Author: Ron Graham
A lesson on Hebrews 1:8-9 (Psalm 45:6-7) about the throne, scepter, and anointing of our Lord Jesus Christ the Son of God.
¶“8Your throne, O God, is forever and ever. The scepter of righteousness is the scepter of your kingdom. 9You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions” (Hebrews 1:8-9).
The writer to the Hebrews quotes Psalm 45:6-7 as God speaking to his Son. This shows that the Hebrew writer considered the passage to be about the kingdom of God and the reign of the Messiah or Christ.
The psalmist begins the poem with this introduction: "My heart overflows with a good theme: I address my verses to the King" (Psalm 45:1).
Scholars discuss whether this king may be David or Solomon (as types of Christ) but the Hebrew writer makes verses 6-7 directly address the Messiah, the Son of God. So we will take it as a given that these verses are about Christ, without worrying about the finer points.
"Your throne, O God, is forever and ever" (Psalm 45:6a).
Christ’s throne is the eternal throne of God —in heaven not on earth.
Today it is popular to preach about Christ’s throne as one to be set up on earth in Jerusalem for 1000 years. This doctrine is based on the "thousand years" in the visions which John saw and recorded (Revelation 20:1-15). Instead of taking this as a symbol, it is assumed that Christ’s throne is removed from heaven and eternity, contradicting the Psalmist and the writer to the Hebrews.
Christ’s throne is not an earthly throne. The kings who foreshadowed Christ may have sat on earthly thrones for a time, but Christ sat down with his Father on God’s throne for eternity —the true throne and kingdom of heaven, not an earthly shadow of it.
Christ’s throne is not even an angelic throne. He is a king higher than the angels. He is addressed as God, has the exact nature of God, and sat down at the right hand of God. No angel, not even Gabriel or Michael, can claim that (Hebrews 1:1-4).
“Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs” (Hebrews 1:1-4, ESV).
"The one who conquers, I will grant to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne" (Revelation 3:21). It is hard to expound on that unfathomable promise, except to say that any gospel that promises something less is a false gospel.
"The scepter of righteousness is the scepter of your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness" (Psalm 45:6b-7a).
Christ’s scepter is righteousness which he loves —his love demands righteousness.
A scepter is a rod or staff (adorned with gold and jewels) that a king holds to indicate that he is in authority —the shepherd of his people. "Shepherd your people with your scepter" (Micah 7:14).
We see Jesus our King as the Shepherd, and ourselves as the sheep. We rejoice in this because he dedicates himself sacrificially to the welfare of the sheep, and imparts his wisdom to them, guiding them in righteousness.
Christ’s scepter is righteousness. Righteousness is doing what is right, just, honest, pure, kind, and pleasing to God. We might rather the scripture said that Christ’s scepter is love. It is popular today to set righteousness (which implies rules) against love (which is seen as unconditional). But this scripture says that Christ loves righteousness. Therefore his love demands righteousness.
The righteousness that Christ loves is defined by his word. "Whoever keeps his word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected... For this is the love of God that we keep his commandments" (1John 2:5 1John 5:3).
In olden times God spoke through angels, and people were not allowed to change or transgress that word. Now God has spoken through Christ whom we must certainly hear and obey with exactness (Hebrews 1:1-4).
"Therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of joy above your fellows" (Psalm 45:7b).
Christ was anointed with a joy far beyond any found in this world —the true and everlasting joy of God.
We have in David, an example of anointing. "Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed David in the midst of his brethren, and the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David from that day forward" (1Samuel 16:13). And later, "They anointed David as king over Israel" (2Samuel 5:1-5).
The “oil” with which Christ was anointed was something eternal and glorious —the joy of God. Although Christ endured suffering, he did so to win victory over evil, so that God and heaven might rejoice.
"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of God" (Hebrews 12:2).
The joy of God is arguably the goal of all that is good. God, having won his joy, shares it with all who wish. Just as God shares his throne with all, and shares his righteousness (the scepter) with all, so he will share his joy (the anointing) with all. That doesn't mean we become equal to God; but God withholds nothing from his children; so we enter into the joy of our Master (Matthew 25:21).