And of the angels He says, “Who makes His angels spirits and His ministers a flame of fire.” but to the Son He says: “Your throne, O God, is forever and forever; a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness more than Your companions.” (NKJV).
After having shown the superiority of the Lord Jesus over the OT prophets, in Heb. 1:4-14, the writer quoted seven OT verses to show His superiority over angels, who were very important beings in the OT. These references cover four areas in which our Lord is superior to angels. Our first post looked at the first superiority: Jesus Christ is superior to angels in His person. Today, we look at the second one: the Lord Jesus is superior in position, vs. 7-9.
1. A comparison, vs. 7-8.
With respect to angels, v. 7, their purpose. They are made according to God’s purpose, sent forth to minister for those who shall be heirs of salvation, 1:14. They will also play a role in the future, when God brings this world’s history to an end, Revelation 7:1-3; 14:18; 18:1.
There is another thought here that we’re only going to mention and that is found in the phrase in v. 7, “who makes His angels….” The word translated “makes” is a present participle: “is making”. Because the Bible doesn’t dwell on this, we just wonder if it tells us that angels aren’t “permanent”? That they come and go, as it were? Or perhaps their roles change over time?
This in contrast to the Son….
With respect to the Son, vs. 8, 9, His perpetuity, v. 8. V. 8 reads, literally, “the throne of You, the God, into the ages of the ages.” Whatever v. 7 may mean as to the longevity or role of angels, there is no doubt about the Son. He is eternal.
There are two views as to how verse 8 is to be translated.
1. “God is your throne.” This is the view of the Jehovah Witnesses, as well as of some other translations. The JWs, of course, deny that the verse could refer to the Lord Jesus because, in their view, He is only a creature, “a god,” as they translate John 1:1, and not “the God.” Others say that it doesn’t matter which way you translate it because both ways “fit”. However, it seems to me that this translation would make Christ superior even to God, because the one who sits on a throne is greater than the throne.
2. The verse is addressed to the Son as the God, with an eternal throne. He had no beginning, in contrast to the angels, who do.
a. He is addressed as God, v. 8a, “ho theos:” “The God.” Whereas John 1:1 refers to the nature and essence of the Word as God, here the writer addresses the Word Himself, the Lord Jesus, as “the God.” In every way, He is equal to the Father, though not the Father. It may seem that we overemphasize this, but there are whole movements of professed Christians who teach that Jesus and the Father are the same. They are not. We believe in the doctrine of the Trinity not because we can “understand” it, but because the Bible teaches it. How can creatures whose lives are measured by a clock and a calendar understand Beings whose existence has no measurement?
b. He is described as “righteous,” He “loved righteousness (equity, rectitude, uprightness) and hated lawlessness.” His love (agape) led Him to the Cross to fulfill the righteousness of God. But there’s something else here. On every hand, we hear about “love.” In the recent turmoil over marriage, it was said, “It’s just love.” We’re told that we’re to be “loving,” apparently of everyone and everything, but this isn’t what the Bible says, You who love the LORD, hate evil! Psalm 97:10. And it can’t be said, as it is in Luke 14:26, that “hate” simply means to “love less.” The word in the Psalm means, “to hate.” We’re entirely too “forgiving” and “tolerant” of that which the Lord detests, namely, sin.
There’s a building on my way to work on which someone put a sign: “God loves you. Trust Him.” But Scripture says that for those apart from the Lord Jesus – those who do not believe on Him – it says that the wrath of God remains on them, not love, John 3:36. Apart from the Lord Jesus, there is no love – only wrath. That’s not a popular idea, but the early church in Acts never once mentioned the love of God.
Some people have the mistaken idea that grace means that there are no barriers, no boundaries, we may do as we please.
That is not true.
This isn’t the place to get into a lengthy discussion about the Mosaic Covenant except to say that it was given only and specifically to the nation of Israel. There are things there, such as the sacrificial system and all that involved, the dietary laws and the keeping of the Sabbath, which do not apply to anyone except Israel. I know that many disagree, especially with the latter, sometimes vehemently.
There are things there, though, which do apply – not because of that Covenant, but because of something much greater…. and that is the Moral Law. The Moral Law is the expression of that holiness, righteousness and justice that God requires of His human creation. The Mosaic Covenant was that Law put into a specific historical environment. For example, though we may not have to keep the Sabbath, we may not murder. Paul refers to these things several times in his writings. He mentions or quotes every one of the Ten Commandments, except for the fourth, not because they are from Moses, but because ultimately they are from God.
There has only ever been one Person who kept God’s law, and that was the Lord Jesus. There are those who say, “I don’t sin,” but there’s only One Who could say that without lying. He satisfied every requirement of God’s Law.
Though He never broke the Law, He went to the Cross because we do. He satisfied the penalty of God’s Law, as well. Those who believe on Him for salvation are credited with His obedience. They are “saved.” And they alone.