World Wide Study Bible

Study

a Bible passage

Click a verse to see commentary

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.

The Son Is Superior to Angels

5 For to which of the angels did God ever say,

“You are my Son;

today I have begotten you”?

Or again,

“I will be his Father,

and he will be my Son”?

6 And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says,

“Let all God’s angels worship him.”


Select a resource above

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."

5. For—substantiating His having "obtained a more excellent name than the angels."

unto which—A frequent argument in this Epistle is derived from the silence of Scripture (Heb 1:13; Heb 2:16; 7:3, 14) [Bengel].

this day have I begotten thee—(Ps 2:7). Fulfilled at the resurrection of Jesus, whereby the Father "declared," that is, made manifest His divine Sonship, heretofore veiled by His humiliation (Ac 13:33; Ro 1:4). Christ has a fourfold right to the title "Son of God"; (1) By generation, as begotten of God; (2) By commission, as sent by God; (3) By resurrection, as "the first-begotten of the dead" (compare Lu 20:36; Ro 1:4; Re 1:5); (4) By actual possession, as heir of all [Bishop Pearson]. The Psalm here quoted applied primarily in a less full sense to Solomon, of whom God promised by Nathan to David. "I will be his father and he shall be my son." But as the whole theocracy was of Messianic import, the triumph of David over Hadadezer and neighboring kings (2Sa 8:1-18; Ps 2:2, 3, 9-12) is a type of God's ultimately subduing all enemies under His Son, whom He sets (Hebrew, "anointed," Ps 2:6) on His "holy hill of Zion," as King of the Jews and of the whole earth. the antitype to Solomon, son of David. The "I" in Greek is emphatic; I the Everlasting Father have begotten Thee this day, that is, on this day, the day of Thy being manifested as My Son, "the first-begotten of the dead" (Col 1:18; Re 1:5). when Thou hast ransomed and opened heaven to Thy people. He had been always Son, but now first was manifested as such in His once humbled, now exalted manhood united to His Godhead. Alford refers "this day" to the eternal generation of the Son: the day in which the Son was begotten by the Father is an everlasting to-day: there never was a yesterday or past time to Him, nor a to-morrow or future time: "Nothing there is to come, and nothing past, but an eternal NOW doth ever last" (Pr 30:4; Joh 10:30, 38; 16:28; 17:8). The communication of the divine essence in its fulness, involves eternal generation; for the divine essence has no beginning. But the context refers to a definite point of time, namely, that of His having entered on the inheritance (Heb 1:4). The "bringing the first-begotten into the world" (Heb 1:6), is not subsequent, as Alford thinks, to Heb 1:5, but anterior to it (compare Ac 2:30-35).

6. AndGreek, "But." Not only this proves His superiority, BUT a more decisive proof is Ps 97:7, which shows that not only at His resurrection, but also in prospect of His being brought into the world (compare Heb 9:11; 10:5) as man, in His incarnation, nativity (Lu 2:9-14), temptation (Mt 4:10, 11), resurrection (Mt 28:2), and future second advent in glory, angels were designed by God to be subject to Him. Compare 1Ti 3:16, "seen of angels"; God manifesting Messiah as one to be gazed at with adoring love by heavenly intelligences (Eph 3:10; 2Th 1:9, 10; 1Pe 3:22). The fullest realization of His Lordship shall be at His second coming (Ps 97:7; 1Co 15:24, 25; Php 2:9). "Worship Him all ye gods" ("gods," that is, exalted beings, as angels), refers to God; but it was universally admitted among the Hebrews that God would dwell, in a peculiar sense, in Messiah (so as to be in the Talmud phrase, "capable of being pointed to with the finger"); and so what was said of God was true of, and to be fulfilled in, Messiah. Kimchi says that the ninety-third through the hundred first Psalms contain in them the mystery of Messiah. God ruled the theocracy in and through Him.

the world—subject to Christ (Heb 2:5). As "the first-begotten" He has the rights of primogeniture (Ro 8:29); Col 1:15, 16, 18). In De 32:43, the Septuagint has, "Let all the angels of God worship Him," words not now found in the Hebrew. This passage of the Septuagint may have been in Paul's mind as to the form, but the substance is taken from Ps 97:7. The type David, in the Ps 89:27 (quoted in Heb 1:5), is called "God's first-born, higher than the kings of the earth"; so the antitypical first-begotten, the son of David, is to be worshipped by all inferior lords, such as angels ("gods," Ps 97:7); for He is "King of kings and Lord of lords" (Re 19:16). In the Greek, "again" is transposed; but this does not oblige us, as Alford thinks, to translate, "when He again shall have introduced," &c., namely, at Christ's second coming; for there is no previous mention of a first bringing in; and "again" is often used in quotations, not to be joined with the verb, but parenthetically ("that I may again quote Scripture"). English Version is correct (compare Mt 5:33; Greek, Joh 12:39).




Advertisements