Hebrews 1

Hebrews class 3, Hebrews chapter 1

January 21, 2009

Second edition. These notes will be revised as needed.

Tod Kennedy

The Father speaks through the Son

Main points to emphasize in Hebrew 1

  1. Jesus is the final personal revelation of God and as such he is the only one worthy of our complete faith, confidence, loyalty, and service. He is God. He is maintains the orderly universe. He is better than angels by nature, status, action, and proclamation. He is superior to angels. He is the Father’s anointed Messiah. He will soon take the rule over creation. All of this means that he is the only Savior, the only way to God. There is no other to whom we and Hebrew believers can turn. We can and must rely on him. We may not subordinate him to angels, to Moses, to the Levitical priesthood, or to the Levitical sacrifices.
  2. Jesus, the Son, is the eternal and omnipotent God, the creator, the sustainer of the universe, the savior, and the only Messiah. This answers the charges brought against the Hebrew believers by both pagans and unbelieving Hebrews.
  3. Ministering spirits are angels and they help believers in their ministry of serving God. We do not put faith in them. We simply know that God uses them in various ways to help and apparently acts as interference for us.


  1. God’s final revelation has been given through His Son, Jesus Christ (Hebrews 1:1-4).
  2. God’s Son, Jesus Christ, is better than angels by nature, status, action,, and proclamation (Hebrews 1:5-14).

Exposition of Hebrews 1

  1. Revelation and Christ (Hebrews 1:1-4). Hebrews 1 is both an introduction to the argument of the book and a defense of the faith, and especially to Hebrew believers who are wavering on the worthiness of Jesus Christ. If the author is correct, and everything in the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures indicate that he is correct, then the Son is the eternal and omnipotent God, the creator, the sustainer of the universe, the savior, and the only Messiah. This answers the charges brought against the Hebrew believers by both pagans and unbelieving Hebrews.
    1. God who spoke indicates divine revelation. Revelation has two uses in this section.
      1. The first use of revelation is that God revealed himself and his will to mankind through prophets who spoke and wrote the Scripture. Writing prophets include Moses (Deuteronomy 34:10), Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the Twelve. David and Daniel did not hold the office of prophet, nevertheless they wrote prophetic messages. Non writing prophets include Elijah and Elisha
      2. The second use of revelation refers to God revealing his own character in the person of his Son, Jesus.
      3. See Revelation, inspiration, illumination, communication and Doctrine: Revelation of God to Mankind PowerPoint slide.
    2. God’s Son is by existence, nature, work, and name better than angels (Hebrews 1:2-4). The glory shows in the radiance; the substance or nature is in Christ, the person.
      1. Heir of all things κληρονόμος, ου, ὁ the beneficiary. Jesus will inherit all creation from God the father and rule as owner.
      2. The Father created the world through the Son. “The world” is τοὺς αἰῶνας, all the segments of time, historical ages past and future. Probably also refers to the visible creation, since the same word is used in Hebrews 11:3. John 1:3 and Colossians 1:16 say Jesus Christ is the creator and sustainer.
      3. Radiance of God’s glory ἀπαύγασμα, ατος, τό reflection, radiance or brightness from a source; objective genitive. This could be either. In context it is best to take this to mean a shining out of God’s glory. Jesus shows God’s glory. See John 1:14.
      4. Exact representation of God’s nature. χαρακτήρ, ῆρος, ὁ. Reproduction, representation. Nature is ὑπόστασις, εως, ἡ; substance, nature, essence; objective genitive. The Son is God by substance and nature.
      5. Upholds all things, all the workings of the universe. See Colossians 1:17 συνίστημι, perfect active indicative; bring together, hold together, put together, continue, exist.
      6. Made purification of sins refers to his death for sins. He was and is the better priest. The doctrine of reconciliation; what he did as our priest. He did this by substituting himself for us in payment for our sins.
      7. Seated at right hand of the Father. The place of highest honor. Jesus as resurrected God and man has been accepted in heaven. Jesus is supreme. See Philippians 2:9 where God highly exalted him. Second Chronicles 9:18 and Psalm 132:7 illustrate the footstool in the temple. Isaiah 66:1, the earth is God’s footstool; Psalm 110:1; Luke 20:43; Acts 2:35; and Hebrews 1:13 and 10:13, Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father waiting for his enemies to be made his footstool at the Second Advent. Also see Philippians 2:11-12. Doctrine of footstool.
      8. Better than angels. Angels are superior to mankind in ability and they are messengers from God to man. Jesus is superior to angels.
      9. More excellent name. His name is different and of more value than the angels. He is Son of God, Messiah, Christ, Jesus.
  2. God’s Son is better than angels by nature, status, action, and proclamation (Hebrews 1:5-14).
    1. The word better, κρείττων or κρείσσων (better, greater, superior), is a comparative adjective and is used 13 times in 12 verses and indicates better than angels, better things for believers, better hope, better sacrifice, better covenant, better country, and better resurrection. See the short doctrine of angels.
    2. The writer quotes or alludes to 9 Old Testament passages in verses 5-13. I have only referred to those passages that are clear in the author’s mind. The author is not necessarily interpreting each of the referred to passages. He, under inspiration, now applies them to the Son. These are used to support his contention that Jesus is better than angels and therefore is the only Messiah.
    3. Jesus is the begotten Son. Begotten γεννάω (perfect active indicative) literal and figurative. Here it is figurative and marks the announcement of the Son’s entrance into the office of king and the affirmation of Jesus’ Sonship. Jesus was installed as God’s eternal king. Psalm 2:7 (Messianic king). In Acts 4:27 Jesus is God’s anointed one. This does not mean he was a created being. Jesus has all the rights of Sonship.
    4. Father son relationship goes back to 2 Samuel 7:14 where Solomon is said to have that relationship with God. Jesus is the actual and ultimate son of God.
    5. Firstborn πρωτότοκος, ον refers to his unique position in the plan of God. Here it refers to the unique status, the honored Son of God, not the first human born or the first being created. He is the one that is Heir, Savior, King, Priest, and coming Ruler (Colossians 1.15-18; Hebrews 1.6). See the parallels: Israel (Exodus 4.22; Jeremiah 31.9) and note especially David (Psalm 89.27). Neither was the first created. Both had a unique relationship to God the Father.
      1. The Father brought εἰσάγω (aorist active subjunctive) his firstborn into the world. He was already the Father’s firstborn. Now he came into the world at the incarnation.
    6. Jesus is worshipped by angels (Hebrews 1:6). These words are taken from the LXX at Deuteronomy 32:43 and Psalm 96:7. Under inspiration the author of Hebrews uses that wording to teach about the son.
    7. The Son is said to be God (Hebrews 1:8). The author takes Psalm 45:6-7 which speaks first of God’s throne (I think over Israel) and then God’s historic king of Israel.
    8. The Son is the eternal ruler (Hebrews 1:8), again from Psalm 45:7.
    9. The Son is the righteous ruler (Hebrews 1:9). See Psalm 45:7.
    10. The Son is anointed by God (Hebrews 1:9). See Psalm 45:7.
    11. The Son created the earth and heavens (Hebrews 1:10). This comes from Psalm 102:25. The subject there is God and LORD.
    12. The son is eternal and does not change (Hebrews 1:11-12). See Psalm 102:26-27 where the Psalmist is speaking about God.
    13. The son sits at the Father’s right hand until the defeat of his enemies (Hebrews 1:13). Psalm 110:1 has the Father saying to David’s Lord (Messiah), “sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.” The writer of Hebrews demonstrates the ruling authority of Messiah, the Son, Jesus.
    14. Angels stand ready to serve believers (Hebrews 1:14). Psalm 103:20-21 teaches that angels are under God’s authority, are strong, obey God, and serve God.
      1. In this context the author of Hebrews made an application from the doctrine of angels to the readers. Angels are ministering spirits. Ministering is λειτουργικός, ή, όν (an adjective; service of a religious nature; here of service to God). This word is used only here in the New Testament. The noun indicates one who performs public service and religious service. These angels are sent to render service διακονία, ας, ἡ (service, ministry), for those who will inherit salvation (σωτηρία, ας, ἡ deliverance, preservation, salvation). “Those” refers to believers who will come into physical possession of eternal life and its benefits in the future. Comparing this to Hebrews 2:1-3 and other Hebrews passages, these appear to be believers who have not drifted and neglected, and therefore this inheritance seems to be an added inheritance, including yet over and above entrance into heaven.
      2. If you are a believer in Jesus Christ you have great opportunities for service and great potential for rewards. Angels have the job of ministering to you and for you in your Christian service. Does this mean that every believer has a guardian angel? This does not seem to be the point. But, ministering spirits serve believers while the believer serves God, so guarding is probably a part of that service. Ministering spirits will guide believers away from trouble, will protect from interference, will in some way encourage (possibly as in Hebrews 13:2 (“some have entertained angels without knowing it”), and keep believers out of trouble.
  3. Doctrines taught or referred to in Hebrews 1 include
    1. Revelation
    2. Prophet
    3. Christ the heir
    4. Ages (dispensations)
    5. Christology
    6. Reconciliation and substitution
    7. Angels
    8. Begotten and firstborn
    9. Worship of God
    10. Creation
    11. God’s nature and attributes
    12. Footstool
    13. Ministering spirits (service angels)

End of Hebrews 1 study