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HEBREWS CHAPTER 1
Hebrews 1:1-3 The essential dignity of the Son, by whom God hath revealed himself in these last days.
Hebrews 1:4-14 His pre-eminence above the angels in office.
God: the apostle designing the conviction of these Hebrews by this discourse, enters on it solemnly, that if a God can awe them, the consideration of Him should gain credit to his doctrine. The God he speaks of is to be apprehended here personally, as well as essentially; God the Father, the one admirable sovereign, immutable Being, the Author of first and second revelation: order is kept here in the subsistence of the relations, as in their works.
Who at sundry times; polumerwv, by many parts, turns and changes of time, seasons and opportunities, and by many parcels of revelation. God's will was discovered by piecemeal, and not all at once. He vouchsafed one promise to Adam, and so gradually opened further to Enoch, Noah, Abraham, David, pointing out a Christ to come, to come of Abraham's seed in David's family: he discovered here a little, and there a little, Isaiah 28:13.
And in divers manners; polutropwv, suitable to the manifold wisdom of God, in divers forms and manners, was his revelation to them; sometimes by sensible representations to them waking, as by angels, fire in the bush, the pillar of fire and cloud: terribly, as at Mount Sinai, Hebrews 12:18-21. Sometimes by dreams and visions, Numbers 12:6; by Urim and Thummim, by voice from the ark, by types and signs from heaven, by riddles, and dark speeches, and Levitical ceremonies; sometimes by immediate illapses on the soul, powerfully influencing it with a Divine light.
Spake; revealed and declared infallibly his mind and will concerning the way of man's salvation, which his wisdom contrived and his will decreed.
In time past; all that time past between Adam and Christ, about 4000 years before.
Unto the fathers; the holy ancestors of these Hebrews, from Adam, down along the Old Testament church of God: the believers of old, such as are registered, Hebrews 11:1-40, and all like them to the times of Christ, from Genesis 3:15, to that time.
By the prophets; all those holy men to whom and by whom God revealed his will to his church throughout the successive ages of the Old Testament day; such as were but God's servants, Hebrews 2:4, and had his will and mind by measure; who as they preached God's will were God's mouth, as they wrote it were God's scribes; as Abel, Enoch, &c. before the flood; Noah before and after; Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, David. &c.; to these did God infallibly declare it, and they did infallibly deliver it to the church by word and writing; God was by gracious inhabitation in them, in their hearts, tongues, and hands, 2 Peter 1:21
Hath in these last days; the gospel day, last, as after the days of the old world, and after the law given to Israel by Moses: the days of the fourth kingdom of the Roman empire, in the height of which Christ came into the world, and at the end of it shall accomplish his kingdom, Daniel 2:40,Daniel 2:44. The last, because the perfection of those types which went before, when Christ settled in the church that religion which must remain unalterable, to the end of the world, Hebrews 12:25-28; the best days for clearest light and greatest mercies.
Spoken; revealed his will to us once and entirely, John 1:17,John 1:18; Jude 1:3,Jude 1:4; discovering the excellent things of God more clearly than they were before, Ephesians 3:3-11; 1 Peter 1:10-12.
To us: the believing Hebrews were so favoured beyond their fathers, to have the best revelation of God in Christ made to them, Matthew 13:16,Matthew 13:17; Luke 10:23,Luke 10:24.
By his Son; our Lord Jesus Christ, who cometh out of the Father as a Son, John 1:14; John 16:28. He is his bosom Son, nearest his heart, John 1:18; the complete Word of him, creating the new world as well as the old, John 1:1; his wisdom, who teacheth without any mistake, declaring all of God, being truth itself, and exhibiting of it, what he hath seen as well as heard, John 3:11.
Whom; this Son, who naturally issueth from his Father by a Divine and anutterable generation, Proverbs 8:22-31; Proverbs 30:4. On him all the Father’s love doth terminate, Colossians 1:13. He is to be the Founder and Builder of God’s family, propagating being to a holy seed for him, Hebrews 3:3-6.
He hath appointed; the Father hath chosen and ordained him as God-man to heirship by an inviolable ordinance of his decree, as 1 Peter 1:20; compare Ephesians 1:10; giving him thereby right and title to all things; appointing to him his nature, Hebrews 2:16, compare Hebrews 10:5; his offices in this nature, his kingly, Psalms 2:6,Psalms 2:7, his priestly, Hebrews 3:1,Hebrews 3:2, his prophetical, Acts 3:22; being heir by nature, as God the Son, and heir by an irresistible ordinance, as God-man Mediator: so as he had a super-added right from the Father, which right he was able to make over to us, but his natural right he could not, Romans 8:17. And he was by solemn investiture put in possession of it at his ascension, when he sat down on the Father’s right hand, Hebrews 12:2; Matthew 28:18; Ephesians 1:20-22; Philippians 2:9-11.
Heir; Lord Proprietor, who hath sovereign and universal power over all, being the firstborn, and receiving the right of it in the whole inheritance, Psalms 89:27; Romans 8:29; Colossians 1:15,Colossians 1:18. The lot and portion is fallen to him by God’s law, the heir being Lord of all, Galatians 4:1; being heir of his brethren, Psalms 2:8, and the builder and purchaser of his inheritance, Revelation 5:9-14; compare 1 Peter 1:3,1 Peter 1:4,1 Peter 1:18,1 Peter 1:19; possessing the inheritance during his Father’s life, and making all his brethren heirs of it with him.
Of all things; of all things within the compass of God, all that God is, all that God hath, all that God can or will do. All dominions of God, heaven, earth, and hell, are his. He is Lord of angels, 1 Chronicles 1:18, and hath made them fellow servants with us, to himself, and ministering guards to us, Hebrews 1:14; Revelation 5:11; Revelation 19:10; of devils, to overrule them, who cannot go or come but as he permits them, 1 Chronicles 2:15; of saints, John 17:13; Romans 8:29; of wicked men, his enemies, 2 Thessalonians 1:8,2 Thessalonians 1:9; of all creatures, Colossians 1:15-17; of all God’s works, spiritual, temporal, past, present, or to come; pardon, peace, righteousness, life, glory; all blessings of all sorts, for time and for eternity. This Son-prophet hath right to, actual possession of, and free and full disposal of them. All, both in law and gospel, his, Moses himself, and all his work, to order, change, and do his pleasure with.
By whom; his Son God-man, a joint cause, a primary and principal agent with the Father, and not a mere instrument, second in working as in relation; by this Word and Wisdom of God, who was the rule and idea of all things, all things were modelled, received their shapes, forms, and distinct beings, John 1:1-3; John 5:19,John 5:20; Colossians 1:16. In the works of the Trinity, what one relation is said to do the other do, but in their order, answerable to the three principles in every action, wisdom, will, and power.
He made; created and framed, giving being where there was none, causing to subsist; suggesting herein his ability for redemption work. He who made the world can remove it, Hebrews 11:3.
The worlds; touv aiwnav, scarce to be met with in any part of Scripture but this Epistle; strictly it signifieth ages, and things measured by time; answer it doth to the Hebrew עולם which imports both an age and the world: so ages are here well translated worlds, all creatures and things measured by them. The Scriptures acquaint us with an upper world, and the inhabitants thereof, angels and glorified saints; the heavenly world, Hebrews 1:10, where the morning stars sang together, Job 38:7; compare Genesis 1:1. There is a lower earthly world, with its inhabitants, men, who live on the things in it, Psalms 24:1. And there is a regenerate world, the new heavens and new earth made by Christ, and a new sabbath for them, Hebrews 12:26-28; compare 2 Peter 3:13. There is Adam’s world that now is, this present world, Ephesians 1:21; and the world to come, which as it is made by, so for, the Second Adam, the Lord from heaven, in which he eminently is to reign, Psalms 8:5-8; of which see Hebrews 2:5.
Who being the brightness; the same gospel minister, God’s Son, was, as to his person, απαυγασμα, a brightness shining out: which word sets forth the natural eternal generation of God the Son, discovering both the rise and flux of his being, and the beauteous and glorious excellency of it. It is the same in the sight of it with the Father’s, the brightness of glory, light of light, glory of glory to perfection, streaming from his Father incessantly; as beams issue from the sun, or the mental word is the invisible brightness of that spiritual light the intellect.
Of his glory; essential glory. Light is a faint, visible resemblance of God’s essence, his manifestation of himself in glory hath been by light; to Moses, Exodus 33:18-23; Exodus 34:5,Exodus 34:29-31; to Isaiah, Isaiah 6:1-4; to Ezekiel, Ezekiel 1:4-28, and Ezekiel 10:1-22; to Daniel, Daniel 10:5,Daniel 10:6,Daniel 10:8,Daniel 10:16-19; to John, Revelation 1:1-20,Revelation 4:1-11, and Revelation 5:1-14. And so Christ represented that of his person at his transfiguration, Matthew 17:1-7. If created light be glorious in the sun, in angels; how much more God’s essential glory! Purity, beauty, light, how pleasant! But what are these to God? However the being of God be conceived, as wisdom, holiness, goodness, justice, power, the excellency of these above all created beings is this glory. No being is glory but God’s; this fundamental excellency shines no where as in this Son, John 1:14. By this are Father and Son declared distinct relations, subsisting together and co-eternal.
And the express image; as the beams are with the sun the same in time, yet are weaker, therefore the Holy Ghost adds, he is his very image; carakthr is an engraven image of the Father, every way like him; the word signifieth a sculpture, print, engraving, or seal; intimating its distinction from what impressed it, and its likeness or parity to it: so is the Son’s a distinct relation, yet naturally and integrally having all that might liken him to his Father, Colossians 1:15.
Of his person; thv upostasewv autou, of his subsistence. He is not the character of the Godhead, or of the Divine essence, but of the Father, the personal subsistence in the Deity. He is one and the same God with the Father, but his character as God is a Father, so that who seeth him seeth his Father, John 14:9; he is the visible representation of him, Colossians 2:9.
And upholding; the whole work of Providence is set out by upholding; ferwn imports sustaining, feeding, preserving, governing, throwing down, raising up, comforting, and punishing, &c. All would have fallen in pieces on man’s sin, had not he interposed, and stopped the world when it was reeling back into nothing, Colossians 1:17; and to this instant he preserveth and ruleth all, Isaiah 9:6; John 5:22.
All things; ta panta, a full, universal, comprehensive all, persons and things, angels, men, creatures good and bad, small and great, with all events, Acts 17:24-31.
By the word of his power; not by an articulate voice, but his beck, will, or powerful command, whereby he doth whatsoever he pleaseth; his absolute, powerful, irresistible word; he acts as easily as others speak; there is no distinguishing between this word and power, they went together in the creation, Genesis 1:3,Genesis 1:6,Genesis 1:7, and do so in his providence, Psalms 33:9; Psalms 148:8.
When he had by himself; when this God-man, as the great gospel High Priest, so styled, Hebrews 2:17, had by himself alone, being altar and sacrifice, as well as Priest, the sole efficient of this work without any assistance. He, by his eternal Spirit, offered up a sacrifice propitiatory to God, his human nature hypostatically united to his Divine, and expiring his soul, he immediately entered with the blood of the covenant the holy of holiest in heaven, and presenting it before the eternal Judge, made full satisfaction and expiation for sins, Hebrews 7:17; Hebrews 9:11,Hebrews 9:12,Hebrews 9:14,Hebrews 9:24,Hebrews 9:26; Hebrews 10:10,Hebrews 10:12,Hebrews 10:14.
Purged; by his satisfaction and merit, removing both the guilt and stain of sin; so as God, the injured Lawgiver, could be just as well as merciful in pardoning it; and justifying those who believe and plead it from the condemnation they were liable to for it, Romans 3:24-26; 1 John 1:7,1 John 1:9; and mortifying and killing sin in them by his purchased Spirit, Romans 10:10,Romans 10:12,Romans 10:14,Romans 10:18; compare 1 Corinthians 6:11; Ephesians 5:25-27.
Our sins; the sins of men, and not of angels; and the consequents of them, removing guilt, stain, and punishment, which they would fasten on us by his self-sacrifice, Hebrews 2:16.
Sat down; after his atoning for sinners, at the forty days’ end he ascended in his human nature, immortal in body and soul, and entered the second time the holy of holiest in heaven; and then εκαθισεν, made himself to sit as High Priest in the most honourable and immovable state and condition. He did not stand, as the typical high priest before God’s ark, but sat; and in this co-operated with his Father, and obeyed him, Psalms 110:1; angels, and men, and creatures, all subjected to him, Ephesians 1:20-22. He doth sit quietly, Acts 3:21, and surely; there is no shaking him from his ever-interceding for his, Hebrews 7:25.
On the right hand; a similitude expressing the height of glory that this God-man is advanced to; alluding to the state of the greatest king on his throne in his majesty, Ezekiel 1:4,Ezekiel 1:26-28; Daniel 7:9-14; 1 Timothy 1:17. He is exalted by the royal Father as his eldest Son, invested with Godlike power, majesty, and glory, as Hebrews 8:1; Hebrews 10:12; Hebrews 12:2; there enjoying all that happiness, blessedness, all those dignities and pleasures, Psalms 16:11; fulness of honour and glory, Hebrews 2:7; of government, rule, and dominion, Matthew 28:18; of all royal and glorious abilities and endowments for the managing all things; he enjoyeth all these as the Father himself doth, who ordereth all by him, so as no creature is capable of it, Hebrews 1:13. All the power of doing all things in all worlds is lodged in his hands.
Of the Majesty on high; in the highest heaven is this possessed by him, and there is he to display his glory in ordering all, Hebrews 7:26; Hebrews 8:1; Ephesians 4:10; as in the happiest, so in the highest place is he to rule for ever; our advantage is by it, Ephesians 2:6, as to best of places and states.
Being made so much better than the angels: this God-man, the great gospel Minister, is more excellent than angels, and so must surpass all the prophets. He became thus by being surety constituted and declared, as ordained by God’s decree from eternity, in eminency above them by actual investiture on his ascension, Ephesians 1:20,Ephesians 1:21. A more excellent person he is beyond any comparison for his Divine nature, and in his human transcending the angelical, on the account of the hypostatical union: see Hebrews 1:6.
Angels; these were spirits likest God, and called Elohims, or gods, Hebrews 1:7; Psalms 104:4; being most pure, glorious, powerful, and heavenly creatures, Mark 8:38; Mark 13:32; 2 Thessalonians 1:7; of various ranks, orders, and degrees, 1 Chronicles 1:16; used by Christ as his ministers in the delivering of his law on Mount Sinai to Israel, Hebrews 2:2; Acts 7:53; Galatians 3:19. The measure of his transcendency over these, for person, office, and name, is infinitely beyond expression.
As he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name; this was his peculiar, hereditary lot, due to him by natural right, as the heir and first-born of God, justly acquired by him, and actually possessed of him, not as a mere title, but a name descriptive of his person, distinguishing him from, and setting him above, all others: God the Son incarnate, Isaiah 7:14; Isaiah 9:6; Lord over all creatures in heaven and in earth, and under it, Philippians 2:9-11; not a simple messenger, but a Son, Matthew 17:5; John 1:18; the Redeemer, Justifier, and Saviour of his people, Luke 1:31,Luke 1:32. He is a person of name famous for power, glory, and dignity above all others, Ephesians 1:21; Philippians 2:9-11.
A more excellent name than they; diaforwteron, differencing from, and setting above, all the names of angels for eminency, the archangel himself being a servant and attendant on him, 1 Thessalonians 4:16. His is more differencing and transcending in his kind than the name of angels is in their kind; he is above whatever they can pretend to, and so a more excellent Prophet than they. He hath in all things, as well as name, over them the pre-eminency.
The apostle here proves that Christ hath a more excellent name, and pre-eminency over angels, by Scripture texts owned by these Hebrews. He had the name of Son of God, and so had not angels; for God the Father, who hath absolute power to give and state all excellency, never said to any angel, so as to constitute him his only Son by an ordinance or word of power.
Sons he may style them, as Job 2:1; Psalms 89:6; as he doth members of his church, Genesis 6:2, and princes and magistrates, Psalms 82:1,Psalms 82:6; but always in the plural number, as he doth the angels, Job 38:7, noting out their power, place, and ministry. But Son is singular to Christ, and incommunicable to any other.
Thou art my Son: this is quoted out of Psalms 2:7.
Thou God-man, thou thyself, thou, and thou alone, (that this was spoken of Christ truly, and of David only as a type of him, the Spirit asserts, Acts 13:33), art my own Son, my ever-being Son, my Son by nature, Romans 8:32. Singularity sets out his eminency above all, and his propriety by nature in him.
This day have I begotten thee: at the day of his incarnation, Isaiah 9:6; Luke 1:31,Luke 1:32,Luke 1:35, but eminently at the day of his resurrection, was he declared and published to be his only begotten Son with power, Romans 1:4; and at his ascension inangurated the supreme, universal King and Priest in heaven and earth, Hebrews 5:5, possessed of a better name, place, and power than angels, Ephesians 1:20,Ephesians 1:21. What men enjoy in this kind attributed to them, is with a vast disproportion to this; born, or begotten, they are said to be, in respect of God’s operation on them, infusing Divine qualities into their souls, but this Son by a generation proper to a substantial person.
And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son: in another Scripture, as 2 Samuel 7:14; 1 Chronicles 17:13; 1 Chronicles 22:10, it is declared, I his natural Father, and he my natural Son; so as they are not related to any other as they are to each other. This in the type was spoken of Solomon, but fulfilled in Christ, who was universal King and Priest over his church for ever; so David understood it, Psalms 110:1; compare Psalms 89:19,Psalms 89:26-29. He was the first-born Son, born a King; the Son of the universal and supreme King, the Heir and Lord of all.
This is a further proof of the great gospel Minister being more excellent than angels, by God’s command to them to worship him.
And again, when he bringeth in the first-begotten into the world: παλιν some refer to God the Father’s speech, as: Again he saith: others think it too gross a transposition, and unusual in the Scripture, and so read it as it stands in the Greek text: He again, or a second time, bringeth, &c. This hath started a query about what time it is that the Father saith this, and that he brought in the First-born into the world? Some say it was at his incarnation; others, at his coming to judgment. Considering the former proofs brought out of Psalms 2:7, and 2 Samuel 7:14, it seems most fairly to be at his resurrection and ascension, when the decree was proclaimed of his being the great King; and he was actually exalted far above all gods, whether angels or men: compare Psalms 2:7, with Psalms 97:1,Psalms 97:9, and Acts 13:33, to which agrees Colossians 1:15,Colossians 1:18. Then was the demonstration of what a royal Head he was to be, and how acknowledged by all, Philippians 2:9-11.
He saith, And let all the angels of God worship him; he powerfully and effectually publisheth his command unto his angels, as recorded by his prophet in his word. Psalms 97:7, where the sense of the Hebrew text is full: Bow down to him all ye Elohim, or gods; which the Septuagint renders angels, and is so quoted by Paul here; and the Spirit warrants it: so is it rendered, Deuteronomy 32:43. That translation was commonly used by the dispersed Graecising Hebrews. This title is attributed to angels, Psalms 8:5. By their worship they do obey the Father, and own their subjection to his Son at his resurrection, Matthew 28:2; Luke 24:4; John 20:12; and at his ascension, Acts 1:9,Acts 1:10; Revelation 5:11,Revelation 5:12; so that the worshipped is more excellent than the worshippers.
He adds another demonstration of the gospel Minister’s exceeding angels, because he hath the name of God, and angels are called only God’s ministers: for the Creator of angles, who best understandeth their nature and office, by his Spirit testifieth what they are, Psalms 104:4.
Who maketh his angels spirits; he created them such as they are, spiritual, intellectual, and immortal substances, the highest in this sort and kind of creatures. πνευματα do not here signify winds, as if the Spirit compared angels to them for their swiftness and power, but spiritual, intellectual beings, as the Son of man is; and in this it is the attribute, and not the subject, that which is predicated or spoken of angels.
And his ministers a flame of fire; they are but ministers and servants, who reveal or perform his will to those to whom God sends them; honourable officers of the great King, fulfilling his pleasure, Hebrews 1:14, executing all his commands, and going and coming at his beck, Psalms 103:20,Psalms 103:21. Though they are seraphims, bright, glorious, and excellent creatures, they are but the grand officers of state in heaven, encompassing God’s throne, waiting for his commands, which they obey and fulfil as swiftly as the winds or flashes of lightning could despatch them. Though they are styled by the Spirit cherubims, Genesis 3:24; compare Ezekiel 1:5; Ezekiel 10:1-15; and seraphims, Isaiah 6:6; for their light, glory, and excellency; yet still are they creatures, and below the Son, because his servants.
In the Father’s apostrophe to the Son, he giveth him the name of God, and thereby is he proved to have a better one than angels, made by, and servants to, him; and as the great gospel Minister hath a kingdom, in which they are his ministers and servants: this proof is quoted out of Psalms 45:6,Psalms 45:7. It was not to Solomon or David, but to the Son God-man, spoken by the Father. The whole Psalm is written of him, and incompatible to any other is the matter of it. It represents him and his mystical marriage to the church; compare Ephesians 5:23-33; Revelation 19:7,Revelation 19:8; Revelation 22:17.
Thy throne, O God: some heretics, to elude this proof of Christ’s Deity, would make God the genitive case in the proposition, as: Thy throne of God, expressly contrary to the grammar, both in Hebrew and Greek: others gloss it, that ο θεος is the nominative case, as, God is thy throne for ever, &c. i.e. He doth and will establish it: but this is cavilling, since it is the Father’s speech to and of his Son, describing his nature in opposition to the angels before. They were created spirits, but he was God; they were ministers and servants in his kingdom, where he was King; therefore his name and person is better than theirs.
God, in the singular, was a name never given to any creature, but is expressive of his Divine nature, and his relation in the Deity, being God the Son.
Is for ever and ever: his office as God-man, and great gospel Minister, is a royal one. He is a great King, angels are subjects of his kingdom as well as men, which royalty is set out by the ensigns of it; as here, by a throne, which is an emblem of royal authority, dominion, and power, whence he displayeth himself in his kingdom. It is a heavenly one, of a perfect constitution and administration, and of eternal continuance. His it was by natural inheritance, as God the Son; and as man united to the Godhead, he inheriteth the privileges of that person. This natural dominion over all things remaineth for ever, Colossians 1:16.
A sceptre of righteousness is a sceptre of thy kingdom: another ensign of his royal dominion and kingdom is his sceptre, which is his Spirit put out in his government of the world, and in his special work of grace, guiding and conforming, through his word and ordinances, the hearts of his chosen to the will of his Father. This sceptre is subjectively right in itself, and efficiently, making all under its power to be rectified according to the right and pure mind and will of God: compare Psalms 110:1-3.
Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity: the administration of this King in his kingdom is suitable to his throne and sceptre, it is all goodness; for he so loved righteousness, and hated iniquity, being righteous and holy in himself, in life and death, expiating sin, and sanctifying believers. So that he acts as to both of these properly from himself, perfectly and for ever.
Therefore God: it may be a reason why he so loved righteousness, being anointed, or of his unction, because he loved the one, and hated the other; therefore God the Son is the person to whom the Father speaketh this.
Even thy God; God the Father, his God in respect of the human nature, Luke 1:35; formed by him, Galatians 4:4, as Mediator between God and sinners, John 20:17; the Head of the church, in covenant with God, his great gospel Minister.
Hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness; so his Father anointed him with the Holy Ghost and with power, John 3:34; Acts 10:38; and thereby as endowed, so exalted him above all kings and prophets who were literally anointed, and above all angels, having Divine power and authority supereminent to all communicated to him; enjoying the best and highest joy in all his transactions with the Father for us, and which may perfect joy in us, John 15:11; John 17:13.
Above thy fellows, the coheirs of his kingdom, beyond whatever God communicated to saints or angels. He had not the Spirit by measure, John 3:34. What others enjoy, it is from his fulness, John 1:16; Luke 4:18-21.
And, Thou, Lord: this connective particle joins this to the former proof, that Christ had a more excellent name than angels, even that of God. That he was God, he proved out of Psalms 45:6,Psalms 45:7. He seconds it in this and the two following verses, which he quotes out of Psalms 102:25-27. The strength of which lieth thus: He who was Jehovah, and the great Creator of the world, is God; such is Christ, the great gospel Prophet. This is evident in the prayer recorded in the Psalm made to him, compared with the Spirit’s testimony, Hebrews 1:8; the very works appropriated to Jehovah there, are the acknowledged works of God the Son, as redemption, Psalms 102:20,Psalms 102:21, vocation of the Gentiles, Psalms 102:15,Psalms 102:18,Psalms 102:22.
In the beginning; in the beginning of time, when that came to be the measure and limit of things, as Genesis 1:1. Before there were any such creatures as angels, he was Jehovah, John 1:1; and then manifested himself to be Jehovah. The enemies of Christ’s Deity say that the name Jehovah is not in the verse of the Psalm quoted by the Spirit; yet thou, the relative used in all those verses, refers to God, the antecedent, prayed to in Psalms 102:24, and to Jehovah, the name given him in Psalms 102:1,Psalms 102:12,Psalms 102:15,Psalms 102:16,Psalms 102:18,Psalms 102:19,Psalms 102:21,Psalms 102:22, of that Psalm; all importing one and the same person. And it is well known that Κυριος, Lord, doth eminently decipher the Redeemer in the New Testament; he is not an instrument of Jehovah to create by, but the fountain of all being, Jehovah himself.
Hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands: by founding the earth, and the heavens being the work of his hands, is meant the whole work of creation throughout the space of six days: he was the true, full, sole, and self-causality of the earth’s being, and all creatures in it, and of the heavens, and all beings which are in them; he was the great Architect and Founder of them all; they were his peculiar workmanship, possession, and dominion, 1 Corinthians 8:6; compare John 1:3; Colossians 1:16. If the heavens were the works of his hands, and all in them, then he was the Creator of angels, and therefore must be, for person, name, and office, more excellent than they.
They shall perish; the heavens themselves instanced in, as containing the most excellent part of the creation, (such as the Gentile philosophy esteemed incorruptible), are mutable, as by the various changes, not only in the airy part of it, but in the ethereal, doth appear: the glorious lights in it have their spots and rusts, as the sun itself, both increasing and diminishing upon them, and so as to their present, natural frame, are changeable, perishable, and dissolvable, Isaiah 51:6; Matthew 24:35.
But thou remainest; but the Son Jehovah is unchangeable, hath a stedfast being, such as never loseth its state, no term is set for the ending of him. His immutability proves his Deity.
Remainest is an expression of present time, denoting constant abiding. He was before, in, and after all ages immutable, Lamentations 5:19.
Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever, Hebrews 13:8.
And they all shall wax old as doth a garment: the antiquation of a garment is a metaphor borrowed, to show the corruptibility of the heavens. A garment wears and decayeth with use in tract of time, it changeth its fashion, is another thing as to its matter and form: so will the heavens, as to their form and face, decay, they are gradually coming to an end as to what they are now, 2 Peter 3:7,2 Peter 3:10.
That which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away, Hebrews 8:13; so these heavens do.
And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up: περιβολαιον is an upper garment, cloak, or coat, which a man puts on or casts off at his pleasure; when it is of no more use it is folded up and laid by: so the great gospel Minister, God the Son incarnate, shall roll up the natural heavens when useless, and lay them by.
And they shall be changed; by him they shall be altered, and made more glorious by new modelling them, changing of them into a better state, Isaiah 34:4; Isaiah 65:17; Isaiah 66:22; compare 2 Peter 3:10-13.
But thou art the same: the identity of this Person is opposed to the changeableness of excellent creatures, and showeth him to be what he is here entitled, Jehovah, Hebrews 13:8. His assumption of the humanity to his person made no alteration in him, being still the same most excellent person as ever, Malachi 3:1,Malachi 3:6; 1 Corinthians 12:5.
And thy years shall not fail; as the being of God the Son is not measured nor terminated by years or time, so, in respect of his humanity, the years which were the measure of it shall never fail; for being raised from the dead, he shall die no more, but
abideth for ever, John 12:34, and ruleth, as foretold, Luke 1:33; 1 Peter 4:11. How transcendently excellent is He, who is immutable and eternal, for state and name above angels!
But to which of the angels said he at any time? This introduceth the last demonstration of the gospel Minister’s pre-eminency for state, office, and name, above angels. The form is thus; He that is God’s fellow, and right-hand man, is more excellent, and hath a better name, than those who are only ministers to his saints. This is to be the state of Christ he proves here; for to none of the angels did Jehovah ever say this, he never gave them that honour by his word. It is an interrogatory challenge to the Hebrews to produce that text in Scripture, which doth assert, that at any time, in any place, God gave such an honorary word to angels: this was impossible for them to do. Though God the Father never said this to any angel, yet did he say this, and records it in the Scripture, to the Lord Christ. And it was a word to him constitutivum rei, fixing the very thing. This is recorded in Psalms 110:1, where God’s powerful word settled Christ in the honour, glory, and dignity of universal lordship over angels and men, so as to reign over them, 1 Corinthians 15:25; which administration he is now in the flesh solemnly managing at the right hand of his Father, Hebrews 1:3, ever since his ascension, and so is to continue.
Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool; during all the time of this world, until by his power he reduce, subdue, and subjugate all to him, even every thing and person that should be adverse to his sovereign person and kingdom, all devils and men, subjugating of them to the basest condition, to be trod under his feet, as mire in the street, utterly destroying them, when he glorifieth his saints, 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10. The term of this word
until doth not denote the end of his reign, as if after this he should not reign, but is declarative of his reign all the time before: though his enemies were many and strong, yet it is said, 1 Corinthians 15:24,1 Corinthians 15:28, that then he shall deliver up the kingdom to his Father. As to his natural kingdom, which is his as God the Son, that is, equally enjoyed with the Father, and that for ever, there is no end of it; but as to his mediatory kingdom, given him by choice, and in a special manner appropriated to him as God-man for his season, this, when his work is done, and all his enemies subdued, he will resign unto the Father, that God may be all in all.
Are they not all ministering spirits? The apostle here proves, that angels are but ministers to the great gospel Minister, and to the members of his body the church, and so must be meaner than him for state, nature, and name. This negative interrogation is a vehement assertion. The nature, dignity, and office of angels were well known to these Hebrews out of the Old Testament, and which he repeats: they were for nature spirits, intellectual, active, incorporeal, and incorruptible creatures; yet though so excellent, were still creatures; whereas Christ was an uncreated Spirit, and they were but servants to him their Lord; and though there be degrees and orders among them from the archangel to the lowest angel, they are every one of them single, and all of them together, servants to Christ, and so they own themselves to be, Revelation 19:10; Revelation 22:9.
Sent forth to minister for them; and so they move all at his order, and go and come at his command. Their employment directed by him; he sends them forth to deliver his errands, Acts 5:19, and Acts 12:7,Acts 12:11, to reveal his will to them, Revelation 1:1; Psalms 103:21, &c. All the parts of ministry to which he appointeth them, they cheerfully, swiftly, and effectually perform.
Who shall be heirs of salvation; such as God hath chosen and called to be children to himself and joint-heirs with his only Son, as have a right to, are fitting for, and shall be at last possessed of, eternal glory; these angels are to serve and help them on for to attain it, they themselves being elect, in and by Christ unto this end, 1 Timothy 5:21; 2 Timothy 2:10. All which demonstrate him to be a more excellent person, and to have a more excellent name, than they.
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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Hebrews 1". Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
the First Week of Advent