...And, "You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the works of Your hands; they will perish, but You remain; and they all will become old like a garment, and like a mantle You will roll them up; like a garment they will also be changed. But You are the same, and Your years will not come to an end." But to which of the angels has He ever said, "Sit at My right hand, until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet"? Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation? (Hebrews 1:10-14)
We come now to the final comparison between Christ and the angels in the first chapter of the epistle to the Hebrews. In this passage, the author returns to a previous theme, that of Christ as Creator (see this post for earlier discussion). However, here, the writer is much more explicit, citing Scriptural evidence, again from the book of Psalms (see Hebrews 1:5 [= Psalm 2:7] & 1:8-9 [= Psalm 45:6-7]), to authenticate the claim of Jesus' role as Creator of all things. In this we are assured yet again of the reality that Jesus is "better than the angels," who are "ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation" (Hebrews 1:4, 14). Furthermore, we see a contrast between Christ an His creation that illuminates the immutability of Jesus. Truly, as we will later read, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever" (Hebrews 13:8).
This section builds onto previous thought and begins immediately with a quotation from Psalm 102, verses 25-27. In order to understand who the referent is in this citation of Psalms, we need to look at the treatment of the passage in the epistle itself as well as consider its original Scriptural context. In Hebrews, we see from verse eight that this is a continuation of the thought that begins with the interjection "But of the Son He says," thus continuing God's declarations concerning the Son, Jesus Christ (Hebrews 1:8). Consequently, it is evident that the writer of the epistle views this passage in Psalms as definitively referring to Jesus.
Nevertheless, the referent in the psalm itself is Yahweh, the God of all (see, for example, Psalm 102:12-23 where the psalmist refers to God as LORD, or Yahweh). Since, in the context of ancient Judaism, the type of creatorship spoken of here is a unique role that God alone operates in, the application of these verses to Christ is an explicit deification of Jesus, attributing to Him qualities that are singularly divine. In actuality, though, the author is not "deifying" Jesus in the sense of apotheosis (wherein one could make someone out to be a god). Rather, the author is agreeing with the nature of Christ and of the Godhead. Each part of the Triune God, in perfect unity, was active in the creation of the universe. So, the application of Psalm 102:25-27 concords with the reality of Christ, and of God.
Whether one believes that this creative event happened thousands of years ago or billions of years before now, all would agree that the universe has been around for quite some time. The duration of a single human life is but a fleeting moment in comparison to that of the earth, the moon, the stars, and even the galaxies. These latter entities seem to persist and endure, unlike members of humankind. We who are so frail often look at mountains and rocks as symbols of stability and unchangingness. Yet, the psalmist (and the author of Hebrews) testifies of these things in relation to Christ the omnipotent and eternal Creator by saying:
You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the works of Your hands; they will perish, but You remain; and they all will become old like a garment, and like a mantle You will roll them up; like a garment they will also be changed. But You are the same, and Your years will not come to an end. (Hebrews 1:10-12)
So, the writer here establishes the supremacy of Christ over the angels by exalting Him in His power, His immutability, and His eternality. That is, Jesus "laid the foundation of the earth" and "the heavens are the works of His hands." Though we may view these things as constant, established, and permanent, "they will perish." But Christ "will remain." He is firm, fixed, steadfast, abiding, and unchanging. The earth and the heavens "will become old," but Jesus Christ is "the same, and [His] years will not come to an end." Jesus is everlasting; when the light of all the trillions of stars fades, His True light will radiate brilliantly forever.
As a result, the Christology that Hebrews develops maintains a perfect balance between the complete humanity of Jesus and the complete divinity of Jesus. Though for our sake and the glory of God He became incarnate, His life extends far beyond thirty-three years. For, as we read in Hebrews, "[His] years will not come to an end" (Hebrews1:12). Not only does Jesus exist from eternity, but He also remains changeless and unchanged. For this reason He reveals of Himself to St. John: "I am the first and the last, and the Living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore" (Revelation 1:17, 18). Knowing this of Christ, how could we ever reasonably consider Him to be a mere angel? To the angels God has never granted authority "to sit at [His] right hand;" this is a privilege that both inheres to and was earned by the Son alone (Hebrews 1:13; see also 1:3). And while He, by nature God, "emptied Himself" and took "the form of a bond-servant," the angels are by nature "ministering spirits" whom God has ordained to serve humankind (Philippians 2:7; Hebrews 1:14). Jesus, then, is rightly the source of our confidence and comfort forever. Who He is - our God, Creator, Savior, Brother, High Priest, and Sacrifice - He is eternally. He will not, nor can He ever, change. "He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself" (2 Timothy 2:13).