Hebrews 1:10-12 Commentary

3 Nov

10 And, “You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning,

and the heavens are the work of your hands;

11   they will perish, but you remain;

they will all wear out like a garment,

12   like a robe you will roll them up,

like a garment they will be changed.

But you are the same,

and your years will have no end.”

Verses 7-9 focused on the reign of Christ in distinction to the angels characterized by righteousness. Verses 10-12 focus on the power of Christ. He is not only a righteous King, He is a powerful King. Once again, as in Colossians 1 and John 1, Jesus is noted as the creator of the universe. Yet, in this fallen world, His creation will perish, while He remains (Remember 13:8 “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever”). These verses also focus forward to Jesus’ bringing of the new heavens and the new earth. He will roll up this universe like a garment and clothe all things new and through it all He will go on, solid and steadfast, forever.

The issue here is then one of change versus permanence. And this is a big theme in Hebrews. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. The law and the temple and the priesthood are passing away. This world is passing away. Jesus remains. This word “remain” is a key word later in Hebrews, as the author encourages the readers that they are part of a kingdom that will remain.

These two verses are very beautifully written. There are seven statements arranged like this . . .

They will perish (future tense)
But you remain (present tense)
They will all wear out like a garment (future tense)
You will roll them up like a robe (future tense)
Like a garment they will be changed (future tense)
But you remain the same (present tense)
And your years will never end (future tense)

One commentator says, “This quotation prepares the reader for what is brought out later in 7:3, where Jesus the Son is compared to Melchizedek as the eternal, abiding high priest who ‘remains forever.’ Finally, the transitoriness of the old covenant is a theme that the author steadily built to a climax at 8:10–13. God considers the old covenant to be “worn out” and he has already made the change to the new covenant through the blood of Jesus the Son. Psalm 102:25–27 provides the author with a text to be interpreted messianically, a text to establish the eternality of the Son in comparison to the universe, and by analogy, it provides a portent of what is to come later in the epistle with respect to the relationship of the old covenant to the new covenant—temporariness versus permanence.”

So in verse 5 we see Jesus is superior to the angels in His Unique Sonship. In verse 6 we see Jesus is superior to the angels in the Worship He Receives. In verses 7-9 we see Jesus is superior to the angels in His Righteous Reign. And in verses 10-12 we see Jesus is superior to the angels in His Steadfast Power.

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