Chapter 1:5–14

Christ superior to the angels

The whole remaining chapter is composed of different passages from the book of Psalms (mostly) with a brief introduction if necessary.

The quotes used are: Ps 2:7; 2 Sam 7:14–15; Deut 32:43 (LXX) and Ps 97:7; 104:4; 45:6–7; 102:25–27; 110:1. Seven in total.

Parallels between 1:1–4 and 1:5–13

1:1–4 1:5–13
Appointment as royal heir (2B) Appointment as royal Son and heir (5–9)
Mediator of the creation (2c) Mediator of the creation (10)
Eternal nature and pre-existent glory (3a-b) Unchanging, eternal nature (11–12)
Exaltation to God’s right hand (3c) Exaltation to God’s right hand (13)

In view of Hebrews, the One who speaks through those passages is God Himself. He speak to the Son and to the angels.

It is interesting to notice that in this case, God addresses the Son as God in 1:8 and as Lord in 1:10.

  1. David referred to Jesus Christ as God’s Son in Psalm 2:7, the verse the writer quoted first. Paul uses the same quote in his sermon to the Jews (Acts 13:33).
  2. The second quotation, from 2 Samuel 7:14 or 1 Chronicles 17:13, like the first, ties in with the Davidic Covenant and advances the previous point. Not only is Jesus the Son of God, He is also the promised son of David (Luke 1:32–33, 68–69; Rom. 1:3).
  3. We can see the superiority of the Son also in the third quotation from Deuteronomy 32:43 (in the Septuagint) in that the angels worship Him as Yahweh (see also Ps 97:7). “Again” may go with “brings” implying Jesus Christ’s second advent.[47] On the other hand, it may go with “says” implying the first advent.[48] In this case it would simply separate this quotation from the former one. The word order in the Greek text favors the first option, but the sense of the context favors the second. Most translators and interpreters connect “again” with “says.”[49] The point is that the angels worship the Son. The angels undoubtedly worshiped Jesus at His first advent and will worship Him at His second advent.

The title “first-born” reflects the sovereignty, uniqueness, and superiority of Messiah (Ps. 89:27). It does not always mean born first chronologically. This is especially clear in the case of Solomon who was really the tenth son of David chronologically (1 Chron. 3:1–5). The title describes rank and honor here. The first-born received special blessings (inheritance) from his father.

  1. 1:7 Instead of being sovereign, the angels are servants. The fourth quotation is from Psalm 104:4. By describing the angels as winds the psalmist was drawing attention to their spirit nature, invisibility, power, and role as servants of a higher Power. As flames of fire they are God’s agents of judgment and illumination. Even though the angels are as swift as wind and as strong as fire, they are inferior to the Son.

  2. 1:8–9 By contrast, the Son’s ministry is to rule. His throne is eternal, not created, and immutable. This fifth quotation, from Psalm 45:6–7, describes the final triumph of David’s Son, the Messiah, who is also God. The Son is superior to angels also because He is God.
    “This and the following quotation (vv. 10–12) are used to show that the Son is addressed in scripture both as God and as Lord.
    “Jesus’ deity is more powerfully asserted in Hebrews than in any other New testament writing, with the exception of the Gospel of John.”[52]

  3. 1:10–12Psalm 102:25–27, the sixth quotation, also referred to Messiah. The Son is Creator (cf. v. 2). This verse looks to the past. “Lord” is master (Gr. kurie) and refers to God in the passage the writer quoted.
    This quotation is important to the writer’s argument also because it reveals the immutability of the Son. After God burns up the present earth and heavens, He will create new heavens and a new earth (2 Peter 3:10–12; Rev. 21—22).

  4. 1:13The seventh and last quotation in this series is from Psalm 110:1. Angels stand and serve, but the Son sits and rules (cf. v. 3; 8:1; 10:12; 12:2; Matt. 22:43–44; 26:64; Mark 16:19; Acts 2:33–34; Rom. 8:34; Col. 3:1; 1 Pet. 3:22). The vindication predicted here will take place when Jesus Christ returns at His second advent and at the various judgments of God’s enemies that will follow that return. Eventually every knee shall bow to Him (Phil. 2:10–11).

1:14 Finally, we have the description of the angels in the history of salvation. God revealed a primary purpose and ministry of the angels in this verse. It is to assist human beings in reaching their final deliverance over their spiritual enemies.

“‘Inherit’ is often used in the NT in senses other than the strict one of obtaining something by a will. It can mean ‘obtain possession of’ without regard to the means. It is used of possessing the earth (Matt 5:5), the kingdom of God (1 Cor 6:9–10), eternal life (Mark 10:17), the promises (Heb 6:12), incorruption (1 Cor. 15:50), blessing (Heb 12:17), a more excellent name (v. 4, …).”[60]

This writer spoke of the inheritance of Christians as the Old Testament writers spoke of the inheritance of the Israelites. Our inheritance refers to all that God wants to give His people. We will inevitably receive some of that (cf. 1 Per. 1:3–9). However, we can forfeit part of our inheritance through unfaithfulness, as Esau did (12:16) and as the generation of Israelites who died in the wilderness did (3:7—4:11).

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