(Continued from page 78)THE SON IS EXALTED ABOVE ANGELS!
5 For to which of the angels did He ever say: 'You are My Son, Today I have begotten You'? And again: 'I will be to Him a Father, And He shall be to Me a Son'? 6 But when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says: 'Let all the angels of God worship Him.' 7 And of the angels He says: 'Who makes His angels spirits and His ministers a flame of fire.' 8 But to the Son He says:'Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom. 9You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of gladness more than Your companions.' 10 And: 'You, LORD, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands. 11 They will perish, but You remain; And they will all grow old like a garment; 12 Like a cloak You will fold them up, And they will be changed. But You are the same, And Your years will not fail.' 13 But to which of the angels has He ever said: 'Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool'? 14 Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?
Hebrews 1v8 reads in Greek: 'Ho thronos sou ho theos eis ton aiona tou aionas'; this translates:
'(but with regard to the Son He says), 'Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever.'
This is a quote from Psalm 45v6, which reads, according to Bagster's Septuagint:
'Ho thronos sou ho theos eis ton aiona tou aionas';
As you can see the phrase in Hebrews is identical. So 'ho theos' is translated 'O God', which in Greek is the Almighty, immutable, omniscient, omniprescent, sovereign God - and it is obvious that the Father is addressing the Son and, in doing so, calls Him God in a passage (Hebrews 1:6) in which He clearly tells the angels to come and worship Jesus!
IF ANYONE KNOWS RIGHTLY WHO THE SON IS THEN, SURELY, IT IS THE FATHER!
The passage goes on to say (v9):
9You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of gladness more than Your companions.'
Here 'ho theos' (the God) is anointed by 'ho theos' (the God) - and unless one considers the full truth of the Triune God revealed in the Scriptures we are left with unintelligible meaning. The passage on its own in Psalms must have mightily puzzled readers until Jesus Christ fulfilled this and many other passages, for we have God apparently addressing Himself. Fortunately, here in Hebrews we have it clearly stated that God addresses the Son: 'But of the Son He says...............'
As an example of disgraceful mistranslation we give the Jehovah's Witnesses so-called New World Translation of the Bible where they have translated Hebrews 1:8 as:
But with reference to the Son: 'God is your throne forever and ever, and [the] scepter of your kingdom is the scepter of uprightness.
To try and avoid the obvious reference to the Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ they make it sound as if God is the throne of the Son! Let us indulge in some WBTS games with their blasphemous translation: Is the Son actually sitting on the Father and using Him as a throne?!
The WBTS do not stop there in attempting to convince the unwary that Jesus is not God. In Hebrews 1:6 we read that Christ was 'the firstborn' who was to be worshipped by the angels. The Bible teaches that only God is to worshipped (Revelation 19:10; 22:8) - so what is the significance of the Greek word rendered 'firstborn'. Let us see how Greek expert W.E. Vine (Vine's Dictionary of New Testament Words, unabridged) defines the use of the word:
prototokos (prwtotovko'), 'firstborn' (from protos, 'first,' and tikto, 'to beget'), is used of Christ as born of the Virgin Mary, Luke 2:7; further, in His relationship to the Father, expressing His priority to, and preeminence over, creation, not in the sense of being the 'first' to be born. It is used occasionally of superiority of position in the OT, see Exodus. 4:22; Deuteronomy. 21:16, 17, the prohibition being against the evil of assigning the privileged position of the 'firstborn' to one born subsequently to the 'first' child.
The five passages in the New Testament relating to Christ may be set forth chronologically thus:
(a) Colossians 1:15, where His eternal relationship with the Father is in view, and the clause means both that He was the 'Firstborn' before all creation and that He Himself produced creation (the genitive case being objective, as v 16 makes clear);
(b) Colossians 1:18 and Revelation 1:5, in reference to His resurrection;
(c) Romans 8:29, His position in relationship to the church;
(d) Hebrews 1:6, RV, His second advent (the RV 'when He again bringeth in,' puts 'again' in the right place, the contrast to His first advent, at His birth, being implied); cf. Psalm 89:27. The word is used in the plural, in Hebrews 11:28, of the firstborn sons in the families of the Egyptians, and in 12:23, of the members of the Church.
Note: With (a) cf. John 1:30, 'He was before me,' lit., ''He was first (protos) of me,' i.e., 'in regard to me,' expressing all that is involved in His pre-existence and priority.
Vine references Exodus 4:22:
22 Then say to Pharaoh, `This is what the LORD says: Israel is my firstborn son, 23 and I told you, 'Let my son go, so he may worship me.' But you refused to let him go; so I will kill your firstborn son.' '
The significance of this quote is that Israel was not the first nation in point of time - they were surrounded by Egypt which was a much older nation but Israel was first in God's eyes in terms of rank and position.
Jeremiah 31:9 reveals the same truth when God declares:
I am Israel's father, and Ephraim is my firstborn son.
Ephraim was neither the first of Joseph's sons, nor did Israel come from the first of Jacob's sons. Manasseh was actually Joseph's firstborn and Ephraim was the second son (Genesis 41:51) born some time later. Again, the term 'firstborn' points to Ephraim's supremacy over the other tribes.
King David is also called by this title in Psalm 89:27 - by God - and for the same reason:
27 I will also appoint him my firstborn, the most exalted of the kings of the earth.
We know from 1 Samuel 16:10-11 that David was the eighth and last of Jesse's sons and this therefore proves again that the term refers to rank and dignity and not to a birth or time factor in any way.
FIRSTBORN THEREFORE MEANS PRE-EMINENT AND DOES NOT IMPLY A BEGINNING!
So, in relation to the universe, Christ is 'the firstborn over all creation.' 'Firstborn' (prototokos) is used of Christ, in Colossians 1:18; Romans 8:29; Hebrews 1:6; and Revelation 1:15 (it is used also in Luke 2:7, but in a different setting) and may denote either priority in time or supremacy in rank or has both meanings. Christ is before all creation in time; he is also over it in rank and dignity. The major stress, however, is on the idea of supremacy.'Jehovah' = Almighty God
We also see in the word an allusion to the ancient custom whereby the firstborn in a family was accorded rights and privileges not shared by the other offspring. He was his father's representative and heir, and to him the management of the household was committed. Following this line of interpretation, we may understand passages to teach that Christ is his Father's representative and heir and has the management of the divine household (all creation) committed to him. He is thus Lord over all God's creation - a title not shared with anyone and showing again His supremacy and Deity. This is emphasised by comparing Psalm 102v24-27 with Hebrews 1:10-12:
'I say, 'O my God, do not take me away in the midst of my days, Thy years are throughout all generations. Of old Thou didst found the earth; and the heavens are the work of Thy hands. Even they will perish but Thou dost endure; and all of them will wear out like a garment; like clothing Thou wilt change them, and they will be changed. But Thou art the same, and Thy years will not come to an end.''
Now clearly this applies to 'Jehovah' God (verses 1 & 12 of the Psalm verifies this fact in the NWT too). Now read from Hebrews 1v10-12:
'Thou Lord, in the beginning didst lay the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the works of Thy hands; they will perish but Thou remainest; and as a mantle Thou wilt roll them up; as a garment they will also be changed. But Thou art the same, and Thy years will not come to an end.'
These words are clearly applied to Jesus Christ - even though the WBTS try and avoid recognising the fact. They try to claim that ''Jehovah' created everything through the Lord Jesus Christ - but the New Testament clarifies an Old Testament truth that Jesus is equally 'Jehovah'.
We note from Colossians 1v15-19 that Jesus was in fact the One who:
'created all things, both in the heavens & on earth, visible & invisible, all things have been created through Him and for Him; and He is before all things, in Him all things hold together, in order that He may be holding the first place in all things; in Him was pleased all the fullness to dwell and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself.
Jesus reconciled all things to Himself because reconciliation to Him is reconciliation to the Father - He made peace through the blood of His cross.
This is absolute grace and described as a fragrant sacrifice in Ephesians 5:1:
Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
And how beautifully it ties in with Acts 20v28-29:
'the church of God which He purchased with His OWN blood!'
By simple syllogism we prove that:
Jesus = 'Jehovah'
Jesus = Almighty God
Compare this with Titus 2:11-14 which calls the Lord Jesus Christ 'our great God and Saviour':
Titus 2:11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. 12 It teaches us to say 'No' to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope - the glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.
SUMMARY OF THE ATTRIBUTES WHICH PROVE JESUS IS GOD
He is 'the Lord from heaven'. (1 Corinthians 15:47)
He is 'over all, God blessed forever' (Romans 9:5)
He is 'The mighty God' (Isaiah 9:6)
He is to doubting Thomas 'the Lord of me and the God of me' (John 20:28)
He is One with God - 'I and my Father are one' (John 10:30, 38)
He is 'the radiance of His (God's) glory and the exact representation of His (God's) nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power' (Hebrews 1:3; cf. Philippians 2:6).
He does 'whatever the Father does' (John 5:19-23)
He is 'honored ... just as the Father is honored' (John 5:19-23)
The Greek word, upostaseos, translated 'nature' in Hebrews 1:3 means 'actual being, essence, essential nature' and 'exact representation' or 'exact or totally identical expression.' Hebrews 2v9,14 shows Jesus 'partook of the same nature' as us and Philippians 2v5-11 tells us how this happened, for Paul claimed full Deity for Christ and tells us that we should have the same attitude in ourselves as Christ Jesus - that we should put others before ourselves and not look after our own personal interests - just as:
'Christ Jesus who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a slave (or bond-servant), and becoming in (the) likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself becoming obedient until death, and death on a cross. Therefore also God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.'
Notice that Vine says this about the Greek word 'huparchÇ' translated here as 'existed':
'primarily, to make a beginning (hupo, under, arch, a beginning), denoted to be, to be in existence, involving an existence or condition both previous to the circumstances mentioned and continuing after it. This is important in Philippians 2:6, concerning the Deity of Christ. The phrase 'being (existing) in the form (morph, the essential and specific form and character) of God,' carries with it the two facts of the antecedent Godhood of Christ, previous to His incarnation, and the continuance of His Godhood at and after the event of His Birth (see Gifford on the Incarnation, pp. 11, sqq.).
Vine also comments:
'Before His Incarnation He was 'in the form of God' (Philippians 2:7). In that phrase, 'being in the form of God,' two points are to be noted: (a) the word rendered 'being' is not the verb 'to be,' it signifies 'existing originally,' and its use indicates that what the person of whom it is said was before the event referred to, he continued to be after the event took place; (b) the 'form' is not a mere resemblance, it expresses the real existence as such of what is described; the same passage says, for instance, that Christ took 'the form of a servant.' That He became so in reality is clear; as really, then, being in the form of God, He was God.'
And, again, Vine comments:
1. morphe (3444) denotes 'the special or characteristic form or feature' of a person or thing; it is used with particular significance in the NEW TESTAMENT, only of Christ, in Philippians 2:6, 7, in the phrases 'being in the form of God,' and 'taking the form of a servant.' An excellent definition of the word is that of Gifford: 'morphe is therefore properly the nature or essence, not in the abstract, but as actually subsisting in the individual, and retained as long as the individual itself exists.… Thus in the passage before us morphe Theou is the Divine nature actually and inseparably subsisting in the Person of Christ.… For the interpretation of 'the form of God' it is sufficient to say that (1) it includes the whole nature and essence of Deity, and is inseparable from them, since they could have no actual existence without it; and (2) that it does not include in itself anything 'accidental' or separable, such as particular modes of manifestation, or conditions of glory and majesty, which may at one time be attached to the 'form,' at another separated from it.… 'The true meaning of morphe in the expression 'form of God' is confirmed by its recurrence in the corresponding phrase, 'form of a servant.' It is universally admitted that the two phrases are directly antithetical, and that 'form' must therefore have the same sense in both.' (ref. Vine's Dictionary of New Testament Words, unabridged)
(Continued on page 80)