« السابقةمتابعة »
in other places, for the power and strength of God, but with the adjunct of sitting at it, it shadows out a place and eminency of glory, as he is considered on his throne of majesty; and therefore it is here termed the right hand of majesty, and not of omnipotency or power.
In particular, two things are intended in this expression.
First, The security of Christ from all his adversaries, and all sufferings for the future. The Jews knew what he suffered from God and man. Hereof he lets them know what was the reason : it was for the purging of our sins; and moreover declares, that now he is everlastingly secured from all opposition, for where he is, thither his adversaries cannot come, as John vii. 34. He is above their reach, beyond their power, secure in the throne and presence of God. Thus the fruit of the church, being secured from the rage and persecution of Satan, is said to be caught up unto God, and to his throne, Rev. xii. 5. Hence though men do, and will continue their malice and wrath against the Lord Christ to the end of the world, as though they would crucify him afresh ; yet he dies no more, being secure out of their reach at the right hand of God.
Secondly, His majesty and glory inexpressible; all that can be given by God in heaven. God on his throne, is God in the full manifestation of his own majesty and glory : on his right hand sits the Mediator, yea so, as that he also is in the midst of the thrones, Rev. v. 6. How little can our weak understandings apprehend of this majesty! see Phil. ii. 9. Matt. xx. 21. Rom. viii. 34. Col. iii. 1. Eph. i. 20.
These are the things which the apostle sets forth in this ex. pression. And they are plainly intimated in the context of the Psalm from whence the words are taken, Psal. cx. 1. So that it is not his rule and authority, but his safety, majesty and glory which accompany them, that are here intended.
Thirdly, We are to inquire to what it was in the old church state of the Jews, that the apostle had respect in this ascription of glory and majesty unto Christ; and so what it is that he preferreth him above.
It is thought by many, that the apostle in these words exalteth Christ above David, the chief king among the Jews. Of him it is said, that God would make him his first-born, higher than the kings of the earth, Psal. lxxxix. 27. His throne was high on the earth, and his glory above that of all the kings about him ; but for the Lord Christ, he is incomparably exalt. ed above him also, in that he sat down at the right hand of the majesty on High. But, as was said, these words denote not the rule, power, or authority of Christ, typified by the kingdom of David, but his glory and majesty, represented by the magnificent throne of Solomon. Besides, he is not treating of the
kingly power of Christ, but of his sacerdotal office, and of the glory that ensued upon the discharge thereof.
That therefore which in these words the apostle seems to have had respect to, was the high priest's entrance into the holy place, after his offering of the solemn anniversary sacrifice of expiation. Then alone was he admitted into that holy place, or heaven below, where was the solemn representation of the presence of God, his throne and his glory. And what did he there? He stood with all humility and lowly reverence, ministering before the Lord, whose presence was there represented. He did not go and sit down between the cherubim, but worshipping at the foot-stool of the Lord, he departed. It is not, saith the apostle, so with Christ; but as his sacrifice was infinitely more excel. lent and effectual than theirs, so upon the offering of it, he entered into the holy place, or heaven itself above, and into the real glorious presence of God, not to minister in humility, but to a participation of the throne of majesty and glory. He is a king and priest upon his throne, Zech. vi. 13.
Thus the apostle shuts up his general proposition of the whole matter, which he intends farther to dilate and treat upon. In this description of the person and offices of the Messiah, he coucheth the springs of all his ensuing arguments, and from thence enforceth the exhortation which we have observed him constantly to pursue. And we also may hence observe,
1. That there is nothing more vain, foolish and fruitless, than the opposition which Satan and his agents yet make to the Lord Christ and his kingdom. Can they ascend into heaven ? Can they pluck the Lord Christ from the throne of God? A little time will manifest this madness, and that unto eternity.
2. That the service of the Lord Christ is both safe and honourable. As he is a good, so he is a glorious master; one that sits at the right hand of God.
3. Great is the spiritual and eternal security of them that truly believe in Christ. Of all which severally afterwards.
Ver. 4.-The design of the apostle, as we have now often shewed, is to evince the necessity of abiding in the doctrine of the gospel, from the excellency of the person by whom it pleased God to reveal it unto us. This he hath done already in general, in that description which he hath given us of his person, power, works, offices and glory; whereby he hath made it evident, that no creature whom God was pleased at any time to make use of in the revelation of his will, or the institution of his worship, was any way to be compared with him. Having proceeded thus far in general, he descends now to the consideration of particular instances, in all those whom God employ i in the ministration of the law, and constitution of Mosaic wor
ship, and takes occasion from them all to set forth the dignity and incomparable excellencies of the Lord Christ, whom in all things he exalts.
First then, he treateth concerning angels, as those who were the most glorious creatures employed in the giving of the law. The Hebrews owned, yea pleaded this in their own defence, that besides the mediation of Moses, God used the ministry of angels in the giving of the law, and in other occasional instructions of their forefathers. Some of them contend, that the last of the prophets was personally an angel, as the signification of his name imports. Holy Stephen upbraiding them with their abuse and contempt of their greatest privileges, tells them that they received the law by the disposition, ordering, or ministry of angels, Acts vii. 53. And the Targum interprets the chariots of God with the thousands of angels, Psal. lxviii. 18, 19. of the angels by whose ministry God taught Israel the law. This then might leave a special prejudice in their minds, that the law being so delivered by angels, must needs have therein the advantage above the gospel, and be therefore excellent and immutable.
To remove this prejudice also, and further to declare the excellency and pre-eminence in all things of him who revealed the gospel, the apostle takes occasion from what he had newly taught them concerning the exaltation of Jesus Christ at the right hand of God, to prove unto them out of the Scriptures of the Old Testament, that he is exceedingly advanced, and glorious above the angels themselves, of whose concurrence in the ministration of the law they boasted; and to this purpose produceth four signal testimonies one after another.
This is the design of the apostle, which he pursues and makes out unto the end of this chapter; and that we may rightly conceive of his intention, and of the meaning of the Holy Ghost in the whole, we shall, before we consider his proposition laid down in this fourth verse, or the ensuing confirmations of it, inquire in general what it is in Christ which he compareth with, and preferreth above the angels, and wherein it is that he so exalts him.
The comparison entered on between the Lord Christ and angels, must be either with respect unto their natures, or unto their dignity, office, power and glory. If the comparison be of nature with nature, then it must be either in respect of the divine or human nature of Christ. If it should be of the divine nature of Christ, with the nature of angels, then it is not a comparison of proportion, as between two natures agreeing in any general kind of being, as do the nature of a man and a worm ; but a comparison only manifesting a difference and distance without any proportion. So answereth Athanasius, Orat. 2. Vol. III.
adv. Arian. But the truth is, the apostle hath no design to prove by arguments and testimonies the excellency of the divine nature above the angelical. There was no need so to do, nor do his testimonies prove any such thing. Besides, speaking of angels, the other part of the comparison, he treats not of their nature, but of their office, work and employment, with their honourable and glorious condition therein. 'Whereas therefore the apostle produceth sundry testimonies, confirming the deity of the Son, be doth it not absolutely to prove the divine nature to be more excellent than the angelical, but only to manifest thereby the glorious condition of him who is partaker of it, and consequently lis pre-eminence above angels, or the equity that it should be so.
Neither is the comparison between the human nature of Christ and the nature of angels. . For that absolutely considered and in itself, is inferior to the angelical ; whence in regard of his participation of it, he is said to be made lower than the angels, ch. ii. 9.
The apostle then treats of the person of Christ, God and man, who was appointed and designed of God the Father, to be the revealer of the gospel, and Mediator of the New Testament. As such, he is the subject of the ensuing general proposition; as, such, he was spoken of in the words immediately foregoing ; and concerning him, as such, are the ensuing testimonies to be interpreted, even those which bear testimony to his divine nature: these being produced to demonstrate the excellency of his person, as vested with the offices of the king, priest and prophet of his church, the great revealer of the will of God in the last days.
Τοσουτω κριτων γενομενος των αγγέλων όσο διαφισωτερον παρ' αυτοις κεκληρονομηκεν ονομα.
TOCOUTa vesitiwy gevoueros : Syr. 374 7752 X3771, et ipse tantum præstantior fuit. Bodesian. And he was so much more excellent ; at tanlo potior factus est. Tremel. And he is made so much belter ; at ipse tolo excellit: or as De Dieu, At hoc folum excellit, and he wholly excelleth, or in all things he excelleth. Vulg. Tanlo inclior factus ungelis: the translation of xguirlo by melior is blamed by Erasmus, Beza, Vatablus, and is generally deserted by the expositors of the Roman church. And it is hard, if not impossible, to find melior in any good author, used in the sense that xgutlw is here and elsewhere constantly applied unto. Ours render the word better, made better, to avoid, I believe, a coinci. dence with that which they express orcPicwricor by, more excellent: agarolw is properly nobilior, potentior, præstantior, excellentior; more powerfiil, able, excellent, as to love, honour, or state and condition; as in that of Homer,
Κρείσσων γας βασιλευς οτε χωσεται ανδρι χερι.
That is, todos aqulw, saith Eustathius, multo potentior, 'more powerful, able to prevail, or more excellent.' 'svojesvos, factus, effectus ; made, was, became. Aice@igwoscov, disserentius, - different,' which is sometimes put absolutely for the best things, or things far better than other things that differ, the best things. Make to differ, to prefer, make better, 1 Cor. iv. 7. Syr. 70087, excellentius, more excellent.' Arc eqwr is both to differ and excel; but the differentius of the Vulgar yields no good sense in this place. Koxangovounes, hæreditavil, sortitus est, jure hæreditario oblinuit ; of the import of which word before.
Being in so much preferred (exalted, made eminent) above angels, as he (obtained) inherited a more excellent name than they.
There are five things considerable in, and for the exposition of these words.
First, What it is that the apostle asserts in them as his gene. ral proposition ; namely, that the Son, as the great priest and prophet of the church, was preferred above, and made more glorious and powerful than the angels; and how this was done, and wherein it doth consist.
Secondly, When he was so preferred above them; which belongs unto the explication and right understanding of the former.
Thirdly, The degree of this preference of him above the angels, intimated in the comparison ; “ being made by so much more excellent, as he hath,” &c.
Fourthly, The proof of the assertion, botà absolutely, and as to the degree intimated; and this is taken from his name.
Fifthly, The way whereby he came to have this name: he obtained it as his lot and portion, or he inherited it.
Ist, He is made more excellent than the angels, preferred above them; that is, say some, declared so to be. Tum res dicitur fieri, cum incipit patefieri. Frequently in the Scripture, a thing is then said to be made, or to be, when it is manifested so to be. And in this sense the word yover Pan is sometirnes used. Rom. iii. 4. Forso 9w ó Otos annons, tus de avgwros LEUCtns, “ Let God be true, and every man a liar;" that is, manifested and acknowledged so to be. So, James i. 12. dorollos yovouevos, he that is approved in trial, and thereby manifested to be sincere and sound. In this sense the apostle tells us, Rom. i. 3. that the Lord Christ was a declared to be the Son of God by the resurrection from the dead.” The resurrection from the dead did not make him to be the Son of God, but evidently manifested and declared him so to be. According to this interpretation of the words, that which the Holy Ghost intimateth is, that whereas the Lord Christ ministered in a condition outwardly low in this world, whilst he purged our sins, yet by his sitting down at the right