Hebrews 1:8

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

But to the Son He says:
Your throne, O God, is forever and ever;
A scepter of righteousness 
is the scepter of Your kingdom. Hebrews 1:8

The contrast between the angels of 1:7 and the Son in 1:8 is now made. This is evidenced in the words “But to the Son He says.” God was speaking of (or to – the preposition in both verses can mean either) the angels in verse 7, describing their purposes as directed by Him. However now, in a citation from Psalm 45:6, 7 and concerning His Son, He says, “Your throne, O God.”

The author connects the contents of the psalm to that of the coming Messiah. If this were not the standard interpretation of this, he could not have reasonably cited it to a Hebrew audience without his words being completely rejected. But in using them, it is understood that Jewish audiences anticipated that they were to be fulfilled in Messiah. The throne of God, under the rule of Messiah, is what is spoken of here. As the Son is the Messiah, He has inherited the right to the throne of God itself. Thus God is proclaiming that Messiah is God, and the throne of Messiah “is forever and ever.”

The Greek of these words is “unto the ages of ages.” The Greek aión signifies “an age,” or a “cycle of time.” The superlative form used here signifies “for all ages of time,” and thus unto eternity. The rule of Messiah, who is God, shall be eternal. Unlike the angels who are simply messengers which are directed to effect God’s purposes at any given time and for set reasons, the rule of Messiah is from the heavenly throne, and it is for all time and for all governance. That is seen in the next words where the author speaks of, “A scepter of righteousness.”

The scepter is the ruling instrument of a throne. It is what signifies the authority, and when pointed at a messenger, he is directed to conduct the affairs given to him. The Son bears the scepter, and He wields it in righteousness. However, the words in Greek read “THE scepter,” not “A scepter.” As Charles Ellicott says, “Righteousness itself (so to speak, the very ideal of righteous government) bears sway in Thy kingdom.” It is “The scepter of righteousness” which the author then describes as, “The scepter of Your kingdom.”

The kingdom of Messiah is the kingdom of God; He is the Lord (Yehovah). Of Him, and of His authority, Isaiah says –

The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him,
The Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
The Spirit of counsel and might,
The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.
His delight is in the fear of the Lord,
And He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes,
Nor decide by the hearing of His ears;
But with righteousness He shall judge the poor,
And decide with equity for the meek of the earth;
He shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth,
And with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked.
Righteousness shall be the belt of His loins,
And faithfulness the belt of His waist.

Messiah’s righteousness being “the belt of His loins” means that He is girded with it. He is wrapped and enveloped in righteousness. It is in this state that He exercises His rule. The angels, though great and powerful, have nothing on Messiah. The contrast is made, it is clear, and it is undeniable. Though this is so, the author of Hebrews will continue with words of His splendor in the verses ahead.

Life application: People in today’s world use Jesus as an example of whatever pitiful cause they are pursuing. If it is to argue against the death penalty, they have a verse – pulled out of context – to justify their unrighteous stand. If it is to promote socialism, the same is the case. These people will find out (because they failed to accept the Bible as written during their lives) how mistaken they were about the righteousness of Christ Jesus. He will not allow any such unrighteous behavior, nor does He condone it now. Pay heed to the word, and be advised that it describes the unchanging Christ.

Heavenly Father, we need to know when people misuse Scripture for their own perverse purposes. It has become as common as seeing birds fly in the sky, and it shows a total disregard for Your glory and Your righteousness. Give us wisdom in how to refute such abuses, and to set the record straight about the intent of Your word. This we pray that You will always be properly exalted as shown in the Bible. Amen.

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