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Bible Commentaries

Hamilton Smith's Writings

Hebrews 1

Verses 1-14

The Glory of The Son

( Hebrews 1 )

(Vv. 1-3). In times past God spoke to the fathers of Israel at sundry times and in divers manners. God had spoken by Moses, asserting in the law His claims upon man. At other times God had spoken by angels in His providential ways with His people. Later, God had spoken by the prophets to recall a rebellious people to Himself. The prophets are specially mentioned as preceding the coming of the Son.

The Son came “at the end of these days” - the close of the days of the prophets. The testimony of God to man rendered in the past days was continued in the Person of the Son. The prophets spoke as instruments used by the Spirit of God. When the Son came it was God Himself speaking. In the Person of the Son God drew near to men, and man could draw near to God without the intervention of prophet or priest.

The importance of anything that is said largely depends upon the greatness and glory of the person who speaks. God has spoken to us in the most glorious Person - the Eternal Son. That we may learn the greatness of the Speaker, and therefore the importance of that which is spoken, the Spirit of God passes before us a sevenfold view of the glory of the Son.

Firstly, the Son is the appointed Heir of all things. Sonship and heirship are ever connected in Scripture. Men are trying to possess the earth, to rule the sea, and conquer the air. They strive to inherit power, riches, wisdom, strength, honour, glory and blessing. Christ, as Son, will inherit all, for He is the appointed Heir of all, and He alone is worthy of all. The long history of the world only proves that man is utterly unworthy to inherit these things. In any measure that they come within the grasp of man, he abuses them to exalt himself and shut out God. Power he uses for the assertion of his own will; riches in the effort to make himself happy without God; wisdom to shut God out of His own creation; strength to act independently of God; honour to exalt himself; glory to display himself; and blessing to minister to himself. The One who is the appointed Heir of all things man had entirely rejected and nailed to a cross. Nevertheless, heaven delights to say, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.” When Christ enters upon the inheritance of all things, He will use all for the glory of God and the blessing of man. In Christianity we are identified with the Heir of all things. What a consolation for those, who, like these Hebrew believers, suffer the spoiling of their goods.

Secondly, the Son is the One by whom the whole universe has been created: “He made the worlds.” Not simply this world, but also all those vast systems that pursue their way through the unmeasured depths of space. We look on and see that He is the appointed Heir of all things: we look back and see that He is the maker of all things, great and small. The impress of the Son is upon the whole creation.

Thirdly, the Son is “the effulgence of His glory” - the shining forth of the glory of God. The Son become flesh fully presents the glory of God. This glory of God is the combination of all the attributes of God brought into display. The Son has drawn near to us in a way that makes it possible for us to see God displayed in all His attributes.

Fourthly, the Son is “the expression of His substance.” This is more than the shining forth of attributes; it is the setting forth of God Himself - the expression of His Being. The Son become Man was the visible representative of One who is invisible. It is possible to bear the attributes of a person without being the representative of the person. Not only did the attributes of God shine forth in the Son, but He was the representative of God in creation. All His acts showed that God was present with us.

Fifthly, the Son is the Upholder of all things by the word of His power. Even if men allow that there must be a first cause, they would seek to shut out God from all present activity in creation. They conceive of a creation, as one has said “sufficient for itself, a perfect machine made to run eternally without the hand that made it.” The truth is that, not only was the universe brought into being by the Son, but, it is also maintained by the Son. Not a star can hold on its way, nor a sparrow fall to the ground, without Him.

Sixthly, the Son has made purification for sins. Not only is He the Creator of the world, He is also the Redeemer of a fallen world. He has “by Himself” accomplished a work whereby the sins of the believer can be forgiven and removed from before God.

Seventhly, the glory of the Person of the Son is further witnessed by the exalted place He now occupies at the right hand of the majesty on high. In the course of the Epistle it is stated four times that He has sat down at the right hand of God. Here it is by reason of the glory of His Person; in Hebrews 8 it is in connection with His present work as our great High Priest; in Hebrews 10 His position at the right hand of God is the result of His finished work at the cross; in Hebrews 12 it is as having reached the end of the path of faith.

Having asserted the glories of the Son in His passage through time, and in His present position at the right hand of God, the Spirit of God proceeds to pass before us the surpassing excellencies of the Name that Christ inherits when manifest in flesh. Name, in Scripture, sets forth the renown or fame that distinguishes a person from others. Seven passages are quoted from the Old Testament to show that Christ has a more excellent Name than any created being or thing.

(Vv. 4, 5). Firstly, Christ has a place and Name far above angels. Psalm 2 is quoted to prove that, coming into the world, Christ takes a place much better than that of the most exalted created beings. However blessed their position, angels are but servants: Christ is the Son. Never was it said to an angelic being, “Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.” Christ is indeed presented in Scripture as the Son from all eternity; here He is hailed as the Son when born in time. One has truly said, “He always was the Son and will always be the Son. He was the Son here as Man, and He will be no less the Son throughout eternity '85 There could be no difference between the Eternal Son and the Son born in time, except as to condition.”

To show further that the fame of Christ exceeds that of angels, a second Scripture is quoted, 2Sa_7:14 , telling us that Christ not only stood in the relationship of Son of God, but that, in His path through this world, He ever enjoyed the characteristic privileges of the relationship, as it is written, “I will be to Him a Father, and He shall be to me a Son.”

(V. 6). Yet another Scripture is quoted to show that the place the Son takes is far above that of angels, for, coming into the world it is said of Him, “Let all the angels of God worship Him.” ( Psa_97:7 ). Not only was He the Object of adoring worship in heavenly scenes, but, coming into the world, whether in past humiliation or future millennial glory, He is the Object of worship by angelic hosts. This homage bespeaks His glory for, if not a divine Person, such worship would be wholly out of place.

(Vv. 7, 8). Secondly, the throne He takes, as come into the world, is above every throne. The angels are made spirits; the Son is not made anything, but He is addressed as God, and, in contrast with the thrones of earthly kings, His throne is for ever and ever. The quotation is from Psalm 45 , which, we know, is “touching the King”. From the Epistle we learn that this King, who is going to reign over Israel, is none less than the Son - a divine Person. The thrones of men come to an end for they have no righteous foundation; but the throne of the Son is a lasting throne, for His rule will be in righteousness.

(V. 9). Thirdly, in grace He has associated others with Himself as His companions; even so, the quotation from Psalm 45 reminds us that He has a place above His companions. While, as a divine Person, He is addressed as God, He is nevertheless viewed as the perfect Man on earth, of whom it can be said, “Thy God hath anointed Thee.” By reason of His moral perfection - His love of righteousness, and hatred of iniquity - He is exalted above all those who, in grace, He associates with Himself.

(Vv. 10, 11). Fourthly, all creation gives way before this glorious Person who is addressed as Creator. Psalm 102 is quoted to prove that the One who humbled Himself to become a Man of sorrows and tears is none other than the Lord of creation, by whom earth and the heavens were made, and that, while the creation will wax old and perish, He will remain.

(V. 12). Fifthly, time brings its changes and will come to its end; yet, from Psalm 102 we learn that with this glorious Person there is no change, and His years will never fail.

(V. 13). Sixthly, no enemy can stand before Him. Psalm 110 is quoted to remind us that every enemy will be put under His feet. In the days of His flesh His enemies nailed Him to a cross: in the day of His glory they will be made His footstool.

(V. 14). Seventhly, Christ, though taking His place as Man, is greater than all angels, in that, according to Psalm 110 , He is set upon a throne to govern, while they are sent forth to serve, as ministering spirits, to the heirs of salvation.

Thus, if the Son becomes flesh, His glory is carefully maintained. The excellency of His Name is seen in this galaxy of glories. His fame exceeds the angels; His throne is above every throne. Creation may perish; but He remains. Time may cease; but His years will not fail. His enemies are made His footstool; and He sits at God's right hand to direct while others serve. If He comes into the world, all creatures in the universe give place to Him.

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Bibliographical Information
Smith, Hamilton. "Commentary on Hebrews 1". "Hamilton Smith's Writings". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/hsw/hebrews-1.html. 1832.