“God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways” (Hebrews 1:1)
God spoke through the prophets meaning through the characters of the Old Testament. Many portions means many ages over a considerable amount of time; many ways—through the Scriptures, through dreams, through visions, through a number of different ways God communicated in the old covenant.
In these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world” (Hebrews 1:1-2).
In these last days has spoken to us in His Son. Last days is a reference to Old Testament prophecies that then defines the time from the time of Christ until the return of Christ. Jesus isn’t just one more communication in the line of prophets. He is the final word from God. Christ (who also spoke to us through the apostles) is God’s final word to man. Not Ellen White, not Muhammad, not Joseph Smith. Now the writer of Hebrews goes through a series of affirmations related to who Jesus is. All of it has to do with this idea that Jesus is superior to everyone else (prophets) and everything else (revelation). It all comes back to this idea of where else would you turn, for every direction you turn is going to be inferior to the exalted Christ. In what form did the Son speak to us in these last days? Not in His pre-existence as God, but He spoke to us as God-Man, when He became flesh, a servant, when He became the anointed one, the Messiah.
Whom He appointed heir of all things through whom also He made the world. The Son made the world, therefore the eternal Son already owned the universe by virtue of creating it with the Father. “All things have been created through Him and for Him” (Col 1:16). However, even in the state He spoke to us, when He was born of a woman, and became God-Man, He is declared or appointed the heir of all things such as we find when Paul says, the Messiah, “who was declared the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness by the resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 1:4). A son is heir to everything his father owns, however, the language here is figurative because an “heir” is one who inherits something after the death of the owner. This cannot possibly be applied in this sense to Jesus because the God the Father did not die. Indeed, He cannot. Hence, the idea here is that the Son (whether in His pre-existence or God-Man existence), has authority over and possesses all things.
And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high (Hebrews 1:3)
He is the radiance of His glory. Radiance refers to what shines out from the source of light. Whatever the glory the Father had, the Son shines out that source of light. He is not a lesser God; He’s the full radiance of God.
The exact representation of His nature. The Greek word charakter, translated “representation,” did not express a general likeness but an exact duplication of the original.Jesus’ essence or divine nature is the exact duplicate of the Father’s nature. This is because Jesus shares the same divine nature with the Father.
Upholds all things by the word of His power. The idea is not so much that Jesus upholds the universe as a dead weight, similar to Atlas shouldering the world. Rather He carries all things forward on their appointed course (Colossians 1:17). Jesus Christ’s word has tremendous power and authority. It is the greatest force in the universe.
Made purification of sins. He did so by His self-sacrifice on the Cross and by His work as the ultimate priest. The Greek word katharismos, translated “purification,” means both removal and cleansing (cf. Mark 1:44; 2 Peter 1:9). Who has authority to say you are purified from your sins? Seems to me you would have to have the authority, power, possession, and ownership over everything. You would have to be the creator. You would have to be the sustainer. You would have to be the full radiance of God. Only God has the authority to say that He covers the sins of the world! It is mysterious and sometimes confusing to figure out how exactly that death two thousand years ago covers my sin, yet it is true.
He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. The idea of sitting down at the right hand of God is very significant. In the old covenant, the priests daily had responsibilities in the tabernacle and the temple to offer sacrifice and do their required work, but the priests were not allowed to ever sit down on the job. The reason for that is it carried the message that the work is never completed and so they always had to remain standing, always at work, because the work was never done. Christ’s intercession in heaven is not that of an Aaronic priest standing before God to offer the blood. His intercession is that of a King seated on His throne, exercising the rights and titles gained by His finished work. The sitting at the right hand of God is a well-known figure, derived from Psalm 110:1, in order to designate supreme honor and dominion over the world (Romans 8:34).
Having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they (Hebrews 1:4)
Having become as much better than the angels. These words must be closely joined with the last clause of Hebrews 1:3; becoming better than angels is not of His pre-existence before He became flesh, but of what became of Him after He had “made purification of sins” and sat down at the right hand of God. Being made better than angels—by His exaltation by the Father (Heb 1:3, 13) is in contrast to His being “made lower than the angels” for short while on earth (Heb 2:9). Going forward from verse four, the author of Hebrews turns this conversation to Jesus being superior to the angels. Part of the argument raised by some at that time was that Jesus was just a man. He was just another one of God’s prophets but He certainly doesn’t have the authority to overthrow the message or the Law of Moses (including the ten commandments) ordained by angels (Hebrews 2:2; Gal.3:19). He certainly doesn’t have the authority to usher in a new covenant as if somehow He’s introducing something new. He’s certainly not higher than the angels nor does He have authority to do that. Hence, the author of Hebrews refutes such opinions by showing that Jesus’ words have final authority because He has become “so much better” by His resurrection, and “more excellent” than the angels by taking His seat at God’s right hand. And there is much more to Him than just a man.
He has inherited a more excellent name than they. After He had “made purification of sins” and sat down at the right hand of God, Christ inherits His more excellent name, not as the Eternal Son, but also as the God-Man after His resurrection. What is that excellent name? It is the name “Son”.
For to which of the angels did He ever say, “You are My Son, Today I have begotten You”? (Hebrews 1:5a)
That’s from Psalm 2 and of course the obvious answer is, “Never!” God identified Jesus as His Son, not the angels. When do the words “This day have I begotten thee” apply? An apostle has given the sure and certain answer to this question. Paul said, “God hath raised up Jesus; as also it is written in the second Psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee” (Acts 13:33). Thus, the begetting mentioned in this place is the resurrection of Christ. It was the resurrection that established all that Christ said and did, confirming the virgin birth, the incarnation, the miracles, the prophecies, everything. Christ, therefore, as the exalted God-Man, was and is far above all angels.
And again, “I WILL BE A FATHER TO HIM AND HE SHALL BE A SON TO ME”? (Hebrews 1:5b)
This is taken from 2 Samuel, chapter 7, verse 14. This is David talking about Solomon as the future King of Israel but it is a foreshadowing of God the Father identifying one in David’s line, His Son, who will be the ultimate King, the fulfillment of the prophecy, and obviously Father never said that of the angels. It is significant that David is quoted here because David is called the “First born” (Psalm 89:27), though he was not the firstborn child of Jesse, but the youngest and the eight.
“And when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says, “And let all the angels of God worship Him.” (Hebrews 1:6)
And when He again brings the firstborn into the world. When He bringeth in means when the Father introduces the one with the title “Firstborn” into this world. In context, time of this introduction appears to be when the Son became the Messiah in the first advent though “again” may also refer to the second coming such “that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven [angels] and on earth [humans] and under the earth [perhaps demons]” (Philippians 2:10). This word “first born” was used both as an idea and to designate the one born first. Since the firstborn son was “first in line” and received the position of favor and honor, the title “firstborn” indicates of someone of the highest position and honor. Many of those not born first in the Bible are given the title “firstborn.” David as we mentioned (Psalm 89:27) and so is Ephraim (Jeremiah 31:9). According to Rabbi Bechai (quoted in Lightfoot) the ancient Rabbis called Yahweh Himself “Firstborn of the World.” It was a title, not a description of origin. The idea in this verse is that Jesus is superior because He is the object of angelic worship since He possesses that honor and glory of a First born or First begotten. The angels worship Him; He does not worship among them. Revelation 5 gives a glimpse of the angelic worship of Jesus. Jesus is the “only begotten” Son of God, but the title Firstborn is used primarily for His resurrection (Revelation 1:4).
And regarding the angels He says, “He makes His angels winds, And His ministers a flame of fire.” (Hebrews 1:7)
This is a quote from Psalm 104. The psalmist is saying and the writer of Hebrews is now affirming that angels are messengers of God like the wind and the lightning. Angels are magnificent beings. They are created by God. They are powerful beings. They have a significant role in God’s economy. God the Father is speaking in this verse, and regarding the angels, He says, they’re just created messengers because He makes them so, and God uses them to accomplish His mission. What does the Father says regarding the Son?
But regarding the Son He says, “Your throne, God, is forever and ever, and the scepter of righteousness is the scepter of His kingdom (Hebrews 1:8)
But regarding the Son He says, Your throne, God, is forever and ever. Here the Father is describing the Son’s nature in opposition to the angels before. The angels were created spirits, but regarding the Son, the Father addresses the Son as God; Father says, Jesus is not only the “Son” but is “God” just like the Father. However, the angels are ministers and servants in the Son’s kingdom, where the Son sits on His throne as King, from eternity; therefore his name and person is better than theirs.
The scepter of righteousness is the scepter of His kingdom. Jesus’ “scepter” , that is, His “royal scepter”, is used here figuratively to refer to His authority and shows the characteristic of His Kingdom. Jesus, as King, has a scepter of “righteousness”, emphasizing that His authority is based on righteousness.
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