World Wide Study Bible

Study

a Bible passage

Click a verse to see commentary

God Has Spoken by His Son

 1

Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets, 2but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom he also created the worlds. 3He is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being, and he sustains all things by his powerful word. When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.


Select a resource above

Heb 1:1-14. The Highest of All Revelations Is Given Us Now in the Son of God, Who Is Greater than the Angels, and Who, Having Completed Redemption, Sits Enthroned at God's Right Hand.

The writer, though not inscribing his name, was well known to those addressed (Heb 13:19). For proofs of Paul being the author, see my Introduction. In the Pauline method, the statement of subject and the division are put before the discussion; and at the close, the practical follows the doctrinal portion. The ardor of Spirit in this Epistle, as in First John, bursting forth at once into the subject (without prefatory inscription of name and greeting), the more effectively strikes the hearers. The date must have been while the temple was yet standing, before its destruction, A.D. 70; some time before the martyrdom of Peter, who mentions this Epistle of Paul (2Pe 3:15, 16); at a time when many of the first hearers of the Lord were dead.

1. at sundry timesGreek, "in many portions." All was not revealed to each one prophet; but one received one portion of revelation, and another another. To Noah the quarter of the world to which Messiah should belong was revealed; to Abraham, the nation; to Jacob, the tribe; to David and Isaiah, the family; to Micah, the town of nativity; to Daniel, the exact time; to Malachi, the coming of His forerunner, and His second advent; through Jonah, His burial and resurrection; through Isaiah and Hosea, His resurrection. Each only knew in part; but when that which was perfect came in Messiah, that which was in part was done away (1Co 13:12).

in divers manners—for example, internal suggestions, audible voices, the Urim and Thummim, dreams, and visions. "In one way He was seen by Abraham, in another by Moses, in another by Elias, and in another by Micah; Isaiah, Daniel, and Ezekiel, beheld different forms" [Theodoret]. (Compare Nu 12:6-8). The Old Testament revelations were fragmentary in substance, and manifold in form; the very multitude of prophets shows that they prophesied only in part. In Christ, the revelation of God is full, not in shifting hues of separated color, but Himself the pure light, uniting in His one person the whole spectrum (Heb 1:3).

spake—the expression usual for a Jew to employ in addressing Jews. So Matthew, a Jew writing especially for Jews, quotes Scripture, not by the formula, "It is written," but "said," &c.

in time past—From Malachi, the last of the Old Testament prophets, for four hundred years, there had arisen no prophet, in order that the Son might be the more an object of expectation [Bengel]. As God (the Father) is introduced as having spoken here; so God the Son, Heb 2:3; God the Holy Ghost, Heb 3:7.

the fathers—the Jewish fathers. The Jews of former days (1Co 10:1).

byGreek, "in." A mortal king speaks by his ambassador, not (as the King of kings) in his ambassador. The Son is the last and highest manifestation of God (Mt 21:34, 37); not merely a measure, as in the prophets, but the fulness of the Spirit of God dwelling in Him bodily (Joh 1:16; 3:34; Col 2:9). Thus he answers the Jewish objection drawn from their prophets. Jesus is the end of all prophecy (Re 19:10), and of the law of Moses (Joh 1:17; 5:46).

2. in these last days—In the oldest manuscripts the Greek is. "At the last part of these days." The Rabbins divided the whole of time into "this age," or "world," and "the age to come" (Heb 2:5; 6:5). The days of Messiah were the transition period or "last part of these days" (in contrast to "in times past"), the close of the existing dispensation, and beginning of the final dispensation of which Christ's second coming shall be the crowning consummation.

by his SonGreek, "IN (His) Son" (Joh 14:10). The true "Prophet" of God. "His majesty is set forth: (1) Absolutely by the very name "Son," and by three glorious predicates, "whom He hath appointed," "by whom He made the worlds," "who sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;" thus His course is described from the beginning of all things till he reached the goal (Heb 1:2, 3). (2) Relatively, in comparison with the angels, Heb 1:4; the confirmation of this follows, and the very name "Son" is proved at Heb 1:5; the "heirship," Heb 1:6-9; the "making the worlds," Heb 1:10-12; the "sitting at the right hand" of God, Heb 1:13, 14." His being made heir follows His sonship, and preceded His making the worlds (Pr 8:22, 23; Eph 3:11). As the first begotten, He is heir of the universe (Heb 1:6), which He made instrumentally, Heb 11:3, where "by the Word of God" answers to "by whom"' (the Son of God) here (Joh 1:3). Christ was "appointed" (in God's eternal counsel) to creation as an office; and the universe so created was assigned to Him as a kingdom. He is "heir of all things" by right of creation, and especially by right of redemption. The promise to Abraham that he should be heir of the world had its fulfilment, and will have it still more fully, in Christ (Ro 4:13; Ga 3:16; 4:7).

worlds—the inferior and the superior worlds (Col 1:16). Literally, "ages" with all things and persons belonging to them; the universe, including all space and ages of time, and all material and spiritual existences. The Greek implies, He not only appointed His Son heir of all things before creation, but He also (better than "also He") made by Him the worlds.

3. Who being—by pre-existent and essential being.

brightness of his gloryGreek, the effulgence of His glory. "Light of (from) light" [Nicene Creed]. "Who is so senseless as to doubt concerning the eternal being of the Son? For when has one seen light without effulgence?" [Athanasius, Against Arius, Orations, 2]. "The sun is never seen without effulgence, nor the Father without the Son" [Theophylact]. It is because He is the brightness, &c., and because He upholds, &c., that He sat down on the right hand, &c. It was a return to His divine glory (Joh 6:62; 17:5; compare Wisdom 7:25, 26, where similar things are said of wisdom).

express image—"impress." But veiled in the flesh.

The Sun of God in glory beams

Too bright for us to scan;

But we can face the light that streams

For the mild Son of man.

(2Co 3:18)

of his personGreek, "of His substantial essence"; "hypostasis."

upholding all thingsGreek, "the universe." Compare Col 1:15, 17, 20, which enumerates the three facts in the same order as here.

by the word—Therefore the Son of God is a Person; for He has the word [Bengel]. His word is God's word (Heb 11:3).

of his power—"The word" is the utterance which comes from His (the Son's) power, and gives expression to it.

by himself—omitted in the oldest manuscripts.

purgedGreek, "made purification of … sins," namely, in His atonement, which graciously covers the guilt of sin. "Our" is omitted in the oldest manuscripts. Sin was the great uncleanness in God's sight, of which He has effected the purgation by His sacrifice [Alford]. Our nature, as guilt-laden, could not, without our great High Priest's blood of atonement sprinkling the heavenly mercy seat, come into immediate contact with God. Ebrard says, "The mediation between man and God, who was present in the Most Holy Place, was revealed in three forms: (1) In sacrifices (typical propitiations for guilt); (2) In the priesthood (the agents of those sacrifices); (3) In the Levitical laws of purity (Levitical purity being attained by sacrifice positively, by avoidance of Levitical pollution negatively, the people being thus enabled to come into the presence of God without dying, De 5:26)" (Le 16:1-34).

sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high—fulfilling Ps 110:1. This sitting of the Son at God's fight hand was by the act of the Father (Heb 8:1; Eph 1:20); it is never used of His pre-existing state co-equal with the Father, but always of His exalted state as Son of man after His sufferings, and as Mediator for man in the presence of God (Ro 8:34): a relation towards God and us about to come to an end when its object has been accomplished (1Co 15:28).

4. Being made … better—by His exaltation by the Father (Heb 1:3, 13): in contrast to His being "made lower than the angels" (Heb 2:9). "Better," that is, superior to. As "being" (Heb 1:3) expresses His essential being so "being made" (Heb 7:26) marks what He became in His assumed manhood (Php 2:6-9). Paul shows that His humbled form (at which the Jews might stumble) is no objection to His divine Messiahship. As the law was given by the ministration of angels and Moses, it was inferior to the Gospel given by the divine Son, who both is (Heb 1:4-14) as God, and has been made, as the exalted Son of man (Heb 2:5-18), much better than the angels. The manifestations of God by angels (and even by the angel of the covenant) at different times in the Old Testament, did not bring man and God into personal union, as the manifestation of God in human flesh does.

by inheritance obtained—He always had the thing itself, namely, Sonship; but He "obtained by inheritance," according to the promise of the Father, the name "Son," whereby He is made known to men and angels. He is "the Son of God" is a sense far exalted above that in which angels are called "sons of God" (Job 1:6; 38:7). "The fulness of the glory of the peculiar name "the Son of God," is unattainable by human speech or thought. All appellations are but fragments of its glory beams united in it as in a central sun, Re 19:12. A name that no than knew but He Himself."




Advertisements