Hebrews 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.
7. of--The Greek is rather, "In reference TO the angels."
spirits--or "winds": Who employeth His angels as the winds, His ministers as the lightnings; or, He maketh His angelic ministers the directing powers of winds and flames, when these latter are required to perform His will. "Commissions them to assume the agency or form of flames for His purposes" [ALFORD]. English Version, "maketh His angels spirits," means, He maketh them of a subtle, incorporeal nature, swift as the wind. So Psalms 18:10 , "a cherub . . . the wings of the wind." Hebrews 1:14 , "ministering spirits," favors English Version here. As "spirits" implies the wind-like velocity and subtle nature of the cherubim, so "flame of fire" expresses the burning devotion and intense all-consuming zeal of the adoring seraphim (meaning "burning), Isaiah 6:1 . The translation, "maketh winds His messengers, and a flame of fire His ministers (!)," is plainly wrong. In the Psalms 104:3 Psalms 104:4 , the subject in each clause comes first, and the attribute predicated of it second; so the Greek article here marks "angels" and "ministers" as the subjects, and "winds" and "flame of fire," predicates, Schemoth Rabba says, "God is called God of Zebaoth (the heavenly hosts), because He does what He pleases with His angels. When He pleases, He makes them to sit ( Judges 6:11 ); at other times to stand ( Isaiah 6:2 ); at times to resemble women ( Zechariah 5:9 ); at other times to resemble men ( Genesis 18:2 ); at times He makes them 'spirits'; at times, fire." "Maketh" implies that, however exalted, they are but creatures, whereas the Son is the Creator ( Hebrews 1:10 ):not begotten from everlasting, nor to be worshipped, as the Son ( Revelation 14:7 , Revelation 22:8 Revelation 22:9 ).
8. O God--the Greek has the article to mark emphasis ( Psalms 45:6 Psalms 45:7 ).
for ever . . . righteousness--Everlasting duration and righteousness go together ( Psalms 45:2 , 89:14 ).
a sceptre of righteousness--literally, "a rod of rectitude," or "straightforwardness." The oldest manuscripts prefix "and" (compare Esther 4:11 ).
9. iniquity--"unnrighteousness." Some oldest manuscripts read, "lawlessness."
therefore--because God loves righteousness and hates iniquity.
God . . . thy God--JEROME, AUGUSTINE, and others translate Psalms 45:7 , "O God, Thy God, hath anointed thee," whereby Christ is addressed as God. This is probably the true translation of the Hebrew there, and also of the Greek of Hebrews here; for it is likely the Son is addressed, "O God," as in Hebrews 1:8 . The anointing here meant is not that at His baptism, when He solemnly entered on His ministry for us; but that with the "oil of gladness," or "exulting joy" (which denotes a triumph, and follows as the consequence of His manifested love of righteousness and hatred of iniquity), wherewith, after His triumphant completion of His work, He has been anointed by the Father above His fellows (not only above us, His fellow men, the adopted members of God's family. whom "He is not ashamed to call His brethren," but above the angels, fellow partakers in part with Him, though infinitely His inferiors, in the glories, holiness, and joys of heaven; "sons of God," and angel "messengers," though subordinate to the divine Angel--"Messenger of the covenant"). Thus He is antitype to Solomon, "chosen of all David's many sons to sit upon the throne of the kingdom of the Lord over Israel," even as His father David was chosen before all the house of his father's sons. The image is drawn from the custom of anointing guests at feasts ( Psalms 23:5 ); or rather of anointing kings: not until His ascension did He assume the kingdom as Son of man. A fuller accomplishment is yet to be, when He shall be VISIBLY the anointed King over the whole earth (set by the Father) on His holy hill of Zion, Psalms 2:6 Psalms 2:8 . So David, His type, was first anointed at Bethlehem ( 1 Samuel 16:13 , Psalms 89:20 ); and yet again at Hebron, first over Judah ( 2 Samuel 2:4 ), then over all Israel ( 2 Samuel 5:3 ); not till the death of Saul did he enter on his actual kingdom; as it was not till after Christ's death that the Father set Him at His right hand far above all principalities ( Ephesians 1:20 Ephesians 1:21 ). The forty-fifth Psalm in its first meaning was addressed to Solomon; but the Holy Spirit inspired the writer to use language which in its fulness can only apply to the antitypical Solomon, the true Royal Head of the theocracy.
10. And--In another passage ( Psalms 102:25-27 ) He says.
in the beginning--English Version, Psalms 102:25 , "of old": Hebrew, "before," "aforetime." The Septuagint, "in the beginning" (as in Genesis 1:1 ) answers by contrast to the end implied in "They shall perish," &c. The Greek order here (not in the Septuagint) is, "Thou in the beginning, O Lord," which throws the "Lord" into emphasis. "Christ is preached even in passages where many might contend that the Father was principally intended" [BENGEL].
laid the foundation of--"firmly founded" is included in the idea of the Greek.
heavens--plural: not merely one, but manifold, and including various orders of heavenly intelligences ( Ephesians 4:10 ).
works of thine hands--the heavens, as a woven veil or curtain spread out.
11. They--The earth and the heavens in their present state and form "shall perish" ( Hebrews 12:26 Hebrews 12:27 , 2 Peter 3:13 ). "Perish" does not mean annihilation; just as it did not mean so in the case of "the world that being overflowed with water, perished" under Noah ( 2 Peter 3:6 ). The covenant of the possession of the earth was renewed with Noah and his seed on the renovated earth. So it shall be after the perishing by fire ( 2 Peter 3:12 2 Peter 3:13 ).
remainest--through (so the Greek) all changes.
as . . . a garment--( Isaiah 51:6 ).
12. vesture--Greek, "an enwrapping cloak."
fold them up--So the Septuagint, Psalms 102:26 ; but the Hebrew, "change them." The Spirit, by Paul, treats the Hebrew of the Old Testament, with independence of handling, presenting the divine truth in various aspects; sometimes as here sanctioning the Septuagint (compare Isaiah 34:4 , Revelation 6:14 ); sometimes the Hebrew; sometimes varying from both.
changed--as one lays aside a garment to put on another.
thou art the same--( Isaiah 46:4 , Malachi 3:6 ). The same in nature, therefore in covenant faithfulness to Thy people.
shall not fail--Hebrew, "shall not end." Israel, in the Babylonian captivity, in the hundred second Psalm, casts her hopes of deliverance on Messiah, the unchanging covenant God of Israel.
14. ministering spirits--referring to Hebrews 1:7 , "spirits . . . ministers." They are incorporeal spirits, as God is, but ministering to Him as inferiors.
sent forth--present participle: "being sent forth" continually, as their regular service in all ages.
to minister--Greek, "unto (that is, 'for') ministry."
for them--Greek, "on account of the." Angels are sent forth on ministrations to God and Christ, not primarily to men, though for the good of "those who are about to inherit salvation" (so the Greek): the elect, who believe, or shall believe, for whom all things, angels included, work together for good ( Romans 8:28 ). Angels' ministrations are not properly rendered to men, since the latter have no power of commanding them, though their ministrations to God are often directed to the good of men. So the superiority of the Son of God to angels is shown. They "all," how ever various their ranks, "minister"; He is ministered to. They "stand" ( Luke 1:19 ) before God, or are "sent forth" to execute the divine commands on behalf of them whom He pleases to save; He "sits on the right hand of the Majesty on high" ( Hebrews 1:3 Hebrews 1:13 ). He rules; they serve.