Home First
Covenant
Second
Covenant
Topical
Studies
Table of
Contents

HEBREWS

LESSON  ONE

THE STRUCTURE OF THE EPISTLE AS A WHOLE

1:1-2:18      Doctrinal  introduction.
     3:1-4:13      The mission of Christ.
               4:14-16  General  application.  "Having therefore"
      5:1-10:18      The Priesthood of Christ.
                10:19-12:29      Particular application.  "Having therefore"
13:1-25      Practical  conclusion.
1:1-4     INTRODUCTION

Top
Next Section

Heb 1:1-4
(1)  God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
(2)  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;
(3)  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;
(4)  Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.
(KJV)

The first paragraph of the Epistle gives a summary view of its main subject, the finality of the absolute Revelation in Christ as contrasted with the preparatory revelation under the Old Covenant.

The whole is bound together in one unbroken grammatical construction, but the subject is changed in its course.
In the first two verses God is the subject
In the last two the Son
The fourth verse introduces a special thought which is treated in detail in the remainder of the chapter
Thus for purposes of interpretation the paragraph may be divided into three parts:
vv. 1,2 The contrast of the Old Revelation and the New
v. 3 The nature and the work of the Son
v. 4 Transition to the detailed development of the argument
The Lord is regarded even in this brief introductory statement in His threefold office as
Prophet (God spake in His Son)
Priest (having made purification of sins)
King (He sat down)

THE CONTRAST OF THE OLD REVELATION AND THE NEW

The contrast between the Old Revelation and the New is marked in three particulars:
In the Method The earlier teaching was conveyed in successive portions and in varying fashions according to the needs and capacities of those who received it: on the other hand the revelation in Him who was Son was necessarily complete in itself.
Compare John 1:14 &18
(14)   And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth
(18)   No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.
(KJV)
In the Time The former revelation was given of old time, in the infancy and growth of the world: the Christian revelation at the end of these days, on the very verge of the new order which of necessity it ushered in.
In the Agents of the two Revelations
The messengers in whom God spoke before, were the long line of prophets raised up from age to age since the world began (Luke 1:70; Acts 3:21): the Messenger of the new dispensation was God's own son.

Luke 1:70
As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began:      (KJV)
Acts 3:21
Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.    (KJV)

The first contrast is left formally incomplete (having…spoken in many parts and in many modes…spake).
The two latter are expressed definitely (of old time to the fathers, at the end of these days to us - in the prophets, in Him Who is Son); and in the original, after the first clause, word answers to word with emphatic correspondence.

The consideration of these contrasts places the relation of Christianity to all that had gone before in a clear light. 

The Revelation in Christ, the Son, is perfect both in substance and in form. The Incarnation (God in Jesus ) and the Ascension (Rapture after Crucifixion) include absolutely all that is wrought out slowly and appropriated little by little in the experience of later life. 

The characteristics which before marked the revelation itself now mark the human apprehension of the final revelation.

        The Central Point of All Life

The Incarnation, in other words, is the central point of all Life; and just as all previous discipline led up to it , (In many parts and in many ways), so all later experience is the appointed method by which its teaching is progressively mastered (In many parts and in many ways). All that we can learn of the constitution of man, of the constitution of nature, of the 'laws' of history must from the nature of the case, illustrate its meaning for us.

1 Cor 13:9
For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
(KJV)

These thoughts find their complete justification in the two clauses which describe the relation to the order of the world of Him in Whom God spoke to us. God appointed Him heir of all things, and through Him He made the world. The Son as Heir and Creator speaks with perfect knowledge and absolute sympathy.
(Rev 3:14   And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;)  As the beginning of the creation of God, the Word created all that we know and also all that we don't know.

But while the revelations of the Old and New Covenants are thus sharply distinguished, God is the One Author of both. He spoke in old time, and He spoke in the last time. In the former case His speaking was upon earth and in the latter case from heaven (compare 12:25 ), but in both cases the words are alike His words. Not one word therefore can pass away, though such as were fragmentary, prospective, typical, required to be fulfilled by Christ's Presence (Matthew 5:18). In revelation and in the record of revelation all parts have a divine work but not the same work.

Heb 12:25
See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven:
(KJV)

Matt 5:18
For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
(KJV)

Hebrews 1:1  -   Theme of the Epistle

Top
Next Section
Previous Section

God has given a revelation of salvation in two stages.

The first was preparatory and transient, and is completed. 
 The second, the revelation through Jesus Christ, is final.

The readers who have accepted this second revelation are warned against returning to the economy of the first.

God
Both stages of the revelation were given by God.

At sundry times     (polumeroos)    Rendered:   "in many parts."
In the first stage of His revelation, God spake, not "at once," giving a complete revelation of his being and will; but in many separate revelations, each of which set forth only a portion of the truth. As a whole, the truth never comes to light in the Old Testament. It appears fragmentarily, in successive acts, as the periods of the Patriarchs, Moses, the Kingdom, etc. One prophet has one; another has another element of the truth to proclaim.

In divers manners    (polutropoos)   Rendered:   "in many ways." 
This refers to the difference of the various revelations in contents and form. Not the different ways in which God imparted his revelations to the prophets, but the different ways in which he spoke by the prophets to the fathers: in one way through Moses, in another through Elijah, in others through Isaiah, Ezekiel, etc. At the founding of the Old Testament kingdom of God, the character of the revelation was elementary: later it was of a character to appeal to a more matured spiritual sense, a deeper understanding and a higher conception of the law. The revelation differed according to the faithfulness or unfaithfulness of the covenant-people. Compare Eph. 3:10, "the many-tinted wisdom of God,"  which is associated with this passage by Clement of Alexandria

"Fitly, therefore, did the apostle call the wisdom of God many-tinted, as showing its power to benefit us in many parts and in many ways."   (from Vincent's Word Studies of the New Testament)

Spake    (laleo)     preach, say, speak

Often found in this epistle of the announcement of the divine will
by men ( Heb 7:14; 9:19)
by angels ( Heb 2:2)
by God himself or Christ ( Heb 2:3; 5:5; 12:25)
once used of Christ (2 Cor 13:3)
once of the Law, personified (Rom 3:9)

In time past    (palai)     "of old"
The time of the Old Testament revelation. It indicates a revelation, not only given, but completed in the past.

By the prophets   (en tois profeetais).    "in the prophets" 
This does not mean "in the collection of prophetic writings," as John 6:45; Acts 13:40,  but rather "in the prophets themselves" as the vessels of divine inspiration.  God spake "in" them and "from" them. 

Thus Philo: "The prophet is an interpreter, echoing from within (endothen) the sayings of God" ("De Praemiis et Poenis," section 9)
(from Vincent's Word Studies of the New Testament, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

Translation of the Greek text by Wescott:
"God having of old time spoken to the fathers in the prophets in many parts and in many modes spake to us at the end of these days in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom He also made the world."

The order of the first words in the original text, by which the two adverbs (In many parts and in many ways) come first, to which nothing afterwards directly answers (Having in many parts and in many modes of old time spoken…), serves at once to fix attention on the variety and therefore on the imperfection of the earlier revelations, and also to keep a perfect correspondence in the members which follow (of old in last days these spoke).

At the same time the two main divisions of the revelation are connected as forming one great whole: God having spoken…spake. It is not simply that the Author of the earlier revelation is affirmed to have been also the Author of the later (God who spake…spake or God spake..and spake); but the earlier revelation is treated as the preparation for, the foundation of, the latter (God having spoken…spake).

The variety of the former revelation extended both to its substance and also to its form. The great drama of Israel's discipline was divided into separate acts; and in each act different modes were employed by God for bringing home to His people various aspects of truth.

Thus the 'many parts' of the preparatory training for Christianity may be symbolized by the periods of the:

Patriarchs
Moses
Theocracy
The Kingdom
The Captivity
The Hierarchy


As Israel was enabled to assimilate the lessons provided providentially in the national life of Egypt, Canaan, Persia, Greece. And the many 'modes' of revelation are shadowed forth in the enactment of typical ordinances, in declarations of 'the word of the Lord', in symbolic actions, in interpretations of the circumstances of national prosperity and distress.

And further it must be noticed that the modes in which God spoke in the prophets to the people were largely influenced by the modes in which God spoke to the prophets themselves:

'Face to face'
By visions
By Urim and Thummim (compare Numbers 12:6,8)


These corresponded in the divine order with the characters of the messengers themselves which became part of their message.

Of old time
Not simply formerly (compare 4:6;10:32).   The Greek word is rare in the New Testament and always describes something completed in the past. Here the thought is of the ancient teachings now long since sealed.

There is but one final Source of all Truth. The unity of the Revealer is the pledge and ground of the unity of the Revelation, however it may be communicated; and His revelation of Himself is spontaneous. He 'speaks' in familiar terms. 

In the prophets 
Not simply through them, using them as His instruments (compare 2:2,3), but in them (compare 4:7) as the quickening power of their life. In whatever way God made Himself known to them, they were His messengers, inspired by His Spirit, not in their words only but as men; and however the divine will was communicated to them they interpreted it to the people (compare Matthew 10:20; 2 Cor. 13:3). Conversely the prophet speaks 'in Christ' as united vitally with Him: 2 Cor. 2:17;12:19.

The title 'prophet' is used in the widest sense as it is applied to:

Abraham (Gen. 20:7)
Moses (Deut. 34:10; compare 18:18)
David (Acts 2:30)
And generally to those inspired by God   (Ps. 105:15; Acts 3:21;  Luke 1:70)

The prophets, according to a familiar Rabbinic saying, prophesied only of the days of the Messiah (Sabb. 63a; Wunsche, Altsyn. Theol. S. 355). 

Hebrews 1:2  -   He spoke to us

Top
Next Section
Previous Section

In the last days  =  At the end of these days
The phrase is molded on a   rendering of the Old Testament phrase 'in the latter days' (Numbers 24:14; Jer. 23:20) which is used generally of the times of Messiah (see Isa. 2:2; Dan. 10:14).

Starting from this general conception Jewish teachers distinguished 'a present age,'  'this age' from 'that age,'  'the age to come'. Between 'the present age' of imperfection and conflict and trial and 'the age to come' of the perfect reign of God they placed 'the days of Messiah,' which they sometimes reckoned in the former, sometimes in the latter, and sometimes as distinct from both. They were however commonly agreed that the passage from one age to the other would be through a period of intense sorrow and anguish 'the travail-pains' of the new birth  (see Matthew 24:8).

             "All these are the beginning of sorrows."

The apostolic writers, fully conscious of the spiritual crisis through which they were passing, speak of their own time as

the 'last days' (Acts 2:17;  James 5:3;  2 Tim. 3:1)
the 'last hour'  (I John 2:18)
the ' end of the times'  (I Peter 1:20
In 2 Peter 3:3 the true Greek reading (according to Westcott)  is  'the last time'  (Jude 18).

Thus the full phrase in this place emphasizes two distinct thoughts, the thought of the coming close of the existing order (at the end), and also the thought of the contrast between the present and the future order (of these days as contrasted with 'those days').

Spoke to us
The members of the Christian Church: 10:26; 13:1. The word was not directly addressed to the writer: 2:3. The mission of Christ is here regarded as complete. It is true in one sense that He told His disciples the full message which He had received (John 15:15), if in another sense He had, when He left them, yet many things to say (16:12). This contrast between the divine, absolute, aspect of Christ's work, and its progressive appropriation by men, occurs throughout Scripture. Compare Col. 3:1,5.

By His Son  =  In Son.
The absence of the article fixes attention upon the nature and not upon the personality of the Mediator of the new revelation. God spake to us in one who has this character that He is Son. The sense might be given by the rendering in a Son, if the phrase could be limited to this meaning ('One who is Son'); but 'a Son' is ambiguous. See verse 5; 3:6; 5:8;7:28. Compare John 5:27;10:12; Rom. 1:4.

The absence of the article is made more conspicuous by its occurrence in the corresponding phrase. 'The prophets' are spoken of as a definite, known, body, fulfilling a particular office. The sense would lose as much by the omission of the article in this case ('in men who were prophets') as it would lose here by the insertion (in the Son - compare 6:6).

The new revelation is a continuation of the old so far as God is the author of both. It is wholly new and separate in character so far a Christ is the Mediator of it.

Whom he appointed…by whom also he made
The office of the Son as the final Revealer of the will of God is illustrated by His relation to God in regard to the world, in and through which the revelation comes to men. He is at once Creator and Heir of all things. The end answers to the beginning. Through Him God called into being the temporal order of things, and He is heir of their last issue. All things were created 'in Him' and 'unto Him' (See Col. 1:15,16). The universal heir-ship of Christ is illustrated by, if not based upon, His creative activity.

Among the momenta of the Targums there is one of such great importance to the Christian theologian; that it would be unpardonable to omit it in these brief notices. I allude to the remarkable use in them of the title, Memra Da-Yeya, "the Word of the Lord."   The Aramaic term Memra, is a noun, composed with the formative from the root "to speak".   In the numerous passages referred to, it is employed with the genitive of the Divine Name or, answering to the New Testament epithet, 'the Word of God" as applied to the Messiah.  In many of the Old Testament passages where God appears to man, the Targum inserts the word Memra (word), is it any wonder that John, who I am sure was familiar with these works, states "In the beginning was the word and the word was God"  John 1:1 and  "The word became flesh" John 1:14.
The Targums of Onkelos by J.W. Etheridge, M.A. KTAV Publishing house, Inc. N.Y. 1968 Page 14

Translation of the Greek text by Wescott:
"Whom he appointed heir of all things, by whom also the worlds he made."

Whom he hath appointed heir of all things

God eternally predestined the Son to be the possessor and sovereign of all things. Compare Ps 89:28.  Heirship goes with sonship. See Rom 8:17; Gal 4:7. Christ attained the messianic lordship through incarnation. 

Something was acquired as the result of His incarnation which He did not possess before it, and could not have possessed without it. Equality with God was His birthright; but out of His human life, death, and resurrection came a type of sovereignty which could pertain to Him only through His triumph over human sin in the flesh (see Heb 1:3), through His identification with men as their brother. Messianic lordship could not pertain to His preincarnate state: it is a matter of function, not of inherent power and majesty.

He was essentially Son of God
He must become Son of man

(from Vincent's Word Studies of the New Testament, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

The word heir marks the original purpose of Creation. The dominion originally promised to our father Adam (Genesis 1:28; compare Psalms 8) was gained by Jesus the Christ of God. And so, in regard to the divine economy, the promise made to Abraham (compare Romans 4:13; Gal. 3:29) and renewed to the divine King (Psalms 2:8), which was symbolized by the 'inheritance' of Canaan (See Exodus 23:30), became absolutely fulfilled in Jesus.

The image of 'Heirship' which is based apparently on the second Psalm (Ps. 2:8) is recognized in the Gospels (Matthew 21:38) where the contrast between 'the servants' (prophets) and 'the Son" is also marked. The heir as such vindicates his title to what he holds. 

The Heirship of 'the Son' was realized by the Son Incarnate (verse 4) through His humanity; but the writer speaks of 'the Son' simply as Son as being heir. In such language we can see the indication of the truth which is expressed by the statement that the Incarnation is in essence independent of the Fall, though conditioned by it as to its circumstances.

By whom he also made  =  "By also he made"
This order, which is certainly correct, throws the emphasis on the fact of creation, which answers to the appointment of the Son as heir (compare 6:7;7:25). The creation does indeed involve the consummation of things. (Genesis 1:26)

The world    (aion) ages  (Strong's #165)

'Periods of time,' and especially 'this age' and 'the age to come,' as though the sense were that God created through the Son - Who is supra - temporal - all time and times.
The successive emanations from the divine Being, as in the Gnostic (Egyptian movement) theologies; or the orders of finite being.
The sum of the 'periods of time' including all that is manifested in and through them. This sense appears first in Eccles. 3:11.

There can be little doubt that this is the right sense here. The universe may be regarded either in its actuarial constitution as a whole, or as an order which exists through time developed in successive stages. There are obvious reasons why the latter mode of representation should be adopted here.

The difference between - the age  (one part of the whole development) - and - the ages  (the sum of all the parts) - is well illustrated by the divine title 'the King of the ages' (I Tim. 1:17).

There is a very fine saying in (Aboth 4. Talmud)
"R. Jacob said  'This world is like a vestibule before the world to come: prepare thyself in the vestibule that thou mayest enter into the festival chamber'".

He made the worlds  -  The order of finite being even when it is regarded under the form of gradual development is spoken of as 'made' by a supra-temporal act.  'All creation is one act at once.'  

An example of this creative force:  when Jesus was in the boat and the storm was on them, He said "Peace be still" and the winds and waves obeyed His voice.

All things…the world…all single things regarded in their separate being: the cycles of universal life. For the fact of creation through the Son see John 1:3,10; I Cor. 8:6; Col. 1:16.

John 1:1-3
(1)  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
(2)  He was in the beginning with God.
(3)  All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.

John 1:10
He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.   (NKJV)

1 Cor 8:6
But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.   (KJV)

Col 1:16
For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:   (KJV)

Philo speaks of the Logos (Word) as  'the instrument through which the world was made.

Hebrews 1:3  -   The Nature and work of the Son

Top
Next Section
Previous Section

Translation of the Greek text according to Westcott:
"Who being [the] effulgence of [his] glory and [the] exact expression of substance his, and upholding all things by the word of his power, by himself [the] purification having made of sins our, sat down on [the] right hand of the greatness on high."

The Nature and work of the Son is presented in regard to

His divine Personality In Himself the Son is presented in His essential Nature,
As the manifestation of the divine attributes
(effulgence of glory)
He embodies personally the divine essence
(exact expression of substance)

In connection with this view of His Nature, His work is to bear all things to their true end (and upholding all things).

The Incarnation This general view of His work leads to the view of His work as Incarnate in a world marred by sin. In regard to this 
He is the One absolute Redeemer
(purification of sins having made
The Sovereign representative of glorified humanity
(sat down on right hand of the greatness on high)

The description of the Nature and Work of the Son of God in relation to the Father (spake in, appointed, made) given in the second verse is completed by a description of His Nature and Work in regard to Himself.

The description begins with that which is eternal. The Greek participles of speech 'being,' 'bearing' describe the absolute and not simply the present essence and action of the Son. Compare John 1:18; (3:13); Col. 1:15,17. The being in particular guards against the idea of mere 'adoption' in the Sonship, and affirms the permanence of the divine essence of the Son during His historic work.  (Compare Daniel 7:9, the Ancient of days, with Revelation 1:13-18 - the first and last who was dead and is now alive.)

Christ's absolute being is exhibited in two aspects:

The brightness of His glory
"Effulgence or outraying" accords better with the thought of the passage; for the writer is speaking of the preincarnate Son; and, as Alford justly remarks, "the Son of God is, in this his essential majesty, the expression and the sole expression of the divine light; not, as in his incarnation, its reflection." The consensus of the Greek fathers to this effect is of great weight.

The meaning then is, that the Son is the outraying (or portrayal) of the Divine Glory,  exhibiting in Himself the glory and majesty of the divine Being. 

"God lets his glory issue from himself, so that there arises thereby a light-being like himself" (Weiss). 

Glory - Doxa -  is the expression of the divine attributes collectively. It is the unfolded fullness of the divine perfections, differing from morfee Theou - "form of God" (Phil 2:6) -  in that morfee  is the immediate, proper, personal investiture of the divine essence.

doxa "is attached" to deity and is used of various visible displays of divine light and splendor, as in Exo. 24:17; Deut. 5:24; Exo. 40:34; Num. 14:10; 15:19,42; Ezek. 10:4; 43:4-5; 1:28; 3:23; Lev. 9:23, etc.
morfee is identified with the inmost being of deity

We come nearer to the sense of the word in this passage in the story of Moses' vision of the divine glory,   Ex 33:18-23; 34:5,7.
( "Lehrbegriff des Hebraerbriefes," 278, 300, 408, 412.)

The express image of  His person
charakteer tees hupostaseoos autou   "The very image (or impress) of his substance." 
The primary sense of hupostasis  (substance) is:  "something which stands underneath; foundation, ground of hope or confidence," and so, "assurance" itself.

In a philosophical sense, "substantial nature;"  the real nature of anything which underlies and supports its outward form and properties. 

It is used in the New Testament in 2 Cor 9:4; 11:17; Heb 3:14; 11:1, signifying in every instance "ground of confidence or confidence." 

In the Septuagint, it represents various different words:

Reference It means
Ruth 1:12; Ps 37:8; Ezek 19:5 "ground of hope"
Judg 6:4 "sustenance"
Ps. 38:5; 138:15 "the substance or material of the human frame"
1 Sam 13:23; Ezek 26:11 "an outpost or garrison"
Deut 11:6; Job 22:20 "possessions"

The theological sense, "person," is later than the apostolic age. Here, "substantial nature, essence.

Charakteer  from [charassein],  "to engrave" or "inscribe," originally "a graving-tool;" also the "die" on which a device is cut. It seems to have lost that meaning, and always signifies "the impression" made by the die or graver. Hence, "mark, stamp," as the image on a coin (so often) which indicates its nature and value, or the device impressed by a signet. 

The kindred charagma  "mark," Acts 17:29; Rev 13:16-17.   Here the essential being of God is conceived as setting its distinctive stamp upon Christ, coming into definite and characteristic expression in his person, so that the Son bears the exact impress of the divine nature and character.
(from Vincent's Word Studies of the New Testament, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

        The Express Image of the invisible God

At the same time the divine being of the Son can be represented to men only under human figures. Since this is so, the infinite truth must be suggested by a combination of complementary images such as are given here in (effulgence and exact expression). 

effulgence The first image brings out the conception of the source of the Son's Being, and of His unbroken connection with the Father, as revealing to man the fullness of His attributes.
exact expression The second image emphasizes the true Personality of the Son as offering in Himself the perfect representation of the divine essence of the Father (John 14:7-11).

John 14:7-11
(7)   "If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him."
(8)    Philip said to Him, "Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us."
(9)    Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, 'Show us the Father'?
(10)  Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works.
(11)  Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.    (NKJV)

Taken together the images suggest the thoughts presented by the theological terms 'coessential' and 'only-begotten'.

The 'glory' of God finds expression in the Son as its 'effulgence'
The 'essence' of God finds expression in Him as its 'type.'

Neither figure can be pressed to conclusions. The luminous image may be said to have no substantive existence. The express image may be offered in a different substance. So it is that

the first figure leaves unnoticed the Personality of the Son,
and the second figure the essential equality of the Son with the Father. 

But that which the one figure lacks the other supplies. We cannot conceive of the luminous body apart from the luminous image; and we cannot identify the archetype and its expression.

Under another aspect we observe that the Divine Manifestation is placed side by side with the Divine Essence.

It is in Christ that the Revelation is seen (effulgence).
It is in Christ that the Essence is made intelligibly distinct for man (exact expression).

The two truths are implied by the words of the Lord recorded in John's Gospel 5:19,30; 14:8-10.
John 5:19 (effulgence)
Then Jesus answered and said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.  (NKJV)
John 5:30 (effulgence)
I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.   (NKJV)
John 14:8-10 (exact expression)
(8)   "Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us."
(9)    Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, 'Show us the Father'?
(10)  Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me?   (NKJV)

For the pre-existence of the Son compare Hebrews 7:3; 10:5.

It must also be noticed that in the description of the Being of the Son, language is used which points to a certain congruity in the Incarnation. This is the 'propriety' of His Nature to perfectly reveal God. Through Him God reveals Himself outwardly.

Under this aspect the clause which describes the action of the Son - (and upholding all things by the word)-gives in its most general form the truth expressed in the divine acts.

The effulgence of His glory. The Vulgate states splendor glorice.
The verb has two distinct meanings:

To flash forth:  radiate.
To flash back:  reflect.

The noun effulgence, which is a characteristically Alexandrine word occurring in Wisdom (7:25) [a Jewish work], and in Philo [a Greek Historian], may therefore mean either:

The effulgence; or
The reflection (refulgence).

The passage in Wisdom (7:25) is capable of bearing either meaning. The threefold succession - effulgence, mirror, image, no less than v. 25, appears to favor the sense of 'effulgence.'

In this passage the sense reflection is quite possible, but it appears to be less appropriate, as introducing a third undefined notion of 'that which reflects.' Moreover the truth suggested by 'reflection' is contained in exact expression, to which 'effulgence' offers a more expressive complement; and the Greek Fathers with unanimity have adopted the sense effulgence according to the idea expressed in the Nicene Creed, Light of Light

It is indeed true that the sense of 'effulgence' passes into that of 'reflection' so far as both present the truth that it is through Christ that God becomes visible to man. But in the one case the nature of Christ is emphasized and in the other His office. The ''effulgence'' is the necessary manifestation of the luminous body: the 'reflection' is the manifestation through some medium as it takes place in fact.

Of His glory
The 'glory of God' is the full manifestation of His attributes according to man's power of apprehending them, 'all His goodness' (Exodus 33:19). This 'glory' was the subject of His crowning revelation as contemplated by the prophets (Isa. 'the glory of the Lord shall be revealed' and 'in Zion salvation, unto Israel my glory') and made known in Christ (2 Cor. 4:4,6: compare Rom. 9:23; I Tim. 1:11; John 11:40). It is the final light (Rev. 21:23) for which we look (Tit. 2:13; Rom. 5:2).

Under the Old Dispensation the Shekinah was the symbol of it: Ex. 24:16; Ps. 85:9. Compare Rom. 9:4; (2 Peter 1:17).

Exact expression of substance. The expression of His essence. Vulgate has:  figura (O.L. imago, v. character) substantiae. The Syriac has:  image of His essence.

The word exact expression is used from the time of Herodotus (i. 116) of the distinguishing features, material or spiritual, borne by any object or person; of the traits by which we recognize it as being what it is.

It is specially used for the mark upon a coin. (Eurip. 558 f.; arist. Pol. I.9) which determines the nature and value of the piece. In this connection exact expression is applied to the impression of the engraving on a die or seal which is conveyed to other substances ("Now are we the sons of God").

By a natural transition from this use, exact expression is applied to that in which the distinguishing traits of the object to which it is referred are found. ("They were first called Christians at Antioch") So Philo describes 'the spirit,' the essence of the rational part of man, as 'a figure and impress of divine power.' And Clement of Rome speaks of man as 'an impress of the image of God.' (See Genesis 1:26).

Generally exact expression may be said to be that by which anything is directly recognized through corresponding signs under a particular aspect, though it may include only a few features of the object. It is so far a primary and not a secondary source of knowledge. Exact expression conveys representative traits only. (See 2 Cor. 4:4; Col. 1:15; I Cor. 11:7; Col. 3:10) which gives a complete representation under the condition of earth of that which it figures.

There is no word in English which exactly renders it. If there were a sense of 'express' (i.e. expressed image) answering to 'impress,' this would be the best equivalent.

The Son (Jesus) is the express image of the invisible God, which no man could see or even comprehend, since God states that He fills the universe and that the earth is His footstool. Jesus brings the Divine (God) before us at once perfectly and definitely according to the measure of our powers of comprehension.

        The Express Image of His Person

And upholding (and so bearing….)
We now pass from the thought of the absolute Being of the Son to His action in the finite creation under the conditions of time and space.  The providential action of the Son is a special manifestation of His Nature:  what He does flows from what He is.

Bearing or guiding (upholding).
This present and continuous support and carrying forward to their end of all created things was attributed by Jewish writers to God no less than their creation - 'God, blessed be He, bears the world' (Shem. R. 36 referring to Isa.; compare Numbers 11:14; Deut. 1:9). The action of God is here referred to the Son (compare Col. 1:14-18).

Col 1:15-18
(15)  He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.
(16)  For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.
(17)  And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.
(18)  And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.    (NKJV)

The word bearing is not to be understood simply of the passive support of a burden (yet notice Heb. 13:13;12:20); "for the Son is not an Atlas sustaining the dead weight of the world."   It rather expresses that 'bearing' which includes movement, progress, towards an end. Gregory of Nyssa goes further, and understands bearing of the action by which the Son brings things into existence.

By the word
The expression of His (Christ's) power, the word in which His power finds its manifestation (compare Rev. 3:10 the word of my endurance (Patience).  As the world was called into being by an utterance of God (Heb. 11:3), so it is sustained by a like expression of the divine will. The choice of the term as distinguished from logos (word) marks, so to speak, the particular action of Providence. Gen. 1:3 And God said.

By himself
The pronoun naturally refers to the Son, not to the Father, in spite of the preceding clauses, from the character of the thought.

Having made  -  when He had made - purification of sins
This clause introduces a new aspect of the Son. He has been regarded in His absolute Nature, and in His general relation to finite being: now He is seen as He entered into the conditions of life in a world disordered by sin.

The completed atonement wrought by Christ (having made)  -  

Is distinguished from His eternal being and His work through all time in the support of created things (being, bearing);
And it is connected with His assumption of sovereign power in His double Nature at the right hand of God (having made….He sat…..). 

Thus the phrase prepares for the main thought of the Epistle, which is the High-priestly work of Christ, which is first distinctly introduced in Hebrews 2:17.

Heb 2:17
For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.   (NIV)

Christ Himself, in His own Person (Jesus), made the purification: He did not make it as something distinct from Himself, simply provided by His power. (compare Rom. 1:9; Eph. 1:16; I Tim. 2:1; Luke 5:33; Jn. 14:23). There is perhaps a reference to the imperfection of the Aaronic purification's (compare Lev. 16:30) which is dwelt upon afterwards in Heb. 10:1.

The genitive having made purification may express either:

The cleansing of sins, i.e. the removal of the sins. Compare Matthew 8:3; Job 7:21 (Ex. 30:10)
or
The cleansing (of the person) from sins. Compare Hebrew 9:15.

The former appears to be the right meaning.

Of our sins
The result of this 'purification' is the foundation of a 'Holy' Church (compare John 13:10). The hindrance to the approach to God is removed.  (Compare Col. 1:14; Eph. 1:7)

Sat down
Expresses the solemn taking of the seat of authority, and not merely the act of sitting. Mt. 5:1;19:28;25:31.
Compare Hebrew 8:1;10:12;12:2 also see Eph. 1:20 and Rev. 3:21. 

The phrase marks the fulfillment of Psalms 60:1 "The Lord said unto my Lord, sit Thou at My right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool." ; Matt. 22:44 and parallels; Acts 2:34; and so it applies only to the risen Christ. 
Angels are always represented as 'standing' (Isa. 6:2; I Kings 22:19) or falling on their faces:  compare Hebrews 10:11. 

Only princes of the house of David could sit in the court of the Temple (Biesenthal).  Hence 'the man of sin' so asserts himself: 2 Thess. 2:4. Bernard says in commenting on the title 'thrones' (Col. 1:16).

On [the] right hand
The idea is of dignity and not of place. All local association must be excluded. (Compare Eph. 4:10) We, as we at present are, are forced to think in terms of space, but it does not follow that this limitation belongs to the perfection of humanity.    (Heb 1:13)

This Session of Christ at the right hand of God (the greatness on high),- the figure is only used of the Incarnate Son - is connected with His manifold activity as:

King (Acts 2:33; Eph. 1:21; Col. 3:1; Heb. 10:12)
Priest (I Pet. 3:22; Heb. 8:1; Heb. 12:2)
Intercessor (Rom. 8:34). Compare Acts 7:55

It speaks of absolute power and authority.

And upholding all things  -  feroon te ta panta -  Render it: "maintaining."
"Upholding" conveys too much the idea of the passive support of a burden. "The Son is not an Atlas, sustaining the dead weight of the world" (Westcott).   Neither is the sense that of "ruling or guiding," as Philo (De Cherub. Section xi), who describes the divine word as "the steersman and pilot of the all."

It implies "sustaining," but also "movement."  It deals with a burden, not as a dead weight, but as in continual movement.  As Weiss puts it: "with the all in all its changes and transformations throughout the aeons."  It is concerned, not only with sustaining the weight of the universe, but also with maintaining its coherence and carrying on its development.

What is said of God (Col 1:17)  is here said or implied of Christ:  ta panta en autoo sunesteeken  "all things" (collectively, the universe) "consist or maintain their coherence in him." 

So the Logos is called by Philo "the bond (desmos)  of the universe;"  but the maintenance of the coherence implies the guidance and propulsion of all the parts to a definite end.

"All things" -ta panta - collectively considered;  the universe;  all things in their unity. See Heb 2:10; Rom 8:32; 11:36; 1 Cor 8:6; Eph 1:10; Col 1:16.

By the word of his power - too reemati tees dunameoos autou  
The phrase occurs only here in the New Testament, but compare Luke 1:37. 

"The word" is that in which the Son's power manifests itself.   Autou, "His," refers to Christ.  The world was called into being by the Word of God (Heb 11:3), and is maintained by him who is "the very image of God's substance."

When He had by Himself purged our sins - katharismon toon hamartioon poieesamenos

The King James Version follows the Textus Receptus  (di' heautou).  A similar thought is implied in the middle voice, poieesamenos, which indicates that the work of purification was done by Christ "personally," and was not something which he "caused to be done"  by some other agent.

"Purged," -  literally "having made purification."  The phrase occurs only here in the New Testament. The Septuagint, in Job 7:21  Katharismos  (purification) occurs in Mark, Luke, John, 2 Peter, and only here in Hebrews. 

The verb katharizein,  "to purify"  is not often used in the New Testament of cleansing from sin. (See 2 Cor 7:1; 1 John 1:7,9)   To cleanse (literally or figuratively).   The KJV has -(make) clean (-se), purge, purify: 

Of cleansing the conscience Heb 9:14
Of cleansing meats and vessels Matt 23:25-26; Mark 7:19; Acts 10:15; 11:9
Of cleansing the heart Acts 15:9

The meaning here is cleansing of the heart as in Acts 15:9 - cleansing of sins. 

In carrying on all things toward their destined end of conformity to the divine archetype, the Son must confront and deal with the fact of sin, which had thrown the world into disorder, and drawn it out of God's order. In the thought of making purification of sins is already foreshadowed the work of Christ as high priest, which plays so prominent a part in the epistle.
(from Vincent's Word Studies of the New Testament, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

Sat down on the right hand of the majesty  - ekathisen en dexia tees megaloosunees  
Compare Ps 110:1; Heb 8:1; 10:12; 12:2; Eph 1:20; Rev 3:21. 

The verb denotes a "solemn, formal" act;  the assumption of a position of dignity and authority. The reference is to Christ's ascension. In His exalted state He will still be bearing on all things toward their consummation, still dealing with sin as the great high priest in the heavenly sanctuary. (This is elaborated later. See Heb 8; 9:12ff.).

Megaloosunee  -  "majesty,"  is only here, Heb 8:1 and Jude 25.  Quite often used in the Septuagint. 
There is suggested, not a contrast with his humiliation, but his resumption of his original dignity, described in the former part of this verse.

on high  -  
En hupseelois,  -  "in the high places."  Interpret with "sat down,"  not with  "majesty."   The phrase occurs only here in the New Testament. The Septuagint it is found in: Ps 92:4; 112:5.

En tois hupsistois  -  "in the highest (places),"  See Matt 21:9; Mark 11:10; Luke 2:14.

En tois epouraniois -  "in the heavenly (places)," only in Ephesians. See Eph 1:3,20; 2:6; 3:10; 6:12.

(from Vincent's Word Studies of the New Testament, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

Hebrews 1:4  -   He is More Excellent

Top
Next Section
Previous Section

Translation of the Greek text according to Westcott:
"By so much better having become than the angels, as much as more excellent beyond them he has inherited a name."

The fourth verse forms a transition to the special development of the argument of the Epistle. The general contrast between 'the Son' as the mediator of the new revelation (Jer. 31:31) and 'the prophets' as mediators of the old, is offered in the extreme case. According to Jewish belief the Law was ministered by angels (Heb. 2:2; Gal. 3:19; comp. Acts 7:53), but even the dignity of these, the highest representatives of the Dispensation, was as far below that of Christ as the title of minister is below that of the incommunicable title of divine Majesty. (This thought is further developed in Heb. 1:5-2:18)

The abrupt introduction of the reference to the angels becomes intelligible both from

the function which was popularly assigned to angels in regard to the Law
and from the description of the exaltation of the Incarnate Son.

Moses alone was admitted in some sense to direct association with God (Numbers 12:8;Deut. 34:10).

Otherwise 'the Angel of the Lord'  was the highest messenger of revelation under the Old Covenant.  And again the thought of the Session of the Son on the Father's throne calls up at once the image of the attendant Seraphim (See Isa. 6:1; John 12:41; 4:2). 

(Note: Rev 22:3 "And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him." (NKJV)   I have read the end of the book and I find only One throne and only one that is to be served, and that's Him.)

The superiority of Messiah to the angels is recognized in Rabbinic writings. Jalkut Sim. 2, fol. 53,3 on Isa.52:13, "Behold my servant shall (deal wisely) prosper. This is King Messiah. He shall be exalted and extolled and be very high. He shall be exalted beyond Abraham, and extolled beyond Moses, and raised high above the ministering angels."  See also Jalkut Chadash f. 144,2. "Messiah is greater than the fathers, and than Moses, and than the ministering angels" (Schoettgen, i.p. 905).

The thought of the exaltation of the Incarnate Son fixes attention on His Manhood. Under this aspect He was shown to have become superior to angels in His historic work. And you could say that as the Logos or Word of God He created the angels, which also makes Him superior to the angels. And the glory of  'the name'  which He has 'inherited'  is the measure of His excellence. Compare Eph. 1:20.

Having become
The word stands in significant connection with being (verse 3). The essential Nature of the Son is contrasted with the consequences of the Incarnation in regard to His divine-human Person (compare Hebrews 5:9). His assumption of humanity, which for a time 'made Him lower than angels,' issued in His royal exaltation. Compare Matthew 26:64; Luke 22:69.

The Greek fathers rightly pointed out that having become is used of the Lord's Human Nature and not of His divine Personality.

More excellent  - beyond them…….a name.
The 'name of angels' is 'excellent'. More excellent means different, distinguished, for good from others; compare Matthew 12:12 (is better), but that inherited by the Son is 'more excellent'.

By the 'name' we are to understand probably not the name of 'Son' simply, though this as applied to Christ in His humanity is part of it, but the Name which gathered up all that Christ was found to be by believers:

Son
Sovereign and Creator
Lord of the Old Covenant

as is shown in the remainder of the chapter. Compare Phil. 2:9 (Eph. 1:21).

He has. The perfect lays stress upon the present possession of the 'name' which was 'inherited' by the ascended Christ.

Phil 2:9-11
(9)    Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
(10)  That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
(11)  And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father
KJV

That which had been proposed in the eternal counsel (verse 2 - he appointed) was realized when the work of redemption was completed (John 19:30 - it has been finished). The possession of the 'name' - His own eternally-  was, in our human mode of speech, consequent on the Incarnation, and the permanent issue of it.

In conclusion looking back over the view of the Lord's Person and Work given in Hebrews 1:1-4 we notice:

The threefold aspect in which it is regarded
The Eternal Being of the Son (being, upholding)
The temporal work of the Incarnate Son (purification having made, better having become)
The work of the Exalted Christ in its historical foundation and in its abiding issues (sat down, he has inherited)
The unity of Christ's Person
The continuity of the Person of the Son throughout is distinctly affirmed. He is One before the work of creation (see Rev. 3:14), and after the work of redemption. Traits which we regard as characteristic severally of His divine and of His human nature are referred to the same Person. This unity is clearly marked:
God spake in His Son,
Whom He appointed heir of all things,
Through Whom He made the world,
Who being….and bearing….
Having made purification….
Sat down,
Having become….
Even during His dwelling on earth, under the limitations of manhood, the activity of His divine Being (and upholding all things) was not interrupted; and His redemptive work must be referred to the fullness of His One Person
The unity of Christ's work
The Creation, Redemption, Consummation of all things are indissoluble connected. The heirship of Christ is placed side by side with His creative work. The exaltation of humanity in Him is in no way dependent on the Fall. The Fall made Redemption necessary, and altered the mode in which the divine counsel of love, the consummation of creation, was fulfilled, but it did not alter the counsel itself.

The detailed development is now introduced. The point is to show the superiority of the agent of the new dispensation to the agents of the old - the angels and Moses. Christ's superiority to the angels is first discussed.

Being made so much better than the angels  -  tosoutoo kreittoon genomenos toon angeloon
The informal and abrupt introduction of this topic goes to show that the writer was addressing Jewish Christians, who were familiar with the prominent part ascribed to angels in the Old Testament economy, especially in the giving of the law.

For "being made,"  render  "having become;"  which is to be taken in close connection with "sat down," etc., and in contrast with oon  "being,"  (Heb 1:3). 

It is not denied that the Son was essentially and eternally superior to the angels; 
But his glorification was conditioned upon his fulfillment of the requirements of his human state

And it is this that is emphasized. 

After having passed through the experience described in Phil 2:6-8, he sat down on the right hand of the divine majesty as messianic sovereign, and so "became or proved to be" what in reality he was from eternity:   superior to the angels

"better, superior"  Kreittoon  -  It does not indicate here "moral excellence," but "dignity and power."
He became superior to the angels, resuming his preincarnate dignity, as he had been. For a brief period, less or lower than the angels (Heb 2:7).  The superiority of Messiah to the angels was also affirmed in rabbinical writings.

He hath by inheritance obtained   -  kekleeronomeeken  
English Revised Version (1885):   "hath inherited,"  as a son.  (See Heb 1:2, and compare Rom 8:17). 

More excellent  -  diaforooteron
Used only once outside of Hebrews, Rom 12:6.  
In the sense of  "more excellent," only in later writers. Its earlier sense is "different."  The idea of difference is that which radically distinguishes it from kreittoon, "better."  The Son's name differs from that of the angels, and is more different for good.

Than they  -  par autous
Literally, "beside or in comparison with them."   Para, indicating comparison, occurs a few times in Luke, as Luke 3:13; 13:2; 18:4.  In Hebrews always to mark comparison, except Heb 11:11-12.
(from Vincent's Word Studies of the New Testament, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

What I have done is to lay a foundation in which to build upon.  Remember that this work was written to Israel so that instead of them saying  "We have Abraham to our Father"  they could see the salvation that comes only through the blood of the lamb of God,  Jesus who is indeed the Christ of God.

Hebrews 1: 5 & 6     The Essential Dignity of  the Son

Top
Next Section
Previous Section

Heb 1:5-9
(5)   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?
(6)   And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.
KJV

The superiority of the Son, the Mediator of the New Revelation, to Angels   (1:5-2:18)

The first main thought of the Epistle, which has been announced in verse 4, is unfolded in three parts.
It is established:

1. In regard to the Nature and Work of the Son, as the Mediator of the New Covenant, by detailed references to the testimony of Scripture (1:5-14).
2. It is then enforced practically by a consideration of the consequences of neglect (2:1-4).
3. And lastly it is shown that the glorious destiny of humanity, loftier that that of angels, in spite of the fall, has been fulfilled by the Son of Man (2:5-18).

The testimony of Scripture to the preeminence of the Son over angels (1:5-14).

The series of seven quotations which follows the general statement of the subject of the Epistle shows that the truths which have been affirmed are a fulfillment of the teaching of the Old Testament. The quotations illustrate in succession the superiority of the Son, the Mediator of the new Revelation and Covenant, over the angels, and therefore far more over the prophets:

(vv. 5,6) As son
(vv. 7-9). As 'heir of all things' 
(vv. 10-12) As 'creator of the world' 
(vv. 13,14) The last quotation presents the contrast between the Son and the angels in regard to the present dispensation. The issue of the Son's Incarnation is the welcome to sit at God's right hand in certain expectation of absolute victory, while the angels are busy with their ministries.

Vs 5 & 6  Translation of the Greek text according to Westcott:
"For to which said he ever of the angels, Son my art thou: I today have begotten thee? And again, I will be to him for Father, and he shall be to me for Son? And when again he bring in the first-born into the habitable world, he says, And let worship him all [the] angels of God."

The dignity of the Son as Son is asserted in three connections, in its:

Foundation (today have begotten thee)
Continuance (will be to him for Father)
Final manifestation (and when again he bring in)

The first two quotations are taken from Psalms 2:7 and 2 Samuel 7:14 (I Chron. 17:13). Both quotations verbally agree with the LXX, which agrees with the Hebrew.

The words of the Psalm are quoted again in Hebrews 5:5 and by Paul in Acts 13:33. And they occur in some authorities in Luke 3:22.

Both passages bring out the relation of 'the Son of David' to the fulfillment of the divine purpose. 
The promise in 2 Samuel 7:14 is the historical starting point. It was spoken by Nathan to David in answer to the kings expressed purpose to build a Temple for the Lord. This work the prophet said should be not for him but for his seed.  (Even though the writer was referring to Solomon the Jews of today apply it to the Messiah.)  The whole passage, with its reference to 'iniquity' and chastening, can only refer to an earthly king; and still experience showed that no earthly king could satisfy its terms. 

The kingdom passed away from the line of David.
The Temple was destroyed.
It was necessary therefore to look for another 'seed' (Isaiah 11:1; Jeremiah 23:5; Zech. 6:12): another founder of the everlasting Kingdom and of the true Temple.

Luke 1:32
He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David.    (KJV)

John 2:19
Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.  (KJV)

The Second Psalm represents the divine King under another aspect. He is not the builder of the Temple of the Lord, but the representative of the Lord's triumph over banded enemies. The conquest of the nations was not achieved by the successors of David. It remained therefore for Another. The partial external fulfillment of the divine prophecy directed hope to the future.

So it was that the idea of the Theocratic kingdom was itself  was understood as essentially Messianic;  and the application of these two representative passages to Christ depends upon the prophetic significance of the critical facts of Jewish history.

Deuteronomy 32 gives a prophetic history of the Course of Israel, issuing in the final and decisive revelation of Jehovah in judgment. When this revelation is made, all powers shall recognize His dominion, exercised, as the writer of the Epistle explains, through Christ. The coming of Christ is thus identified with the coming of Jehovah. Compare Luke 1:76; Acts 2:20,21.

In the Targum on Deut. 32:44 which bears the name of Jonathan Ben Uzziel there is the remarkable clause: 'He by His Word shall atone for His people and for His land.' It may be added that the thought, both in Deuteronomy and in the Psalm, is essentially the same. The Hymn and the Psalm both look forward to the time when the subordinate spiritual powers, idolized by the nations, shall recognize the absolute sovereignty of Jehovah.

Part of the same verse (Deut. 32:43) is also quoted by Paul in Romans. 15.

For to which said he ever
Or,  For to which…..said He at any time?  The use of the rhetorical question is characteristic of the style of the Epistle. Compare 1:14;2:2;3:16;7:11;12:7.

The subject of the verb is taken from the context. God is the Speaker in all revelation (v. 1). It has been objected that the title 'Son' is not limited to the Messiah in the Old Testament, but the objection rests upon a misunderstanding. The title which is characteristic of Messiah is never used of Angels or men in the Old Testament Scriptures.

Angels as a body are sometimes called 'sons of God' (Psalms 29:1; 89:6),  but to no one is the title 'Son of God' given individually in all the long line of revelation.  In like manner the title 'Son' was given to Israel as the chosen nation  (Hos. 11:1;Ex. 4:22),  but to no single Jew, except in the passage quoted, which in the original refers to Solomon as the type of Him who should come after.

Nor is it without the deepest significance that in these fundamental passages, Ps. 2:7, 2 Sam. 7:14, the speaker is 'the Lord' and not 'God.' The unique title of Christ is thus connected with God -

as:  He is the God of the Covenant, 
the God of Revelation
Jehovah, the Lord
and not as:  He is the God of Nature Elohim, God

Thou art my Son    -  Huiós mou eí sú  (Son, my art Thou)
The order is full of meaning. By the emphasis which is laid upon Son the relation is marked as peculiar and not shared by others.  Compare Psalms 88 & 89:27.

Today
The word both in its primary and in its secondary meaning naturally marks some definite crisis, as the inauguration of the theocratic king, and that which would correspond with such an event in the historic manifestation of the divine King. So the passage was applied to the Resurrection by Paul (Acts 13:33; compare Romans 1:4); and by a very early and widespread tradition it was connected with the Baptism  (Luke 3:22 ref. Cod. D; Just. M. Dial. C 88, and Otto's note).

Many however have supposed that 'today' in this connection is the expression for that which is eternal, timeless. This view is very well expressed by Primasius. Philo also recognizes the same idea.

Such an interpretation, however, though it includes an important truth, summed up by Origen in the doctrine of the eternal generation of the Son, appears to be foreign to the context.

Have begotten
The term marks the communication of a new and abiding life, represented in the case of the earthly king by the royal dignity, and in the case of Christ by the divine sovereignty established by the Resurrection of the Incarnate Son in which His Ascension was included (Acts 13:33; Rom. 1:4; 6:4; Col. 1:8; Rev. 1:5).

I will be…..for
The relation once established is to be realized in a continuous fulfillment. The future tense points to the coming Messiah from the position of the Old Testament prophet.

The title Father is applied to God here only in the Epistle.  It is remarkable that the title 'Father' is not applied to God in this Epistle except in the quotation found in Hebrews 1:5;  yet see Hebrews 12:9.

The writer proceeds to establish the superiority of the Son over the angels by Old Testament testimony.  

The seven following quotations are intended to show the surpassing excellence of Christ's name as set forth in Scripture.

Quoted In Quoted From The Quote
1. Heb 1:5 Psalm 2:7 Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee
2. Heb 1:5 2 Sam 7:14 I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son
3. Heb 1:6 Deut 32:43 And let all the angels of God worship him
4. Heb 1:7 Psalm 104:4 Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire.
5. Heb 1:8,9 Psalm 45:6,7 Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of thy kingdom.  Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.
6. Heb 1:10-12 Psalm 102:25-27 And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands:  They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment;  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.
7. Heb 1:13 Psalm 110:1 Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool?
(KJV)

First quotation  (from Ps 2:7)
The Psalm is addressed as a congratulatory ode to a king of Judah, declaring his coming triumph over the surrounding nations, and calling on them to render homage to the God of Israel. The king is called Son of Yahweh, and is said to be "begotten" on the day on which he is publicly recognized as king. Words of the same Psalm are quoted Acts 4:25, and these words Acts 13:33.

Thou art my Son
Note the emphatic position of huios - "son." 

In the Old Testament "son" is applied
applied to angels collectively (Ps 29:1; 89:6) but never individually
applied to the chosen nation (Ex 4:22; Hos 11:1) but to no individual within the nation

(from Vincent's Word Studies of the New Testament, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft) 

Have I begottengegenneeka
Recognized thee publicly as sovereign; established thee in an "official" sonship-relation. This official installation appears to have its New Testament counterpart in the resurrection of Christ. In Acts 13:33, this is distinctly asserted; and in Rom 1:4, Paul says that Christ was "powerfully declared" to be the Son of God by the resurrection from the dead. Compare Col 1:18; Rev 1:5.

NOTEOpinions differ as to the sense in which this expression is applied to the Messiah:
"the eternal generation of the Son:" 
by Origen, Athanasius, Lunemann, Alford, Bleek
"the generation of the Son in time:" 
by Chrysostom, Theodoret, Eusebius, Gregory of Nyssa
"the manifestation of Jesus to men as the Son of God:"
by DeWette
"the establishment of the Son as heir in the world to come."
by von Soden
"the resurrection"
by  Delitzsch, Westcott, Weiss, Calvin
According to these different explanations, seemeron - "today" - can signify:
eternity
the time of  "the incarnation"
the time of  "the first prophetic announcement of Christ as Son" 
the time of  "the ascension"

Second quotation   (from 2 Sam 7:14)
The reference is to Solomon. David proposes to build a temple. Nathan tells him that this shall be done by Solomon, whom Yahweh will adopt as his son. In 2 Cor 6:18, Paul applies the passage to followers of the Messiah, understanding the original as referring to all the spiritual children of David.

A father ... a son eis patera  ... eis huion . Literally: "for or as a father ... son."
This usage of eis - mostly in Old Testament citations or established formulas. See Matt 19:5; Luke 2:34; Acts 19:27; 1 Cor 4:3.
(from Vincent's Word Studies of the New Testament, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

vs 6:  But when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says: 
                     "Let all the angels of God worship Him."     (NKJV)

Third quotation   (from 2 Sam 7:14)
And when

Thoughts from B.F. Westcott

This third quotation is not a mere continuation (and again vs 5)  but a contrast (when).
It marks the relation of angels to the Son and not of the Son to God; and again it points forward to an end not yet reached.

And when again..he    The again has been taken

(1) as a particle of connection
In the first case it has received two interpretations
(a) again, as simply giving a new quotation as in the former clause. See Heb. 2:13;4:5;10:30. But it is fatal to view, which is given by Old Latin (deinde iterun cum inducit). The case with which we can introduce the word 'again' parenthetically hides this difficulty.
(b) On the other hand, in contrast. In this way again would serve to emphasize the contrast suggested by when. Compare Luke 6:43; Matt. 4:7; I John 2:8.
(2) as qualifying he brings in.
Such a use is not without parallels, Philo, Leg. Alleg. 3 & 9 (i. 93 M.) and the sense is perfectly consistent with the scope of the passage. It would leave the interpretation of 'the bringing in of the Son' undefined.

The advantage of taking again as 'on the other hand' is that the words then bring into one category the many preparatory introductions of the 'first-born' into the world together with the final one. But one main object of the Epistle is to meet a feeling of present disappointment. The first introduction of the Son into the world, described in verse 2, had not issued in an open triumph and satisfied men's desires, so that there was good reason why the writer should point forward specially to the Return in which Messiah's work was to be consummated. 

On the whole therefore the connection of again with he brings in seems to be the more likely construction. In any case the and he brings in must refer to this.

And…..he brings in. The Latin rendering cum introducit (inducit), which has deeply colored the Western interpretation of the phrase, is wholly untenable. In other places the construction is rightly rendered by the  Fut. Exact, see Matthew 5:11;19:28 and I Cor. 15:26.

In other words and…..he brings in must look forward to an event (or events) in the future regarded as fulfilled at a time (or times) as yet undetermined. In cannot describe an event or a series of events, already completed in the past.

We may, that is, when we render the phrase exactly 'whenever he shall have introduced,' contemplate each partial and successive introduction of the Son into the world leading up to the crowned by the one final revelation of His glory, or this final manifestation alone (compare Col. 3:4; 2 Thess. 1:10).

It follows that all interpretations which refer this second introduction of the Son into the world to the Incarnation are untenable. Nor indeed was the Incarnation in this connection the first introduction of Christ into the world. We must look for that rather in the Resurrection when for a brief space He was revealed in the fullness of His Manhood triumphant over death and free from the limitations of earth, having victoriously fulfilled the destiny of humanity. 

For the present He has been withdrawn from the habitable world, the limited scene of man's present labors; but at the Return He will enter it once more with sovereign triumph (See Acts 1:1`19:11-15).


The privileges and responsibilities of the firstborn son were distinctly recognized in the Old Testament

Deut. 21:1  inheritance
2 Chron. 21:3 kingdom

as they form a most important element in the primitive conception of the family, the true unit of society (Maine, Ancient Law 233ff.). The eldest son, according to early ideas, was the representative of his generation, by whom the property and offices of the father, after his death, were administered for the good of the family.

The title 'firstborn' was applied by Rabbinic writers even to God (Schottgen ad. Loc.) and to Messiah on the authority of Ps. Lxxxix. 27 (Shemoth R & 19, pp. 150 f. Wunsche). The wider sense of the term is suggested by its application to the Nation of Israel: Ex. 4:22; compare Jer. 31:9. He says - He saith, not he will say
The words already written find their accomplishment at that supreme crisis. The different tenses used of the divine voice in this chapter are singularly instructive:

1. The aorist tense - in verse 5 (said he)  marks a word spoken at a definite moment
2. The perfect tense - in verse 13 (said he) marks a word which having been spoken of old is now finding fulfillment
3. The present tense - In this verse  (He says or saith) regards the future as already realized

The contrast of He says and said he is seen clearly in John 15:15 (compare John 12:50).

And let worship.  And let…the conjunction suggests others who join in this adoration, or in some corresponding service of honor.

All angels. Biesenthal quotes a passage from the Jerus. Talmud (Avod. Zar. & 7) in which it is said that when Messiah comes the demons who had been worshipped among the Gentiles shall do Him homage, and idolatry shall cease. 

(from "The Epistle to the Hebrews, the Greek text with notes and Essays" by B.F. Westcott

Thoughts from Vincent

And again, when he bringeth in ...  hotan de palin eisagagee. Construe "again" with "bringeth in."
"When he a second time bringeth the first-begotten into the world."  Referring to the second coming of Christ.

Others explain "again" as introducing a new citation as in Heb 1:5; but this would require the reading palin de hotan  "and again, when." 

In Hebrews, palin, when joined to a verb, always means "a second time." (See Heb 5:12; 6:1-2)   It will be observed that in this verse, and in Heb 1:7-8, God is conceived as "spoken of" rather than as "speaking;"  the subject of legei  "saith"  being indefinite. This event is conceived as occurring at an indefinite time in the future, but is viewed as complete. Compare John 16:4; Acts 24:22. This use of hotan (NT:3752) with the aorist subjunctive never describes an event or series of events as completed in the past.

The first-begotten - ton proototokon   Occurs mostly in Hebrews. Compare Rom 8:29; Col 1:15,18; Rev 1:5. 

"only-begotten" -  monogenees  (John 1:14,18; 3:16,18; 1 John 4:9, ) describes the unique relation of the Son to the Father in his divine nature: proototokos  "first-begotten"  describes the relation of the risen Christ in his glorified humanity to man.

The comparison implied in the word is not limited to angels. He is the firstborn in relation to the creation, the dead, the new manhood, etc. See Col 1:15,18.  The rabbinical writers applied the title "first-born" even to God.  Philo ("De Confus. Ling." section 14) speaks of the Logos as   prootogonos or presbutatos huios  - "the firstborn" or "the oldest son."

"to do homage to" - Not necessarily of an act of religious reverence (see Matt 9:18; 20:20), but often in the New Testament in that sense. Usually translated "worship," whether a religious sense is intended or not.  The quotation is not found in the Hebrew of the Old Testament, but is cited literally from the Septuagint  (Deut 32:43).  It appears substantially in Ps 96:7. For the writer of Hebrews, the Septuagint was Scripture, and is quoted throughout without regard to its correspondence with the Old Testament Hebrew.

(from Vincent's Word Studies of the New Testament, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

We submit that time is not necessarily 'linear' in God. As Jesus said: "Before Abraham was, I am" (John 8:58). Here we see humanity in 'linear' time, whereas He was not.   In reference to the Son, the Father dictated that the angels would (both throughout 'linear' time, and before and beyond 'linear' time) honor, worship, give homage to the Son, and rejoice because of Him.   And we can do no less.

Hebrews 1:7-9   The Superior Dignity of the Son as Anointed King  ('Heir of All Things')

Top
Next Section
Previous Section

Heb 1:7-9
(7)  And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire.
(8)  But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of thy kingdom.
(9)  Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.
KJV

In the quotations already given we find the language of the Old Testament pointed to

a divine Son
a King of an everlasting Kingdom
a Conqueror
a Builder of an abiding Temple

In Jesus, the Messiah, the Son of God, such language was fulfilled only in Him.

Now he going to show the abiding royal glory of the Son - in contrast with the ministerial and transitory offices of angels.  Angels fulfill their work only through physical forces and 'natural' laws (see verse 7): the Son exercises a moral and eternal sovereignty (see verse 8); and in virtue of His own Character He (Jesus) receives the fullness of blessing (see verse 9). So He becomes 'heir of all things'.

And of the angels He says: 
"Who makes His angels spirits 
And His ministers a flame of fire." 
But to the Son He says: 
"Your throne, O God, is forever and ever;
A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your Kingdom. 
You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness;
Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You 
With the oil of gladness more than Your companions." 
NKJV

Translation of the Greek according to Westcott:
"And as to the angels he says, Who makes his angels spirits, and his ministers of fire a flame; but as to the Son, Thy throne, O God, [is] to the age of the age. A scepter of uprightness [is] the scepter of thy kingdom. Thou didst love righteousness and didst hate lawlessness; because of this anointed thee God thy God with [the] oil of exultation above thy companions."

The contrast between 'the angels' and 'the Son' is accentuated (as to….he who 3:4). 
The Septuagint Text (285 BC) has:  "Who maketh winds His messengers, and flaming fire His ministers".

Fourth quotation   (from Psalm 103:4)

"WHO MAKES HIS ANGELS WINDS, 
AND HIS MINISTERS A FLAME OF FIRE." 
(
NASB)

The words admit equally to be taken 'making winds his messengers (angels)' ('making his messengers out of winds'), and 'making his messengers (angels) winds'; but the order of the words and, on a closer view, the tenor of the Psalm are in favor of the second translation. The thought is that where men at first see only material objects and forms of nature there God is present, fulfilling His will through His servants under the forms of elemental action.

So Philo views the world as full of invisible life. In any case the LXX rendering is adopted by the writer of the Epistle, and this is quite unambiguous. The Greek words describe the mutability, the materiality, and transitoriness of angelic service which is placed in contrast with the personal and eternal sovereignty of the Son communicated to Him by the Father.

Who makes
The Greek Fathers lay stress on the word as marking the angels as created beings in contrast with the Son.

Spirits - Winds
The context imperatively requires this rendering. And the word winds is appropriate here. See Gen. 8:1; Ex. 15:10.

The reference to the 'winds' and the 'flame of fire' could not fail to suggest to the Hebrew reader the accompaniments of the giving of the Law (See Heb. 12:18). 

The variableness of the angelic nature was dwelt upon by Jewish theologians. Angels were supposed to live only as they ministered. In a remarkable passage of Shemoth R. (& 15, p. 107 Wunsche) the angels are represented as 'new every morning.' 'The angels are renewed every morning and after they have praised God they return to the stream of fire out of which they came (Lam. 3:23).' The same idea is repeated in many places, as, for example, at length in Bereshith R. & 78, pp. 378 f. (Wunsche).

Varies slightly from the Septuagint in substituting "a flame of fire" for "flaming fire."

Who maketh his angels spirits - ho poioon tous autou pneumata - For "spirits" render "winds."

Bleek, Ebrard, Lunemann, and Toy, render it: "who maketh winds his messengers and flames of fire his servants."  

This meaning is supported by the context of the Psalm, and by John 3:8. Pneuma is often used in this sense in Greek and Roman Classical authors. As well as in the Septuagint, 1 Kings 18:45; 19:11; 2K. 3:17; Job 1:19.

It is used as "Breath" in the New Testament  (2 Thess 2:8; Rev 11:11).  

In Hebrew, "spirit and wind" are synonymous. The thought is according to the rabbinical idea of the variableness of the angelic nature. Angels were supposed to live only as they ministered.

Thus, it was said: "God does with his angels whatever he will. When he wishes he makes them sitting: sometimes he makes them standing: sometimes he makes them winds, sometimes fire." "The subjection of the angels is such that they must submit even to be changed into elements." 

"The angel said to Manoah, `I know not to the image of what I am made; for God changes us each hour: wherefore then dost thou ask my name? Sometimes he makes us fire, sometimes wind.'" 

The emphasis, therefore, is not on the fact that the angels are merely servants, but that their being is such that they are only what God makes them according to the needs of their service, and are, therefore, changeable, in contrast with the Son, who is ruler and unchangeable. 

The Rabbis conceived the angels as perishable. One of them is cited as saying, "Day by day the angels of service are created out of the fire-stream, and sing a song, and disappear, as is said in Lam 3:23, `they are new every morning.'"
(from Vincent's Word Studies of the New Testament, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

But as to - or in reference to
The words in the Psalm are not addressed directly to the Son, though they point to Him.

Thy throne, O God
It is not necessary to discuss here in detail the construction of the original words of the Psalm. 
The LXX. has:  God is Thy throne ( or, Thy throne is God), that is 'Thy kingdom is founded upon God, the immovable Rock';  (Note the LXX   'Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever; the scepter of Thy kingdom is a scepter of rectitude.'  Psalms 45:6');  and to take O God as in apposition in the second clause.

The phrase 'God is Thy throne'  is in no way more strange than Psalms 71:3 [Lord] be Thou to me a rock of habitation….Thou art my rock and my fortress.

The LXX -  'Be Thou to me a protecting God, and a place of strength to save me; for Thou art my fortress and my refuge. (Psalms 71:3,4'). 
In Isaiah 24:4  In the Lord Jehovah is an everlasting rock.  (R.V.)

It is commonly supposed that the force of the quotation lies in the divine title (O God) which, as it is held, is applied to the Son. It seems however from the whole form of the argument to lie rather in the description which is given of the Son's office and endowment.

He has a dominion for ever and ever
The angels are subject to constant change
He - the Incarnate Son - fulfils a moral sovereignty and is crowned with unique joy
The angels work through material powers

And a scepter of uprightness
The and, which is not found in the LXX or the Hebrew, was probably added by the apostle to mark the two thoughts of

the divine eternity of Messiah's kingdom and
the essential uprightness with which it is administered.

Fifth quotation   (from Psalm 45:7-8)

A nuptial ode addressed to an Israelite king. The general sense is that the Messiah's kingdom is eternal and righteously administered.

Thy throne, O God - ho thronos sou ho theos  
The following translations have been proposed:

"thy throne (which is a throne) of God"
"thy throne is (a throne) of God"
"God is thy throne"

Forever and ever eis ton aioona tou aioonos  -  Literally,  "unto the aeon of the aeon."

A scepter of righteousnesshee rabdos tees euthuteetos -  Render it: "the" scepter.

Thou didst love - Thou lovest… 
The aorist tense (Greek figure of speech) of the LXX. Gives a distinct application to the present of the Hebrew.  The Son in His Work on earth fulfilled the ideal of righteousness; and the writer of the Epistle looks back upon that completed work now seen in its glorious issue.

Because of this - For this cause…. Therefore…. 
The words express the ground ('because thou lovest') and not the end ('that thou mightiest love'). Compare Heb. 2:1;9:15.

Anointed - Compare Luke 4:18 (Isa. 61:1); Acts 4:27;10:38.
This unction has been referred:

To the communication of royal dignity: I Sam. 10:1;16:12.
To the crowning of the sovereign with joy, as at the royal banquet. Isa. 61:3; comp. Acts 2:36.

The second interpretation is to be preferred. The thought is of the consummation of the royal glory of the Ascended Son of man rather than of the beginning of it.

God thy God 
The repetition of the divine Name has singular force: 'God, who has made Himself known as thy God by the fullness of blessings which He has given.'

Above thy companions -  above thy fellows
The Vulgate has: prae participibus tuis  (above all who share the privilege of ministering to the fulfillment of God's will by His appointment." 
There is no limitation to any sphere of being or class of ministers; but of men it is specially declared that Christ has made believers 'a kingdom of priests' (See Rev. 1:6; compare Matt. 25:34).
They too have received 'an unction' (I John 2:20). Compare 2 Cor. 1:21; Rom. 8:17; 2 Tim. 2:12.

Iniquityanomian  -  Literally, "lawlessness."

Hath anointed  -  echrisen 
The ideas of the royal and the festive unction are combined. The thought includes the royal anointing and the fullness of blessing and festivity which attend the enthronement.

Oil of gladness  -  elaion agalliaseoos
The phrase occurs only here in the New Testament.  

Agalliasis  - "exultant" joy. ( Luke 1:44; Acts 2:46), and the verb agalliasthai  (Matt 5:12; Luke 10:21). 

Fellowsmetochous 
It is found here and in Luke 5:7.   Literally, "partakers."   Also translated "companions".
In the Psalm it is applied to other kings; here it is applied to angels.

Hebrews 1:10-12    The Superior Dignity of The Son as Creator In Contrast with Creation
('Through Whom He made the World')

Top
Next Section
Previous Section

Heb 1:10-12
(10)  And: 
"You, LORD, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands. 
(11)  They will perish, but You remain; And they will all grow old like a garment; 
(12)  Like a cloak You will fold them up, And they will be changed.  But You are the same,  And Your years will not fail." 
NKJV

A new quotation adds a fresh thought. "The exalted king, who is truly man, is also above all finite beings."  The words are taken from Psalms 102:25-27 ('Thou Lord, in the beginning didst lay the foundations of the earth; and the heavens are the work of Thy hands. They shall perish; but Thou wilt endure: they shall all wax old like a garment; and like a mantle Thou wilt fold them up and they shall be changed: but as for Thee, thou art the same; and Thy years shall have no end.')  LXX.

The name in the Psalm is the special name of God that is spoken only on the day of atonement (
YHWH). 
The insertion of Lord therefore emphasizes the thought that the majestic picture of divine unchangeableness belongs to God as He has entered into Covenant with man.

The Psalm itself is the appeal of an exile to the Lord, in which out of the depth of distress he confidently looks for the personal intervention of Jehovah for the restoration of Zion. The application to the Incarnate Son, of words addressed to Jehovah (see verse 6),  rests on the essential conception of the relation of Jehovah to His people.

The Covenant leads up to the Incarnation (God in Christ). And historically it was through the identification of the coming of Christ with the coming of 'the Lord' that the Apostles were led to the perception of His true Divinity. Compare Acts 2:16,21,36; 4:10,12;9:20.

The conception of the God of Israel was enlarged; and the revelation of God as

Jehovah,
the God of the Covenant,
the God Who enters into fellowship with man,

was found to receive its consummation in the mission of the Son.
Westcott

Col 1:14-19
(15)  Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:
(16)  For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
(17)  And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
(18)  And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.
(19)  For it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell;
KJV

I believe that the Creative force of God which is the Word, created all things and became man in order  to redeem mankind from sin and death.  (Paul the Learner)

Translation of the Greek according to Westcott:
Heb 1:10-12
"And, Thou in the beginning, Lord, the earth didst found, and works of thy hands are the heavens. They shall perish, but thou continuest; and [they] all as a garment shall grow old and as a covering thou shalt roll up them, and they shall be changed; but thou the same art, and thy years not shall fail."

And
The connection of this passage with the former is very close although it introduces a new idea. Compare Acts 1:20. God through His Spirit so speaks in the Psalmist that words not directly addressed to Christ find their fulfillment in Him.

Thou…..Lord
It has been already noticed that the thou is brought forward by the writer of the Epistle, and the Lord added to the original text in the LXX.  It is significant as definitely connecting the thought of divine immutability with the thought of the divine revelation consummated in the Incarnation.

Sixth quotation   (from Psalm 102:25-27)

Exhibiting the superior dignity of the Son as creator in contrast with the creature.  The Psalm declares the eternity of Jehovah.

And ... in the beginningkai ... kat' archas "
And" connects what follows with "unto the Son he saith," etc.

1:11 They] The heavens are taken as representing the whole visible universe.

Shall perish] The idea, as it is afterwards developed (Heb. 12:26), is of change, transfiguration, and not of annihilation: Isaiah 51:6,16; 65:17;66:22; 2 Pet. 3:13; Rev. 20:11.

Continuest] The present is more expressive. The compound marks continuance throughout some period or crisis suggested by the context: Luke 1:22; 22:28; 2 Pet. 3:4; Gal. 2:5.

All 
The thought appears to be of sphere succeeding sphere in increasing purity and therefore in increasing permanence: but all alike are subject to time and to decay.

Shall grow old] See Heb. 8:13; Luke 12:33; Isa. 50:9; 51:6; Ecclus. 14:17.

They  -  autoi  -   The heavens: not heaven and earth.

Remainest diameneis   
Note the present tense: not "shalt remain."   Permanency is the characteristic of God in the absolute and eternal present.

A covering - A mantle. 
The word suggests a costly robe: Judges 8:26; Ezekiel 27:7. Compare I Cor. 11:15.

The same -  The Greek is simply 'Thou art He.'

Vesture  -  peribolaion  -   "to throw around: a wrapper, mantle."

Shalt thou fold them up  -  helixeis autous  -   "roll" them up. 

Shall not fail ouk ekleipsousin  -  Shall not be ended

Hebrews 1:13 & 14   The Superior Dignity of the Son as Seated in Royal Majesty

Top
Previous Section

Heb 1:13,14
(13)  But to which of the angels has He ever said: 
"Sit at My right hand,
Till I make Your enemies Your footstool"? 
(14)  Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?
NKJV

Translation of the Greek text by Westcott:
"But as to which of the angels said he ever, Sit at my right hand until I place thine enemies [as] a footstool for feet thy? Not all are they ministering spirits, for service being sent forth on account of those being about to inherit salvation."

Seventh quotation   (from Psalm 110:1) 

The comparison of the Son with angels is completed by the development of the idea contained in the fact of the Session of the Son at the right hand of the Father. This idea is conveyed by the opening words of Psalms 110:1 and is spread throughout the New Testament: Matthew 22:23 and parallels; Acts 2:34. See also Heb. 10:13; I Cor. 15:25; I Pet. 3:22. The Psalm (110) is quoted again in Heb. 5:6; 7:17,21.

But as to which  -  But of which
The writer appears to turn aside from the contemplation of the unchangeableness of God seen in the Person of Jesus Christ to the thought of the conflict between good and evil wrought out in time. Here also the supreme eminence of the Son is conspicuous. The language used of Him has been used of no angel. He serenely waits for a sure and absolute victory while they (angels) are busied with ministerial offices.

Sit  -  kathou  Or "be sitting,"
The verb marks the continuance of the Session as distinguished from the assumption of the place (v. 3 sat down). Compare Luke 22:69. For the image see Zech. 6:13; Schottgen on Matthew 22:44.

At my right hand  -  ek dexioon mou  -  Literally, "from my right hand."
The meaning is, "be associated with me in my royal dignity." Compare Dan 7:13-14, and the combination of the Psalm and Daniel in Christ's words, Mark 14:62. Compare also Matt 24:30; Acts 2:34; 1 Cor 15:25; 1 Peter 3:22.

The "right hand" speaks of both power and authority.

Footstool  -  speaks of dominance.
Jesus is at the "right hand" of the Father - total authority has been given Him over all things created by God.
The enemies of Christ are totally defeated and are under his feet  (see Eph 1:22).

All  -   Whatever differences of rank and dignity there may be among them (angels), all are alike in this.

For service being sent 
Sent forth for ministry as each occasion arises. The difference between the general office of the angels as spirits charged with a social ministry (v. 7 his ministers), and the particular services  (Heb. 6:10 having served) in which it is fulfilled, is clearly marked.

Herveius (and so Primasius) shows how the angels, even on their missions, remain in the presence of God:

On account of those being about to
The service is rendered to God for the sake of believers. The use of on account indicates a wider relation. Compare Heb. 6:7 and contrast this with Heb. 6:20. The difference of idea is seen in Col. 4:3 compared with Eph. 6:20.

Inherit salvation 
Compare Heb. 12:17; (I Pet. 3:9). See also Matthew 19:29 (eternal life); Luke 10:25; 18:18; Matthew 25:34; I Cor. 6:9; Gal. 5:21 (the kingdom); I Cor. 15:50 (incorruption).

'Salvation,' like 'eternal life,' is at once present and future: Heb. 5:9; 9:28.

Salvation is contemplated in its essential character, and not in the concrete form of the expected and promised Salvation. See Acts 4:12; John 4:22.

Primasius refers the words to the belief  ('as the doctors say') that to each of the faithful a guardian angel is assigned 'from his birth or rather from his baptism'.

Ministering spiritsleitourgika pneumata 
Summing up the function of the angels as compared with Christ. Christ's is the highest dignity. He is co-ruler with God. The angels are "servants," appointed for service to God for the sake of dia - the heirs of redemption. 

THE DIVINE NAME IN HEBREWS

The Names by which the Lord is spoken of in the Epistle throw light upon its characteristic teaching. Speaking generally we may say that Jesus directs our thoughts to His human Nature.

Christ  to His Work as the Fulfiller of the old Dispensation
Son to His divine Nature
Lord to His sovereignty over the Church

Distinctive of the Epistle is the Name: Jesus.
This occurs nine times, and in every case it furnishes the key to the passage where it is found.

1. Heb 2:9  Jesus Was made a little lower than the angels Taste death for every man
2. Heb 3:1  Jesus Apostle and High Priest Of our profession
3. Heb 6:20 Jesus High Priest forever After the order of Melchizedek
4. Heb 7:22  Jesus A Guarantee Of a better Covenant
5. Heb 10:19  Jesus The Door Through which we enter into the Holiest by His Blood
6. Heb 12:2 Jesus Author and Finisher of our Faith Endured the Cross
Scorned the Shame
Sat down on the right hand of God
7. Heb 12:24 Jesus Mediator of the New Covenant Speaks of better things
8. Heb 13:12 Jesus Suffered outside the gate That He might Sanctify the people
9. Heb 13:20 Jesus Great Shepherd Through the blood of the Everlasting Covenant

End of Lesson One

 


Home First
Covenant
Second
Covenant
Topical
Studies
Table of
Contents
Top