Report From The Tower
The inspired writer of the Book of Hebrews, which I take to be the Apostle Paul, was also a most elegant and well studied writer and nowhere is this more evident than in the Book of Hebrews. Paul's authorship is not made the most plain by the beginning of the book but by the end, where we are given information about the status of Timothy, Paul's son in the faith and frequent companion. This very Book of Hebrews is the single, solitary written effort by Paul, who was, in my estimation, the most learned of the Jewish apostles, to convince his fellow Jews that Jesus Christ was the promised Messiah according to the 24 books of the Jewish scriptures: the 39 books of our Old Testament. Paul did this work once, with excellence, and there was no need for repetition.
Paul knew his countrymen well: he knew that to persuade them regarding Jesus, he would have to show them Jesus in the Torah, in the Tanakh and in the prophets. He would have to "prove" to them, from the scriptures, that Jesus Christ is Lord and the scriptures record in Acts 18:28 that this was his method of address whenever he encountered the Jews. Jews have always been of notable intelligence and have always been characterized charitably as debaters and not so charitably as contentious, so it is quite certain that Paul had many opportunities to engage in vigorous and sometimes heated debates with them. We enter into our study of the Book of Hebrews at its' beginning, chapter 1, where I find that I am quite surprised by the order of things that Paul selected for his defense of the faith. I might have started, for example, with the Bethlehem birth of Jesus to a virgin at the Migdal Eder (tower of the flock) just North of Bethlehem, fulfilling the respective prophecies of Micah and Isaiah, but Paul steers nowhere near these subjects. Many modern Jews, like Jews for Jesus, tend to shy away from immediately positing that Jesus Christ is Creator God and those who argue with them online seem to believe they have this argument in their favor. They accuse the Messianic believers of hiding this point of argument from potential new converts. The Jews do not, however, have this argument in their favor and neither should we hide our faces from it. Paul dives immediately into the most controversial material of all: the identity of Jesus Christ as Creator God.
Verse 2 of chapter 1 identifies Jesus Christ as God's Son...
"whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds."
Paul has so very quickly identified Jesus Christ as the creator of the worlds (Greek Aeons), which by reference means that Jesus is the creator of everything in space and time, both visible and invisible. Many will argue with you when you quote from the scripture that Jesus Christ is Lord and God, but here, He is clearly designated as the creator, and one could hardly be the creator of all things and fail at being God. This would seem incredibly inflammatory to a Jewish audience that had crucified Jesus for claiming equality with God, yet this is where the Apostle Paul chooses to begin his defense. Furthermore, this scripture, penned almost certainly before the destruction of the Temple in 70AD, does not stand alone in the making of this dramatic declaration regarding the identity of Jesus Christ as creator. Look here...
John 1:3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
John 1:10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.
Colossians 1:16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
Ephesians 3:9 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:
1 Corinthians 8:6 But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.
The earliest of these citations seems to be the one from First Corinthians, which would have been written at around 57AD and concurrent with Acts 19:21. The Ephesians and Colossians references date from just after the close of the book of Acts. Yet, it seems clear from Acts 18:28 that Paul was already hard at work prior to his writing of First Corinthians, arguing and debating with the Jews and probably dealing with this very point regarding Jesus Christ as creator and proving it from the Old Testament scriptures. The John references make it clear that John also had this revelation and might have had it prior to Paul, yet I suspect that he learned it from Paul, as the Old Testament proof is somewhat complex and Paul was the one most schooled in the scriptures: more so than any man of that time.
We have six clear New Testament references from the scriptures, convincingly documenting that Jesus Christ is the creator. No one can possibly argue with this truth who holds the bible to be the inerrant word of the Living God. What is missing? Paul was attempting to prove, from the scriptures and in the Book of Hebrews, that Jesus Christ is Lord. Where are the OLD TESTAMENT PROOFS that Jesus Christ is Creator God? He must have had them and used them. He must have been very polished indeed in the making of this argument, because he chose to begin here in Hebrews 1, Verse 2. Herein lies the reason for and subject of this treatise, for Paul would never have stuck his neck out to proclaim, TO THE JEWS, that Jesus Christ is the creator of all things if he had no proof of such a thing from the Torah, the Tanakh and from the Prophets. I urge you to hunt far and wide among bible commentators to find such Old Testament proofs for these offer only New Testament proofs and seem to be satisfied with that. I was not satisfied and I have sought the Lord to unearth these things. I know that Paul must have had such Old Testament proof, but it seems to reside in the undiscovered country of the scriptures, forgotten since the days of Paul and left to languish until our day...until this day, just as many other important things, including the correct interpretation of the Book of Revelation, have been forgotten and must be relearned in our time.
We who are strong Christian believers can easily attest to our faith and knowledge that Jesus Christ is the fullness of Deity in bodily form: God in the flesh and the Living Word. We know Him to be co-equal with God, one with God and One God: one with the Father and with the Spirit. We can easily accept the testimony of these six New Testament scriptures that ascribe the creation of all things visible and invisible to Jesus Christ, God's son, but how would Paul have made this proof convincing to the Jews, having his hands, and even his mind, tied behind His back? Paul could not use the testimony of Jesus to convince them, as that testimony was not considered to be scripture by the Jews. Paul could not use any direct revelation...any new revelation he might have received, as the Jews would be as good as any Berean to check everything back against the Old Testament text.
I personally believe that Paul did not receive any totally new, major revelation whatsoever at any time, as I believe that all vision and prophecy was sealed up at the time of Pentecost, ala Daniel 9:24 (a subject of another article perhaps). This would mean, of course, that the revelation he received of the entirety of the gospel to the Gentiles was an unveiling of previously veiled Old Testament prophecies and not a new revelation, standing on its' own. That seems clear to me by his dogged determination to defend every premise of the gospel with Old Testament scripture and prophecy.
Let us begin to examine Hebrews chapter one, for Paul must have buttressed his argument and claim that Jesus Christ is creator God not very many verses after he makes this claim in verse 2. Your successful quest will be aided by your acquisition of a good bible reference tool. The best ones will show all Old Testament verses that are quoted in the New Testament in ALL CAPS, or italics or they will denote them with quotes and an associated verse reference. My advice to you is that if these OT quoted verses are not visibly identified in your paper bible, you should take a marker and highlight the quoted Old Testament verses in chapter one as Paul begins his proof. Alternately, use some type of electronic highlighter on any electronic version you may be using, as Paul quotes from twelve different Old Testament passages in chapter one of Hebrews. I will take you through each one of these as quickly as I can as all twelve Old Testament passages are presented by Paul as to be rightly applied to the Messiah.
PROOF#1-Hebrews 1, Verse 2 "APPOINTED HEIR OF ALL THINGS"---taken from Psalm 2:8... "Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession."
Hebrews 1, Verses 3 and 4- All New Testament references used.
PROOF#2-Hebrews 1, Verse 5- "THOU ART MY SON, THIS DAY HAVE I BEGOTTEN THEE"---taken from Psalm 2:7... "I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee"
PROOF#3-Hebrews 1, Verse 5- "I WILL BE A FATHER TO HIM, AND HE SHALL BE A SON TO ME"---taken from 2 Samuel 7:14..."I will be his father, and he shall be my son"
PROOF#4 and PROOF#5-Hebrews 1, Verse 6- "AND LET ALL THE ANGELS OF GOD WORSHIP HIM"---taken from Psalm 97:7..."Confounded be all they that serve graven images, that boast themselves of idols: worship him, all ye gods." and from Deuteronomy 32:43, as found in the LXX Septuagint and the Dead Sea scrolls, where it is rendered with the added, quoted clause in bold, as " Rejoice, O ye nations, with his people: for he will avenge the blood of his servants, and will render vengeance to his adversaries, and will be merciful unto his land, and to his people and let all the angels worship him.
PROOF#6-Hebrews 1, Verse 7- "WHO MAKES HIS ANGELS WINDS AND HIS MINISTERS A FLAME OF FIRE"---taken from Psalm 104:4..." Who maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire."
PROOF#7 and PROOF#8-Hebrews 1, Verse 8 and 9- "THY THRONE, O GOD, IS FOREVER AND EVER: A SCEPTRE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS IS THE SCEPTRE OF THY KINGDOM. THOU HAS LOVED RIGHTEOUSNESS, AND HATED INIQUITY; THEREFORE GOD, EVEN THY GOD, HATH ANOINTED THEE WITH THE OIL OF GLADNESS ABOVE THY FELLOWS."---taken from Psalm 45:6-7..."Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre. Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows." AND taken from Isaiah 61:1-3..."The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified."
PROOF#9 and PROOF#10 and PROOF#11-Hebrews 1, Verse 10, 11 and 12- "THOU LORD, IN THE BEGINNING HAST LAID THE FOUNDATION OF THE EARTH; AND THE HEAVENS ARE THE WORKS OF THINE HANDS. THEY SHALL PERISH; BUT THOU REMAINEST; AND THEY ALL SHALL WAX OLD AS DOTH A GARMENT; AND AS A VESTURE SHALT THOU FOLD THEM UP, AND THEY SHALL BE CHANGED: BUT THOU ART THE SAME, AND THY YEARS SHALL NOT FAIL."---taken from Psalm 102:25-27..."Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the work of thy hands. They shall perish, but thou shalt endure: yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed: But thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end." AND taken from Isaiah 51:6..."Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth beneath: for the heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment, and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner: but my salvation shall be for ever, and my righteousness shall not be abolished." AND Isaiah 34:4..."And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig tree."
PROOF#12-Hebrews 1, Verse 13- "SIT ON MY RIGHT HAND, UNTIL I MAKE THINE ENEMIES THY FOOTSTOOL"---taken from Psalm 110:1..." A Psalm of David. The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool."
I took several hours to completely study out these twelve proofs as the Holy Spirit had been leading me, but I was still left with many questions. I could easily see how Paul could convince a Jew, from PROOF#1 and PROOF#2, that God has a son, that Jesus is God's son and that the language of Psalm 2 easily gives itself to Messianic interpretation. Paul had further buttressed this argument with PROOF#3. Psalm 2 makes it clear that God is the Lord and the He has a begotten son!
Next, Paul went to work in PROOF#4, PROOF#5, PROOF#6, PROOF#7 and PROOF#8 that Jesus, God's son and the Messiah, is higher than the angels and Psalm 45 easily gives itself to Messianic interpretation with the phrases "THY THRONE, O GOD and "THEREFORE GOD, EVEN THY GOD, HATH ANOINTED THEE WITH THE OIL OF GLADNESS", which indicates that God the Son is God, has a throne and yet has been anointed by God with the oil of gladness. This Psalm must have been a source of befuddlement to the Jews but is made plain in Christ Jesus the Messiah. Given in connection with Isaiah 61 and the fact that Jesus Christ quoted the first two verses at the outset of His ministry, I believe many Jews have easily accepted that both Isaiah 45 and Isaiah 61 are to be Messianically applied.
Finally, we reach PROOF#9, PROOF#10 and PROOF#11 and the reason for this article. Here, we reach the proof that the Messiah Jesus, God's only begotten son, who is forever enthroned in heaven, who is God the son and who was anointed by God is also the Creator of all things. The three Old Testament Scriptures referenced: Psalm 102, Isaiah 51 and Isaiah 34 do not give up their association to the Messiah quite so evidently as those that I have previously mentioned. Nevertheless, follow along with me, for I believe the Holy Spirit has given me the manner and order in which Paul used to argue these points from the scripture.
STEP 1-Identify the object of Psalm 102:1-24 as the Holy Spirit-the Comforter.
The entirety of Psalm 102 is the complaint of the afflicted servant of God before the Lord. That certain Jews who awaited the suffering servant Messiah would apply it Messianically would be of no great surprise. The first 12 verses pour out the heart of the supplicant, yet still we look forward to verse 13 where we see that "Thou shalt arise, and have mercy upon Zion: for the time to favour her, yea, the set time, is come." We see further in verse 17 that " He will regard the prayer of the destitute, and not despise their prayer." This is speaking very simply of bringing comfort to the afflicted: God is promising to come as a comforter. Verse 18-21 assures us that a specific generation should expect this when "This shall be written for the generation to come: and the people which shall be created shall praise the LORD. For he hath looked down from the height of his sanctuary; from heaven did the LORD behold the earth; To hear the groaning of the prisoner; to loose those that are appointed to death; To declare the name of the LORD in Zion, and his praise in Jerusalem;"
Therefore, Psalm 102 assures that a comforter will be sent to Zion and Jerusalem. Paul would have instructed his Jewish hearers that the identity of the comforter had now been conclusively established as the Holy Spirit, which could only have been sent to live inside of man after Messiah was glorified.
STEP 2-Point out the order of Isaiah 61:1-3: Messiah comes first, then the Comforter.
Paul would then have moved on to Isaiah 61:1 where the anointed one, Jesus, is portrayed. Messiah, the anointed one, is mentioned first in verses 1 and 2. Verse 3 speaks of comfort coming by the aforementioned comforter, who came a bit later to His people.
STEP 3-Establish the God identity of Messiah as God through Psalm 45:6-7 and connect it to Psalm 61:1
Paul would have pointed out the connection of the language between Psalm 45:6-7 and Isaiah 61:1 through the identity of the anointed one: that Messiah is enthroned forever and ever and clearly portrayed as God the son.
STEP 4-Establish the link between Isaiah 51:6 and Psalm 102:26-27 through the "GARMENT" reference to establish the "FOREVER" reign of Messiah and to show that Messiah is referenced in Psalm 102:25-27.
The kicker is this: the language in Isaiah 51:6, regarding the garment, connects and agrees with the language in Psalm 102:26-27. Here we read that "all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed". This wording is very similar to Isaiah 51:6 " Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth beneath: for the heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment, and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner: but my salvation shall be for ever, and my righteousness shall not be abolished."
STEP 5-Close the argument by identifying Messiah Jesus as creator through Psalm 102:25.
The Lord who is Messiah in Isaiah 51:6 is the same Lord who is revealed as the anointed one in Isaiah 61:1 and this is the same Lord and Messiah who in like manner will cause all of them to "wax old like a garment" as both Isaiah 51:6 and Psalm 102.26 agree. Paul would have then established that since the identity of the comforter in the early verses of Psalm 102 is now clear, and that Messiah's coming preceded the arrival of the comforter, we can then most assuredly conclude that Psalm 102:25 is speaking of our Messiah who came ahead of the Comforter, the Paraclete, as we read that, "Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the work of thy hands."
This is the Old Testament proof of Jesus Christ as Creator God. We can now understand why, in Genesis 1:26, God spoke of Himself as an "US" as He said "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth." We also further understand how it relates that, in Micah 5:2, Messiah is spoken of in this manner: "yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting." We can then further buttress the argument by referring to the one who is speaking in Zechariah 12:1- "the LORD for Israel, saith the LORD, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him." and we can see His identity revealed in verse 10- " And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon ME whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn." I have bolded the "ME" to emphasize that it is the Lord God who is the "ME" whom they have pierced. This pierced "ME" is the same God which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him: the Creator God.
The Seventy weeks of Daniel, or 490 years, were complete at Pentecost when the comforter had come through the indwelling Holy Spirit. The comforter of Psalm 102 had finally fully come to help and aid the afflicted ones in Zion as God had promised in Isaiah 61 and Psalm 102. This anointed comforter could not come until the Lord Jesus Christ, the anointed Messiah, had come to cleanse these human temples. The ministry of Jesus did not fully bring this ministry of comfort and encouragement while He was on the Earth and so, Jesus left off speaking the words of Isaiah 61 in this manner in Luke 4:18: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord." These "finishing" verses of Isaiah 61:2 and 3 were omitted by the Lord Jesus, as there was still an indeterminate time at that point until their set time had arrived: " and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified." This set time, for the arrival of the oil of joy and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness, arrived at Pentecost.
Once Pentecost had fully come, Paul could look at the scriptures and, with the help of the Holy Spirit, he could see the connections between Luke 4:18, follow that on to Isaiah 61:1-3, taking notice of the verses omitted by Jesus, then, he could further see that the comforter portions of Isaiah 61:3 that had not been fulfilled by the earthly ministry of Jesus had now been fulfilled at Pentecost. Then Paul could connect Isaiah 61:1-3 with Psalm 45:6-7 in front of his Jewish audience and finally, he could connect Psalm 102:25 with the other works of Messiah and the Holy Spirit that had now been fulfilled in the bringing of comfort and the sending of the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, to Zion: that God had arisen at the set time to show favor to Zion. He could then prove from this verse, verse 25 of Psalm 102, that Jesus Christ, the son of God and God in the flesh, was also the creator God who was with God in the very beginning of all things and who set the foundation of the earth and who was also the creator of everything that is created in the heavens. Praise be to our Lord God, the Messiah, maker of heaven and earth.
I want to conclude this article by boiling this argument regarding Jesus as Creator down to its' most elemental parts. Attaching Psalm 102:25 to Messiah is principally a two fold effort, like a double play, done once by identifying the comforter who is discussed in the previous verses of Psalm 102. Then, by identifying the Messiah in Psalm 102, verse 26 who, in that verse, is compared to those on earth who will "wax old like a garment" and who are also described in Isaiah 51:6 in like manner, where in Isaiah's reference, they are immediately compared to Messiah (salvation) (Yeshua) and His eternal existence. Once this could be seen by the Jew, I believe they could then receive the argument that verse 25, regarding the Creator, had to be speaking about Messiah.
Stephen L. Bening
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