Hebrews 1:5–14

Exposition

5 to which of the angels did he ever say Christ is no created angel. He is sometimes compared to an angel, He is sometimes called the angel of the covenant, but He is not a created angel. He is higher in nature, higher in rank, higher in intellect, and higher in power than they. He is nothing less than very God of very God. The very man who suffered on Calvary.

You are my son But he does say this to Christ in Psalm 2.

today I have begotten you If this refers to the Godhead of our Lord, let us not attempt to fathom it, for it is a great truth, a truth reverently to be received, but not irreverently to be scanned. It may be added that if this relates to the Begotten One in His human nature, we must here also rejoice in the mystery, but not attempt to violate its sanctity by intrusive prying into the secrets of the Eternal God. The things that are revealed are enough, without venturing into vain speculations. In attempting to define the Trinity, or unveil the essence of Divinity, many have lost themselves: here great ships have foundered. What have we to do in such a sea with our frail skiffs?

and again Speaking to Solomon as the type of Christ in 2 Samuel 7:14.

6 and again In Psalm 97.

  p 17  let all the angels of God worship him Or “worship him all you gods.”

Jesus is by nature infinitely superior to the noblest created beings, for He is in essence God, and is to be worshiped as Lord of all. All powers are bound to recognize the chief Power. Since they derive their only rightful authority from the Lord, they should be careful to acknowledge His superiority at all times by the most reverent adoration.

7 and concerning the angels In Psalm 104:4.

who makes his angels winds Angels are pure spirits, though they are permitted to assume a visible form when God desires us to see them. God is a spirit, and He is waited upon by spirits in His royal courts. Angels are like winds for mystery, force, and invisibility, and no doubt the winds themselves are often the angels or messengers of God. God who makes His angels to be as winds, can also make winds to be His angels, and they are constantly so in the economy of nature.

and his servants a flame of fire God’s ministers or servants He makes to be as swift, potent, and terrible as fire, and on the other hand He makes fire, that devouring element, to be His minister flaming forth upon His errands.

8 but concerning the son Psalm 45:6–7. Angels are servants and not kings. They fly upon the divine errands like flames of fire, but they do not sway a scepter, and neither do they have a throne existing forever and ever.

Your throne, O God, is forever and ever We never appreciate the tender condescension of our King in becoming one flesh with His church, and placing it at His right hand, until we have fully rejoiced in His essential glory and deity. What a mercy for us that our Savior is God, for who but God could execute the work of salvation? What a glad thing it is that He reigns on a throne that will never pass away, for we need both sovereign grace and eternal love to secure our happiness.   p 18  If Jesus could cease to reign we would cease to be blessed, and if He were not God, and therefore eternal, this must be the case. No throne can endure forever but that on which God Himself sits.

the scepter of your kingdom He is the lawful monarch of all things that exist. His rule is founded in right, its law is right, its result is right. Our King is no usurper and no oppressor. Even when He shall break His enemies with a rod of iron, He will do no one wrong; His vengeance and His grace are both in conformity with justice. So we trust Him without suspicion; He cannot err. No affliction is too severe, for He sends it; no judgment too harsh, for He ordains it. O blessed hands of Jesus! The reigning power is safe with you. All the just rejoice in the government of the King who reigns in righteousness.

9 You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness Christ Jesus is not neutral in the great contest between right and wrong; as warmly as He loves the one He abhors the other. What qualifications for a sovereign! What grounds of confidence for a people! The whole of our Lord’s life on earth proved the truth of these words. His death to put away sin and bring in the reign of righteousness sealed the fact beyond all question. His providence by which He rules from His throne of mediation, when rightly understood, reveals the same, and His final judgment will proclaim it before all worlds. We should imitate Him both in His love and hate; they are both needful to complete a righteous character.

God, your God, has anointed you with the olive oil of joy Jesus as Mediator owned God as His God, to whom, being found in fashion as a man, He became obedient. On account of our Lord’s perfect life He is now rewarded with superior joy. Others there are to whom grace has given a sacred fellowship with Him, but by their universal consent and His own merit, He is prince among them—the gladdest of all because the cause of all their gladness. At ancient Near Eastern feasts, oil was poured on the heads of distinguished and very welcome guests; God   p 19  Himself anoints the man Christ Jesus, as He sits at the heavenly feasts—anoints Him as a reward for His work, with higher and fuller joy than any else can know. Thus the Son of Man is honored and rewarded for all His pains.

more than your companions As man, Christ claims all people as His companions; but as God, He counts it no robbery to be thought equal to God. As man, He is most truly man and only superior to man by reason of the purity of His birth, the perfection of His nature, and the exaltation of his manhood by God. As God, He is nothing less than God, though He took upon Himself the nature of men.

Jesus is the anointed king, and though we share in the anointing, yet is He far above us. Christ is infinitely greater than Christians. We are right glad to have it so.

10–11 And We read in Psalm 102:25–27.

12 like a garment they will be changed Time impairs all things; the fashion becomes obsolete and passes away. The visible creation, which is like the garment of the invisible God, is becoming old and wearing out, and our great King is not so poor that He must always wear the same robes. Before long, He will fold up the worlds and put them aside as worn out vestures, and He will array Himself in new attire, making a new heaven and a new earth wherein righteousness dwells. How readily will all this be done. “You will replace them like clothing, and they will be set aside” (Psa 102:26). As in the creation so in the restoration, omnipotence shall work its way without hindrance.

you are the same Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Heb 13:8).

As a man remains the same when he has changed his clothing, so is the Lord evermore the unchanging One, though His works in creation may be changed, and the operations of His providence may vary. When heaven and earth shall flee away   p 20  from the dread presence of the great Judge, He will be unaltered by the terrible confusion, and the world in conflagration will effect no change in Him.

your years will not run out Since the Messiah is thus described as immutable and eternal, He must be divine, and to deny the Godhead of the Savior is a deadly error. Dr. Owen most comfortingly remarks: “Whatever our changes may be, inward or outward, yet Christ changing not, our eternal condition is secured, and relief provided against all present troubles and miseries. The immutability and eternity of Christ are the spring of our consolation and security in every condition. Such is the frailty of the nature of man, and such the perishing condition of all created things, that none can ever obtain the least stable consolation but what arises from an interest in the omnipotency, sovereignty, and eternity of Jesus Christ.”

13 sit down at my right hand, until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet The sight of Jesus enthroned in divine glory is the sure guarantee that all things are moving onward toward ultimate victory. Those rebels who now stand high in power shall soon be in the place of contempt; they shall be his footstool. He shall with ease rule them. He shall sit and put His foot on them; not rising to tread them down as when a man puts forth force to subdue powerful foes, but retaining the attitude of rest, and still ruling them as abject vassals who have no longer spirit to rebel, but have become thoroughly tamed and subdued.

14 spirits engaged in special service They are servants of God and our willing guardians, but they are not to be worshiped. Jesus is Lord of all, and we are bound to adore Him, and Him only.

  p 21  Application

Christ’s Companions Share in His Joy

We see that in His work our great High Priest was anointed with the oil of gladness above His fellows (Heb 1:9). But we also note that those who are His fellows do, in their degree, partake in this oil of gladness and are enabled to feel joy in the work which is appointed them of the Lord. While our King is anointed with the oil of gladness, it is also written of the virgin souls who wait upon His church, “They are led with joy and gladness. They enter the palace of the king” (Psa 45:15).

If any professing Christian is engaged in a work which he does not feel glad to do, I question if he is in his right place. There may be occasional fits of depression, but these are not because we do not love the work, but because we cannot do it so well as we would desire. We are tired in the work, but not tired of it. The Lord loves to employ willing workers. His army is not made up of forced labor, but of those whom grace has made volunteers. “Serve the Lord with gladness” (Psa 100:2). Our Lord does not set us task work and treat us like prisoners in jail or slaves under the lash. I sometimes hear our life‘s work called a task. Well, the expression may be tolerated, but I confess I do not like it to be applied to Christian men. It is no task to me, at any rate, to preach my Master’s gospel or to serve Him in any way. I thank God every day that “to me, the least of all the saints, was given this grace: to proclaim the good news of the fathomless riches of Christ to the Gentiles” (Eph 3:8). You teachers in the school, I hope your labor of love is not a bondage to you! An unwilling teacher will soon make unwilling scholars. Indeed, I know that those of you who serve the Lord find a reward in the work itself, and gladly pursue it. I am sure you will not prosper in it if it is not so.

If you follow your work unwillingly, and regret that you ever undertook it, and feel encumbered by it, you will do no good. No one wins a race who has no heart in the running. In this respect the joy of the Lord is your strength, and as your Master was anointed with the oil of gladness in His work, so must you be. Yet, beloved fellow laborer, you will never be so glad in your work as He was in His, nor will you ever be able to prove that gladness by such self-denials, by   p 22  such agonies, and such a death. He has proved how glad He was to save sinners, because “for the joy that was set before him, he endured the cross, disregarding the shame” (Heb 12:2). Blessed Emmanuel, you are justly anointed with the oil of gladness above your fellows.

 Spurgeon, C. (2014). Spurgeon Commentary: Hebrews. (E. Ritzema & J. Strong, Eds.) (pp. 16–22). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

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