Sunday, March 10, 2013

CHRIST IS SUPERIOR TO ANGELS - PART 2



In verses 8-9, Hebrews shows that Jesus is not only the Son, but also Lord or king. He has an eternal throne and scepter. These are both symbols of royalty.
This verse refers to Psalm  45:6-7, the fifth Old Testament reference. This is a wedding song or poem. It is written from the view point of the bride of the king. It may have been read or sung at royal weddings in Israel.
But the writer of Hebrews applies it to Christ. And we indeed have seen Christ referred to as the bridegroom and the church as the bride in several places in the New Testament. Ephesians 5:25-27 is one example. The Bible’s last vision, John’s vision in Revelation 21-22, shows that the New Jerusalem is the church descending onto the new earth in purity and beauty described as a bride.
Psalm 45:6-7 focuses on the eternal reign of the Messiah. It states that Jesus, the Lord, will reign forever. That is what it means when it says your throne is forever. The Psalm says it is God’s throne, which to the Jew would mean the throne of the Father. So, the writer of Hebrews applies this to Christ and again asserts that Jesus is God. The writer of Hebrews specifically states that the Father spoke those words to the Son (“but of the Son he says” in verse 8). Revelation 22:3 says that, in the New Jerusalem, the Father and the Son will sit on thrones there and we will worship Jesus. The focus of redeemed humanity in eternity is worship of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The characteristic of Christ’s reign is righteousness. Verse 8 says the scepter of his kingdom is the scepter of righteousness or uprightness. Below is the scepter of Tsar Boris.


A scepter is an ornamental rod or staff. It is a symbol of royalty. It may contain jewels or a representation of the family arms. 
Here is a picture of Queen Elizabeth at her coronation. Notice that she holds her scepter in one hand and an orb in the other. They are both symbols of royalty.

 

But for Jesus, the scepter is righteousness. His kingdom is about righteousness, for he was righteous in eternity as God, he lived a righteous, sinless life on earth and lives righteously forever in heaven since his ascension. Not only that, but his righteousness is imputed (credited) to us when we place our faith in him.
Jesus loves righteousness. He willing did everything his father commanded during his life on earth. He lived to bring glory to the Father. The Father loves righteousness and the Son loves righteousness.
If we love Jesus, we must also love righteousness. We should strive to be like him and live a righteous life. We should honor not ridicule those who are righteous.
The opposite is also true. He hated wickedness. He hates wickedness. The Father hates sin. He cannot tolerate it. No sin is allowed in heaven. Those who practice sin and have not been redeemed cannot be in heaven. Revelation 22:15 says “outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood”. Revelation 21:8 says “But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death”.    Romans 1:18 says “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men…” John 3:36 says “…whoever does not obey the son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.”
            As Christ followers, we must hate wickedness also. If you rejoice when evil triumphs or wickedness abounds, you are not like Christ.
Then the writer goes on to say, because Jesus loved righteousness and hated wickedness, and so perfectly reflected the character of the Father, the Father anointed him with the oil of gladness beyond all his companions. (9) I believe “companions” here refers to the angels. The Father anointed Jesus as the Lord and King. Anointing is the sign that God has chosen someone to rule. For example, Samuel, God’s prophet, anointed David as king. You can read about that in the book of 1st Samuel. 
The Father anointed Jesus as Lord over all things. The one whom the Old Testament said would come and reign was called the "Anointed" or the "Anointed One". The Hebrew word is מָשִׁיחַ or “mashiyach” (using English letters). We transliterate that into English as Messiah. If we simply translated it, we would say “Anointed One”. The Greek word for Anointed One is Χριστς. Using English letters, it is “Christos”. We transliterate it to “Christ”. We might lose a little meaning by doing this (transliterating rather than translating), forgetting that he is the Anointed One, anointed by the Father to be Lord and King over all things, including even the angels.


Verses 10-12 tell us again that Jesus is eternal. This is a reference to Psalm 102:25-26, the sixth Old Testament reference. Jesus created the earth and heavens (heavens meaning sky and space), meaning he was there before the world. He existed in eternity before our time began. That is also what John meant in John 1:1, when he wrote “in the beginning was the Word”.
In contrast, angels are not eternal. They evidently do not die. But they were created. So they have not existed forever. Jesus, on the other hand, is eternal and therefore has the superior existence.  
This creation will end, as verse 26 says. Peter wrote that the heavens will pass away with a roar and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved. (2 Peter 3:10) But Jesus the Son will endure beyond the end of the world and its remaking.
He will change the world, but he will not change. (12) This trait of God is known as “immutability”. Jesus is immutable. That means he does not change, as  God the Father does not change. In Malachi 3:6, God says “For I the LORD do not change…” At the end of this book, the writer says “Jesus is the same yesterday and today and forever”. (Hebrews 13:8) It is another way of saying this same truth.
Verse 13 restates the fact that Jesus will reign at the Father's right hand until all enemies are conquered. He sits in the exalted position at the Father’s right hand. He is king. He is lord. This is the seventh and final Old Testament text, Psalm 110:1. This Psalm is the Old Testament passage most quoted in the New Testament.
 Peter used this same text in his first sermon in Acts 2:34. He concluded from this that God made Jesus both Lord and Christ. He is Christ, the Anointed One or Messiah. He is also Lord, or ruler over all. So Jesus has an exalted position as son, but also as Lord. I think "Lord" is the name above all names.
The Greek word translated “lord” is “kurios”. "Kurios" has three different meanings or uses. First, it can just mean "sir", a term of respect. Second, it can mean a slave owner. Paul often called himself a slave, in Greek a "doulas". A doulas served a kurios.
But the third usage is the imperial usage. It refers to a sovereign. In the Greek version of the Old Testament, the translators used kurios to translate Adonai. The name Adonai was reserved for God. When the Psalmist wrote "oh LORD our Lord, how majestic is your name", he wrote literally "Yahweh" our "Adonai". He is king or Lord over all. That is why the early Christians would die rather than say "Caesar kurios" or Caesar is Lord". Polycarp was killed for this. Instead they would say Jesus is Lord.
In contrast to the Lord are the angels in verse 14. They are ministering spirits to help us, we who will inherit salvation, meaning we who believe. For example, an angel was sent to get Peter out of prison in Acts 12:7. God sends them to help us. They are helpers. Jesus is Lord, Son and king.
Jesus is superior to angels. We are not to worship angels. We are to worship the Lord.  
Here is a practical example for you from the book of Revelation. In Revelation 19:10, John fell down at the feet of an angel to worship him. But the angel would not let him. The angel said he was a fellow servant. But, Revelation 1:17, John came into the presence of the risen Lord Jesus and fell at his feet. Jesus did not rebuke him, he just told him not to be afraid.
So, we worship Jesus the son of God and our Lord. And, we heed the warning that begins in chapter 2, not to neglect our salvation.  

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