Worshipped of Angels: A Look at Hebrews 1 (Pt.11)

A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness

The realm of the human justice system has suffered tremendously over the years. Although many would see it as having gained much ground from a humanitarian perspective (and we certainly would agree) however there is much to be desired regarding its efficacy. Our slogan of “ it is better to let 100 guilty men go than wrongly convict an innocent man” has produced some remarkable injustices especially towards the victims and their families.  Thankfully, this will not always be since He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness (Acts 17:31). The comforting thought that we should dwell upon in the study of the throne of Christ is that the one sitting upon it is the king of righteousness (Hebrews. 7:2) and His justice is one that is perfectly executed. There will be nothing imperfect in His judgment.

The writer parallels this throne to that of a scepter. The scepter, much like the throne, is an emblem of authority (Ester 5:2) and this particular scepter is in its very essence one of “righteousness”. The term for “scepter” would refer to a scepter that is totally straight without any curbs or slants. The scepter is one of justice in which all evil, seen or hidden, will be brought to light and judged by one who is fit to judge. All crimes that have occurred and victims that have been unfairly treated will finally be able to utter that they have received the justice they had demanded in this life. This is the righteousness that will be His kingdom. The scepter is also a symbol of His Kingship for which He shall rule over all things in the final things to come.

The phrase You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness is in the past tense. We believe this is referring back to his first coming since this expression was substantiated in His time on earth through His testimony.  It should be noted that there are interchangeable terms used by the writer to reflect upon the nature of righteousness in that the one who loved righteousness is also the one who hated lawlessness. If we would for a moment examine this in a practical sense we would be right in saying that believers should examine themselves in that if they are professing to love the righteousness of their Saviour then there must be alongside this affection the hatred of all that is unrighteous. Oftentimes people associated the hatred of ungodliness as a form of judgment however this is not necessarily correct since it is not the act of judgment in question but the heart being repulsed by that which is wicked. This is oftentimes a natural thing in light of being “conformed to the image of His Son” (Romans 8:29)

Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You. With the oil of gladness more than Your companions.

The humble work of the Lord Jesus has always brought much awe to the hearts of those who have spent any time meditating on its totality. The thought of one who was exalted above all and fully God in Nature dwelling in the heavenly paradise leaving His Father and taking on the form of a man in all its weaknesses and dying such an extraordinary death to save undeserving sinners from the wrath of God is overwhelming indeed. To miss this is to fail in many fronts even to lack in the understanding of the Trinity.[i]

The text we will examine in v.9 has received some controversy throughout the years which is unfortunately nothing new however when we examine the true nature of the idiom presented by the writer; we feel there is much unwarranted speculation in this debate. There are those who have attempted to gather an argument against the deity of Christ in the preceding passages by stating that this text is a proof that in fact the Lord Jesus couldn’t have been God since He refers to the Father as His God. This type of argumentation is very weak in its approach since it does not take into consideration the willful subjection of the Son to the Father from a positional standpoint. The Son bowed the knee in obedience to fulfill perfectly what humanity had failed so often to do in always putting God ahead of Himself. The thought of the Son referring to the Father as “His God” is really not unnatural even in light of the equality of their nature. This has as its stem a reference back to His human nature and position (Philippians 2:6-8). One must wonder if the Father stating that the Son is God just a verses earlier stands to make the assertion that the Father cannot be God since the Son is referred to as God.

The anointing of the Son by the Father is continuing to reference the Kingship of the Lord Jesus. The anointing with oil is without any challenge referring to the OT crowning ceremony of the King of Israel (1 Sam. 10:1; 16:13) The reference here however seems to suggest a greater anointing than they since it is with the oil of gladness. The thought here is that of the satisfaction of the Father with the perfection of the work of His precious Son during His first advent which brought a sweet aroma to the Father and salvation to His elect. This anointing with the oil of gladness could certainly be corresponding with His resurrection. The Father placed His seal of approval and demonstrated His satisfaction of the work of the Son by raising Him from the dead.

The promulgators of controversy have placed a strange interpretation upon this verse in that it has been said that the Son has been placed in a position of honour even though His is equivalent with his “companions”. The identity of the “companions” is said to be referring to the angels however we feel that this interpretation fails in light of considering the point of this passage which is the anointing of a king. This has never been said of the angels in scripture. The writer, in speaking of the OT coronation ceremonies, is referencing the former kings that were anointed to rule over Israel. The thought here is not nature but position and quality of the kingdom that He will rule.

A.W. Pink gives an excellent summation of the previous three verses:

It is indeed striking to see how much was included in the ancient oracle concerning the Messiah which the Spirit here quoted from Psa. 45. Let us attempt to summarize the content of that remarkable prophecy. First, it establishes His Deity, for the Father Himself owns Him as “God”. Second, it shows us the exalted position He now occupies: He is on the throne, and there forever. Third, it makes mention of His Kingship, the royal “scepter” being wielded by Him. Fourth, it tells of the impartiality of His government and the excellency of His rule: His scepter is a “righteous” one. Fifth, it takes us back to the days of His flesh and makes known the perfections of His character and conduct here on earth: He “loved righteousness and hated iniquity.” Sixth, it reveals the place which He took when He made Himself of no reputation, as Man is subjection  to God: “Thy God.” Seventh, it announces the reward He hath anointed thee”. Eight, it affirms He has the pre-eminence in all things, for He has been anointed with the oil of gladness “above His fellows”.[ii]


[i] The means by which I have explained the doctrine of the Trinity is based upon these three important points: (1) Within the being of the one true God, there are three persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, who are co-eternal and co-equal in nature and are the one true God. (2) The three persons differentiate themselves only in a positional or functional aspect due to the willful subjection of the Son to the Father because of the eternal plan of Salvation. Difference in function does not mean inferiority in nature. (3) The Son possesses perfectly two natures, the nature of God and of man hence, in essence, function and possesses attributes of both natures

 

[ii] An Exposition of Hebrews, A.W. Pink, Baker Book House, Page 66-67

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