Bill Mounce

For an Informed Love of God

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Exegetical Insight (Chapter 20)

Tucked into the first chapter of Hebrews is an Old Testament quotation, Ps. 102:25-27, and this quotation contains a number of interesting verbal forms addressed in the current chapter. Rabbis of the first century would string passages together to build up overwhelming evidence for an argument, and the quotation from Psalm 102, found in Hebrews 1:10-12, is one of several the author strings together to present powerful evidence that Jesus is superior to angels and worthy of our complete allegiance. This psalm, particularly, proclaims that Jesus is superior based on his role as the Creator and Terminator of the heavens and the earth. The idea here is that whereas angels are created, the Son of God, powerful beyond imagination, rules over the universe as the Creator of all things and, therefore, will wrap up all of the created order in the end! He will be the ultimate Terminator!

Notice especially the part of the psalm beginning in Hebrews 1:11, which deals with the wrapping up of the created order at the end of the age. The uses of the future here are “predictive” in that they tell what will happen at the end of the world. The psalm states of the heavens and the earth, “They will perish.” Further, the psalm says of Jesus’ lordship over the created order, the heavens and earth “will grow old like an article of clothing, and like a cloak you will roll them up, and like a piece of clothing they will be changed.” Even though Jesus made his creation stable, with sturdy foundations, he never intended the creation to last forever. In fact, the heavens and the earth, like an article of clothing, one day will wear out to the point that they have to be rolled up and packed away because they no longer are useful (think of that old sweatshirt in your closet that is falling apart!). Jesus is so awesome in his power that he is the one who will do that. Unlike the creation, he is “the same,” and his years will not end. As the eternal Lord of the universe, one who has the power to create all things and to wrap them up in the end, Jesus, the Son of God, is worthy of our worship and the full commitment of our lives!

George H. Guthrie