Hebrews 1

The epistle opens in the most majestic manner. Hebrews is the only
book in the Bible which begins with the word, GOD. We are at once
brought face to face with the tremendous fact that God, who had spoken
to the fathers of Israel by prophets in former days, had now spoken in
divine fulness and with finality in His Son. Just notice in passing
that this first verse witnesses that the epistle is to the Hebrews, for
the expression, "the fathers," would have no meaning for a Gentile.

God being the
living God, it is only to be expected that He would
speak. Before
sin came in He spoke freely to Adam, and face to face; afterwards He
only addressed Himself to chosen men, who became thereby His
mouthpieces. The prophets had to speak just what He gave them, and
often they uttered words, the full meaning of which was hidden from
them, as we are told in 1 Peter 1: 10-12. When the Lord Jesus came to
accomplish redemption God told out all His mind. He spoke not merely
by Him as His mouthpiece, but
in Him.
The distinction, is not made in our Authorized version, but it should
be, for the preposition in verse 2 is not "by" but "in." It is an
important distinction, for it at once preserves the unique character of
our Lord. When the Son spoke it was God speaking, for the simple reason
that the Son was God.

Having mentioned the Son, the Holy Spirit proceeds to unfold His
glory, not only that glory which is His essentially as God and Creator,
but also that which is His by reason of His redemption work. This leads
to a long but very necessary digression, which lasts until the end of
the chapter; so much so that all these verses might be placed within
brackets. We should then read straight from the word "Son" to the
beginning of chapter 2 and find the sense complete. "God . . . hath . .
. spoken unto us in His Son . . . therefore we ought to give the more
earnest heed." Indeed it is not until we arrive at verse 3 of chapter 2
that we discover what is the main drift and theme of this Divine
speaking. It was
"so great salvation which first began to be
spoken by the Lord." When
God formulated His demands upon men it was sufficient that angels
should serve Him, and that a man such as Moses should be His
mouthpiece. Now that His great salvation' is the theme the Son Himself
comes forth and speaks.

However the immediate theme before us in chapter 1 is the unique
glory of the Son. Immediately He is mentioned our thoughts are swept
forward to the moment when His glory shall be fully manifested, and
then back to the moment when first it appeared, as far as all created
beings are concerned. On the one hand He is the Heir not merely to
David's throne but of "all things," and this expression covers things
in the heavens and not only things on earth. On the other hand when the
worlds were made He was the Maker of them. God created indeed, as we
are told in Genesis 1: 1, but when the Persons are distinguished, as in
this Scripture, creation is attributed not to the Father but to the
Son. The Son-whom we know as our blessed Lord Jesus-was the mighty
Actor in those creatorial scenes of inconceivable splendour.

Verse 3 brings before us three great things concerning Him. First, we have
what He is, as the outshining of the glory of God and the exact expression of all that God is. Secondly, we are told
what He has done. By
Himself He has done the work which purges sins away. How He did it we
are not told for the moment, but we know it was by the death of the
cross. Thirdly,
where He is comes before us. He has taken His
seat at the right hand of the Majesty in the heavens; that is, He sits
in the place of supreme power, from whence everything shall in due
season be administrated. How wonderfully these three things go
together! The efficacy of the work that He did was dependent upon the
fact of who and what He was; whilst the proof and demonstration of the
efficacy of His work is found in where He is, in the fact that He is
seated in the place of supreme power. If any believer in Jesus is still
plagued with doubts and misgivings as to whether his sins are really
and effectively purged away, let him look by faith to that seat on high
where Jesus sits, and doubt no more!

In verse 3 we also find the wonderful fact that the Son is the
Upholder of all things. The previous verse has set Him before us as the
Creator of all, and as the One who shall inherit all things, now we
discover that all things are upheld and hang together by the word of
His power. We may talk sometimes about the laws of the universe. We may
observe the working of the law of gravitation, though the real why and
wherefore of it is unknown to us. We
may even, before we are
much older, have to listen to fickle "science" altering or overturning
all that she had previously asserted as to these laws. Well, so be it!
We know that THE LAW of the universe is the word of His power, and this
is all that really matters. Any laws which we may observe, or think we
observe, are very secondary, and should the leaders of scientific
speculation suddenly reverse their pronouncements we shall not turn a

Let us put this together then in brief fashion. The Son is the
Creator, the Upholder and the Heir of all things. He is moreover the
exact Expression of all that God is, being God Himself, and being that
exact Expression He has come forth to be the Divine Spokesman on the
one hand, and the Redeemer on the other. Had He spoken only we should
all have been terrified; but as He has made purification for sins as
well as speaking, we can receive with joy the revelation which He has

In verse 4 He is contrasted with angles, and this contrast is not
merely mentioned and then dismissed; the theme is elaborated at
considerable length, and continues to the end of the chapter. It is
very definitely CONTRAST. In saying this we are pointing out one of the
characteristic features of this epistle. As we proceed we shall find
continued references to the old order of things, established when the
law was given by Moses. These old and material things bore a certain
resemblance to the new and spiritual things established and introduced
by the Lord Jesus, and hence they were designed to act as patterns or
types. Yet when these types are put alongside the realities which they
typified an immense contrast is seen. As the heavens are high above the
earth so the antitype exceeds the type. In our epistle the
resemblance is taken for granted, and it is the
contrast which is stressed.

It may be asked however, Why is the contrast with
angels so elaborated
and even carried on into the next chapter? What is the point of it?
Well every Jew knew that angels played a very large part in connection
with the giving of the law by Moses, though but little is said of them
in Exodus. The words of Stephen, recorded in Acts. 7: 53 show this, as
also the second verse of our second chapter. This display of angelic
might gave a very powerful sanction to Moses and the law he brought
them, in the minds of the people. And now there appears amongst men the
Divine Spokesman, yet to them He is but Jesus of Nazareth, a humble and
despised Man. There is no beauty about Him that they should desire Him
or His words nor is there any display of angels to accredit Him. It
became therefore of the utmost importance to insist on the true glory
of His person as being immeasurably above all angels. Had He been
visibly attended by ten thousand times ten thousand, it would have
added nothing to Him!

Two things are said in verse 4. First, He has a more excellent name than angels
by inheritance; second, He has been
made better
than they. The words, "Being made," may also be translated, "Having
become," or, "Taking a place." The first refers to His superiority by
reason of His Godhead glory; the second to the place He now occupies in
Manhood, as the Accomplisher of redemption. And notice that His
superiority is equally pronounced in both, as evidenced by these little
words in the sentence, "SO . . . AS." Read the verse again for
yourself, and see.

These facts, as stated in verse 4, are supported and proved by a
remarkable series of quotations from the Old Testament, extending from
verse 5 to the end of the chapter. Let us just notice how the argument

Verses 5 and 6 contain three quotations giving the pronouncements of
God when introducing the Lord Jesus to men. They very definitely
support what is said in verse 4, especially the statement as to His
being better than angels by

In verse 7 we have a quotation which plainly states the nature
of angels and the reason why they exist. They are spirits in their
nature and they exist as ministers to serve the Divine will. This is in
contrast to what goes before and also to that which follows.

In verses 8 to 12 we get two quotations giving us utterances of God
to Christ, in both of which He is addressed as Man and yet He is
saluted as God and as the Creator.

In verse 13 comes the quotation giving the decree which has exalted
Him to the right hand of the Majesty on high, and this, we are assured,
is something whichnever was said to angels. They are but spirits who
are glad to serve, according to the Divine will, such humble creatures
as those who once were fallen sinners, but who shall be heirs of
salvation. All this, and particularly verses 9 and 13, show us that He
is better than angels, inasmuch as He has
taken a place which is so much higher than theirs.

There are seven quotations in all from the Old Testament in these
verses: one in regard to angels and six in regard to Christ. These
latter come from Ps. 2: 7, 2 Samuel 7: 14; Ps. 97: 7; Ps. 45: 6, 7; Ps.
102: 25-27; Ps. 110: 1., and each deserves to be separately studied.

The first is deeply interesting for it shows that even as a Man born
in time He is the Son of God. These words from Psalm 2 anticipate the
virgin birth, and their fulfilment is announced in Luke 1: 35. We may
say they give us God's utterance to Christ at His incarnation.

The second is remarkable as showing how the Holy Ghost always has
Christ in view. Reading Samuel we might think that the words only
referred to Solomon.
Immediately, Solomon was in view, as the words following those quoted show; but
ultimately, Christ was in view.

The third gives us the decree concerning Christ at the moment of His
reintroduction into the world in power and glory; not His first coming,
but His second. We read the Psalm and the "Him" is clearly Jehovah. We
read Hebrews and the "Him" is clearly Christ. What does that teach us?
Notice also that the term "gods" may be used of any who represent God,
whether angels as here, or men as in Psalm 82: 6,-the passage which the
Lord Jesus quoted in John 10: 34.

The fourth is what is said to the Son by God at the opening of the
Millennial kingdom. He is a Man, for God is His God, yet He is
addressed as God. As Man He has His fellows, or companions, yet He
possesses a gladness which is above them-and how glad we are that He

The fifth gives us the divine word addressed to Him in the moments
of His deepest humiliation and sorrow-we might almost say, in the
garden of Gethsemane. He who is being cut off in the midst of His days
is declared to be the mighty Creator, who shall ultimately consume or
change all in creation which needs changing, and yet Himself remain
eternally the same.

The sixth turns our thoughts to Christ as the risen One and gives us
God's utterance to Him as He ascended into the heavens. Thus we are
conducted to the place where Christ is; and we are prepared to see Him
there and to learn the meaning of His session in glory when we come to
Hebrews 2.

All this wonderful unfolding of the excellence of our blessed
Saviour is in order that we may be impressed with the greatness of the
One in whom God has spoken to us. He is, as Hebrews 3: 1 puts it, "the
Apostle . . . of
our profession." An apostle is a "sent one," one who comes forth from
God to us, bringing the divine message. Our Lord Jesus has thus come
forth, bringing us the complete divine revelation; only He is Himself
God. This fact at once lifts all that He has said to us on to a plane
far above all that went before. The prophets of old were fully inspired
of God, and consequently all that they said was reliable and comes to
pass, but they could never convey to us the revelation which we have in

Into the marvellous light of that revelation the Hebrews had been brought. And so have we, thanks be to God!