Sunday May 8th 2011
The Letter to the Hebrews
1). Heb 1:1 ? God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; 3 who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 ? having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. 5 For to which of the angels did He ever say: "You are My Son, Today I have begotten You"? And again: "I will be to Him a Father, And He shall be to Me a Son"? 6 But when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says: "Let all the angels of God worship Him." 7 And of the angels He says: "Who makes His angels spirits And His ministers a flame of fire." 8 But to the Son He says: "Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your Kingdom. 9 You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of gladness more than Your companions." 10 And: "You, LORD, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands. 11 They will perish, but You remain; And they will all grow old like a garment; 12 Like a cloak You will fold them up, And they will be changed. But You are the same, And Your years will not fail." 13 But to which of the angels has He ever said: "Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool"? 14 Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?
a). The Book of Hebrews begins with a statement at the end of v2 concerning God?s Son and we learned from this statement that God?s Son has been ?appointed heir of all things?, and we also learned that it was through His Son that God the Father ?made the worlds/ages? ? the very thing that is confirmed in the scriptures in - Joh 1:1 ? In beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.
b). Then by putting these two together we realize that all the ages ? the ages of eternity past, this age, the age to come and the endless ages of what we call eternity future have all been made through the Son and for the Son and that the age to come and the ages beyond are specifically appointed to Christ as His inheritance.
c). Now, within the context of our Book and the context of scripture as a whole the focus is on the age to come, the 7th Day, the Millennial Kingdom rather than the innumerable ages; therefore we would know that God?s Son, the Christ, has been ?appointed heir of all things? with specific respect to the age to come.
d). And by comparing scripture with scripture we would know that Christ?s inheritance in the age to come has to do with rulership over the earth ?
Col 1:16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.
e). Rulership over the earth, an inheritance and the coming Kingdom are the very things that God spoke of ?at various times and in various ways in time past? through the prophets and the very same things that He has spoken to us in these last days by His Son ? both through the Son?s literal presence on the earth at His first advent in fulfillment of scriptural prophecy and also by that which the Son had spoken while on the earth - Lu 4:43 but He said to them, "I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, because for this purpose I have been sent."
Joh 16:14 "He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. 15 "All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.
f). Then as we saw last week the writer of Hebrews then draws from seven OT scriptures all of which speak of the coming rule of the Son within the Millennial Kingdom.
2). We are firstly told in v4 that Christ has become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. And then the more excellent name that He has obtained is given to us in the first 2 quotations, quoting from Psalm 2 and 2 Samuel 7 respectively - : "You are My Son, Today I have begotten You"? And again: "I will be to Him a Father, And He shall be to Me a Son"?
a). Being confirmed as God?s Son is more excellent than the angels because God has never made such a statement to any angel, although angels are by creation sons of God, and in the name ?Son? is contained the rights of the firstborn which of itself speaks of inheritance and rulership.
b). The reference to angels which introduced our first two quotations is continued in the 3rd and 4th - 6 But when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says: "Let all the angels of God worship Him." 7 And of the angels He says: "Who makes His angels spirits And His ministers a flame of fire."
c). And we will remember that the context for these quotations in Psalm 97 and Psalm 104 is Messianic, pointing to that time when Christ will rule and reign.
3). The contrast between the Son and the angels is then continued in our fifth quotation - 8 But to the Son He says: "Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your Kingdom. 9 You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of gladness more than Your companions."
a). And here again we have the clear statement that the Son is God, the One who has been from the beginning with God, by whom and for whom all things were made.
b). The quotation itself comes from Psalm 45 and is, as we would expect Messianic in its context - Ps 45:1 ? My heart is overflowing with a good theme; I recite my composition concerning the King; My tongue is the pen of a ready writer. 2 You are fairer than the sons of men; Grace is poured upon Your lips; Therefore God has blessed You forever. 3 Gird Your sword upon Your thigh, O Mighty One, With Your glory and Your majesty. 4 And in Your majesty ride prosperously because of truth, humility, and righteousness; And Your right hand shall teach You awesome things. 5 Your arrows are sharp in the heart of the King's enemies; The peoples fall under You. 6 ? Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom. 7 You love righteousness and hate wickedness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of gladness more than Your companions. 8 All Your garments are scented with myrrh and aloes and cassia, Out of the ivory palaces, by which they have made You glad. 9 Kings' daughters are among Your honorable women; At Your right hand stands the queen in gold from Ophir.
c). We see here a composition ?concerning the King? who is ?fairer than the sons of men?; we see that ?grace has been poured upon [His] lips? and God has blessed Him forever. V3 shows us the King with glory and majesty and a sword ? the very picture we would see of Christ in the Book of Revelation - Re 1:16 He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength.
d). In v4 we see the King riding in His majesty ?because of truth, humility and righteousness?, and this verse takes us back to the very attributes of Christ at His first advent, and contains echoes of the Lord?s entry into Jerusalem on what we call Palm Sunday - Zec 9:9 ? "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, Lowly and riding on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey.
e). It is precisely because of these attributes, truth, humility and righteousness, at His first coming, that proved Him worthy to pay the price for sin in order to redeem that which was lost in the Garden that He is described in our
Psalm as riding in majesty. This is now the time of His exaltation when He comes, not on a donkey, nor in humility but with arrows that ?are sharp in the heart of the King?s enemies; the peoples fall under You?.
f). And that spoken of here in our Psalm is exactly what we find in ?
Re 19:11 ? Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. 12 His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. 13 He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. 15 Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.
g). It is within this context that we find our quotation in v6-7 - 6 ? Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom. 7 You love righteousness and hate wickedness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of gladness more than Your companions. h). And what is significant for us here is the introduction of the King?s ?companions?, those who will accompany Him during His reign.
i). In v8 of Psalm 45 reference is made to the King?s garments being scented with myrrh and aloes and cassia again taking us to the Lord?s first advent, this time taking us to His death and burial - Joh 19:39 And Nicodemus, who at first came to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds.
j). And so in placing side by side reference to the King?s majesty and the King?s death we have set out for us that which the Lord told His disciples following His resurrection - Lu 24:25 Then He said to them, "O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! 26 "Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?"
[when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high]
k). And of course part of that which the prophets had spoken is right here in Psalm 45.
l). And finally, this section that we have taken from Psalm 45 ends with a description that takes us to the beginning of the Millennial Kingdom itself ?
9 Kings' daughters are among Your honorable women; At Your right hand stands the queen in gold from Ophir.
m). Now taking our quotation from Psalm 45 and seeing it within the context of Hebrews we would realize that the reference to the Lord?s ?companions? would
be a reference to those who are ?holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling?, the ?many sons? who are being brought to glory, those who will be overcomers at the Judgment Seat, those who are about to inherit salvation, who will be joint heirs with Christ. And so with the introduction of these companions we see the intended destiny for fully redeemed Man within God?s plans and purposes for His Son, taking us once again back into foundation in Genesis - Ge 1:26 ? Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth."
n). And so, one of the most incredible facets of the Millennial reign of Christ, will be that of a created being, redeemed Man, receiving the inheritance with Christ as an adopted firstborn son. There are no words to describe how astounding this is.
o). Not only this, but our quotation from Psalm 45 states that Christ?s throne ?is forever and ever?, on this occasion meaning exactly what it says, with the clear implication that Christ?s companions will continue to rule with Him into the ages of the ages.
p). During the Millennial Kingdom Christ will sit on His own throne in the New Jerusalem in the heavens with His companions accompanying Him. Then at the conclusion of the age to come Christ will sit with His Father on his Father?s throne in the New Jerusalem located on the new earth with His companions still accompanying Him - Re 22:1 ? And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb???.
5 There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever.
4). The sixth quotation then brings the eternity of Christ into view within both an historic and a prophetic setting - 10 And: "You, LORD, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands. 11 They will perish, but You remain; And they will all grow old like a garment; 12 Like a cloak You will fold them up, And they will be changed. But You are the same, And Your years will not fail."
a). The quotation itself comes toward the end of Psalm 102, and once again appears within a Messianic setting - Ps 102:16 For the LORD shall build up Zion; He shall appear in His glory. 17 He shall regard the prayer of the destitute, And shall not despise their prayer. 18 This will be written for the generation to come,
That a people yet to be created may praise the LORD. 19 For He looked down from the height of His sanctuary; From heaven the LORD viewed the earth,
20 To hear the groaning of the prisoner, To release those appointed to death,
21 To declare the name of the LORD in Zion, And His praise in Jerusalem,
22 When the peoples are gathered together, And the kingdoms, to serve the LORD.
23 ? He weakened my strength in the way; He shortened my days. 24 I said, "O my God, Do not take me away in the midst of my days; Your years are throughout all generations. 25 Of old You laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands. 26 They will perish, but You will endure; Yes, they will all grow old like a garment; Like a cloak You will change them, And they will be changed. 27 But You are the same, And Your years will have no end. 28 The children of Your servants will continue, And their descendants will be established before You."
b). And both within the Psalm and within the use of the quotation in Hebrews we see Christ presented as both the Creator when He laid the foundation of the earth and the heavens were the work of His hands as in Genesis 1:1 and the Destroyer at the time that the heavens and the earth will perish as in - 2Pe 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. 11 ? Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness,12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat?
c). Although we witness a significant change in the creation between these two points in time, the Creator remains the same and His years will have no end - Heb 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Jas 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.
5). The 7th and final quotation is preceded, as was the first quotation, by a reference to angels - 13 But to which of the angels has He ever said: "Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool"?
a). The quotation comes from Psalm 110. A Psalm that once again takes us to the Messianic era - Ps 110:1 ? The LORD said to my Lord, "Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool." 2 The LORD shall send the rod of Your strength out of Zion. Rule in the midst of Your enemies! 3 Your people shall be volunteers In the day of Your power; In the beauties of holiness, from the womb of the morning, You have the dew of Your youth. 4 The LORD has sworn And will not relent, "You are a priest forever According to the
order of Melchizedek." 5 ? The Lord is at Your right hand; He shall execute kings in the day of His wrath. 6 He shall judge among the nations, He shall fill the places with dead bodies, He shall execute the heads of many countries.7 He shall drink of the brook by the wayside; Therefore He shall lift up the head.
b). And this quotation brings us to what we could describe as a point of temporary conclusion, for we see Christ exalted to the right hand of the Father waiting for His enemies to be made His footstool, waiting with certainty for the Day of His power. Everything then is poised awaiting the manifestation of the Kingdom and those who will occupy it - Ro 8:19 For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.
c). The 7 quotations in Hebrews conclude by bringing us to a throne and the confident expectation of the Kingdom and the 7 overcomers? promises in the Book of Revelation conclude with the promise of a throne and the confident expectation of the Kingdom - Re 3:21 "To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.
d). Through the use of the 7 OT quotations we are presented with a complete, composite Messianic portrait of Christ concluding in His exaltation awaiting the Day when He will take the crown from the head of Satan and rule, and through the 7 overcomers? promises we come to a point of conclusion through the offer to those who will be overcomers to be exalted with Christ awaiting the day when they will rule in the place of Satan?s fallen angels with Him.
6). The first Chapter of the Book of Hebrews then comes to an end with another reference to angels - 14 Are they[angels] not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?
a). And in this concluding thought we see that angels have a present ministry with regards to those ?who will inherit salvation?, those who will be overcomers.
b). Now clearly there is no angelic ministry on the part of the fallen angels towards those who will inherit salvation, nor would we assume here a reference to angels in a general sense throughout the rest of the universe; rather we would need to see these ministering angels, who minister for Christians, to be the 2/3rds of the angels given originally to Satan who did not rebel with him whose jurisdiction was the earth ? those who are represented by the 24 elders seen in Revelation Chapter 4.
c). The focus of scripture is the 7th Day with respect to rulership over the earth and therefore it would of necessity be those angels connected to this earth who presently still wear crowns but are not currently ruling who would be ministering for those who will ultimately wear those same crowns in their stead in fulfillment of God?s eternal purpose.
d). And then in the age to come those same angels will continue to minister on behalf of Christ?s joint heirs, apart from worship of course, now administering God?s will under the joint heirs rather than ministering God?s will to the joint heirs.
7). Then as we think about this and think about the fact that angels are mentioned 11 times in the first 2 Chapters of Hebrews, the same number as in the rest of the NT combined we will realize that really this is the only way it could be.
a). The coming of the Kingdom of Christ necessitates a change in the present system of rulership of the earth ? the earth is presently ruled by angels, even though in rebellion, but that will not be the case in the age to come - Eph 6:12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
b). Man as we know was created to rule, but through Satan?s deception of the Woman, Man himself was disqualified to rule through sin, leaving Satan to continue as the incumbent ruler.
c). Man?s fall though, unlike Satan?s fall was followed not only by God?s promise of a future Redeemer, but by God?s immediate redemptive act as well ?
Ge 3:15 And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel."
Ge 3:21 ? Also for Adam and his wife the LORD God made tunics of skin, and clothed them.
d). But we should note that God?s redemptive act in slaying the animals and making tunics of skin didn?t nullify that which had taken place. Man, although eternally redeemed, was still in no position to assume the government of the earth because, despite his redemption, he was still a fallen being with an old sin nature and remains so even to this day.
e). For Man to assume the position for which he was created he must wait for the reappearance of the promised Redeemer from Genesis 3:15 - Heb 9:26 He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. 27 And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,
28 so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.
f). From the period of time between Christ?s redemptive work on the cross when ?He put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself?, to His reappearing, ?apart from sin for salvation?, to take the Kingdom we have the 2000 year period of this dispensation during which time those who will ascend His throne with Him, those who will inherit salvation, are being called out in the antitype of the search for a bride for Isaac in Genesis Chapter 24. And in the outworking of this process God?s
manifold wisdom is being declared to the fallen angels making clear the impending change in governmental authority - Eph 3:8 To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9 and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; 10 to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, 11 according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord,
g). It is this whole scope of prophetic certainty set out in the OT scriptures concerning Christ and the Kingdom, confirmed through the advent of God?s Son resulting in His superiority to the angels through His resurrection that is the very canvass against which the Book of Hebrews is to be seen. Without this foundation firmly in place we could easily miss that which is contained in this incredible Book.
h). And it is against this backdrop that we must come to understand our first warning, a warning that follows immediately on from this at the beginning of Chapter 2 ? Heb 2:1 ? Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away.
i). And it is this warning, and that which follows on from it that will be the subject of our study next week ? if the Lord is willing.