Allen: God has spoken supremely in Christ
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (BP) – Hebrews 1:1-4 is the “spiritual Mount Everest of the Bible,” David Allen, dean of the School of Theology at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary said during a sermon at the annual Pastors’ Conference at First Baptist Church of Jacksonville, Fla., Feb. 4. From the passage, he said, Christians can see “all of redemptive history.”
“What Shakespeare is to playwrights, what the Mississippi is to rivers, what Westminster Abbey to cathedrals, Hebrews 1:1-4 is to all of the Bible,” Allen said. He said the passage shows that the Father has spoken a definitive, final word in Christ, who is the key to understanding God.
“All of history remains a hieroglyphic until God gives you His ‘Rosetta Stone’ that is Christ,” Allen said.
Allen said God’s provision of Christ shows that He is a communicating God, and that his speech to humanity is the evidence that He desires fellowship. This is the reason, Allen said, the author of Hebrews distinguishes between the Old Testament prophets and Christ.
“He says that the prophets spoke in different portions and different ways. They used differing methodologies, modes and manners. But God has spoken His final word in His Son,” Allen said. “The prophets said, ‘Thus saith the Lord,’ but Jesus said, ‘I say unto you.’”
Allen also said that the passage from Hebrews is one of his favorite passages because it declares “the ‘seven wonders of Jesus.’” Jesus is described as “the heir of all things” and the Creator of all things. He said it should be noted that Jesus is mentioned as the heir of all things before anything was created. He was entitled to receive everything by virtue of His divinity, Allen said.
Jesus is also the “radiance of God’s glory” and the “exact representation” of God’s nature, as the author of Hebrews declares. Allen said that both descriptions deal with the issue of Christ’s position in the Godhead, a doctrine often debated in the councils of the early church. Jesus is the “radiance of God’s glory,” and so shows that he is God. But He is also the “exact representation” of God, illustrating that Christ is a different person of the Godhead. Allen said the word used to reflect this concept in Greek denotes the use of an impress, a dye or a stamp in wax.
Allen also said that Jesus upholds all things by his powerful Word, and that He provided for the cleansing of human sin. This would not have been possible, Allen said, without the incarnation of God.
Lastly, Allen said that “seventh wonder of Christ” was his position in heaven, where He is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. “This is where the Davidic promise of Christ’s reign has its inception in one sense. It will have its full reality in the millennium,” he said.
Allen said he was appreciative that Christ would be “born among cattle and die among thieves” for his salvation. “He was sold for 30 pieces of silver, but redeemed humanity on the cross.”