Centrality of the Son in the Kingdom of God: Enthronement of Son (Part 2 of 7)

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Centrality of the Son in the Kingdom of God is a 7-part series. You can find others here:

  1.  Introduction, Summary, and Promulgation of the Kingdom (8/27/18)
  2.  Enthronement of Son (9/3/18)
  3.  Qualities of the Kingdom of God – Heb 2:1-4:13 (9/10/18)
  4. The Restoration Ministry of Jesus (9/17/18)
  5. Kingdom and Covenant Relationship & Hebrews as God’s People (9/24/18)
  6. Promise & Oath: First Covenant Incomplete (10/1/18)
  7. New Covenant Complete, Summary & Conclusion (10/8/18)

Enthronement of Son

Exaltation – (Heb. 1:5-6)

The form of these OT quotations reflects the “language which was widely used in enthronement ceremonies throughout the Ancient Near East.1According to DeRidder, Hebrews 1:5-6 reflects the first of three elements included in enthronement patterns. The first of these is exaltation.

For to what angel did God ever say, “Thou art my Son, today I have begotten thee”? Or again, “I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son”? And again, when he brings the first-born into the world, he says, “Let all God’s angels worship him.” (RSV)

It is interesting to note that many scholars question the use of “begotten” to translate γεγέννηκά. Arndt & Gingrich provide a figurative third meaning of this term as “bring forth.” 2

Kenneth Wuest writes “The reference is not to entrance into life, but to entrance to an office. The Messianic reference is to the Son’s resurrection (Acts 13:33). 3 C. Gordon Olson writes the following: “Significantly Paul interpreted Ps.2:7 as a reference to the resurrection of Christ. This is supported by the meaning of the Heb. yalad and the Gk. gennaein, ‘to bring forth,’ both being used of Jesus being brought out of the tomb and not of his birth.” 4

The exaltation of Christ as head and ruler over the Kingdom is repeated numerous times in the NT: Acts 2:32-33; 5:31; Romans 1:4; Ephesians 1:20-21; Philippians 2:9.  His exaltation is above “all rule and authority and power and dominion” (Eph 1:21). Hebrews says even angels are to worship him, showing his kingship is over spiritual beings as well as earthly ones. Christ’s kingdom is supernatural.

Presentation (Heb. 1:7-12)

The second aspect of enthronement is presentation. 5The throne of the Son is “forever and ever” (Heb 1:8) and his scepter is that of the kingdom. In this verse eight, the Son carries the definite article indicating a specific person. He is contrasted to angels in Hebrews 1:7 who are subject to change like wind or fire. The scepter relates to Hebrews 1:3 where the Son sits at the right hand of the Majesty. This scepter has the character of righteousness.

The Son holds the scepter as a sign of authority and he is anointed (Hebrews 1:9) as king. All kings were anointed with oil but the Greek word used here refers to an anointing by God, or the Holy Spirit. 6(See also: Luke 4:18; – Jesus’s quotation of Isaiah 61:1). The Kingdom of the Son is the Kingdom of God. It is unchanging, eternal and righteous. Hebrews 1:11-12 reiterate the everlasting quality of the Kingdom compared to the earth and heavens. The heavens will lose their usefulness and be changed. “Like a mantle thou wilt roll them up.” But the Kingdom of God will remain the same because the Son remains the same (v.12). The eternal character of the Kingdom rests on the King. Earthly kingdoms outlast many kings. Kings come and go but the kingdom remains. But this Kingdom of God endures because of the King who sits on the throne. “Thou art the same and thy years will never end” (v.12).

Thus Son, who is exalted to the highest position “at the right hand of Majesty,” is also presented as the One by whom and for whom the Kingdom exists. His nature determines the character of his Kingdom. It is eternal.

Enthronement (Heb. 1:13-14)

The actual enthronement or transfer of dominion is stated in two verses, Hebrews 1:13-14. However, the description of this transfer, that is, what happened when the enthronement took place, is explained in Hebrews 2:1-4:13. We will deal with that in the next section. It is sufficient here to point out the actuality of the enthronement.

When Messiah sits at God’s right hand (1:3, 13) he does so permanently. Κάθου (sit) (v.13)  is present tense imperative suggesting durative action. 7 This relates to verses 8 and 12 where we see the kingdom is forever.  Since the Son will not be moved—he will “sit” until the end of all things—Kingdom power is magnified. Dominion has passed to the Son. It will not pass from him.

Verse 14 highlights the transitory nature of other spiritual beings in relation to the Son. The angels change to conform to God’s purposes for them. This was mentioned in verse Seven. They are sent forth to serve humankind who are the recipients of the benefits of the Kingdom. Angels delivered the message to humans in times past (Heb 2:2; Acts 7:53) and in the same way they testify to the enthronement of Jesus (Acts 1:10-11).

 

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Notes:

  1. Bruce, The Epistle to the Hebrews, 11fn 8DeRidder gives additional references as proof that the enthronization of Messiah is intended here. 9Discipling 170-171
  2. William F. Arndt & Wilbur Gingrich F., A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament. (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. 1957).
  3. Wuest, p. 45
  4. The Resurrection New Testament Global Gospel Publishers, Lynchburg, VA 2017,163
  5. Deridder, 172
  6. Arndt & Gingrich, 895-896.
  7. Wuest, 49; see also Arndt & Gingrich, 390.
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About Author

Roger Dixon has been directly or vicariously in some way involved in cross-cultural church planting for nearly 50 years. He and his wife lived in Indonesia for over 30 years and raised 3 children while working among the Sundanese Muslim peoples. Roger has achieved a MDiv at Drew University, a Th.M at Fuller School of World Mission and a Ph.D at Biola School of Intercultural Studies. He was ordained in the Methodist Church in 1963.

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