Hebrews Chapter 1
Verses 1-2: The author immediately shows that Jesus Christ, as the agent of God’s revelation, is far superior to the Old Testament prophets. Their message was fragmentary and incomplete. It came bit by bit through visions, dreams, events, and direct communication as men were ready and able to receive it. Christ’s revelation is climactic and complete, because He is the Son and because His is the message for the last days. His incarnation initiated the end time, and it will be fulfilled when He returns to earth to reconcile and restore all things (Acts 2:16-17; 3:19-21, 1 Peter 1:20).
1:1 “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,”
Over the course of possibly 1,800 years (from Job 2200 B.C. to Nehemiah, 400 B.C.). The Old Testament was written in 39 different books reflecting different historical times, locations, cultures, and situation.
“Divers manners”: These included visions, symbols, and parables, written in both poetry and prose. Though the literary form and style varied, it was always God’s revelation of what He wanted His people to know. The progressive revelation of the Old Testament described God’s program of redemption (1 Pet. 1:10-12), and His will for His people (Rom. 15:4; 2 Tim. 3:16-17).
God has revealed Himself through various means, such as visions (Isa. 6), dreams (Dan. 2), poetry (Psalms 139), biography (especially the Gospels), sermons (Matt. 5-7), face-to-face conversations (Deut. 5:4), tablets of stone (Deut. 10:4), miracles (John 6), parables (Luke 15), inner compulsion (Acts 21:10-13), history (1 and 2 Chronicles), angels (Luke 1:26-38), historical research (Luke 1:1-4), and the person of Christ (John 1:14).
His means of self-revelation today is the Bible.
When God wanted Peter to preach the gospel to the Gentiles, He imparted this through a vision (Acts 10). Even then, Peter appears to have been somewhat reluctant to obey God completely.
Today we do not depend on dreams and visions to learn about God and His will for our lives, but rather on God’s revelation in the Scriptures. God did not impart the gospel to Cornelius in a vision, but commanded a man to and preach the Word of God to him.
God in the Scripture above means the supreme Divinity.
Luke 1:55 “As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever.”
This is saying that God all through the ages at specific times had spoken to chosen vessels. Each encounter was different. He spoke to Moses from a burning bush. God spoke to Elijah in a still quiet voice. Many times, His voice was mistaken for thunder. God cannot be put in a little category and say that He has to do it any particular way.
Paul himself found that God blinded him with His Light. God is God. The best thing for us to do is not to try to figure out God. Whichever way He communicates with you, just accept it.
Prophets are men and women who God has given a message to. Many times, their message will be one of warning of things about to happen. God sends the message by them to give the offenders a chance to repent. If they do not repent, then God sends His wrath.
Hebrews 1:2 “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;”
“Last days”: Jews understood the “last days” to mean the time when Messiah (Christ), would come (Num. 24:14; Jer. 33:14-16; Mica 5:1-2; Zech. 9:9, 16). The fulfillment of the messianic prophecies commenced with the advent of the Messiah. Since He came, it has been the “last days” (1 Cor. 10:11; James 5:3; 1 Pet. 1:20; 4:7; 1 John 2:18).
In the past God gave revelation through His prophets, but in these times, beginning with the Messiah’s advent, God spoke the message of redemption through the Son.
“Heir”: Everything that exists will ultimately come under the control of the Son of God, the Messiah (Psalms 2:8-9; 89:27; Rom. 11:36; Col. 1:16). This “inheritance” is the full extension of the authority which the Father has given to the Son (Dan. 7:13-14; Matt. 28:18), as the “firstborn”.
“Worlds”: The word can also be translated “ages”. It refers to time, space, energy and matter, the entire universe and everything that makes it function (John 1:3).
We are requested of God the Father to listen to the message His Son brings.
Matthew 17:5 “While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.”
Even when this was written in Hebrews, it was the beginning of the last days. We know that God does not count time the same way that we do. With Him a thousand years can be as a day and a day as a thousand years.
2 Peter 3:8 “But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day [is] with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.”
You see, the time table is not the same for God and man. We see in the book of John that Jesus was creator God.
John 1:1-3 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” “The same was in the beginning with God.” “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.”
The Word of God became the Son of God for His stay here on earth.
John 1:14 “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.”
Romans 8:17 “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with [him], that we may be also glorified together.”
Hebrews 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 on the right hand of the Majesty on high;”
“Brightness” The term is used only here in the New Testament. It expresses the concept of sending forth light or shining (John 8:12; 2 Cor. 4:4, 6). The meaning of “reflection” is not appropriate here. The Son is not just reflecting God’s glory; He is God and radiates His own essential glory.
“The express image of his person”: The term translated “exact representation” is used only here in the New Testament. In extrabiblical literature, it was employed for an engraving on wood, and etching in metal, a brand on animal hide, an impression in clay, and a stamped image on coins.
The Son is the perfect imprint, the exact representation of the nature and essence of God in time and space (John 14:9; Col 1:15; 2:9).
“Upholding”: The universe and everything in it is constantly sustained by the Son’s powerfully effective word (Col. 1:17). The term also conveys the concept of movement or progress – the Son of God directs all things toward the consummation of all things according to God’s sovereign purpose. He who spoke all things into existence also sustains His creation and consummates His purpose by His word.
“Purge our sins”: By the substitutionary sacrifice of Himself on the cross (Titus 2:14; Rev. 1:5).
“Sat down on the right hand”: The right hand is the place of power, authority and honor (verse 13; Rom. 8:34; 1 Pet. 3:22). It is also the position of subordination, implying that the Son is under the authority of the Father (1 Cor. 15:27-28). The seat that Christ has taken is the throne of God (8:1; 10:12; 12:2), where He rules as sovereign Lord.
This depicts a victorious Savior, not a defeated martyr. While the primary thrust of this phrase is the enthronement of Christ, His sitting might also imply the completion of His atoning work.
Christ’s person, power and position are all expressed in this verse. He is described as being the brightness of God’s glory. The word “being”, whose force is “eternally being,” guards against the idea that Jesus became the Son at some point during His earthly ministry. He did not become deity; He always was equal with the Father.
The attributes ascribed to Him express His very nature. They were neither added to nor taken from Him during His earthly life. The “brightness” spoken of here refers to a radiance or a shining forth of the divine glory. As the rays are intrinsically related to the sun, with neither one existing apart from the other, so the Father and the Son are essentially one.
Further, the son is the express image or imprint (as of a die perfectly representing the original design), of the Father’s person (nature). The radiant light implies perfectly representing the original design), of the Father’s person (nature).
The radiant light implies the oneness of the Son with the Father; the imprint expresses the distinctness of the son from the Father. Yet, oneness and distinctness are implicit in each; thus, they enhance and balance each other.
“Upholding all things”: manifests the power of the Son, (verse 2), has already presented Him as creator and hence the heir of all things. Certainly, He is far superior to the prophets with whom He has just been compared, and to the angels to whom He will be compared.
“Upholding” (Greek pheron), more precisely stated, describes the Son as “carrying” all things. Christ is not viewed simply as an Atlas supporting the dead weight of the world, but as the Creator who is now sustaining and bringing it to its goal. Compare the similar teaching of (Colossians 1:16-17).
“Sat down … on high”: reveals the position of the Son. When He had provided purification for sin, He sat down on high. This sitting does not imply a present inactivity; rather it suggests His finished redemptive work, quite in contrast to the unending sacrifices of the Levitical priest (chapters 7, 9, 10).
The author of Hebrews is virtually silent concerning Christ’s resurrection, yet he repeatedly stresses the Ascension and its significance (4:14; 6:19-20; 7:26; 8:1; 9:24; 10:12; 12:2).
John 14:9 “Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou [then], Shew us the Father?”
John 14:10 “Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.”
These Scriptures leave no doubt that Jesus is the image of His Father. In fact, it is difficult to say where one ends and the other begins. I believe they are one in the Spirit.
1 John 5:7 “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.”
We see three personalities, but we cannot deny that something about them is one. Perhaps, this Spirit of God that took the form of a man explains it. Their Spirit and their will were one. The flesh of Jesus sets Him aside from the others while He is on the earth.
Colossians 2:9 “For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.”
The word brightness in the 3rd verse above means to shine forth from. Express image (in verse 3), means exact copy. Upholding means “be” (in verse 3). Word (in verse 3), is the spoken Word. Power is the word “dunamis”, the word dynamite came from. This power then is explosive power.
Purged has to do with total purification. This is saying that Jesus did it all for us and went and sat down at the Father’s right side. He sat down, because He finished the job. In fact, it was finished when Jesus made that statement from the cross “it is finished”. No one or nothing else purchased our salvation for us, Jesus did it all.
This brightness of His glory is speaking of Jesus who is the Light of the world. God is spoken of as Father of lights (in James 1:17).
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”
Verses 4-14: The main point of (chapters 1 and 2), is that Christ is superior to “the angels” because of the work He has accomplished. In (verses 4-14), the writer of Hebrews proves Christ’s superiority by citing seven Old Testament passages.
It was necessary that he prove to his readers Christ’s superiority over the angels, for in the first-century world, pagan and Christian alike accorded great significance and power to angels.
Some had possibly taught the Christ Himself was an angel and for that reason able to perform miracles. There is evidence from Scripture (Col. 2:18), that some even worshiped angels. Angels were also involved in the giving of the Mosaic Law (2:2; Acts 7:53; Gal. 3:19).
Thus, if the author wishes to prove the overall superiority of Christ, he must prove that Christ is superior to the angels. Jesus’ superiority to the angels is presented in a sevenfold manner.
Being the Son, He has a better name that they (verses 4-5);
(2) He is worshiped (verse 6), and;
(3) Served (verse 7), by the angels;
(4) Jesus is God (verse 8);
(5) He created the angels (verse 10);
(6) Is from everlasting to everlasting (verses 11-12); and
(7) Sits at God’s right hand (verse 13).
“The dignity of the Son is the dignity of God, but the dignity of the angels is that of mere servants (verse 14).
Hebrews 1:4 “Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.”
“Being made”: The Greek verb used here refers to a change of state, not a change of existence. The Son in His divine essence has eternally existed, but for a while He was made lower than the angels (2:9), and afterward was exalted to an infinitely higher position by virtue of what He had accomplished in His redemptive work.
“Angels”: Spirit beings created by God to minister to Him and do His bidding. The Jews held angels in very high regard as the highest beings next to God. The sect of Judaism which had established a community at Qumran taught that the archangel Michael’s authority rivaled or surpassed that of the Messiah.
The writer of Hebrews clearly disclaims any such concept. The Son of God is superior to the angels.
“More excellent name”: That name is Lord. No angel is Sovereign Lord (verses 6:13-14).
Angels are created beings and Jesus is Creator God. There can be no comparison. The Creator is always greater than the thing He creates.
Ephesians 1:20-22 “Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set [him] at his own right hand in the heavenly [places],” “Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:” “And hath put all [things] under his feet, and gave him [to be] the head over all [things] to the church,”
We know that there is no greater than Jesus. God the Father, on several occasions, called Jesus His only begotten Son. We have discussed in the four gospels Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, how the Holy Spirit of God hovered over Mary and she conceived of the Holy Spirit of God. The Baby within her was the Spirit of God. We will see in the next few Scriptures that everyone everywhere must bow to Jesus.
Philippians 2:9-11 “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:” “That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of [things] in heaven, and [things] in earth, and [things] under the earth;” “And [that] every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ [is] Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
We see from this that all the angels shall bow to Jesus. Lucifer (the devil), and all of the demons (who are the fallen angels), have to bow to that name. That is the reason we have power over the devil and his angels. Jesus has given us permission to use His name. It is the name of Jesus that has the power.
Hebrews 1:5 “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?”
Quoting from (Psalm 2:7 and 2 Sam. 7:14), the writer presents the unique relationship which the Son has with the Father. No angel ever experienced such a relationship.
“Son” A title of Christ expressing the voluntary submission of the Second Person of the
Godhead to the First Person, for the purpose of fulfilling the program of redemption established in eternity past (verses 2, 8; 3:6; 4:14; 5:5, 8; 6:6; 7:3, 28; 10:29; 11:17). And many other references in the New Testament.
His sonship was also expressed in the Old Testament (Psalms 2:12; Prov. 30:4). The word “today” indicates that God’s Son was born in a point of time. He was always God, but He demonstrated His role as Son in space and time at His incarnation and was affirmed as such by His resurrection (Rom. 1:4).
The angels (including Lucifer), were created beings and Jesus Is Creator God.
Acts 13:33 “God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.”
Matthew 16:16 “And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Notice Jesus is (the), Son not (a), son. When you specifically use “the”, it means only one.
Hebrews Chapter 1 Questions
- Hebrews was obviously written before what event?
- Name several people that were thought to be the penman of Hebrews.
- Who does the author believe the penman to be?
- What message was the penman trying to convey to the Hebrew people?
- When was the way opened to the Father for the believers?
- If Jesus is not the perfect sacrifice, what is the fate of all humanity?
- What is the main theme of Hebrews?
- In times past, who did God speak to the people through?
- In verse 1, what does the word God mean?
- From what did God speak to Moses?
- How did God speak to Elijah?
- What was the peculiar happening when Paul met Jesus?
- Many times, the voice of God was mistaken for what?
- Who are prophets?
- What kind of message does a prophet bring most times?
- In verse 2 God changed the way He sent His message, who did He send it by?
- What request did God the Father make in Matthew 17-5?
- What are we told to not be ignorant of in 2 Peter 3-8?
- In what book of the Bible do we read that Jesus was Creator God?
- John 1-14 says the Word was made what?
- What does Romans 8-17 tell us we will share with Jesus?
- What does express image mean?
- How are Jesus, Holy Spirit, and the Father one?
- What is Jesus called in 1 John 5-7?
- Colossians 2-9 tells us that what fullness dwells in Jesus?
- What does brightness in verse 3 mean?
- What does upholding in verse 3 mean?
- Power comes from what root word in verse 3?
- What root word does the word dynamite come from?
- When was Jesus’ work finished?
- Where is Jesus now?
- This brightness of His glory is speaking of whom?
- Hebrews 1-4 says Jesus is better than whom?
- What makes Jesus higher than the angels?
- Who must bow to Jesus?
- How do the Christians have power over the devil and his demons?
- How do we know that Jesus and Lucifer were not brothers?
- Notice Jesus is ___ Son of God not _ son.