Bible: What Does Hebrews 1 Teach Us About Divine Revelation and Jesus, God's Son?
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Hebrews 1: God's "Last Days" Revelation/The Son is Superior to Angels
"Last Days" Revelation
Writing in the mid-60s A.D., the author of this work begins his address by asserting that in his day (“in these last days”), God is continuing what He had begun millennia ago and had carried on for many centuries: communicate revelation about Himself to His people (v. 1).
However, the recipients to whom this truth comes and the medium through which God imparts His revelation have changed.
Now the Lord is speaking not to the forefathers, but to the author and his contemporaries, and He is disclosing truth not through prophets, but through “Son” (v. 2a).
[What significance, if any, does the absence of a Greek article preceding “Son” have in this context?]
The Deity of God's Son
At this point, the revelator delineates several facts to establish the deity of the “Son”:
(1) God appointed the Son “heir of all things”;
(2) God created the ages (“aeons”) through the medium of the Son (v. 2);
(3) The Son is the effulgence (outshining) or radiance of God’s shekinah;
(4) The Son is the exact imprint or representation (image) of God’s essential nature;
(5) The Son sustains the universe with His omnipotent word (cf. Col. 1:17);
(6) The Son made purification for the sins of humanity;
(7) The Son showed that He had finished His high priestly work by sitting at the place of honor beside the Father (cf. Psa. 110:1), having obtained by inheritance a “more excellent name” than all angels (vv. 3-4).
[The designation “heir” does not signify that the Son is younger than or inferior to the Father in some way; one must not directly correlate the particulars of the concept of human inheritance with the relationship that exists between Son and Father in the Godhead.
In the mystery of the economy of God, the Son subordinates Himself to the Father; the two Persons are co-equal in every respect.]
The Superiority of the Son to Angels
Having favorably compared the Son to angels in verse four, the author now employs several OT passages to prove further the Son’s superiority to these spirit beings (vv. 5-13).
[Ryrie provides a valuable systematic and biblical theology lesson on angelology (New Testament Study Bible, 399).]
Quoting Psalm 2:7, he asks rhetorically which angel God ever designated a king (v. 5a).
[Despite the world's disobedience the LORD remained unmoved, announcing the installation of His King in Jerusalem (Psalm 2:6).
This King then declared the LORD's decree: the King is God’s Son by virtue of the act of "begetting."
The Son's begetting in 2:7 refers to His assuming the worldwide, earthly throne during the Millennial Kingdom (cf. Acts 13:33 where the term pertains to the Resurrection; Hebrews 1:5, the Ascension to His throne; and Hebrews 5:5, His High Priestly ministry)].
He then cites 2 Samuel 7:14—a passage referring to Solomon’s reign that the author sees as ultimately being fulfilled in the Son—, and inquires when God ever discussed this kind of familial relationship with the angels (v. 5b).
Obviously, He never did.
Next, the writer of Hebrews contrasts the worship and service aspects of angelic life (vv. 6-7, 14) with that of the Son’s superior status as the King of righteousness and the eternal Creator (vv. 8-13).
By combining Psalm 97:7 with Deuteronomy 32:43 (LXX), he seeks to point out that God will command the angels to worship “the firstborn” when the LORD brings Him into the world a second time at the Revelation of Christ (v. 6).
He then cites Psalm 104:4 to prove that God purposed angels to be servants (v. 7).
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The Son Contrasted with Angels
Contrasting the Son with angels ("But"), the author understands Psalm 45:6, 7, originally addressed to King Solomon on his wedding day, as ultimately referring to the Son on the day He “weds” His “bride” (vv. 8-9).
[Ryrie suggests that the Israelites regarded Solomon as “God” by virtue of his office; on the other hand, God recognizes the Son as the divine, eternal, and anointed King of righteousness by virtue of His nature (400).
The psalmist addresses Solomon as “God,” referring perhaps to the king’s role as a mediatorial ruler with divine authority, whose kingdom through Messiah is eternal (v. 6a).]
He also quotes Psalm 102:25-27, identifying David’s words with those of God. Both extol the Son/LORD for His work of creation, and acknowledge that, though the heavens grow old and will be changed, God will remain the same in His essence for all eternity (vv. 10-12).
Finally, the author inserts two more rhetorical questions, averring that God never told angels to rest at the place of honor in heaven until He subdued every opposing force (v. 13).
However, He does send these spirits to help believers (“those who will inherit salvation”) [v. 14].
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