Thursday, January 7, 2016

Thankfulness and Praise in Hebrews 1:8

“But of the Son He says, ‘Your throne, O God, is forever and ever,
And the righteous scepter is the scepter of His kingdom…’” (Hebrews 1:8).

I am thankful that the One Who came to us was God Himself.

The phrase “But of the Son” borrows the verb “he says” (λεγει, lit., “He is saying”) from 1:7 (it’s provided in our English translations).

Who is the “He” speaking? You have to go back to verse 1. It’s “God.” He is speaking (presently) concerning His Son. When God addresses His Son in 1:8, what does He call Him?

“O God.”

“God,” when addressing His Son, calls Him, “O God.”

Does this mean there are two gods? No.

“Hear, O Israel, The LORD is our God, the LORD is one!” (Deuteronomy 6:4). The rest of the O.T. underlines this truth again and again (it’s the major theme of Isaiah). The Son affirmed this confession while on earth (Mark 12:29). The apostle Paul does, as well (1 Corinthians 8:4-6; 1 Timothy 2:5).

There is one God, but the Father is God and names the Son to be God. The Father is not the Son and the Son is not the Father – why would the Father be presently speaking of the Son otherwise? They are two Persons, but are one God.

Hebrews 1:8 is an amazing verse. I rejoice that the basis for this proclamation isn’t something new or innovative. The Father’s quoting Psalm 45:6, inspired by the Holy Spirit, to speak of the Son. It’s thoroughly Trinitarian, and it’s built from Old Testament Scripture. God is unchanging and remains as He has always been. This is, in part, what it means that the Old Testament is about Jesus (Luke 24:25-27,44-49; John 5:39). This is Paul’s understanding of the whole Bible when he says reading the O.T. without Christ is being veiled; that veil is only removed in Christ (2 Corinthians 3:14-16).

The whole Book’s about the Son Who is eternally God.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God…no one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God Who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him” (John 1:1,2,18).

This eternal God the Son has taken His eternal throne, fulfilling the Davidic covenant. Psalm 45 echoes the truth of Psalm 2 (I’m indebted to O. Palmer Robertson’s book).

From the eternal throne of God the Son comes that for which every human longs: justice and righteousness. We seek it in our own confused wisdom and reasoning, for we attempt to achieve it without its only rational Source – God. But when we make any attempts toward righteousness through legislation and judiciary, we are only echoing (in a poor way) the Law of God (Romans 2:14-16). We cannot totally suppress it, though all humans apart from Christ are actively and continually attempting to do so (Romans 1:18). The harder we try, the more the inconsistencies will tear our little play-group into meaningless chaos.

From His throne, however, the scepter rules with nothing but perfect righteousness. There are no errors in judgment. Its determinations are those of absolute holiness. And they are in utter accord with the revealed righteousness of God in the Bible. The Father has given all judgment to His Son (John 5:22-30).[1]

The Son does nothing wrong, and so the Book which about Him bears this stamp of perfection, as well.

Praise Him, for the Father is declaring Him to be God, anointed Him to be King, and all the divine Son-King does is right.
Big Hatchet Mountain fading with the light.

[1] These statements where the Son judges just as the Father judges take us into the next step of Trinitarian theology: perichoresis (interpenetration, or, more poetically, the mingling dance of the divine Being). The Son is in the Father and the Father is in the Son. The Father is fully God (not a third) and the Son is fully God (not a third), yet they are distinct Persons. Both Persons are 100% God, but eternally retain individual Personhood in their co-possession of the divine Being. That’s right. Just as you were thinking you had a grasp of the Trinity, we turned it up a little. Mystery remains mystery.

No comments: