Hebrews 1




The Excellence of the Son of God (1:1-4)

1 In the past—that is, before Christ came to earth—God spoke to our forefathers (the JEWS through the PROPHETS of the Old Testament.

2 … but in these last days [God] has spoken to us by his Son (Christ). These last days are the days since Christ came to earth.

The writer of this letter isn’t saying here that the words of the prophets are less true or less worthy than the words of the Son. But the difference is this. The Old Testament prophets pointed the way to Christ; they prophesied about the coming of Christ’s kingdom. But Christ was Himself the fulfillment of those prophecies. The New Testament is the fulfillment of the promises and prophecies of the Old Testament (see 2 Corinthians 1:20).

What kind of person is God’s Son, Christ? First, He is the heir of all things. All power and authority belongs to Christ (Matthew 28:18). It was through Christ that God made the universe (see John 1:3; Colossians 1:16). From before the creation of the universe Christ was with God. Everything that God created He created through Jesus Christ.

3 Christ is the radiance of God’s glory. Just as the radiance of the sun shines on the earth, so the radiance of Christ shines in men’s hearts.

Christ is the exact representation of [God’s] being. Christ is the image of God (2 Corinthians 4:4; Colossians 1:15). He is the manifestation ofGod. When we spiritually see and know Christ through faith, then we also see and know God (see John 1:18; 14:7-9). For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form (Colossians 2:9).

Christ sustains all things by his powerful word. … in him all things hold together (Colossians 1:17). Christ is not only the creator of the universe; He is also the sustainer of the universe. He is the One who holds the universe together; He is the One who holds the stars and planets in their courses. And He does all this by His powerful word. The word that Christ speaks is God’s word. In the Bible, God’s word means both word and action together. God doesn’t merely speak; whenever He speaks, He also acts. Whatever He says, He accomplishes. God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light (Genesis 1:3).

Christ provided purification for sins. He offered Himself as a sacrifice for our sakes so that we might be forgiven of our sins and made clean. He bore in our place the punishment of our sins (see Mark 10:45 and comment). Christ became a sacrifice of atonement for us (Romans 3:25). Through Christ—through His blood, through His sacrifice—believers in Him are declared pure and RIGHTEOUS in God’s eyes (see Romans 3:24; 5:1,9 and comments).

Three days after Christ was killed, He rose from the dead, and now He sits at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms (see Psalm 110:1; Luke 22:69; Ephesians 1:20-21).

From these first three verses of Hebrews, we can see that Christ is the greatest “prophet” of all, through whom God has spoken His final word to the world. Not only that, Christ is also the greatest “priest” of all, through whose self-sacrifice God’s people—that is, we believers—have been declared pure and righteous in God’s sight. And Christ is not only a prophet and a priest; He is also the King of kings, who sits on His throne in heaven at the right hand of God. This is the Christ, about whom the author of this letter writes in these opening verses. This is the Christ in whom these Hebrew Christians have put their faith.2

4  Christ is also much superior to the ANGELS. Christ’s name is above every name (see Philippians 2:9-11).

Christ Is Superior to Angels (1:5-14)

5 In verses 5-13, the writer of this letter quotes seven passages from the Old Testament to show his readers that Christ is indeed superior to the angels. Notice that in all of these Old Testament quotations it is God who is speaking. Let us keep in mind that the entire Old Testament (as well as the New Testament) is God’s own word (verse 1). Through the Bible, God continues to speak to us today.

God has never said to any angel: “You are my Son.” God has only one Son, and that is Jesus Christ. Jesus has always been God’s Son (see John 1:1-2,14).

In this verse, the writer quotes from Psalm 2:7and 2 Samuel 7:14. These OldTes-tament verses are prophecies which were written about Christ.

6 Christ is God’s firstborn. Christ is the firstborn in two ways. First, He is God’s one and only Son (John 1:14). Second, He was the first to rise from the dead; therefore, He is the “firstborn” of all those who will be resurrected (see Romans 8:29; 1 Corinthians 15:20).

In this verse, the writer quotes from Deuteronomy 32:43 and Psalm 97:7. Let all God’s angels worship him (Christ). Since the angels worship Christ, we know that Christ must be above the angels.

7 Here the writer quotes from Psalm 104:4. Angels serve God like winds and flames of fire. That is, they appear when God has a special assignment for them to do, and when they have completed it, they disappear again—just as wind and fire come one moment and go the next. The angels have no independence; they are only servants.

8-9 But Christ is not only a servant of God; He is also God’s Son. Christ does not come and go like an angel. Christ’s throne—that is, His kingdom—will last for ever and ever (verse 8). Notice here that Christ is called O God. And RIGHTEOUSNESS will be the scepter, or rule, of His kingdom. Among kings, only Christ rules with complete righteousness. In these verses 8-9, the writer quotes Psalm 45:6-7.

God has set Christ above [His] companions—that is, bove believers—by anointing [Him] with the oil of joy (verse 9). The oil of joy is the joy of the Holy Spirit (see Hebrews 12:2). Therefore, this verse means that God has given Christ His Holy Spirit without measure (John 3:34; Acts 10:38). We believers, however, are given the Spirit accordingto measure (Romans 12:3; Ephe-sians 4:7).

10-12 In these verses, the writer quotes from Psalm 102:25-27. Notice that God here calls Christ O Lord. Christ is the creator of heaven and earth. Heaven and earth will perish, but Christ will remain (verse 11); He will remain the same (verse 12).

13 This verse is quoted from Psalm 110:1 (see 1 Corinthians 15:25; Ephesians 1:2022; Hebrews 10:12-13). God has never told an angel: “Sit at my right hand.” That place is reserved for Christ alone. From His throne at the right hand of God, Christ now reigns with all authority and power.

14 God’s Son Christ rules on the throne. Angels are ministering spirits. These angels have been sent to serve those who will inherit salvation—that is, believers in Christ. Angels stand in the presence of God, but they are only messengers of Christ (see Luke 1:19). Christ is supreme.

Believers are those who will inherit SALVATION. We who have believed in Christ already have been saved. But only after Christ has come again at the end of the world will we receive our full inheritance, our full salvation (see General Article: Way of Salvation).