Dr. Dave Anderson continues with the first chapter of Hebrews. We also look back to Psalm 2 in order to see how Jesus is the perfect king. There are a lot of Hebraic references in the book of Hebrews. The possession and inheritance the Israelites long for are one and the same. They are manifestations of Christ’s reward. Through Hebrews we are given a tool to grapple with suffering and see Christ’s invitation to come and participate in a higher purpose during our time on earth.
Inheritance is looked at primarily in the New Testament as a reward.
So when you get to this word heir in Hebrews 1, you’re immediately looking at the reward that Jesus got for being a faithful servant during his mission on earth. “Heir of all things.” Now in our ring we’re moving back to “[through] whom he also made the worlds.”
And then moving back, “who being the brightness of his glory and the express image of his person.” These words speak of essence. That he has all the attributes of the Father, that he’s exactly the same in his divinity, in his godhood, if you want to coin a word.
And then we come in our ring to the upholding of all things by the word of his power. His sustaining work keeping creation going, as it were.
And, finally, says “when he purged our sins.” That’s the one thing I jumped over as we went through our two rings. We said, “What child is this?” and we answered that. He is the exalted one, he is the creator, he is the very God. He is the sustainer.
But he is also the purifier. That gets into not the what but it gets into who. Who he is. Why did he come? What did he do? He came down to make purification for our sins.
Well, after doing that, it goes right back to—after purging our sins, it comes full circle back to “sat down at the right hand of Majesty on high,” being “so much better than the angels as he has by inheritance—” again, reward. “—obtained a more excellent name than they.”
So you’re back to his exaltation. The moment you see “sat down” through “inheritance,” that’s the last part of the ring coming full circle.
So now the support. The 4, beginning in verse 5, picks right up on the more excellent name that he just talked about. “For to which of the angels did he ever say, ‘You are my Son. Today I have begotten you’?”
Now when he says that, he’s coming right out of Psalm 2, and Psalm 2 is recognized by most evangelical scholars as a messianic Psalm in which the nations of the earth are raging. The kings of the earth are conspiring. This word counsel—the rulers take counsel together. It’s a conspiracy. They’re trying to have a one-world government against the Lord’s anointed.
Again, the word anointed in Hebrew being mashach, and of course in Greek, Christos or Christ. But this conspiracy is against Jesus. And you don’t have to read much news in this day and age to realize there’s a conspiracy against Jesus. My, my, my.
Saying (Psalm 2), “And let us break their bonds in pieces and cast their cords from us.” Well, who’s that? The Lord and his anointed. “He who sits in the heavens shall laugh. The Lord shall hold them in derision. He shall speak to them in his wrath, and distress them in his deep displeasure. Yet I have set my king on my holy hill of Zion.”
A quick word about prophecy: You may have heard of the double reference, the historical reference, and the prophetic reference.
This was a Psalm of David honoring the coronation of his son Solomon as king. Solomon was the historical reference.
For all David knew, Solomon was going to fulfill the Davidic covenant and have a kingdom that would last forever, that he would be the ideal king. He did not realize that during his lifetime, Solomon would lead the people into idolatry.
This we know from the New Testament’s use, right there in Hebrews 1, that Solomon didn’t fit the bill; and Israel waited and waited and waited for an ideal king to fill the bill. Finally realized all they were going to do was bring in idolatry, so God got rid of the monarchy. The people then waited; and there was a building desire for a messiah, someone who would deliver them from the Romans, and before that, from the Greeks.
So what we have here in Hebrew is what we call, technically, a proleptic perfect. And all that means is he is talking about the future as if it were already accomplished. He is saying—a better way of translating this to get that across might be, “I most surely am going to set up my king on my holy hill in Zion.” Did you get that? “I most assuredly, emphatically am going to set up my king on my holy hill of Zion.”
And he uses a tense that kind of makes it as though it’s a done deal. I’m so sure it’s going to happen, it’s already a done deal. So (Psalm 2:7) “I would declare the decree: the Lord has said to me—” and here we go, “You are my Son. Today I have begotten you.”
Possession and inheritance
Now remember, folks, this is literally talking in the historical reference about Solomon. So on his coronation day, his enthronement day, David isn’t saying, “Today I have begotten you.” It’s because this is an adoption formula. It’s a reward formula. It’s enthronement talk. It’s reigning talk.
And so he says, “Ask of me, and I will give you the nations for your inheritance.” Again, it’s the reward. Inheritance. “—And the ends of the earth for your possession.”
Now you remember the Jews were to go across the river Jordan and do two things. This is Deuteronomy. Go into the land and possess the land. The word for inheritance and possession are used interchangeably in the Hebrew language.
In Jesus’ case, his inheritance is planet earth. His kingdom, the millennial kingdom. His possession will be planet earth. This is what we call synonymous parallelism in Hebrew in which they didn’t have rhyming to do their poetry, but this is poetry. This was a song sung by the temple choir. And so he’s saying the same thing twice: “I’ll give you the nations for your inheritance.” Then he says the same thing over again. “And the ends of the earth for your possession.”
So what I’m doing there is trying to show you that possession and inheritance are the same thing, and they speak of his reward.
Whole Psalm is about Jesus coming back to set up his kingdom. That’s why at the end it says, alright “be wise O kings. Be instructed you judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all those who put their trust in him.”
OK, that was the first reference in Hebrews. I hope you can see the whole context of this is reward, inheritance, and possession.
But it doesn’t stop there. He goes on and says, “I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son.” Now here’s the better name. Cut out of Psalm 2, my Son, gets that out of II Samuel 7, son again.
Now what you have in II Samuel 7 is, again, highly significant because here we’re into the great Davidic covenant. “I will be his father; he shall be my son.” Notice this is spoken to David. Verse 12: “When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body—” This is the Davidic promise. This is a reward covenant. This is a reward for past obedience.
If you go to Kings, you’ll read that David was faithful in all the matters concerning the commandments and statutes and ordinances of God except the matter of Uriah the Hittite. And we all know what that was. And it says because of that God gave him this promise, this covenant.
So this reward is not a piece of land. This reward is a dynasty. Verse 13: “He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.” A dynasty. A kingdom. I will be his father; he shall be my son.
So you have the adoption terminology again. You have the reward covenant referred to. All of this in Hebrews 1. Now the Hebrews would have instantly recognized all this. We don’t today because it is all so foreign to our thinking. We don’t talk in terms of reward covenants, suzerainty-vassal covenants and things like that; but they did.
The only reason for his going back to the Old Testament over and over and over and over to establish his points is he knew his readers knew this stuff. He knew they were familiar with it. He knew they camped on it, especially these people who were looking for a messiah.
These are both messianic promises, and they support the exaltation of the Son at his ascension, being rewarded as a faithful son, a faithful servant now becoming adopted as a son.
Well, now he dips back to support the idea that he’s the creator. Hebrews 1:6: “But when he again brings the firstborn into the world, he says: Let all the angels worship him.’ And of the angels he says: ‘Who makes his angels spirits and his ministers a flame of fire.’”
Now this phrase right here who makes his angels spirits. People, I’ve been asked to speak on the first few words of Genesis at a church here the first weekend of January. The title’s In the Beginning. That’s a big question. When was the beginning? Some people will say, well, it was Genesis 1:1. Other people will say it was Job 38 when he created the universe, and the angels shouted for joy.
Well, we know neither of those is true. Scientists define time as cause and effect. If you have a cause and effect, they say that’s time. And the beginning of time was not Genesis 1:1 or Job 38. Why? Because the angels existed before the universe was created. And the angels are created beings.
So God, the efficient cause, created the angels, the effect, and time began before time as we count it in our universe. He made the angels spirits and his ministers the flame of fire.
He was creator time before time.
Jesus is God
“But to the Son he says—” now he’s going back to his divinity. “‘—Your throne, O God, is forever and ever.” Don’t miss this folks. Now, really, if you forget everything else I’ve said, just noticing this is worth it.
When the Jehovah’s Witnesses knock on your door, and you try to show them that Jesus was God from John 1, they’ll pull out their Watchtower translation and say he was a God; he wasn’t the God.
Well, don’t open up John 1. That’s too complicated to explain to them. Just go here. Verse 8. “But to the Son he says, ‘Your throne, O God—’” It’s the only place in all the New Testament where Jesus is directly called God. In fact, the scholars, grammarians, have a term for this. It’s called nominative of address.
I’ll never forget in my orals, I was asked to explain this, and I said, “nominative of address.” And Dan Wallace, who is one of the resident grammarians, put his fist on the table like this, wham, and said, “That’s right, he really was God, wasn’t he?” And I said, “Yes, Dr. Wallace, he really was God.” And is God!
“Your throne O God is forever and ever. The scepter of righteousness is the scepter of your kingdom.”
Now as we go through this, I want you to keep your eye on this idea of kingdom. Every single quotation in this catena of the exposition of all these verses stuck together is a messianic kingdom reference, except one. There’s only one in this whole list. That’s Psalm 104.
Our partnership in His reign
All the rest of these speak of his ultimate reigning in this millennial kingdom, every one of them.
“You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with oil of gladness more than your companions.”
And so, here he is, God himself, divinity, Scripture supporting the fact that he is divine.
In passing we don’t want to miss this word companions. It’s a key word for this book. The Greek word here is metochos. Though when we look in the Bess One Volume Greek Dictionary [? 42:49] for this word and its meaning, it means sharing or participating in. Or, partner is even better.
In fact in the French, they call this [French word] which meant to be a shareholder in a company. You were a partner. It would be like a limited partnership we might have today. Maybe have a general partner, that would be Jesus, and he has some limited partners. But he’s got partners.
Well who are these partners? Well, if we go back to Psalm 45, which this is quoting, it’s a marriage ceremony. It’s a wedding feast. And at the wedding feast, he has invited his closest friends. You might call them the groomsmen.
Well, as we go back to this word, we find that it’s used over and over in the book of Hebrews for you and me as partners in this wonderful kingdom that God is going to have for us.
Time pressing, let’s go on.
And you “in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hand. They will perish, but you will remain. They will all grow old like a garment.” You’re going to fold them up.
So he’s going here to the end of the created world as we know, and he folds it up, just as he went to the beginning at one time.
Right now he’s sustaining it. He’s the glue on. That’s the word they use for the strong nuclear force that’s holding the nucleus together. We’ve got the gravity, the weakest force, electromagnetism, the second weakest force. That allows our wireless systems to work, wifi and everything. Then we have the weak nuclear force, which helps us understand half-lives and radiation and all that stuff.
But the strong nuclear force keeps the nucleus together, busts that nucleus; and bust enough of them and you can have an atomic bomb, right? A lot of power there.
He’s the one holding that together. Colossians 1:17 says, “In him all things hold together,” consist.
Well at his word he created it, and at his word it’s going to fold up.
And, finally, “To which of the angels has he ever said: ‘Sit at my right hand till I make your enemies your footstool.’”
Finally he’s back to exaltation. It’s come full circle using verses from the Old Testament to support what he’s saying.
Psalm 110 has one very unique thing I want to show you if I can, It says here, “’The Lord said to my Lord, sit at my right hand till I make your enemies your foot stool.’ The Lord shall send the rod of your strength out of Zion. Rule in the midst of your enemies!”
He goes into the battle of Armageddon right here. He’s going to “execute kings in the day of his wrath.” That’s the battle of Armageddon. “Fill the place with dead bodies.” He’s going to “execute the heads of many countries.”
Every English translation I’ve ever read on this translates this heads plural. The Hebrew is very clear on this: It’s singular. It’s rosh. Singular. No debate.
But they don’t translate it singular because 99% of the people out there aren’t dispensationalists. They don’t believe in the anti-Christ. They don’t believe that Jesus will come back for the battle of Armageddon. They don’t believe he’ll execute the anti-Christ. But that’s what the Hebrews says here. Amazing stuff.
What’s God’s message to you out of all this? He wants you to be a partaker. He wants you to be a sharer. Shares in the company. He wants you to be his closest friend. He wants you to become a son.
He, as we said when we started in Hebrews 2:10, was willing to suffer. “It was fitting to him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.”
That’s your destiny. That’s why God created you. He didn’t create you to come into Heaven waving your baby rattle. He created you to come in as a mature daughter or a mature son, dressed in the robes of righteousness that he has for you. And you not only get the robes of imputed righteousness of Christ, Revelation 19 says you get a wedding dress made out of the righteous deeds of the saints.
It’s an exciting prospect. It gives meaning to life. It gives a transcendent cause to live for that enables you to go through all kinds of suffering in this world.
As a matter of fact, through this suffering, we’re made perfect. It’s quite often the suffering peels us away from our attachment to this world.
I spent much of this week with my former youth pastor. He got a virus two weeks ago. Went to his heart, and now his heart is all but quit. They moved him down to St. Luke’s in Houston. They’re going to hold him there until they can find a heart transplant. If that doesn’t happen, he’ll have some sort of artificial device.
He’s 47 years old. That’s suffering folks. This is a guy who’s a foster parent, has three kids of his own, has adopted two more, and has had, in the last 15 years I’ve known him, probably 30 kids, maybe 50, go through his home. My, my, my.
There’s only one way to even begin to grapple with that kind of suffering: It’s through the book of Hebrews. It’s through the world to come. It’s through what the second Adam is going to do in that millennial reign. And in the New Jerusalem.
And it’s his invitation, and it’s his desire and greatest wish for you and I to enter that. And when you live for that, the kingdom of his God and His righteousness, you have a transcendent cause. Something higher. A higher purpose that can enable you to go through many nonsensical things that happen to us on this earth.