Meditations in Hebrews 1: 14. The Eternal Son
Heb 1:10-12 He also says, “In the beginning, O Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth,…. like a garment they will be changed. But you remain the same, and your years will never end.”
It is important at this point to remember the writer is enveloped in a single goal – to exalt Jesus and show him to be the glorious Son of God who is greater than anyone else, angels or who knows who else. It is also important to see these verses in context. Now why do I say these things? Because in verses 10 to 12 there is no mention of the Son and no indication of his presence in the thinking – but the thinking is all about Jesus. Hold on to what we read in the ‘prologue’, that Jesus is the Son of God and it was through him that God created the world, the world which the Son now upholds with his word as he rules over it, seated at his Father’s right hand. All of that has been laid out before us in those earliest verses. To that prologue he had added the emphasis that this is the Son (v.5) before whom the angels worship (v.6), angels who are mere servants of God (v.7), but this is the Son (v.8) who from old was destined to reign at his Father’s side over all things (v.9). Thus, when he comes to verse 10, it is important to realise that this is simply an extension of those thoughts, a continuation of the logic, if you like.
These words, quoted from Psa 102:35-37, although originally seen to apply to the LORD, now also, in the light of all we have said above, apply to the Son. Yes, that is what is in the writer’s mind; these words apply to the Son. He starts with the recognition, already laid down previously, that the Son was there in the beginning in the work of Creation: “He also says, “In the beginning, O Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands.” (v.10) In that there is nothing new being added but it is in verse 11 that he brings a new amazing thought which might not yet have crossed our minds: “They will perish, but you remain.” (v.11a)
But of course! The Creation is created material matter and as such will wear out. We know that, we see it and experience it every single day of our lives. Matter – whether it be say a house, or a human body – deteriorates with age and eventually decays. Now here’s the big point: matter may decay but God doesn’t, the Son doesn’t; he has no ending this Son for he is the unique Son of God. There is no one or no thing in all of existence that this can be said of – except God, except the Son.
Now, as a good teacher, he repeats this to push it home in case we hadn’t taken it in first time. In respect of this Creation he says, “they will all wear out like a garment. You will roll them up like a robe; like a garment they will be changed. But you remain the same, and your years will never end.” (v.11b,12) There it is, the Creation will come to an end, but the Son never will; he is eternal, that is what marks him out from anyone else in all of existence, they will die and decay, but he never will.
And then, just to make sure we haven’t forgotten who he is talking about, he uses that Psa 110 quote that we have already noted: “To which of the angels did God ever say, “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet”? (v.13 quoting Psa 110:1) He put the quote alongside the thought of the angels to whom God has never said this. This is the unique and eternal Son who is so, so, so much superiors to the angels as he sits at his Father’s right hand ruling over all of existence. And then, just to knock the final nail in the coffin of angelic heresy he adds, “Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?” (v.14) i.e. JUST servants!
And that brings us to the end of Chapter 1, a chapter of the most incredible claims, but claims that are justified and vindicated by the rest of the New Testament and, indeed, the prophecies of the Old Testament. The message is loud and clear: Jesus Christ is the unique, everlasting Son of God.
Ah! Perhaps there is something you might not have noticed but the critic may throw at us – the name of Jesus is not mentioned in this chapter. Is this who the writer is referring to or is there someone else? Well, first of all, there was no one else in that period (or since) who has stood out with that claim. Second, there is no one else who fits the description of verse 2 – “in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son.” Third, there is no one else who fits the rest of the descriptions of both Testaments that are confirmed in this chapter or which confirm the things of this chapter. Without question, although his name is not mentioned here, this all refers to Jesus Christ.
Now why, therefore, might this be? We can only make a suggestion and it is this: the person, the being that the writer wants us to focus on is no mere man with a name, Jesus, or even a title given by the scriptures, the Christ or the Messiah. No, the whole emphasis is that the One he wants us to focus on is God, an expression of God, revealed for our understanding as those with finite minds, as the eternal Son. It is all about relationship of Son to Father. It is only because he is the begotten Son that he was involved in Creation, it is only because he is the begotten Son that he now upholds the world by his word of power, it is only because he is the begotten Son that he is ‘big enough’ to be the redeemer of the world, and it is only because he is the begotten Son that he now sits at his Father’s right hand ruling over all of existence.
I do not want to detract from any of this in our minds but I sense the cry of so many, ‘How can Jesus be ruling over this world when Sin prevails, Satan is at work and human beings are in rebellion. Ah! Remember the verse we’ve now quoted at least twice – he rules “in the midst of his enemies” (Psa 110:2) The fact that he gives us free will, allows us to exercise it as expressions of Sin, and allows Satan a measure of freedom as well, does not detract from the fact that a) he is the Lord over all, and can bring it to an end the moment he wants to, and b) he is working in the midst of all this to bring about his purposes for his Father, God. So, in respect of human beings, he watches and when the time is right he convicts of sin and draws them to himself and they are saved. In respect of Satan, as the book of Job shows us, his instruction to Satan is “thus far and no further,” and Satan has to obey and the “thus far” is always a limit that fits in with his own plans and purposes.
So, as we said, not to detract from what this chapter has been saying, let’s repeat the thrust from above to finish: It is only because he is the begotten Son that he was involved in Creation, it is only because he is the begotten Son that he now upholds the world by his word of power, it is only because he is the begotten Son that he is ‘big enough’ to be the Redeemer of the world, and it is only because he is the begotten Son that he now sits at his Father’s right hand ruling over all of existence. We might now add, that it is only because he is the begotten Son that he will one day come back as conquering king (Rev 19) and wind all things up and then make all things new. Hallelujah!