Christ the exalted King, 1:5-14
Our passage for study consists of seven scriptural texts, primarily from the Psalms, made up of divine proclamations to, or about, Jesus, the Son of God. The texts serve to establish that the Son existed before creation, that he stands coequal with God the Father, and that he is God's anointed messiah who fulfills all of Israel's hopes as people, prophet, priest and king. The Son's superiority is beyond question, far more exalted than all other heavenly beings.
v5. Our author mentioned Christ's superiority over angels in v4 and so working off this thought, he now sets out to establish the eternal divine status of Jesus, the Son of God. Of all heavenly beings, the Son is transcendent, thus his death on our behalf can be relied on, cf. 2:9. The status of the Son is established in seven quotations. First, Psalm 2:7. Christ is God's unique Son, king of the universe. Second, 2 Samuel 7:14. Christ is God's eternal unique Son, born of the seed of David, who has established a royal throne that will endure for ever.
v6. Third, Deuteronomy 32:43, "let the sons of God worship him, ..... let all the angels of God ascribe strength to him." The Son of God receives universal worship, even from the angels; he is honored as the Father is honored.
v7. Fourth, Psalm 104:4. This text is used to show the greater glory of the Son. Angels are wondrous beings, but the Son outshines them. At the time when Hebrews was written, the awesome nature of God was being emphasized and so people looked to angels to mediate between God and humanity. So yes, angels are indeed wondrous beings, ministering to God's people in their times of need, but they do not compare with the Son.
v8-9. Fifth, Psalm 45:6-7. Unlike the angels, who are "subject to time and tide, change and decay, the throne of God's Son endures for ever ..... (and is) characterized by perfect righteousness", F.F. Bruce. When it comes to the Son, he is no usurper, but is anointed by God.
v10-12. Sixth, Psalm 102:25-27. The Son is eternal and unchanging. The universe had its beginning at the hand of the Lord, and so it will have its end, rolled up like a worn-out old piece of clothing. Yet, the Son will survive the disappearance of our universe for he is eternal, he possesses God's immutable character.
v13. Seventh, Psalm 101:1. In verse 5 our author compared Christ with other heavenly creatures and claimed for him universal divine authority. Now, with this concluding text, he does the same. The Lord has been enthroned and the victory over his enemies is assured.
v14. Some angels get to stand in the presence of God, but none have the right to sit in his presence and certainly not sit at his right hand. Unlike the Son, who reigns with utmost authority, all other heavenly beings are but God's servants.
Jesus, Son of God
The author of Hebrews sets out to explain that Jesus' sacrifice on the cross has completely dealt with the problem of human sinfulness and so that now, through faith, we may stand eternally approved in the sight of God. At this point in Hebrews, before the author gets into his subject, he takes time to show us that Jesus is truly able to solve the problem of sin. So, what we have in our passage for study is a series of Old Testaments texts which introduce us to the real Jesus:
First, Jesus is the unique Son of God.
Second, the Son receives universal adoration, even the heavenly host worship him.
Third, the Son exercises universal authority, even over the heavenly domain.
Fourth, the Son, like the Father, is eternal; he is the Lord of time.
Fifth, the Son, again like the Father, is marked by his love of righteousness.
Sixth, the Son, as the divine agent of creation, possesses unimaginable power.
Seventh, the Son possesses the divine quality of immutability, he is unchanging.
Eighth, the Son's eternal reign will subdue all God's enemies.
So Jesus, as the divine Son of God, is God with us, and as such is well able to move us from death to life. Faced with such a wondrous Lord, there is little we can do other than bow the knee and give him homage.
Note the eight qualities ascribed to Jesus from the seven quotations and discuss how each qualifies Jesus for his role as saviour.
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