Hebrews Chapter 1:God’s Love for Jesus

Jan 7th, 2010 | By | Category: Hebrews, Verse by Verse --Studies led by Br. Frank Shallieu (Click on Book name)

Hebrews Chapter 1:God’s Love for Jesus

Heb. 1:1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,

In time past, God spoke “in divers manners”; that is, His counsel or statement of instruction was communicated in various forms. Two dramatic examples were the burning bush of Moses and the ass speaking to Balaam. Moreover, God spoke “at sundry [many] times … unto the fathers by the prophets.” With the Bible being the Word of God, a “thus saith the LORD” is prolifically stated in the Old Testament.

Heb. 1:2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;

There is no question that God “hath appointed [Jesus] heir of all things,” for abundant Scriptures so state, but what about the statement “by whom also he [God] made the worlds”?

First, the prepositional phrase “by whom” should be “on account of whom.” Second, the Greek word aion, which is translated “worlds,” should be “ages.” In other words, it was God’s prerogative to design the ages with Jesus in mind as being the principal heir of all things.

The usual statement is that restitution is spoken of “by the mouth of all his [God’s] holy prophets since the world began” (Acts 3:21). However, many years ago it was said that the Ransom is taught from Genesis to Revelation, and that is true. Christ’s death, his blood, and redemption are also portrayed throughout the Scriptures. Restitution is merely the benefit that will result from Jesus’ death. Thus the “scarlet thread” is the theme of the ages as progress continues toward the coming Messiah and restitution. However, it takes time for this truth to be revealed to mankind, as stated in 1 Timothy 2:5,6, “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” In other words, God has a schedule for His plan, and events unfold in a chronological line in their proper order and time.

“On account of whom God made the ages.” Certainly the plan of God is not the plan of Christ.

In the King James, Ephesians 3:11 reads, “According to the eternal purpose which he [God] purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” For the first part of that verse, the Diaglott has, “According to a plan of the ages,” that is, according to God’s divine plan of the ages.

Why did Paul use the terminology “[God] hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son”? In ancient times, God spoke by and to the prophets, and the prophets also spoke. But now Paul was saying, “In these latter times [that is, ever since Pentecost], God first speaks to us through His Son.” Jesus said, “No man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). Here is proof that the Father has spoken to each of the consecrated through Jesus.

Thus the contrast in verses 1 and 2 is between God’s speaking “unto the fathers by the prophets” in time past and His speaking “unto us by his Son” in the Gospel Age. What a vast difference! Incidentally, the consecrated of the Gospel Age are the “sons [or daughters] of God” (John 1:12; Rom. 8:14; 1 John 3:1,2).

Heb. 1:3 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 on the right hand of the Majesty on high;

The Book of Hebrews starts with superlatives: the brightness of God’s glory, Jesus’ being the express image of the Father’s person, and God’s method of speaking to us through His Son.

Paul was emphasizing that Jesus is cognizant of each one of us. He was trying to show that a radical change had taken place—not only with regard to Jesus before and after his consecration but also with us. We are considered as new creatures, and not according to the flesh. As new creatures, we are different, having come out of darkness into marvelous light (1 Pet. 2:9). In short, instead of ending his epistle with the climax, Paul started with the climax. From a visual standpoint, what thought is conveyed by the expression “Who [Jesus] being the brightness of his [God’s] glory”?

Comment: Paul was blinded by the “brightness” of Jesus’ glory at the time of his conversion on the way to Damascus.

Reply: Paul saw Jesus “as of one born out of due time” (1 Cor. 15:8). God told Moses, “There shall no man see me, and live” (Exod. 33:20). The Apostle John said, “No man hath seen God at any time” (John 1:18; 1 John 4:12). In other words, no man can actually see God in His glory. Of course there is a difference between God and Jesus even in glory, but the brightness of the similitude of Jesus was so great that it blinded Paul and caused him to have weak eyesight for the remainder of his life. Artists in the past often drew angels with a halo around the head, but the brightness of God’s glory seems to emanate from all over His body, not just on the head.

What is the thought of Jesus’ being “the express image of his [God’s] person”? The reference is to God’s body or form. Since the angels are called “sons of God” and man was made in God’s “image,” we can reasonably conclude, based on many Scriptures, that God has hands, legs, ears, eyes, etc. (Gen. 1:26,27; Job 38:7). But the term “express image” has a little more emphasis, so what is the thought? With the Lord’s glory and image, there is another feature in regard to the body, namely, the similitude of what we call “flesh.” The form, or “image,” is one thing, but “express image” indicates that every detail of the surface of Jesus is like that of the Father.

Man does not shine at all, but the angels do—and God does more so. But the term “express image” seems to suggest a further peculiarity with regard to skin tone. And so, some have tried to make it metallic. However, we are not trying to narrow down what the distinction is because we cannot do so, but we would suggest that something with the surface texture or color is different from that of the archangels. One proof is that when Jesus was an archangel, he was not described as the “express image” of the Father.

Comment: Man is made of the dust of the earth, so Jesus, as a spirit being, would be made of the same composition as the Father.

Reply: We know “God is a Spirit,” so His body and flesh would also be “Spirit” (John 4:24). Thus far we have discussed Jesus’ having the “glory” and the “express image” of the Father’s person, so what happened to Paul on the road to Damascus is not surprising. However, Paul did not die, even though he saw Jesus as one born out of due time. The Apostle John said that if we are faithful unto death, “we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2).

We know angels can appear in the presence of God and live because Jesus said that our guardian angels always have access to the Heavenly Father with regard to our status and need (Matt. 18:10). The guardian angels have a responsibility, and every one of the consecrated has at least two or three guardian angels so that we will be protected down here while one guardian angel is up before the Father. In fact, that is one way we can prove that Jesus is not God. While he was down here on earth, he prayed, “Our Father which art in heaven.” Likewise, when a guardian angel appears before the Heavenly Father, he cannot be down here at the same time. Therefore, at least one other angel would have to be guarding us and probably two angels. The principle is the same with relief workers who cover for a person who is ill. Jesus had “twelve legions of angels” guarding him in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matt. 26:53). We can now see that the glory and honor of Jesus in heaven since his ascension are so great, even in comparison with the angels and his former position as an archangel, that he is “far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named” (Eph. 1:21). When Paul wrote this message, he was convinced that Jesus is the Messiah and that he had seen Jesus. He wanted to impress upon the hearer the greatness of Jesus, the one who was crucified and humiliated down here, and that in these last days, God has “spoken unto us by His Son” (verse 2).

Not only is Jesus the “brightness” of the Father’s glory and the “express image” of His person, but also he is “upholding all things by the word of his power, [for] when he had by himself purged our sins, [he] sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.” Just like a king, Jesus does not sit on the throne every day, but he sits there whenever he wants to make a special pronouncement or give a certain order or direction. He is there for important congregations in heaven and for public appearances to the angels for a particular purpose. Such activities would constitute sitting down “on the right hand” of God’s power or majesty.

There are still things to be done when the wedding of Jesus and his Bride takes place. For example, Paul wrote after Pentecost, which was after Jesus’ ascension to heaven, that only God has immortality at the present time (1 Tim. 6:16). Another profound truth is that God is the sole Creator. Having been “caught up to the third heaven,” Paul saw these truths clearly (2 Cor. 12:2). Although it was “unlawful” for him to utter what he had seen in vision, the experience affected his choice of words so that certain truths providentially came out in his epistles.

Q: Does the statement in James 1:17 that God is the “Father of lights” give some indication of the glory Jesus now has?

A: Yes. There are different degrees of glory. Even with regard to the Church in the present life, Paul said, “We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image [going] from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Cor. 3:18). As “one star differeth from another star in glory,” so beyond the veil, the members of the Little Flock will differ in their Kingdom glory (1 Cor. 15:41).

Comment: If the Church will shine as the sun, then how much more Jesus and the Heavenly Father excel in glory!

Q: Does 1 John 1:5, which tells that “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all,” indicate God’s glory and brightness?

A: Yes, that is true. However, here in the beginning of this epistle, Paul was particularly emphasizing the glory and brightness of person, and not of the intellect, for example.

Jesus “sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.” Majesty is something one feels. If one is truly noble, the quality exudes from his person. We have known only one person who, we felt, had true nobility, and that was John Read—in his thinking, idealism, conversation, standard, etc. In addition, Pastor Russell is said to have had nobility. Strangers passing him on the sidewalk turned to see who had just walked by because they were so impressed by his stature and movement. Many people put on a front, but that is not the same as true nobility, which comes in a very natural way.

Heb. 1:4 Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.

Since his ascension, Jesus has inherited something that he did not have before, even as an archangel. His glory now excels what he had at that time. Previously the other spirit beings listened to Jesus because, as the Logos, he was God’s mouthpiece. Perhaps some listened only in a perfunctory fashion, for due respect, attention, and obedience were required, but through his ignominious death on the Cross and the attendant suffering and humiliation, Jesus showed his sterling character. Now he does not just receive duty love while the holy angels stand at attention. Rather, they honor him out of true respect. And that is the kind of love and honor God wants all of His creatures to have for Him and His Son. With their whole heart, they are to worship God “in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23,24). All will be tried from that standpoint—the consecrated in this age and mankind in the Kingdom Age—to find out if, of their own volition, they prefer to love and serve God and Jesus rather than Satan. Unfortunately, many will serve Satan because he appeals to them along other lines.

Today people are more easily taken advantage of because of fallen flesh, but as mankind obey in the Kingdom Age, the fall of Adam in their members will change. They will be rewarded with life and vitality, yet some will sin. Sin is more excusable in this age because the flesh is weak, and with the Adversary and the fallen angels operating, the current is against mankind.

However, in the Kingdom Age, with added benefits, the bottom line for each individual will be, Whom do you want to serve? Joshua was a good example when he said, “As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Josh. 24:15). In the present age, God is looking for those who so appreciate His standards, thinking, methods, and promises that in spite of their weaknesses and struggles, they want to be like Him and like Jesus and to live and reign with their Lord.

That is a difficult thing to do, yet even in the next age, when all of the stumbling stones are removed and no lion is there, many will fall (Isa. 35:9). The reason many will succumb even in the Kingdom Age is that they prefer honor, power, greed, prestige, etc., and they will want to return to the conditions of the present age.

The fairness of God’s dealing in the Kingdom Age will be seen, for the flesh will become perfect, whole, and clean, and then the people will be judged. If they do not follow the Lord at that time, after being given ample opportunity, the justice or merit of their being rewarded with Second Death will be evident. Mankind will be without excuse, for “there shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days” (Isa. 65:20). That same principle applies now to us, the consecrated. The only problem is that we are not perfect, for we have fallen flesh and tendencies, poor memories, etc. Therefore, God is looking at our intent, the secret of our heart’s desire.

Heb. 1:5 For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?

“For unto which of the angels said he [God] at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And … I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?” The language here is simple but full of meaning. Verse 5 took place after Jesus’s resurrection—specifically, when he was raised from death and ascended after 40 days. We can imagine how the Father reacted in the presence of all the holy angels; He must have given some evidence of His affection for Jesus and then said, “You truly are my Son.” All of the holy angels are sons of  God, but the announcement to Jesus “Thou art my Son” was especially laudatory. It was as though the Heavenly Father gave Jesus a pat on the back and said, “You really are my Son because you have overcome and are the victor.” How happy the Father was to make this announcement in the presence of the holy angels! And in the near future, He will joyfully welcome those of us who are faithful to the high degree of attaining the Little Flock.

The thought is, “This day have I brought thee forth.” The Father had been looking forward to this day—the day when Jesus ascended on high after being faithful to death on the Cross. Now He could honor Jesus above all other angels for his sterling character.

“I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son.” During Jesus’ earthly ministry, the disciples had asked that he teach them to pray. Jesus responded, “After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven” (Matt. 6:9). Although God is the Father of all the consecrated, the Father-Son relationship with Jesus is laudatory. The Father is proud of His Son and his wonderful obedience. Even though Jesus was honored as the Logos and at the First Advent with the words “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased,” he received summa cum laude praise at his ascension (Matt. 3:17; 17:5).

In asking these questions in verse 5, Paul was trying to show how wonderful Jesus is. He so loved Jesus that he was willing to confess him before others and to die for him.

Heb. 1:6 And again, when he bringeth in the first begotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.

When will God bring Jesus, “the first begotten,” into the world and say, “Let all the angels … worship him”? This will occur in the future when the Kingdom is set up. All beings, whether in heaven or on earth, will have to come to the realization that Jesus is indeed the Messiah. The world will see Jesus’ Messiahship as a fact. Paul said, “The whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together,” waiting “for the manifestation of the sons of God” (Rom. 8:19,22).

In addition to the manifestation of the Little Flock, there is also the manifestation of the Son (singular). Paul was particularly speaking to the Hebrews about the time when Jesus will come in glory at the Second Advent and the world will be apprised accordingly.

We know verse 6 will be true with regard to the world of mankind, but it also says, “Let all the angels of God worship him.” How interesting! It is true that the angels honored Jesus when he ascended after the 40 days and was given an abundant entrance into heaven, but this honoring will occur when God brings “the first begotten into the world.” Hence it will take place in the Kingdom.

We need to read slowly to catch the fine points and distinctions. When Jesus ascended on high, the cry went forth, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing” (Rev. 5:12). The Father highly commended Jesus and put His arm around him, as it were, saying, “This truly is my Son,” but in verse 6, Paul was speaking of an event yet future, namely, the recognition by the world and especially by natural Israel. Paul could have spoken bluntly, but he was purposely being tactful at the start of the letter.

Q: Was Paul bringing in the angels because the Hebrews had a better sense of the spirit realm?

A: If we had no New Testament and the only Scriptures available were the Old Testament, we would be reading that more and more astutely, and the Old Testament has a lot of information about angels. Therefore, the Jews were very conscious of the existence of angels, and they thought of them as coming from heaven.

Heb. 1:7 And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire.

The angels are glorious. God makes His angels “spirits” and his ministers “a flaming fire” (Psa. 104:4). For example, Daniel fell like a dead man when he saw the angel Gabriel and had to be lifted up. And the angel who appeared to Gideon went up in a flame of fire after touching the food and consuming it with a wand (Judg. 6:21).

Heb. 1:8 But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.

Verse 8 is speaking of Jesus’ throne, but that throne is not in operation yet. Jesus is to sit and wait until God’s due time. Thus the quote from Psalm 45:6 is an unconditional promise: “Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre.” Jesus has already merited this promise, and God has “appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man [Christ Jesus]” (Acts 17:31). Jesus will be given a scepter, a government. In one sense, he already has the government, but its operation is future, when the kings and priests are all selected to live and reign with him. Jesus has inherited the government, but the activity of that government is future. He has the right to the government, but God told him, “Sit here and wait until I make thine enemies thy footstool” (Matt. 22:44 paraphrase).

Jesus is sitting on the throne, but he will not exercise his right and power until the due time.

The Book of Hebrews is Paul’s masterpiece. He probably meditated on writing this book for his entire life, for it was to be a legacy to leave behind before he died. Notice that he talked about how God spoke and about what God did to Jesus. He was not speaking direct, as the prophets had spoken, but wrote a sort of historical account about Jesus—past, present, and future. This book is like a valedictorian speech that Paul left behind for the Jewish people.

When the Jews read the Book of Hebrews in the Kingdom, they will be embarrassed and ashamed. In the present life, they are thinking of money, property, influence, stocks, etc., but in time, they will realize what they turned down and that God has selected nobodies to comprise the Little Flock. Jesus said, “I thank thee, O Father, … because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes” (Matt. 11:25). The wisdom of the wise will be made foolish, for all the wealth of the world is as nothing. The desire and hunger for the things of this life are one of our trials. Even though we are consecrated and see the difference, secret desires and ambitions can pop up from time to time, but when the treasures of heaven are compared with the treasures of earth, the latter are trash. God is not obligated to reward one according to his looks, strength, works, etc. He is looking for those who yearn to be like Him—free from all imperfections—and to have His Spirit, so that they can truly worship Him in spirit and in truth without any inhibitions (John 4:23). For those who are faithful unto death, present inhibitions will be removed. We long for the redemption not of the literal body but from the body of imperfect flesh.

Heb. 1:9 Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.

Again God is speaking. These quotations from the Old Testament are all declarations by God, some in a prophetic sense and others as an accomplished fact, of the honor given to Jesus because of his faithfulness. The love of righteousness and the hatred of iniquity are cardinal attributes that God looks for in His specially chosen ones, who are called to fulfill a very, very high office in the future.

Here Paul was quoting Psalm 45:7, “Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.” With verses 8 and 9 both being quotes from Psalm 45, we can see the importance of that Psalm. In fact, many different truths seem to be anchored in that Psalm.

Comment: Contrary to the doctrine of the Trinity, God and Jesus cannot be coequal if Jehovah, the God over Jesus, anointed him with the oil of gladness above his fellows.

Reply: Yes, there is a big differentiation between the Father and the Son.

Comment: Also, Jesus did not receive this anointing until after the fulfillment of his commission here on earth. The reward was reserved until he had proved his faithfulness.

Reply: Jesus was previously above his fellows but not anointed per se. When he was the Logos, he and Lucifer appeared to be relatively coequal in honor and authority, and perhaps Lucifer, because of his liberties, erroneously thought he was the superior of the two. However, Jesus was the firstborn and had the honored role of being spokesman for the Father. Very often a spokesman cannot express his own personality too much because in doing so, he would damage the very office he is in. Commandments were channeled through the Logos to others.

Of course those conditions occurred prior to the Gospel Age, and the anointing of verse 9 took place after Jesus’ ascension.

What are some other thoughts about the statement “Therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows”?

Q: Was this anointing part of Jesus’ being given the divine nature?

A: No, for the oil represents “gladness.” Jesus had two separate anointings. In Leviticus 8:12, Moses anointed Aaron with oil to sanctify him. The gold plate that was put on Aaron’s head suggests a combined office of priest and king, although the emphasis of Leviticus 8 is on the priesthood aspect. The kingly aspect is brought in only subtly, suggesting the potentiality of the Aaronic priesthood when it eventually merges into the new Melchisedec priesthood.

Among other things, the gold plate (“Holiness to Jehovah”) emphasizes Jesus’ dedication and his role as High Priest during the Gospel Age. All of the activity of Leviticus 8 was done on the first day of the consecration of the priesthood. Antitypically, 6 1/2 days follow before the Kingdom Age or, as stated in Leviticus 9:1, before the eighth day, which pictures the Kingdom Age. Thus the emphasis of the anointing in Leviticus 8 has to do with the honor conferred on Jesus at the beginning of the Gospel Age—after his ascension but before Pentecost.

In regard to Jesus’ two separate anointings, the first anointing occurred at the time of his baptism in Jordan, as pictured by the dove, which represented the Holy Spirit. Although there was no visible oil, it was, nevertheless, an anointing but not necessarily an anointing of gladness except in the sense of Jesus’ sentiment “[As] in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God” (Psa. 40:7,8). He considered his consecration to do the Father’s will a privilege, even though he knew what it would ultimately lead to. Near the end of his ministry, he became the “man of sorrows” (Isa. 53:3). In contrast, the anointing that took place at his ascension indicated no more sadness, for he was then anointed with the “oil of [an enduring] gladness.” He had the satisfaction of having pleased God and having done His will.

There were no more threatenings down the road for the everlasting future. We hope for the same gladness. If we make our calling and election sure and Jesus says, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: … enter thou into the joy of thy lord,” we will very much feel that we, too, have been anointed with the oil of gladness at our ascension (Matt. 25:21).

Comment: Isaiah 61:1,2a reads, “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.”

Reply: Jesus quoted that text at Nazareth when he spoke in the synagogue. Then he said, “This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears” (Luke 4:16-21). What he meant was that this text was beginning to be fulfilled, for the “good tidings” first come in the Gospel Age. (The word “gospel” means “good news.”) Restitution will be good tidings to the world later, but Jesus’ sermons during his First Advent were addressed to his followers and were about the high calling, the good news now. He did not preach of the Kingdom Age. The good news is that if one is faithful in the present age, he will participate in the future preaching of good tidings to the world. The prison is opened during the Gospel Age in the sense that many of us were in a dark, deep dungeon of sin when God called us into His marvelous light.

Thus Jesus’ anointing with the “oil of gladness” above his fellows took place at his ascension. This was his particular honor.

If we were Jews living in Old Testament times and we were interested in God’s Word, we would wonder who the mysterious “thee” is in Psalm 45:7, “Therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.” Also, a marriage and two “kings” are mentioned in that Psalm, one King being Jehovah. We would sense that God was purposing something. Another puzzling statement would have been verse 9: “Kings’ daughters were among thy honourable women: upon thy right hand did stand the queen in gold of Ophir.” We would have asked, Who is the “queen,” and what does verse 16 mean, “Instead of thy fathers shall be thy children, whom thou mayest make princes in all the earth”? How exciting these verses were for the Jews back there! Today when we read Psalm 45, we realize that the mysterious “God” of verse 6 is Jesus, who will reign in righteousness. And Paul was trying to call that fact to the attention of his fellow citizens, the Hebrews. Probably in earlier years, before becoming a Christian, Paul had realized that Psalm 45 was talking about the  Messiah, but he did not know the identity of that Messiah until his conversion on the road to Damascus.

Comment: In the Diaglott interlinear, the “oil of gladness” is rendered the “oil of extreme joy.” Also, the Father personally anointed Jesus with this oil.

Reply: Yes, as Moses anointed Aaron in the type (Lev. 8:10,12).

The first thing that each member of the faithful Little Flock hears is Jesus’ saying, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” When the Church is complete in earth’s atmosphere, the saints will all be introduced to the Father in the throne room of heaven. As Jesus reads and the Father accepts the name of each of the 144,000, there will be joyous shouting and singing. The Father will hand out the “diplomas.”

The joy Jesus personally experienced at his ascension was the opposite of what he felt in the Garden of Gethsemane when he said, “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt” (Matt. 26:39). Proof that he was very troubled is the statement that he “was heard in that he feared” death (Heb. 5:7). He even said, “My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death” (Matt. 26:38). And on the Cross, he cried out, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46). When Jesus was resurrected, he knew that indeed he had passed the test, but he looked forward to being reunited with his Father and receiving official recognition.

Heb. 1:10 And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands:

The word “And” at the beginning of verse 10 introduces a thought that is completely separate from verse 9. Trinitarians especially like three texts in the New Testament, and verse 10 is one of them. Another is in Colossians, and the third is in the Gospel of John. Some of the other texts they use are either spurious or refer to something else, as is the case with verse 10. The human mind tends to connect verses 9 and 10, erroneously concluding that “Lord” in verse 10 refers to Jesus; that is, Trinitarians say that God is speaking about Jesus in both verses, telling, first, that Jesus was anointed above his fellows and, then, that Jesus “laid the foundation of the earth.”

Comment: The original Psalm is needed to straighten out the context. Psalm 102:25-27 reads, “Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the work of thy hands.

They shall perish, but thou shalt endure: yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed: But thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end.” The designation “LORD” in all capital letters in verses 21 and 22, as well as “God” in verse 24, clearly shows that David was speaking of Jehovah.

Reply: Yes, the original Psalm is the proof.

Generally speaking, almost all Christians, not only in the nominal Church but also in present-truth and other independent movements, think “Lord” in verse 10 refers to Jesus. In this separate thought, “And, Thou, Lord” refers to Jehovah—it is He who formed the earth and the heavens, as proven abundantly in perhaps 50 or 60 Old Testament Scriptures. In fact, those who are familiar with the Old Testament do not find any exception.

Heb. 1:11 They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment;

Heb. 1:12 And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail.

“They [the earth and the heavens] shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed.” There is no question that the reference here is to Jehovah, who laid the heavens and the foundation of the earth and will change them as a garment.

Many people think that verses 11 and 12 are authorized hyperbole, particularly the earth (singular) and the heavens (plural), but that is not the case. Incidentally, context determines whether “heavens” (plural) means the firmament, the atmosphere, or the stars that we see like our sun. The planets, which do not have light in themselves, are not suns, for they can only reflect light. In other words, just as the moon reflects sunlight, so do the planets in our solar system. The sun, moon, and planets (Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune) are the “heavens” of our solar system.

How do we harmonize the statement in Ecclesiastes 1:4 that “the earth abideth for ever” and Paul’s point here that the earth and the heavens “shall perish” and “wax old as doth a garment”? Earth as a planet will abide forever but not the surface of the earth as we know it.

For example, rivers bring silt down from the mountains into the valleys by gravity. Therefore, a million or a billion years from now, all the mountains will be leveled just through erosion.

Other Scriptures that we will not consider at this time also support this thought. To wait for a million or a billion years is a mighty long time from a pragmatic standpoint, but verses 11 and 12 are a very subtle, slight hint that interplanetary travel will be feasible one day and that people will move from one “house” to another. Just as people change from one garment to another garment, so they will move from one house to a house in another location. That is why the universe is illimitable and innumerable from our standpoint, but from God’s standpoint, it is finite and fixed, for He knows the number of the stars and has a name for each one (Psa. 147:4). In other words, God has a particular destiny in mind for all of the stars.

We are prone to be a literalist as regards God—we think that is the proper attitude—until we are forced to give a spiritual application. Of course some Scriptures are both literal and spiritual, and other Scriptures are either only literal or only spiritual.

Q: Did Paul possibly take the Old Testament statement that God created the heavens and the earth and apply just the principle to Jesus here in the first chapter of Hebrews? Then the waxing old would refer to the ecclesiastical heavens and the society of earth waxing old as the Apostle Peter said in 2 Peter 3:10, “The heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.”

A: No, what Peter said was symbolic and figurative; what Paul said here is literal. At the present time, we see the tremors, but the “earthquake,” the social explosion, is future. The work of God’s hands and fingers was literal. Paul was quoting not only Psalm 102 but also Isaiah. We are not saying that Paul understood all of these things. Yes, he understood more than any of the other apostles, but there was a limit to his understanding back there. His being taken to the “third heaven” is mind-boggling—he saw society as it exists today and as it will exist in the near future and in the Kingdom Age (2 Cor. 12:2). In addition, he actually saw the degradation of man in vision.

Comment: Paul quoted from the Old Testament in verses 5-12, and then in verse 13, he said, “But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool?” Therefore, he was just quoting and did not understand all of these points in depth.

Reply: That is true. His emphasis was, “Jesus is the Messiah that you Hebrews have been looking for. He was right here, and you crucified him.” Bro. Alex Muir once said the following about prophecy: “If we, as Christians, get tired of standing and sit down on the curb to wait for prophecy to come, it could go right on by us while we continue to sit and wait.” The point is that if we do not know what we are looking for, the fulfillment can pass by without our noticing it. Therefore, when the texts Paul used were laid out on the table, the Jews should have asked, “Who is this mysterious individual?” Paul showed that he was a Son and a mighty one. As the epistle continues, he gave overwhelming evidence that Jesus is truly the Messiah.

Q: Why can’t verses 10-12 be spiritual like Isaiah 34:4? “And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig tree.”

A: Psalm 102, which Paul quoted, rules out that interpretation. The clauses “thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail” refer to Jesus. In verse 24, Jesus said to his Father, “O my God, take me not away in the midst of my days: thy years are throughout all generations.” Jesus said this during his earthly ministry when he was very much concerned about his imminent death. In other words, a squib of prophecy about Jesus was implanted in Psalm 102, and this picture within a picture has nothing to do with what was subsequently said in verses 25 and 26. Being familiar with Psalm 102 and having almost a photographic memory, Paul felt that verse 24 stood out as if it were italicized.

To repeat, Jesus knew that he was going to die. The Son of man came to give his life a ransom, but the stark reality of the experience of being crucified was now staring him in the face. In the Garden of Gethsemane, he said to his disciples, “My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death,” and three times he pleaded with his Father that, if possible, the cup would be removed from him (Matt. 26:38,39,42,44). We believe the “cup” was a particular aspect of the shame that came with crucifixion, but in regard to Jesus’ prayer, Paul added a factor; namely, in addition to the shame that is attached to crucifixion, Jesus wondered if he had fulfilled his Father’s will perfectly. Had he done everything right? If not, when he died, he would remain dead; there would be no resurrection. In regard to this thinking in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed earnestly and “was heard in that he feared” (Heb. 5:7).

We will read verse 24 again from Psalm 102. Jesus said, “O my God, take me not away in the midst of my days.” Jesus was crucified as a perfect man at age 33 1/2; he was cut off in the prime of life. Next Jesus talked about God: “Thy years are throughout all generations.” Jehovah is the eternal God; He is the only One who can be trusted in the sense of always existing throughout all ages. When Paul said that Jesus was “the same yesterday, and today, and for ever,” he meant from the standpoint of character, sympathy, constancy, loyalty, etc. (Heb. 13:8). With God, that was also true, but from the standpoint of time, He is “from everlasting to everlasting“—He was here in the past, He is here in the present, and He will be here in the future (Psa. 90:2).

Realizing that God is immortal, that He has eternal youth, and that He does not change, Jesus said, “I believe there is no danger that you, Father, will ever waver in any sense, for you live throughout all years, but I am concerned about myself. Your years are throughout all generations. Of old you laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They shall perish, but you shall endure: yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shall you change them, and they shall be changed” (Psa. 102:24-26 paraphrase). The tendency of the reader would be to continue right on with the next verse, but there is a change of thought.

There should be a period at the end of verse 26, for verse 27 is talking about Jesus: “But thou [Jesus] art the same, and thy years shall have no end [after you are crucified].” God was saying to Jesus, “I am telling you now that you will be faithful, and when you die and are changed, you will be like me. From that time—after your death and ascension—your years will be like my years. You will live forever.” That assurance is what Jesus needed and earnestly prayed for—he wanted some evidence, some crumb of faith.

Clearly Paul quoted from Psalm 102. Jesus said of his Father, “Your years are everlasting.” The Father then turned around and said to Jesus, “Son, your years are going to be the same.” There was no question in Jesus’ mind that he had to die. His concern was life after death. The Father said to him, “You have my assurance that you will be faithful. You will then be with me forever.” From this standpoint, Paul’s previous comments about the “oil of gladness” harmonize beautifully.

Comment: Psalm 102:26 says, “They shall perish, but thou shalt endure: yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed,” but elsewhere in the Old Testament, God showed His faithfulness with the unchangeableness of His nature. For example, Jeremiah 31:36,37 reads, “If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the LORD, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever. Thus saith the LORD; If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the LORD.”

Reply: That is true. However, we are saying that planet Earth will remain but not as we know it. Genesis 1:1 states, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth,” and six seventhousand- year Days of Creation followed to make the planet habitable for man. When, way down the road in time, the earth waxes old like a garment, it will no longer be habitable; nevertheless, the planet will remain, and the orbit will still be the same.

Q: What about the “heavens” (plural)?

A: Although the word is frequently rendered in the plural, it can be either singular or plural in meaning depending on context.

Q: In what way will the earth eventually become uninhabitable?

A: The surface of the earth will become uninhabitable. Before this planet was made habitable, it was covered with water. There was no land, and darkness was over the water. As God began to order the surface for man, the earth heaved up with earthquakes. The earth beneath the water buckled, and continents pushed up. The Vailian theory is a feasible explanation that harmonizes with Scripture. Imagine the changes that took place over a period of 42,000 years before the earth was habitable and man was created!

Along this line, we believe that the Flood of Noah’s day was not universal, for otherwise, the changes would have been too dramatic for ice as high as the Grand Canyon to melt in one year so that Noah could step out of the Ark and have vineyards. Rather, a pocket of the earth very slowly sank and then very slowly raised, shedding off the water.

Comment: When a garment gets old and has served its purpose, it is folded up and put aside. With so many other heavenly bodies in the universe, there will be a place for the inhabitants of earth.

Reply: Yes, and interplanetary travel will take place. What limits going to other solar systems at the present time is that man has not yet harnessed nuclear energy to provide a sufficiency of fuel to last long enough for such travel in a small vehicle. Once man gets out of our solar system, he will be able to travel faster than the speed of light. Certainly angels travel faster than light, for otherwise, we would have a real problem getting answers to our prayers. In fact, prayers travel as fast as thought, which is much faster than light. The nearest solar system to earth is 3 1/2 light-years away, which is a distance of trillions of miles. What about where God resides in the heaven of heavens when He sends His angels? This realm of thinking reminds us of Psalm 12:6, for when God speaks, His word is like silver refined seven times. We may be able to go down to the second or third layer, but we are not capable of getting to the seventh.

Thus in verse 12, the Father interrupted Jesus’ prayer and said, “But thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail.” In other words, “You are going to be like me. Continue what you have been called to do, and you will end up like me.” Just as the Father endures with no age factor, so the Son is now the same.

Comment: It would be interesting to know what David thought when he wrote these words under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

Reply: Faith can believe but does not necessarily understand. We should believe God’s Word.

For instance, some do not believe God has ears and eyes, but the Bible tells us that He does.

Heb. 1:13 But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool?

Verses 10-12a are a separate thought. Then verses 12b and 13 are another separate thought.

The Father said to Jesus, “But thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail [they shall have no end].” Then Paul asked (with regard to that former statement), “But to which of the angels said he [God] at any time [what He said to Jesus], Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool?” In verse 13, Paul was quoting Psalm 110:1, in which David said, “The LORD [Jehovah] said unto my Lord [Jesus], Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.”

Q: Would David have understood what he was writing?

Comment: Although the Holy Spirit overruled this verse, David believed that Messiah was coming, so he knew there was a distinction between Jehovah and Messiah.

Reply: There are different “Lords” in heaven. The term “God” is used with judges and mighty ones, and the term “Lord” has different ramifications. A startling fact recorded in the Book of Exodus is that an angel spoke as Jehovah. The “angel of the LORD” said to Moses, “I am … the God [Jehovah] of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob” (Exod. 3:1-6). In other words, the angel was the mouthpiece of God.

We think certain individuals in Old Testament times observed the fact that God had a mouthpiece. They realized that there was some other great one, and they knew that God had many sons, for the angels are called “sons.” The Old Testament spoke about a mysterious special Son, and they would have said, “That is the Messiah.” They did not know much, but they made that distinction. Jesus said, “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day … and was glad” (John 8:56). We are not given the particulars, but Abraham knew something.

Comment: Ephesians 1:19-21 shows the preeminence of Jesus. God “wrought [His mighty power] in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come.” Jesus is far above the angels.

Reply: Yes, that text explains Psalm 110:1.

Heb. 1:14 Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?

Next Paul quoted Psalm 104:4, “Who [God] maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire.”

Comment: Verse 14 refers back to the word “angels” in verse 13.

Reply: Yes. As the agent of God, Jesus has all of the holy angels under his commission to perfect the Church during the Gospel Age. For that reason, he does not need the saints who were raised in 1878 to help him perfect the Church down here. The risen saints are doing another work. God has given this authority to the Son. The whole host of holy angels are not only spectators but also doers; they participate in the perfecting of the Church depending on what lessons are needed.

After studying this first chapter of Hebrews, we can see the loftiness of Paul’s thinking. We believe this epistle was the product of his thinking over many years. He very much wanted to write this letter to his people. Peter was initially the apostle to the circumcision (the Jews), and Paul went to the Gentiles. Nevertheless, Paul wanted to fulfill his double commission, for Jesus had said to him on the way to Damascus that he was a chosen vessel to preach the gospel to “Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel” (Acts 9:15).

( 2000 Study)

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