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Bible Commentaries

William Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament
Hebrews 1

 

 

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Verse 1

1. This verse sweeps forever from the field all the prophets, like Mohammed and Joe Smith, claiming inspiration, since the days of Christ.


Verse 2

2. “Whom he set forth the heir of all things, through whom also he ordained the ages.” Satan conquered this world in Eden when he captured Adam and Eve, its king and queen. God recognized his conquest. 2 Corinthians 4:4. If Satan had carried out his scheme he would have added this world to hell. Christ volunteered, bled and died, gloriously redeeming this world from Satan’s conquest. When he flew up to heaven God received him as a conqueror and said: “Well done.” Hence Christ is the rightful heir of all things, i.e., the whole earth and all the people. Hence he saves all the people who will let him and will completely save the whole earth and firmament, not only from sin, but all the effects of sin, completely sanctifying and restoring it back to the heavenly state in which Satan found it. This world was a part of heaven before the devil broke it loose in order to add it to hell. Christ is going to purify it by the fiery baptism (2 Peter 3:10-13), and add it back to heaven. Revelation 21:1. Where the old English says, “made the world,” the Greek has aioonas, i.e., the ages. Hence we translate it, “ordained the ages.” The popular opinion, proclaimed from a hundred thousand pulpits, that the world is to have an end, originated from a wrong translation of this word aioon. It does not mean “world,” as the old English has it, but “age,” while cosmos means world. The Bible positively reveals the eternal perpetuity of this world. Time, which is simply the measure of the mediatorial kingdom, will have an end. After the glorious millennial ages shall have come and gone, during the final judgment the earth will be cremated and thoroughly sanctified by fire, made over and transformed into a heaven, and given to the occupancy of the redeemed saints and glorified angels forever. The last two chapters in the Bible present a vivid and glorious description of this earth and firmament after their glorious transformation into the heavenly state. In this verse we see the ages were instituted in the divine restitutionary economy in the progressive development of this miserable, fallen world, preparatory for the coming kingdom. The antediluvian, patriarchal, Mosaic, Judaic ages have come and gone, each verifying its office in the grand preparatory drama. The Gentile age winds up the grand panorama and ushers in the glorious kingdom.


Verse 3

3. “Who being the brightness of His glory and the character of His person.”... The Greek word for “express image” is character. Since that word has been transferred into the English language, it should not be translated. Hence, in the life of Jesus, faithfully delineated by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, his inspired biographers, we see the very character of God. Therefore, we find that God is “meek and lowly in heart,” going about doing good. Therefore, if you would go up and live with God in heaven you must be like Him, i.e., meek and lowly in heart, doing good, and no harm. “Having made the expurgation of sins He sat down on the right hand of the majesty on high.” You see from this statement that Jesus completely and forever settled the awful sin-problem, so far as this world is concerned. When He died on the cross He perfectly and eternally satisfied the violated law, and swept every conceivable difficulty completely out of the way; so the vilest sinner on the whole earth has nothing to do but totally, radically and unconditionally abandon sin and Satan world without end, look away to Calvary, and shout victory over the world, the flesh and the devil, now and through all eternity. Nothing but stubborn unbelief can ever keep a soul out of heaven. The very fact of the Father’s royal congratulation and glorious coronation of Jesus on the mediatorial throne a His right hand is an indisputable and eternal recognition of His perfect and satisfactory approval of the expiation and redemption Jesus came on the earth to execute. He is this day Mediatorial King, interceding at God’s right hand, in behalf of a guilty world.


Verse 4

4. The angels are all created finite intelligences, and infinitely inferior to the divinity. Christ is perfect God and perfect man. Pursuant to His human perfection, He ha a perfect human soul an body. He is called the second Adam because In Him God gave humanity a second chance. Man is a trinity, similitudinous to God, consisting of spirit, mind, and body. The human spirit, soul or heart is composed of the conscience, the will and the affections The conscience is the voice of God in the soul. It is the solitary survivor of the fall, and, even in the sinner, always takes God’s side. The will is the king of humanity. In the sinner, it is on the devil’s side, ingeniously manipulated by him for the destruction of his victim. In conversion, the will turns over from the devil to God, and from sin to righteousness; meanwhile original sin, though subjugated by the Holy Ghost, still survives in the deep subterranean regions of the soul, till utterly eradicated by the cleansing blood and the consuming fire of entire sanctification. The mind consists of the intellect, the judgment, the memory and the sensibilities. The mind is not made perfect in sanctification, which is only spiritual perfection, leaving us encumbered with multitudinous infirmities because of our mental and physical imperfection, all of which are swept away in glorification when this mortal shall put on immortality. In Adam the first, Satan found an easy victim, and slew him on his first assault, made against his physical being in the simple temptation of his bodily appetite. But when he attacked Adam the Second he lost all of his ammunition. Beginning with his body he tempted Him to eat, after a fast of forty days. Signally defeated in his assault against His physical manhood, he tempted His intellect by offering Him the whole world. Again signally defeated, he attacked His faith, which is the basis of all spirituality, by tempting Him to leap from the pinnacle of the temple, presuming that God would hold Him up. In that case His faith would have been superseded by presumption, which is Satan’s counterfeit, and would have ultimated in spiritual apostasy and collapse, as in case of Adam the first; meanwhile the divinity, leaving the humanity, would have returned back to heaven, the hope of the world being blighted forever. Hence, the humanity of Christ has deservedly achieved a name whose glory eclipses that of all the angels.


Verse 5

5. This verse describes what theologians call “the eternal generation of the Son.”


Verse 6

6. “First begotten” means the first to be giorified from the dead, i.e., the first one raised from the dead in the transfigured glory. Elijah, Elisha and Christ had raised people from the dead before the resurrection of Jesus. But we have no evidence that any of them received the transfigured body, but simply their mortal body subject to dissolution, as formerly. Hence, Jesus was the first one to rise from the dead in His transfigured glory. “Into the world” literally means into the inhabited universe, and here means heaven instead of earth, as we see from the subsequent portion of the verse, because God says, “Let all the angels of God worship Him.” So this verse describes our Savior’s glorious congratulation and reception into heaven when He ascended up from Mt. Olivet in His transfigured body.


Verse 7

7. “He maketh the winds his messengers and the flames of fire His ministers.” The Holy Ghost fills the material world, going wherever the atmosphere interpenetrates, offering life to all human spirits, whether in heathendom or Christendom. The wind is the symbol of regeneration (John 3:8), while fire everywhere emblematizes sanctification. The wind is the breath of life, and the fire consumes all impurity. Hence, the Holy Ghost administers regeneration to all sinners, and sanctification to all Christians who will receive Him. We here have God’s definition of His ministers, “a flame of fire.” Remember, this is the only definition God gives of His ministers in all the Bible. So, if you would be a minister of God, you must get filled with the fire of the Holy Ghost. Then you will be a moving cyclone of sin-consuming flame whithersoever you go. Reader, do you not want to be a minister of God? You need but one qualification, and that is the baptism with the Holy Ghost and fire.


Verse 8

8. This verse certifies that our Lord’s everlasting kingdom is an administration of righteousness. The kingdom of Christ is set up in the heart by the Holy Ghost in regeneration, confirmed and perpetuated in sanctification. Here, however, the more direct allusion is to our Lord’s millennial reign, which will follow the present age, and continue forever. Though the millennium will only last about a thousand years, our glorious King will encumber the throne of final judgment, and reign on forever over this world after its cremation, celestialization and readmission into the Heavenly Universe.


Verse 9

9. Here we learn that God “hath anointed” the glorified humanity of Christ with a richer enduement of spiritual rhapsody than any of his comrades in the redeemed world. This would follow somewhat as a legitimate, logical sequence from the fact that the Man Christ is the only unfallen human being in all the universe. If Adam had not yielded to the physical temptation, Satan would have proceeded to the intellectual and the spiritual. But in the case of Adam the first, the devil saved two-thirds of his ammunition, and won his game. In the case of Adam the Second, he expended all of his ammunition, and finally lost his enterprise. As here we find the humanity of Christ endued by the Holy Ghost with a degree of bliss and rhapsody beyond that of all His comrades, therefore we conclude that our capacity for spiritual joy and rapture is in proportion to our purity. Of course, the cleansing blood and consuming fire are abundantly competent to make us all perfectly clean and pure. Still doubtless, all the sins we have ever committed impede and detract from our spiritual capacity for the reception of the joys, rhapsodies and glories imparted by the Holy Ghost. Hence, the person who has never been blackened by vulgar vices and low debaucheries is susceptible of a richer enduement of heavenly bliss and glory in this world and the world to come than the soul who has wallowed in the slime of Satan’s filth. While all the inhabitants of heaven are perfectly happy, since there is no sorrow in that bright world, all are not equally happy, but there are infinite degiees in the kingdom of glory, as well as in probationary grace.


Verse 10

10. We see here that our Savior, the second person of the Trinity, actually created this world; or, rather, that God in the person of the Eternal Son created this world, with its atmospheric environments and luminaries to vitalize it. No wonder He was not willing for Satan to wither and blight it, and add it to hell; but He generously volunteered and came to its rescue.


Verse 11

11. “These will perish,” i.e. they will cease to exist in their present form; they will undergo revolutions, transformations and renovations. “All these will grow old like a garment.” The earth is rapidly wearing out and washing away into the sea, and losing its pristine fertility, significant of the fact that we are fast approaching the end of the present order of things.


Verse 12

12. “Thou wilt roll them away like a book, and they shall be changed.” Books of olden time were skins of animals inscribed and rolled up like a side of leather. This is a vivid description of the wonderful transformations which Omnipotence will execute in the great and radical revolutions and renovations which await the material worlds in the coming ages.


Verse 13

13...”Sit Thou on my right hand until I make Thy enemies Thy footstool.” This verse reveals the congratulation of the So by the Father when He flew up from Mt. Olivet, having triumphed on the cross and victoriously evacuated the sepulcher, thus having gloriously consummated the expiatory work, for whose execution He evacuated His celestial throne. This gushing, welcome reception on the part of the Father was an indisputable confirmation of His perfect satisfaction with the work wrought by His son, vindicatory of the violated law, and expiatory of a guilty world. Therefore, the Father actually crowns Him mediatorial King forever, having the sole and perfect right to rule this world in righteousness and live through all eternity. Jesus is Prophet, Priest and King simultaneously. Yet these offices have their respective periods of predominance. While on earth, His prophetic office predominated, and He was the most indefatigable preacher the world ever saw. When He offered up His body on the cross, a sacrifice for the whole world, His official High Priesthood became predominant, and has so continued ever since, and will be pre-eminent till he descends on His royal throne, to inaugurate the millennial reign. Then His Kingship will rise pre-eminent, brighten through the millennial ages, and sweep on through all eternity. Since the Son has actually redeemed this world by His blood, and conquered it by His heroic labor and suffering, He has the sole right to possess and rule it forever. Therefore, it is the province of the Fatter as the executive of the Diving Government, to enforce the claim of His Son over all the kingdoms of the earth. Consequently, in His royal, Fatherly, congratulatory reception, He says, “Well done, my Son; sit down on the mediatorial throne till I make all of thine enemies thy footstool.” This the Father has been faithful to do in His castigatory judgments against wicked nations in all ages, but the grand finale of this fulfillment will be consummated during the great Tribulation.

“I beheld till the throne was cast down and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of His head like pure wool; His throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth before Him; a thousand thousands ministered unto Him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened.” (Daniel 7:9-10)

I saw in the night visions, and behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought Him near before Him. And there was given Him dominion and glory and a kingdom that all people, nations and languages should serve Him; His dominion is an everlasting dominion which shall not pass away, and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.” (Daniel 7:13-14)

We see clearly and unequivocally in these visions of Daniel the final and summary fulfillment of the Father’s promise to the Son, to make His enemies His footstool. We see clearly how the Father will come down in the great Tribulation and shake every potentate from his throne, both political and ecclesiastical, thus preparing the way for the universal reign of His Son. “I beheld till the thrones were cast down.” The connection shows plainly and positively that these thrones are none other than all the dominions of this world, both political and ecclesiastical. Whiteness signifies the perfect purity of God and His administration. Fire, throughout the Bible, symbolizes destruction. No one will question that the Ancient of days means the Father, in contradistinction to the Son. Now remember, the Father has no incarnation. Hence, He will be utterly invisible, though present on the earth in His awful castigatory judgments. While the Ancient of days will be invisible, Antichrist will rise, visible to mortal eyes, and lead myriads after him to perdition. The “horn” here mentioned means the pope, who will be Antichrist in the Tribulation, speaking “great words.” “I beheld till the beast was slain and his body given to the burning flame.” Beast here means human government in contradistinction to the Theocracy. The fact that the beast was slain and his body given to the burning flame, can mean nothing less than the utter destruction of all human kingdoms. God’s original plan was to rule the world by righteousness, love and wisdom, both in state and church. When the people became so wicked as to utterly reject the divine government they set up governments of their own, ruled by men instead of God. The Holy Ghost constantly in the prophecies designates them “wild beast governments.” The Greek word theerion, meaning a cruel, bloodthirsty wild beast, is constantly used by the Holy Ghost to designate human governments. This is strictly pertinent, because they all rule by brute force, selfish and cruel as the grave. These wild beast powers have already killed enough people in wars to populate the globe fourteen times. Still the people, blinded by the devil, hold on to the wild beast, and reject God who has always wanted to rule the world in peace, righteousness and love. Theologians have generally applied these prophecies to the final judgment, which is utterly untrue, because here we see the Ancient of days, i.e., the Father, presides; whereas in the final judgment, at the end of time, the Son will encumber the judgment seat. You clearly see the connection of the Son and the Father, in the execution of these judgments. The Father comes and casts down all human thrones, destroys all human power, political and ecclesiastical, for Babylon falls meanwhile (Revelation 18:2), and with her all human ecclesiasticism goes down. Since the Son of God has the sole right to the sovereignty of this world, in both church and state, all human governments, both political and ecclesiastical, which are not really subordinated to divine rule, are His uncompromising enemies, and destined to fall beneath His conquering tread. In these prophecies you plainly see the Father descending in His awful retributive judgments, and preparing the whole world for the reign of His Son. After which the Son rides down on the throne of His glory and enters upon the millennial reign.

“But the saints of the Most High shall take the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, ever’ forever and ever.” (Daniel 7:8)

“Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the Most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.” (Daniel 7:22)

Away with the popular theology which construes this to be the spiritual kingdom. Common sense teaches you that every saint has already received the spiritual kingdom, otherwise he could not be a saint. There is no possible evasion of the conclusion that “the kingdom” here means the government of the world, political and ecclesiastical. Christ will rule the world during the millennial ages through the instrumentality of His transfigured saints. Since He is to encumber the final judgment throne, and then reign over the sanctified, renovated and celestialized world forever, “to His kingdom there will be no end.” Hence, you see the pertinency of the declaration that the saints will “possess the kingdom forever, even forever and ever.”


Verse 14

14. This verse reveals angelic ministry. When they interviewed our Savior relative to the woman who had survived her seventh husband, as to whose wile she should be in the resurrection, He responded: “In that day there will neither be marrying nor giving in marriage, but all will be as the angels of God.” The Greek says isoi anggeloi, which means “like the angels” or “equal to the angels.” This statement of our Savior reveals the fact that glorification confers angelic perfection, while sanctification effects Christian perfection. Justification saves us from guilt; sanctification saves us from depravity, while glorification saves us from infirmity, and the resurrection saves us from mortality. The fact that at glorification we receive angelic perfection certainly recognizes in us a near kinship to the angels. Perhaps this is the reason why the angels have always taken a pre- eminent interest in the human race. They were present in the creation, and made the heavens roar with triumphant shouts of joyful approval. They brightened the firmament of Eden with the splendor of their pinions, serving Adam and Eve as guardians. When humanity collapsed under Satan’s invasion they flew up to heaven, heralding the mournful tidings which filled heaven with lugubrious wailings, while golden harps were suspended on weeping willows. Thus all heaven became a Bochim of weeping over the sad ruins of our world, till the Son of God proclaimed His heroic espousal of the lost cause, to the unutterable astonishment of all the heavenly host. Then swift angel couriers flew down to the bottomless pit, and then and there proclaimed Immanuel’s philanthropic intervention in behalf of the ruined race. Never before was hell so racked with astonishment and appalled with consternation. The angels not only proclaimed the conception of the Incarnate God, but heralded to the shepherds His birth in Bethlehem. They came down and rolled the stone from the sepulcher, proclaiming to the women their risen Lord. Myriads of angels belt this world night and day. Serving as our faithful guardians, they protect us from thousands of unseen perils. The moment we evacuate these bodies we see them, faithful to their trust, standing by us, conversing with us about heavenly glories, and serving as our faithful escorts up to the celestial city.

 


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Bibliography Information
Godbey, William. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:4". "William Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ges/hebrews-1.html.

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Saturday, December 7th, 2019
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