Agonizomai: Heb 1:7-9 - Christ - The Subject of ALL Scripture

Monday, October 26, 2009

Heb 1:7-9 - Christ - The Subject of ALL Scripture

Heb 1:7-9 Christ - The Subject of ALL Scripture


Heb 1:7-9 Of the angels he says, "He makes his angels winds, and his ministers a flame of fire." 8 But of the Son he says, "Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom. 9 You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions."

More proofs from the Hebrews own sacred texts are given to reinforce to the Hebrew audience the unique and utterly "other" Person of Christ. This is preaching as it is supposed to be, which is why I called this letter a homily. All preaching takes the word of God and opens up Christ to the hearers from it. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the preaching of whom? The Word, which is Christ. The written word testifies to the Living Word. The letter of the word, made alive to the hearer by the Spirit, is made the food and drink that is the Living Word to the children of God.

So the writer gleans Christ from the scriptures and makes Him visible to those who have eyes and audible to those who have ears. Note that he preaches Christ exclusively from the OT. He doesn’t yet have the complete canon of the NT. His scriptures are those that were the scriptures of Christ Himself. All that he preaches to them is Christ, yet it is Christ revealed out of the OT. How much do today’s preachers mine the very words that Christ Himself, in human form, learned in order to see Himself as Who He was? How much OT preaching is there today? And when there is such preaching, how much of it discovers Christ to the hearers?

Would you believe that there are actually Christians today who think that the OT is obsolete? That it has been superseded? That it is no longer needed or relevant now that we have the NT? What appalling ignorance there is in our churches - even amongst our ministers! What neglect of such treasures! Two thirds of the entire Bible - fully two thirds of all that God has to say to humankind - is contained in the OT. Two thirds of His revelation of Jesus Christ is found there. Without this treasure much of the NT is just hanging out there without a foundation. How can we neglect these riches and, in doing so, cleave to a shallow and incomplete knowledge of our Lord?

But here, the writer hones in on the One who is the subject not only of his homily, but of all true sermons, then and since. Would we know God? Then we must know Christ. Would we know Christ? Then He must be revealed to us through the word by the Spirit sent from the Father and the Son.

Christ is in Psalm 104 not as man, but as Creator, through whom the world was made. Psalm 104 is a hymn of praise to the glories of God’s handiwork. And in it is contained the phrase referred to by the writer, that He, the Lord, says of His angels (the work of His hands) "He makes (them) winds, and His ministers a flame of fire." {Ps 104:4} Again, the Septuagint translation is in view to the writer, for in Psalm 104, the Lord is rendered "kurion" and not "Yahweh" or "Jehovah". Undoubtedly, the translators were loath to transmit the unutterable tetrgrammaton into a pronounceable Greek form - and thus came up with "Lord" (kurion) where the Masoretic text unquestionably gives us "YHWH", which always refers to Jehovah God, and which is rendered in capital letters as "LORD" in the AV.

But what are we to learn from this? Only that to see Christ is to see the Father. They are indivisibly God. The Jehovah of Genesis and of the exodus is the Christ of the cross. We cannot, on the one hand, so distinguish the members of the Godhead that they become separate, independent beings - nor can we, on the other hand, so mix them together that they lose their personality or their functional differentiation. God said to Moses, "Hear O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one." {De 6:4} Jesus the Christ is Author, Creator and Redeemer. So seeing Him in a paean of praise and adoration such as Psalm 104 is not strange. Jesus is God.

He is God incarnate and He is God the eternal Son. Even so, He is not the Father, nor yet the Holy Spirit. Nevertheless, as God He is due all praise and worship - exactly as the psalmist does in Psalm 45 where he makes the Christ to be the Son of God - not by earthly generation, but by eternal generation.




Psalm 45 is the source of the author’s second citation here - as it says, "Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions." {Ps 45:8-9}

Ostensibly beginning as a song of praise to the king of the time, it quickly becomes clear that Psalm 45 is a prophetic psalm from start to finish. In verse 2 we see that this King is "fairer than the sons of men" (v.2), and is a "Mighty One" personifying truth, humility and righteousness (vv4-5). So, when the psalmist comes to verses 6-7 it is clear that this is not an earthly king of whom he speaks. It was not a great secret that the Christ was to be Son of God. It was believed and professed by the church that Jesus was this Christ. So this prophetic psalm which the religious Jews of the day would have understood to be speaking of Messiah is perfect ammunition for the writer to the Hebrews in his desire to set Jesus Christ apart from, and above, all of His creation - including angels.

In prophecy He is clearly described as God, yet as being God to whom God speaks, and of Whom God recognizes an achievement involving the love of righteousness and the hatred of evil. This may have been somewhat cloudy to Jews in the time of the captivity, when they looked ahead towards a more complete revelation - but it ought not to be cloudy to the church. The One of Whom this speaks has come and fulfilled all righteousness. To see and to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ is to profess having seen and understood His work, and the benefits of that work.

Those Hebrew professors who were in danger of retreating to the old time religion (in whole or in part) were being reminded that the profession they had made was grounded in the reality of this Jesus, Who is God incarnate. If this is true, there can be nothing but dire warnings and eternal consequences for any that draw back, as we shall see in chapters 6, 10 and 12.



6 Comments:

Blogger Roxylee said...

The OT is replete with testimonies of Jesus. If pastors can't see this, they simply aren't reading their Bibles. I love Psalm 104- It is so descriptive of the beauty of God's creation . I've been sporadically working on a Powerpoint slide show of pictures and music for this psalm. It gets to me to hear cultists denying the deity of Christ. Even if she show them where it is clearly written, they still deny it. May the Lord open their eyes before it's too late.

8:32 am  
Blogger agonizomai said...

Roxylee,

If pastors can't see this, they simply aren't reading their Bibles.

Or they are "natural men".


Blessings,


Tony

9:14 am  
Blogger Derek Ashton said...

Tony,

I like what you said about the relevance of the Old Testament.

Since the New Testament is in many ways a commentary on the Old Testament, it stands to reason that the Old Testament remains valid - if for no other reason than that the validity of the New Testament itself depends on it. Then there is that "jot and tittle" comment from the Sermon on the Mount, and what about "ALL SCRIPTURE is God-breathed . . ." ???

When modern Christians throw out or ignore or minimize the Old Testament, they are only attacking the foundation of the house in which they sit. Should they be surprised when the walls and roof cave in around them?

Someday I want to write about the coherence and continuity of all Scripture, from Genesis to Revelation. This seems to be a critical area of misunderstanding from which many errors spring in our day. It's like a hermeneutical Second World War, if one takse the battle over inerrancy as the First.

The liberal blitzkreig has us flanked on all sides, but wait . . . I can hear the sound of Hayling and his mounties swooping in from the North!

Reminds me of that scene in Lord of the Rings, at the battle of Helms Deep.

Blessings,
Derek

11:41 am  
Blogger agonizomai said...

Derek,

I can hear the sound of Hayling and his mounties swooping in from the North!

And can you see the church as a maiden tied to the railroad tracks with the express train fast approaching? Dudley Doright to the rescue!

But of course it is Christ Who will build His church against which the gates of hell will not prevail. Hopefully we are means in His hands to facilitate that end.

I am sorry to admit that I found LOR dense and boring. The movie (the first because I never went back to see the rest) was dark, confused, overly long and unremittingly violent. Other than that I enjoyed it very much.

Now if you want a really profitable Helm's Deep, try this.


Blessings,


Tony

12:15 pm  
Blogger Derek Ashton said...

Tony,

So, you liked that movie, huh?

This 3 minute clip shows the part I was talking about.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZpwsKRpKS_M

Yeah, it is a tad violent.

You're right, Paul Helm's "Helms Deep" is definitely better.

Derek

12:32 pm  
Blogger agonizomai said...

Derek,

Thanks for the link. Watched it dutifully.

Yeah, it is a tad violent.

You could be a liberal with that talent for euphemism.

Glad you like Helm.

Blessings,


Tony

8:05 pm  

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