. Malachi 3:6 affirms that God does not change.

The simplest explanation of how Jesus came to be God’s only begotten Son is that the expression does not deal with the nature of Christ’s deity, but rather with His role in our salvation. In order to save us, God had to become one of us by being born into the human race. The incarnation of God allowed Him to fulfill the covenant promises and pay the penalty of sin for all who believe and obediently follow Him.

Bible Verses to Explore:

Hebrews 1:5, Psalm 2:7, and 2 Samuel 7:12-14

  • Why does Paul try to elevate Christ above the angels?

Luke 1:31, 32

  • How did Jesus’ unusual conception and birth fulfill the Messianic promises all through the Old Testament?

Friday: Conclusion

Revelation 14:7, the first angel’s message, tells us to fear God and give Him glory. The first chapter of Hebrews certainly is about giving God glory. Hebrews 1:1-3 elevates the Son of God above the prophets. The prophets of old were held in high esteem by the Jews, but God’s Son was the One who spoke to them. The rest of the chapter shows Christ’s superiority over the angels who bow down and worship Him. There is evidently no one more worthy of their honor and adoration than Jesus, the One who claimed to be God’s Son.

Quoting heavily from Old Testament scriptures, the writer of Hebrews develops these ideas about the Messiah, the Son of God:

  • The Messiah is God’s Son.
  • Angels worship Him.
  • He created all things and is unchanging.
  • He reigns at the right hand of God.

In order to bolster their faith, Paul shows them that they can count on their Lord. Jesus was mighty and able to bring them through their current troubles. Both persecution and the mental depression that followed were not too hard for God’s Son to correct. He was all they needed to revive their sagging spiritual condition and once again be able give God the glory He deserves.

Next Week: Jesus, Our Faithful Brother

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