The Resurrected Sin Purger (Heb 1.3)
What fragrances of Christ permeate the opening utterances of the Epistle to the Hebrews! We observe God speaking in His Son (1.1-2), to His Son (1.5-13) and about His Son (1.2-4). As the epistle unfolds we find the Spokesman speaking as the representative of God (1.2), the Creator sustaining all things relative to the vast universe, the Sin-Purger suffering outside the gate, the exalted Lord sitting on the right hand of the Majesty on high (1.3), and then the Son saluted as God (1.8). Thus, as the divine Spokesman, the universal Heir, the Creator, the representative of the Father, the absolute Controller of the universe, the willing Sin-Purger and the exalted and supreme King, we find a sevenfold expression of the deity of Christ.
The careful reader will also notice the six-fold witness of the Old Testament Scriptures relative to the Son.
(1) "Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee" (1.5); a quotation from Psalm 2.7 revealing the manifestation of the Son.
(2) "I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son" (1.5; 2 Sam 7.14); showing Gods affection and love to the Son.
(3) "And let all the angels of God worship him" (1.6); taken from Deuteronomy 32.43 (Septuagint) and displaying the worship and adoration of angels to the Son.
(4) "Thy throne, O God is for ever and ever " (1.8); the words of Psalm 45.6-7 showing the supremacy and deity of the Son.
(5) "Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth " (1.10); quoting Psalm 102.25-27, stressing the power of the Son in creation and His eternal character.
(6) "Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool" (1.13); taken from Psalm 110.1, bringing before us the absolute judicial power and authority of the Son.
In view of these truths, certainly we can exclaim like the hymn-writer:
Father of mercies! in Thy Word
What endless glory shines!
For ever be Thy Name adored
For these celestial lines.
How orderly the divine Author of Holy Writ traces in Hebrews the path of Gods Beloved. He reminds us of His pathway amongst men, telling out the Father (1.1-2); His vicarious sufferings on the tree (1.3); His glorious resurrection (1.5); His future manifestation in millennial glory (1.6); His triumphant entrance into heaven (1.8-9); and finally His perfection throughout all eternity (1.10-12). Notice the salute in v.5: "Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee". At the day of His resurrection ("this day") God brings our Lord forth and salutes Him as His Son! This corresponds exactly with Romans 1: "And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead" (Rom 1.4). Let us be careful here. From all eternity He was the Son of God, and thus He is God, but during His sojourn here in the flesh His power in its fullest degree was veiled from view. By means of His resurrection that power manifested itself in all its glory. We believe that "the spirit of holiness" refers not to His divine nature in contrast to His unfallen human nature, but rather to the Holy Spirit of God Himself. Christ died unto sin, but now, being raised from the dead through the agency of the Spirit, death has no more dominion over Him (Rom 6.9-10), and upon this great event He who was crucified through weakness (2 Cor 13.4) has been raised and invested with power along with the assuring declaration of the Father, "Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee (brought thee forth)" (Heb 1.5).
Following this we have a quotation from 2 Samuel 7.14 where the prophet Nathan speaks for God to David in regard to his son Solomon: "I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a son" concerning the building of His house. However, the prophecy looks farther on to the time when Davids greater Son, the Lord Jesus, would build His church (Mt 16.18), the only temple where God would really dwell (Eph 2.20-22).
The Holy Spirit in the Epistle to the Hebrews delights to portray the superiority of Christ. We find a display of this superiority over angels in ch.1; over Adam in ch.2; over Moses in ch.3; over Joshua in ch.4; over Aaron in ch.5; over the Levitical priesthood in ch.7; over the old covenant in ch.8; over all the ritual and sacrifices of the Old Testament in chs.9-10; and over all the great ones of faith in ch.11. While in ch.2 we have the manhood of Christ and His superiority over earthly beings, we discover in ch.1 the deity of Christ and His superiority over heavenly beings. Brethren have various interpretations of 1.9, "God hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows". Some believe His "fellows" to be all other kings, while others would narrow the meaning down to just the kings who occupied the throne of David because of the mention of Christs sceptre and His kingdom in the preceding verse. Others believe the "fellows" to be His redeemed in the glory. However, we believe that the primary context of this whole chapter is not the superiority of Christ over all kings, or the kings of Judah, or the redeemed of the Lord, but rather His superiority over angels (compare 1.4-8 with 1.13-14). The contrast in v.13 is not with kings or the redeemed when God says, "Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool", but with angels (v.13). So the theme of Christs superiority over angels continues, thus including the ninth verse. Consequently, we feel the "fellows" ("partakers" or "associates") to be the holy angels of God viewed as co-participants with Messiah in His future sovereignty over a creation that has experienced redemption. They are partakers in the same glorious and sinless state with Himself. The whole argument of this chapter is that the angels are far below Christ in rank. He has been anointed with the oil of gladness above them.
We feel that this is not the anointing to consecrate to an office, such as Aaron and his sons experienced (Lev 8), or the anointing found in Acts 10.38, but rather an anointing attended with many expressions of joy and rejoicing, for it is described as "the oil of gladness", a festive and triumphant unction rather than inaugurative. The thought is that His righteous course in humanity has been completed on earth as the Holy One who loved righteousness and hated iniquity, and because of this, upon His entrance back into the glory (taking impeccable humanity back with Him), God anoints Him on that festive occasion in jubilant celebration of His finished course. The divine Guest enters the glory, honoured above all. Angels, His fellows, look on that festive occasion with holy wonder and joy! He who is the image of God, by whom all things were created, who was before all things and by whom all things consist, who is the Head of the body, the Church, is that One who in all things must have the preeminence (Col 1.15-18)! Let us give this Man place in every phase of our lives.
To be continued.