CHRIST ABOVE THE ANGELS.
HEB. 1: 3-6.
“WHEN He had by Himself purged our sins, He sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high ; being made so much better than the angels, as He hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. For unto which of the angels said He at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten Thee? And again, I will be to Him a Father, and He shall be to me a Son? And again, when He bringeth in the first-begotten into the world, He saith,*[I] And let all the angels of God worship Him."
The opening verses of this epistle contain, as it were, a summary of doctrine. *[II] They set forth the glory of the Son of God. We behold Him as the Christ, the true Prophet, in whom is the perfect and ultimate revelation of God; the true Priest, not merely fulfilling all that was prefigured by Aaron (who purged by Himself our sins), but also fulfilling that which was prefigured by Mlekchizedec, king of righteousness, at Salem, seated in heavenly glory, and crowned with majesty at the right hand of the Power on high, exalted above all angels and principalities. We behold in these verses the nature of Christ. He is the Son, the brightness of the Father's glory, and the express image of the Father's being. We behold the work of the Son: by Him all worlds were created; by Him all things are upheld; by Him the atonement was made; and as He is appointed the heir of all things, history shall find its consummation in His manifestation and kingdom. And here we behold also the exaltation and the future glory of the incarnate Son, given unto Him as the fruit of His obedience. He is seated at the right hand of the Father, and all things are put in subjection under Him.
Is it more wonderful to see the Son of God in Bethlehem as a little babe, or to see the Son of Man at the right hand of the Father? Is it more marvelous to see the Counselor, the Wonderful, The mighty God, The Prince of Peace, the ever-lasting Father, a child born unto us, and a Son given unto us—or to see the Son of Man, and in Him the dust of earth, seated at the right hand of God ? The High Priest entered once a year into the holy of holies; but who would have ventured to abide there, or to take up his position next to the Cherubim, where the glory of the Most High was revealed? But Jesus, the Son of Man, ascended, and by His own power, and in His own right, as well as by the appointment of the Father, He is enthroned, crowned with glory and majesty. On the wings of omnipotent love He came down from heaven; but to return to heaven, omnipotence and love were not sufficient. It was comparatively easy (if I may use this expression of the most stupendous miracle) for the Son of God to humble Himself, and to come down to this earth; but to return to heaven, it was necessary for Him to be baptized with the baptism of suffering, and to die the death upon the accursed tree. Not as He came down did He ascend again; for it was necessary that He who in infinite grace had taken our position should bear and remove our burden and overcome our enemies. Therefore was His soul straitened to be baptized with His baptism ; and therefore, from the first moment that He appeared in Jerusalem, He knew that the temple of His sacred body was to be broken, and He looked forward to the decease which He should accomplish on that mount Not as He came did He ascend again ; for He came as the Son of God ; but He returned not merely as the Son of God, but as the Son of God incarnate, the Son of David, our brother and our Lord. Not as He came did He ascend again; for He came alone, the Good Shepherd, moved with boundless compassion when He thought of the lost and perishing sheep in the wilderness; but He returned with the saved sheep upon His shoulder, rejoicing and bringing it to a heavenly and eternal home. He went back again, not merely triumphing, but He who had gone forth weeping, bearing precious seed, who Himself had been sown, by His sacrifice unto death, returned, bringing His sheaves with Him. There had been given unto Him in His resurrection the Bride, the Church; she was raised with Him to be seated with Himself in heavenly places. It was when He had by Himself purged our sins that He sat down at the right hand of God; by the power of His blood He entered into the holy of holies; as the Lamb slain God exalted Him, and gave Him a name which is above every name.
“The Father said unto Him, Sit thou at my right hand." But it is equally true that the Lord Jesus Himself ascended, entered into the most holy sanctuary, and took His place at the right hand of God. He sat down : this expression shows that it was not merely the exaltation by the Father, but His own act and right ; for Scripture is careful to teach us not only the sub-ordination of the Son, but also His equality with the Father. Thus are we taught that the Father raised up Jesus, and also that Jesus had power to lay down His life, and He had power to take it again: “The Good Shepherd giveth His life for the sheep." “No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again."
For this purpose the Son of God came down to earth, that through suffering, and after having purged our sins, He might return to glory, that in His transfigured humanity He should have the glory, which as the Son He had with the Father before the foundation of the world. The cross was the only way to the throne. The session at the right hand of God is spoken of in Scripture exclusively as of the Messiah, the Son of David, the Lord, who is God and man. And now, the God-Man, the Son of God incarnate, Jesus who is the Christ, being exalted to the right hand of the Father, the apostle teaches us that God has given to Him a more excellent name than the angels, and that He has obtained this name by inheritance. He does not speak here merely of the Son of God in His deity; for if He spoke of Him as the Son of God merely, would it not only be superfluous, but would it not be also blasphemous and irreverent, to speak of Him who is Lord over all as greater than the angels ? But when he speaks of Jesus the Son of God and the Son of Man, then is it necessary, salutary, and comforting for us to know that this Jesus, who was born of the Virgin Mary, formed in fashion as a man, in all things tempted like as we are, yet without sin, that Jesus in His humanity is now exalted, and that a name is given to Him above all angels. We who live in the West think a name of slight importance; but God always taught His people to attach great importance to names. The first petition in the Lord's Prayer is, "Hallowed be Thy name;" and all the blessings and privileges which God bestowed upon Israel are summed up in this, that God revealed unto them His name. The name is the outward expression and the pledge and seal of all that a person really and substantially is ; and when it says that the Son of God has received a higher name than the angels, it means that, not only in degree, but in kind, He is high above them. He has obtained it by inheritance; that is to say, God decreed from all eternity to give that name unto Him, as the Son and Mediator.
In the book of Revelation we are told that the Son has a name which no man knoweth. There is an infinite, incomprehensible depth and mystery in the Son as there is in the Father; and as no man knoweth the Father save the Son, so no man knoweth the Son but the Father. But an excellent name, a name which is above every name, has been revealed unto us; and such is the loving-kindness of God, that Christ's highest name and His sweetest name are identical; even Jesus, who saves His people from their sins."
Now, in order to prove this truth, the apostle reminds the Hebrews of a number of passages in which the Messiah is spoken of. And here let us briefly consider the method according to which the quotations are given. We must notice that the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews always quotes the Scriptures as the Word of God. He does not say, ' as David says,' or ' as Isaiah says,' or 'as Moses says,' but whenever he quotes from Moses and the prophets he always quotes their words as the words of God, or "as the Holy Ghost saith," or "as One saith;" because among the Hebrews it was well known and firmly believed that "all Scripture was given by inspiration of God," and that every word of God is pure. Our Saviour, when He quotes the Scriptures, sometimes says "the Scripture," sometimes "the prophets," sometimes "David," sometimes “Isaiah." And so also the apostles do not always introduce quotations from Scripture in the same manner. The human and the divine character of the word must both be acknowledged and remembered. According to the spiritual condition of the persons addressed, and according to the purpose of the speaker, is the manner in which the words are introduced as God's or the words of Moses, &c. Sometimes the words, which are manifestly the utterance of Jehovah, are quoted: Well doth Isaiah say, and Isaiah is very bold, and this both by the Lord Jesus and the apostles. So fully and freely is the human channel in all its individuality and spontaneity acknowledged, though the divine authority and the inspiration of the Holy Ghost are always maintained and pre-supposed. Our Lord appeals even to the books of Moses as "your law;" when Israel does not recognize the Word incarnate, He refers them to the document which they held as their own, and in which they trusted, not knowing its power and spirit. To him who has not the word abiding in him, the books of Isaiah, Matthew, Paul, are simply the writings of these men. To us they are the word of God. In this epistle all quotations are traced direct to the Lord Himself, thus corresponding with, and carrying out, the key-note struck in the first verse of this epistle : " God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son."
Jesus, after His resurrection, opened unto His disciples the Scriptures. He spoke of Moses and of the prophets, and specially mentioned the Psalms; and we read, " Then opened He their understandings that they might understand the Scriptures;" and after the day of Pentecost the Holy Ghost brought all things to their remembrance, all the words and instructions He had given to them ; and we see from the Acts of the Apostles that they saw, as it were, the whole edifice of Scripture in the grandeur and symmetry of its structure. Now they were full of light. These very men who before were not able to understand what they saw with their own eyes, still less to comprehend His words, remembered and understood now that all these things happened that the Scripture might be fulfilled. (John 2:22; 20: 9.) The infallible instructions of the Son of Man were brought back to their remembrance by the Great Teacher's aid. And shall we not there-fore attach the Greatest value and the greatest importance, as well as the most implicit and docile faith, to the explanations given in the Acts of the Apostles, in the Epistles, and in the Revelation, of quotations from the Scriptures? We are bound by a blessed tie to their interpretations. *[III]
David is called a “patriarch" on account of the position which he held in the history of Israel; a “prophet" because, as he tells us, “The Spirit of the Lord spake by me, and His word was in my tongue." (2Sam. 23:2.) But he was also a type in his own character and history of that One who was to come. Many people read the Scriptures without considering the perspective of Scripture. It appears to them as a picture, so to speak, upon a flat surface, in which there is no perspective; they do not see the gradual unfolding and development ; they do not perceive the historical basis upon which prophecies rest, and the varying shades and tints which their peculiar position and distance in reference to the fulfillment gives them. They do not remember that the Lord Jesus Christ had His goings forth from of old, from everlasting; that His condescension goes back far into the ages, and that the whole Jewish nation was, as it were, the mother out of which the Messiah proceeded. Thus their history not only contained prophecy, but their history is prophecy. The evangelist Matthew gives us the key to the whole Jewish history in the first chapter, when he tells us that the infant Jesus was taken by Joseph and His mother Mary into Egypt, " that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my Son." Israel and Israel's history are typical ; they are installments as well as shadows of the great history.
It is very wonderful how, in God's ways, fixed necessity and liberties go hand in hand. In a way which we cannot understand, but which we can admire and adore, God's counsel must stand fast ; while His people act and move in perfect liberty, and His enemies are left to freedom and dealt with in patience and justice. From all eternity Jesus is appointed the Son of David; but the development of history goes through liberty, the exercises of faith, of hope, of patience, of love, of joy, of suffering. Everything that is human is in sweetest harmony with that unfailing and unchangeable purpose of God's love which must surely come to pass, even as in the greatest sin—the crucifixion of our Lord—the determinate counsel of God was fulfilled; and yet it was "with wicked hands," and of their own free choice, that the Jews crucified the divine and loving Saviour. This same blending of liberty and necessity is seen in the history of the patriarch. By a free choice of faith Abram, who was chosen to be the father of Israel, and of all who are blessed in the Messiah, left his father's house, and followed God. By faith he received the promise of Isaac, and, as a reward of his implicit confidence in the truth of God and in his death-conquering power, the eternal promise was renewed and sealed to him. And the inward clinging of the soul to the word of the Redeemer God, which amidst many struggles and failings characterized Jacob, who is Israel, breaks forth, interrupting the inspired (objective) predictions, when on his death-bed he exclaims, I have waited for thy salvation. Quietly and gently God fulfilled His counsel, hidden as yet to David, when the son of Jesse was taken from the sheep-folds. He did not know the wonderful significance of that morning when Samuel came to his father's house, and all his brothers passed before him, and David, in the simplicity and unconsciousness of his youth, was chosen and anointed to be king over Israel.
It took some time—it took many years of bitter sorrow, of painful conflicts—before the meaning of that act was explained to David himself. And at last, when through all the varied and profound discipline which he underwent, and by the inward teaching and the heart-renewing work of the Holy Ghost, God brought out in David, according to his limited and human measure, what in perfection is only in the Son and Lord of David, he went forth a true king of Israel—a man after the heart of God, strong in faith and love to the Most High, gentle and meek toward men, anointed by the Spirit, upheld by loyal and free Israelites, who loved him intensely and were willing to die for him, and yet not lifting up his heart above his brothers, but desiring to rule with the righteousness of meekness, and to show forth judgment and truth ; to found his kingdom upon the word of God, upon knowledge and light, justice and love, concord and brotherly affection ; building his dominion more upon the hundred golden pillars (as we might call them) of the Psalms, founding his throne on the firm foundation of his union with all the godly in the land, of their harmony in the praise and joy of Jehovah. Think of him thus as a parable, as it were. Think of this shepherd king, by the grace of God and the loving and free choice of God-fearing men—a king whose power rests upon invisible pillars, not upon outward authority, and pomp, and splendor. He gathered round about him not that which was high and lofty and lifted up ; he looked not, like Saul, to that which seemed strong and mighty, but to the meek of the earth, the excellent, who put their trust in Jehovah, those who knew how to praise and to serve the God of their fathers. Thus was David a true king after the heart and mind of God; and when he thought of building a house of God, then God sent unto him the prophet Nathan, and confirmed to him the promise, that as he was king over Israel, so his seed was to rule after him; that the throne of David was to be an everlasting throne. Of that seed of David it was also said that God would be a Father unto him,*[IV] and he should be God's son. David is quite overcome with the condescension and love of God, and, being filled with the Spirit, he saw that Solomon was not the completion of this prediction, and that he to whom God had thus promised to be a Father was to be One infinitely greater and higher than himself or his own children; that God spake of that One for whom all the fathers looked, and waited as the revelation and full realization of God's salvation. I may say of David as it was said of John the Baptist—" He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light "—He was not that King, but was sent to witness and to prefigure that King—the Son of the Most High. And thus, in all the sufferings and exaltations of David, in all the events and experiences of his life, he felt and saw that the lowest and deepest foundation of his own life was the Messiah, Christ Himself; that his own sufferings were ultimately to be fulfilled in the Son, who was above all. And therefore it is that in the Psalms of David we find David ; his very heart and soul, the man himself; but we find also Christ. David and Christ are completely identified. David, according to his limited measure, is an installment of Christ. He is a type of Christ ; and therefore that psalm which was an expression of David's experience, in which he cried, " My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me ?" is also the expression of the experience which no finite mind can fathom ; the Lord Jesus on the cross utters these very words ! What marvelous poetry is here, not in words merely, but in life and history! What wonderful condescension! He who is Jehovah, David's Lord, is mirrored forth by the son of Jesse. David's Son is none other than the Son of God, and He shall rule over Israel for ever. “I will give you the sure mercies of David." There is no other man in Scripture thus identified with Jesus Christ ;*[V] and therefore He is emphatically called “the Son of David." It is in this light that we must read the expressions quoted here by the apostle from the second psalm.
Most majestic is the book of Psalms. Very significant and striking is the commencement of this book, so grand and sweet, so precious to all the children of God, even as it was peculiarly near and dear to the Lord Jesus during His life on earth. The book of Psalms commences with two psalms, which have no superscription. The first chapters in the books of Scripture are often, as it were, the expressive announcement of the subsequent chapters ; the countenance of the whole ; the short, compressed key-note is struck ; out of the abundance of the heart the inspired author seems to utter immediately the sum and substance of his commission.
In the first two psalms we have a summary of the whole book. The first word is ` Blessed,' and the conclusion of the second psalm is, “Blessed are all they that trust in Him." *[VI] For God's thoughts are always thoughts of love. And though by reason of our disobedience, and the corruption of our heart, we cannot obtain the blessing which the law promises to all who keep it (Psalm i.), the promise of David's son was given in order to bring unto us new and greater blessing through the marvels of redemption. (Psalm 2.) As the apostle Peter said, “Unto you first, God, having raised up His Son Jesus, sent Him to bless you." All the thoughts and purposes of God toward His people are blessings’ *[VII]
The psalmist represents in the second psalm all the world united against God; He describes their determined, inward, and zealous opposition to Him. He describes God in His holy calmness, in His quiet majesty. He has laid the foundation, He has ordered the method, rule, and triumph of His house from all eternity. He can afford to give centuries and thousands of years to His enemies to mature all their plans, to utter all their thoughts, to bring forth all their objections, and to try all their experiments. He is patient also, and long-suffering; not willing that any should perish, but that sinners should turn unto Him and live. But He has anointed His holy King. He has appointed One—that wonderful person, Who is His representative and the sceptre of His might—God and man, through Whom the power and the pleasure of the Lord are to be established on the earth. And this Son is now declaring to us the decree, the counsel according to the good pleasure of His will, the purpose which cannot be changed, the promise which standeth firm from eternity to eternity: “Thou art my Son ; this day have I begotten Thee."
Now what this passage means is evident from the exposition given to us by the apostles. It refers to the resurrection of Jesus. He was the Son of God before the incarnation. We must ever hold fast the fundamental truth of the eternal, essential Sonship of our Lord. It was the Son who was sent into the world, and given unto us by the Father. Thus Scripture teaches; and not that He who was sent and was born of the Virgin Mary thus and then became the Son. At the incarnation the Son of God became man. (Gal 4:4.) But the truth specially taught here is, that the Son of David, the Theocratic King, the Messiah, who is to subdue all ungodliness on the earth, and to exalt all who trust in Him, is "declared to be the Son of God with power."
Let us consider the apostolic interpretations of this psalm. In the book of Acts 13:32) the apostle Paul, speaking of the resurrection, said : "And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers, God bath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that He hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee. And as concerning that He raised Him up from the dead, now no more to return to corruption, He said on this wise, I will give you the sure mercies of David." Here the general and comprehensive view is taken of Jesus as the Messiah and fulfiller of all God's promises; and the “to-day" of the second psalm is referred to the resurrection. In like manner the apostle writes to the Romans, with evident reference to our psalm: “His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; and declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of Holiness, by the resurrection from the dead." Analyzing now the comprehensive term Messiah into its constituent parts—Prophet, Priest, and King—we notice, besides the above reference to His kingship, that Peter in his address to the Jews quotes the prophecy of Moses—" A Prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren" (Acts 3:22); even, as he says, that " God, having raised up His Son Jesus, sent Him to bless you." (Acts 3:26.) And as to the priestly office, Paul declares that Christ glorified not Him-self to be made a High Priest, but He that said unto Him, " Thou art my Son ; this day have I begotten thee." *[VIII]
Thus in the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, when as Messiah He was fully brought into His prophetic, priestly, and regal dignity, was fulfilled the word—" Thou art my Son." Unto which of the angels said God this at any time? What angel has a name like this name? What angel can be compared with our Lord, the Man Christ Jesus, who was crucified and liveth for evermore?
The apostle passes on to another passage, which has no reference to the first coming, but to Christ's second advent, when God shall bring in again into the inhabited earth the First Begotten. The 97th Psalm speaks of the (return or) coming of Jehovah to the earth to subdue His enemies, and to be the rejoicing of His people.
The psalm commences with a call to the in-habitants of the land, and to all the earth, with the multitude of isles, to rejoice at the coming of the Lord Jehovah, who shall reign and deliver the godly, and manifest His glory. It is the advent in which, as Zechariah almost in the same words predicts, Jehovah shall be King over all the earth. (Zech. 14.) The period between the first and second advent is not beheld by the prophetic psalmist. The world during this interval seeth Jesus no more. He is hid. The heavens contain Him, and only His people see Him by faith, and know His presence by the indwelling Spirit. He is ruling the world; but He is not known, not recognized. But God shall bring Him in again, He shall brine Him into sight and manifestation. Not as the only-begotten, mark; for as the only-begotten He came in His incarnation (John 1:14,18), but as the first-begotten ; that is, as the risen Lord, the second Adam, the first-begotten of the dead, the first-born among many brethren. Thus the prophet is supplemented by the apostle. Jehovah, of whom the psalmist speaks, is identified by the apostle with the risen Jesus, the Son of God. Now at His coming (the second, as we Christians know, not coincident with the first, as according to the prophetic perspective ancient Israel believed) the world is divided into the righteous, the upright in heart, who worship and love God ; and idolaters, that serve graven images, and boast themselves of idols. Just as in the Apocalypse we read the world is divided into the saints of God, and those who worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark upon their foreheads and in their hands.
The advent of Jehovah brings judgment and confusion to the idolaters, and a harvest of light and joy to the godly. (Psa 2: I I.)
Now, bringing in the glorified Son, God the Father, who alone has the right to command creatures to perform acts of worship and adoration, saith unto the angels, “Worship Him."*[IX]
Thus is humanity in the person of Messiah exalted far above any creature. Thus the consummation of all history, and the perfect manifestation of God's glory to the rejoicing adoration of angels and men, will be in the Lord Jesus, who is not ashamed to call us brethren, who is one with us by a link which can never be severed.
Who then is like unto Jesus? Who like Him is adorable? Holiness and goodness are worthy of adoration only in their essence and source. He, whom holy angels are called by God to worship, must be essential holiness, goodness, love—must be none other but the infinite and eternal, the ever blessed and coequal Son of the Most High.*[X]
How near is Jesus unto us, although He is so high above us ! This is the very reason why God has exalted Him. This is the reason why He is so high above everything, above all powers and dominions; that He who has all power and love may be visible and accessible; that every one may see Him, and draw near to Him; that out of the lowest depths we may behold Him; and that from the utmost corner of the land we may cry unto Him, and be saved. Jesus is exalted for the very purpose of being a Prince and a Saviour, to give repentance and remission of sins. If Jesus was not so high, would He be so nigh ? He who is omniscient, omnipotent, all-wise, all-loving, whose sympathy is full of human tenderness, is in the holy of holies for the very purpose that He may succour, comfort, and uphold us during the days of our trial and sorrow, that He may be a present help in time of trouble. Jesus is exalted above all, that He may fill us with His power and love. He is high above us, that, looking unto Him, the author and finisher of faith, unto Him who through the cross entered into glory, seeing Him constantly above us, the Lamb in the midst of the throne, we may run with patience the race set before us. With all the holy angels and all the saints of God we look unto Him, we worship and rejoice as an old father of the German Church says—" Jesus is in heaven; therefore it is easy for a poor sinner to have his heart in heaven. Let Jesus dwell in the heart, and then heaven will be in the heart." Amen.
[I] * Literally, when He shall have brought in again the first-begotten into the habitable earth. The time is future; and the place, not the world in general, but this earth of ours, which is the chosen sphere, where Christ is to be manifested and to reign.
[II] * They contain a summary of the first chapter and the germ of all truths expounded in this epistle. The following analysis of Bengel is useful. " His Majesty is set forth (1) Absolutely by the very name ' Son,' and by three glorious predicates, ' Whom He hath appointed," By whom He made the worlds," Who sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;' thus His course is de-scribed from the beginning of all things till He reached the goal (vv. Heb 1:2,3). (2) Relatively, in comparison with the angels (v. Heb 1:4): the confirmation of this follows, and the very name `Son' is proved at verse Heb 1:5; the 'heirship,' verses Heb 1:6-9; the 'making the worlds,' verses Heb 1:10-12; the 'sitting at the right hand' of God, verses Heb 1:13,14.”
[III] * Notwithstanding many plausible objections to and limitations of this assertion, I cannot think and say otherwise. I believe also in the inexhaustible, many-sided, and eternal meaning of Scripture above the capacity and measure of the prophet, or of any individual or any period of the church. This has been expressed by Stier as the “Vollsinn," and by another in the quaint and some-what paradoxical sentence—Whatever Scripture can mean, it does mean.
[IV] * a Samuel vii. A very important chapter; commencement of a new phase of Israel's history; one of those turning-points with which commences a new period. The promise refers primarily to Solomon, who built the temple, who reigned in peace, and who extended the kingdom in manifested and acknowledged glory. The typical character of Solomon is set forth clearly in Psalm 72, where the Messiah, the Prince of Peace, the Divine King and Lord is described, and his reign of truth and prosperity. In 1Chron. 17:17 also it is evident that David knew the fulfillment was in the distant future: "Thou hast also spoken of thy servant's house for a great while to come, and hast regarded me according to the estate of a man of high degree, 0 Lord God." Luther translates, "Thou hast regarded me in der Gestalt eines Menschen, der in der H&he Gott der Herr ist," in the appearance of a man, who in the height is God the Lord. Stier renders, "And this is the manner of a man, who is God the Lord."
[V] * David therefore often stands for Messiah. Hosea 3:5; Ezekiel 34:23, &c.
[VI] * Psalm 1. was viewed as a prologue of the whole collection. Comp. Acts 13:33, where the words, "Thou art my Son," are quoted as the first psalm. The ancient Jewish view is expressed in the beautiful saying—The first psalm begins and ends with blessing. That is because the first and second psalms are one. The first psalm is didactic, a response, as it were, to the law of Moses (David's Bible); the second prophetic, Messiah's kingdom.
[VII] * Luther on Psalm 2:7: “Here the whole law is abrogated, and the office of Christ most clearly and distinctly described. He teaches not what we are ; for this the law doeth; but He teaches who He is, the Son of God, that we may receive Him, and use His gifts with rejoicing and delight.'
[VIII] * In Rev. 2:27 we see that the second psalm, though applying directly to the resurrection, extends to the time of the second advent, when Messiah shall declare the decree to the Gentiles. "Now" (Psalm 2: 10) the time of grace, "then'' (Psa 2:5) the day of judgment. Although the words are thus connected with the resurrection of Christ, we must still view them as referring also (implicitly and fundamentally) to the eternal, essential Sonship. Both aspects, the eternal and historical, are found in the prophetic writings: Prov. 8. contains the germ of the doctrine of the eternal generation of the Son. “To-day " is thus viewed by the church fathers to refer to the timeless and eternal generation.
[IX] * The angels are mentioned frequently in connection with the second advent. (Matt. 16:27;25:31; 1Thess 4:16; 2Thess 1:17.)
[X] * We shall consider in our next lecture the reason why the apostle Paul institutes this comparison between the incarnate Son of God and the angelic creation.