Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall
Heb. 1:10 “And, thou, Lord, in the beginning hast lain the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands.”
This verse, quoted from Psalm 102:25, reiterates the theme presented in verse 2c. Jesus has the right to rule the world because he created it. Our author now presses on to show that Christ’s Lordship shall also be demonstrated by what He does at the end of the created order.
Heb. 1:11-12 “They shall perish, but thou remainest: and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; and as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and they years shall not fail.”
In the beginning, Jesus created the earth as a habitation for His creatures. At the same time, He made the heavens, and spread them out like a curtain to cover his creation. In this beautiful created order, we see what God is like.
“The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handiwork” (PS 19:1). The Universe serves as a visible robe of the invisible God. It is a garment befitting one who is creator. And as a man outlasts several suits of clothes in a lifetime, even so Jesus will succeed the Universe.
We all wrap up clothes and lay them aside when they have served their purpose. Every garment is eventually folded up and put away to make room for better ones. Even so, Heaven and Earth were not made to last forever. They are a blessing, but have an appointed end. Our text, quoted from Psalm 102:26-27, reminds us that Jesus will someday fold them up. Room will someday have to be made for a new heaven and a new earth.
When Jesus rolls up the Universe as a garment, that which is obvious now to the heavenly hosts will be manifest to all the creation. Everyone will know that Jesus truly is Lord. Unbelievers say this world is everything. Believers, however, see it as nothing compared to Christ who is everything.
Heaven and earth shall pass away, but Jesus abides. Christ was before the beginning, and shall be after the end. He precedes and outlasts. Creation perishes, Christ is permanent. Time has no bearing on His reign. The King of kings never changes, His throne is everlasting.
Heb. 1:13 “But to which of the angels said he at any time, SIT ON MY RIGHT HAND, UNTIL I MAKE THINE ENEMIES THEY FOOTSTOOL?”
This is a quotation from Psalm 110 (v. 1), one of the messianic psalms most often quoted in the New Testament. Christ is the Father’s vice-regent, chief minister in exercising authority. No angel shares this distinction.
In the ancient world, thrones were often taller than ordinary chairs, thereby giving an air of ascendancy. Hence, a footstool was commonly used. This kept the sovereign’s feet from dangling mid-air.
Jesus also has an elevated throne, and is in need of a footstool. This need shall be filled by His enemies. Someday Jesus shall place His feet on His enemies. This alludes to the custom of putting the feet on the neck of a conquered foe to picture complete subjection.
Joshua, after defeating an alliance of five kings, had the defeated monarchs brought before him. He commanded his captains to put their feet upon the necks of the subdued sovereigns (JS 10:24). This was a picture of absolute victory on the part of Joshua and Israel.
Jesus will eventually subdue all his enemies. None can disturb his reign. It does not surprise me that Jesus will someday defeat all His foes. The surprise is found in the fact that He has enemies. Christ did all He could to make men His friends, even to the point of dying for them, yet He still has enemies. You are not one of them, are you?
Heb. 1:14 “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?”
Jesus is King, angels are His servants. Their task is service not dominion. While Jesus serenely awaits the final victory, angels are busy with acts of ministry. The Son sits, angels stand in God’s presence, ready to do His bidding. The Son is at the Father’s right hand, angels go forth to minister.
These celestial beings serve God by serving the saints. He who gave us His only begotten Son also sends His angels in our behalf. We are Christ’s bride, and our Husband sends His servants to minister to us. It is amazing that holy creatures would minister to us. “Think of it, the unfallen angels waiting upon the fallen descendants of Adam!” (Pink). We should follow the example of angels, and show our love to the Father by serving one another.
I deem it worth of note that scripture presents the angels as being especially helpful at the time of a believer’s death. “The beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom” (LK 16:22). Who protected the body of Moses? Michael the archangel (Jude 9). Who inhabited the tomb of Jesus? Angels (MK 16:5). On the great Resurrection morning, Jesus “shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other” (MT 24:31).
The deathbed would be a much easier trial for us if, by faith, we saw the attendants of Heaven hovering nearby, ready to carry us to glory. The pallbearers at our funerals are merely earthly physical symbols of heavenly spiritual realities. God sends an honor guard to usher His children into Heaven.
Around the deathbed of R. G. Lee were gathered Billy Graham, Adrian Rogers, Cliff Barrows, and Tommy Lane. The former seemed to be in a coma, and the four others began to sing:
“O come, angel band, come and around me stand,
O bear me away on your snowy wings, to my immortal home.”
This old gospel song takes on new significance in the light of Scriptural examination. It may have greater depth of theology and meaning than many of have given it in the past.The song just mentioned points our thoughts in the proper direction. Speaking of a believer’s death, it says:
The holy ones, behold they come! I hear the noise of wings.
O bear my longing heart to Him who bled and died for me,
Whose blood now cleanses from all sin and gives me victory.
Emphasis must always be placed on Jesus.
Christ is the One who sends forth the angels. They do only what he wants them to do. He is their Creator, the source of their being and energy. Jesus is the power and the love behind them all.
Not only is Jesus their Creator, He is also their Pattern. Christ is their example. Jesus is infinite goodness, and infinite love. The angels learned how to serve us by watching their Master.
When the King of angels was on earth, they saw Him take little children in His arms. No wonder they are content to watch over the little ones. Angels know how to minister to widows because they watched the tender way in which Jesus ministered to them. Why do angels rejoice when a sinner repents? Because they know how much Jesus loves them.
Let nothing supplant Jesus in your thoughts. He must ever have the pre-eminence. No one loves us as He does. Jesus is Lord. Jesus is love.