In describing the excellencies of the Name of Jesus beyond that of the angelic hosts, the writer of the Hebrews makes use of the “Pilgrim’s Song Book,” the Psalms of David. We have seen the sevenfold glory of the Son of God; now we listen to the sevenfold praise that surrounds His blessed Person. Seven quotations, or references from the Psalms are in this section. They are like seven strings in a golden harp of grace on which the Holy Spirit sends forth sweet strains to delight our hearts as we follow the pathway of the Son of God along the line of God’s purpose.
That pathway led from the poverty and glory of the manger, through those thirty-three and a half years of suffering love and the darkness of Calvary’s awful night on to the resurrection morning, the glorious ascension, the throne of glory and the gracious ministrations of the heavenly sanctuary.
1. Incarnation (v. 5)
The first quotation is from Psalm 2 and refers to the birth of the Son of God in Bethlehem. The fact is merely stated here. The Son of God was born, but the implications are infinite, however simple the statement may be made. It was the great epochal event of all time for both God and man. Heaven’s gaze centered on that Babe, wrapped in swaddling clothes, laid in the manger. God’s heart is satisfied, man’s need is met, God’s love is made known—God manifest in flesh.
O Mary, bending by that cot,
With tender rapture in thine eyes,
Could’st thou but know what wonder lies
Beside thee in His humble lot,
Thy spirit weighted down with awe,
No words could find to voice its praise—
No harp to sweep with dulcet lays
And shoreless seas of love outpour.
2. Relationship (v. 5)
The second quotation is from Psalm 89:26, 27 (cf. 2 Sam. 7:14) and brings us into communion with the heart of God the Father: “I will be to Him a Father, and He shall be to Me a Son.” In the secrecy of the silent years at Nazareth, in the activity of the short years of ministry, in the closing days of His sojourn here below it was the delight of God to be a Father to such a Son. From the bosom of God He came, and yet that bosom was ever His dwelling place even while He was a stranger “in the world His hands had made.”
John tells us the story of a Father’s love giving all things into the hands of His Son; of a Father’s will expressed in that Son who delighted to accomplish it to His glory; of a Father’s word, “The Father showeth Him all things that He doeth”; of a Father’s work, “My Father worketh hitherto and I work.” In his Gospel we are privileged to listen in as the Son unburdens His heart to the Father on our behalf. In effect He says, “Father, be Thou a Father to those whom Thou hast given Me as Thou hast been to Me.” It is God’s delight to be a Father unto us; may it be our delight to do our Father’s will.
3. Heirship (v. 6)
The third reference is from Psalm 97 (v. 7, gods-angels) and refers to the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is going to bring His First-begotten into the world amid the praises of the celestial choirs. Angels, “a multitude of the heavenly host,” sang at His birth. When He comes again, all the angels of God worship Him. He comes to silence the discord of earth. He comes to claim the inheritance lost by the first man. The Father will place it in the hands of the Second Man, and when He does it He calls upon the myriads of angels to join in the great chorus of adoration. All heaven rings with His praises.
4. Exaltation (v. 7)
The fourth quotation is from Psalm 104:4 and describes the “Hosts” over which Christ is “Lord.” Created by Him they live to serve Him. His messengers and His ministers, they accompany Him when He shall “be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thess. 1:7, 8). Psalm 104:35 tells us that the sinners shall be consumed out of the earth, and the wicked shall be no more. The angels, as being made “a flaming fire” are ministers of judgment as well as mercy.
5. Dominion (vv. 8, 9)
The fifth quotation is from Psalm 45 and presents a wondrous scene. Christ is seen seated upon the throne of glory, ruling over the millennial earth. He is not alone on that throne, there are those who are His fellows, associated with Him on the throne on which He sits as God.
He whose throne is for ever and ever was in the place of testing. He loved righteousness and hated iniquity while among us, and in grace He has brought us up as His fellows out of our iniquity.
He of whom Jehovah speaks as “My Fellow” calls us His fellows. He was “wounded in the house of His friends” and anointed with the oil of gladness above His fellows.
Hark, my soul, thy Saviour sings,
Catch the joy that music brings
And in His sweet flood of song
Pour thy whispering praise along.
6. Immutability (vv. 10-12)
The sixth quotation is from Psalm 102 where we have a Man, a suffering, dying Man, owned of God to be the Maker of heaven and earth. He, the holy Sufferer, is Jehovah, the Creator and Disposer of all things. What a testimony to His unchangeable deity. Creation is limited and changing but not the One who gives them their limit. Like cast-off garments all things will be set aside, but He remains.
7. Triumph (vv. 13, 14)
The seventh and final quotation is from Psalm 110 and it gives us the highest note in this medley of Psalms. “Sit Thou at My right hand till I make Thine enemies Thy footstool.” Final and eternal victory is His who finished the work of redemption, and seated in the highest place He rests, awaiting the action of God in bringing all in subjection beneath those feet once pierced and bleeding on the accursed tree. Thus will the Father minister to the Son until the end of the journey is reached. Perfect peace and righteousness will not only reign, but dwell, where God is all in all.
No angel ever was addressed thus. It is God, not angels, who serves the Son. Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister to those that shall be heirs of salvation? They serve, but theirs is not the service of love. We know the love of One who is not like an angel who only does his work when told. His is the service of love poured out even to death.
O glorious, O blessed Lord God of Salvation,
Thy name let us praise from the depths of the heart;
Let tongue sing to tongue and nation to nation,
And in the glad hymn all Thy works have a part.
The tops of the mountains with praises are ringing,
The depths of the valleys re-echo the cry;
The waves of the ocean Thy glories are singing,
The clouds and the winds find a voice as they fly.
The weakest, the strongest, the lowly, the glorious,
The living on earth and the dead in the grave,
For the arm of Thy Son over death is victorious,
With power to redeem, with mercy to save.
O glorious, O mighty Lord God of Salvation,
To Thee let us sing from the depth of our heart,
Let tongue tell to tongue and nation to nation,
How wonderful, gracious and holy Thou art.
Paul, a Pharisee, believed in the resurrection and in angels, and associated angels with the glory of God, but after the Damascus road experience, for him, the glory was filled with one Man—JESUS.
Scripture is not a systematized theology. It is living truth, as a vine in nature interlacing one with another. “Many parts” and yet the one end of all—CHRIST.
God has spoken. A living God and a loving God must needs speak. The Old Testament is HIS WORD. “Times past” is time up to Christ. The “last days” is after Christ. He is the Center of all history. There is no further revelation. The SON fully revealed God (v. 1).
“By Himself.” Accomplishing His own glory and for His glory. The verb has the meaning or sense of throwing the glory of the thing accomplished back on the One who did it (v. 3).
The highest titles are Christ’s by right but He passed them all by and selected a Name, the dearest of all—Saviour (v. 4).