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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary
Hebrews 1

 

 

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Verse 1

1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,

Ver. 1. God who at sundry times, &c.] See my True Treasure.

God who in times past, &c.] The Hebrews had generally a lighter esteem (though without cause) of the prophets than of the law; and of such of the hooks of Holy Scripture as had not the names of God or Lord in them (as Esther, Canticles, &c.) than of those that had. Our apostle, for more authority’ sake, begins his Epistle with that nomen maiestativum (Tertul.), that holy and reverend name of God, so precious and pleasant to Hebrew ears; and wades at first into that Profundum sine fundo that bottomless depth of divinity: prefixing θεος, θεος (as Pausanias testifieth that the ancients even among the heathens were wont to do, in all their sacred writings), the name of God, for a preface, captandi gratia ominis boni, in token and hope of better speed and success.


Verse 2

2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;

Ver. 2. Hath in these last days] God doth his best works last (our last also should be our best, as Thyatira’s, Revelation 2:19); the sweetest of honey lies in the bottom. Contrarily, Satan (Laban-like) shows himself at parting; and (as the panther doth the wild beasts) inveigleth silly souls (into sin), and then devoureth them, James 1:14-15, 1 Peter 5:8.

Heir of all things] Be married to this heir, and have all. Ubi tu Caius, ego Caia, may the Shulamite say to her husband, as the Roman ladies said to theirs.

By whom also he made the worlds] Visible and invisible, Colossians 1:16; or the ages under the Old and New Testament; which last {Hebrews 2:5} he calleth the world to come.


Verse 3

3 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;

Ver. 3. Who being the brightness of his glory, &c.] A beam of that sun, and the express image of his person, a stamp of that seal. This is somewhat, but who can declare his generation? Some glimpses we may have by such similitudes; the full understanding of this inconceivable mystery we must wait for till we come to heaven. The word απαυγασμα signifieth the glittering refulgency.

Upholding all things] Both in respect of being excellencies and operations. Seneca, rendering the reason why Jupiter was by the ancient Romans surnamed Stator, saith it was quia eius beneficio stant omnia, because all things are upheld by him. How much better may this be said of Christ! Sin had hurled confusion over the world, which would have fallen about Adam’s ears (saith one) had not Christ undertaken the shattered condition thereof, to uphold it. He keeps the world together, as the hoops do the barrel. He also keeps all in order; disponens etiam membra culicis et pulicis, disposing of everything even to the least and lightest circumstance. (Aug.) Hence that of our Saviour, "The Father worketh hitherunto, and I also work," John 5:17; hence that of the orator, Curiosus est et plenus negotii Deus, God taketh care of all, and is full of business. (Cic. lib. 1 de Nat. Deor.)

Purged our sins] By his merit and spirit.


Verse 4

4 Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.

Ver. 4. Better than the angels] Therefore is his doctrine, the gospel, with more heed to be heard, than the law ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator, that is, Moses, Galatians 3:19.


Verse 5

5 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?

Ver. 5. This day] Either the day of eternity, and so it is meant of Christ’s eternal generation; or else the fulness of time, wherein God brought his first begotten into the world, and mightily declared him to be the Son of God by the resurrection from the dead, Acts 13:33; Romans 1:4.

I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son] αυτοθεος. The second person is of himself, as God; of his Father, as a Son; because the Father communicateth to him his own nature, and that by generation; whence he is called "his begotten Son;" and his "only begotten;" because by generation God hath no more sons ‘out him; he is called the "Father of spirits," Hebrews 12:9; of all men, Malachi 2:10, as he is Creator and conserver of all; and of "all good men," by the grace of adoption and regeneration, 2 Corinthians 6:18; John 1:12.


Verse 6

6 And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.

Ver. 6. When he bringeth in the first begotten] He is the "only begotten," and yet is called the first begotten; because he hath the right of firstborn over his brethren, and was begotten before the world was.

And let all the angels of God] The manhood of itself could not be thus adored (because it is a creature), but as it is received into unity of person with the Deity, and hath a partner agency therewith, according to its measure, in the work of redemption and mediation, Philippians 2:9.


Verse 7

7 And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire.

Ver. 7. A flame of fire] Hence they are called seraphims, because they flame, like heavenly salamanders, in the fire of pure and perfect love to God and his people; and cherubims, from their winged swiftness; swift they are as the wind; which may seem to be the sense of this text, compared with Psalms 104:4-5.


Verse 8

8 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.

Ver. 8. Thy throne, O God, is for ever] Christ is God, then, as is here set forth by many arguments. God hath laid "help on one that is mighty." "I and the Father am one."


Verse 9

9 Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.

Ver. 9. Hath anointed thee] This imports two things: 1. Ordination to his office, and so the Godhead also of Christ was anointed. 2. Qualification for it, and so the manhood only. And as the holy oil was compounded of various spices, so was Christ filled with all gifts and graces, Acts 10:38; but especially with wisdom as a Prophet, holiness as a Priest, and power as a King.

Above thy fellows] i. e. Above all kings and potentates, Psalms 89:28. Or above all Christians, who partake of thine anointing, John 1:20, and are made kings and priests, Revelation 5:10. It may also be rendered pro consortibus tuis, for thy fellows, as importing a fulness in Christ for us, John 1:16.


Verse 10

10 And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands:

Ver. 10. The works of thy hands] Psalms 8:3, they are called the works of God’s fingers, artificially elaborated; that heaven of heavens especially, whose artificer and workman is God, Hebrews 11:10, τεχνιτης. The apostle there intimates that it is curiously and cunningly contrived.


Verse 11

11 They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment;

Ver. 11. They shall perish] The visible heavens are defiled with man’s sin, and shall therefore be purged by the last fire, as the vessels that held the sin offering were to pass the fire.

They shall all wax old] {See Trapp on "Romans 8:22"}


Verse 12

12 And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail.

Ver. 12. But thou art the same] As in essence, so in will and counsel. Repentance with man is the changing of his will; repentance with God is the willing of a change; Mutatio rei, non Dei, effectus non affectus, facti non consilii.


Verse 13

13 But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool?

Ver. 13. Sit on my right hand] As mine equal in honour and power. It seems to be a metaphor from some king, who, having an only begotten, lets him in the throne as heir and successor to reign with him, and use right of dominion over all as partner in the empire. Thus David dealt by Solomon, Vespasian by Titus, and our Henry II by his eldest son Henry, whom he crowned while he was yet alive; though afterwards he suffered him not to be what himself had made him.

Until I make thine enemies, &c.] Till the mystery of man’s redemption be finished, death the last enemy destroyed, 1 Corinthians 15:26, the saints perfected and placed at his right hand, Matthew 25:33; Revelation 3:21; Psalms 45:1-17.


Verse 14

14 Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?

Ver. 14. Are they not] See nly Common-place of Angels.

Sent forth to minister, &c.] The saints are the spouse, the bride, yea, the members of Christ; and so in nearer union than angels or any creature. This the devil envied, and fell from his station.

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/hebrews-1.html. 1865-1868.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, November 17th, 2019
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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