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Bible Commentaries

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible
Hebrews 1

 

 

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Introduction

CHAP. I.

Christ, who is come to us in these last times from the Father, is infinitely preferred above the angels, both in person and office.

Anno Domini 63.

THE apostle begins this most learned epistle, with proposing the subjects of which he is about to discourse; namely, four important facts on which the authority of the gospel, as a revelation from God, is built; andwhich, if well established, should make unbelievers, whether Jews or Gentiles, renounce their infidelity, and embrace the gospel.

Of these facts, the first is, that the same God, who spake the former revelations to the fathers of the Jewish nation, hath in these last days spoken the gospel to all mankind, Hebrews 1:1.—This the apostle mentioned first of all, to shew the agreement of the gospel with the former revelations. For if there were any real opposition between the Jewish and Christian revelations, the authority of one of them, or of both, would be destroyed. Whereas these revelations agreeing in all things, they mutually explain and support each other. See chap. Hebrews 3:5.—The second fact of which the apostle proposed to discourse is, that the Person by whom God the Father hath spoken the gospel, is his own Son, in the human nature; who is the true effulgence of his glory, and the true and express image of his substance; by whom also he made the worlds, Hebrews 1:2-3.—Hence it follows, that the great author of thegospel is infinitely superior in nature to the angels, by whose ministry God spake the law; that the revelation which he made to mankind, is moreperfect than the revelation made to the Jews by angels; and that the dispensation founded thereon, is a better and more permanent dispensation than the law.—The third fact is, that the great Author of the gospel, who made all worlds, is heir or Lord and governor of all. And although, as man, he died, yet, being raised from the dead, he had the government of the universe in a peculiar sense conferred upon him in the human nature, Hebrews 1:2-3.—To the faithful, this is a source of the greatest consolation; because, if the world is governed by their Master, he certainly has power to protect and bless them; and every thing befalling them, will issue in good to them. Besides, being the Judge as well as the ruler of the world, he has authority to acquit them at the judgment, and power to reward them for all the evils that they have suffered on his account.—The fourth fact treated of in this epistle is, that the great Author of the gospel laid down his life a sacrifice for sin, and by that sacrifice made an atonement, of which, when offered, God declared his acceptance, by setting Jesus at his own right hand, Hebrews 1:3.—The gospel, therefore, has a priesthood and sacrifice, infinitely more efficacious than the priesthoodand sacrifices of the law taken together. For, an expiation made by a Person so great in himself, and so dear to God as his own eternal Son, and made by the appointment of the Father, could not but be acceptable to him; consequently it must be a sure foundation for that hope of pardon, by which the gospel encourages sinners to repent and believe.

The authority of the gospel being supported by these four facts, the apostle judged it necessary to establish them on a solid foundation; and for that purpose wrote this learned letter, which he directed to the Hebrews, because, being the keepers of the former revelations, they were the fittest judges, both of the facts themselves, and of the proofs brought from the ancient revelations to support them.

With respect to the first of these facts, namely, that the Jewish and Christian revelations were spoken by the same God, let it be observed, that the apostle did not think it necessary to set forth a separate proof thereof. For as the whole of the epistle was to be employed in shewing, that the doctrines of the gospel, which the Jews considered as contrary to the former revelations, were all taught by Moses and the prophets, it was such a clear proof of the two revelations having proceeded from the same original, that there was no occasion to offer any other.

With respect to the second fact, on which the authority of the gospel, as a revelation from God, is built, namely, that Jesus, by whom it was spoken, is the only-begotten Son of God, the apostle instead of proposing the direct proofs whereby that fact is ascertained, judged it more proper to answer the objections advanced by the Jewish doctors for disproving it. And the rather, because the particulars of which the direct proof consisted, had all been exhibited in the most public manner in Judea where the Hebrews dwelt, and were well known to them, Acts 10:36-42 namely, that God the Father himself, in the hearing of many witnesses, had declared Jesus of Nazareth his Son, by a voice from heaven at his baptism; and by a like voice at his transfiguration; and by a third voice in the hearing of the multitude assembled in the temple: also, that Jesus had proved himself the Son of God, by many miracles performed in the most public manner during the course of his ministry, and had often appealed to these miracles, as undeniable proofs of his claim: above all, that his resurrection from the dead, after the rulers had put him to death as a blasphemer, for calling himself Christ the Son of the blessed, demonstrated him to be the Son of God. Farther, these proofs had often been appealed to by the apostles, Acts 10:38-39. And to their appeals God himself continually bare witness, by signs, and miracles, and distributions of the Holy Ghost. The Hebrews, therefore, being well acquainted with the direct evidence on which our Lord's claim to be the Son of God rested, when the apostle affirmed, that in these last days God had spoken by his Son, he in effect told them that he had spoken by Jesus of Nazareth, and at the same time called to their remembrance all the proofs by which Jesus of Nazareth's claim to the dignity of God's own and only begotten Son was established. Nor was it necessary to enter into that matter more particularly, for the sake of others who might read this epistle: as these proofs were soon to be published to all, in the evangelical histories. In short, if the Hebrews in Judea were not convinced that Jesus of Nazareth was the only begotten Son of God, it was not owing to their ignorance of the proofs by which his claim to that infinite dignity was established, but to the objections urged against it, which had much more influence to make their obdurate hearts and rebellious minds reject Jesus, than the multiplied miraculous attestations above described, had to make them acknowledge him as the Son of God.

Of these objections, the most weighty arosefrom the lofty descriptions, given in the scriptures, of the nature and dignity of the Son of God. For by these the Hebrews were led to conclude, that the Son of God could not possibly be a man; far less could he be born of a woman, or die. This, with other conclusions of a like nature, being extremely plausible in themselves, and strongly urged by the doctors, the apostle rightlyjudged that he would more effectually convince the unbelieving Hebrews, by confuting these arguments and objections, than by repeating the direct proofs above mentioned, with which they were perfectly well acquainted already. Accordingly, this is what he does in the second chapter. Only, as these objections were all founded on the accounts given in the Jewish scriptures, of the nature and dignity of the Son, the apostle with admirable address, before he attempted to confute them, introduced in this first chapter, (Hebrews 1:5-14.) the principal passages of the Jewish Scriptures, which the doctors and people applied to the Son of God. For, by thus displaying his transcendant greatness, he gave the objections of the Jews their full force. At the same time, by applying these passages to Jesus of Nazareth the great Author of the gospel, he not only affirmed him to be the Son of God, but raised his dignity and authority to the higher pitch. See chap. Hebrews 2:1-3.

His account of the dignity of the Son, the apostle begins with telling us that he is infinitelysuperior to the highest angels, because no where is it recorded in scripture, that God said to any of the angels, as he said to his Son, My son thou art; to-day I have begotten thee, Hebrews 1:5.—Instead of speaking to them in that manner, when he brought his only-begotten Son a second time into our world, in the human nature, by raising him from the dead, he ordered all the angels to worship him, Hebrews 1:6.—So that although he took our nature upon him, and still appears in that nature in the highest heavens, he notwithstanding is infinitely superior in both his natures, even his human as well as his divine, to the highest angels.—Farther, the apostle observes, that the greatest thing said of angels in the scriptures is, that they are spirits, and God's ministers, Hebrews 1:7.—Whereas by saying to the Son, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever, he hath declared the supreme Godhead of the Son, and his co-equality with himself, Hebrews 1:8.—Also, by saying, Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated wickedness, therefore—God hath anointed thee; he hath declared the Son worthy of all dominion, Hebrews 1:9.—And, by saying to him, Thou, Lord, in the beginning foundedst the earth, and the works of thy hands are the heavens, Hebrews 1:10 the Psalmist has taught us, that the dominion of the Son springs, not only primarily from his supreme and eternal Godhead, but secondarily from his being the Creator of the universe.—And, by adding in the same passage, They shall perish, but thou dost remain, and they all as a garment shall grow old, he has ascribed to the Son eternal existence, and the divine attribute of immutability, Hebrews 1:11-12.—Moreover,

God having never said to any of the angels, Sit thou at my right-hand, &c. it is evident, that none of the angels ever received from God any proper dominion over the world, Hebrews 1:13.—What interference any of them have in human affairs, is merely that of servants, who, under the government of the Son, minister for the benefit of them who shall be heirs of salvation, Hebrews 1:14.


Verse 1

Hebrews 1:1.— The design of the author of this epistle being, as we have observed, to shew the excellence of the Christian dispensation above that of the Jews in every respect; and that the Jews had no advantage in or by their law, which Christians had not in a superior measure by the law of Christ—he begins by giving an account of the dignity of the person of Christ; and intending to shew how vastly he was to be preferred to anyof those messengers from God whom they most highly valued, he here looks back to hisoriginal and divine character, which was eternally antecedent to his incarnation; and then insensibly proceeds to consider his advancement in the human nature above the angels at his resurrection, Hebrews 1:1-14.

At sundry times, and in divers manners, The word Πολυμερως, signifies in many parts, or parcels, and refers to the parcels by which God's will was delivered, in opposition to a complete revelation: and this was done in various manners; namely, by dreams, visions, urim, prophets, voices, signs.


Verse 2

Hebrews 1:2. Hath in these last days, &c.— This latter age of the world, or the days of the Messiah. By his Son, must here mean emphatically, "By his Son, as incarnate, and appearing in the human nature;" nor can any argument be gathered from hence, that God spoke not by the ministration of the Logos, or second Person, before; but only, that he spoke not in so clear and express a manner. The word heir signifies properly "one who hath a right to succeed to what another has in possession, after his death;" but this cannot be the meaning of the word in this place, as it is impossible for the God and Father of all to die; and therefore it is used in the sense of possessor or lord, as the ancient classics and lawyers use it: and thus it implies the same with what our Saviour says, Matthew 28:18. All power is given to me in heaven and in earth. See Galatians 4:1. Acts 2:36. The apostle here lays down the assertion which he undertakes to prove, namely, that God had constituted his Son Jesus heir or Lord of all things. Having mentioned this, he just gives a hint or two of the greatness of his character, and then returns to his main assertion, pursuing it closely in the latter part of the chapter, and shewing that the angels themselves, the higher order of beings, are not only infinitely inferior to him, but subject to his jurisdiction.

By whom also he made the worlds All the Greek fathers unanimously say, this shews the divinity of Christ. The Socinians by the worlds here understand the new creation, or the church begun by Christ's ministry upon earth, begotten and renewed by the evangelical dispensation. But this exposition cannot possibly stand; for, 1. Though Christ be stiled in some of the Greek versions, Isaiah 9:6. The Father of the age to come, yet the phrase οι αιωνες, absolutely put, does never signify the church or evangelical state; nor does the scripture ever speak of the world to come in the plural, but in the singular number only, preserving the phrase Holam Habba, as they received it from the Jews. 2. Were this the import of the words, the worlds might as well have been said to have been created or made by Christ's apostles, they being the great converters of the world; or at least, this being done by them assisted by the power of Christ, after he had been thus made heir of all things, it must have properly been said that Christ made the worlds by his apostles, which yet the Holy Ghost never thinks fit to intimate. Moreover, whereas this making of the world by Jesus Christ, is done by his prophetic office, that is to say, his speaking to us in the last days, the apostle had mentioned this already, and makes a plain gradation from it to his kingly office, in saying that he was constituted Lord of all things, not speaking of making the world by way of consequence, thus, and by whom; but by way of farther gradation, by whom also he made the worlds; as if he had said, Nor is it to be wondered that he should be constituted Lord of the whole world, seeing he made the whole. And that the apostle here speaks, not of the reforming of the new, but of the forming of the old world, he himself sufficiently instructs us, by saying in this same epistle, by faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, Chap. Hebrews 11:3. For that by the phrase τους αιωνας, we are to understand the material world, the Socinian commentators grant. This was the doctrine of all the primitive fathers from the beginning, as well as of all the early commentators on this text. St. Barnabas declares, that he is the Lord of the world, the maker of the sun, the Person by whom, and to whom are all things. He is, says Justin Martyr, the word by which the heaven, the earth, and every creature was made, by whom God at the beginning made and ordained all things, viz. the heavens and the earth; and by whom he will renew them. This Irenaeus delivers as the rule of faith contained in the scripture, which they who hold to, may easily prove that the heretics had deviated from the truth. He adds, that the barbarians who held the ancient tradition, did believe in one God, the maker of heaven and earth, and of all things therein, by Jesus Christ the Son of God; and this doctrine he repeats almost a hundred times elsewhere. Our doctrine, says Athenagoras, celebrates one God the Creator of all things, who made all things by Jesus Christ, from whom, and by whom all things were made. God, says Theophilus, made all things by him, and he is called the beginning, because he is the principle, and ruler of all things made by him. He adds, that by this principle God made the heavens: that God said to him, Let us make man; he being his word, by which he made all things. We rational creatures, says Clemens of Alexandria; are the work of God the word; for he was and is the divine principle of all things, by whom all things were made, and who, as the Framer of all things, in the beginning, gave also life to us; by whom are all things; who made man, our God and Maker, the cause of the creation. In the third century we learn the same from Origen, Tertullian, Novatian, St. Cyprian, and others, cited by the learned Dr. Bull. So that in these two verses there are visibly these gradations; one from Christ's prophetic office, to his kingly office conferred on him as heir of all things; the other, from his kingly office to the foundation of it, laid in his divine nature, and in the work of the creation; it being, say Irenaeus and the ancient fathers, fit that he should reform and govern the world, by whom it was formed: that he should give new life to man, who gave him his being, and first breath.


Verse 3

Hebrews 1:3. Who, being the brightness, &c.— Who, being a beam of his glory, and the express image of his substance. The word Απαυγασμα, which we render brightness, signifies that splendor or ray which proceeds from a luminous body. The words therefore represent the Father as Light, which is agreeable to other places of scripture: see 1 John 1:5. But to raise their thoughts of the matter, the apostle sets forth this Light, by which he describes the Father, under the title of Glory; the design of which is, to express the purity, perfection, and lustre of all his attributes. Suitably to this account of God the Father, he represents the Son, as a splendor or ray eternally and essentially derived or proceeding from the Father: and as the beams or rays cannot be separated from the sun, that great fund of light, so neither can the nature and the glory of the divine Son be separated from that of the Father: he is "Light of Light, very God of very God." The word χαρακτηρ, rendered express image, signifies an engraved or impressed mark,—an impress; and is a most emphatical word, since nothing can be more exactly and minutely represented, than byits impress on wax or metal. "Christ (says Leigh) answers to the divine perfections, as the impression of the wax does to the engraving of the seal." It is observable that Philo the Jew calls the Logos χαρακτηρ και εικων Θεου, "the character and image of God." The word 'Υποστασις, signifies subsistence, existence; or, as the Greek fathers, before the council of Nice, frequently applied the word, "a distinct person in the Godhead." Comp. Colossians 1:15. Upholding all things by the word of his power seems plainly to express, that as the Son gave being to all the creatures, so he maintains them all in being. The same thing seems designed, Colossians 1:17.—By him all things consist. In both places the same works are attributed to him. See Matthew 11:27; Matthew 28:18. John 3:35; John 13:3.—When he had by himself purged our sins, refers to the expiation of our sins by his death; nor can there be any question that the apostle refers to the death of Christ, considering what is here said to have followed immediately upon his purging our sins,—that he sat down at the right-hand of the

Majesty on high. The words by himself are very expressive: for as (Ch. Hebrews 9:12; Hebrews 9:26.) Christ is spoken of as making expiation by himself, and his ownblood, and not by the blood of bulls and of goats, so here it seems to be intended, that Christ alone, without any assistance or concurrence ofangels, or any other beings, made a perfect expiation of our sins. See Isaiah 63:3. 1 Peter 3:22. Ephesians 1:20.


Verse 4

Hebrews 1:4. Being made so much better than the angels, Being made so much superior to, or more excellent than the angels, by how much he hath obtained a more excellent name than they. The word Κεκληρονομηκεν, signifies to obtain, or be in possession of; without taking in the notion of inheritance. See on Hebrews 1:2. Christ is called the Son of God; a name, which implies peculiar love and affection in the parent, and superiority over the family in which he is. Christ, therefore, as being the only-begotten Son of God, is infinitely superior to angels, and is vested with an authority which they are of course destitute of; and has a right and title to dominion, to which they have no pretension; nor is any one of them ever dignified with that name. Some consider this as immediately referring to Christ's authority and dignity, as Mediator; with which he was invested, when he sat down on the right-hand of glory after his resurrection.


Verse 5

Hebrews 1:5. For unto which of the angels said he, &c.— The word for, shews that the sacred writer is here proceeding to his proofs. All the texts that are alleged by him, are to be considered as brought forward with this design; to shew that Christ at his resurrection was constituted, as man, infinitely superior to the angels. This amounted to a full proof, both according to the nature of things, and the notions which the Jews entertained of the angels: for, it being certainly true, and believed to be so by the Hebrews, that theangels, according to their original creation, had been made superior in their nature to other creatures; it must of necessity follow, that as he is superior to them, he must be superior to all below them: and since the highest order of creatures was made subject to him as Man, it might reasonably be supposed that the others were so too. Besides, as the Hebrews gloried in the revelations which had been made to them by angels, and were apt, upon that account, to see light by Christ; nothing could be more pertinent to the general design of the epistle, than the discourse here given upon this argument. We refer to the passages in the margin, and our notes upon them in the former part of this commentary; and also to Acts 13:33.


Verse 6

Hebrews 1:6. And let all the angels of God worship him In proof of the infinite superiority of Christ over the angels, the apostle shews, that he was not only the Son of God, while even the highest of them were but servants; but that he was the object of their adoration and worship. It is matter of doubt, whence the quotation in this verse is taken; some taking it from Deuteronomy 32:43 and others from Psalms 97:7 which seems the most probable. See the notes on that Psalm. Instead of spirits, in the next verse, Doddridge, Waterland, and others, read winds. "He who rules the winds and the lightnings, has his angels under equal command; and employs them with the strength of winds, and the rapidity of lightning in his service." However noble and lofty this description of the angels is, it falls infinitely short of what was before said, and what is immediately added in the next verses, concerning the Son: and in this view, the quotation was very much to the apostle's purpose.


Verse 9

Hebrews 1:9. Thou hast loved righteousness, &c.— This refers to that unparalleled instance of the love of moral rectitude, which Christ has given in becoming a sacrifice for sin; by his atonement doing infinitely more, than has ever been done by any other intelligent and rational agent, towards displaying his love of righteousness, and his hatred of iniquity. See Philippians 2:8-9. Instead of fellows, some read associates. The correspondent Hebrew word to the word ΄ετοχοι, says Parkhurst, signifies associates; by whom are meant, "all men who believe on Christ." The word properly expresses "those who partake together;" brethren,—joint-heirs. See ch. Hebrews 2:11, &c. Romans 8:17. The force of this quotation lies in proving, that while the angels are but ministering spirits, (Hebrews 1:7; Hebrews 1:14.) the Son is invested with regal power, and sovereign authority. Hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness, &c. means, "Thou art exalted to superior honor and happiness; God the Father stiling thee here, God, and an eternal king, ascribing to thee a throne and kingdom, and a righteous government to reward thy righteous servants whom thou lovest, and to punish thine obdurate enemies whose iniquities render them odious to thee." So that these words again prove, both his Divine nature, and his exaltation to the government of the wor


Verse 11-12

Hebrews 1:11-12. They shall perish, &c.— "They, permanent as they seem, shall at length wear out; but thou endurest in undecaying glory; yea, all of them shall grow old as doth a garment; and thou shalt remove them out of their place, and introduce a new scene of things, with as much ease as a prince lays aside one robe, and puts on another; but thou art ever the same, and thy years shall not fail through everlasting ages, nor can thy perfections admit of any possible diminution." How strongly is the immutability of Jesus Christ declared in this passage!


Verse 13

Hebrews 1:13. But to which of the angels, &c.— "But, not to insist on the manner in which men have addressed their homage and their praises to him, even under the inspiration of an unerring Spirit; let me refer you to another passage, in which the Father himself speaks to him under the character of his Son, exalted to his mediatorial kingdom; that you may thence take an idea of his grandeur. For to which of the angels, &c."


Verse 14

Hebrews 1:14. Are they not all ministering spirits "I asked, To which of the angels said God at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool?"—And Iam well satisfied that no passage can be alleged wherein God is ever represented as using such language to, or concerning any of them. The description given of them is of a very different nature; and, instead of being set out as exalted to such a high state of dignity and authority, as sitting at God's right hand; they are represented as ministering spirits, whose proper posture is standing, and not sitting. See 1 Kings 22:19. Zechariah 5:7; Zechariah 4:14; Zechariah 6:5. The verse may be thus paraphrased: "The spirits of heaven expect no such honour as this: the noblest of them all esteems himself happy in an opportunity of worshipping this triumphant Lord, and ministering even to the least of his servants. Is it not a known and delightful truth? are they not indeed all ministering spirits, who officiate before the throne of God, and are sent out to attend on all the faithful saints of God, who shall inherit salvation? and always willing to undertake the offices that he shall assign them for the safety and good of his faithful people? and therefore, far from thinking them in any view of comparison with him, let us humbly adore him, for the benefits which by his authority and favour we daily receive from these benevolent creatures." By the phrase, Who shall be heirs of salvation, several commentators suppose that the sacred writer has a particular reference to the Gentiles, who were to be made fellow-heirs with the Jews, and partakers of the promise in Christ by the Gospel. See Ephesians 3:6.

Inferences.—With what satisfaction may we depend upon the divine authority of both the Old and New Testament! God, who formerly spake to the fathers by the prophets, now speaks to us by his Son; he began and gradually carried on various revelations at different times, in distinct parcels, and by several ways and means, which we have an account of in the Old Testament, till he completed them in the New. How thankful should we be that our lot is cast under the gospel dispensation! This is the clearest, the fullest, the best, and last discovery of the mind and will of God, that is to be expected in our world. And how glorious is the representation that it gives us of Christ in his divine nature and mediatorial office! He is essentially the same God with the Father, and yet personally distinct from him, as the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and is his eternal only-begotten Son; he is the Creator of heaven and earth, and all things contained therein, and upholds them by the word of his power: and in his office-capacity he is the appointed Heir of all things, in and by whom the faithful inherit the blessings of grace and glory. He is now exalted on his throne, with the highest dignity and honour, at the Father's right hand; his throne is for ever and ever; he is infinitely pure and spotless in himself, and righteous in all the administrations of his kingdom; he is fully invested with all authority above whatever was or shall be conferred on any prophet, priest or king, saint or angel; and at the last day he, who is the unchangeable God, will put an end to the present frame of this world, and change it into another, that will be inexpressibly more excellent and glorious. How safe and happy then are the saints under his care! And what an honour has he put upon them, in assuming their nature, and exalting it in union with his own divine Person in heaven, and in ordering all the holy angels to minister to them! O, with what solemnity and joy should they join with these celestial spirits in paying all religious adorations to him! And how dead should their hearts be to this perishing world and all its concerns, which wax old, and shall be laid aside like an useless worn-out garment!

REFLECTIONS.—The excellence of the gospel dispensation above the Mosaical opens this beautiful epistle. The apostle shews:

1. The different way in which God has communicated his will to the church of old, and to his people at present. God, who at sundry times, by degrees, with increasing clearness, and in divers manners, by types, visions, dreams, and audible voices, and immediate inspiration, spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days, at the close of the Jewish oeconomy, and in that dispensation of grace, which is the last that will be ever vouchsafed to the sons of men, and under this title of the last days has been foretold by the inspired penman,—God hath, I say, now spoken unto us by his Son, the most glorious messenger that was ever yet employed in communicating the revelation of his will to man; in nature one with the Father, in majesty co-eternal.

2. He enlarges on the surpassing excellence of this Son of God, who has appeared in the human nature. (1.) It is he whom he hath appointed heir of all things as Mediator, exalting him to the sovereign and universal dominion over the works of his hands, and especially giving him to be Head over all things to his church, in and through whom alone any member of it can be entitled to the eternal inheritance. (2.) By whom also he made the worlds, exerting his co-agency and co-operation with the Father, not as an instrument, but as the great Creator. (3.) Who being the brightness of his glory, Light of Light, and very God of very God, possessing the essential attributes of Deity; and the express image of his person, bearing his exact resemblance in every divine perfection, appears his visible representative. And, (4.) As he is the Creator, so he continues upholding all things by the word of his power, supporting and governing them by his divine energy and providence. (5.) When he had by himself purged our sins, Himself the great High-priest and Sacrifice, expiating the sins of the world, which the blood of bulls and goats, shed by the Levitical priests, could never take away, and having by one oblation of himself, once offered, obtained eternal redemption for all his faithful saints,—(6.) When he had thus made the all-atoning sacrifice on the cross, he sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high, in virtue of his own blood entering into the holy place not made with hands, and, as a priest upon his throne, (Zechariah 6:13.) he is exalted to the highest dignity and glory in his human nature. (7.) He has the pre-eminence, not only above the greatest prophets, but over the highest of the heavenly hosts: being made so much better than the angels; in his character as Mediator, as well as in the transcendent excellence of his divine nature, he infinitely surpasses the most glorious of all created beings, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they, even the name of Son of God, in a sense peculiar to himself, and which appears evident from the transcendent exaltation which in virtue of his sufferings he has now by right obtained.

3. In support of his argument, to prove the infinite pre-eminence of the incarnate Son above the highest of the angelic hosts, he brings the strongest proofs from those scriptures which the Jews admitted as of divine authority. For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, the same in essential Deity; this day have I begotten thee, even from eternity, which to God is one permanent unsuccessive day; or this refers to his resurrection from the dead, whereby his eternal Sonship was manifested, (Romans 1:4.) and again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son, treated with peculiar and distinguishing love, and raised to the eternal throne of glory. And again, when he bringeth in the First-begotten, the appointed Heir of all things, into the world, at his miraculous conception, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him, and pay him that divine honour which is due to their Creator alone, and is the unalienable right of Deity. And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire; their highest honour and dignity is to be the servants of the great Jehovah, and as flames of fire, with such activity and powerful agency, to execute his will and pleasure. But unto the Son, as their eternal King, he saith, Thy throne, O God, who art the essential Jehovah, is for ever and ever, from everlasting unchangeably the same, and to eternity must endure; a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom; thou hast the most undisputed title to reign; thy bosom is the seat of justice, and thy administration is marked with unsullied truth, holiness, and equity. Thou hast loved righteousness, fulfilling it in thy own person, and approving it in thy people, and hated iniquity, about to punish it with everlasting perdition; therefore God, even thy God, thy covenant God as the incarnate Mediator, hath anointed thee to the office of prophet, priest, and king, with the oil of gladness, with the most immeasurable fulness of spiritual gifts and graces, above thy fellows, whether angels or saints, kings, priests, or prophets. And thou, Lord, in the beginning, before any creature yet had a being, by thy omnipotent creative power, hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands: all the creatures, spiritual or corporeal, animate or inanimate, from the highest to the lowest, own thee their great Creator. They shall perish, this visible creation of heaven and earth shall decay; but thou remainest, unchangeable, immortal; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment, the creatures of this lower world are mouldering daily, and nature's dissolution is at hand; and as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed, but thou art the same, immutably, eternally; and thy years shall not fail, the same yesterday, to-day and for ever. But to which of the angels said he at any time; as he did to his incarnate Son, Sit thou on my right hand, enthroned in supreme majesty, until I make thine enemies thy footstool, and raise thee triumphant over every foe, when sin, Satan, death, and hell, shall be for ever put under thy feet? Such language belongs not to the highest of the angelic host: for are they not all ministering spirits, servants to the great Mediator, and sent forth, under his command, to minister for them, in every kind office, who shall be heirs of salvation? that is, by right of sonship; for if sons, then heirs, Romans 8:17 and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ, Galatians 4:7 and heirs according to the promise, Galatians 3:29 for to as many as believed, he gave power to become the sons of God, John 1:12. From the whole we may observe, (1.) The transcendent glory of the Lord Jesus: [1.] In his divine nature. [2.] In his mediatorial capacity.—The great Creator.—The self-existent Jehovah.—The eternal, immutable God.—The object of adoration to the highest beings, angels as well as men,—and reigning and to reign for ever and ever. (2.) The honour and office of the angelic hosts; to adore their King, to obey his mandates with delight and vigour, and to serve those highly distinguished sons of men, who are the faithful followers of Jesus Christ, their great Creator. (3.) The dignity of God's faithful children, standing in this high and holy relation to him as adopted by his grace, and designed for the enjoyment of his glory, attended by ministers of flame, and shortly to be conducted by them to their eternal home. (4.) Vast and amazing as this visible creation now appears, the day approaches, when, like the baseless fabric of a vision, all shall be dissolved; and by almighty power shall arise a new heaven and earth, to be the blessed abode of the faithful redeemed.

(5.) Jesus must reign on his mediatorial throne till all his enemies are finally subdued, and his triumphant people shall come to reign with him in glory everlasting.

 


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Bibliography Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:4". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/hebrews-1.html. 1801-1803.

Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, November 14th, 2019
the Week of Proper 27 / Ordinary 32
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