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This letter is called by someone: the letter of the opened heavens. You will discover how justified this description is. In this letter the writer is directing your attention to an opened heaven. And what do you see there, or better said, Who do you see there? Christ. You get to see the Lord Jesus in many glories. Both in His Person and in His offices (i.e. His official services) there is a variety of His glories. You will see His glories as God and His glories as Man, for He is both perfectly and truly God and perfectly and truly Man.
Although the name of the writer is not mentioned, this way of presenting the Lord Jesus just gives us all reason to presume that Paul is the writer of this letter. Like no other writer he shows us in all his letters the glory of the Lord Jesus as the glorified Man, while He also fully maintains His Divinity. Paul does not mention his name as writer of the letter, in order to catch all the attention for the Lord Jesus. If he would have presented himself as an apostle at the beginning of the letter, he would then have drawn attention to himself too, and that would not be appropriate here. Besides, the Lord Jesus Himself is presented as Apostle in this letter (Hebrews 3:1). That too makes it inappropriate for Paul to present himself in that way. Therefore, from now on, I will not mention his name, but speak of ‘the writer’.
There is another letter where the writer doesn’t mention himself and that is the first letter of John. The reason for that is the same as for this letter: it is the intention of the Holy Spirit that all light shines on the Lord Jesus.
The letter is written to the Hebrews, that means to Jews who have accepted the Lord Jesus as the Messiah and who have believed in Him. Their unbelieving fellow countrymen looked at Him as a deceiver whose crucifixion was justified. They had rejected Him. They treated the believing Jews as apostates who had abandoned the religion of their ancestors. They persisted in keeping the outer temple services and the offerings and customs that belonged to those services. At the same time their hatred towards their believing fellow countrymen was revealed.
They also pointed these believing fellow countrymen at the visible and tangible temple service and they mocked them, because they believed in what was unseen and intangible. They furiously resisted against the believing Jews by persecuting and mocking them. Therefore the writer of the letter – that is in fact the Holy Spirit through the writer – is doing his best to present the believing Jews all the glories of the Lord Jesus in heaven. Although they did not see Him, their faith was therefore not poorer. Their faith, on the contrary, was enormously richer.
In the letter the writer shows that the whole Old Testament worship service has been fulfilled in Christ. You will see that the sacrifices of the Old Testament have found their fulfillment in the sacrifice of Christ. In that way the priesthood of Aaron is also replaced by the priesthood of Christ. Next to these similarities there are also contrasts. Look at the sacrifices. Those were repeated again and again, while the sacrifice of Christ is made for once and for all, so that it is not needed to be repeated. With Aaron you see the same. Aaron was a sinful and mortal high priest, but Christ is the sinless and eternal living High Priest.
Therefore the Christian worship service, wherein Christ and His completed work are central, is far better than the Jewish service. In the letter the better things of Christendom with respect to that of Judaism will be dealt with. The word ‘better’ (or ‘more’) occurs thirteen times in the letter with a total of nineteen times in the whole of the New Testament. You read for example about: better things, better victims, a better hope, a better promise, a better resurrection, a better covenant, a better inheritance, a better country.
Now you should not think that it was easy for the believing Jew to abandon the old and familiar religion, which was even given by God. They were familiarized with it from their childhood and now they had to turn their back on all that splendor and impressive glory. An event out of Peter’s life shows us how difficult that was. He was a Jew to his bone marrow. The Lord really had to make great efforts to liberate him from his old thinking (Acts 10:9-Nehemiah :).
Perhaps you know from your own experience how hard it is to change certain religious habits and thoughts, which you were familiarized with. To the believing Jews holding on to the old things was a hindrance to grow in the new and better things. Therefore the writer presents the glory of the new and better things, so that it will be easier for them to abandon the old things.
His arguments were not meant for the unbelieving mass of the Jews. Therefore he did not address them. These people were holding on to the outward forms. By name they were God’s people and they even boasted on that. However, their relation to God was only formal, without any inward desire to Him and to obey Him. Among the mass, however, there were believers, who were standing in a real relationship to God by faith. They had acknowledged their Messiah in Christ. The letter was addressed to them with the purpose on the one side to liberate them from an earthly religion and on the other side to affirm them in their new and heavenly relationship with Christ.
The letter shows the heavenly character of Christendom in an excellent way. That’s what makes this letter very significant in our days. Throughout history Christendom has lost its heavenly character more and more. It has been reduced to a worldly system. Many forms of Christendom consist of ceremonies and religious rites, which are often directly copied from Judaism. In that way the Judaic religion, which has become meaningless to God, has come back.
Therefore this letter is extremely important for you too. In this way you learn to look at Christendom through God’s eyes. Through this letter you will recognize how God wants to be served and worshipped, so that at the same time you may reject everything that is not in accordance to that.
The reason why this letter is written is because a certain weariness had arisen among the believing Hebrews, due to persecution and scorn, while what they were hoping for still had not come. Their hands became weak and their knees lame and the inclination arose to fall back to that which they had abandoned. They could not cope any longer with the pressure and their hope for a quickly return of the Messiah was not fulfilled.
Therefore the writer presents to the Jewish Christians the loftiness of Christendom in comparison to Judaism. Until now they had connected Christendom to Judaism. Thousands of Christians were zealots for the law, but God was about to destroy the Judaic system completely. The writer also presents many believers who had also lived by faith, though without receiving any of what they were looking forward to. They persevered through to the end.
Above all, the writer draws attention to the Lord Jesus and His perseverance. It seems that even He too did not receive what He came for. Still He kept on going and is waiting now in heaven for the time the promises will be fulfilled. Time and time again their attention – and also yours – has to be turned to Him. That’s the way to be connected to heaven and to see that your calling is a heavenly calling. You are called from heaven and you are called to heaven. Your path is the path to heaven.
You cannot see that (yet) through your natural eye and therefore it is faith that it really comes down to. Because you still live on earth and because your attention is very often drawn by things you can see, there is a great risk that you might give in to those things. However, if you look to the Lord in heaven by faith, you will not waver, but you will be strengthened in your Christian position. By looking to Him you learn to bear the cross of scorn and contempt on earth.
In summarizing, it can be said that in the letter the writer points to the Lord Jesus, to His life on earth, to His sacrifice on the cross, to His glorification at the right hand of God and finally to His future.
In conclusion to this introduction a global outline of the letter:
1. The personal glories of Christ and His place in heaven (Hebrews 1-2).
2. The heavenly priesthood of Christ, to sustain His people (Hebrews 3-5).
3. The sacrifice of Christ, that made you fit for heaven (Hebrews 6-9).
4. The access you now already have to heaven where Christ is (Hebrews 10).
5. Examples of faith that lead to Christ in heaven (Hebrews 11).
6. Sanctification and grace on the way that leads to Christ in heaven (Hebrews 12).
7. Jesus Christ, yesterday and today the Same and forever (Hebrews 13).
The Sevenfold Glory of Christ
Hebrews 1:1. Without an introductory word the letter begins directly with pointing at God’s speaking. Through what God had spoken, He revealed His thoughts. You wouldn’t have otherwise known them. God was not obliged to make His thoughts known, but it is His wonderful grace that He still did it.
The writer points his readers to the fact that God “spoke … to the fathers” in times past. That makes it clear that the readers are in the first place believers from the Israelites. To those that were converted from the Gentiles, this phrase would have been neither meaningful nor important. Also the fact that God spoke “in the prophets”, indicates that it is about readers of Jewish origin. The writer includes himself also. You can derive that from the word “us”.
God spoke to the fathers by the prophets “in many portions and in many ways”. In the course of time He had spoken to His earthly people various times at various moments and again and again by different prophets. He also spoke in various ways. Thereby you may think about warnings, teachings, visions, dreams, miracles and signs (cf. Hosea 12:10). But all this speaking has not brought about the desired result. His people deviated again and again and much further and further away from God.
After God has spoken to His people in this way through the past ages, He finally spoke in His Son to them. This speaking happened in the last days. Those are the days that God still spoke to His people, but were coming to an end and they definitely ended when His people rejected His Son. This speaking of God in His Son happened when the Lord Jesus was on earth. It was the last attempt from God’s side to bring His people back to Himself.
However, there is a tremendous distinction between the speaking of all previous prophets, and the speaking in the Son. The prophets were people through the means of whom God addressed His people. But the Lord Jesus, the Son, is not a means through Whom God speaks. It is the speaking of God Himself! The prophets spoke in the name of God. The Lord Jesus did not speak in the name of God, but spoke as being God. He surely did that as Man on earth, but that Man is God the Son.
That’s what makes God’s speaking in the Son extraordinarily impressive. When God speaks in the Son, there is no mention anymore of partial or temporary Divine speaking, for all speaking of the Son is always and perfectly Divine. The Son is infinitely exalted far above the prophets as He is also above all other people as well as above the angels to whom the Jews were looking up to.
After the writer has introduced the Son in this way, he starts to describe the great majesty of the Son in an inimitable way. He does that by introducing to you seven glories of this Person Who is exalted beyond everything and everyone.
1. Hebrews 1:2. In the first place the Son has been appointed “Heir of all things” by God. As Son He will own in glory everything that exists. It is God’s plan to subject all things to His Son Who became Man.
He could only receive the inheritance as an heir after the testator has died (Hebrews 9:17). Now the miraculous thing is that He is the Testator as well as the Heir. And how did He receive the inheritance as an Heir? By dying as the Testator. You may say that it is God’s inheritance and that therefore God is the testament Maker, while Christ is the Heir. But Christ is God Himself and therefore receives the inheritance through His own death (of course as Man, for God cannot die). This is an inconceivable mystery to our understanding, but to faith this miracle is a reason to bow down and worship God.
There is yet a miraculous thing in addition to that. He is the Heir, but through God’s miraculous grace you are fellow-heir of “all things”, the whole universe, nothing excluded (Romans 8:16-Esther :; Galatians 4:7). Shouldn’t this awareness give us the courage to persevere?
2. His second glory is His power to create. Through Him God has “also … made the worlds (the men’s world, the angels’ world and the world of the stars). The whole wide system of this universe is the work of His hands, Who has spoken to us: the Divine Christ. Without Him not one thing has come into being, that has been made (John 1:3; Colossians 1:16).
3. Hebrews 1:3. The third is that whatever glory of God radiates to the outside, it always happens through the Son. The Son is “the radiance of His glory”. The light of God’s glory has become visible in Him. He is the image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15). It is like the sun with its beams. Where the sun is, its beams are seen, and where there are sun beams there is the sun. The beams and the sun are fully from the same nature. It is inconceivable that there are sun beams apart from the sun. The beams cannot be blocked or polluted. Whatever man did to the Son on earth, the beams could never be blocked nor darkened or blemished.
4. But fourthly, He is the Sun Himself and not only the brightness. He is not only a reflection of God, no, the being of God is in Him. The Son is “the exact representation of His nation”. Everything that God is on high, Christ is as Man. It is ‘expressed’ in Him (cf. Deuteronomy 4:15-Nehemiah :; Deuteronomy 4:25 and Exodus 33:9-1 Kings :; Exodus 33:20-Isaiah :). The whole being of God is to be found in Him as an express image.
What is visible in the Son is completely in accordance with and is identical to the invisible God. There is no thought in God without Christ being the express image of it. He Himself is God, as much as the Father and the Spirit Who in and through Him are revealed in Their full nature. You see the triune God in Him in everything He says and does.
5. His fifth glory is that He “upholds all things by the word of His power”. So that word has Divine power (Psalms 33:6; Psalms 33:9). He is the Creator and He also sustains everything. After He has created everything He also looks after everything He has created, for He has created everything with a purpose. All things exist together in Him (Colossians 1:17), all things are held together by Him.
He doesn’t bear all things as a dead matter on His back that it does not fall, but He leads everything to a goal. The bearing implies movement and going on. An example of that you see in His daily care for all His own. To each of the countless prayers that are daily sent to Him for all kinds of matters, He can answer by the word of His power. He takes care of the maintenance of the whole creation and of each individual life.
6. The sixth Divine glory becomes visible in Him as Man. That glory is that He “made purification of sins”. Here it is not about ‘our’ sins, but about the fact of the cleansing of the sins. That He has done that, is an addition to the glory of the Son. He did that by Himself, which underlines additionally that the Son has accomplished the redemption work absolutely by Himself alone and only in His own strength. The cleansing of sins means that He has done away and removed the sins.
7. Also the seventh Divine glory you see in Him as Man. He “sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high”. As Man He took His seat on high after He had purged the sins. The fact that He is there proves the perfection of His work. In that way an accomplishment has been done to everything that is related to the Majesty of God. Therefore He is entitled to that place. He sits there, which indicates a situation of rest. He sits down at the right hand, which indicates a place of honor.
On Him there, seated on high, your eyes are being drawn time and again at reading this letter. Should you ever doubt whether your sins are purged, then look upon Him there, seated on high. Looking upon Him there makes an end to every doubt.
Besides, in this letter the Lord Jesus is seen four times at the right hand of God:
1. In chapter 1 (Hebrews 1:1-Leviticus :) where He in His own personal glory is seated there after He has accomplished the cleansing of the sins;
2. in chapter 8 (Hebrews 8:1-Exodus :) in relation to His High Priest service;
3. in chapter 10 (Hebrews 10:12) with a view to the sacrifice accomplished by Him once and for all, through which He can be seated as Priest, for the sacrifice doesn’t ever have to be repeated again;
4. finally in chapter 12 (Hebrews 12:2) where it is not related to His Person, His service or His accomplished work, but to His inner feelings of ‘the joy that laid before Him’.
Now read Hebrews 1:1-3 again.
Reflection: Meditate on the various glories of Christ and tell Him how much you admire Him for that.
The Son Far Above the Angels (I)
I think it’s a good thing to dwell for a moment on the way the Lord Jesus is presented in this letter. It is not simple to distinguish His various glories. He is, after all God and Man in one Person. I will try to explain something about it. From the previous verses you have understood that He is now seated as Man in heaven. He has taken His seat there as Man, after He had accomplished the cleansing of sins through His work on the cross.
Before that time He indeed was in heaven, but not as Man. He was not eternally Man. He became that through His birth on the earth. John speaks about “Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh” (2 John 1:7) and about “the Word became flesh” (John 1:14). Thus the Lord Jesus existed, for He is the eternal Son of the eternal Father, but He became Man, or, as John says, ‘came in the flesh’ or ‘became flesh’. That can only be said of a person who has been there already, but now comes in a different way.
And how did that happen? God the Holy Spirit conceived Him in Mary (Luke 1:35). Therefore the Lord Jesus is the Son of God in two ways. First of all He is God the Son from all eternity. Secondly He became Son in a new way through His birth on the earth. As Man He could also call God His Father.
His eternal Sonship is present throughout this letter. Sometimes this also comes forward, as in the previous verses in His glory as Creator and as Bearer of all things. But in this letter the emphasis is mainly on the fact that He is the Son of God as Man. In His Person countless glories are present. As limited people we cannot see the extent of all those glories as a whole. We can see them ‘in part’ (1 Corinthians 13:9), which means that we are able to see and admire just a part of that glory at a time. This is how the writer approaches this issue here.
Hebrews 1:4. We go back to our study of chapter 1. We have arrived at Hebrews 1:4, where the writer hooks up on the previous by comparing now the glory of the Son with the angels. Angels used to have an exceptional place in the Judaic system. The earthly people of God received the law through angels (Acts 7:53; Galatians 3:19). And when the Lord (Yahweh) appeared in the Old Testament He did that normally also in the guise of an angel, as the Angel of the Lord.
To a Jew the angels were the highest beings next to God. They deeply respected them. John for example wanted to worship an angel (Revelation 19:10; Revelation 22:8-1 Samuel :). To a Jew a human being was much lower than an angel. Now the Lord Jesus became Man. This is what He is in heaven. That created a problem for the mind of the Jew. How can Christ become Man and is still above the angels?
As the eternal Son and also as Creator He has always been exalted above the angels. The Jews, however, still had to develop a sense for the fact that He is still above the angels as Man and this because He is the Son of God as Man. To the angels that was not an issue. They saw in Him, also when He was as Man on earth, their Lord and Master. Angels honored Him at His birth (Luke 2:10; Luke 2:13-2 Chronicles :). And during His life they served Him and were ready to do that (Matthew 4:11; Matthew 26:53; 1 Timothy 3:16).
Now as Man He has returned to heaven, ‘on high’ (Hebrews 1:3), where He had always been as the eternal Son. There God granted Him a glory He did not have before that time. By taking this place as Man, a dimension has been added to the distance in glory which was there between Him and the angels. That is indicated by the words “so much better”.
Here is also a mention of ‘become’ something, which indicates that it was not present before. The distance between Him and the angels has always been immeasurably great and cannot grow greater. His excellence above the angels can indeed still get more emphasis. That happens by the new name He has inherited. That name is given to Him by God after He had died (besides, inheritance is connected to death), was resurrected and had returned to heaven. It is the Name above every name (Philippians 2:9).
Then the moment has come for the writer to prove His excellence above the angels. For that purpose he quotes many portions from the Old Testament that speak of the Messiah. The believers to whom he wrote were very familiar with that. The portions quoted should persuade them. They give a unanimous testimony. In seven quotations from the Old Testament – specifically the Greek translation of that (the Septuagint) – the excellence, which is beyond all things, of the Son is shown.
To make yourself aware of the power of these quotations you ought to step into the shoes of the believing Jew. This also is not a simple portion, but your effort to conceive something of it will be rewarded abundantly. It took me quite a while before I succeeded to comprehend a bit about how impressive this testimony is from the Old Testament. First of all I will give you the quotations in a row:
1. He is higher than the angels and is being worshipped by them (Hebrews 1:4-Joshua :, quotations from (1) Psalms 2:7; (2) 1 Chronicles 17:13; (3) Psalms 97:7);
2. His throne is forever, therefore exalted above all thrones (Hebrews 1:7-Ruth :, quotations fro
3. (4) Psalms 104:4; (5) Psalms 45:7);
4. He is exalted above His companions (Hebrews 1:9, a quotation from (5) Psalms 45:8);
5. He is exalted above His creation, for there comes an end to that (Hebrews 1:10-2 Kings :, a quotation from (6) Psalms 102:26);
6. He is exalted above the time (Hebrews 1:12, a quotation from (6) Psalms 102:27-Hosea :);
7. He is exalted above His enemies (Hebrews 1:13, a quotation from (7) Psalms 110:1); and once again:
8. He is exalted above the angels (Hebrews 1:13-2 Chronicles :, a quotation from (7) Psalms 110:1).
In these quotations you also see a chronological order. They are about
1. His birth (Hebrews 1:5),
2. His presence on earth in fellowship with the Father (Hebrews 1:5),
3. His return to the world (Hebrews 1:6),
4. His kingdom in the millennium (Hebrews 1:8), and
5. the eternal situation after the millennium (Hebrews 1:11).
Hebrews 1:5. The first proof (Hebrews 1:5 - Psalms 2:7) shows the superiority of the Son above the angels by pointing at His position as Son. God has never said to a certain angel personally: “You are My Son.” Angels were actually called sons of God (Genesis 6:2; Job 1:6), but then it is about sons as creatures, as Adam is also called son of God (Luke 3:38). Here the name ‘Son’ is given to the Messiah, born on earth. It is therefore about His relation in time. He has been through eternity the eternal Son of the eternal Father and now His relation as Son born on earth is added to that since His birth.
There are people who are teaching that He only became Son when He was born, while His eternal Sonship is being denied. However, if He first and only became Son by His birth, then the order in Psalm 2 (Psalms 2:7) should have been: ‘I have begotten You, You are My Son.’ However, first it is written: “You are My Son.” Then it is determined that that Son was “begotten”, which means, He became Man. In this way the eternal relation is being determined first and thereafter the new relation.
Hebrews 1:5. The second quotation (Hebrews 1:5 - 2 Samuel 7:14; 1 Chronicles 17:13) is written in the future tense: “I will be to Him a Father, and He shall be to Me a Son.” That cannot possibly refer to His relation to His Father in eternity, for that has no beginning. It refers to His relation in time, from His birth. God makes clear here how the Messiah will be related to Him.
These words firstly regard to Solomon, the son of David. Solomon is an example of the Lord Jesus as the Prince of Peace. Therefore the Holy Spirit can quote and apply these verses to the Son of David, the Lord Jesus (cf. Matthew 1:1). An application to angels is impossible.
Do you know to whom this quotation is also applied? To you and me! Just read what is written in 2 Corinthians 6 (2 Corinthians 6:18). In connection to that section the issue is that you behave in such a way that God really can call Himself your Father and that He can acknowledge you as His son or daughter. Then you look like the Lord Jesus, Who He also calls Son.
Now read Hebrews 1:4-5 again.
Reflection: What have you learnt about the difference between the Lord Jesus and the angels?
The Son Far Above the Angels (II)
Hebrews 1:6. The third quotation (Hebrews 1:6 - Psalms 97:7) is about worshipping the Son. Only a Divine Person is worthy of worship. God appeals to “all” angels to do that, not just a few. They are called “the angels of God”, which means, creatures who are nearest to Him and who are instruments of His power and government. In that position they ought to worship the Messiah.
God makes this appeal “when He again brings the Firstborn into the world”. That certainly refers to His birth in Bethlehem. Then God brought Him into the world and the angels were praising God (Luke 2:13). But God will bring Him again into the world. Then He will not come as a Babe, but in power and majesty (Revelation 19:11-Nehemiah :). He shall come as ‘the Firstborn’, which means that He will be in the midst of others and amongst them He will take the first place. That also appears from the description of His return in Revelation 19 (Revelation 19:11-Nehemiah :). He is also the Firstborn of the whole creation (Colossians 1:15), the Firstborn from the dead (Colossians 1:18; Revelation 1:5) and the Firstborn among many brethren (Romans 8:29).
Hebrews 1:7. The fourth quotation (Hebrews 1:7 - Psalms 104:4) shows that angels have been made to something, namely “winds” and “ministers”. The Son however is not made to something. The messengers, these invisible creatures, are swift and invisible as the wind, but their work is observable. They are ministers with a power of flame of fire, terrible, terrifying and consuming. Therefore angels are exalted far above men. But the Son is exalted immeasurably far above the angels. While He is the Son, the angels are being compared with no more than the elementary forces of wind and a flame of fire.
Hebrews 1:8-1 Samuel :. The fifth quotation is from Psalm 45 (Psalms 45:6-Judges :) (Hebrews 1:8-1 Samuel :). Psalm 45 is a Messianic psalm, wherein the Divinity of the Messiah is emphasized strongly. The psalmist addresses the Messiah with “God”. As it is said, the Son has not been made to something, as the angels were, but God acknowledges Him in what He is: God. God speaks about His “throne”. That is His earthly throne, which ends to exist when He takes possession of an eternal throne. It is an eternal throne because righteousness is the foundation of it.
The Messiah practices His kingdom, whereof the scepter is the symbol, as a righteous King. Nobody can question His kingdom and nobody can criticize the righteousness of His reign. Each ground is missing to question or criticize that. Regarding the angels, they do not sit on a throne, but they are standing before the throne, ready to serve.
He is entitled to that place. He proved that when He was on earth. He showed that He loved righteousness and hated lawlessness. Therefore He was a pleasure to God and therefore God anointed Him with the oil of gladness above His companions (i.e. the believing remnant of Israel).
The wonderful thing in this quotation is that on the one side you see that the Divinity of the Lord Jesus is affirmed again as well as His eternal throne. On the other side you see Him as the faithful Man on earth where He made God-fearing people His companions, above whom He at the same time is highly exalted.
Hebrews 1:10-2 Kings :. But His glory is presented yet more extensively: He is Lord (Yahweh). There can be no misunderstanding about this because of the sixth quotation (Hebrews 1:10-2 Kings : - Psalms 102:26-Hosea :). The quotation starts with ‘and’, which makes it clear that it hooks up to the previous verse and adds to what already has been said about the Son. In Psalm 102 He is not only seen as Man, but as Man in the deepest humiliation, in His suffering and finally in His death.
However, He is also acknowledged by God as the Maker of heaven and earth. The psalm is the prophetical expression from the heart of the Savior, in the prospect of what He endured on earth as Man. But you also hear God’s answer to Him in this quotation. The answer implies that, however deeply He was humiliated, He was at the same time the Creator. That answer is quoted here by the writer. You read that God addresses His Son with: “You, Lord.” To the readers of the letter (and for you too) this means that the Jesus of the New Testament is the Yahweh of the Old Testament.
Then you read the quotation about “the beginning” (Genesis 1:1; John 1:1). He is at the beginning of all things. All things owe their beginning to Him Who Himself has no beginning. He also has no end, though His works do have, for they will perish. Mockers do say that all things remain, as from the beginning of creation (2 Peter 3:4), but they will for sure discover they are cheated. The material world has no life in itself and is neither eternal, as its Creator is. Here in one phrase you move from the beginning to the perishing at the end, from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 21:1. It indicates the huge contrast between the Creator and the creation.
He is eternally the Same. His years will last endlessly, even now He has become Man, for also as Man He has no end. The creation will be changed, but He Himself is the Eternal and the Unchangeable. “Will be changed” indicates a new heaven and a new earth (Revelation 20:11; Revelation 21:1). Creation will be like a “garment” and He will deal with the creation as with a “cloak”. A garment finally grows old and you can fold up a cloak or change it for another one. That is not the case with the Son. Christ is Creator and also Re-creator.
Hebrews 1:13. The seventh quotation (Hebrews 1:13 - Psalms 110:1) is in accordance with the seventh glory of the Son in Hebrews 1:3. Not only His Person is glorious and Divine, not only does He take the first place towards all creatures in the universe, but He has His own place at the right hand of the Majesty in the heavens. He Who had been with God in eternity, came to earth, was despised, but still will rule soon, is now seated at God’s right hand.
Psalm 110:1 is the verse from the Old Testament quoted the most in the New Testament. That’s because only this verse in the Old Testament actually says something about the present place of the Lord Jesus in heaven after His suffering, dying and resurrection and before His return.
He is now seated, while the angels are always standing (Luke 1:19; Revelation 8:2). When Michael and his angels have fought against the dragon and his angels and have defeated them (Revelation 12:7-Ruth :), they will return to God’s presence and stand there in their place of humble servants, awaiting the next order. What God says to His Son He will never say to the mightiest angel.
Hebrews 1:14. The chapter ends with a question that consists of a conclusion. Angels minister, but Christ rules. Angels are ministers of God, but also of the believers. Angels are spirits, they have no terrestrial bodies. They see the believers, they are spectators of what the believers do and don’t do, as 1 Corinthians 11 (1 Corinthians 11:10) proves, and they provide them with assistance where it is needed, because the believers are companions of the Son.
The believers are presented here as “those who will inherit salvation”. With salvation in this letter is meant the millennial kingdom. Therefore you should see salvation here as something that lies in the future. Salvation is also seen as something that you already possess. Therefore you may know for sure that you are saved on the ground of your conversion to God and your faith in the Lord Jesus (Ephesians 2:8).
It is important that you, to know what the expression ‘salvation’ means, look at the context in which it is written. Salvation often means to be placed on a new territory, beyond the reach of evil spirits and connected to Christ. In the quoted Ephesians 2:8 the issue is that you are already in heaven now, safe and sound in a territory where you are connected to a glorified Christ.
As it is said, in this letter it is about salvation as something of the future. That implies that we sometimes have to go through a tough and difficult way before we reach that salvation. That applied to the Jewish believers anyhow. Therefore they urgently needed a ministry of empowerment, comfort and protection.
The Lord uses among others His angels to minister His own. He deploys them, He sends them. They go on His command. Like when He sends an angel to Cornelius (Acts 10:3) and to Philip (Acts 8:26). He deploys them to bring Lazarus to Him (Luke 16:22). God uses angels to protect us (Matthew 4:6; Matthew 18:10; Acts 12:15). These angels are the elected or holy angels (Matthew 25:31; 1 Timothy 5:21).
You see a multitude of ministries that the angels do and that on your and my behalf. Therefore not the angels are worthy of praise (they would reject it, Revelation 22:8-1 Samuel :), but the Lord of the angels: the Man Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Creator and Heir of all things.
Now read Hebrews 1:6-14 again.
Reflection: Which glories of the Lord Jesus have you learnt about? Worship Him for them.
Kingcomments on the Whole Bible © 2021 Author: G. de Koning. All rights reserved. Used with the permission of the author
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de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op Hebrews 1". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany