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Hebrews 1, the Second Coming, and the Davidic Covenant

September 19, 2011

I’ve recently started a good Hebrews study, going through S. Lewis Johnson’s series (one he did starting in late 1992).  Hebrews is a book I had previously neglected, other than through general reading (and now I read it as part of the New Testament readings every two months in my Horner-based Bible reading plan).  Seeing that the NCT (New Covenant Theology) proponents rely heavily on their interpretation and overemphasis of Hebrews (and the local amillennial preterist preacher is now doing a Hebrews series for the third time in 15 years; basically a repeat of the same superficial thoughts), I had focused my thoughts more on Romans.  But I also see the importance of understanding Hebrews from a correct biblical perspective, and S. Lewis Johnson’s series is as always a good in-depth look.

The first several verses are full of many Old Testament quotations, and so Dr. Johnson looked at each of these specific references.  Last year I briefly looked at one of these, Hebrews 1:6, and at the transcript part related to that issue; the verse in the Greek is properly translated, “when He again brings His firstborn into the world,” as a reference to the Second Coming.  Johnson’s full teachings on these verses can be found in the transcripts for the Hebrews series, messages 2 and 3.

The citations in these verses include:

  • Psalm 2:7 (Hebrews 1:4) — “You are my Son, today I have begotten you”
  • Psalm 89:26-26 and 2 Samuel 7:14 (Hebrews 1:5) — “I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son”
  • Psalm 97:7 (also in Deuteronomy 32:43) (Hebrews 1:6) — “Let all God’s angels worship him.”
  • Psalm 104:4 (Hebrews 1:7) — “He makes his angels winds, and his ministers a flame of fire.”
  • Psalm 45:6-7 (Hebrews 1:8-9)

Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom.   ​​​​​​​​You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.

As Dr. Johnson noted, these passages cited in Hebrews 1 have reference to the events of the Second Coming, as well as to the Davidic covenant.  Psalm 89 is one of the three key passages for the Davidic covenant (along with 2 Samuel 7 and 1 Chronicles 17); see “Biblical Covenants: The Davidic Covenant” for Johnson’s teaching on this during his “Lessons from the Life of David” series.  2 Samuel 7 occurred before the writing of Psalm 2.  In the words of S. Lewis Johnson:

In other words, this is the passage that gave rise in the poetic section to the statement, “Thou art My Son, this day have I begotten Thee.”  The Covenant came first and then the mediation by the psalmist on the Covenant.  And so we are looking at the place at which the Davidic Covenant finds its origin, so to speak, in the word of God.

2 Samuel 7:14 parallels the words cited in Hebrews 1 — I will be his Father, and he shall be My son — immediately after v. 13, He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.

Deuteronomy 32:43, the setting of the words quoted by the writer of Hebrews “when He again brings His firstborn into the world” have reference to the events at the Second Coming. Psalm 97:7 likewise is part of a set of Messianic Kingdom psalms; see this blog post about this set of Psalms.

Psalm 45 emphasizes God’s eternal throne.  We can look back to scripture;  who who was promised an eternal throne?  Again we go back to the Davidic covenant, and since this paragraph has so many references to other texts concerning the Davidic covenant, we can say that here also the writer of Hebrews has interpreted it correctly, in reference to the Davidic throne.

Just this short section in Hebrews 1 is rich with many great Old Testament references to the Davidic Covenant and Christ’s return.  I look forward to the rest of the series, to learn far more than what is taught by misguided NCT teachers who would reinterpret Hebrews to refer to the First Coming and the Church Age.

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