In these verses, Hebrews 1:4-14, Jesus’ status is compared with that of the heavenly angels. His name, divinity, kingship and authority are shown to be even above comparison with the angels.
Hebrews 1:4-5 speak of His Name above all names – “the Son” (v.2). Having “sat down on the right of the Majesty on high” (v.3), He is “made so much better than the angels” (v.4) because only He is named “My Son” by the Father who has begotten Him (v.5).
He is, therefore, the Son “by inheritance”. None of these attributes, nor such an illustrious Name, were ever bestowed on any angel. As a matter of fact, the angels of God are to worship the Son (Hebrews 1:6). His Name is indeed above all names!
Hebrews 1:7 indicates that the Son is not only far superior to the heavenly host of angels but that He also has dominion and control over them. The angels belong to Him, they are His, and they are His messengers (this is the real meaning of the Greek word that we translate as “angels”) and they are His ministers, i.e. His servants/functionaries. See more about this under “Jesus’ Authority” below.
Jesus is God Himself
In Hebrews 1:8 we read: “But to the Son, He says, "Your throne, O God, is forever and ever.” His throne (kingship) is eternal and He rules in righteousness.
Now the question may be asked: How is it possible that Jesus is the Son of God, but yet He is God Himself? How is it possible that the Spirit of God is God, but yet He is God? Is the Father God, or is the Son God, or is the Spirt God?
We may put forward weak comparisons, like marriage, which contains and is visible in the persons of husband and wife. But then marriage is not a person. I may say that I am both a son (to my father), I am a father (to my son), and I am also a husband (to my wife). In every such relation, I play a different role (father, son, and husband) but I am not three persons! I am only one! But these, as I have pointed out, are weak, incomplete comparisons, and do not help us.
What we must understand is that, in revealing Himself to us in Scripture, God did not give Himself to be analyzed, examined or understood in our logical ways. He gave us as much as He deemed fit for us to know that He is the one and only God, Creator of all, loving, merciful, gracious and righteous.
What we do not understand or know about Him is irrelevant. In our earthly existence, we will never fully understand until the fulness of time has come (1Cor.13:9-10). However, what God expects from us, His creatures, is to believe what He reveals about Himself in Scripture (Heb.1:1) and in His handiwork (Rom.1:18-20).
Because He is God, He created in a way that we can not comprehend. His being and essence are also far beyond our understanding. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are His thoughts and His ways beyond the boundaries of our understanding, and are infinitely higher than ours (Isa.55:8-9).
This brings us to the ways in which God reveals Himself to us. Not only is He the Son, but God Himself (v.8). Jesus is, in fact, God Himself who took on human flesh, revealing Himself in the person of Jesus. In John.1:1 we read: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God [Himself]. John.1:14 “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us.”
In Romans.9:5 we read about “the Christ according to the flesh, He being God over all, blessed forever”. “And we know that the Son of God has come… and we are in Him that is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and the everlasting life (1John.5:20). Jesus also confirmed this when He said: “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life” (John.14:6).
There are many more Scriptures that can be quoted to show that the Son of God is, in fact, God Himself. Let us then, with our limited understanding of God, rest in the well-known statement: “God said it. I believe it. That settles it.”
Jesus’ Superiority over Man (His “fellows”)
Hebrews 1:9 sings the glory and superiority of the Son above man. This is a quote from Psalms.45:7. He loves righteous judgment and hates wickedness. This also means the He will not forsake His saints but keeps them forever, and He will cut off the seed of the wicked (Psalms.37:28).
He was “anointed with the oil of gladness”. In the Old Testament God had his prophets anoint the chosen kings of Israel to their office as kings (e.g. 1Samuel.15:1; 1Kings.19:15-16). This anointing was done with oil, which symbolized the Holy Spirit (2Kings.9:3, 6).
In fulfillment, Jesus was anointed with the Holy Spirit Himself, Who descended upon Him in the shape of a dove (Luke.3:22 etc.).
Side Note: Let us always remember that the Holy Spirit is one of the three Persons in the Godhead. Therefore we never refer to Him as an “it”, but always as a Person, Who is also verily God Himself. Read an article on the doctrine of The Holy Trinity.
In this way, the Son was anointed with the Oil of gladness. Thus the Holy Spirit is also the source of joy and gladness. None other has ever been anointed like the Son, anointed “above Your fellows” – i.e. above all mankind, having been a man Himself.
This is a quote from Psalms.102;25-27, which describes the power and timelessness of the Son over His creation.
Hebrews 1:10 He is the Lord and has created all. Please read the beautiful descriptions in Ephesians.3:9; John.1:1-4 & 14; Psalms.33:6; 102:25; Colossians.1:16-17; Jeremiah.32:17.
Hebrews 1:11-12 “The works of Your hands” will perish. “And all the host of the heavens shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled like a scroll; and all their host shall droop, as a leaf falls off from the vine, and as the falling from the fig tree.” (Isaiah 34:4).
In its place, He will create new heavens and a new earth. And the things of before will not be remembered, nor come to mind (Isaiah 65:17).
As we shall see later in this series, His earthly creations will perish because they are only a foreshadow of the real things to come. Therefore they must and will be terminated, even as many things like rituals and prophecies have already been fulfilled in Jesus Christ.
Over against the temporary character of these creations, stands the eternal majesty, power, glory, and timelessness of the Son, who is Himself, God. He will remain and reign righteously forever, and will never change (Hebrew.13:8; Malachi 3:6).
The Son has full authority over His angels (messengers) and His ministers (servants/functionaries). About these, please see also Psalms.104:4; Isaiah.6:2; Ezekiel.1:13-14; Daniel 7:10; Zechariah 6:5.
In Hebrews 1:13-14 the author continues with yet another aspect of the superiority of the Son over the heavenly angels. Not only is His Name above all names (vv4-5), but also His infinite authority above all authority.
What the author started saying in v.3 and expanded upon in v.7, he now continues and quotes from Psalms.110:1 “The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand until I make thine enemies thy footstool. :2 The LORD shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies.” According to Jesus Himself, King David prophesied with these words under the guidance of the Holy Spirit (Mark.12:36; Act.2:36).
This phrase “Sit on My right hand”, implies that a king sits on his throne, having absolute authority and that all His enemies will be subjected to Him and be made nothing more than His footstool.
He is not only in every aspect superior to the heavenly entities, the angels, but has absolute authority over them. They are His messengers and servants/functionaries, whom He sends forth to minister to “those who shall be heirs of salvation”.
Continue reading commentary on Hebrews 2:1-4
Part of the series - Letter to the Hebrews
Hebrews 1:4-14 commentary by Gideon Aggenbag
Mind On Jesus