Yesterday morning we began to consider the superiority of what has
come in with this dispensation, to that which belonged to the old.
We only made a beginning on this matter - and when we say 'we made a
beginning' on the last, but one day, of the conference, it is quite
evident that we are going to have twelve baskets full over when we
are finished! For really, we have not got into the heart of this
letter to the Hebrews, and there is so much more that could extend
for a long time. Perhaps that is how it ought to be. We do not want
to come to an end, we want to feel that the land is a land of far
distances... the land into which the Lord can lead us, even without
Well, this morning we are now going on a little way into that
land - the land of the superiority of this dispensation over all
It may seem to some of you that I am repeating much of what I
have already said. If that is so, it is only that we may go beyond
it. Perhaps I could say what the apostle said, "It is not irksome
to me to say again the things that I have said, but for you it is
good". Well now, let us come to this particular matter, for it is
the supreme matter, which means that it is the supreme
matter in this dispensation: how much higher and fuller is that
which has come in with the Lord Jesus than ever came in in old
Now you have the letter to the Hebrews open before you, and you
will see that right at the beginning this is the dispensation of
God's Son. That is, it is the dispensation of God's Son in a new,
personal, manifestation. We believe that He was present in the old
dispensation and that He appeared to men in other forms, but this
letter says that in this dispensation He has come in a new form.
So it begins with the manifested presence of God's Son. It says
that in the old dispensation men met God in portions and in
different ways, the first verse says that it was in "divers
portions and in divers manners" and God met men and men met God in
Now, the prophets were the servants of God, and men met
God through the servants of God. In this dispensation they
meet God in God's Son personally. And there is a statement that
"God was in Christ". "Son" implies "Father"; the "Son of
God" implies God. So in the Son we meet God, not now in servants,
but "in Son". And this reaches absolute fullness in the matter of
Divine revelation, "For it pleased God that in His Son should all
the fullness dwell". When a thing is full, there is no room for
any more. If you are pouring water into a vessel, when it is full,
you say it's full; you don't put any more in. It is just full! And
it pleased the Father that in the Son should all the fullness
dwell and there is nothing more to be added.
Now, do not take these as just words. Do understand that in every
fragment there is this truth: In the dispensation in which you and
I are now living, God has come to us in all His fullness.
There is no more to be added. In His Son we have the absolute
fullness of God, and it is out of that fullness that
He speaks to us in His Son. And God has only one Son in that sense
- it is His only begotten Son, which means that there is
no one to come after Him. Therefore, God's last word is in His
Son. The Son brings both the fullness of God and the finality of
God. It is that that gives the solemnity to this whole letter. It
says: "If you fail to hear the voice of the Son there's never
another voice for you. God is never going to speak by another
voice. God hath spoken in His Son, and He is never going to speak
again by any other means." Hence this letter contains this word of
warning and this word of exhortation: "Because this is the
fullness and this is the end, be sure that you give heed".
But it is not only God speaking in His Son. That is, a
way of speaking, God's speaking is always God's acting.
In this dispensation God is active in and through His Son.
To come into touch with the Lord Jesus is more than to come into
touch with a teaching: it is to come into touch with a living,
active Person. "It is God with whom we have to do." It is a
glorious thing to come into touch with God in Christ - but it says
here that "it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of
the living God". No, it is not a book, it is not a teaching, it is
not a philosophy: it is a living, positive, powerful Person. It is
no other than God in action.
If you have any doubt about that, just remember the book of the Acts.
It is called "The Acts of the Apostles", well, everybody knows
that that's a wrong name, for the apostles in that book only
amount to three or four, most of the apostles are never heard or
seen in that book. They are mentioned at the beginning and then
you hear no more about them. It is not the book of the Acts of the
apostles, it is the book of the Acts of God in Jesus Christ by the
Holy Spirit - and indeed it's a book of acts! Whatever
teaching there is there, it comes out of the acts.
Well now, we go on to this next thing, the Son is introduced, He
is presented, and then He is described. And it's a wonderful
description isn't it, of the Son! But we ask: Who is this Son?
Because His name is not mentioned until you get into chapter two,
verse nine. It is the Son without a name. Who is this Son? Well,
verse nine of chapter two tells us and tells us for the first time
who the Son is: "But we behold Him who hath been made a little
lower than the angels, even Jesus". Perhaps it
seems a very simple thing to say that Jesus is this Son, and this
Son is Jesus, but perhaps you don't recognise a certain thing
about this: it is very rarely, after His resurrection and
ascension, that He is called "Jesus". When He has gone back to
heaven He is usually "the Lord Jesus", "Jesus Christ our Lord",
"our Lord Jesus Christ". His full title is given when He is
enthroned in heaven, and if someone comes right back from that
down here and just uses the title "Jesus", you know that they are
referring to His humiliation and the purpose of His humiliation.
It has to do with His work on earth for our redemption.
So look at verse nine again: "We behold Him who hath been made a
little lower than the angels, even Jesus, because of the
suffering of death". The name "Jesus" is the name of
the one who suffered death, who tasted death for every man - and
it was the Son of God who did that. It was the Son of God who, as
Jesus, tasted death for every man, because of the suffering of
death. That is the Son who is introduced here. He is identified by
His name "Jesus"... "He shall be called Jesus: for He shall save
His people from their sins".
Then the next thing is the position and function of the Son.
Right back at the beginning again, "God hath at the end of these
times spoken unto us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all
things, through whom also He made the worlds". This Son,
known to us as Jesus, is by God's appointment the heir of all
things. All things are to come to Him by right of God's
Please do not be weary with me. This is one of the first things
said about the dispensation in which you and I live. It does not
look very much like it now, for we do not yet see all
things put in subjection under His feet, but it says here
emphatically right at the beginning that He is "heir of all
things", therefore everything has to come to Him in the
end. God is going "to sum up all things in Christ, things in
heaven, and things on earth". He is appointed heir of
If we were speaking in human language there was somewhere in the
past eternity, an occasion, when the Godhead had a conference to
discuss the future of everything that was going to be made. And
the Father said: "I make My Son the heir of all things. I appoint
Him My heir, and I decree that all things in the end shall come
into His possession."
Now you're dealing with almighty and eternal God, and when He
decides a thing like that, nothing can prevent it. "Whom
He appointed heir of all things" - but He didn't leave it
there. He turned to the Son (of course, this is our way of
speaking) and He said: "Now, My Son, I am going to use You as the
agent in making all things" - "through whom He made the worlds".
This Son, whom we know as our Saviour and Lord, was God's agent in
the creation of the worlds.
And then it says a third thing, and this is of course something
so difficult to understand. This Son upholds "all things
by the word of His power". Things do not collapse because He is
holding all things, upholding all things by the word of His power.
And things will not collapse until He says they should collapse.
If this is true, it is something very wonderful for us. We are
hearing so much about the disintegration of the universe, the
blowing to pieces of this world. A lot of people are getting very
frightened about this. Well, if it is true what is here, the
universe and the world can never go to pieces until Jesus says so!
Men may get very near to doing it, and then it recedes. It just
doesn't happen. It has got like that several times, but the word
of His power has stopped it, and until He says "Now - go!"
it won't go. He upholds all things by the word of His power.
May we go as far as to say that should be of personal comfort to
us? Sometimes it seems that our own personal little world is going
to pieces, and that we have come to the end of our little world.
Well, it applies there; not until Jesus says so. He will hold
things together until He wants them to go to pieces.
This is the Son identified, this is the Son described. And then we move on into the larger body of the letter: the Son's
greatness by comparison with other great things and people.
In verse four: "Having become by so much better than the angels". That is the next highest to thing to God and the Son; the
angels. Oh, there is so much said about angels in the Bible! Peter
says that, "the angels who are great in power". In the book of the
Judges the angel is said to have had a very striking appearance,
his face was striking to behold and the person who saw him was
afraid that they were going to die. They said: "I have beheld the
angel of the Lord, his face was like unto an angel" -
Judges 13:6 if you want the reference.
The angels have a very vast knowledge. Jesus said this: "Of that
day and hour knoweth no man, not even the angels..." If
anybody ought to know this, the angels should, their knowledge is
so full and so great, and yet even the angels do not know this.
The angels have a vast knowledge.
There is an overwhelming number of angels, Revelation chapter 5
verse 11: "The number of the angels was ten thousand times ten
thousand, and thousands of thousands..." that is spoken of angels.
They are a vast number.
These angels are very near to the throne of God, they have access
into the presence of God. That comes out in one of the beautiful
things that Jesus said about little children, He said, "You must
not offend one of these little ones, because their angels do
always behold the face of My Father which is in heaven". Of
course, we don't understand that; something very mysterious. But
Jesus says that the angels have access to the throne of God, they
are very near to God Himself. There is only One who is nearer to
God than the angels.
The work of the angels is very varied. Look again because we're
keeping very close to Hebrews, verse 13 of chapter 1: "But of
which of the angels hath He said at any time, Sit thou on My right
hand, till I make thine enemies the footstool of thy feet? Are
they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to do service for the
sake of them that shall inherit salvation?" And what a lot
of work they have to do! All the heirs of salvation, all
over the world, in every generation - and this says that the
angels have to look after them and to look after their interests!
"To do service for them that shall be heirs of salvation." Well, of
course we do not see them, but if the Bible is true they are
there and they are very busy people. They have very, very much and
very varied service. All the various needs of these heirs of
salvation are their concern.
So the angels are a very high order - but in this letter the Lord
is saying: "But the Son is far greater than the angels". Here it
says He has obtained a greater name than they, verse 4: "Having
become by so much better than the angels."
Now if you read all that there is about angels in the Bible you
will have a very wonderful revelation - and then you come to this
fragment about the Son, who is Jesus, "so much better than
the angels". That's where the superiority begins.
And we, dear friends, have come into the dispensation of that:
the superiority of Jesus to all the angels. Perhaps we haven't
made enough of the ministry of the angels, but evidently they are
very busy for us. Perhaps many, many things that we are saved from
is because they were very watchful.
Well, we begin with the angels and then we go on with Moses. You
will notice what it says here, chapter three: "Wherefore, holy
brethren, companions of a heavenly calling, consider the Apostle
and High Priest of our confession, even Jesus: who was faithful to
Him that appointed Him, as also was Moses in all God's house. For
He hath been counted worthy of more glory than Moses" -
get hold of that phrase - more honour than Moses! "For every house
is builded by some one; but he that built all things is God. And
Moses indeed was faithful in all God's house as a servant, for a
testimony of those things which were afterward to be spoken; but
Christ as a Son over God's house..." The writer is saying: "We are
not going to take anything away from Moses. We give Moses honour
as a great servant of God, but Christ is greater. The Son is
greater than Moses."
Abraham was the father of the nation, Moses was the builder and
constitutor of the nation. What a large place Moses had in
history! Not only had he a very large place in Israel, but he had
a large place in the world. Many of the best legal systems in this
world are based upon the economy of Moses, because through Moses
it was said: "Thou shalt not steal", we have all the police forces
in the world! "Thou shalt not kill", well, we have all the police
forces in the world on that, I wish we had a few more forces in
relation to some other things that Moses said! But the point is:
Moses has come to have a very large world place in history. The
Jews in Christ's day always appealed to Moses as the final
authority in anything. Their charge against Jesus was that He made
Himself greater than Moses. They therefore believed that there
was no one greater than Moses. Now this writer of the letter to
the Hebrews, with great boldness, says that there is One
greater than Moses. Give Moses all the honour that is due to him,
but the Son is
greater than Moses.
And then he goes on to speak of Aaron. Aaron was the first high
priest, and being the high priest, he was the representative of
the whole priestly system. Aaron was over all the other priests
Aaron was over all the sacrifices, Aaron was over the whole
sanctuary. Aaron went in alone to the place of the Most Holy. No
one but Aaron was allowed to go into the Holy of holies - and the
writer here is saying that the Son is greater than Aaron, far
greater than Aaron. And he tells us why: Aaron died. Aaron died.
And anyone who dies never makes anything perfect. When he dies he
has to leave something unfinished. And what the writer is saying
is "Aaron died, therefore his work was not perfect. Death cut
across it. It was never finished. There had to come a lot of other
high priests to try and carry it on". Many more priests and many
more sacrifices - all being added to try and make this thing
perfect, and chapter nine tells us that they never did make
anything perfect. All the priests and all the sacrifices never
made anything perfect. And this is the wonderful thing that the
letter says: many high priests, thousands of priests, millions
of sacrifices, rivers of blood, and never bringing
anything to perfection and then the Son came... one Priest for
ever, who will never die, therefore His work will never be
We have one priest forever... Of course there, that wonderful
paragraph about Melchizedek comes in. And everybody is wondering
who Melchizedek was, I have been asked this week: "Who was
Melchizedek?" You can go to the Bible and you will never find the
answer, and you
will certainly not find the answer outside of the Bible. This
mysterious man comes in from nowhere, and where he goes to no one
knows. He has not beginning nor end, that is, so far as the record
is concerned, neither beginning nor end and that is taken up as
illustrating the Lord Jesus as the High Priest: neither beginning
of life nor end of days, He is an eternal High Priest.
I like to see that High Priest in John chapter 13, that High
Priest rising from supper and taking the priestly girdle the
towel, and going to the spiritual laver (you remember the laver in
the tabernacle don't you?) and it was as though this One went to
the laver and filled the basin with water, came and washed the
disciple's feet. A symbolic act of cleansing. It's the High Priest
doing it and it's very beautiful because over that incident there
are written these words, just look at those men, what kind of men
they were, and then right over them this: "Having loved His own
which were in the world, He loved them unto the end". That end is
not in time; if eternity ever ends, that's where it is. He loved
them with an everlasting love... this High Priest, this
greater than Aaron, who ever lives, "who lives forever to
make intercession". That is what it says here.
And then with one sacrifice forever... they used
millions of sacrifices and never, never made anything
perfect. He, with only one sacrifice, did it. It's done forever,
and He was the Sacrifice as well as the Priest. As Priest He
offered Himself without blemish unto God.
If we go on like this, dear friends, you will begin to believe
that there's something better here - better than Moses, better
than Aaron. Do you know why God put those two men together? They
were brothers, Moses and Aaron were brothers, but they were very
different brothers, and yet they had to live together and work
together. Why was that, what was the difference? Moses was the
governor, Moses represented government and authority. Well, we know
that. What came through Moses was "thou shalt" and "thou shalt not".
Moses governed Israel. Moses exercised authority in Israel. But
God is not only like that. Aaron was the man of love, the man of
sympathy. Priesthood means that you know - priesthood means love
and sympathy: love for the poor sinner, love for the poor sinning
world, sympathy with men. And God puts these two things together.
It would not do to have all of one. It would never do to have only
an autocrat. You must unite with him, the governor and the
authority, a heart of compassion. And if you get that, if you have
those two things put together you have a very good Israel.
Now here in this letter you see it's saying that Jesus, the Son,
is better than Moses and better than Aaron. On the one side He can
say: "All authority has been given unto Me in heaven and in earth".
The Father said: "Sit thou on My right hand, till I make thine
enemies the footstool of thy feet".
Here are two pictures in this letter, two wonderful pictures. The
one is of Jesus "crowned with glory and honour", having "sat down
at the right hand of the Majesty in the heavens" waiting, until
His enemies are made the footstool of His feet, with all authority
in His power. He is in the place of government. And alongside of
that is this other beautiful picture: "We have not a high priest
that cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities" ...
"He ever liveth to make intercession for us." Not only authority
and government, but love and sympathy - and so much
greater than Moses and Aaron. Yes, His authority is a
greater authority than that of Moses, His government is a greater
government than ever Moses exercised, but His sympathy and His
love is far greater than that of Aaron.
I think you may have had enough for this morning. I haven't
finished with the superiority of the Son. We haven't touched upon
His work - the work of making purification for sins, but you can
read it. And I'm afraid that that's where we have got to stop this
conference. Perhaps it is just like a window opened into heaven.
If you get the right window you can see quite a lot! You can see
great things and you can see far things, and the best that I can
hope is that this has just opened a window, and that as you look
through this window you are seeing one thing: how superior is
Jesus Christ to all else, and how superior is the dispensation
into which we have come, and how superior are all the
our disposal to all that ever was before!
Now, dear friends, this is not just a conference subject. There
is one thing that I am strongly convinced of, that if we are
getting near to the end of this dispensation (and many of us
believe that we are) the one thing that is needed to be known is
the greatness of Christ. And this is the thing that God
will emphasise at the end. All other things are going to prove to
be very small. All other things are going to pass away, but Jesus
is greater than all. He'll abide forever. That will be the only
strength of God's people in the end time, so that more than being
just a subject for a conference, it's God's message in the day in
which we live. Dr A. B. Simpson, to whom I referred last night,
said over fifty years ago, "I believe that the last movement in
this dispensation will be a movement back to Jesus Christ".
Perhaps that is why the Lord has led us to consider Jesus Christ.
You can take it from me, dear friends that you are going to need
this Christ, you are going to need to know how much greater He is
than all other things.