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Bible Commentaries
Hebrews 1

Dummelow's Commentary on the BibleDummelow on the Bible

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Verses 1-13

The Supremacy of Christ. The OT. itself testifies to His supremacy as God’s Son over its own chief personages: (a) first the angels, through whom the Jews believed that creation had been effected and the Law given (Hebrews 1:4 to Hebrews 2:18).

He is also superior (b) to Moses, the founder of the national religion, yet only a servant, whereas He is a Son (Hebrews 3:1-6), He is superior (c) to Joshua. He has rest to give, which Christians are warned not to miss by unfaith-fukiess, as Israel missed the rest of Canaan, which was a type of the true rest of Christ’s kingdom, and which they lost by provoking God in the wilderness. For there is no escape from God’s judgments (Hebrews 3:7 to Hebrews 4:13).

Verses 1-14

The Final Revelation in the Son

1-4. Introduction. God of old revealed Himself to the fathers of the race, but the revelation was not complete or final. In our own day He has given a direct revelation in the person of His own Son, the Lord and Creator of the universe, the perfect expression of the divine nature, who after His temporary humiliation upon earth, now occupies the highest place in the heavenly courts.

1. At sundry times and in divers manners] RV ’by divers portions and in divers manners.’ The first clause refers to the fragmentariness of the previous revelation at any one time; it was given bit by bit; the second to the various forms in which it was conveyed, such as commandment, prophecy, ceremonial, etc. By the prophets] RV in the prophets,’ a general term including the whole of the OT.

2. In these last days] RV ’At the end of these days.’ The phrase that in OT. commonly indicates the Messianic age, is here varied so as to imply that the gospel times were the transition to that age. By his son] lit. ’in a Son’; i.e. in One who is by nature a Son: cp. Hebrews 3:6; Hebrews 5:8; Hebrews 7:28. Heir of all things] cp. Hebrews 2:8. The lordship of Christ over the universe was determined ’before all worlds,’ and though it is not yet fully realised (Hebrews 2:8.), His session now at the right hand of God is the pledge of its ultimate realisation. Made the worlds] lit. ’the ages,’ but not to be distinguished from ’all things’: cp. Colossians 1:16. The expression, however, implies the idea of an historical manifestation of the creative energy.

3. Brightness] RV ’effulgence.’ A favourite word in the language of philosophical schools of. Alexandria: cp. Wisdom of Solomon 7:25. It contains the double notion of derivation and manifestation.

Express image of his person] RV ’very image of His substance.’ The word rendered ’image’ is the Gk. word ’character,’ meaning an impression such as a seal leaves on wax, an exact reproduction of the original. The word ’substance’ implies nothing material, but is nearly equivalent to ’nature’ or ’essence.’ Christ is the exact reproduction of the Divine Essence. He is the counterpart or facsimile of the Father. Being.. upholding] Both participles seem most properly to refer to the preincarnate life of the Son. On the right hand] the place of dignity and authority: cp. Hebrews 8:1; Matthew 28:18. The ’sitting’ indicates the completion of the earthly course of the redemptive work. The solemnity of the introductory paragraph is heightened by the use of the phrase’ the Majesty on high.’

4. Being made] RV ’having become,’ i.e. by His exaltation.

Better] a characteristic word of the whole Epistle, which is designed to show the superiority in all points of the new dispensation to the old. Cp. a ’better hope, ’ Hebrews 7:19; ’better covenant,’ ’better ministry,’ ’better promises,’ Hebrews 8:6; ’better tabernacle,’ Hebrews 9:11; ’better sacrifices,’ Hebrews 9:23; ’better possession,’ Hebrews 10:34; ’better country,’ Hebrews 11:16; ’better resurrection,’ Hebrews 11:35; ’better thing,’ Hebrews 11:40; ’better things,’ Hebrews 12:24.

5-14. Christ is superior to the angels. They are not addressed by God as ’sons,’ but are expressly commanded to worship the Son. The angels are servants doing the will of God in the lower sphere of the material world, and ministering to those who shall inherit salvation. And their power and dignity are not, as His, changeless and eternal.

5. Unto which of the angels] Angels are sometimes in the OT. called ’sons of Elohim,’ e.g. in Job 1:6, i.e. belonging to the class ’Elohim: cp. ’sons of the prophets,’ i.e. members of the prophetical class. ’Elohim,’ at first a plural, meaning spiritual beings, was used as a singular to signify the one God, As used of the angels, the term does not imply sonship in the unique sense in which it is used of Christ. The first citation is from Psalms 2:7, commonly interpreted as Messianic, and accepted as such by the writer and his readers. The second is from 2 Samuel 7:14 and Psalms 89:26. God’s promise to the line of Davidic kings is here applied to Messiah, as Son of David.

6. RV ’When he again bringeth in’; or, rather, ’shall have brought in.’ The position of the adverb again indicates that it is to be connected with the verb, and is not a rhetorical particle introducing a new quotation. The reference is to a future event, evidently the Second Advent.

7. From Psalms 104:4, according to LXX. The angels are not sons but servants, ’doing His pleasure’ in the material world.

8. From Psalms 45:6-7, here interpreted Messianically. The dominion of Christ, unlike that of the angels, is eternal. The Son is addressed as ’God,’ butthere is some difficulty in regard to the exact reading of the first clause in the original. Some propose to read, ’Thy throne is God for ever and ever.’ But this is harsh, and in any case the writer means to assert the unity of the Son with God.

9. Anointed] i.e. set in royal dignity. Thy fellows] The angels are meant here. As ’sons of Elohim’ (see on Hebrews 1:5), they consort with the Son, though immeasurably inferior to Him.

10-12. From Psalms 102:25. The Son is the Creator of the world (cp. Hebrews 1:2), and is above all change and decay. The reference to the material world here is perhaps facilitated by the close connexion of the angels with material phenomena (see Hebrews 1:7), and by the statement in Psalms 102:2 that the worlds were created by the Son.

13, 14. The climax of the argument in Hebrews 1:4-12, and the scriptural corroboration of the statement in Hebrews 1:3. that Christ is Lord of all, and shares the dignity of the throne of God.

Ministering spirits] The angels do not rule; they only ’stand and wait.’ They are the servants of God and of Christ, and that for the sake of all in OT, or NT. times who were to be heirs of salvation. The Son is the Author of the salvation to which Christians are destined; the angels are His agents and ministers.

Bibliographical Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Hebrews 1". "Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcb/hebrews-1.html. 1909.
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