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Hebrews One

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

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Hebrews 1:1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,

divers manners. The Old Testament Scriptures were all from God, but He used many different writers over the ages, and different manners of inspiration to write them. Whatever method was used, however—whether direct dictation or special revelation or the individual knowledge and ability of the writer—all were so guided and illumined by the Holy Spirit that the words finally written down were as though spoken by God Himself.

by the prophets. The epistle to the Hebrews is neither addressed to a particular church nor to a particular person (as are all Paul's other letters), but there are several reasons for believing Paul was the author, as follows: (1) its ending is a typical Pauline ending (Hebrews 13:25); (2) its author was associated closely with Timothy (Hebrews 13:23); (3) Peter implied that Paul had written an epistle to the Jews (2 Peter 3:15-16); (4) it was written from Italy (Hebrews 13:24), possibly as one of Paul's prison epistles; (5) he had been prevented from giving his message to the Jews by his arrest in the temple and transport to Jerusalem, so he undoubtedly wanted to give a full exposition of the Christian faith to his beloved countrymen (note his testimony in Romans 9:1-3). Although he had written many epistles to the Gentiles, he had written nothing yet for his Jewish brethren, and may well have proceeded to do so in prison, after the Jews in Rome had rejected his spoken message (Acts 28:29-31).

Hebrews 1:2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;

by his Son. God spoke intermittently and partially by the Old Testament prophets, but finally and fully by His Son, through the apostles (Hebrews 2:3).

heir of all things. See note on Romans 8:17; also see Psalm 2:8.

made the worlds. The Son is the Creator of all things (John 1:1-3; Ephesians 3:9; Colossians 1:16). Here the Scripture notes that Christ created the “space/time” cosmos. He is Creator of time as well as space, and all things. The Greek word aion, can be translated either “ages” (e.g., Ephesians 2:7) or “worlds” (e.g., Hebrews 11:3). It embraces the idea of time as well as space and matter, thus beautifully reflecting the scientific concept of the universe as a space/matter/time continuum.

Hebrews 1:3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;

brightness of his glory. “Brightness” is from a Greek word used only here in the New Testament, literally meaning “off-flashing.” In context of both this passage and modern astronomy, it could well be understood as “radiation.” As the “express image” of the Father, the Son of God is analogous to the life-giving rays from the sun. Just as the Father dwells “in the light which no man can approach unto” (1 Timothy 6:16), so can no man gaze long at the sun without being blinded. Yet, physically speaking, as the sun's radiation provides both light and life to the world, so the Son is spiritually both the “light of the world” (John 8:12), and the “life” of the world (John 1:14; 14:6; Acts 17:28). See also note on Psalm 19:1; note on Psalm 65:8; note on Micah 5:2.

word of his power. The eternal Son not only created all things by His omnipotent Word (Psalm 33:6; Hebrews 11:3) but is now “upholding all things by the Word of His power.” Note the remarkable relationship here between “things” and “power,” or in modern scientific jargon, between mass and energy. The atomic structure of our very bodies is being held together (or “sustained”—see note on Colossians 1:17) by mysterious nuclear forces or binding energies that keep the atoms from disintegrating into chaos. Scientists do not yet understand such energies or their origin—they merely name them! The fact is that we (and all things) are being upheld by the out-radiating energy of the Son of God, so that He is “not far from every one of us” (Acts 17:27), whether we believe in Him or not. “Where the word of a King is, there is power: and who may say unto Him, What doest thou?” (Ecclesiastes 8:4). This passage in Hebrews 1:2-3—like Colossians 1:14-20 and Romans 11:36—beautifully summarizes the past, present and future work of Christ in relation to the whole universe.

by himself. The purging of our sins was accomplished solely “by Himself;” we have contributed nothing whatever to His great work of saving our souls.

right hand. Out of the twenty-one references to Christ being at the right hand of the Father (the first being in Psalm 16:8), five occur in Hebrews (Hebrews 1:3, 13; 8:1; 10:12; 12:2).

Hebrews 1:4 Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.

Being made. The Son, by His essential deity, is acknowledged as “being” (Hebrews 1:3), but in His perfect humanity, He was “being made.” He created all the angels, but when He became man, He was made “a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death” (Hebrews 2:9), but now, having been “appointed heir of all things” (Hebrews 1:2), in His glorified humanity, He is forever better than angels, even in His humanity.

Hebrews 1:5 For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?

said he. This is the first of at least forty quotations in Hebrews from the Old Testament Scriptures. A perennial objection of the Jews to Jesus has been that God has no son, since He is one God (Deuteronomy 6:4), so Paul (assuming he is the writer) begins by showing that their own Scriptures prove God to be both Father and Son. This particular reference is from Psalm 2:7, referring not only to God's Son, but also to His coming resurrection, as the first begotten from the dead (Acts 13:33; Colossians 1:18).

Hebrews 1:6 And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.

And again. This reference to the coming Son is from 2 Samuel 7:14. The terms of that particular promise to David had a precursive fulfillment in Solomon, but its eternal terms could apply only to the coming Messiah.

he saith. From Psalm 97:7, where the angels are called “gods.” In the psalm, the “gods” are evidently fallen angels who have promoted pagan worship of themselves. However, its citation in Hebrews indicates that all angels, whether faithful or fallen, are commanded to worship (which means, essentially, to bow down to the will of God) the true God of creation.

Hebrews 1:7 And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire.

he saith. This passage is quoted from Psalm 104:4, the great psalm of Creation, providence and the Flood. The angels were created as spirits, evidently immediately after the creation of the universe; they have not existed from eternity. As the next verses assert, however, the Son has been forever. Note again Hebrews 1:5 and Psalm 2:7: “Thou art my Son .... ” This prophecy was given a thousand years before the Son became man, yet He already was the Son.

Hebrews 1:8 But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.

unto the Son. Christ is the Son of God by: resurrection (Hebrews 1:5a; Acts 13:33; Romans 1:4); human generation (Hebrews 1:5b; Luke 1:33); proclamation (Hebrews 1:6; Matthew 3:17); nature (Hebrews 1:8-9; John 10:30); eternal generation (Hebrews 1:10-12; Colossians 1:15); and inheritance (Hebrews 1:13; Hebrews 1:2). In contrast to the eternal Son, angels are sons of God by special creation (Job 38:7; Psalm 104:4-5).

he saith. See Psalm 45:6-7.

Hebrews 1:9 Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.

God, even thy God. The testimony of Psalm 45:6-7 as quoted here is clearly Messianic; it is both addressed to God (note “thy throne, O God”—Hebrews 1:8) and spoken about God (“God, hath anointed thee ... ”). One person of the Godhead is speaking to another Person of the Godhead.

Hebrews 1:10 And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands:

in the beginning. See Psalm 102:25-27. Modern big-bang cosmology says the earth evolved about ten billion years or more after the heavens evolved, but God says He made the earth before the stars of the heavens. Also compare Genesis 1:1, 9, and Genesis 1:14-19.

Hebrews 1:11 They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment;

wax old. This revelation, originally given in the Psalms and now doubly verified, as it were, by being quoted in the New Testament, makes it clear that the universe is not evolving, but running down. This revelation anticipated the discovery of the Second Law of Thermodynamics, which it illustrates, by almost three thousand years. Also called the law of increasing entropy, this law is considered one of the most certain, best-proved laws of science, specifying as it does the observed fact that every thing in the universe has a tendency to run down or deteriorate and eventually die. The universe as a whole is heading toward an ultimate heat death, with all the stars burned out and the whole cosmos at a uniform low temperature.

Hebrews 1:12 And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail.

thou art the same. Although His creation is now decaying, the Creator and His Word remain the same forever (Matthew 24:35; Hebrews 13:8; 1 Peter 1:24-25; etc.).

Hebrews 1:13 But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool?

Sit on my right hand. See Psalm 110:1. There are five references in Hebrews to Christ, the Son of God, at the right hand of God (Hebrews 1:3, 13; 8:1; 10:12; 12:2).

Hebrews 1:14 Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?

ministering spirits. This important passage indicates that the primary reason why God created the angels is so that they could serve to implement His purpose in creating and redeeming men and women in His own image. Angels possess great wisdom (2 Samuel 14:20); great strength (Psalm 103:20); great speed (Daniel 9:21); and great numbers (Hebrews 12:22) in performing this ministry. They accomplish their ministry on behalf of the heirs of salvation, in various ways, including: instruction (Acts 10:3-6); deliverance (Psalm 34:7; 91:11); comfort (Matthew 1:20; Luke 22:43); and, finally, reception at death (Luke 16:22). They were created to be “ministering spirits [continually being], sent forth to minister [that is, 'serve'] for them who shall be heirs of salvation.”