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SermonIndex.net : Christian Books : Hebrews 1:7-9

Commentary On Hebrews by Jean Calvin

Hebrews 1:7-9

7. And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire.

7. Et ad angelos quidem dicit, Qui facit angelos suos spiritus et ministros suos flamman ignis.

8. But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of thy kingdom.

8. Ad Filium vero, Thronus tuus, O Deus, in seculum seculi; virga directionis, virga regni tui:

9. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.

9. Dilexisti justitiam et odisti iniquitatem; propterea unxit te Deus tuus oleo laetitiae prae consortibus tuis.

7. And to the angels, etc. To the angels means of the angels. But the passage quoted seems to have been turned to another meaning from what it appears to have; for as David is there describing the manner in which we see the world to be governed, nothing is more certain than the winds are mentioned, which he says are made messengers by the Lord, for he employs them as his runners; so also, when he purifies the air by lightnings, he shows what quick and swift ministers he has to obey his orders. But this has nothing to do with angels. Some have had recourse to an allegory, as though the Apostle explained the plain, and as they say, the literal sense allegorically of angels. But it seems preferable to me to consider this testimony is brought forward for this purpose, that it might by a similitude be applied to angels, and in this way David compares winds to angels, because they perform offices in this world similar to what the angels do in heaven; for the winds are, as it were, visible spirits. And, doubtless, as Moses, describing the creation of the world, mentioned only those things which are subject to our senses, and yet intended that higher things should be understood; so David in describing the world and nature, represented to us on a tablet what ought to be understood respecting the celestial orders. Hence I think that the argument is one of likeness or similarity, when the Apostle transfers to angels what properly applies to the winds.

8. But to the Son, etc. It must indeed be allowed, that this Psalm was composed as a marriage song for Solomon; for here is celebrated his marriage with the daughter of the king of Egypt; but it cannot yet be denied but that what is here related, is much too high to be applied to Solomon. The Jews, that they may not be forced to own Christ to be called God, make an evasion by saying, it at the throne of God is spoken of, or that the verb |established| is to be understood. So that, according to the first exposition, the word Elohim, God, is to be in construction with throne, |the throne of God;| and that according to the second, it is supposed to be a defective sentence. But these are mere evasions. Whosoever will read the verse, who is of a sound mind and free from the spirit of contention, cannot doubt but that the Messiah is called God. Nor is there any reason to object, that the word Elohim is sometimes given to angels and to judges; for it is never found to be given simply to one person, except to God alone.

Farther, that I may not contend about a word, whose throne can be said to be established forever, except that of God only? Hence the perpetuity of his kingdom is an evidence of his divinity.

The scepter of Christ's kingdom is afterwards called the scepter of righteousness; of this there were some, though obscure, lineaments in Solomon; he exhibited them as far as he acted as a just king and zealous for what was right. But righteousness in the kingdom of Christ has a wider meaning; for he by his gospel, which is his spiritual scepter, renews us after the righteousness of God. The same thing must be also understood of his love of righteousness; for he causes it to reign in his own people, because he loves it.

9. Wherefore God has appointed him, etc. This was indeed truly said of Solomon, who was made a king, because God had preferred him to his brethren, who were otherwise his equals, being the sons of the king. But this applies more suitably to Christ, who has adopted us as his joint heirs, though not so in our own right. But he was anointed above us all, as it was beyond measure, while we, each of us, according to a limited portion, as he has divided to each of us. Besides, he was anointed for our sake, in order that we may all draw out of his fatness. Hence he is the Christ, we are Christians proceeding from him, as rivulet from a fountain. But as Christ received this unction when in the flesh, he is said to have been anointed by his God; for it would be inconsistent to suppose him inferior to God, except in his human nature.

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