Hebrews 1 – 2
Ch.1-2 sets forth Christ in supreme glory, fulfillment of Israel’s hopes they couldn’t see, now glorified man. Son of God (ch.1, deity) and Son of Man (ch.2, humanity).
God’s Revelation through Son vs. Prophets (1:1-3)
v.1 Revelation Through Prophets. Begins majestically. The revelation of God in the Old Testament was fragmented and partial (directly, in dreams or visions, Hosea 12:10, 13). Never intended to be complete or final.
vv.2-3 The Son & Seven of His Glories That Set Him Above the Prophets. God Himself speaking, in the Person of the Son. Much greater than words given! At the very end God spoke to Israel face to face. Only the Son was competent to reveal God fully. “Speaking” began with Christ on earth, continued from heaven.
- The Heir of All Things. Heir has to do with Who He is (Eph. 1:10).
- The Creator of the Universe. Son is the special agent. Divine wisdom and infinite power.
- The Out-Shining of God’s Glory. Visible manifestation of God’s glory. God’s attributes reflected.
- The Expression of God’s Substance. Had to be Divine. Substance of the Godhead. ‘Homoousios’
- The Upholder of All Things. Sustains all… because His word! Swaddling clothes, crucified in weakness.
- The Purifier of Sins. Sin-bearing specific to “Himself”. Glory of completed works rests on Him alone. Work of redemption far greater than creation.
- The One Seated at God’s Right Hand. In v.13 Son invited, in v.3 His right. A place He won.
Christ Superior to the Angels (1:4) – So Much Better
v.4 More Excellent Name. More excellent name is “Son”. Always had a better place, inherited name “Son” as man. Name never given to angel. Heb. 1:5 – 2:18 expound this superiority.
Seven Old Testament Scriptures Showing Christ Superior to Angels (1:5-14)
Angels figure prominently in the Old Testament (Acts 7:53, Ex. 3:2). The greatest of God’s messengers. A tendency to exalt angels. Essenes (Colossians 2:18-19). Earthly prophets, heavenly angels!
As the Son: His Relationship and Preeminence (vv.5-6)
v.5 A Unique Relationship. Angels called “sons of God” (Job 1:6), never “You are my Son”. Exclusiveness, like “My Father” (John 5:17). Psa. 2 shows incarnation didn’t annul the Sonship. “This day” is incarnation, sonship carried into time! 2 Sam. 7:14 or 1 Chron. 17:13 was Jehovah about Solomon, applied to Christ. Father-son relationship enjoyed as man on earth! No angel. We share (John 20:17)!
v.6 The Place of Firstborn. Angels must worship (Rev. 22:8-9). “Firstborn” is preeminence (Psa. 89:27; Ex. 4:22; Col. 1:15 – not a creature). God’s firstborn: must have highest place, even as man! Quote either LXX of Deut. 32:43, or Psa. 97:7. First coming (Luke 2:13), foreshadow of final fulfillment, shift in administration.
As the God-Man: His Deity and Perfect Humanity (vv.7-9)
vv.7-9 His Deity and Holy Humanity. Angels are servants, the Son a Divine Person! “O God” proves His deity. Angels created beings; God “makes” his angels. A “flame of fire” (Gen. 3:24; Ex. 3:2). Son never made. Co-equal Person, eternal. Character of Messiah’s kingdom; in keeping with the character of the Man. A good definition of holiness: love for right and hatred of evil. Messiah’s walk was perfect, God marks Him, distinguished from faithful remnant. Begins “O God” (deity), ends with “God, thy God” (perfect dependent humanity). “Oil of gladness” is joy of rightful Messiah taking His place (2nd coming), foreshadowed by sealing (Matt. 3:17). This Man lifted above the greatest (1 Sam. 16:13).
As Jehovah: The Eternal, Unchanging, Self-existing One (vv.10-12)
vv.10-12 His Eternity and Immutability. Psalm 102 is the suffering Christ in extremity; anticipating the cross. His deity was not immunity. Christ “poured out his soul unto death” (Isa. 53:12). Natural repulsion to death; especially premature, His rights as Messiah. Middle of v.24 is the answer. Jehovah assures Him of His Godhead glory. Jehovah the Father addressing Jehovah the Son! All Christ suffered as man – including death – did not rob Him one iota of His glory as God! Jehovah “the Same”, a Divine name (Heb. 13:7). The creation perishable. A worn-out garment changed – not self-destruct, but His sovereign will (2 Peter 3:10-13). Things appear permanent will pass, eternal self-existing I AM continues forever! The Psalms are perfection of Christ as man. So fully man that this “encouragement” from God to His Son was “warranted”.
As the Glorified Man: His Place and Prospect (vv.13-14)
vv.13-14 The Glorification of Christ. Psalm of suffering on earth (Psa. 102) followed by Psalm of glorified in heaven (Psa. 110). Scene follows ascension. Enters heaven a glorified man, rejected by earth, accomplished atonement. Psa. 110 answer to Psa. 109; what Jehovah said unto “my Adonai” (David’s Lord). Jehovah as God the Father, speaking to His Son. From ascension until final victory. The royal Son received and crowned. Not the Son seating Himself (v.3), invited to sit. The address or salute (Heb. 5:9-10). Where are angels? God’s right hand never offered… just attendants at a coronation. If angels are great, how much greater the Son! Serve in the capacity of guardians for the saints, even before conversion! There in royal glory, He thinks of our needs. What grace! Epilogue: Christ will share His future throne with friends and co-heirs (Rev. 3:21), His seat now never shared, His alone.
(If You Listened to Angels in the Past, Listen to the Son Speaking Now) (2:1-4)
Warnings against Apostasy. Some made a profession without reality, in danger of abandoning their profession. Apostasy is irrecoverable. Hebrews 2:1-4, 3:7–4:11, 5:11–6:20, 10:26-39, and 12:16-27.
v.1 Danger of Slipping Away. Imperative to be true to the gospel; things heard of the Son. Already known Old Testament, danger of letting go of Christ. Easier to let slip of what is heavenly, spiritual, by faith.
vv.2-4 Neglecting Great Salvation. Moses’ Law “spoken by angels” (Acts 7:53, Deut. 33:2). Word of greater Person, Son vs. angels, warrants greater judgment. Despising grace. Great “salvation” announced when Christ came (Lk. 2:30-32; Lk. 4:16-21; Matt. 1:21). Deliverance of Israel from consequences of sins: wanted external escape instantly (Matt. 21:15); suffering for sin needed first. Confirmed by apostles (Acts 2:40), not Paul’s gospel. Outward signs (1 Cor. 1:22). Judgment fell A.D.70 (worse coming). Some heeded warning Lk. 21:20-21.
Christ as Man in Suffering and Exaltation (2:5-9)
Four Reasons Christ Became Man. (1) to make propitiation (v.17), (2) to fulfill the counsels of God (vv.7-8), (3) to annul the devil (v.14), and (4) to become a sympathetic captain of our salvation (v.10, v.18).
v.5 Angels and the World to Come. A great coming change in this world (Eph. 1:10), “world to come”. God always purposed to put the universe under the headship of a man. Satan attempts to usurp the inheritance. Today God rules through angels. His purpose is steady. The transfer of administration (Rev. 4 – 5).
vv.6-8a The Son of Man in the Counsels of God. Manhood of Christ necessary to fulfill God’s purpose for man: head over all created things, including the angels! In Psa. 8, God’s grace to puny man (‘Enosh’). Adam is the type: steward of the garden, he transgressed, failed in headship. Second man succeeds. “Crowned” in heaven now. Psa. 8 begins with small man, ends with small universe. “Son of man” title in rejection and glory.
vv.8b-9 Christ as a Man in Suffering and Exaltation. All things subject, including angels (Eph. 1:20-21). Angels above men in creation-order. Incarnation a great stoop. As fully Divine “so much better” (Divine Person, (Heb. 1:4), yet fully man “some little inferior”. In resurrection, beginning of new creation. A new race of men, above angels! We are part, but does not yet appear (1 Cor. 15:49; 1 John 3:2; Phil. 3:21). Suffering of death necessary (angels cannot die, Luke 20:36). Restored God’s honor. By faith we see Psa. 8 partly fulfilled, His coronation (John 13:32). This is guarantee of final fulfillment! Fully displayed in Millennium. He tasted death “for every thing”, dealing with issue of sin in general, covering the havoc the outbreak of sin has caused in creation (Col. 1:20). Connected with purchase (Matt. 13:44). He purchased the right to inheritance by vindicating the rights of God concerning sin. Holds title as Redeemer and Creator. The Son’s future dominion is wide as the scope of His past sufferings; universal! We See Jesus: as “view” into opened heavens.
What Christ Has Done for Believers (2:10-18)
v.10 A Perfect Leader. “Sons” resemble God in character (Matt. 5:9; Judges 8:18). God so pleased with His Son wanted to make many more, He the “firstborn among many brethren” (Rom 8:29). Fitting to God’s character to give “many sons” a perfect Leader! He passed the Captain through every experience – a full resume (v.18). He felt everything without the flesh. E.g. David (1 Sam. 22:2). He is “author of eternal salvation” in the ultimate sense (Moses from Egypt a type, Heb. 5:8-9), and “captain of our salvation” in present, ongoing salvation (Joshua into Canaan a type). What angel could bring sons to glory?
vv.11-13 Of One Kind with Us, His Brethren. Oneness of the Son and “many sons”. Quotes indicate a oneness beginning with disciples after His resurrection. “Oneness of kind”, not we “are one” but we “are of one”. E.g. Adam in Gen. 2, “no helpmate, his like” (compatibility). Mistake to limit to incarnation. Atonement needed to produce oneness of kind. Christ sanctifies, we “all of one” as men totally set apart for God (John 17:19; Heb.10:14). Christ “not ashamed” to call us “brethren”! Psa. 22:22 is answer to cry of suffering seen in resurrection! Partially fulfilled in John 20. Christ leading praises. Lord of all, the Son still a dependent man (Isa. 8:17 LXX). God’s children entrusted to Christ’s care (Isa. 8:18). Not Christ’s children, but with Him.
vv.14-15 Annulled the Devil and Freed Us. Incarnation and reason for it. Compassion for children; i.e. the saints. He “took part”, fully man yet fully God (1 Tim. 2:5; Col. 2:9). Union involved addition, not subtraction. Power of death is Satan’s power to press fear of judgment after death, and sin as “wages of death” on the conscience (Heb. 9:27; Rom. 6:23; Job 18:14). Not His death “for every thing”, but for us. (Luke 22:53; Psa. 22:21). He undermined the Devil’s plans accepting death in perfect submission (John 18:11). David slew Goliath with giant’s own sword. Claims of sin are gone, death no longer holds terror.
vv.16-18 Our Merciful and Faithful High Priest. “Take hold of” means took up the cause of. Seed of Abraham are earthly people under curse of law (John 8:37-39). Incarnation necessary, but goes beyond. Parallel Lev. 16:
- Faithful towards God, make propitiation. God’s glory regarding sins. Day of Atonement (once a year) high priest wears “holy linen coat”, offers to satisfy God’s claims. One-time sacrifice, laid foundation for v.18.
- Merciful towards man, help those being tempted. After, high priest changes into glorious garments, ongoing role of intercessor. Not a sheltered life; like unto his brethren, can sympathize. Suffered “being tempted” (sin apart, Heb. 4:15) without yielding. He is able to help. We too suffer if we do not yield.
Both functions required He be one of the people. We have a perfect High Priest in the Lord Jesus Christ.