The Letter to the Hebrews
Chapter 1
Copyright ©2004, Charles Hess, Ridgefield, Washington

The first chapter[ 1 ] of Hebrews recounts the spectacular revelation of God through His Son Jesus Christ. It teaches that Jesus is God the Son, that He is superior to angels and prophets such as Moses. He created the worlds. He is eternal. He purged our sins via the cross (see chart HEBREWS 1 OUTLINE).


    1. God speaks through His Son Jesus Christ
    (Heb 1:1, 2a).
    2. Jesus is superior to prophets (Heb 1:1b).
    3. Jesus created and is owner of the worlds
    (Heb 1:2, 10-12).
    4. Continues to uphold the universe (Heb 1:3).
    5. Made purification for man's sins (Heb 1:3, 4).
    6. Above angels who worship Him (Heb 1:4-7).
    7. He is eternal (Heb 1:10-12).


1:1, 2 God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds.

God.[ 2 ] The God who spoke to the fathers by OT prophets is the same God who is the author of His final revelation through Jesus Christ. The divine Author of the OT is also the Author of the NT (see 2Ti 3:16, 17). The next several verses show the very high regard that God had for His Son Jesus Christ in creation, redemption and His heavenly reign.

Who at various times [having of old time, in many ways of old, who at sundry times, in former times].[ 3 ] The Holy Spirit recalls how revelation was given in the distant past. Those who say the old is not best are right in this instance. Although both testaments are inspired, the NT of Christ is much better than the OT.

And in various ways [and many ways, in, by, divers manners, portions, in many parts, various ways].[ 4 ] The Greek actually implies that OT revelation to the patriarchs and prophets was given in many parts. The same idea was expressed by Isaiah.

God's message through the prophets varied according to circumstances, the degree of faithfulness of the hearers and their ability to receive it. It was given by many different methods and procedures and styles. Some of His revelation was non-verbal. For example, he communicated with signs (Ex 4:8; 8:23), by a flood, a rainbow, a pillar of salt, a pillar of cloud and fire (Ex 13:21, 22).

Spoke in time past to the fathers [having spoken, spoken unto our, the, fathers].[ 5 ] The Jews probably understood the "fathers" to begin with father Abraham (compare Lu 3:8; 16:24, 30; 19:9) and come down to Malachi (about 450 BC) or perhaps or even to Simon the Just (about 300 BC). God spoke by the prophets, sometimes using angels.[ 6 ] The word "spoken" implies verbal inspiration (see notes on 1Co 2:13; 2Ti 3:16, 17). God spoke words to the prophets. The fact that He spoke tells us that He is much more than a force. He is an intelligent, personal Being. It is marvelous beyond comprehension that He spoke to mankind! Suppose He had not. What darkness there would be in the world if He had forgotten His creatures and never communicated with them?


    (Heb 1:1)

    1. Seed of woman to bruise serpent's head (Ge 3:15).
    2. Through Abraham's seed all nations to be blessed (Ge 12:1-3).
    3. Scepter not to depart from Judah until Shiloh
    (the Pacificator) would come (Ge 49:10).
    4. A Prophet like Moses to require obedience
    (De 18:18).
    5. Would suffer (Ps 22:11-21; Isa 53).
    6. Would be raised (Ps 16:7-11).
    7. Would reign as King and Priest (Ps 110; Zec 6:13).

By the prophets [in the prophets].[ 7 ] The prophets were "forth-tellers"[ 8 ] of what God spoke. We may infer from Jeremiah 23:18, 22 that the prophets, at least at times, stood in the heavenly council and then announced God's words to His people.


    (Heb 1:1)

    1. Angels speaking (Ge 19:11).
    2. Dreams (Ge 28:10-17).
    3. Visions (Ge 46:2; Da 10:7).
    4. Speaking out of burning bush (Ex 3:2-4).
    5. Audible words from God to Moses in storm and thunder (Ex 19:19; De 5:22-24).
    6. Urim and Thummim (Ex 28:30; Le 8:8).


    (Heb 1:1)

    1. An animal speaking (Nu 22:28-30).
    2. Trance (Nu 24:3, 15).
    3. Writing on stone (De 10:2, 4).
    4. To Elijah in a still small voice (1Ki 19:12).
    5. In "the waters of Shiloah that flow softly" and "the waters of the River, strong and mighty
    (Isa 8:6, 7).
    6. Type and antitype (1Pe 3:21).

Has in these last days [hath at the end of these days, in, but in, these last days].[ 9 ] The book of Hebrews alludes to both the OT period and the NT period (see charts TIME DESIGNATIONS A and B). The phrase "in these last days" means more than "recently."[ 10 ] It is a literal rendering of the Hebrew phrase used in the OT to denote the epoch when the words of the prophets would be fulfilled. The appearance of Christ "once at the end of the ages" began the time of fulfillment (Heb 9:26). It is significant that the prophecies were being fulfilled at the very time when God was still revealing His word to mankind. Soon after that, prophecies were done away. That is, after the first century they ceased to be revealed to inspired men (1Co 13:8).


    (Heb 1:1, 2)

    1. These last days (Heb 1:2; compare 8:13).
    2. The present time, the present season (Heb 9:9).
    1. The world to come (Heb 2:5).
    2. The age to come (Heb 6:5).
    3. Time of reformation (Heb 9:10).
    4. A continuing city, the one to come (Heb 13:14).



    (Heb 1:1, 2)

    1. Eternal salvation (Heb 5:9).
    2. This hope both sure and steadfast and
    which enters the Presence within the veil
    (Heb 6:19).
    3. A better and enduring possession in heaven
    (Heb 10:34).

Spoken to us [spake, hath, has, he has, spoken unto us].[ 11 ] Christ's personal ministry occurred during the latter years that the OT Law was in force (see Col 2:14-16). He gave the words of God to the apostles (Joh 17:8). Through their writings and those of other inspired men, He speaks to us throughout the present age (Joh 16:13; Heb 2:1-4; 3:5-8; 4:8; 12:25; 1Pe 1:25).

By His Son [in His Son, by a son, by the Son].[ 12 ] Much of Hebrews deals with Christ as high priest (see Heb 4:14-10:18) but He was first a Son (see Ro 8:17; Ga 4:7; Heb 4:14-10:18). As a Son, He has a Father. A basic characteristic of the Father is Deity. The Son also possesses that. The Son is greater than the OT prophets. The Father said on the mount of Transfiguration, "This is my beloved Son, hear Him" (Mt. 17:5). Nevertheless, numerous Jews rejected Christ. Some of them said in derision, "We know that God spoke to Moses; as for this fellow, we do not know where He is from" (Joh 9:29).

There have been two basic types of God's revelation: (1) OT revelation to the fathers by the prophets, and (2) NT revelation by His Son. Although God spoke in many ways, disclosure of His will in the OT was primarily a prophet-revelation. The NT is a Son-revelation. The revelation of the Light of the world in the NT is brighter and better (see Joh 8:12; 9:5). The Holy Spirit guided the apostles into all truth (Joh 16:13).


    (Heb 1:2)

    1. Heir of all things (Heb 1:2).
    2. Through him God made the worlds (Heb 1:2).
    3. The brightness of God's glory (Heb 1:3).
    4. Express image of the Father's person (Heb 1:3).
    5. Upholds all things by word of His power
    (Heb 1:3).


    (Heb 1:2)

    1. Made purification for sins (Heb 1:3).
    2. Sits at right hand of Majesty on high (Heb 1:3).
    3. Anointed with oil of gladness; Spirit without measure; King on His heavenly throne
    (Heb 1:9; Joh 3:34).
    4. Eternal, before creation and after world's end
    (Heb 1:10-12).

Whom He has appointed heir of all things [whom he appointed, hath appointed, heir of everything].[ 13 ] God said to Christ:

Christ has all authority (Mt 28:18). In His prayer to the Father, He acknowledged that He possessed all things.

In the present context, particular attention is called to His possession of what is termed "the world to come" (Heb 2:5; see chart TIME DESIGNATIONS).

Through whom also He made the worlds [by whom also, and through whom, he created the world].[ 14 ] The AIOONAS worlds include everything mentioned in Hebrews 11:3.[ 15 ] Christ made at least the entire space-time universe. Many students think the wisdom the LORD possessed "at the beginning of His way before His works of old" was none other than Christ Jesus (see Pr 8:22).


    (Heb 1:2)

    1. Let us make man (Ge 1:26; 3:22).
    2. The Lord by wisdom founded the earth: by
    understanding He established the heavens
    (Pr 3:19).
    3. He is the Maker of all things . . . the LORD
    of hosts is His name (Isa 40:28).
    4. The everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of
    the ends of the earth (Jer 10:16).


    (Heb 1:2)

    1. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made (Joh 1:3).
    2. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth (Col 1:16).
    3. The Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God (Re 3:14).


    (Heb 1:3)

    1. The glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud
    (Ex 16:10).
    2. The sight of the glory of the LORD was like
    a consuming fire on the top of the mountain
    (Ex 24:17; see Le 9:23).
    3. The glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle
    (Ex 40:34; see Nu 14:10; 16:19, 42).
    4. Surely the LORD our God has shown us His
    glory and His greatness, and we have heard
    His voice from the midst of the fire
    (De 5:24).


1:3 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 at the right hand of the Majesty on high.

Who being [He reflects, He is, and he is].[ 16 ]

The brightness [the effulgence, the radiance].[ 17 ] Some say Christ radiates from within the glory of God. Others say He only reflects it. Since He is the exact image of God's substance, no doubt, the former view is correct. F. F. Bruce opined:

Christ, the very brightness and radiance of God, has power to create and sustain. He also made purification for sins.

Of His glory [of God's glory, the glory of God][ 19 ] (see charts GOD'S GLORY; GLORY OF GOD AND CHRIST).


    (Heb 1:3)

    1. Like the appearance of a rainbow in a cloud
    on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the brightness all around it. This was the
    appearance of the likeness of the glory of
    the LORD (Eze 1:28; compare 3:23).
    2. Then the glory of the LORD went up from the cherub, and paused over the threshold of the temple; and the house was filled with the
    cloud, and the court was full of the
    brightness of the LORD'S glory
    (Eze 10:4; see 43:4, 5).
    3. And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with
    You before the world was
    (Joh 17:5; compare 17:1, 24).

And the express image of His person [and the likeness, very image, bears the very stamp, exact representation, of his substance, nature, essence].[ 20 ] Jesus obtained purification for sins. He sat down on the right of the Majesty on high. Christ, Immanuel, God with us, serves as the foundation of all that is God to His people (see Mt 16:18; 1Co 3:11). When folk saw Jesus, they saw the Father, for He revealed Him (Joh 14:7-11). In a limited understanding of deity, one may say that Jesus is just like His Father. He is an eternal clone of Him. He is, literally, the imprint of the Father.[ 21 ] He is the impress of His being. This nearly describes what CHARAKTEER image means. Another word EIKON image is used of Christ being the image of God (see 2Co 4:4; Col 1:15). W. E. Vine wrote:

Man was made in the image of God ("Our image" Ge 1:26). "Our" suggests something of the plural nature of God. This, compared with Hebrews 1:3, implies that Christ and the Father are of the same image. Jesus said to Philip:

HUPOSTASEOOS may be translated "nature" or "substance." "Hypostasis" is an anglicized form. The plural is "hypostases." The anglicized word is sometimes used to describe the Father, the Son or the Holy Spirit. The use of the transliterated Greek word may be confusing to the student but person, personality and manifestation may be just as perplexing. Probably none of these words absolutely and correctly expresses a flawless explanation. An example of an attempt to explain God follows:

And upholding all things [and upholds, He is bearing, the universe].[ 24 ] Not only is Christ the Creator, he actively bears up or upholds the universe. Continually and developmentally He sustains it as well as His people.

By the word of His power [by his word of power, by the power of his word].[ 25 ] Not only were the worlds "framed" by the word of God (Heb 11:3), the universe is maintained by the word of His power. "And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist" (Col 1:17). All things in the universe consist, hold together or maintain their concord and coherence in Him. He moves and guides all parts of the cosmos toward a defined end (see Ro 8:32; 11:36; 1Co 8:6; Eph 1:10; Col 1:16, 17; Heb 2:10). The second law of thermodynamics[ 26 ] does not always apply in closed systems, especially with respect to living organisms (see Ps 103:5; 104:30; Isa 40:31). It does not apply to the continued care of our Savior nor of the final resurrection.

When He had by Himself purged our sins [when he had made, having obtained the, purification of, for, sins].[ 27 ] The greatest disorder and confusion in the created world is due to sin. The same Christ who guides and upholds all things dealt with that great problem when He died on the cross. The Greek emphasizes that He Himself personally accomplished the work of purification of sins. He made one sacrifice. He then presented to God the life that represented His own blood (see Heb 9:24). In heaven, He continues to intercede (Heb 7:25) but He does not continue to make purification for sins. That was done once and for all and for all time. By it, Christians are continually forgiven (1Jo 1:7).

Christ is the only one who can save from sin (Ac 4:12). No one is redeemed apart from His blood. E. A. Hoffman asked a pertinent question when he wrote the song:


    (Heb 1:3)

        THE BIBLE:

    1. Christ is not now
        1. Christ is now reigning

            (1Co 15:25).

    2. Christ will begin His
        2. Christ will end His

    reign at His return.
        reign at His return

                (1Co 15:28).

    3. Christ will establish a
      3. Christ's kingdom will

    kingdom at His return.
      terminate at His return

                (1Co 15:24).

    (Woods 2.116, 117)

Sat down at the right hand [he sat down on the right, on the right hand].[ 28 ] In a magnificent psalm, Christ's return to heaven is foretold.

Another psalm gives the duration of His reign.

After Christ ascended, He sat down on the right hand of God (Ps 110:1; see also Mk 16:19; Lu 22:69; Ac 7:55; Ro 8:34; Eph 1:20; Col 3:1; Heb 8:1; 10:12; 12:2; 1Pe 3:22; Re 3:21). By way of summary, Christ is the spokesman for God. He is Creator and Sustainer of the universe. He gave His life's blood for the purification of sins where He also reigns at the right hand of God. In heaven also as high priest He intercedes for His people.

Of the Majesty on high.[ 29 ] Christ, the agent of creation through whom God speaks today, is reintroduced (see note on verse 2). His greatness is discussed further in Hebrews 1:4-4:13. That He should sit on the right hand of the Majesty on high implies the very highest possible glorification for Him.


    (Heb 1:3)

    1. A description of God the Father.
    a. Power
    b. The Majesty in the heavens (Heb 8:1).
    c. To God our Savior, who alone is wise, be
    glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever (Jude 25).
    2. Hereafter the Son of Man will sit on the right
    hand of the power of God (Lu 22:69; compare
    (Mk 14:62).
    3. After His ascension, Christ resumed the
    glorious position He had with the Father prior
    to His incarnation (Joh 17:1, 5).
    4. But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of
    God (Heb 10:12).


    (Heb 1:3)

    1. God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ (Ac 2:36).
    2. Ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things (Eph 4:10).
    3. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and
    given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of
    those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the
    glory of God the Father (Php 2:9-11).


    (Heb 1:4)

    1. Christ is so much better than the angels (Heb 1:4).
    2. Convinced of better things concerning you
    (Heb 6:9).
    3. Lesser is blessed by the greater (Heb 7:7).
    4. Bringing in of a better hope (Heb 7:19).
    5. A surety of a better covenant (Heb 7:22).


    (Heb 1:4)

    1. Better covenant established on better promises
    (Heb 8:6).
    2. Better sacrifices (Heb 9:23).
    3. Better possession, an abiding one (Heb 10:34).
    4. A better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for
    He has prepared a city for them (Heb 11:16).
    5. A better resurrection (Heb 11:35).


    (Heb 1:4)

    1. He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they (Heb 1:4).
    2. Angels worship Him (Heb 1:6).
    3. Christ is superior to angels who are winds or spirits, pure, immune to human weaknesses (Heb 1:7).
    4. Christ excels angels who are so strong that enemies melt like wax before fire (Heb 1:7).
    5. The Father called Christ "God" [not angels]
    (Heb 1:8).
    6. Angels are sent forth to minister; Christ reigns
    at the right hand of God (Heb 1:7, 8, 13, 14).


1:4 Having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.

Having become [being, being made].[ 30 ] Prior to His incarnation, Jesus was superior to the angels. During His pilgrimage on earth, He was made lower than they (see note on Heb 2:7).[ 31 ]


    (Heb 1:4)

    1. An angel appeared to Joseph in a dream
    (Mt 1:20; 2:13, 19).
    2. The angel Gabriel appeared to Zacharias
    before John was born (Lu 1:11-20).
    3. Gabriel appeared to Mary in Nazareth
    (Lu 1:26-38).
    4. An angel appeared to the shepherds (Lu 2:8-12).
    5. A multitude of the heavenly host praised God
    (Lu 2:13, 14).


    (Heb 1:4)

    1. Ministered to Him after the temptation (Mt 4:11).
    2. Strengthened Him in the garden (Lu 22:43).
    3. Rolled away the stone from tomb (Mt 28:2-7).
    4. Hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon
    the Son of Man (Joh 1:51).
    4. At His ascension (Ac 1:11).

So much better than the angels [by so much greater than the angels, as much superior to angels].[ 32 ] After His ascension to heaven Christ was exalted to a position higher than any angel. He resumed His superiority over the angels (see Eph 1:20-23).

Because God was His Father, Jesus Christ was, by inheritance, given a more excellent name than the angels. "Inheritance" from the Father also suggests the deity of Christ.

A more excellent name than they [the name is than theirs].[ 33 ] The name of Christ represents His dignity, power, deity and all that He is. The writer of Hebrews now introduces seven quotations from the OT to prove the superiority of Christ. This documentation would surely appeal to the Jewish mind. The first part of verse 5 contains a quotation from Psalm 2:7. The second part of verse 5 is from 2 Samuel 7:14.


    (Heb 1:5)

    1. You are my Son (see Ps 2:7).
    2. Today I have begotten You (Ps 2:7).
    3. I will be his Father (2Sa 7:14).
    4. And he shall be My son (2Sa 7:14).
    5. To You, O LORD, I will sing praises (Ps 101:1).
    6. The LORD said to my Lord, "Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool"
    (Ps 110:1; compare Jos 10:24; Heb 1:13).


1:5 For to which of the angels did He ever say: "You are My Son, today I have begotten You"? And again: "I will be to Him a Father, and He shall be to Me a Son"?

For to which of the angels [for unto which, for to what, angel].[ 34 ] The answer to this rhetorical question is that no angel was ever told "Thou art my Son."

Did He ever say [said he at any time, did God ever say?]. The question is about something God said. Did He ever make such a statement as "You are My Son" to an angel? The answer is that He never did. Some have recently argued that nothing can be proved from the silence of Scripture. Well, here is an argument from silence used by the Spirit Himself.

Thou art my Son [You are my Son].[ 35 ] The sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord. Satan also came among them (Job 1:6). Were the sons of God angels (compare Job 2:1)? Later, the Lord asked Job where he was "When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?" (Job 38:7). Were these sons of God angels? It is generally conceded that angels were called "mighty ones" or even "sons of the Mighty" (Ps 29:1; 89:6).[ 36 ] Were the "sons of God," in all of these passages angels? Regardless of what they were called as a group, and in spite of their importance in God's service, the Father never singled out any one of them to say, "Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee."[ 37 ] Jesus Christ is unique in this.

The quotation from OT passages speaks of Solomon as a type of Christ. The original statement quoted by the Spirit from Psalm 2:7 had to do with David's son Solomon or some other king. To limit this prophecy to him is a very narrow view of the passage. Beyond doubt it is a poetic and typological prophecy of Christ. The same thing may be said of Nathan's words to David in 2 Samuel 7:14. Of course, there was a primary fulfillment. It is true that Solomon did build a house (temple) for God's name (see 2Sa 7:13) but, more importantly, Jesus Christ built the church of Christ, the house of God (see 1Ti 3:15).

Today I have begotten You [this day have I begotten thee].[ 38 ] Jesus was glorified when the Father said, "Thou art My Son." Then He was declared, powerfully declared, to be the Son of God by the resurrection. He was begotten from the dead when He was raised. The writer does not believe it refers to the time when the Holy Spirit overshadowed Mary. Officially, being begotten may refer to His heavenly coronation after His ascension (see charts TODAY HAVE I BEGOTTEN THEE A and B).


    (Heb 1:5)

    1. God begat Jesus in that He raised Him up "as it is also written in the second Psalm: 'You are My Son, today I have begotten You'" (Ac 13:33).
    2. The beginning, the firstborn from the dead
    (Col 1:18).
    3. The faithful witness, the first-born from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth (Re 1:5).


    (Heb 1:5)

    1. So also Christ did not glorify Himself to become High Priest, but it was He who said to Him: "You are My Son, today I have begotten You" (Heb 5:5).
    2. He was to be a priest on His throne (Zec 6:13). 3. As high priest, He is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens (Heb 8:1).
    4. On earth He could not be a priest (Heb 8:4).


    (Heb 1:5)

    1. Would build God's house (2Sa 7:11-14; Heb 3:3).
    a. Solomon did not fulfill this because
    b. The Most High does not dwell in temples made with hands (Ac 7:48).
    2. The Child with five names: Wonderful,
    Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince
    of Peace (Isa 9:6).
    3. The one who "comes whose right it is"
    (Eze 21:27).
    4. The Bethlehem-born peaceful ruler (Mic 5:2-5).
    5. The king who would come "lowly and riding on
    a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey"
    (Zec 9:9).


    (Heb 1:5)

    1. According to the sure mercies of David: a witness, leader and commander (Isa 55:3, 4).
    2. I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness
    (Jer 23:5; 33:15).
    3. He will be great, and will be called the Son of
    the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him
    the throne of His father David. 33 And He will
    reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end (Lu 1:32, 33).
    4. Has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David (Lu 1:69).

And again: I will be to Him a Father [Or again, I will be a Father to Him].[ 39 ] This quotation is from 2 Samuel 7:14 (compare Ps 89:19-37; 132:11-18).

And He shall be to Me a Son [and He will be a Son to Me].[ 40 ] (see note above on Thou art my son).


1:6 But when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says: "Let all the angels of God worship Him."

But when He again brings [and, but, again, when he again, and when, and again when, he brings, when he brings, bringeth in, into].[ 41 ] The aorist tense suggests a single act of bringing. I doubt that the subjunctive mood alludes to the future when Christ shall come again.[ 42 ]


    (Heb 1:6)

    1. First-born of all creation (Col 1:15; Ps 89:27).
    2. First-born from the dead (Ac 13:33, 34; Col 1:18).
    3. First-born among many brethren (Ro 8:29).
    4. And from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness,
    the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over
    the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood (Re 1:5).

The first-born [the firstbegotten, the Firstborn].[ 43 ] "First-born" does not always mean the first in order of time to be born. Sometimes it is used of preeminence of station (Ex 4:22; De 21:16, 17). It is so used of Christ. Early Jewish writers even used the title "firstborn" to apply to God, giving Him firstborn status and honor. Note that the "brethren" are "the church of the first-born" [plural] (Heb 12:23).

Into the world.[ 44 ] (see note on The world to come, Heb 2:5).


    (Heb 1:6)

    1. Wise men "fell down and worshipped Him"
    (Mt 2:11).
    2. Those in the boat worshipped Him, saying,
    "Truly You are the Son of God (Mt 14:33).
    3. Disciples held Him by the feet and worshipped Him (Mt 28:9).
    4. And they worshipped Him (Lu 24:52 KJV, ASV).
    5. The four living creatures and the twenty-four
    elders fell down before the Lamb (Re 5:8).

He says: "Let all the angels of God worship Him" [he saith, All the angels of God, all God's angels, are to worship Him].[ 45 ] All the millions of angels worship Jesus Christ. It does not seem important to settle the point as to the exact time when, He is so worshipped. He was praised at His first advent (Lu 2:13-15), surely at His resurrection,[ 46 ] and continues to be praised by angels in heaven All today are privileged to pay Him homage. All people and angels shall bow before Him at His second advent (see De 32:43; quoted in Ro 15:10;[ 47 ] see also Php 2:10; chart CHRIST WORSHIPPED).


    (Heb 1:6)

    1. Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people
    (De 32:43; quoted in Ro 15:10).
    2. Worship Him, all you gods [angels, rulers?]
    (Ps 97:7; compare 82:6).


1:7 And of the angels He says: "Who makes His angels spirits and His ministers a flame of fire."

And of the angels He says: Who makes His angels spirits [and of the angels he saith, He makes, Who maketh, his angels winds].[ 48 ] According to Barclay, there is an old Jewish theory that angels were created for the task of the moment. Then they dissolved or disappeared. This idea may have come about from the occurrence of angels seeming to appear in human form and then disappear.[ 49 ] I need more evidence than that to cause me to believe angels are created and dissolved daily. However, the fact that He makes His angels indicates His superiority over them. The meaning is probably not "who makes winds His messengers and flames of fire His servants"[ 50 ] because the articles in the Greek imply that angels and ministers are the subjects, not winds and flames. In Hebrew, "spirit" and "wind" are translated from similar Greek words, depending on the context. Sometimes it is difficult to determine from the context which rendering is proper.

Angels and ministers are the same (see chart HUMAN ANGELS [MESSENGERS]). The Hebrew writer is showing that angels are powerful ministers, servants or messengers. They are mighty like an irresistible wind or an unquenchable flame. They may be given power over such things as storms. Jesus rebuked them. Some think Satan's angels were responsible for the tempest (see Job 1:19; Mk 4:39). If so, surely good angels have equal or greater power. There is something imperceptible and mysterious about wind. Effects are seen but not the wind itself (see Joh 3:8). He who rebukes the wind is stronger than the wind. Christ is more powerful than angels.

And His ministers a flame of fire [and his servants flames of fire].[ 51 ] Were angels involved in the thunder and lightning flashes at the giving of the Law (see Ex 19:16)? Do angels praise Jehovah through "Fire and hail, snow and clouds; Stormy wind, fulfilling His word" (Ps 148:8)?


    (Heb 1:7)

    1. Destroying Sodom and Gomorrah (Ge 19:1-26).
    2. Death of firstborn in Egypt (Ex 12:29, 30).
    3. Punishment of Israelites (2Sa 24:15-17).
    4. Upsetting armies of Benhadad (2Ki 6:8-23).
    5. Overthrow of Sennacherib (2Ki 19:35).
    6. Foes melt like wax before them
    (compare Mt 13:30, 41; Heb 10:27).

Just how are angelic ministers a flame of fire? Flame has a purifying effect. Obedience to the word purifies by the precious blood of Christ (1Pe 1:22). Although angels do not preach the gospel, at least one of them arranged a meeting between a teacher and a sinner who subsequently obeyed the truth (Ac 8:34-39). Our God is a consuming fire (Heb 12:29; compare Ps 97:3; see chart POWERFUL ANGELS). Angels, like flame, are powerful. Fire may refer to the judgment of God in which angels have a part (Mt 13:39, 40).


1:8 But to the Son He says: "Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your Kingdom."

But to the Son He says: "Your throne, O God" [but of, but unto, the Son he saith, said, Thy throne, O God].[ 52 ] Angels are sent as ministers (verses 7, 14). They are servants. As surely as flame burns stubble, they faithfully carry out assignments for Christ who "is over all, God blessed for ever" (Ro 9:5; compare Ps 45:2).[ 53 ] Christ as "Mighty God" sits on the throne of the universe (Isa 9:6).

Why do certain people become upset with a plain statement that Christ is God? Apparently the rejection of Christ as God the Son has given rise to various interpretations that are weak and pointless such as: "Thy throne (which is a throne) of God;" "Thy throne is (a throne) of God;" and "God is thy throne." The latter suggestion by Vincent,[ 55 ] "Or, Thy throne is God" (ASV footnote), and "God is thy throne for ever and ever" (NEB footnote) are not consistent. If God is Christ's throne and since He who sits on the throne is greater than the throne, then, according to that, Christ would be greater than the Father (compare Mt 23:16-22; 1Co 15:27)!

Since the Greek is nominative, let us grant that the translation "God is thy throne" may be correct. If it is, words must be supplied in order to make sense. Those words might be, "God is the strength of thy throne" or "God is the blessing of thy throne" or God is the power behind thy throne" or "God is the guarantor of Thy throne."

Arndt, Liddell, Thayer and Vine all understand the throne to be Christ's own. The throne of Christ is not God, but is on God's right hand (verse 13). Christ is now reigning on His throne. His throne is forever and ever. Note that God the Father called His only begotten Son God! His deity is not in question (see notes on Joh 1:1; 8:58; 20:28; Ac 20:28; Ro 9:5; 1Co 15:28; Php 2:6; Col 2:9; Tit 2:13; 2Pe 1:1; 1Jo 5:20).

Is forever and ever.[ 56 ] It may be argued that "forever" does not always mean without end. For example, "the earth abides forever" (Ec 1:4). Does that mean it will never be burned up (see 2Pe 3:10)? Jonah said, "The earth with its bars closed behind me forever" (Jonah 2:6). Is he still in the belly of the fish and will he be so eternally?

God foretold the duration of Christ's reign when He said, "Your throne shall be established forever" (2Sa 7:16). It is generally thought that the throne of Christ is forever in the sense that He will reign until after the general resurrection and the judgment. He began His kingdom on Pentecost (Ac 2:33-36). He will reign until the last enemy (death) is destroyed. Thus, His kingdom will last until all the dead have been raised (1Co 15:25). It may be that during His present reign He maintains His humanity but after the general resurrection He will be separated from it.

A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your Kingdom [and the sceptre of uprightness, the righteous scepter, is the sceptre of thy kingdom].[ 57 ] A scepter is a symbol of kingly authority. It has been erroneously said, "The king can do no wrong." That statement has not been true of any king but Christ. He, as the King of kings, never did wrong (see Isa 53:9; Ac 3:14; 2Co 5:21; Heb 4:15; 7:26; 1Pe 2:22; 1Jo 3:5). "Righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne" (Ps 97:2).


    (Heb 1:8, 9)

    1. For ever and ever.
    2. Justice.
    3. Righteousness.
    4. Hatred of iniquity.
    5. Gladness.

Some have classified Psalm 45 (from which the Hebrew writer quotes) as a marriage psalm about Solomon. Several things that do not fit such a simple interpretation as that (see chart A GREATER THAN SOLOMON).


    (Heb 1:9)

    1. Christ's throne is for ever and ever.
    After 40 years, Solomon's kingdom came to
    an end and was divided (1Ki 14:30; 2Ch 10:16).
    2. Christ loved righteousness.
    Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines
    (1Ki 11:3).
    3. Christ hated iniquity.
    Solomon worshipped idols (1Ki 11:4-6).


1:9 "You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness more than Your companions."

You have loved righteousness [You loved, Thou hast loved, righteousness].[ 58 ] Love of the truth is important (Ps 119:47, 48, 97, 127, 159; 2Th 2:10). "All Your commandments are righteousness" (Ps 119:172). Because of Jesus' obedience to the Father's commandments, God highly exalted Him (Php 2:8, 9). John's Baptism was a command of God (implied in Mk 11:30; Lu 20:4). Jesus' love for righteousness was shown when John baptized him "to fulfill all righteousness" (Mt 3:15).

And hated lawlessness [and hated iniquity, and hated lawlessness].[ 59 ]

Therefore God, Your God [because of this, God, thy God, even thy God]. In His humanity, Christ called the Father His God (see note on Joh 20:17).


    (Heb 1:9)

    1. The stone Jacob used for a pillow (Ge 28:18).
    2. The tabernacle and its furniture (Ex 30:22-29).
    3. Prophets (1Ki 19:16; 1Ch 16:22).
    4. Priests (Ex 28:41; 29:7; Le 8:12, 30).
    5. King Saul (1Sa 9:16; 10:1).
    6. David (1Sa 16:1, 12, 13; 2Sa 2:7).
    7. Solomon (1Ki 1:34).
    8. Jehu (1Ki 19:16).

Has anointed You [hath anointed thee].[ 60 ] Kings and others were anointed when dedicated or appointed to service (see chart SACRED ANOINTINGS). They were set apart for the work of God. "The Lord's anointed" was commonly used for A king of God's people (see 1Sa 12:3; Lam 4:20).

Messiah (Hebrew MASHIAH; Aramaic MESHIHA; Greek MESSIAS) and Christ (Greek CHRISTOS) all mean "the anointed one" (see Ps 2:2; Da 9:25, 26). Christ was not anointed with literal oil as were other kings. After His baptism He was anointed with the Holy Spirit (Lu 3:22; Joh 1:32, 33; compare Isa 61:1-3; Ac 10:38). He was thus designated as the Messiah of the OT (Lu 4:18, 21; Ac 9:22; 17:2, 3; 18:5, 28). Following His resurrection and ascension Jesus was designated as King. In that sense, He was "anointed" on that glad day when the Father made Him to sit down on His throne (Eph 1:20).

With the oil of gladness [with the oil of gladness].[ 61 ] Perfumed oil with which kings were anointed was called "the oil of gladness." The coronation ceremony was accompanied by festivity, joy and gaiety.[ 62 ] There was great joy in heaven following Jesus' ascension when He first occupied His throne. There was joy because of the accomplishment of redemption and the salvation of many souls (see notes on Lu 15:7, 10; Heb 12:2).

More than Your companions [above, beyond, thy fellows, comrades].[ 63 ] The "companions" or Christ or His "fellows" were not heathen rulers. Likely they are partakers of the heavenly calling, Christians, the "kings and priests," or "a kingdom and priests" (Re 5:10; compare Heb 2:10, 11; 3:14). Christ is above men and angels, above the kings in David's lineage, above all other kings and above every name (Eph 1:21). Some suppose that His "companions" or "fellows" were angels though they are substantially lower in rank than He.


1:10 And: "You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands."

And: You, Lord, in the beginning [and, also, Thou, Lord, in the beginning].[ 64 ] This verse begins a quotation from Psalm 102:25-27.

Laid the foundation of the earth [didst found, lay, hast laid, the foundation of, the earth, founded the earth]. [ 65 ] The very beginning of the creation was accomplished through the agency of Christ (see Joh 1:1-3; Col 1:16-20).

And the heavens are the work of Your hands [and the heavens are the works of thy, thine, hands].[ 66 ]


1:11, 12 "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."

They will perish [they shall perish].[ 67 ] The antecedent of "they" is "heavens." The heavens will perish.

The earth also is stored up for fire. To God, the heavens and earth seem to be as dispensable and disposable as a throw-away paper plate.

Ignorant men have worshipped the temporal sun, moon, stars and various idols constructed from materials of the earth. All idolatry essentially is the worship of something that will perish. To worship created things is idolatry. It is also absurd and ridiculous.

But You remain [but thou remainest, continuest, endurest, will remain].[ 68 ] The creation is transient; the Son is eternal. Christians worship the eternal Christ. They to the Father through Him.

And they will all grow old [they all, and they all, and they shall, all will, wax, become, old].

Like a garment [as, as doth, a garment].[ 69 ]

[1:12] Like a cloak [and as a mantle, a coat, like a garment, a vesture].[ 70 ] A cloak was generally a large outer garment. It may have been sleeveless or with sleeves (see Isa 3:22). It was sometimes called a mantle (see 1Ki 19:18, 19; 2Ki 2:8, 13, 14). When a man went indoors, he usually removed it, folded it or rolled it up.[ 71 ]

You will fold them up [shalt thou, thou wilt, roll them up].[ 72 ] Before the advent of coat-hangers and walk-in closets, people often rolled up their robes and laid them on a table or shelf. When Christ returns, the end of the universe will be like that. A mantle may be stored while its owner lives on. The physical universe will be laid aside but Christ will live on eternally (see 2Pe 3:10).

And they will be changed [and they shall be changed, and like a garment they shall be changed].[ 73 ] An alternate reading is, "And as a mantle thou wilt exchange them."

But You are the same [but thou art the same, and your years shall never cease.[ 74 ]

And Your years will not fail [and thy years shall not fail, will never end, will not come to an end, have no end, shall never cease].[ 75 ] As deity, Christ is eternal. He is without end. His life does not stop or cease. It will not be abbreviated or terminated. Worship Him!

    ANGELS (A)

    (Heb 1:14)

    1. Were created (Ps 148:2-5; Col 1:16).
    2. Were present when stars were created
    (Job 38:7).
    3. Like man, were created good (Ge 1:31).
    4. Spirits (Heb 1:14).
    5. Innumerable (Heb 12:22).
    6. 10,000 x 10,000 (Re 5:11).


1:13 But to which of the angels has He ever said: "Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool"?

    ANGELS (B)

    (Heb 1:14)

    1. Mighty, but not all-powerful (Ps 103:20; 2Th 1:7; 2Pe 2:11).
    2. Stand in God's presence (Mt 18:10; Re 5:11).
    3. Do not marry; do not die
    (Mt 22:30; Lu 20:34-36).
    4. Intelligent, but not all-knowing
    (Mt 24:36; 1Pe 1:12).
    5. Do you not know that we shall judge angels?
    (1Co 6:3).
    6. Some sinned (2Pe 2:4).
    7. Some abandoned their proper abode (Jude 6).


    (Heb 1:13)

    1. So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God (Mk 16:19).
    2. Stephen "saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God"
    (Ac 7:55).
    3. And furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us (Ro 8:34).


    (Heb 1:13)

    1. Seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places
    (Eph 1:20).
    2. Seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God (Col 3:1).
    3. Who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him (1Pe 3:22).
    4. As I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne (Re 3:21).


    (Heb 1:13)

    1. And seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places (Eph 1:20).
    2. Seek those things which are above, where
    Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God
    (Col 3:1).
    3. Who has gone into heaven and is at the right
    hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him (1Pe 3:22).
    4. As I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne (Re 3:21).

But to which of the angels has He ever said [but of which of the angels, to what angel, said he, hath he said, at any time, did he ever say?] The question was not asked of an angel, but of the Lord Christ. David spoke of the Lord God calling Christ "Lord." During His earthly ministry, Jesus asked, "How then does David in the Spirit call Him 'Lord'?" (Mt 22:42-46). Even though Jesus was the son (descendant) of the psalmist, David called Christ his Lord because He was Deity.

Sit at My right hand [sit, sit thou, on my right hand].[ 76 ] The invitation to "Sit at My right hand" to rule in heaven was never said to an angel but only to God's Son.[ 77 ] He is the One "sitting at the right hand of Power" (Mk 14:62).

Till I make Your enemies [until I make thy, Thine, enemies].[ 78 ] Christ's "eternal" reign will last until after the final resurrection of the dead. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. When death ends, Christ will turn the kingdom over to the Father. For a list of other enemies, see note on 1 Corinthians 15:26.

Your footstool [a, thy, the, footstool of, a stool for, thy feet].[ 79 ] When Joshua had five conquered kings brought out of a cave, he instructed the chiefs of the men of war to put their feet upon their necks (Jos 10:24). Afterward they were put to death. Just as Joshua completely vanquished his foes, so at last Christ will be completely victorious over His enemies.


1:14 Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?

Are they not all ministering spirits?].[ 80 ] By asking, "Are they not?" I understand that the writer here expresses certainty. Only the good angels are contemplated here. There are also bad angels (Jude 6). The latter do not render service for the sake of Christians. The angels are beneath Jesus in power as well as in every other way. They are simply ministering spirits who serve God's people (see Ps 104:4). All the angels are LEITOURGIKA ministering, liturgically serving, spirits. No matter how exalted they may be, they are merely servants. Even Michael the archangel is a servant to Christ. Though higher in order of creation, all angels are serving spirits for the heirs of salvation,

Sent forth [sent out].[ 81 ] Angels are sent forth by Christ, their Master (1Pe 3:22).


    (Heb 1:14)

    1. Men sent to Achan's tent (Jos 7:22).
    2. Prophets (Isa 44:26).
    3. Haggai (Hag 1:13).
    4. John the baptizer (Isa 42:19; Mal 2:7; 3:1;
    Mt 11:10; Mk 1:2; Lu 7:67).
    5. John's disciples (Lu 9:52).
    4. Angels of the churches
    (Re 1:20; 2:1, 8, 12, 18; 3:1, 7, 14).


    (Heb 1:14)

    1. Behold, I send an Angel before you to keep you
    in the way and to bring you into the place
    which I have prepared (Ex 23:20).
    2. The Angel of His presence saved them (Isa 63:9).
    3. Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven (Mt 18:10).
    4. Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth
    to minister for those who will inherit
    salvation? (Heb 1:14).

To minister [to serve, do, render, service].[ 82 ] The work of angels is not to sit upon thrones of authority but they are EIS DIAKONIAN for service. Will the angels be for you, dear reader, servants that aid toward your eternal salvation? Or will they be a flame of destruction in unquenchable fire (see verse 7)? Are you one who will inherit salvation? Or, as His enemy, will you become a footstool for Christ?

For those who will inherit [for the sake of those, of, for, them that shall, are to, obtain, shall be heirs].[ 83 ] In OT days, angels were frequent visitors to men and women. In the NT period, perhaps less frequently, angels have been known to attend Christians and those non-Christians who were near the kingdom. There is no record of an angel preaching the gospel or saving anyone from sin. That work was assigned to mankind only.


    (Heb 1:14)

    1. To punish wicked (Ge 19:1-26; 2Ki 19:35;
    Ac 12:23).
    2. Minister to living saints (2Ki 6:15-23;
    Ps 34:7; 91:11; Da 3:25-28; 6:22; Mt 18:10;
    Ac 5:19; 12:7-10).
    3. Influence governments, preside over councils
    and courts of princes
    (Dan 10:20, 21; 11:1; 12:1).

    (Adapted from Milligan 84)


    (Heb 1:14)

    1. Care for little children (Mt 18:10).
    2. Comfort dying saints, bear their spirits home to glory (Lu 16:22).
    3. Aid providentially in bringing men to Christ
    (Ac 10:1-8).
    4. Frustrate Satan's wiles and devices (Jude 6).

    (Adapted from Milligan 84)


    (Heb 1:14)

    1. Do not preach the gospel.
    2. Do not marry.
    3. Not to be worshipped (Col 1:18).
    4. Do not mediate between man and God
    (see 1Ti 2:5).

Does each individual Christian have a guardian angel? J. W. McGarvey and B. W. Johnson thought so. However, Guy N. Woods has some interesting observations on this. He wrote:

Salvation [of salvation].[ 85 ] Salvation, in this verse, has to do with that which is heavenly and eternal. It is the "salvation ready to be revealed in the last time" (1Pe 1:5). "For now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed" (Ro 13:11).