7 In speaking of the angels he says, “He makes his angels spirits, and his servants flames of fire.” 8 But about the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever; a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom. 9 You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.” ~ Hebrews 1:7-9
We return today to our study of the book of Hebrews which was written to the Jewish reader proving the Lord Jesus Christ is God. In Hebrews 1:4-14 we learn of the superiority of the Lord Jesus Christ to the created angels. The supreme being in the book of Hebrews is the Lord Jesus Christ, the One who created all things, including the angels.
As we pointed out yesterday, the writer of Hebrews, in this chapter, quotes seven different Old Testament passages to establish the Lord Jesus Christ is greater than the angels. Today, we consider the fourth and fifth of the seven Old Testament passages quoted.
In v.7 of today's text we read, "In speaking of the angels he says, 'He makes his angels spirits, and his servants flames of fire.'"
This is a quotation from Psalm 104:4. In this one verse, we see the nature of angels who are flames of fire. This means the angels are God’s executioners. Angels mete out God's judgment on the earth. In Genesis 19, the angels were used of God to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. In Matthew 13:41-42 we learn that certain angels will separate the good seed from the weeds, and they will throw the weeds into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Throughout the Scriptures, we see that angels are spirits that are powerful, swift, and invisible. They are created beings, created by the Lord Jesus Christ, created to be the servants to God. They do not do their own thing, they operate at Christ’s direction.
In v.8 of today's text we read, "But about the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever; a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom."
This is a quotation from Psalm 45:6-7, and the point? There is a difference between angels and the Son, because, the Son who created the angels, is the eternal God. Many consider today that the Lord Jesus was just a man or He was just one of many angels, or He was one of many prophets of God, or He is one of many gods. The writer of Hebrews clearly is establishing the fact that the Lord Jesus' kingdom will never end and justice will be maintained in eternity.
A scepter is a rod or staff which is adorned with gold and jewels that kings held to indicate they had the authority. The scepter of the Lord Jesus Christ is righteousness, and righteousness is doing what is right, just, honest, pure, kind, and pleasing to God. The righteousness that Christ loves is defined by His word. "Whoever keeps his word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected... For this is the love of God that we keep his commandments" (1John 2:5 1John 5:3).
In Romans 9:5 we read, "Theirs (Israel) are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of the Messiah, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen."
Here the Apostle Paul clearly identifies the Lord Jesus Christ as God. And, the point is: since the Lord Jesus is God, He is greater than the angels and we therefore must be defined by Him.
In v.9 of today's text we read, "You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy."
The Lord Jesus "...loved righteousness and hated wickedness." This means He is perfect for He shuns evil and embraces that which is all together good. Not only is the Lord Jesus God, though, He is also a man. This is so important, because in order to pay the penalty for our sin, He had to be one hundred percent God and one hundred per cent man.
The word "wickedness" is anomia in the Greek, and it means lawlessness. The writer of Hebrews is establishing the fact that Christ was sinless and He was perfect, therefore He is God. Then comes a direct a statement of His superiority to angels, in v.9; "...therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy."
The point that is being made here is the Lord Jesus Christ is greater than angels, and angels were only messengers of God. This was so very important for the writer of Hebrews to establish because some of the Jews to whom he wrote were being tripped up in their worship of God because they were being told to worship the angels.
The reason the Lord Jesus was anointed with joy far above anyone else is because He loved righteousness and He hated wickedness. The love of the Lord Jesus propelled Him to act on the behalf of hopeless mankind. Without His death on the cross, we would all be doomed. His love for righteousness compelled Him to destroy lawlessness in one act on the cross. Then, he freely offered His righteousness to mankind. In 2 Corinthians 5:21 we read, "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."
The most important reason that Jesus must be God is that, if He is not God, His death would not have been sufficient to pay the penalty for the sins of the world. A created being, which the Lord Jesus would be if He were not God, could not pay the infinite penalty required for sin against an infinite God. Only God could pay such an infinite penalty. Only God could take on the sins of the world, die, and be resurrected, proving His victory over sin and death.