And:“ You, LORD, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands.
The crescendo of the writer’s argument to these confused Hebrews who were in consideration of defecting back to their former religion is now upon us. These last four verses embellish and elucidate the previous passages. It is imperative that we take note of the opening term of this verse found in a little three letter word “and”. The term is a translation from the Greek kai which is used to demonstrate the continuation of the Father’s address of the Son. The flow of the address was initiated previously in v.8 with the expression “but to the Son He says”. The whole point of the term “And” is that the Father is not finished speaking of His Son!
The writer maintains the same line of argumentation by quoting from another Psalm; mainly the 102nd Psalm. We must emphasize the importance of understanding that this quote that is attributed to the Son is one of great importance. Scholar F.F. Bruce gives a brief description of the motives of God in this Psalm:
The Psalm, which begins “Hear my prayer, O Yahweh,” is truly described in its superscription as “a prayer of one afflicted, when he is faint, and pours out his complaint before Yahweh.” Both he and Zion, his city, have experienced the judgment of God, but he makes confident supplication for mercy and restoration for himself and Zion, that men and women may assemble there once more to give praise to God. He is oppressed by a sense of the brevity of his personal span of life, with which he contrasts the eternal being of God. IN comparison with his short life, heaven and earth are long-lived; yet heaven and earth must pass away. They had their beginning when God created them, and they will grow old and disappear one day; but the God who created them existed before they did, and he will survive their disappearance. As one man in his lifetimes outlives many successive suits of clothes, so God has seen and will yet see many successive material universe, but he himself is eternal and unchanging.[i]
The significance of recognizing that the God of the scriptures is a unique God is vital to our argument. Jehovah is a God that possesses characteristics that make Him God that no other being can possess no matter how exalted they might be. What makes Him God is found in the verses of the Psalm and here attributed to the Son.
The first unique trait of Jehovah is found in the exclusiveness of His name. Notice an often-missed expression “You, LORD” which, since it is quoting the OT Psalm, could be rendered “ You, Jehovah”[ii]. The most unique characteristic of God is found in His name, the name that was set apart as a token of expressing His being and Holiness. The Father applies to His Son the very name that is never used of a mere creature.
The second divine attribute is that of creatorship. This we have dealt with previously in verse 2. The expression sought to be articulated by the writer in based upon the word “Beginning” and should be taken as a parallel expression to that found in other portions of Holy scripture. God created “in the beginning” (Genesis 1:1) while the Father and Son were together (John 1:1; 1 John 1:1). The uniqueness of this attribute can be examined in the trial of the false gods found in Isaiah 40-48 which argues for the sole deity of Jehovah, the God of Israel especially in v.44:24.
They will perish, but You remain; And they will all grow old like a garment; Like a cloak You will fold them up, And they will be changed. But You are the same, And Your years will not fail
Nothing last forever is a slogan I have heard much in my life by those who feel the need to live their life in a careless fashion. Even though we feel their paradigm leads to the wasting away of the existence given to us by grace, we concede that there is much validity to the statement as well. We spoke of the heavens and the earth as a part of the creation of the Lord. The writer continues to quote the Psalmist and by doing so indicates much more concerning the heavens & earth (creation) in contrast to the uniqueness of Jehovah (creator).
The third argument for the uniqueness of Jehovah is found in that God is an unchanging God. This is what is called the doctrine of immutability. The writer within the Psalm argues from the standpoint of what is mutable and what is immutable. The first contrast in this case is found in the fact that the heavens will perish and they will be changed. The great prophet Isaiah agreed with the Psalmist in that All the host of heaven shall be dissolved, And the heavens shall be rolled up like a scroll; All their host shall fall down As the leaf falls from the vine, And as fruit falling from a fig tree (Isaiah 34:4). As for the Son however there is absolutely no alteration to His being since by nature these created things change but the Lord Jesus cannot change For I, the LORD, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed. (Malachi 3:6) There should be a joyous moment that comes upon us when reading these words since the thought of a changing God would suggest an uncertainty of the fulfillment of the promises given to us as His people. The Lord is deserving of our praise and adoration since this is not the God of the bible and we can be certain that due to the precious attribute of immutability we can find hope in a world where hope is tremendously lacking.
We find in the statement that the “years” of Jehovah are “throughout all generations”. We have here a statement known as anthropomorphism[iii] where God is defining His eternal nature.[iv] The text is appealing to a continuance in that from generation to generation and so forth, His years are. We find the Psalmist establishing this thought in other psalms as well in stating that Your throne is established from of old; You are from everlasting. (Psalm 93:2) and Before the mountains were born Or You gave birth to the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God. (Psalm 90:2) Throughout time itself Jehovah simply exists and His entire nature is outside of our existence. If He bears the nature of eternity and is outside of time then there can be no variation of change. He does not grow old or see any sort of decay hence from start to finish He simply exists and is God. He abides for ever and ever; unchanged and unchangeable; eternally independent; independently eternal. He is, beyond any question, greater than His creatures and therefore greater than angels[v] What a lovely contemplation that the one who bore our sins on Calvary so long ago is the same one whom the Psalmist could express His admiration in presenting His uniqueness only in the sum of three short verses
[i] The Epistle to the Hebrews, F.F. Bruce, Eerdmans Publishing, Page 61-62
[ii] It should be noted that in the Psalm the writer refers to this portion as “You my God” which is paralleled with the term “You, LORD”.
[iii] Anthropomorphism is when God uses human terms about Himself when attempting to teach a truth regarding Himself. This is very similar to a parable when we use a common expression or story to reiterate a deeper truth.
[iv] See Micah 5:2; John 8:58; John 17:5, Colossians 1:17; Revelation 22:13
[v] What The Bible Teaches: Hebrews, J. Flanigan, J. Ritchie, Page 35