Hebrews Chapter One
We have said that in chapter 1 we find the glory of the Person of the Messiah, the Son of God, by whom God has spoken to the people. When I say "to the people", it is evident that we understand the Epistle to be addressed to the believing remnant, partakers, it is said, of the heavenly calling, but considered as alone holding the true place of the people.
It is a distinction given to the remnant, in view of the position which the Messiah took in connection with His people, to whom in the first instance He came. The tried and despised remnant, viewed as alone really having their place, are encouraged, and their faith is sustained by the true glory of their Messiah, hidden from their natural eyes, and the object of faith only.
"God" (says the inspired writer, placing himself among the believers of the beloved nation). "has spoken to us in the person of his Son." Psalm 2 should have led the Jews to expect the Son, and they ought to have formed a high idea of His glory from Isaiah 9, and other scriptures, which in fact were applied to the Messiah by their teachers, as the rabbinical writings still prove. But that He should be in heaven, and not have raised His people to the possession of earthly glory-this did not suit the carnal state of their hearts.
Now it is heavenly glory, this true position of the Messiah and His people, in connection with His divine right to their attention and to the worship of the angels themselves, which is so admirably presented here, where the Spirit of God brings out, in so infinitely precious a manner, the divine glory of Christ, for the purpose of exhorting His people to belief in a heavenly position; at the same time setting forth in what follows His perfect sympathy with us, as man in order to maintain their communion with heaven in spite of the difficulties of their path on earth.
Thus, although the assembly is not found in the Epistle to the Hebrews, save in an allusion to all comprised in the millennial glory in chapter 12, the Saviour of the assembly is there presented in His Person, His work, and His priesthood, most richly to our hearts and to our spiritual intelligence; and the heavenly calling is in itself very particularly developed.
It is also most interesting to see the way in which the work of our Saviour, accomplished for us, forms a part of the manifestation of His divine glory.
"God has spoken in the Son," says the inspired author of our Epistle. He is then this Son. First He is declared Heir of all things. It is He who is to possess gloriously as Son everything that exists. Such are the decrees of God. Moreover it is by Him that God created the worlds.  All the vast system of this universe, those unknown worlds that trace their paths in the vast regions of space in divine order to manifest the glory of a Creator-God, are the work of His hand who has spoken to us, of the divine Christ.
In Him has shone forth the glory of God: He is the perfect impress of His being. We see God in Him, in all that He said, in all that He did, in His Person. Moreover by the power of His word He upholds all that exists. He is then the Creator. God is revealed in His Person. He sustains all things by His word, which has thus a divine power. But this is not all (for we are still speaking of the Christ); there is another part of His glory, divine indeed, yet manifested in human nature. He who was all this which we have just seen when He had by Himself (  and for His glory) wrought purification of our sins, seated Himself at the right hand of the Majesty on high. Here is in full the personal glory of Christ. He is in fact Creator, the revelation of God, the upholder of all things by His word, He is the Redeemer. He has by Himself purged our sins; has seated Himself at the right hand of the Majesty on high. It is the Messiah who is all this. He is the Creator-God, but He is a Messiah who has taken His place in the heavens at the right hand of Majesty, having accomplished the purification of our sins. We perceive how this exhibition of the glory of Christ, the Messiah, whether personal of that of position, would being whoever believed in it out of Judaism, while linking itself with the Jewish promises and hopes. He is God, He has come down from heaven, He has gone up thither again.
Now those who attached themselves to Him found themselves, in another respect also, above the Jewish system. That system was ordained in connection with angels; but Christ has taken a position much higher than that of angels, because He has for His own proper inheritance a name (that is, a revelation of what He is) which is much more excellent than that of angels. Upon this the author of this Epistle quotes several passages from the Old Testament which speak of the Messiah, in order to shew that which He is in contrast with the nature and the relative position of angels. The significance of these passages to a converted Jew is evident, and we readily perceive the adaptation of the argument to such, for the Jewish economy was under the administration of angels, according to their own belief-a belief fully grounded on the word.  And, at the same time, it was their own scriptures which proved that the Messiah was to have a position much more excellent and exaltedthan that of angels, according to the rights that belonged to Him by virtue of His nature, and according to the counsels and revelation of God: so that they who united themselves to Him were brought into connection with that which entirely eclipsed the law and all that related to it, and to the Jewish economy which could not be separated from it, and whose glory was angelic in character. The glory of Christianity-and he speaks to those who acknowledged Jesus to be the Christ-was so much above the glory of the law, that the two could not be really united.
The quotations begin by that from Psalm 2. God, it is written, has never said to any of the angels, "Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee." It is this character of Sonship, proper to the Messiah which, as a real relationship, distinguishes Him. He was from eternity the Son of the Father; but it is not precisely in this point of view that He is here considered. The name expresses the same relationship, but it is to the Messiah born on earth that this title is here applied. For Psalm 2, as establishing Him as King in Zion, announces the decree which proclaims His title. "Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee," is His relationship in time, with God. It depends, I doubt not, on His glorious nature; but this position for man was acquired by the miraculous birth of Jesus here below, and demonstrated as true and determined in its true import by His resurrection. In Psalm 2 the testimony borne to this relationship is in connection with His kingship in Zion, but it declares the personal glories of the king acknowledged of God. By virtue of the rights connected with this title, all kings are summoned to submit themselves to Him. This psalm then is speaking of the government of the world, when God establishes the Messiah as King in Zion, and not of the gospel. But in the passage quoted (Heb. 1:5), it is the relationship of glory in which He subsists with God, the foundation of His rights, which is set forth, and not the royal rights themselves.
This is likewise the case in the next quotation: "I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son." Here we plainly see that it is the relationship in which He is with God, in which God accepts and owns Him, and not His eternal relationship with the Father: " will be to him a Father," & etc. Thus it is still the Messiah, the King in Zion, the Son of David; for these words are applied in the first place to Solomon, as the son of David. (2 Samuel 7:14 and 1 Chron. 17:13.) In this second passage the application of the expression to the true son of David is more distinct. A relationship so intimate (expressed, one may say, with so much affection) was not the portion of angels. The Son of God, acknowledged to be so by God Himself-this is the portion of the Messiah in connection with God. The Messiah then is the Son of God in an altogether peculiar way, which could not be applied to angels.
But still more:-when God introduces the Firstborn into the world, all the angels are called to worship Him. God presents Him to the world; but the highest of created beings must then cast themselves at His feet. The angels of God Himself-the creatures that are nearest to Him-must do homage to the Firstborn. This last expression also is remarkable. The Firstborn is the Heir, the beginning of the manifestation of the glory and power of God. It is in this sense that the word is used. It is said of the Son of David, "I will make him my firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth." (Psalms 89:27) Thus the Messiah is introduced into the world as holding this place with regard to God Himself. He is the Firstborn-the immediate expression of the rights and the glory of God. He has universal preeminence.
Such is, so to speak, the positional glory of the Messiah. Not only Head of the people on earth, as Son of David, nor even only the acknowledged Son of God on the earth, according to Psalm 2, but the universal Firstborn; so that the chief and most exalted of creatures, those nearest to God, the angels of God, the instruments of His powerand government, must do homage to the Son in this His position.
Yet this is far from being all; and this homage itself would be out of place if His glory were not proper to Himself and personal, if it were not connected with His nature. Nevertheless that which we have before us in this chapter is still the Messiah as owned of God. God tells us what He is. Of the angels He says, "He maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire." He does not make His Son anything: He recognises that which He is, saying, "Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever." The Messiah may have an earthly throne (which also is not taken from Him, but which ceases by His taking possession of an eternal throne), but He has a throne which is for ever and ever.
The sceptre of His throne, as Messiah, is a sceptre of righteousness. Also, He has, when here below personally loved righteousness and hated iniquity: therefore God has anointed Him with the oil of gladness above His fellows. These companions are the believing remnant of Israel, whom He has made by grace His fellows, although (perfectly well-pleasing to God by His love of righteousness-and that, at all costs) He is exalted above them all. This is a remarkable passage, because, while on the one hand the divinity of the Lord is fully established as well as His eternal throne, on the other hand the passage comes down to His character as the faithful man on earth, where He made pious men-the little remnant of Israel who waited for redemption, His companions; at the same time it gives Him (and it could not be otherwise) a place above them.
The text then returns to the glory given Him as Man, having the preeminence here as in all things.
I have already remarked elsewhere that while, as we read in Zechariah (13:7), Jehovah recognises as His fellow the humbled man, against whom His sword awakes to smite; here where the divinity of Jesus is set forth, the same Jehovah owns the poor remnant of believers as the fellows of the divine Saviour. Marvelous links between God and His people!
Already then in these remarkable testimonies He has the eternal throne and the sceptre of righteousness: He is recognised as God although a man, and glorified above all others as the regard of righteousness.
But the declaration of His divinity, the divinity of the Messiah, must be more precise. And the testimony is of the greatest beauty. The Psalm that contains it is one of the most complete expressions we find in scripture of the sense which Jesus had of His humiliation on earth, of His dependence on Jehovah, and that, having been raised up as Messiah from among men, He was cast down and His days shortened. If Zion were re-built (and the Psalm speaks prophetically of the time when it shall take place), where would He be, Messiah as He was, if, weakened and humbled, He was cut off in the midst of His days (as was the case)? In a word, it is the prophetic expression of the Saviour's heart in the prospect of that which happened to Him as a man on the earth, the utterance of His heart to Jehovah, in those days of humiliation, in presence of the renewed affection of the remnant for the dust of Zion-and affection which the Lord had produced in their hearts, and which was therefore a token of His good-will and His purpose to re-establish it. But how could a Saviour who was cut off have part in it? (a searching question for a believing Jew, tempted on that side). The words here quoted are the answer to this question. Humbled as He might be, He was the Creator Himself. He was ever the same;  His years could never fail. It was He who had founded the heavens: He would fold them up as a garment, but He Himself would never change.
Such then is the testimony rendered to the Messiah by the scriptures of the Jews themselves-the glory of His position above angels who administered the dispensation of the law; His eternal throne of righteousness; His unchangeable divinity as Creator of all things.
One thing remained to complete this chain of glory-that is, the place occupied at present by Christ, in contrast still with the angels (a place that depends, on the one hand, upon the divine glory of His Person; on the other, upon the accomplishment of His work). And this place is at the right hand of God, who called Him to sit there until He had made His enemies His footstool. Not only in His Person glorious and divine, not only does He hold the first place with regard to all creatures in the universe (we have spoken of this, which will take place when He is introduced into the world), but He has His own place at the right hand of the Majesty in the heavens. To which of the angels has God ever said this? They are servants on God's part to the heirs of salvation.
 A particular interpretation has, by some, been given to the word "aion" translated "worlds;" but it is certain that the word is used by the LXX-Septuagint (that is, in Hellenistic or scriptural Greek) for the physical worlds.
 The Greek verb has here a peculiar form, which gives it a reflective sense, causing the thing done to return into the doer, throwing back the glory of the thing done upon the one who did it.
 See Psalm 68:17, Acts 7:53, Galatians 3:19
 The words translated "Thou art the same," ('Atta Hu') are by many learned Hebraists taken-at least 'Hu'-as a name of God. At any rate, as unchangeably the same, it amounts to it. The not failing years are endless duration when become a man.
── John Darby《Synopsis of Hebrews》
The surpassing dignity of the Son of God in his Divine person, and in his creating and mediatorial work. (1-3) And in his superiority to all the holy angels. (4-14)
Commentary on Hebrews 1:1-3
(Read Hebrews 1:1-3)
God spake to his ancient people at sundry times, through successive generations, and in divers manners, as he thought proper; sometimes by personal directions, sometimes by dreams, sometimes by visions, sometimes by Divine influences on the minds of the prophets. The gospel revelation is excellent above the former; in that it is a revelation which God has made by his Son. In beholding the power, wisdom, and goodness of the Lord Jesus Christ, we behold the power, wisdom, and goodness of the Father, John 14:7; the fulness of the Godhead dwells, not typically, or in a figure, but really, in him. When, on the fall of man, the world was breaking to pieces under the wrath and curse of God, the Son of God, undertaking the work of redemption, sustained it by his almighty power and goodness. From the glory of the person and office of Christ, we proceed to the glory of his grace. The glory of His person and nature, gave to his sufferings such merit as was a full satisfaction to the honour of God, who suffered an infinite injury and affront by the sins of men. We never can be thankful enough that God has in so many ways, and with such increasing clearness, spoken to us fallen sinners concerning salvation. That he should by himself cleanse us from our sins is a wonder of love beyond our utmost powers of admiration, gratitude, and praise.
Commentary on Hebrews 1:4-14
(Read Hebrews 1:4-14)
Many Jews had a superstitious or idolatrous respect for angels, because they had received the law and other tidings of the Divine will by their ministry. They looked upon them as mediators between God and men, and some went so far as to pay them a kind of religious homage or worship. Thus it was necessary that the apostle should insist, not only on Christ's being the Creator of all things, and therefore of angels themselves, but as being the risen and exalted Messiah in human nature, to whom angels, authorities, and powers are made subject. To prove this, several passages are brought from the Old Testament. On comparing what God there says of the angels, with what he says to Christ, the inferiority of the angels to Christ plainly appears. Here is the office of the angels; they are God's ministers or servants, to do his pleasure. But, how much greater things are said of Christ by the Father! And let us own and honour him as God; for if he had not been God, he had never done the Mediator's work, and had never worn the Mediator's crown. It is declared how Christ was qualified for the office of Mediator, and how he was confirmed in it: he has the name Messiah from his being anointed. Only as Man he has his fellows, and as anointed with the Holy Spirit; but he is above all prophets, priests, and kings, that ever were employed in the service of God on earth. Another passage of Scripture, Psalm 12:25-27, is recited, in which the Almighty power of the Lord Jesus Christ is declared, both in creating the world and in changing it. Christ will fold up this world as a garment, not to be abused any longer, not to be used as it has been. As a sovereign, when his garments of state are folded and put away, is a sovereign still, so our Lord, when he has laid aside the earth and heavens like a vesture, shall be still the same. Let us not then set our hearts upon that which is not what we take it to be, and will not be what it now is. Sin has made a great change in the world for the worse, and Christ will make a great change in it for the better. Let the thoughts of this make us watchful, diligent, and desirous of that better world. The Saviour has done much to make all men his friends, yet he has enemies. But they shall be made his footstool, by humble submission, or by utter destruction. Christ shall go on conquering and to conquer. The most exalted angels are but ministering spirits, mere servants of Christ, to execute his commands. The saints, at present, are heirs, not yet come into possession. The angels minister to them in opposing the malice and power of evil spirits, in protecting and keeping their bodies, instructing and comforting their souls, under Christ and the Holy Ghost. Angels shall gather all the saints together at the last day, when all whose hearts and hopes are set upon perishing treasures and fading glories, will be driven from Christ's presence into everlasting misery.
── Matthew Henry《Concise Commentary on Hebrews》
 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
God, who at sundry times — The creation was revealed in the time of Adam; the last judgment, in the time of Enoch: and so at various times, and in various degrees, more explicit knowledge was given.
In divers manners — In visions, in dreams, and by revelations of various kinds. Both these are opposed to the one entire and perfect revelation which he has made to us by Jesus Christ. The very number of the prophets showed that they prophesied only "in part." Of old - There were no prophets for a large tract of time before Christ came, that the great Prophet might be the more earnestly expected.
Spake — A part is put for the whole; implying every kind of divine communication.
By the prophets — The mention of whom is a virtual declaration that the apostle received the whole Old Testament, and was not about to advance any doctrine in contradiction to it.
Hath in these last times — Intimating that no other revelation is to be expected.
Spoken — All things, and in the most perfect manner.
By his Son — Alone. The Son spake by the apostles. The majesty of the Son of God is proposed, 1. Absolutely, by the very name of Son, verse 1, and by three glorious predicates,-"whom he hath appointed," "by whom he made," who "sat down;" whereby he is described from the beginning to the consummation of all things, Hebrews 1:2,3 2. Comparatively to angels, Hebrews 1:4. The proof of this proposition immediately follows: the name of Son being proved, Hebrews 1:5; his being "heir of all things," Hebrews 1:6-9; his making the worlds, Hebrews 1:10-12 his sitting at God's right hand, Hebrews 1:13, etc.
 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;
Whom he hath appointed heir of all things — After the name of Son, his inheritance is mentioned. God appointed him the heir long before he made the worlds, Ephesians 3:11; Proverbs 8:22, etc. The Son is the firstborn, born before all things: the heir is a term relating to the creation which followed, Hebrews 1:6.
By whom he also made the worlds — Therefore the Son was before all worlds. His glory reaches from everlasting to everlasting, though God spake by him to us only "in these last days."
 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;
Who sat down — The third of these glorious predicates, with which three other particulars are interwoven, which are mentioned likewise, and in the same order, Colossians 1:15,17,20.
Who, being — The glory which he received in his exaltation at the right hand of the Father no angel was capable of; but the Son alone, who likewise enjoyed it long before.
The brightness of his glory — Glory is the nature of God revealed in its brightness.
The express image — Or stamp. Whatever the Father is, is exhibited in the Son, as a seal in the stamp on wax.
Of his person — Or substance. The word denotes the unchangeable perpetuity of divine life and power.
And sustaining all things — Visible and invisible, in being.
By the word of his power — That is, by his powerful word.
When he had by himself — Without any Mosaic rites or ceremonies.
Purged our sins — In order to which it was necessary he should for a time divest himself of his glory. In this chapter St. Paul describes his glory chiefly as he is the Son of God; afterwards, Hebrews 2:6, etc., the glory of the man Christ Jesus. He speaks, indeed, briefly of the former before his humiliation, but copiously after his exaltation; as from hence the glory he had from eternity began to be evidently seen. Both his purging our sins, and sitting on the right hand of God, are largely treated of in the seven following chapters.
Sat down — The priests stood while they ministered: sitting, therefore, denotes the consummation of his sacrifice. This word, sat down, contains the scope, the theme, and the sum, of the epistle.
 Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.
This verse has two clauses, the latter of which is treated of, Hebrews 1:5; the former, Hebrews 1:13. Such transpositions are also found in the other epistles of St. Paul, but in none so frequently as in this. The Jewish doctors were peculiarly fond of this figure, and used it much in all their writings. The apostle therefore, becoming all things to all men, here follows the same method. All the inspired writers were readier in all the figures of speech than the most experienced orators.
Being — By his exaltation, after he had been lower than them, Hebrews 2:9.
So much higher than the angels — It was extremely proper to observe this, because the Jews gloried in their law, as it was delivered by the ministration of angels. How much more may we glory in the gospel, which was given, not by the ministry of angels, but of the very Son of God! As he hath by inheritance a more excellent name - Because he is the Son of God, he inherits that name, in right whereof he inherits all things His inheriting that name is more ancient than all worlds; his inheriting all things, as ancient as all things.
Than they — This denotes an immense pre-eminence. The angels do not inherit all things, but are themselves a portion of the Son's inheritance, whom they worship as their Lord.
 For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?
Thou art my Son — God of God, Light of Light.
This day have I begotten thee — I have begotten thee from eternity, which, by its unalter able permanency of duration, is one continued, unsuccessive day.
I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son — I will own myself to be his Father, and him to be my Son, by eminent tokens of my peculiar love The former clause relates to his natural Sonship, by an eternal, inconceivable generation; the other, to his Father's acknowledgment and treatment of him as his incarnate Son. Indeed this promise related immediately to Solomon, but in a far higher sense to the Messiah. Psalms 2:7; 2 Samuel 7:14
 And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.
And again — That is, in another scripture.
He — God.
Saith, when he bringeth in his first-begotten — This appellation includes that of Son, together with the rights of primogeniture, which the first-begotten Son of God enjoys, in a manner not communicable to any creature.
Into the world — Namely, at his incarnation.
He saith, Let all the angels of God worship him — So much higher was he, when in his lowest estate, than the highest angel. Psalms 97:7.
 And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire.
Spirits and a flame of fire — Which intimates not only their office, but also their nature; which is excellent indeed, the metaphor being taken from the most swift, subtle, and efficacious things on earth; but nevertheless infinitely below the majesty of the Son. Psalms 104:4.
 But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.
O God — God, in the singular number, is never in scripture used absolutely of any but the supreme God. Thy reign, of which the sceptre is the ensign, is full of justice and equity. Psalms 45:6,7.
 Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.
Thou hast loved righteousness and hated iniquity — Thou art infinitely pure and holy.
Therefore God — Who, as thou art Mediator, is thy God. Hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness - With the Holy Ghost, the fountain of joy.
Above thy fellows — Above all the children of men.
 And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands:
Thou — The same to whom the discourse is addressed in the preceding verse. Psalms 102:25,26
 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.
As a mantle — With all ease.
They shall be changed — Into new heavens and a new earth. But thou art eternally the same.
 But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool?
 Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?
Are they not all — Though of various orders.
Ministering spirits, sent forth — Ministering before God, sent forth to men.
To attend on them — In numerous offices of protection, care, and kindness.
Who — Having patiently continued in welldoing, shall inherit everlasting salvation.
── John Wesley《Explanatory Notes on Hebrews》
Chapter 1. A Better Name
The Radiance of
Exact representation of His Being
I. The Son Superior to the Prophets
II. Superior to Angels
III. Only the Lord Will Remain
── Chih-Hsin Chang《An Outline of The New Testament》
God's Perfect Spokesman (1:1-3)
1. In our introductory lesson, we saw how "The Epistle To The Hebrews"
is unique in its beginning...
a. There is no mention of the author's name, nor the recipients
b. Rather, it starts like an "essay" - cf. He 1:1-3
2. We also noted regarding the purpose of the epistle...
a. To encourage Jewish Christians to remain steadfast in their faith
b. Accomplished by showing the superiority of Christ and the New
3. That superiority is demonstrated through a number of contrasts...
a. The very first contrast begins in these first three verses
b. In which Jesus is contrasted with the prophets of the Old
4. In this lesson, we shall take a close look at the contrast...
a. Noting how God spoke "in time past", and how He speaks "in these
b. Observing how Jesus is certainly qualified to be "God's Perfect
[We begin by considering what is said regarding...]
I. GOD'S SPOKESMEN "IN TIME PAST" (1)
A. THE EXPRESSION "IN TIME PAST"...
1. Refers to the period of time prior to the coming of Jesus
2. I.e., that period of time described in the Old Testament
B. GOD SPOKE "TO THE FATHERS BY THE PROPHETS"...
1. The "fathers" would be the ancestors of the Israelites
2. The "prophets" would include great men like Samuel, Elijah,
Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel
a. The Hebrew word for "prophet" means "one who boils over"
b. It refers to one who is inspired by God to speak for Him
- cf. 2 Pe 1:21
3. At times, the prophets themselves were unsure of what they
spoke - 1 Pe 1:10-12
C. GOD SPOKE "AT VARIOUS TIMES AND IN DIFFERENT WAYS"...
1. His revelation did not come all at once, but progressively at
2. His methods varied as well, using visions, dreams, symbols,
[So God has clearly revealed Himself as One who "speaks"; that is, He
communicates His will to mankind! What He revealed through His prophets
"in time past" is certainly wonderful, but now consider what we learn
II. GOD'S SPOKESMAN "IN THESE LAST DAYS" (2-3)
A. THE EXPRESSION "IN THESE LAST DAYS"...
1. Literally, "at the end of these days", which may be understood
as referring to either:
a. The closing period of the Jewish age (cf. Milligan)
b. The period of the Messiah (most commentators)
2. The Old Testament often spoke of "the last days" - e.g., Isa
2:2; Micah 4:1
3. As such it often had special reference to the age of the
a. The apostles spoke of their time as the time of this
fulfillment - Ac 2:16-17
b. Thus it denotes the final phase of history, brought on by
the first coming of Christ, continuing until His second
coming and the consummation of all things - cf. He 9:26;
1 Pe 1:20; 1 Co 10:11
B. GOD "HAS SPOKEN TO US BY HIS SON"...
1. God has spoken once again, but note the contrast!
2. "In time past" it was through "prophets"; but "in these last
days" it is by "His Son"!
a. God has sent His own Son to speak for Him!
b. As wonderful as the prophets were, how can they compare to
God's own Son?
-- There is no contrast, especially as we read on and notice...
C. THE EXCELLENCE OF "GOD'S PERFECT SPOKESMAN"...
1. Jesus is "the appointed heir of all things"!
a. The author may have had Psa 2:
8 inmind, for in verse 5 he
quotes from Psa 2:7
b. As the "beloved Son", it is only natural that He would be
the appointed heir
c. What does "all things" include?
1) All that the Father has! - Jn 16:15
2) The authority to raise and judge the dead - Jn 5:26-29
3) The authority to rule in heaven and on earth - Mt 28:18
4) This authority Christ has even now! - Ac 2:36; 10:36;
Ep 1:20-22; 1 Pe 3:22; Re 1:5
2. Jesus is "through whom He (God) also made the worlds"!
a. Not only the "Heir", but also the "Creator"!
b. For it was through the Son that God created the universe
- cf. Jn 1:3; Co 1:16
1) All things were created "by (or through) Him" (He is the
2) All things were created "for Him" (He is the rightful
3. Jesus is "the brightness of His (God's) glory"!
a. In Jesus we see the very radiance of the glory of God!
b. As John wrote, "...we beheld His glory, the glory as of the
only begotten of the Father..." - Jn 1:14
c. When we behold Jesus, we see an extension of the glory of
4. Jesus is "the express image of His (God's) person"!
a. He is the exact representation of God's being and
character! - cf. Co 2:9
b. Therefore Jesus could say...
1) To Thomas: "If you had known me, you would have known
my Father also; and from now on you know Him and have
seen Him." - Jn 14:7
2) To Philip: "He who has seen Me has seen the Father;"
- Jn 14:9
5. Jesus is "upholding all things by the word of His power"!
a. Not only the Creator, but also the Sustainer of the
universe - cf. Co 1:17 ("in Him all things consist")
1) By His word the universe holds together!
2) All He has to do is say the word, and the universe is no
b. Note well:
1) This illustrates the power of His Word
2) Shall we not listen when He speaks? - cf. Lk 6:46
6. Jesus has also "by Himself purged our sins"!
a. A clear reference to His death on the cross for our sins
b. This speaks to His role as our Redeemer, a theme that will
be prominent later in this epistle - cf. He 2:17; 9:26,28
7. Jesus has also "sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on
a. This Jesus did when He ascended to heaven - Ep 1:20; 1 Pe
b. Sitting at the right hand of God is a place of honor, but
for Jesus it is also a place from which He reigns!
1) As indicated in Ep 1:21-22; 1 Pe 3:22
2) It is true that He is waiting for the His enemies to be
made His footstool (He 10:12-13), but He is reigning
until that time! - cf. 1 Co 15:25-26
3) As stated in Psa 110:1-2, from which the author to the
Hebrews quotes, the Messiah was to "rule in the midst of
c. Thus Jesus is truly "the ruler over the kings of earth"
- Re 1:5; 17:14
1. The sentence does not end with verse three...
a. It continues on into verse four, with a declaration of Jesus'
superiority over angels
b. But that verse and the rest of the chapter we shall save for the
2. But what have we seen in this lesson?
a. God is clearly a God who speaks, He makes His Will known to
b. And now He speaks through His Son, Who is:
1) The appointed Heir of all things!
2) The Creator!
3) The brightness of God's glory, the express image of His
4) Our Sustainer, Redeemer, and King!
How can one turn their back on Him? Especially when the Majesty on
high proclaimed at the Mount of Transfiguration:
"This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!"
- Mt 17:5
Are you heeding the words of the Beloved Son, "God's Perfect
Spokesman"? - cf. Mt 28:18-20; Re 2:10
Jesus' Superiority To Angels (1:4-14)
1. The subject of angels has certainly become a popular one lately...
a. Bookstores are filled with books dealing with angels
b. Popular TV shows and movies depict angels working in our lives
("Highway To Heaven", "Touched By An Angel", "The Preacher's
Wife", "It's A Wonderful Life")
2. Angels were also an important part of the Jewish religion...
a. Angels assisted with the giving of the Law at
Mount Sinai- cf.
Deu 33:2; Psa 68:17; Ac 7:53; Ga 3:19
b. They appear throughout the history of
, coming to Abraham, Israel
Daniel, and many others
3. Since the purpose of "The Epistle To The Hebrews" is to show the
superiority of Christ and the New Covenant to the Law of Moses...
a. It is necessary that the writer has something to say about angels
b. So it is that we find the comparison of the Son to prophets
followed now by a comparison to angels - He 1:4-14
4. The premise is clearly stated that the Son (Jesus) is "much better
than the angels" - He 1:4
a. The reason in a nutshell is that "He has by inheritance obtained
a more excellent name than they"
b. That name is "Son", a title that only Jesus can properly wear...
1) Angels may be called "sons of God" collectively - cf. Job 1:6
2) But no angel can be called this name individually!
[As evidence for the superiority of Jesus over angels, the author
proceeds to offer scriptural support from the Old Testament. His first
two quotations are to prove...]
I. JESUS IS THE "SON" (5)
A. TWO PROPHECIES REFER TO THE MESSIAH AS "SON"...
1. The first is Psa 2:7
a. A psalm depicting the enthronement of the Messiah (the
b. In which Jehovah calls the Messiah "My Son"
c. The "begetting" has reference to the resurrection of Jesus
- Ac 13:33; Ro 1:4
2. The second is 2 Sam 7:14
a. This passage had immediate application to Solomon, David's
b. But as the Messiah who would receive the throne of David
was also descended from David...
1) It's ultimate application would be to the Messiah
2) I.e., Jesus, the "son of David" - Mt 1:1; Mk 10:47; Jn
B. BUT NO ANGEL IS EVER CALLED "MY SON"...
1. Collectively they were called "sons of God", but never
2. This not only demonstrates Jesus' superiority to angels...
a. It proves that Jesus Himself was NOT an angel!
b. Contrary to what some (such as JW's) believe
[The superiority of Jesus over the angels is further illustrated as we
II. JESUS IS "THE FIRSTBORN" WHO RECEIVES WORSHIP (6)
A. JESUS IS DESCRIBED AS "THE FIRSTBORN"...
1. The term "firstborn" does not always mean "born first"
a. It is also used in the Scriptures as a metaphor to describe
one who occupies the rank and privilege of being firstborn
(without literally being "firstborn")
b. Used by God in this way to refer to the nation of
- Exo 4:22
c. Used by God in this way to refer to David, youngest of
eight - Ps 89:20,27
2. It is used of Jesus in this way to stress His preeminence over
a. As Paul explains in Co 1:15-18
b. By virtue of being the Creator, He maintains the rank and
privilege of "firstborn"!
B. WHEN THE FIRSTBORN CAME INTO THE WORLD, THE ANGELS WERE TO
1. The quotation in verse 6 is from Deu 32:43 as found in the
2. The angels of God were to worship Him
3. Note well: No created being is or was ever worthy of worship!
a. The angels themselves refused to be worshipped - Re 22:8-9
b. The apostle Peter refused to accept worship - Ac 10:25-26
4. Yet Jesus received worship!
a. From the wise men - Mt 2:11
b. From the leper - Mt 8:2
c. From the ruler - Mt 9:18
d. From His disciples in the boat - Mt 14:33
e. From the Canaanite woman - Mt 15:25
f. From the man born blind - Jn 9:38
g. From the women and other disciples following His
resurrection - Mt 28:9,17
h. From the disciples following His ascension - Lk 24:52
[That Jesus is worthy of worship, especially now, becomes more evident
as we consider how...]
III. JESUS IS "GOD" ENTHRONED AND ANOINTED (7-9)
A. ANGELS ARE SIMPLY FOR THE SERVICE OF GOD...
1. They are created spirits to serve God (called "ministering
spirits" in He 1:14)
2. Their service can be as powerful yet transient as "wind" or
"flames of fire", if need be
B. BUT THE "SON" IS GOD HIMSELF, ENTHRONED AND ANOINTED!
1. The author is quoting from another Messianic psalm - Psa 45:
2. Notice that the Son is called "God"! - He 1:8
a. The Hebrew writer clearly proclaims the deity of Jesus!
- cf. He 1:
b. Yet in the next verse we read where it says "God, Your God
1) Here we find a distinction of personalities within the
2) Which we learn through later revelation involves the
Father and the Son (and the Holy Spirit)
3. The Son, Who is God, has been enthroned, and reigns over an
everlasting kingdom with righteousness
a. A kingdom of which Daniel said "shall never be destroyed"
- Dan 2:44
b. A kingdom of which Gabriel (an angel) told Mary: "there
will be no end" - Lk 1:33
c. Both Paul and John wrote of this kingdom - Co 1:13; Re 1:9
4. This Son, Who is God and King, has been "anointed" - He 1:9
a. Of course, the word "Messiah" means "anointed one"
b. In this passage, the emphasis is on how Jesus has been
anointed with gladness "more than Your companions"
1) Who are these "companions"?
2) In view of He 2:11; 3:1, it is likely the followers of
Jesus, His brethren!
[As God, King, and Messiah, Jesus is certainly greater than angels!
But there is even more...]
IV. JESUS IS THE "LORD" WHO IS THE ETERNAL CREATOR (10-12)
A. JESUS IS "YAHWEH" (JEHOVAH)!
1. Now the Hebrew writer is quoting from Ps 102:25-27
a. A psalm which addresses God using His covenant name Yahweh
b. This is the name that God used to identify Himself to Moses
- Exo 3:13-14
2. But the Hebrew writer by inspiration knew this psalm equally
applied to Jesus!
a. Such would be blasphemy, unless Jesus is truly Deity!
b. So while the Son is distinct from the Father (cf. He 1:9),
He and the Father are also the same!
3. In this chapter, then, we find evidence relating to the nature
of the Godhead...
a. There is one God, but three distinct personalities within
the Godhead (Father, Son, Holy Spirit)
b. As Jehovah, Jesus is not "a god", or any sort of created
being (contra JWs, Mormons, etc.)
c. As the Son who is distinct from the Father, the Son is not
the same in personality as the Father (contra the Oneness
-- Though not a biblical term, the word "trinity" does help to
convey the Biblical evidence as to the nature of the
B. JESUS IS THE ETERNAL CREATOR!
1. In the beginning it was He who created the earth and the
heavens - He 1:10
a. As the author had already stated in He 1:
b. As both John and Paul professed - Jn 1:3; Co 1:16-17
2. He is also eternal, therefore unchangeable - He 1:11-12
a. The heavens and the earth "will perish", "grow old" and "be
changed" - cf. 2 Pe 3:10-12
b. But Jesus will "remain", be the "same", and "not fail"
- cf. He 13:8
[The superiority of Jesus over angels is illustrated with one last
comparison in this chapter...]
V. JESUS IS THE "SOVEREIGN" (13-14)
A. NO ANGEL HAS BEEN INVITED TO SIT AT GOD'S RIGHT HAND...
1. The psalm quoted now is Ps 110:1
a. This psalm is quoted or alluded to more than any other
psalm in the NT
b. It refers to the Messianic reign of Christ that began when
Jesus sat down at the right hand of God - cf. He 1:3; Ac
2:34-36; 1 Pe 3:22
2. That no angel has been asked to sit at God's right hand...
a. Once again proves that Jesus was not an angel (contra JWs)
b. Only Jesus, as the Son of God, has been so invited, and is
truly the Sovereign!
B. ANGELS ARE BUT MINISTERING SPIRITS...
1. While Jesus sits enthroned in heaven, angels are "sent forth
to minister (serve)"
2. They minister for those "who will inherit salvation"
a. They have certainly ministered in the past - cf. Lk 1:11-38
b. They will certainly minister at the time of Christ's return
- cf. Mt 13:36-43
c. But to what extent they minister in the present, the
Scriptures reveal little (cf. Mt 18:10), and we should be
careful to refrain from vain speculation
1. In a very forceful manner, the writer to the Hebrews has shown
Jesus' superiority to angels:
a. Jesus is the "Son" (not angels)
b. Jesus is the "Firstborn" who receives worship (not angels)
c. Jesus is "God" enthroned and anointed (not angels)
d. Jesus is the "LORD" (Yahweh) who is the eternal creator (not
angels, who are only created beings)
e. Jesus is the "Sovereign", reigning at God's right hand (angels
are but ministering spirits)
2. While angels certainly have a special place in God's plan for
a. They are not to become the object of worship or adoration - Co 2:
b. Only Jesus is worthy of such worship and adoration!
As innumerable angels proclaimed with a loud voice:
"Worthy is the Lamb who was slain To receive power and riches and
wisdom, And strength and honor and glory and blessing!"
- Re 5:11-12
Let Jesus, and not angels, be the focus of your interest and adoration!
A better name
The radiance of God’s glory
Exact representation of His being
I. The Son superior to the prophets
1. Revelation of the Old Testament
2. Revelation of the New Testament
3. Heir of all things
1. Angels worship Him
2. Angels serve Him
3. Everlasting throne
III. Only the Lord will remain
1. The earth and the heavens will perish
2. All things will be changed
3. Your years will never end
－－ Chih-Hsin Chang《An Outline of The New Testament》