The Epistle to the Hebrews is a book that comes to us with an unsettled past. We are not told who wrote it or to whom it was written, nor are we sure what language it was written in. Eusebius attributed the Epistle to Paul, as did Clement of Alexandria. There are many Eastern authorities who thought the Epistle was written by Paul. But the Western authorities, those in association with Rome, did not regard Paul to be the author. Yet the modern Catholic Encyclopedia does very much attribute the Epistle to Paul, stating that “these doubts as to the Apostolic origin of the Epistle to the Hebrews gradually became less marked in Western Europe.” (The Catholic Encyclopedia, Art., Epistle to the Hebrews VI,(1) (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07181a.htm))
One thing that is certain is that from the earliest dates the Epistle to the Hebrews was accepted as inspired and as scripture by virtually all of the early churches. Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Iraneaus, Hyppolitus, and Eusebius all attest to its inspiration, though all do not agree that Paul wrote it. All of these are early church authorities (from the first through the third centuries AD).
(NOTE: I understand that not all of these “fathers” had orthodox theology. Some held scripturally correct beliefs; others held decidedly unorthodox beliefs. Nevertheless, they are all early witnesses to scripture. As such, they are placed here solely as early witnesses to scripture and for no other reason.)
Perhaps the most stated argument against Pauline authorship is that the style of the other Pauline Epistles is markedly different to that of the Epistle to the Hebrews. And yet, as one reads the Epistle there are also noticeable similarities in the styles. Clement of Alexandria, quoted by Eusebius, explains the differences in style between the Epistle to the Hebrews and the other Pauline Epistles. He contends that the Epistle was written by Paul in Hebrew to those of Jewish descent and that because of his notoriety, he did not name himself. Clement said that our Greek copy was translated out of the Hebrew by Luke, hence the different style. He went on to point out that there are similarities in the style of Luke in his Gospel and in the Acts of the Apostles. The quote by Eusebius does not explain these similarities; he just recorded what Clement had written.
It seems that since the earliest times the authorship has not been settled. Yet there are enough ancient authorities to convince me that Paul is the author. This is an opinion and there is no definite proof that this is true. My main reason to believe in Pauline authorship is that Eusebius stated that Paul wrote the Epistle. He seems quite sure of Pauline authorship, though he admits not all agree. Eusebius was a learned man who studied in the school of Origen (after Origen’s death) under Pamphilus. He was Bishop of Caesarea, a city that was a place of great learning and many written works. The library there provided Eusebius with many documents not available to us today. Eusebius’ access to these ancient works and his general belief in Paul as the author have convinced me. But I will not insist.
In these studies of Hebrews, I have taken the stance that Paul was the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews. I am not dogmatic on this for I know that many if not most authorities do not credit Paul with authorship of Hebrews. In fact, they are not sure who the author is so most simply refer to the writer of this Epistle as “The Writer of Hebrews,” indicating no name. If you do not wish to consider the Pauline authorship of this Epistle, that is good. While reading these studies, please ignore that places I attribute the writing to the Apostle Paul and subsititute in your mind, “The Writer of Hebrews.” As a scholar once said, “In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, diversity; in all things, love” (attributed to Augustine).
There is a deep similarity, in my opinion, between this Epistle and the other Epistles of Paul. The most striking of these can be summed up in Paul’s words in another of his epistles: For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. (Romans 10:4). Of course, Paul is telling us that Christ is the ultimate fulfillment of the law. The Greek word rendered end is telos (τελος).
From my studies in philosophy, I learned that telos is the ultimate end of a thing. Aristotle believed the world to be in perfection. He saw that the world around him, however, was in constant instability or turmoil. In order to merge his belief and his observation, he concluded that the physical world universe around him was headed toward some specific goal or purpose. This philosophy is known as teleology from the Greek word telos, the same word applied by Paul to Christ. Again, telos is an ultimate end or purpose. Aristotle believed it to be the ultimate good that men strive for. It is amazing how close Aristotle came to the truth.
Aristotle theorized that the potential of a thing, that is, what a thing was to ultimately become, was caused by factors outside of the thing. For example, the weather system that cools the air and causes water to become snow is the factor that causes the ultimate outcome that water would become snow. The factor (in this case the weather) is outside the water itself, but causes the ultimate destiny of that water associated with that weather front. If that is the case, thought Aristotle, then there must be an ultimate source for every physical thing. He is correct, but stopped short of completely attributing this to Yehovah. St. Thomas Aquinas took Aristotle’s teleology and employed the philosophy in his rational arguments for the existence of God.
In inspired scripture Paul tells us that Christ is the ultimate goal of the Law. Christ is the end of the Law, that is, He is the purpose of and for the Law. The Law was given to look forward to Christ. The Law was a shadow of things to come—of the advent of Christ. Paul uses the theme that Christ fulfilled the Law in several Epistles. Using Aristotle’s premise, we might argue that Paul’s teleology was Christ, though Paul would not use the philosophy of teleology himself. He simply asserted, under divine inspiration, that Christ fulfilled the Law. In fact, Christ Himself made a similar statement:
Luke 24:44 And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.
This is in complete agreement with the Epistle to the Hebrews. The Epistle devotes a great deal of itself to proving Christ greater than angels, and greater than Moses and greater than Aaron. It goes on to tell us, in 10:1, that Christ is the fulfillment of the Law: “For the Law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.” The book of Hebrews spends its entire span proving that Christ is better than, and the fulfillment of, all the things written in the scripture of the Jews, that is, in the Old Testament.
This is the basic theme of Paul’s entire Gospel. Paul’s theme is that Christ fulfilled all things and only Christ can save us. The Law, the religious ceremonies, the ordinances and the rites were all fulfilled in Christ and He is superior to all of those things. Paul tells us that none of those things can have any affect on our salvation. One can only be saved by belief in Christ and not by works. Obedience to the Law, the prophets, the Psalms, the ordinances, and the religious rules has no effect on our salvation. In Ephesians 2:8-9, Paul said, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
An entire section of the Epistle to the Hebrews is devoted to those Old Testament heroes that had faith in God and their faith, and not their works, is what saved them. Chapter Eleven is known by many as the Hall of Faith.
The Epistle to the Hebrews undertakes to fully explain all of these things, specifically, in an orderly manner, and in great detail. The Epistle reveals Jesus as Creator, and as far superior to all things created, including the Law, the angelic hosts, and the priesthood. This very theme lends itself greatly to the provision that Paul is indeed the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews.
Heb 1:1 God who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
This verse eloquently includes all of history, to include pre-history in that God ordained the mystery of the Gospel before that foundation of the world. So it was God’s plan to reveal the mystery in the fullness of time. Here the Apostle tells us that God revealed this plan in various manners at various times.
The various times occurred when God ordained that they occur. For example, the Israelites were without a major prophet during the period of the Judges. And during this period, God spoke through the judges. Some, like Samson were rich and powerful, others, like Gideon were weak and afraid. But God spoke through them. Then the prophet Samuel was ordained and from that time forward, including all the years of the kings, and of the captivity and the time between the testaments, there were prophets to pronounce the words of God.
Adam Clarke put it this way:
“Under the Old Testament, revelations were made πολυμερως και πολυτροπως, [polumeros kai polutropos], which is, ‘in sundry times and in divers places’ at various times, by various persons, in various laws and forms of teaching, with various degrees of clearness, under various shadows, types, and figures, and with various modes of revelation, such as by angels, visions, dreams, mental impressions, etc.”
In modern Greek, πολυμερως και πολυτροπως, (polumeros kai polutropos) literally means “multimodal and multidimensional, thus the Word of God came to His people in multimodal and multidimensional ways. Now there is just One Way—Jesus Christ (John 14:6), Who is the Word (John 1:1; 14).
After Jesus came and completed His work at Calvary, there were no more prophets as this verse tells us. There were no more prophets, but the Apostles and even some of their disciples, had many sign gifts, one of which was prophecy. But, as church historians tell us, these gifts died out when the Apostles and those few disciples of the Apostles who had some of the sign gifts, died. By the end of the Second Century, there were no more of the sign gifts, as is attested to by ancient church historians.
The mystery of the Gospel is simply the Gospel itself, which has been fully revealed to us in Christ. But in the days before the Advent, in Old Testament times, the mystery was not fully revealed. It was cloaked in many things, such as the revelations of the prophets, the law, the ordinances, and the festivals. The Old Testament was written over a thousand year period and during that time, the Gospel was presented piecemeal and revealed in varying amounts at different times. But at the Advent of Christ, all was fully revealed.
Heb 1:2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;
The previous verse says that God spoke to men through the prophets in past times and the current verse says that now has spoken through Christ. This seems to witness against the modern use of the gift of prophecy as a predictor of the future. Many Christians believe that God has given them prophecies of the future. I cannot dispute this because there have been prophecies by modern Christians that have come true. But the test of a true prophet is that all of his or her prophecies come true (Deuteronomy 18:22). I do not know anyone with a 100% accuracy rate in predictions of the future. This is not to say that God does not give revelations to people—I am certain He does. But those revelations MUST be in accord with the Bible. If not, then we must discard those revelations because those not in agreement with the Bible are false revelations (or prophecies, if you will). God may reveal certain things to certain people, but I cannot state that they are future prophecies, though some revelations may have to do with the future. Again, the Bible is written and complete and if the revelations line up with the Bible, then they are not prophecies, but clarifications of things already written. This is an incidental discussion and not what the Apostle was speaking about.
The true point that the Apostle is trying to make in this verse is that the things spoken by the prophets were inferior to the things spoken by His Son. The Gospel was incompletely spoken by the prophets but is fully revealed by Christ. As heir of all things and Creator of them, Christ is infinitely superior to the prophets. In fact, Moses referred to Him as a Prophet who is superior to all others (Deuteronomy 18:18).
These last days are the days of Anno Domini, the year of our Lord. The last days are the days of the Gospel age, the age that was ushered in with His death and resurrection. These last days began with Christ, Whom God has appointed Heir of all things. In other words, Christ has been given all things in heaven and earth (Matthew 11:27, Luke 10:22). He is the King of kings and Lord of lords. He is all powerful and will judge all. He is God.
This verse also provides another witness to John 1:3, “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” Christ, Who came to Earth and died for our sins, is the Creator of all. He created those who crucified Him. He created the materials in the scourge that ripped the flesh off His back. He created the tree upon which He was nailed and the nails that were thrust into His hands. He created the vinegar and gall that was offered to Him in a sponge that He also Created. He even created the blessed Mary who gave birth to Him upon the Earth. He could have but spoken and twelve legions of Angels (Approximately 70,000) would have protected Him even if it meant the destruction of the Earth. Yet, He did not do so. He accepted the cup that His Father had given Him, and He died for you and me.
God spoke and the worlds came into existence. God spoke and all things were created. By the very Word of God did creation begin. So when Paul stated “by whom also he made the worlds “, he was echoing what John said in his Gospel: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” (John 1:1-3) The Word is Jesus, Who is Messiah. When Paul and John said that all things were created by the Word of God, they meant it that Jesus created all things. This is an old Hebrew teaching. Please read the study titled The Memra. God has spoken to us in these last days (the days since the Advent) by His Word, the Son of God, the Messiah, Jesus.
Heb 1:3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;
This is obviously the shekina, which is the visible presence of God. This was present in the pillar of cloud and fire. It was present when Ezekiel saw God upon His throne. It is present in the New Jerusalem, where there is no need of sun, moon, or stars because God and His Christ are the light.
Yeshua ha Mashiyach, ישׁוּע המשׁיח (Hebrew for Jesus the Christ), God’s Anointed Savior, is the express image of God. That means that he is the actual Image of God. A meaning of the word ‘express’ is explicit, exact, or precise. Jesus is not an allegorical image of God. He is not a spiritual image of God. He is not a painting, or a character in a book. He is God. It is not implied that he is God, but it is explicitly stated that He is God.
All things exist because God spoke them into existence and by His Mighty Power, he keeps all things in existence. God’s power upholds our universe. This power is placed in the hands of Christ as heir of all things. The very Word of God holds the universe and everything in it together (cf. Col 1:17). And Christ is the very Word of God. (see above, see also John 1:1, The Memra)
After single handedly removing the guilt of all of our sins, he now sits on the throne at the right hand of the Father. Being at the right hand of the Father is the same as saying that He has the same power and authority as God Almighty. The king’s right hand was the hand of power. Anyone sitting at his right hand had power. An example is Joseph, to whom Pharaoh gave all power in the land of Egypt, with the single exception of the throne. Joseph was all-powerful. He had complete dominion over all of Egypt. The throne, that is the kingship, was the only thing kept from him. He could do anything Pharaoh could do with the one exception that he was not the king. He was Pharaoh’s right hand man. Joseph is a type of Christ. He was anointed by the king of all of Egypt to be the governor of all the land.
This type is a picture of Christ, who sits upon the throne at the right hand of the Father. He is given all things and has all the power of the Father. He is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent just as is the Father. The Son is the Second Person of the Godhead. There will always be the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. They will always be separate Persons, but One God. This is similar to Joseph, who had all the power of the king, but would never be the king. Jesus is always the Son and not the Father. But again, He is the exact Image of the Father. The Father is all powerful as is the Son.
Heb 1:4 Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.
His position at the Right hand of the Father, and His being the express Image of the Father makes Him far superior to angels, who are created beings. Jesus is the Great I Am. He is the Alpha and Omega, the Aleph and Tav, the beginning and the end. He is from everlasting to everlasting. Before Abraham was, He Is. He is everlasting, eternal, endless, timeless, and deathless.
This cannot be said of angels. God created them in eternity past (some Targums say He created them on the second day, when the heavens were created, but this is not explicit in the Scripture). They had a beginning. Angels who did not forsake their first estate and remained loyal to God are deathless. But angels in general, being created beings can suffer death. Those angels that did not keep their first estate and rebelled against God will be cast into the lake of fire. This is death. It is called the second death of men who are not recorded in the Lamb’s Book of Life. Christ suffered death as a man, but is deathless and cannot suffer the second death. Angels can. He is better than angels.
Angels have limited power. Christ is all-powerful. Angels have limited knowledge. Christ is all-knowing. Angels can only be at one place at one time. Christ, being God, is present everywhere in the universe as the Holy Spirit. He is far above the angels. There is no comparison. On every count, He is superior to angels.
Some feel that the Apostle wrote this to refute those that believed that angels were mediators, that is, angels could save a soul eternally. This noxious teaching was, and still is, of the Gnostics, who believe in many such false teachings. They place Christ on a level with angels. This is also true of the Latter Day Saints (the Gnostics teach that Joseph Smith was a Gnostic), and Jehovah’s Witnesses. So the teaching in Hebrews that Christ is superior to angels is rejected even today.
Jesus, the Son of God, is the heir of all things including a Name that is superior to angels. Paul continues the thought:
Heb 1:5 For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?
Paul begins to employ specific scriptures that are fulfilled by Christ. These two are quotes of Psalm 2:7 , and 2 Samuel 7:14 , respectively. The use of these scriptures in this Epistle proves them to be Messianic prophecies as are all the other scriptures cited in these next several verses. In Psalm 2:7 , God is speaking to his Son, the Second Person of the Godhead, in this scripture. Some commentators have said the song was written only as a messianic Psalm with no practical application at the time of its writing. But we know that David wrote Psalm 2, because Acts 4:25 bears witness to the fact. David wrote this sentence literally about himself. The entire verse reads, “I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.” God had spoken to David through the Spirit that He considered David to be His son. David said this reverently because God had chosen him, a humble shepherd, to be king of Israel. Further down in the psalm, God told all the world leaders that if they did not obey Him, His son David would dash them to pieces with a rod of iron.
David indeed ruled by the sword, and as with a rod or iron. His enemies fell before his advance. His people loved him. He ruled them diligently and well. He was indeed an archetype of Messiah. The same words written about David also apply to Messiah. So this prophecy had an immediate significance—the rule and reign of David, who was the apple of God’s eye. And it had a reaching significance—it told of the ministry and rule of Messiah.
The Sonship of Christ has been considered by some to be a New Testament theme only. Yet, we can see that long before New Testament times the theme of Messiah as God’s son was a routine teaching. Psalm 2:7 is proof of that.
Similarly, 2 Samuel 7:14 is addressed specifically to Nathan the prophet about Solomon. Nathan heard these words from God and spoke them directly to David. God told David that Solomon would be His son and He would be Solomon’s Father. This applied directly to Solomon at the time it was spoken, but also applied to Christ prophetically.
God told us that the Messiah would be His Son and He would Messiah’s Father. Yes, angels may be referred to as sons of God, but here God is specifically stating that the Son would be begotten by the Father through the virgin. No angel has been begotten. All angels were created. Jesus was not created, He was begotten., that is, He was the Son of God by blood. He was the direct seed of God. This cannot apply to angels.
Heb 1:6 And again, when he bringeth in the first begotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.
Here is an English translation of Deuteronomy 32:43 from the Septuagint (emphasis mine):
Rejoice, ye heavens, with him, and let all the angels of God worship him; rejoice ye Gentiles, with his people, and let all the sons of God strengthen themselves in him; for he will avenge the blood of his sons, and he will render vengeance, and recompense justice to his enemies, and will reward them that hate him; and the Lord shall purge the land of his people.
The KJV rendering, based on the Massoretic Hebrew Text, is:
“Rejoice, O ye nations, with his people: for he will avenge the blood of his servants, and will render vengeance to his adversaries, and will be merciful unto his land, and to his people.“
Note that the Septuagint provides the exact wording that the Apostle uses in Hebrews. It is obvious that the quote is from the Septuagint and not from the Massoretic text. This proves that the Septuagint was around in the days of the Apostles. This opposes many modern textual critics, who claim that the Septuagint was written at a much later date than the days of the Apostles.
This verse is taken from the Song of Moses, which is messianic in its entirety. We saints will sing the Song of Moses in Heaven ( Revelation 15:3). Read it:
Deu 32:1-44 Give ear, O ye heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words of my mouth. (2) My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distill as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass: (3) Because I will publish the name of the LORD: ascribe ye greatness unto our God. (4)Heis the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he. (5) They have corrupted themselves, their spot is not thespot of his children: theyare a perverse and crooked generation. (6) Do ye thus requite the LORD, O foolish people and unwise? is not he thy father that hath bought thee? hath he not made thee, and established thee? (7) Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations: ask thy father, and he will show thee; thy elders, and they will tell thee. (8) When the most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel. (9) For the LORD’s portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance. (10) He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye. (11) As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings: (12)So the LORD alone did lead him, and therewas no strange god with him. (13) He made him ride on the high places of the earth, that he might eat the increase of the fields; and he made him to suck honey out of the rock, and oil out of the flinty rock; (14) Butter of kine, and milk of sheep, with fat of lambs, and rams of the breed of Bashan, and goats, with the fat of kidneys of wheat; and thou didst drink the pure blood of the grape. (15) But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked: thou art waxen fat, thou art grown thick, thou art covered withfatness; then he forsook God which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation. (16) They provoked him to jealousy with strange gods, with abominations provoked they him to anger. (17) They sacrificed unto devils, not to God; to gods whom they knew not, to new godsthat came newly up, whom your fathers feared not. (18) Of the Rock that begot thee thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God that formed thee. (19) And when the LORD saw it, he abhorred them, because of the provoking of his sons, and of his daughters. (20) And he said, I will hide my face from them, I will see what their end shallbe: for they are a very froward generation, children in whom is no faith. (21) They have moved me to jealousy with thatwhichis not God; they have provoked me to anger with their vanities: and I will move them to jealousy with thosewhichare not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation. (22) For a fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell, and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains. (23) I will heap mischiefs upon them; I will spend mine arrows upon them. (24)Theyshallbe burnt with hunger, and devoured with burning heat, and with bitter destruction: I will also send the teeth of beasts upon them, with the poison of serpents of the dust. (25) The sword without, and terror within, shall destroy both the young man and the virgin, the suckling also with the man of gray hairs. (26) I said, I would scatter them into corners, I would make the remembrance of them to cease from among men: (27) Were it not that I feared the wrath of the enemy, lest their adversaries should behave themselves strangely, and lest they should say, Our hand is high, and the LORD hath not done all this. (28) For they are a nation void of counsel, neither isthereany understanding in them. (29) O that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end! (30) How should one chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight, except their Rock had sold them, and the LORD had shut them up? (31) For their rock is not as our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges. (32) For their vine is of the vine of Sodom, and of the fields of Gomorrah: their grapes are grapes of gall, their clusters are bitter: (33) Their wine is the poison of dragons, and the cruel venom of asps. (34)Is not this laid up in store with me and sealed up among my treasures? (35) To me belongeth vengeance, and recompense; their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste. (36) For the LORD shall judge his people, and repent himself for his servants, when he seeth that their power is gone, and thereis none shut up, or left. (37) And he shall say, Where are their gods, their rock in whom they trusted, (38) Which did eat the fat of their sacrifices, and drank the wine of their drink offerings? let them rise up and help you, and be your protection. (39) See now that I, even I, am he, and thereis no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither isthereany that can deliver out of my hand. (40) For I lift up my hand to heaven, and say, I live forever. (41) If I whet my glittering sword, and mine hand take hold on judgment; I will render vengeance to mine enemies, and will reward them that hate me. (42) I will make mine arrows drunk with blood, and my sword shall devour flesh; andthat with the blood of the slain and of the captives, from the beginning of revenges upon the enemy. (43) Rejoice, O ye nations, with his people: for he will avenge the blood of his servants, and will render vengeance to his adversaries, and will be merciful unto his land, and to his people. (44) And Moses came and spoke all the words of this song in the ears of the people, he, and Hoshea the son of Nun.
If the Subject (the telos if you will) of this verse is Messiah. This passage establishes beyond doubt the divinity of Christ.
Messiah is established for eternity, with no beginning and no end on the order of Melchizedek. His Kingdom is based upon righteousness and his scepter is a righteous scepter. This means He will pass righteous judgment on all.
Angels are ministers, Christ is King and sits upon the very Throne of God. Ministers are not greater than kings. Angels are not greater than Christ.
Heb 1:9 Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.
The Apostle continues the quotation here with Psalm 45:7. We can account for the difference in the KJV between the quote and the Psalm. Let us note that the word translated ‘iniquity’ in the quote, and ‘wickedness’ in the Psalm are two translations of the same Hebrew word. It is the Hebrew word resha’ (רשׁע), which can rendered both iniquity and wickedness. Of course, in the English, iniquity and wickedness mean almost exactly the same thing.
Here God is still speaking of David in the immediate sense and of His Only Begotten Son, the Messiah in the future sense. Though a sinful man, who did on occasion sin, David still loved righteousness and hated iniquity. When he committed iniquity, God forgave him, but he still suffered the consequences of his sin. On the other hand, Messiah, the Son of David, was sinless. Christ loves righteousness and hates iniquity. God hated sin so much that he allowed His Only Begotten to die for our sins so that we could be reconciled unto Him.
Samuel anointed David king at the LORD’s command. To anoint is to pour a liquid over something. When you wash your hands, you run water over them. You anoint them. When a king was anointed in Israel (and elsewhere), scented olive oil was poured on his head. The oil worked its way down his body, eventually wetting most of it. Without this anointing, a king was not legitimate. So when Samuel anointed David, it proved that God had chosen David king. This thoroughly frightened Saul, who wished for his own son, Jonathan, to become his successor. So the word ‘anoint’ became synonymous with chosen. God’s anointed is God’s chosen. David was God’s chosen king. The LORD’s anointed are His chosen ones.
This verse says that God “has anointed thee with the oil of gladness“. Thus the passage becomes messianic. In several passages we find this word gladness, which is also rendered joy. These messianic passages and others use this word:
Isa 12:3 Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation
Isa 51:3 For the LORD shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.
Isa 61:3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.
Jer 31:13 Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance, both young men and old together: for I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them, and make them rejoice from their sorrow.
God anointed David king, thus David is above his fellows. But the significance of the passage is the Messiah. God anointed His Son above all. Jesus is King above all kings, Master above all masters, and superior to all.
The next three verses are quotes from the Septuagint (LXX) of Psalm 102:25 and 26.
Heb 1:10-12 And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands: (11) They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; (12) And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail.
The theme of Christ as God is continued from verse 8. We know from other passages, such as John 1:1 , that the Word, that is Jesus Christ, was in the beginning and created the heavens and the earth. We know that Jesus is eternal, for He calls Himself Alpha and Omega, beginning and end in Revelation 1:11, Revelation 21:6 , and Revelation 22:13. We know this is the Son speaking because of Revelation 1:1. Though all things perish, and they will, God, the Father, Son, and Spirit remain. Here we are shown both the beginning and the end of the age, which is echoed these passages: 2Peter 3:10, But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Revelation 6:14, And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. Even though these things must happen, Christ remains the same. He is eternal.
Heb 1:13 But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool?
The evidence of a conqueror is that he places his foot is upon the body or the neck of the vanquished king. This can be readily seen here on the Behistun Rock (above), where Darius I (the tall one) has his foot on the chest of the vanquished king. The vanquished thus becomes the footstool of the conquerer. The others standing there are those Darius conquered. Their hands and necks are tied. Usually the victorious king is standing and the defeated king is lying on the ground with the victor’s foot upon his neck. If one is under the feet of another, it is difficult to get away, especially if the foot is on the neck.
God is not going to place His angels in power. They are ministers. God has given all authority to His Son, Jesus: Matthew 28:18, “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” Since Christ is give all authority, His enemies are depicted as His footstool. In other words, Christ will have his feet upon the necks of His enemies, which shows His enemies defeated.
Heb 1:14 Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?
Angels, which are ministers or servants, will not be exalted to such a position. This verse caps the entire chapter, whose theme is that Christ is far superior to angels. Christ is King. He is victorious. His enemies are defeated. This can be said of no angel, not even Michael; not even Gabriel. May I remind you that we do not worship angels. The angels told John not to worship them because they are fellow servants. We are to worship God and not angels.
Rev 19:10 And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thoudoit not: I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.
Rev 22:9 Then saith he unto me, See thoudoit not: for I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.
Angels will minister to us, the children of God, that is, Christians. Scripture lists many ways that angels have ministered to God’s people. Angels deliver us from trouble and are present with us in times of fear and trembling. The Angel of the Lord encamped around David to deliver him from Abimelech. Angels protect us from danger, just as the angel shut the mouths of the lions when Daniel was cast into their den. Angels can give us information like Gabriel gave to Daniel in answer to his prayer. Then angel told Joseph and Mary to take the babe Jesus into Egypt for protection. Angels will one day gather the elect of God from the four winds. Angels carried Lazarus away to heaven upon his death. Shall they not do the same for us? Angels ministered to Jesus in the Garden just before his arrest. Angels opened the jail cells for Peter and Paul and Silas. An angel stood beside Paul just before the shipwreck, comforted Paul, and told him the ship’s crew would all be saved. Angels are ministering spirits. Jesus is not a minister; He is Lord. He is far greater than angels.