God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
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;
Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.
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?
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.
They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment;
 

1:1 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.

1:1 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 (II 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).

1:2 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).

1:2 heir of all things. See note on Romans 8:17; also see Psalm 2:8.

1:2 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.

1:3 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” (I 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 notes on Psalm 19:1; 65:8; Micah 5:2.

1:3 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.

1:3 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.

1:3 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).

1:4 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.

1:5 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).

1:6 And again. This reference to the coming Son is from II 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.

1:6 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.

1:8 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).

1:8 he saith. See Psalm 45:6-7.

1:10 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.

1:11 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.

1:12 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; I Peter 1:24-25; etc.).

1:13 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).


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