August 25, 2018

Highlights in Hebrews 3

Highlights in Hebrews

Highlights in Hebrews
(with Roger Kirby)

Part 3 - Hebrews 1:8, 9
Jesus on his throne

“Your throne, O God,[ will last for ever and ever;
a sceptre of justice will be the sceptre of your kingdom.
You love righteousness and hate wickedness;
therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions
by anointing you with the oil of joy.”
Hebrews 1:8-9

These verses are one of the many places where the very first words of this book are demonstrated. The writer started by saying God spoke through the prophets. In the second part of this first chapter he uses that fact to explain how Jesus was greater than the angels with some 7 quotations from the Old Testament. This is one of the most striking. It is drawn from Psalm 45: 6, 7. The ancient writer of the psalm will have thought he was writing a psalm of praise for a new king, possibly Solomon. It is a thoroughly secular piece, probably written to order, and greatly exaggerating the likely attributes of any earthly king and queen. It is hard to see what those reading it after the complete collapse of the Davidic dynasty after the exile can possibly have made of it.

But the writer to Hebrews can see its meaning centuries later. He can even use the rather curious reference to God in the first line of that quotation that makes little sense in the original. The gross exaggerations of the original make perfect sense applied to the perfect man, Jesus.

Attention is not often drawn to the quite amazing way in which things said centuries earlier referring to all sorts of situations and people suddenly come to life in the person and work of Jesus. Counting only those places where the NIV indents the lines there are 28 references back to the Old Testament in this book of Hebrews alone, most of them before the history of chapter 11. Our wonderful God, knowing what would happen, organised it so that his servants said things relating to their own circumstances that would be of use to other servants writing about his glorious Son.

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