Hebrews 1: The Heir of All Things

God, having in the past spoken to the fathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, has at the end of these days spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom also he made the worlds. His Son is the radiance of his glory, the very image of his substance, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purified us of our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; having become so much better than the angels, as he has inherited a more excellent name than they have.

(Hebrews 1:1-4, emphasis added)

The power of these verses is overwhelming evidence that Christ died on a cross for the sins of all men and that He is “the heir of all things.” He is King over the most pious and He is King over the worst rebel. He owns us all. To Him God gives all and to the Father does Christ give glory.

The Messiah is spoken of by the prophets of God and “in these last days” God speaks to all humankind through Christ Jesus. His Name is Jesus and He is God’s saving grace manifested to all men. Christ Jesus Whose Name is Emmanuel is God with us. It is by no other Authority that our Christ Jesus is “appointed the heir of all things.” He is heir of all the earth; everything on the earth, under the earth, in the sea and throughout the universe. These verses declare with certainty that Christ Jesus is fully credited with the Father for creating the world. It is His creation and we, all of us, are part of that glorious work.

It is Christ Jesus Who purifies all sins. Universal reconciliation embraces these verses as they do not limit the sins purified to those who repent, obey, show faith and persevere. These verses declare with certainty that He by His obedience to His Father’s Will make us purified from sins. He is the “heir of all things” and His possession is free of blot. Today He is elevated to the place of Highest Honor at the right hand of the Father where He sits on the King’s Throne.

Other doctrines diminish Christ’s sacrifice. Those doctrines conclude that Christ’s inheritance is not “all things.” They declare the majority of mankind will be sent to eternal conscious torment even though Christ inherits “all things” He creates. The doctrine of eternal conscious torment requires that Christ reigns over eternal torture.

John Piper is a renowned pastor, preacher and author. He provides his sermons and other resources at his website, Desiring God. Dr. Piper “is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota.” Dr. Piper provides a sermon entitled “In These Last Days God Has Spoken By A Son.” 1 Dr. Piper addresses these verses from Hebrews 1 and Christ’s authority as “heir of all things.”

Dr. Piper asks why the author of Hebrews included the phrase “heir of all things.” Christ’s Supremacy is in the fact that He is “heir of all things.” He is the First born of many. He is the Son of God and it is His Birthright to be Sovereign over “all things.” Dr. Piper declares that Christ’s authority allows Him to keep promises. “Jesus, the Son of God, can make good on all He promises ” Is that the same as saying “Jesus, the Son of God, will make good on all His promises?”

This is a distinction softening Christ’s authority and placing a kind of limit on the promises He will keep. It is as if Christ will keep some promises, most promises perhaps, but Christ does not have to keep all promises. Dr. Piper points out that Christ is over all things, “…who in the end will have under his complete control and ownership all things (all land, all water, all fire, all wind, all energy, all natural resources, all nations, all military might, all buildings, all bacteria and viruses, all angels, all demons, all spiritual and material beings except God the Father)….”

Christ Jesus, according to Dr. Piper, can, if He chooses, keep the promise that the meek will inherit the earth. He can, if He chooses, keep the promise that nothing will separate us from the love of the Father. He can, if He chooses, keep the promise to end death, mourning, crying or pain. He can, if He chooses, rule unhindered. Who could hinder Him? God gives all authority to Him. Who could delay His promise from being fulfilled? God promises that He will be “all in all.” Who will dissuade Him? Who will keep Him from His promise to His Son and to His creation? Dr. Piper answers these questions with this; “…the Son will make good on His own Word.”

Christ Jesus came into the world and is the “propitiation for our sins.” He was made manifest as the “saving grace of God.” He died a horrendous, torturous death as a sacrifice for the sins of the world. Dr. Piper wants us to believe as he does. There are some sins that Christ cannot forgive because the unrepentant person is so steeped in rebellion Christ cannot save him or worse will not save him.

Dr. Piper says, “The fear of hell is a golden opportunity for treating God as big and glorious and utterly real.” I have to ask did God create hell? Or is it a pagan kind of horror used to bring people into compliance? Does God force His children to pay homage to Him in the same vein Nebuchadnezzar made people submit to his idol? How does Dr. Piper explain the millions if not billions of people living in places throughout the world that have never heard the Gospel of Christ Jesus? Is fear of hell truly “a golden moment for how to teach a child about how real and how great God is?” If God is love, then why is it “golden” to teach children to fear Him? Is it unreasonable to call hell a thing as in part of “all things?” If not, then Christ reigns over the doctrine of eternal conscious torment and its subsequent hell. Is it Christ Who torments? He is the only power that could. His would be the only Authority that could. Satan will be cast into the Lake of Fire. Satan is defeated, too.

Dr. Piper is not alone in his assessment regarding Christ Jesus being “the heir of all things.” Dr. John MacArthur writes about these verses and provides his exposition of them. He peaches Hebrews theme is about “superiority or the preeminence of Christ…. He’s better than everything.” 2 Christ is better than the prophets of the Old Testament and better than anyone in the New Testament. Christ Jesus is the authority over all things.

Dr. MacArthur explains that without God’s forcible voice no person in their natural state could know God exists. Dr. MacArthur believes and preaches that no person could know God under their personal power or effort. He says, “You can’t crawl out of your natural box and discover God. You can’t do it. You and I live in a natural box.” To understand God, to know Him requires an effort on God’s part for your personal benefit. Dr. MacArthur declares no man created by God can know God unless God makes His voice clear. His creation can guess that God exists, but we do not really know unless God speaks.

God does speak. Dr. MacArthur tells us God’s word is “not smattered with a lot of human opinion like so many people try to tell you. Tell you that men wrote the Bible. It’s all God spoke.” Dr. MacArthur sells commentaries of nearly all, if not all, the books of the Bible. His commentaries are constructively “smattered with a lot of human opinion.” That does not take away from the point that God speaks to us through His Holy Word. That begs the question. If a person never held God’s Holy Word (the Bible) or could not understand the language the Bible is presented, did that person hear God speak?

Dr. MacArthur preaches about Christ’s “heirship.” Christ Jesus “is the heir of all that God possesses.” The Kingdom now belongs to Christ Jesus. Everyone in the universe will be His “some day.” Dr. MacArthur acknowledges “even Satan knew” Christ Jesus is preeminent and will possess “all of those existing in the universe.” Dr. MacArthur’s sermons and commentaries are rich. Christ is the “heir of all things.” They are His. He created them. Dr. MacArthur is right to say that everything in the universe; that is everything ever created was created by Jesus Who is Christ for all men. He is right to say that all things will be subject to Him accentuating the fact that He is Sovereign over “all things.” Simply stated, “Jesus is the heir of all things establishing His first glorious preeminence.”

God’s Kingdom is Christ Jesus’ Kingdom. All things created are created for Christ and all things created will be subject to Him. All things created bring glory to God. Dr. MacArthur reminds his audience of Philippians 2:10 wherein it is declared that Christ Jesus’ Name will “cause every knee to bow and every tongue to swear allegiance.”

I believe God’s Holy Word spoken to us. I am confident most Biblical scholars believe His Word with all their hearts, too. There is a general agreement that there is not any man, no matter how hateful, no matter how bitter he is toward God, who will not see His glory. Further, Scripture teaches every tongue will confess and will swear allegiance to God. Every knee will bow and all will be subject to Him. This is Impartial Grace.

1 Dr. John Piper. “In These Last Days, God Has Spoken by A Son.” Desiring God website. March 31, 1996. https://www.desiringgod.org/messages/in-these-last-days-god-has-spoken-by-a-son#he-can-make-good-on-his-promises. Date accessed: 04/02/2018.

2 Dr. John MacArthur. “Introduction To Hebrews.” Grace To You website. January 23, 1972. https://www.gty.org/library/sermons-library/1600/introduction-to-hebrews. Date accessed: 04/02/2018.