Christ Greater Than the Angels, Part 2 (Hebrews Sermon 4 of 74)
September 26, 2010 | Andrew Davis
Exaltation of Christ, Angels, The Kingdom of Christ
I. What is a Throne?
All over the world, countries that have kings and emperors are certain to surround those august personages, kings, queens, emperors with trappings of their position in the nation, with regalia, with crowns, and thrones, and scepters, and all of these kinds of things that let the nation know how significant that individual is. In Kenya, the President had what was called the Maasai stick, an elder man's stick that he would carry around as a symbol of his authority over the nation, and he would carry it with him whenever he went out in public. When we were in Beijing, we saw the Forbidden City, which is a series of walls, and doors, in concentric courtyards, and all of that which you had to go through to get to the Emperor of China. And there was a sense of the greatness of this august person that you are eventually, hopefully, going to get to see. The same thing with the Queen of England as she wears her crown and her ermine robe, holds her scepter as symbol of her rule over the United Kingdom, over the British Empire.
But I think that no physical throne can ever come close to the glory of Christ's throne. As I did research on this, the most dramatic throne I could find was that of Shah Jahan from the 17th century in the Mughal Empire of India, the same one who built the Taj Mahal. He had to have the best throne too. And so 2,500 pounds of gold, multiple, huge diamonds like the Cullinan Diamond, which was just the largest cut diamond in the world. The Timur Ruby, 283 carats. It was called the Peacock Throne because it had two large peacocks, symbolically, artistically presented with the throne in between, 12 steps leading up to it. It doesn't exist anymore. It was plundered for all of its gold, and its gems, and all that. But I heard it was magnificent and beautiful. But is there any throne like that of our Lord Jesus Christ?
Is there any throne as glorious as that described in Hebrews chapter 1, the glory of Christ's throne? Solomon's throne isn't greater than it. Solomon had a magnificent throne, a majestic throne made, described in 1 Kings 10. The throne was inlaid with ivory and overlaid with fine gold. It had six steps and its back had a rounded top, it says. On both sides of the seat were armrests with a lion standing beside each of them. And there were 12 lions, two on each of the six steps going up. So you're surrounded by lions as you went up to see Solomon. Nothing like it had ever been made for any kingdom, it said. But we have in our text today described the most glorious throne in the universe, and that is the King of kings, the throne of the King of kings and Lord of lords, Jesus Christ. And even better, we have God the Father speaking and addressing the reign of His Son. We get to kind of stand in the council of the Trinity and hear the Father speaking about the Son.
And about the Son he says, "Your throne, oh God, will last forever and ever, and righteousness will be the scepter of your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness, and therefore, God your God has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy." This throne will radiate with the glory of God for all eternity, and all of the new heavens and the new Earth will shine with that glory. In Revelation 22:3 and 4, it says, "The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and His servants will serve Him and they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads." And so today, we're looking for a second week at the greatness of Jesus Christ, and specifically His greatness and contrast with that of the angels. Last week, we saw how Jesus is greater than the angels in a number of ways. I'll review it briefly but we're going to extend it right to the end of the chapter today. And we have to ask again, why does this passage exist? Why did the Lord inspire the author of Hebrews to write Hebrews chapter one?
II. Review From Part 1
Jesus, A Superior Mediator, Bringing a Superior Covenant, for a Superior Life
I believe that the Book of Hebrews is written to some Jewish people who had made an outward profession of faith in Christ, who had confessed Christ to be their Savior, had begun to assemble together with other Christian people. But under pressure from Jewish family and friends, and neighbors, and rabbis in Jewish culture, some of them were being tempted to turn their backs on Jesus, to turn their backs on new covenant worship, and go back to the old covenant without Jesus, to turn their backs on Christ. And so the author is going to give us the greatness of Christ right away. And I don't think we could ever do better than that in our lives. Amen.
Just focus on the greatness, the majesty of Jesus, every single day. And the overall purpose of the whole book of Hebrews, it was a letter of exhortation, of warning, perhaps, concerning the greatness of our mediator, Jesus Christ, a superior mediator to any mediator that came before, who brings to us a superior covenant, the new covenant, which is a better covenant than the old covenant, fulfills it, and supersedes it, and makes it obsolete, resulting in a superior life, a life of intimate relationship with the Almighty God in which we have access to the throne room of God, intimate access with Him. A life of complete forgiveness, of cleansed consciences, of a purified life, and a fruitful life, a life of faith. That's what this book is about. And so we saw two weeks ago, Hebrews 1:1-3, those magnificent verses with which this whole epistle starts.
"In the past, God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways. But in these last days, He has spoken to us by His Son whom He appointed heir of all things and through whom He made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of His being. He sustains all things by His powerful word. And when He had provided purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven."
So that was two weeks ago, the majesty of Christ. Last week, we saw how the author then continued and connected that through verse four to the rest of this chapter one, verse four. Look at it. "So He became as much superior to the angels as the name He has inherited is superior to theirs." So immediately, the author is bringing in the angels. And I want to cross the rest of the chapter, and on into chapter two we can see how the author is continually bringing Jesus back to the angels, and showing that Jesus is greater than the angels.
And this might not make a lot of sense to you. Why would you do that? Why would you compare Jesus to angels? We talked about that because I think, primarily, just going to the heart of the matter, I think the author is going to tell us at the beginning of chapter two that the Old Covenant was mediated to us by the angels. The angels brought the Old Covenant. They are glorious spiritual supernatural beings who bring an incredibly important message, a binding Covenant that if you disobeyed its strictures, you are worthy of death. But he makes a how much greater argument then if the Son of God comes and brings us a New Covenant that supersedes the old one, how worthy of death would we be? How worthy of eternal punishment if we neglect such a great salvation, that's the argument he's making here and we'll get to that, God willing, next week on Hebrews two.
Review: Christ Greater Because of His Name
But so we see that Christ is greater than the angels and we saw that He is greater than the angels because of His name, He has inherited a name that's superior to theirs, and that name is Son of God. "For to which of the angels did God ever say, 'You are my son, today I have begotten you'?" Okay, so He is the Son of God, or again, "I will be His Father and He will be my son." So we talked about that. The name, Son of God, is greater than servant of God, which the angels are servants. In verse 14, we talked about last week, "Are not all angels ministering servants, sent to serve those who inherit salvation?"
Review: Christ Greater Because He Is Worshiped
We saw also that Christ is greater than angels because He is worshipped, the angels worship Him, all of them do. And again, verse 6, when God brings His firstborn into the world, He says, "Let all God's angels worship Him." So He wants all of the angels covering their faces, down on their faces before the Son, then how great must the Son be if all the angels worship Him?
Review: Christ Greater Because of His Nature
And Christ, we saw, also is greater because of His nature. Look again at verse seven, and speaking of the angels, He says, "He makes His angels winds, His servants flames of fire." So we saw that, first and foremost, the angels are created beings, and there's just an infinite gap between the Creator and the creature. Creator's infinitely greater than the creature, and angels are creatures, they're created things, just like us, we are created things, but Jesus is not a created being. So He's eternally begotten Son of God. Angels are servants for Christ as the ruler, a theme that we're going to see more in chapter three. Moses was faithful as a servant in God's house but Jesus is faithful as a Son over God's house, so there's a sense of servant and then the one in authority. Angels are winds and flames of fire but Jesus is God. And so Jesus is greater because of His nature.
III. Christ Greater Because of His Throne
And now today we're going to see how Jesus is greater because of His throne, look at verse 8. "But about the Son, He says, 'Your throne, oh God, will last forever and ever and righteousness will be the scepter of your kingdom'" So the central issue of the universe, and I've said this a number of times before, the central issue of the universe and the central issue of your life is the throne of God, the throne of God, the throne of Almighty God. Psalm 103 verse 19, "The Lord has established His throne in heaven, His kingdom rules over all." The prophets had visions of the throne of God. Isaiah 6:1, "In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the lord seated on His throne, high and exalted and the train of His robe filled the temple." Or again, Ezekiel 1:26 says that above the expanse over their heads, over the cherubim's heads, high over the cherubim, wheels within wheels, eyes on the rims of the wheels, fire moving back and forth amongst these heavenly beings, and high above them was an expanse and high above the expanse, ever higher and higher, is a throne and above on the throne is someone seated there. It's the vision that God gave to begin Ezekiel's ministry.
And so also the apostle John, how the apostle John was invited with a voice saying, "Come up here." There was "a door standing open in heaven." and he was in the spirit and went through the door, and the first thing he saw was a throne, an emerald throne, surrounded by a rainbow that looked like an emerald. Just an incredible vision of the throne of God, and as the vision continues in the book of Revelation, concentric circles, concentric circles around that throne. The throne's the center of everything, everything. When it says that God's throne rules over all, it means that nothing in the universe happens apart from the will of God. Jesus said, "Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them falls to the ground apart from the will of your Father." Is it about sparrows that God is concerned? Yes, but so much more. So it's an argument from the more surprising to the less surprising, if God cares about sparrows falling to the ground, then He cares about the planets and stars and everything in your life and all of the flow of human histories, over everything, from the smallest to the greatest, that's the throne of God. Interestingly, in all the visions you have of the throne, there's always a man seated on it, a vision or an image of a man. And so this, I believe, is the projection of the Son of God as He reveals God the Father to us.
God the Father has no body. He's a spirit, but He projects or presents to us through Jesus His son, and so He can say, "Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father." And so the image of a man seated on a throne should make us think of the Son of God as He reveals the greatness of God on His throne. But here, in verse 8, God the Father speaks of Christ and of His throne, and in an amazing way.
First of all, we just get a sense of the doctrine of Scripture from the book of Hebrews. What Scripture says, God says. This is just a Psalm, but there's no such thing as just a Psalm, now is there? This is God speaking through the Psalm. Later the author is going to talk about this, saying "the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any double-edged sword." We're hearing the voice of God when we hear the scriptures, that's how you should think. And so, God the Father is speaking here through the Psalm, and about the Son He says, who's the 'He' in the sentence? It's Almighty God, it's the God the Father, God the Creator, God the Ruler, God the Judge is speaking. He's speaking about His own son, and what does He say about His son? "Your throne, oh God, will last forever and ever…" God the Father is not jealous at all, about God the Son. Not in the least, He celebrates His greatness, He celebrates His glory. Jesus, the implication is, would have nothing except what the Father gave Him.
There's always that sense of Jesus communicating, "Everything I have has come to me through the Father." Can you even imagine Jesus saying, "Well, I have something that I didn't get from the Father"? I can't even imagine that! And so He says, "All authority in heaven and Earth has been given to me." "Well, who gave it to you?" "God the Father, my Father gave it to me. Everything has been entrusted to me by the Father." And so that's how He sees it. The vision in Daniel seven of the Son of Man, there's the Ancient of Days, seated on His throne, a river of fire flowing from the throne out, judging the world and 100 million angels around, ready to serve Almighty God, the Ancient of Days, seated on His throne. And then, into His presence, coming on the clouds of heaven comes one like a Son of Man. He comes into the presence of the Ancient of Days and receives from Him, authority, glory, and sovereign power. It's given to Him by the one on the throne, it's given to Him by Almighty God. Jesus doesn't get anything, except that the Father gives it to Him. So we have an amazing glimpse at an inter-trinitarian conversation. From eternity past, God has existed in three persons, whom we identify as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. All human relationships, whether marriage, or brother to brother, sister to sister, church relationships, neighbors, all human relationships are based on the inter-trinitarian, interpersonal relationship.
We're patterned after it, because we're created in the image of God, and when we're fully redeemed, we're done with our salvation process, we will be as one in heaven with each other, as the Father and the Son are one. Aren't you looking forward to that? Oh, I'm looking forward to that. No more strife, no more conflict, no more disagreements... Not that I ever have any strife or conflict or disagreements in my life. Not that that ever... Oh, come on, it happens! Happens to all of us. But friends, it's temporary in Christ. Amen! Hallelujah! It's temporary. In heaven, we'll be as one as the Father and the Son are one. And no jealousy at all between the Father and the Son. And God the Father thinks thoughts about His Son, and He speaks to the Son, and other times He speaks about the Son. Like in the mount of transfiguration, "This is my Son, my beloved Son, whom I love, with Him I am well pleased." He's not talking to Jesus, He's talking about Jesus, to His bewildered disciples, Peter, John and James, up there. "Listen to Him." Peter, stop talking, stop talking, listen to Him. That's what He's saying, that's another sermon for another day. But the thing is God the Father's speaking about the Son, talking about Him, communicating about Him. He loves the Son.
God the Father Calls His Son, 'God'
And here, God the Father calls His Son, God. That's powerful, isn't it? "Your throne, oh God, will last forever and ever," because He is God. And the Father is not ashamed to proclaim him God, because He is God. Now, this is a vital issue in the controversy of Christianity with Judaism. The Jews, who had made a profession of faith in Christ are now being tempted to go over to Judaism, the very issue is going to be a rejection of the deity of Christ. That's what they're going to have to do to do it. They're going to have to turn their backs on Jesus as God. And that is the essence of our disagreement with our Jewish neighbors and friends, and co-workers. We disagree on this very issue, we believe that Jesus is God and we worship Him. But what this verse says is that God the Father believes it too. And we are not heretics in proclaiming the deity of Christ, because Almighty God says it. How could we deny the deity of Christ when God Himself says to Jesus, "Your throne, oh God, will last forever and ever. Righteousness will be the scepter of your kingdom."
So, if Almighty God delights in calling Him God, then how could we shrink back? Remember how Jesus' enemies were about to stone Him? Jesus said, "I have shown you many good works from the Father, for which of these are you stoning me?" "We're not stoning you for any of these, but for blasphemy! Because you, a mere man, claim to be God." It's a charge that went right to the end of His time with the Jews. When the high priest charged Him under oath, "Are you claiming to be God the Son?" Something they could not accept. But the author to Hebrews makes it fundamental here in Hebrews chapter 1.
And notice also the attributes of Christ's character and of Christ's throne. Jesus' reign is based on His attributes, not in some outward show of luxury or some cut diamonds or rubies or some gold, 2500 pounds of gold, or peacocks on either side, or lions going up the stairs. None of those trappings. What do we have here? We have two attributes in particular. The eternity of the throne of God and the righteousness of it. These are two attributes.
Christ’s Throne is Eternal
Christ's throne is eternal, and Christ's throne is righteous. First, an eternal throne, "Your throne, oh God, will last forever and ever." I tell you, this is not merely a prediction from the omniscient God. He's not merely making a prediction that His throne will last forever and ever. He is making a sovereign decree that it will.
Look at Psalm 2, all you have to... Don't turn there, but just as you listen. Psalm 2, and there the psalmist says, "'I have installed my King on Zion, my holy hill.' I will proclaim the decree of the LORD: He said to me, 'You are my Son; today I have become your Father. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession. You will rule them with an iron scepter.' That's the decree of God. It's not merely a prediction now. It's a decree. God is going to make it happen with His sovereign power.
And Isaiah said it would be an eternal throne. Isaiah 9:7, "Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, He will reign on David's throne, and over His kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this." So God is zealous, He's burning like a fire. Imagine the sun, burning burning burning burning. The zeal of God is burning for His son, for His throne to last forever and ever. He's going to achieve eternity with it.
The prophet Daniel foresaw the eternal nature of Christ's throne, in interpreting Nebuchadnezzar's dream in Daniel chapter two. A stone cut out, but not by human hands, struck the statue, the kingdoms of the world and of men, and caused them to crumble down until they became like chaff on a threshing floor in the summer and the wind blew them all away without leaving a trace. But the rock that was cut out, but not by human hands, became a huge mountain that filled the whole world. Then when Daniel interpreted the dream, he said, "The God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end but will itself endure forever." It is an eternal throne, dear friends, eternal, it will last forever and ever.
Mary was told the same thing about her son. Imagine this being told to you… Imagine you women being told by Gabriel, "Your son will sit on a throne that will last forever and ever." So Gabriel told Mary, "He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give Him the throne of His Father, David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, His kingdom will never end." This is stated so many times in the New Testament that we don't need to repeat it again. Human thrones, by contrast, are characterized by their brevity.
The most you can be President of the United States is eight years, two four-year terms. The average length of a reign for a Jewish king after Solomon in the northern kingdom, there were 19 kings in Israel, their average length of reign was 12 and a half years. There were 19 kings in Judah, the average length of their reign was 20 and a half years. Altogether the average length of a reign of a king after Solomon was 16 and a half years. Not a single monarch in all of human history has ever reigned for 100 years, not one. The longest undisputed reign in history was a king of Swaziland who died in 1982 after a reign of 82 years and nine months. That's the longest undisputed reign in human history, 82 years. Can you imagine reigning for 82 years? I'm sure he was glad to lay it down when the time came. It's not for no reason that Shakespeare said, "Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown." The average length of reign in the English, over the English throne, over a thousand years, has been 20 years.
But Jesus will reign forever and ever. His kingdom will never end. So it's an eternal throne.
Christ’s Throne is Righteous
It's also a righteous throne. And no different again from the descriptions of God's throne in Psalm 97:2, "Clouds and thick darkness surround Him. Righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne." Everything Jesus does in reigning on the throne displays His righteous character, perfectly corresponding to His own righteous character. So many earthly thrones are characterized by injustice, oppression, corruption. It's not for no reason that Lord Acton said, "Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely," except in one case, and that's Jesus. His reign doesn't corrupt His character, it displays His character, it displays His righteousness, the perfection of His nature. Jesus cannot be corrupted by His power, He is righteous in everything He does.
In Isaiah 11 it says of Him, "He will not judge by what He sees with His eyes or decide by what He hears with His ears, but with righteousness He will judge the needy, with justice He will give decisions for the poor of the Earth. He will strike the Earth with the rod of His mouth; with the breath of His lips He will slay the wicked. Righteousness will be His belt and faithfulness the sash around His waist." And so we see righteousness and eternity as the foundation of Christ's throne.
Look what else, we see a display of Christ's heart. Verse 9, The Father speaking to the Son says, "You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness." This is the essence of human character. Go right to the heart of the matter. Who are you? Who are you? What kind of man are you? What kind of woman are you? What kind of boy or girl are you? We go to the heart of the matter, and it all comes down to this, what do you love and what do you hate? That's who you are, it's the essence of your being. Henry Scougal, in his book "The Life of God in the Soul of Man" said this, "The worth and excellency of a soul is to be measured by the object of its love."
The worth and excellency of Jesus' soul is found in this one verse, He loves righteousness and hates wickedness. And by the way, you can't just love righteousness. You have to both love righteousness and hate wickedness, you can't just be positive. What's that radio station? Positive, uplifting K-Love. Okay, listen, there's a time for being positive and uplifting. But you have to both love righteousness and hate wickedness. You have to be a warrior against wickedness, and start with your own. Put sin to death by the power of the Spirit. That's what we must do. But Christ does love righteousness and hate wickedness. And for this reason, He is greater than the angels because He rules them with the perfect righteousness and justice. And He's greater because of His anointing.
"You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness, and therefore God your God has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy." The anointing ceremony in Israel identified the king for the nation. Identified the king, was a symbolic act. Saul for example, a very tall man, a head taller than any of his fellows. But other than that, very ordinary, it seems. He was a son of Kish, a Benjamite. He was chosen by God to be the first king of Israel. Samuel the prophet, was commanded by God to anoint him with oil as a form of identification for the nation. 1 Samuel 10:1, "Then Samuel took a flask of oil and poured it on Saul's head and kissed him, saying, 'Has not the Lord anointed you leader over His inheritance?'"
And so in 1 Samuel, from then on, again and again, Saul is called the Lord's anointed. He's called the Lord's anointed. And from then on, kings of the Jews were anointed with oil as well, for example, Saul's successor, David, was also anointed with oil by Samuel. In 1 Samuel 16, "Samuel sent and had David brought in, and he was ruddy with a fine appearance and handsome features. And the Lord said, 'Rise and anoint him, he is the one.' So Samuel took the oil, the horn of oil, and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on, the Spirit of the Lord came upon David in power." I think there's a link then between the anointing with oil and the coming of the Holy Spirit. It's being saturated in the Spirit that's really being symbolized there. The idea is, "Not by power nor by might but by My Spirit, should you rule," says the Lord.
And so when the Spirit comes upon a man, then he's equipped and able to reign. But Christ is the fulfillment of all of this anointing. He is the anointed one. The word, the Hebrew word for anointed one is mashiach, from which we get messiah. And then the Greek form Christ, is just the same word, the idea of the anointed one. So Jesus Christ means Jesus the anointed one. Hebrews 1 gives us the basis of the anointing. The word 'therefore' tells why God anointed Him. Why did God anoint Jesus? Because He loves righteousness and hates wickedness. Therefore, God anoints Him. And with what does He anoint Him? With the oil of joy. What is that? Whatever it is, I want some. What do you think?
I'd like to go get some oil of joy and be anointed with it. Well, dear friends in Christ, someday you'll be saturated in the oil of joy. I mean you will be swimming in a river of delights. You'll be at the right hand of Almighty God. And in His presence, there are eternal pleasures forevermore. Jesus enjoys being the Son of God. He enjoys ruling on His throne. It's not a burden to Him. He delights in saving you, He delights in interceding for you, He is filled with joy because He's in the presence of His Father. And it was for this joy that Jesus died. We should fix our thoughts on Jesus, the Author and Perfector of our faith, who for the joy set before Him, endured the cross, scorning the shame and sat down at the right hand of God.
What joy? The joy of sitting on a perfect throne, reigning over perfect people in a perfect world. What could be better than that? And it's for that joy that Jesus shed His blood. The cross itself, wrath, and misery, and shame, and suffering. But it was for joy that He did it. And so He's anointed with the oil of joy in the presence of God. And therefore He's superior to all of His companions. I think that just means angels and men. Superior to all angels, superior to all men. He is above all of His companions, anointed with the oil of joy.
IV. Christ Greater Because of His Rule over Creation
And Christ is also greater because of His active rule over creation. Look at verses 10-12, he also says, "In the beginning, oh Lord, you laid the foundations of the Earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but You remain. 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."
29:55 S1: Now, we've already seen at the beginning of this chapter that Christ is the Creator. It is through Christ that God the Father made the universe, verse 2, "through whom He made the universe." And it says that God also, through Jesus, upholds the universe, that Christ upholds the universe, verse 3, by His powerful word. But here however, it directly ascribes to Jesus, the creation of the Earth and the heavens.
Notice that the verse begins with the same formula. "He also says," do you see that? In verse 10, "He also says," who is the He? Again, it's God the Father. God the Father is speaking again. He's talking about His Son. What does God the Father say about the Son here? Well, He also says, "In the beginning, oh Lord, you laid the foundations of the Earth." So that's God the Father giving to Jesus credit for laying the foundations of the Earth. And again, note it, He calls him Lord. A marvelous thing.
And what does it mean that it says "in the beginning"? That brings us immediately back to Genesis 1:1, doesn't it? "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the Earth." But here God the Father's ascribing it to Jesus. "In the beginning, oh Lord, you laid the foundations of the Earth." And what does that mean, laid the foundation of the Earth? It pictures stability, doesn't it? Rock solid. He laid the foundations of the Earth.
As though Jesus were somehow a master craftsman, building a structure, and it's solid. It says in Psalm 104 verse 5, "He set the Earth on its foundations, it can never be moved." And it's a solid stage on which redemptive history unfolds. It's the Earth and it's not going to be moved till the Lord removes it. And He's also credited with the crafting of the heavens, as the work of Jesus' hands, as in Psalm 8:3-4. "When I consider the Heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars which you have set in place, what is man that you're mindful of him, the Son of Man that you care for him?"
But in Hebrews it ascribes that to Jesus. "In the beginning, oh Lord, you laid the foundations of the Earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands." It's Jesus who made them. The cosmos is immense, the stars are innumerable. Have you ever gone out, maybe in the mountains, you have to get away from the city, get away from the humidity. Get into the cooler, dryer climes and look out and you can see the milky way, that milky cloud of stars just going across like a band? And you see just vivid stars up there, you could almost read by them maybe.
And there's just this sense of the beauty, like diamonds they are up in the sky and so many. So many of them and magnificent. But Hebrews 1 ascribes the creation of all of them to Jesus. Christ is superior to the creation because they're only temporary. Now that'll boggle your mind. They're all temporary. They look really kind of like they're going to last forever. But they won't. They are temporary but Jesus is eternal. Christ is superior to the creations for this very reason. The verse clearly predicts the end of the universe.
Modern cosmologists, they go back and forth on where we're heading. I mean, what an inane discussion. None of them are going to be there, they just want to be right, having been dead for millennia. But they want to be right about it. Will the universe keep expanding? Will it stop at some point and kind of fold back in on itself? Will it oscillate like a big slinky, you know, back and forth, back and forth, oscillating, back and forth? Or will it collapse in on itself, the reversal of the Big Bang? Let them ruminate, we already know what's going to happen. Bible-believing Christians already know.
Just go to Hebrews 1. He's going to roll them up like a robe, like a garment they're going to be changed. They are going to perish. That's what it says. If you want more details, read in 2 Peter 3, verse 10, "The day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar. The elements will be destroyed by fire, and the Earth and everything in it will be laid bare." Verse 12 of that same chapter, "That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat."
Revelation 6:13-14, "The stars in the sky fell to the Earth as late figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind. The sky receded like a scroll rolling up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place." All of that's going to happen but Jesus remains the same, and His years will never end. Oh, the greatness of Christ, the greatness of Christ! Greater than the stars, greater than the galaxies, greater than the Earth and the mountains and the ocean! Jesus remains the same, He never changes!
But this world, the universe, is going to be changed. And, may I say, greatly improved, the new heavens and the new Earth. I heard somebody say earlier today, "I am hungry to go, I can't wait to go there." I am hungry for that, aren't you? I want to be there. Christ never changes, ever.
V. Christ Greater Because of His Destiny
Finally, Christ is greater because of His destiny. Look at verse 13, "To which of the angels did God ever say, 'Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.'" God rewards Christ with a position to sit at His right hand. Christ alone has this right. He alone has this privilege because of His perfect character, because He is God the Son, because He is sinless and pure and because He finished God's mission. He sits down with God on the throne, ruling with God, at His right hand. The image of sitting is that Christ finished His work, He had provided purification for sins. It's done. Once for all. We'll get into that later in this book. But once for all, it's done.
And now, God the Father is going to work on behalf of God the Son. "Sit at my right hand," He says, "until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet." Oh, what a fearsome verse that is. Oh, can I warn you, tenderly? Don't be God's enemy on this point. How could you fight Almighty God concerning whether you have become a Christian or not, whether you have worshipped Jesus or not, whether you have trusted in Christ or not? Oh, don't be Christ's enemy. What does it mean that He'll make His enemies a footstool for your feet? Joshua had the Israelites put their feet on the necks of all their prostrate enemies. It's a picture of complete submission, domination. Well, I think all of us are going to submit to Jesus, one way or another, Amen? "Before me," it says in Isaiah, "Every knee will bow, by me every tongue will swear." And so, in Philippians that's ascribed to Jesus, oh, we'll be down there. But we are those that do it now by faith, Amen? We're not His enemies anymore. Isn't it good when Jesus has the power to turn His enemies into His own children? Like with Saul of Tarsus, and the thief on the cross? Just like that, He can change them.
And so, we go out, we do evangelism, we witness because we want the enemies of God (at one time, we were enemies) to be rescued and brought over into the kingdom of God and not be His enemies anymore, not have the wrath of God abiding on us anymore. But, other than that, Jesus' Jewish enemies said to Him, "Aren't we right in saying that you are a Samaritan and demon-possessed?" What an insulting thing to say. "You're a bastard and you're demon-possessed." And Jesus' answer is very insightful, and into His character, "'I am not possessed by a demon,' said Jesus, 'but I honor my Father and you dishonor me. I'm not seeking glory for myself but there is someone who seeks it and He is the judge.'"
Who is it that seeks Jesus' honor? It's God the Father. And you can't measure the zeal that He has concerning that, it's a fire, our God is a consuming fire, and we cannot be His enemies on this issue. We must worship Jesus as the Son, and fall down, and as Psalm 2 says, "Kiss the Son, lest He be angry with... for His wrath can flare up in a moment." God the Father will make all of Jesus' enemies submit to Him. There's a good way for that to happen. Just repent and believe the Gospel, Amen! This universe is temporary, friends, your life is temporary here in this world. Eternity is eternal, come to Christ therefore, trust in Him.
Now, we have an opportunity to meditate on these things as we prepare for the Lord's Supper. This is a sweet time for me, a very significant time when we celebrate the Lord's Supper together. I believe that through the Holy Spirit, we can have an encounter with the living God, but I say this to you, if you're already believers in Christ and you've testified to that by water baptism, you're welcome to the table, but if you're not, don't come, don't come. The Bible says you'll eat and drink judgment on yourself. Instead, do something better: Repent of your sins and trust in Jesus. And all of us, while we're getting ready for the table, let's just worship Jesus based on the things we've learned today, let's worship Jesus for the greatness of His character and His justice, and His holiness, the eternity of His kingdom, His scepter and His heart that loves righteousness and hates wickedness.
And what do you say? We resolve in our hearts to grow more and more toward Christ-like character, so we love righteousness the way He does and hate wickedness the way He does as well. Let's put sin to death by the power of the Spirit. And if you're aware, as you're preparing for the Lord's Supper, of any sin in your life, you're aware of patterns that are dishonoring to God, your consciences is violated, just know there is a cleansing for conscience through the blood of Jesus. So, I'm going to close in prayer, then we'll go to the Lord's Supper.
Father, thank you for this time we've had around the Word. And now, as we go to the table, I pray that You would send forth Your Holy Spirit, help us to partake in a manner worthy of the Lord. We praise You for the opportunity to be here today and to hear You speak to us, help us to love Jesus by the power of the Spirit. And now, just send forth Your Holy Spirit to make the bread and the juice become for us a spiritual encounter with Jesus, dead on the cross, raised from the dead, ascended to the right hand of God, coming again in glory. I ask this through Jesus and for His glory, Amen.