Hebrews 1:8,9 Commentary

26 Oct

But of the Son he says,

“Your throne, O God, is forever and ever,

the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom.

   You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;

therefore God, your God, has anointed you

with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.”

The contrast between verses 7 and 8 seems to be between ministering angels going to and from carrying out the work of God and the stable, powerful Christ, reigning on His throne in righteousness. Jesus is a King superior to the angels, reigning in supreme righteousness, the angels doing His bidding. They are at His beck and call, not the other way around. He is superior to them, they follow His lead.

Verse 8 is a beautiful picture of the deity of Christ . . . “Your throne, O God.” As opposed to the serving angels, Jesus is King on His throne. As opposed to the angels, created beings, Jesus is God. He reigns forever (Psalms 72:7, 17; 145:13; Isaiah 9:7; Daniel 7:14; Micah 4:7). The kingdom of Christ will not fail for Christ will reign until all His enemies become a footstool for His feet (1 Corinthians 15:24-27).

The scepter is a picture of Jesus’ authority, the symbol of His rule. He is an upright King. Christ is a good King, in contrast to the wicked Nero and other corrupt leaders of the day. His administration is one of righteousness. This would have been a great encouragement to the first readers of this letter and it should be an encouragement to us as well.

How often we think the way of wickedness is the way of happiness and how wrong we are. Jesus’ love for righteousness and hatred for wickedness brings Him the anointing of gladness (Isaiah 61:1-3). This is just a beautiful verse. Jesus’ love for righteousness and hatred for wickedness ushers in His anointing by God with the oil of gladness. This is again a royal picture, the anointing of a King. The mystery of the Trinity is here . . . Jesus is God in verse 8, and yet His God has anointed Him.

Most people are seeking joy. And here we have a great but often neglected key to joy . . . love righteousness and hate wickedness. This is to be our daily pursuit. We saw that in our study of Romans, in 12:9, “Abhor what is evil, cling to what is good.” Do you love righteousness? Do you love the Word of God? Do you love to pray? Do you love to live in obedience to God’s commands? Do you love the people of God? Do you love to talk about Jesus? Do you love what is good and noble and pure and worthy of praise?

Do you hate wickedness? Do you hate the blaspheming of God’s name and the neglecting of God’s ways? Do you hate the oppression of others made in God’s image? Do you hate sexual immorality and cheating and lying and stealing? If you do, you are a good candidate for joy because you are living in accordance with the nature of God. If not, you are a good candidate for discouragement and despair. I am not saying all discouragement is due to a lack of love for righteousness and hatred for wickedness, I am saying much discouragement in our lives is right here, we lack love for God’s righteousness while at the same time we love wickedness. It’s not enough to love righteousness OR to hate wickedness. We must have both. Jesus did, and so He was a joyful King anointed by His Father. And He rejoiced beyond His companions.

Who are the companions of Jesus in view here? It is possible that it is the angels.  The author may be saying that even Jesus’ joy is superior to the angels. For David in the text quoted from the Psalms, it was likely his own family and court which in view. But as this text is applied to Jesus, it seems possible that the companions may be us (see 2:10,11 and 3:14). Jesus’ gladness is greater than ours, though ours is great (see 12:2 also). So I am not totally sure, but I lean toward the companions being us. Regardless though, the point is that Jesus’ joy is supreme. I think we need to recapture a vision for the joy of Jesus Christ. He is the happiest of all. This is critically important. We can get discouraged with the world and think Jesus must just be down about how things are. But this verse and others show us the supreme joy of Jesus. Not that He never wept or never felt sorrow, but having finished His saving work, Jesus beams with joy. Jesus is a joyful Savior, who endured far worse than any of us will ever endure. Let is follow Him on the pathway of joy.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: