Hebrews 1

Hebrews 1:1

God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways,

(a) Introduction. The Letter to the Hebrews is the good news of Jesus packaged for a Hebrew audience. It’s written for all sorts of people, including those who believe in Jesus, those who are yet to believe in Jesus, and those who are trying to reconcile Old Testament traditions with new covenant freedoms (Heb. 4:14, 6:9-10).

(b) He spoke … in many portions and in many ways. The word of God or the word of the Lord can be conveyed via prophecies (2 Sam. 24:11, 1 Kgs. 14:18), dreams (Num. 12:6), visions (Gen. 15:1), the Law (Num. 36:5, Deu. 5:5, Is. 2:3), and angels (Luke 1:35). However, the primary way God reveals himself is through his Son (see next verse).

Hebrews 1:2

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.

(a) These last days. The last days commenced when God began speaking through his Son. The last days describe the age that began when Jesus walked the earth. “And it shall be in the last days that I will pour forth of my Spirit on all mankind …” (Acts 2:16–17). According to Peter, this last days’ prophecy was fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost.

Jesus divides history into two parts. In the first days of history, people looked forward to the coming of Christ when he would build his house. In these last days, he is building his church, and the nations are streaming in (Is. 2:2). The first half of history ended with Christ coming in humility. The second half ends with him returning in glory. The last days are last because they refer to the last half of history. So far, the last days have lasted for 2,000 years. They may last for many more, but ultimately the last days will end on the last day when Christ returns to judge the living and the dead (John 6:39–40, 12:48).

Further reading: “When are the Last Days?

(b) Spoken to us in His Son. Jesus is the Word of God made flesh (John 1:14, Rev. 19:13), and the exact radiance or representation of God the Father. Jesus is God explaining himself to the human race. He is God’s selfie.

(c) Heir of all things. In Christ we are heirs of the kingdom (Col. 1:12, Jas. 2:5), heirs of the earth (Matt. 5:5, Rom.4:13), and heirs of all things (John 17:10, Heb. 1:2, Rev. 21:7).

See entry for Inheritance.

Hebrews 1:3

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,

(a) The radiance of his glory. The majesty, splendor, and beauty of the Father is revealed in the Son. Since God will not share his glory with another (Is. 42:8), Jesus is not “another.” He is no mere man; he is God. “I am the Father are one” (John 10:30).

(b) The exact representation of His nature. The Son is exactly like the Father. “He is the image of the invisible God” (Col. 1:15).

Some imagine God is a bookkeeper recording all your sins. But God is not like that because Jesus is not like that. Jesus didn’t shame sinners. He loved them and had dinner with them and introduced them to his Father.

Some think that God is a passive and ineffectual sovereign who lets the universe run on auto-pilot. But God is not like that because Jesus is not like that. Jesus’ desire was to see the Father’s will done on earth as it is in heaven. This is why he healed the sick and raised the dead.

Some think your sins put you in danger of an angry God. But God is not like that because Jesus is not like that. Jesus is a friend of sinners.

Some imagine that God gives us law while Jesus gives us grace. But the good news declares that Jesus is the embodiment of the Father’s grace. Jesus is fantastically gracious, but he is no more gracious than God himself. They are the dynamic duo of graciousness. There is no good God-bad God routine. There is just grace upon grace radiating from the throne of grace.

(c) Made purification of sins; see entry for Forgiveness.

(d) He sat down at the right hand. The Son shares his Father’s throne; see entry for Matt. 22:44.

Hebrews 1:4

having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they.

(a) Much better or vastly superior, as in “Jesus is vastly superior to the angels.” The angels were created by Jesus (John 1:3, Col. 1:16). They worshipped him at his birth (Heb. 1:6), and ministered to him in the wilderness (Matt 4:11, Mark 1:13).

(b) Angels are spiritual beings whose home is heaven (Mark 12:25). The original word (aggelos) means messengers and is occasionally used to describe human messengers (see entry for Luke 9:52). Most of the time the word refers to heavenly messengers. Notable angels named in the New Testament include Gabriel (Luke 1:19) and Michael (Jude 1:9).

Hebrews 1:13

But to which of the angels has He ever said, “SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND, UNTIL I MAKE YOUR ENEMIES A FOOTSTOOL FOR YOUR FEET”?

(a) Sit at my right hand. The Son shares his Father’s throne; see entry for Matt. 22:44.

(b) Enemies; see entry for Matt. 22:44.

Hebrews 1:14

Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?

(a) Inherit salvation. In Christ we are heirs of salvation (Heb. 1:14), heirs of eternal life (Matt. 19:29, Mark 10:17, Eph. 1:14, Tit. 3:7), and heirs of blessed and gracious life (Eph. 1:3, 1 Pet. 3:7, 9). See entry for Inheritance.

(b) Salvation. The original word means deliverance or rescue. Jesus is the great Deliverer who rescues us from our enemies (Luke 1:71). See entry for Salvation.

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