Works of Arthur Pink: Pink, Arthur - An Exposition of Hebrews: 005. Christ Superior to Angels. Hebrews 1:7-9

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Works of Arthur Pink: Pink, Arthur - An Exposition of Hebrews: 005. Christ Superior to Angels. Hebrews 1:7-9

TOPIC: Pink, Arthur - An Exposition of Hebrews (Other Topics in this Collection)
SUBJECT: 005. Christ Superior to Angels. Hebrews 1:7-9

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An Exposition of Hebrews


Christ Superior to Angels.

(Hebrews 1:7-9)

The verses which are now to be before us continue the passage begun in our last article. As a distinctive section of the Epistle this second division commences at 1:4 and runs to the end of the second chapter. Its theme is the immeasurable superiority of Christ over the angels. But though the boundaries of this section are clearly defined, yet is it intimately related to the one that precedes. The first three verses of chapter one contain a summary of that which is afterwards developed at length in the Epistle, and, really, Hebrews 1:4-14 is a setting forth of the proofs for the various affirmations made in verses 2, 3. First, in verse 2, the One whom the Jewish nation had despised and rejected is said to be "Son," and in verse 5 we are shown that He against whom the kings of the earth did set themselves and the rulers take counsel together, is addressed by Jehovah Himself as "Thou art My Son." Second, in verse 2 the One who had been crucified by wicked hands is said to be "the Heir of all things," and in verse 6 proof of this is given: God affirmed that He is the "Firstborn"—the two titles being practically synonymous in their force.

Thus is will be seen that the method followed here by the Holy Spirit, was in moving the apostle to first make seven affirmations concerning the exalted dignity and dominion of Christ, and then to confirm them from the Scriptures. The proofs are all drawn from the Old Testament. From it He proceeds to show that the Messiah was to be a person superior to the angels. Psalm 2 should have led the Jews to expect "the Son" and Psalm 97:7 ought to have taught them that the promised Messiah was to receive the adoration of all the celestial hierarchies. In verses 5, 6 the Spirit has established the superiority of Christ both in name and dignity; in the verses which follow He shows the inferiority of the angels in nature and rank.

"And of the angels He saith, Who maketh His angels spirits" (verse 7). This is a quotation from Psalm 104, the opening verses of which ascribe praise unto Jehovah as Creator and Governor of the universe. Its second and third verses apparently relate to the intermediary heavens, and the fourth verse to their inhabitants; verse five and onwards treats of the earth and its earliest history. The fact that the earth is mentioned right after the angels suggests that they are there viewed as connected with mundane affairs, as the servants God employs in regulating its concerns.

The Spirit’s purpose in quoting this verse in Hebrews 1 is evident: it was to point a contrast between the natures of the angels and the Son: they were "made"—created; He is uncreated. Not only were the angels created, but they were created by Christ Himself "Who maketh" which looks back to the last clause of verse 2, "He (The Son) made the worlds:" it is the making of the worlds that Psalm 104 speaks of. Moreover, they are here termed not merely "the angels," but "His angels!" They are but "spirits," He is "God;" they are "His ministers," He is their Head (Col. 2:10).

"Who maketh His angels spirits." The Hebrew word for "spirits" in Psalm 104:4 and the Greek word rendered "spirits" in Hebrews 1:7 has both a primary and secondary meaning, namely, spirits and "winds." It would seem from the words which follow—"and His ministers a flame of fire"—that God is not only defining the nature of these celestial creatures, but is also describing their qualities and activities. Thus we are inclined to regard the words before us as having a double force. A threefold reason may be suggested why the angels are likened unto "winds." First, their power to render themselves invisible. The wind is one of the very few things in the natural world which is unseen by the eyes of man; so the angels are one of the very few classes of God’s creatures that are capable of passing beyond the purview of man’s senses. Second, because of their great power. Like as the wind when commissioned by God, so the angels are able to sweep everything before them (2 Kings 19:35). Third, because of the rapid speed at which they travel. If the reader will ponder carefully Daniel 9:21, 23, he will find that during the brief moments the prophet was engaged in prayer, an angel from the highest heaven reached him here on earth! Other analogies will be suggested by prayerful meditation.

"And His ministers a flame of fire" (verse 7). Here, as always in Scripture, "fire" speaks of Divine judgment, and the sentence as a whole informs us that the angels are the executioners of God’s wrath. A number of passages supply us with solemn illustrations of this fact. In Genesis 19:13 we read that the two angels said to Lot concerning Sodom, "We will destroy this place, because the cry of them is waxen great before the face of the Lord: and the Lord hath sent us to destroy it." Referring to God’s judgments which fell upon Egypt we are told, "He cast upon them the fierceness of His anger, wrath and indignation, and trouble, by sending evil angels" (Ps. 78:49), by which we do not understand fallen angels but "angels of evil," i.e. angels of judgment—compare the word "evil" in Isaiah 45:7, where it is contrasted not with "good" but "peace." Again, in Matthew 13:41, 42 we read, "The Son of man shall send forth His angels, and they shall gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; and shall cast them into a furnace of fire; there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth." Does not this passage throw light on Revelation 20:15?—"And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire"—by whom, if not the angels, the executioners of God’s wrath!

"And His ministers a flame of fire." Doubtless these words refer also to the brilliant brightness and terrifying appearance of the angels, when manifested in their native form to mortal eyes. A number of scriptures confirm this. Note how when Baalam saw the angel of the Lord that he "fell flat on his face" (Num. 22:31). Note how it is said of the angel who rolled back the stone of the Savior’s sepulcher that "his countenance was like lightning," and that "for fear of him the keepers did shake and become as dead men" (Matt. 28:3, 4). This accounts for the "fear not" with which angels so frequently addressed different ones before whom they appeared on an errand of mercy: see Matthew 28:5; Luke 1:30; 2:10. Note how in proof the angels are "a flame of fire," we are told that when the angel of the Lord came to Peter, "a light shined in the prison" (Acts 12:7)! Yea, so resplendent is an angel’s brightness when manifested to men, that the apostle John fell at the feet of one to worship (Rev. 19:10)—evidently mistaking him for the Lord Himself, as lie had appeared on the mount of transfiguration.

"But unto the Son lie saith, Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever" (verse 8). Here the Holy Spirit quotes from still another Psalm, the 45th, to prove the superiority of Israel’s Messiah over the angels. How blessed and marked is the contrast presented! Here we listen to the Father addressing His incarnate Son, owning Him as "God." "Unto the Son He saith," that others might hear and know it. "Thy throne, O God." How sharp is the antithesis! How immeasurable the gulf which separates between creature and Creator! The angels are but "spirits," the Son is "God." They are but "ministers," His is the "throne." They are but "a flame of fire," the executioners of judgment, He the One who commands and commissions them.

"But unto the Son He saith, Thy throne, O God." This supplies us with one of the most emphatic and unequivocal proofs of the Deity of Christ to be found in the Scriptures. It is the Father Himself testifying to the Godhead of Him who was despised and rejected of men. And how fittingly is this quotation from Psalm 45 introduced at the point it is in Hebrews 1. In verse 6 we are told that all the angels of God have received command to "worship" the Mediator, now we are shown the propriety of them so doing—He is "God!" They must render Divine honors to Him because of His very nature. Thus we may admire, once more, the perfect order of Scripture.

"But unto the Son, He saith, Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever." Difficulty has been experienced by some concerning the identity of the "throne" here mentioned. It is clear from what precedes and also from what follows in verse 9.—"Thy God," that the Son is here addressed in His mediatorial character. But is it not also clear from 1 Corinthians 15:24-28 that there will be a time when His mediatorial kingdom will come to an end? Certainly not. Whatever the passage in 1 Corinthians 15 may or may not teach, it certainly does not contradict other portions of God’s Word. Again and again the Scriptures affirm the endlessness of Christ’s mediatorial kingdom: see Isaiah 9:7; Daniel 7:13, 14; Luke 1:33; etc. Even on the new earth we read of "The throne of God and of the Lamb" (Rev. 22:1)!

If then it is not the mediatorial kingdom which Christ shall deliver up to the Father, what is it? We answer, His Messianic one, His kingdom on this earth. In Luke 19:12, (the Gospel which, distinctively, sets forth His perfect humanity) Christ speaks of Himself as a "Nobleman" going into a far country to "receive for Himself a kingdom and to return," after which He added, "when He was returned, having received the kingdom," etc. (verse 15). It is to this Matthew 25:31 refers, "When the Son of man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory." As in the days of His first advent, the second Person of the Trinity (incarnate) was more dishonored than the Father or the Spirit, so, following His second advent He shall. for a season, be more honored than They. Following this, then He shall, still in His character as "Son of man" (see John 5:27) "execute judgment," i.e., on His enemies. Then, having put down (by power, not having reconciled by grace) all opposing forces, He shall "deliver up the kingdom to God" (1 Cor. 15:24)—observe that it is not "taken from" Him!

That it is not the mediatorial kingdom which Christ shall deliver up to the Father is clear from 1 Corinthians 15:28, where we are expressly told "then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him." As the Godman, the Mediator, He will be officially subservient to the Father. This should be evident. Throughout eternity the mediation of Christ will be needed to preserve fellowship between the Creator and the creature, the Infinite and the finite, hence five times over (the number of grace) in Holy Writ occur the words, "Thou art a Priest forever after the order of Melchisedek." But in His essential Being the Son will not be in subjection to His Father, as is clear from John 17:5.

Thus we trust it has been made clear that whereas the Messianic kingdom of the Son will be but temporal, His Mediatorial kingdom will be eternal. His kingdom on this earth will continue only for a limited time, but His kingdom on the new earth will last forever. Blessed is it to observe that, even as Mediator, Christ is thus owned by the Father "Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever." How far above the angels that puts Him!

"A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Thy kingdom" (verse 8). The apostle is still quoting from the 45th Psalm, and continuing to advance proofs of the proposition laid down in Hebrews 1:4. There is no difficulty in perceiving how the sentence here cited contributes to his argument. The "scepter" is the badge of royalty and the emblem of authority. An illustration of this is furnished in the book of Esther. When Ahasuerns would give evidence of his authoritative favor unto Esther, he held out his scepter to her (see Esther 5:2; 8:4). So here the "scepter" is the emblem of royal power. "The Son is the King; the highest dignity belonging to the angels is that they hold the first rank among His subjects" (Dr. J. Brown). The suffering Savior is now the supreme Sovereign; the mighty angels are His servants.

"A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Thy kingdom." This is very blessed. The scepter of Christ’s kingdom then is one not merely of power, arbitrarily exercised, but a "righteous" one. "The Greek word joined by the apostle to the scepter signifieth rectitude, straightness, evenness; it is opposed to wickedness, roughness, unevenness. So doth the Hebrew word also signify; it is fitly applied to a scepter, which useth to be straight and upright, not crooked, not inclining this way or that way; so as that which is set out by a scepter, namely, government, is hereby implied to be right and upright, just and equal, not partially inclining to either side" (Dr. Gouge).

Of old the Triune God declared, "He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God" (2 Sam. 23:3). This has never yet been perfectly exemplified on earth, but ere long it will be. When the Lord Jesus shall return to Jerusalem and there establish His throne, He will order all the affairs of His kingdom with impartial equity, favoring neither the classes nor the masses. As the Anti-type of Melchizedek, He will be both "King of righteousness" and "King of peace" (Heb. 7:2). These are the two qualities which will characterize His reign. "Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David and upon His Kingdom, to order it and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even forever" (Isa. 9:7). Then will be fulfilled that ancient oracle. "Behold the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a king shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth." (Jer. 23:5). The rewards He will bestow, the judgments He will execute, will be administered impartially. But let it not be forgotten that this is equally true of His government even now, though faith alone perceives it; in all dispensations it remains that "justice and judgment are the habitation of Thy Throne" (Ps. 89:14).

"Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity" (verse 9). The past tense of the verbs is to be carefully observed. It is still the Father addressing His Son, owning on high the moral perfections He had manifested here upon earth. The reference is to the Lord Jesus in the days of His humiliation. The words before us furnish a brief but blessed description both of His character and conduct. First, He loved righteousness. "Righteousness" signifies the doing of that which is right. The unerring standard is the revealed will of God. From that standard the incarnate Son never deviated. As a Boy of twelve He said, "Wist ye not that I must be about My Father’s business?" (Luke 2:49) perform His pleasure, respond to His wishes. When replying to John’s demur against baptizing Him, He replied, "Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness" (Matt. 3:15). When tempted by the Devil to follow a course of self-will, He answered, "It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God" (Matt. 4:4). So it was all through: He "became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross" (Phil. 2:8).

"Thou hast loved righteousness." This is much more than doing righteousness. These words reveal to us the spring of all Christ’s actions, even devotedness and affection unto the Father. "I delight to do Thy will, O God" (Ps. 40:8), was the confession of the perfect One. "O how love I Thy law! it is My meditation all the day" (Ps. 119:97), revealed His attitude toward the precepts and commandments of Holy Writ. Herein we perceive His uniqueness. How often our obedience is a reluctant one! How often God’s will crosses ours; and when our response is an obedient one, frequently it is joyless and unwilling. Different far was it with the Lord Jesus. He not only performed righteousness, but "loved" it. He could say, "Thy law is within My heart!" (Ps. 40:8)—the seat of the affections. When a sinful creature is said to have God’s law in his heart it is because He has written it there (see Hebrews 8:10).

Because He loved righteousness, Christ "hated iniquity." The two things are inseparable: the one cannot exist without the other (Amos 5:15). Where there is true love for God, there is also abhorrence of sin. Illustrations of the Savior’s hatred of iniquity are found in His action at the close of the Temptation and in His cleansing of the Temple. Observe how, after meeting the vile solicitations of the Devil with the repeated "it is written," He, with holy abhorrence said, "Get thee hence, Satan" (Matt. 4:10). See Him, as the Vindicator of His Father’s house, driving before Him its profane traffickers and crying, "Make not My Father’s house an house of merchandise" (John 2:16). What must it have meant for One who thus loved righteousness and hated iniquity to tabernacle for thirty-three years in such a world as this! And what must it have meant for such an One to be "numbered with the transgressors" and "made sin" for His people!

"Thou hast loved righteousness and hated iniquity." This is true of Him still, for He changes not. "He that hath My commandments, he it is that loveth Me: and he that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him, and will manifest Myself to him" (John 14:21). So He still "hates": "So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans which thing I hate" (Rev. 2:15). To what extent do these two things characterize you and me, dear reader? To the extent that we are really walking with Christ: no more, no less. The more we enjoy fellowship with Him, the more we are conformed to His image, the more shall we love the things He loves, and hate the things He hates.

"Therefore, God, Thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness" (verse 9). The Spirit is still quoting from the 45th Psalm. The enemies of God’s truth would discover here a "flat contradiction." In verse 8 the One spoken to is hailed as "God," on the throne. But here in verse 9 He is addressed as an inferior, "Thy God hath anointed Thee." How could the same person be both supreme and subordinate? If He Himself had a God, how could He at the same time be God? No wonder Divine things are "foolishness to the natural man!" Yet is the enigma easily explained, the seeming contradiction readily harmonized. The Mediator was, in His own person, both Creator and creature, God and man. Once we see it is as Mediator, as the God-man, that Christ is here spoken to, all difficulty vanishes. It is this which supplies the key to the whole passage. Much in Hebrews 1 cannot be understood unless it be seen that the Holy Spirit is there speaking not of the essential glories of Christ, but of His mediatorial dignities and honors.

"Therefore, God, Thy God, hath anointed Thee." Concerning this Dr. Gouge has well said, "Christ is God-man, God may be said to be His God three ways: 1. As Christ’s human nature was created of God, and preserved by Him like other creatures. 2. As Christ is mediator, he is deputed and sent of God (John 3:34), and he subjected himself to God and set himself to do the will of God, and such works as God appointed him to do (John 4:34; 9:4). In these respects also God is his God. 3. As Christ, God-man, was given by God to be a head to a mystical body, which is the church (Ephesians 1:22, 23); God, therefore, entered into covenant with him in the behalf of that body (Isa. 42:6; 49:8). Thus he is called the messenger (Malachi 3:1) and the mediator of the covenant (Heb. 8:6). Now, God is in an especial manner their God, with whom he doth enter into covenant; as he said unto Abraham, ‘I will establish my covenant between me and thee,’ etc., ‘to be a God unto thee’ (Gen. 17:7). As God made a covenant with Abraham and his seed, so also with Christ and His seed, which are all the elect of God. This is the ‘seed’ mentioned in Isaiah 53:10. So by special relation between God and Christ, God is his God in covenant with him. God also is, in especial manner, the God of the elect through Christ."

"Therefore, God, Thy God, hath anointed Thee." While here on earth the Mediator owned that God was His God. He lived by His Word, He was subject to His will, He was entirely dependent on Him. "I will put My trust in Him" was His avowal (Heb. 2:13); yea, did He not declare, "I was cast upon Thee from the womb: Thou art My God from My mother’s belly" (Ps. 22:10)! Many similar utterances of His are recorded in the Psalms. On the cross He owned His subjection, crying, "My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" Even after His resurrection we hear Him saying, "I ascend unto My Father and to your Father; and My God, and your God" (John 20:17). So now, though seated at the right hand of the Majesty on high, He is there making "intercession." So when He returns to this earth in glory, He will "ask" for the inheritance (Ps. 2:8). How this brings out the truth of His humanity, real Man, though true God. Mysterious, wondrous, blessed Person; upholding all things by the Word of His own power, yet in the place of intercession; Himself the "Mighty God" (Isa. 9:6), yet owning God as His God!

"Thy God hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness." There is a plain reference here to the ancient method, instituted by God, whereby the kings of Israel were established in their office. Their coronation was denoted by the pouring of oil upon their heads: see 1 Samuel 10:1; 16:13; 1 Kings 1:39, etc. It was in allusion to this the kings were styled "anointed" (2 Sam. 19:21) and "the anointed of the Lord" (Lam. 4:20). "The apostle and Psalmist are both speaking of the Messiah as a prince, and their sentiment is ‘God, even Thy God, hath raised Thee to a kingdom far more replete with enjoyment than that ever conferred on any other ruler. He has given Thee a kingdom which, for extent and duration, and multitude and magnitude of blessings as far exceeds any kingdom ever bestowed on man or angels as the heaven is above the earth’" (J. Brown).

Though we are assured that this anointing of Christ with the "oil of gladness" (following the mention of His "scepter" and "kingdom" in verse 8) is a reference to His investiture on High with royal honors—the "blessing of the Lord" which the King of glory received at the time of His ascension (Ps. 24:5, and note carefully the whole Psalm)—yet we do not think this exhausts its scope. In addition, we believe there is also a reference to His being honored as our great High Priest, for it is written, "He shall be a Priest upon His throne" (Zech. 6:13). Thus there is also a manifest allusion in our verse to what is recorded in Psalm 133. There we read. "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments—cf. Exodus 30:25, 30. This is most precious, though its beauty is rarely perceived. How few see in these verses of Psalm 133 anything more than a word expressing the desirability and blessedness of saints on earth dwelling together in concord. But is this all the Psalm teaches? We trow not. What then is the analogy pointed between what is said in verse 1 and verse 2? What is the meaning of "how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity. It is like the precious ointment upon the head," etc?

What resemblance is there between brethren dwelling together in unity and the precious anointing-ointment which ran down from Aaron’s head to the skirts of his garments? It seems strange that so many should have missed this point. As the high priest of Israel, Aaron foreshadowed our great High Priest. The anointing of his "head" prefigured the anointing of our exalted Head. The running down of the fragrant unguent even to the skirts of Aaron’s garments, adumbrated the glorious fact that those who are members of the body of Christ partake of His sweet savor before God. The analogy drawn in Psalm 133 is obvious: the dwelling together of brethren in unity is "good and pleasant" not simply for the mere sake of preserving peace among them, but because it illustrates the spiritual and mystical union existing between Christ and His people. Our dwelling together in unity is "good and pleasant" not only, nor primarily, for our own well-being, but because it gives an outward manifestation, a concrete example of that invisible and Divine oneness which exists between the Head and the members of His body.

"Anointed Thee with the oil of gladness." As ever in the Old Testament, the "oil" was an emblem of the Spirit, and the anointing both of Aaron and of David were typifications of the enduement of Christ with the Holy Spirit. But the reference here is not (as some of the commentators suppose) to the coming of the Spirit upon Christ at the time of His baptism. This should be apparent from the structure of verse 9. The words "Thou hast loved righteousness and hated iniquity" look back to the earthly life of the Lord Jesus, as the past tense of the verbs intimate; the "therefore, God, even Thy God, hath anointed Thee," shows that this was the reward for His perfect work, the honoring of the humbled One. It is closely parallel with what we are told in Acts 2:36, "God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ;" and Acts 5:31, "Him hath God exalted with His right hand to be a Prince and a Savior."

"Anointed Thee with the oil of gladness" refers, we believe, to the Holy Spirit’s being made officially subordinate to the Mediator. Just as the incarnate Son was subject to the Father, so is the Spirit now subject to Christ. Just as the Savior when here glorified not Himself, but the Father, so the Spirit is here to glorify Christ (John 16:14). There are several scriptures which plainly teach the present official subordination of the Spirit to Christ: "But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father" (John 15:26). That which took place on the day of Pentecost manifested the same fact: as His forerunner announced, "I indeed baptize with water, but He (Christ) shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit" (Mark 1:8). In Revelation 3:1 the Lord Jesus is referred to as "He that hath the seven Spirits of God," i.e. the Holy Spirit in the fullness of His perfections and the plentitude of His operations; "hath" to minister the Spirit unto His people. It is further proof that the suffering Savior has been exalted to the place of supreme Sovereignty.

"Above Thy fellows." Opinion is divided among the commentators as to whether the reference be to angels or to Christians. Both the Hebrew word in Psalm 45:7 and the Greek word here signify "such as partake of one and the same condition." If it be borne in mind that the Holy Spirit is speaking here of Christ in His Mediatorial character, we are less likely to be stumbled by the thought of angels being termed His "fellows."

"They are styled His fellows in regard of that low degree whereunto the Son of God, Creator of all things, humbled Himself by assuming a creature nature; so that as He was a creature (Man), angels are His fellows" (Dr. Gouge). Nor must we overlook the fact that the chief design of the whole of this passage is to evidence the Mediator’s superiority over the angels.

As already pointed out, the central thought of verse 9 is the investiture of Christ with royal honors, following right after the mention of His "scepter" and "kingdom" in verse 8. Angels are also rulers; great powers are delegated to them; much of the administration of God’s government is committed into their hands. But the Man Christ Jesus has been exalted high above them in this respect too. A close parallel is found in Colossians 1:18, where it is said of the Lord Jesus, "that in all things He might have the pre-eminence." It is Important to note that in the immediate context there, angels are mentioned in connection with "thrones, dominions, principalities and powers" (verse 16)! But Christ has been given a "scepter" and royal honors which exalt Him high above them all.

But what has been said above does not exhaust the scope of these closing words of Hebrews 1:9. As is so often the case in Scripture (evidencing the exhaustless fullness of its words) there is at least a double reference in the term "fellows:" first to the angels, second to Christians—thus supplying a link with verse 14, where the "heirs of salvation" are more directly in view. That the term "fellows" applies also to believers is clear from Hebrews 3:14 where "metochos" is specifically used of them: "For we are made partakers (fellows) of Christ," if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end.

Though the wondrous grace of God has so united His people to His beloved Son that "he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit" (1 Cor. 6:17), yet we must carefully bear in mind that He is "the Firstborn (Chief) among many brethren" (Rom. 8:29). Though members of His body, He is nevertheless the Head. Though joint-heirs with Him, He is our Lord! So, too, though Christians have been "anointed" with the Spirit (1 John 2:20, 27), yet our blessed Redeemer has been "anointed with the oil of gladness above His fellows." The Spirit is now subject to His administration; not so to ours. Christ is the one who is "glorified," the Spirit is the Agent, we the vessels through which He works. Thus in all things Christ has "the pre-eminence."

It is indeed striking to see how much was included in the ancient oracle concerning the Messiah which the Spirit here quoted from Psalm 45. Let us attempt to summarize the content of that remarkable prophecy. First, it establishes His Deity, for the Father Himself owns Him as "God." Second, it shows us the exalted position He now occupies: He is on the throne, and there for ever. Third, it makes mention of His Kingship, the royal "scepter" being wielded by Him. Fourth, it tells of the impartiality of His government and the excellency of His rule: His scepter is a "righteous" one. Fifth, it takes us back to the days of His flesh and makes known the perfections of His character and conduct here on earth: He "loved righteousness and hated iniquity." Sixth, it reveals the place which He took when He made Himself of no reputation, as Man in subjection to God: "Thy God." Seventh, it announces the reward He received for such condescension and grace: "Therefore . . . God hath anointed Thee." Eighth, it affirms He has the pre-eminence in all things, for He has been anointed with the oil of gladness "above His fellows." May the Spirit of God stir us up to search more prayerfully and diligently the volume of that Book in which it is written of Him.