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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Hebrews 1:4

having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they.

Adam Clarke Commentary

So much better than the angels - Another argument in favor of the Divinity of our Lord. The Jews had the highest opinion of the transcendent excellence of angels, they even associate them with God in the creation of the world, and suppose them to be of the privy council of the Most High; and thus they understand  Genesis 1:26; : Let us make man in our own image, in our own likeness; "And the Lord said to the ministering angels that stood before him, and who were created the second day, Let us make man," etc. See the Targum of Jonathan ben Uzziel. And they even allow them to be worshipped for the sake of their Creator, and as his representatives; though they will not allow them to be worshipped for their own sake. As, therefore, the Jews considered them next to God, and none entitled to their adoration but God; on their own ground the apostle proves Jesus Christ to be God, because God commanded all the angels of heaven to worship him. He, therefore, who is greater than the angels, and is the object of their adoration, is God. But Jesus Christ is greater than the angels, and the object of their adoration; therefore Jesus Christ must be God.

By inheritance obtained - Κεκληρονομηκεν ονομα . The verb κληρονομειν  signifies generally to participate, possess, obtain, or acquire; and is so used by the purest Greek writers: Kypke has produced several examples of it from Demosthenes. It is not by inheritance that Christ possesses a more excellent name than angels, but as God: he has it naturally and essentially; and, as God manifested in the flesh, he has it in consequence of his humiliation, sufferings, and meritorious death. See  Philippians 2:9.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:4". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/hebrews-1.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Being made so much better - Being exalted so much above the angels. The word “better” here does not refer to moral character, but to exaltation of rank. As Mediator; as the Son of God in our nature, he is exalted far above the angels.

Than the angels - Than all angels of every rank; see notes on Ephesians 1:21; compare 1 Peter 3:22. “Angels, and authorities, and powers being made subject unto him.” He is exalted to his mediatorial throne, and all things are placed beneath his feet.

As he hath by inheritance - Or in virtue of his name - the Son of God; an exaltation such as is implied in that name. As a son has a rank in a family above servants; as he has a control over the property above that which servants have, so it is with the Mediator. He is the Son of God: angels are the servants of God, and the servants of the church. They occupy a place in the universe compared with what he occupies, similar to the place which servants in a family occupy compared with that which a son has. To illustrate and prove this is the design of the remainder of this chapter. The argument which the apostle insists on is, that the title “the Son of God is to be given to him alone. It has been conferred on no others. Though the angels, and though saints are called in general “sons of God,” yet the title” the Son of God” has been given to him only. As the apostle was writing to Hebrews, he makes his appeal to the Hebrew Scriptures alone for the confirmation of this opinion.

A more excellent name - To wit, the name Son. It is a more honorable and exalted name than has ever been bestowed on them. It involves more exalted privileges, and entitles him on whom it is bestowed to higher respect and honor than any name ever bestowed on them.


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:4". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/hebrews-1.html. 1870.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

Having become by so much better than the angels, as he hath inherited a more excellent name than they.

The remainder of this chapter, beginning here, extols the supremacy of Christ, as compared with angels. The force of the argument lies in the outlandish burden of importance the Jewish mind placed upon the function of angels in their history, especially in the giving of the Law of Moses. Cargill wrote that by the time of Christ,

The Jews had developed an elaborate system of angelology ... They came to think of angels as intermediaries between God and man (and) also believed that there were millions and millions of them. They had many duties. They delivered messages, presided over the destiny of Israel, controlled the movement of stars, manipulated history. There were angels over the sea, the frost, the dew, the rain, the snow, the hail, the thunder and the lightning. There were angels who were wardens of hell and torturers of the damned. There were destroying angels and angels of punishment.[10]

In spite of the fact that an angel appeared to Cornelius and that an angel released Peter from prison, the visible ministry of angels was a strangely diminishing phenomenon in the early church, the emphasis going more and more to Christ and Christ alone. The author of Hebrews met the issue squarely, identifying Christ as God come in the flesh, and marshaling the Old Testament scriptures themselves to prove his superiority over angels. Significantly, the author did not refute these popular ideas regarding angels by any appeal to his own apostolic authority (though likely he was an apostle, probably Paul), appealing rather to the Old Testament scriptures which the addressees received and conceded to be Messianic. If Paul was the author, and in view of the procedure here, this method of appeal would explain why he chose to identify with them (as in Hebrews 2:3,4), and to omit all reference to himself as an apostle, or even any personal reference at all. The appeal which the author made to the Jewish scriptures, recognized by that generation as Messianic prophecies, takes all the weight out of the arguments which, during intervening centuries, have been invented to "prove" that those very scriptures were not Messianic.

As to the actual place of angels in the economy of redemption, there is a further discussion of that at the end of the chapter; meanwhile, let it be observed that there are no less than seven points of superiority of Christ over angels, catalogued by the nineteenth-century scholar, Adam Clarke, as follows: he has a more excellent name than they (Hebrews 1:4,5); the angels of God adore him (Hebrews 1:6); the angels were created by him (Hebrews 1:7); even while being a man, he was endowed with greater gifts than they (Hebrews 1:8,9); he is eternal, but they are not (Hebrews 1:10-12); he is more highly exalted (Hebrews 1:13); angels are only servants of God; Christ is the Son of God (Hebrews 1:14).[11]

The author of Hebrews laid out a proposition in Hebrews 1:4 to the effect that Christ is greater than angels; and he then proceeded to prove it by reference to seven passages in the Old Testament.

[10] Robert L. Cargill, Understanding the Book of Hebrews (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1967), p. 10.

[11] Adam Clarke, op. cit., p. 682.


Copyright Statement
James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

Bibliography
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:4". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/hebrews-1.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Being made so much better than the angels,.... Christ is so much better than the angels, as the Creator, than the creature; as an independent being, than a dependent one; as he that blesses, than he that is blessed; as he that is worshipped, than he that worships: as a king, than his subjects; as a master, than his servants; and as he that sends, than he that is sent: and Christ may be said to be "made so", when he was manifested and declared to be so; and he was actually preferred to them, and exalted above them in human nature, after he had expiated the sins of his people, and when he was set down at the right hand of God, as in the latter part of the preceding verse, with which these words stand connected; for in his state of humiliation, and through his sufferings and death, he was made lower than they; but when he was risen from the dead, and ascended to heaven, he was placed at the right hand of God, where none of them ever was, or ever will be: besides, the phrase, "being made", signifies no more than that "he was"; and so the Syriac version renders it, "and he was so much better than the angels"; and so the Ethiopic version, "he is so much better": and this is observed, to prove him to be more excellent than any creature, since he is preferred to the most excellent of creatures; and to show, that the Gospel dispensation is superior to the legal dispensation, which was introduced by the ministration of angels; and to take off the Jews from the worship of angels, to which they were prone: and this doctrine of his could not be well denied by them, since it was the faith of the Jewish church, that the Messiah should be preferred to the angels: for in their ancient writings they say of him, he shall be exalted above Abraham, he shall be lifted up above Moses, and be higher than the ministering angelsF19Tanchuma spud Huls. p. 321. ; and that he is above them, appears from what follows,

as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they; which is that of the Son of God, a name peculiar to him; and which belongs to him in such a sense as it does not to angels, as is evident from the following verse: and though this name is not founded on his office, as Mediator, but arises from his nature and relation to God; yet he was declared to be the Son of God, and it was made manifest, that this name of right belonged to him, upon the discharge of his office, at his resurrection and ascension to heaven; and therefore he is said to obtain it by inheritance; or he appeared to inherit it of right, and that it was his possession for evermore.


Copyright Statement
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855

Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:4". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/hebrews-1.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

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

(4) Before he comes to declare the office of Christ, he sets forth the excellency of his person. First of all he shows him to be man, and that in addition he is God also.

(i) Dignity and honour.


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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:4". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/hebrews-1.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

better — by His exaltation by the Father (Hebrews 1:3, Hebrews 1:13): in contrast to His being “made lower than the angels” (Hebrews 2:9). “Better,” that is, superior to. As “being” (Hebrews 1:3) expresses His essential being so “being made” (Hebrews 7:26) marks what He became in His assumed manhood (Philemon 2:6-9). Paul shows that His humbled form (at which the Jews might stumble) is no objection to His divine Messiahship. As the law was given by the ministration of angels and Moses, it was inferior to the Gospel given by the divine Son, who both is (Hebrews 1:4-14) as God, and has been made, as the exalted Son of man (Hebrews 2:5-18), much better than the angels. The manifestations of God by angels (and even by the angel of the covenant) at different times in the Old Testament, did not bring man and God into personal union, as the manifestation of God in human flesh does.

by inheritance obtained — He always had the thing itself, namely, Sonship; but He “obtained by inheritance,” according to the promise of the Father, the name “Son,” whereby He is made known to men and angels. He is “the Son of God” is a sense far exalted above that in which angels are called “sons of God” (Job 1:6; Job 38:7). “The fullness of the glory of the peculiar name “the Son of God,” is unattainable by human speech or thought. All appellations are but fragments of its glory beams united in it as in a central sun, Revelation 19:12. A name that no than knew but He Himself.


Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/hebrews-1.html. 1871-8.

William Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament

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.


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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

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

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Having become (γενομενοςgenomenos). Second aorist middle participle of γινομαιginomai In contrast with on in Hebrews 1:3.

By so much (τοσουτωιtosoutōi). Instrumental case of τοσουτοςtosoutos correlative with οσωιhosōi (as) with comparative in both clauses (κρειττωνkreittōn better, comparative of κρατυςkratus διαπορωτερονdiaphorōteron more excellent, comparative of διαποροςdiaphoros).

Than the angels
(των αγγελωνtōn aggelōn). Ablative of comparison after κρειττωνkreittōn as often.

Than they
(παρ αυτουςpar' autous). Instead of the ablative αυτωνautōn here the preposition παραpara (along, by the side of) with the accusative occurs, another common idiom as in Hebrews 3:3; Hebrews 9:23. ΔιαποροςDiaphoros only in Hebrews in N.T. except Romans 12:6.

Hath inherited
(κεκληρονομηκενkeklēronomēken). Perfect active indicative of κληρονομεωklēronomeō (from κληρονομοςklēronomos heir, Hebrews 1:2), and still inherits it, the name (ονομαonoma oriental sense of rank) of “Son” which is superior to prophets as already shown (Hebrews 1:2) and also to angels (1:4-2:18) as he now proceeds to prove. Jesus is superior to angels as God‘s Son, his deity (1:4-2:4). The author proves it from Scripture (Hebrews 1:4-14).


Copyright Statement
The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)

Bibliography
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:4". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/hebrews-1.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

d The detailed development of the argument is now introduced. The point is to show the superiority of the agent of the new dispensation to the agents of the old - the angels and Moses. Christ's superiority to the angels is first discussed.

Being made so much better than the angels ( τοσούτῳ κρείττων γενόμενος τῶν ἀγγέλων )

The informal and abrupt introduction of this topic goes to show that the writer was addressing Jewish Christians, who were familiar with the prominent part ascribed to angels in the O.T. economy, especially in the giving of the law. See on Galatians 3:9. For being made, rend. having become; which is to be taken in close connection with sat down, etc., and in contrast with ὢν being Hebrews 1:3. It is not denied that the Son was essentially and eternally superior to the angels; but his glorification was conditioned upon his fulfillment of the requirements of his human state, and it is this that is emphasized. After having passed through the experience described in Philemon 2:6-8, he sat down on the right hand of the divine majesty as messianic sovereign, and so became or proved to be what in reality he was from eternity, superior to the angels. Τοσούτῳ - ὅσῳ somuch - as. Never used by Paul. Κρείττων bettersuperior, rare in Paul, and always neuter and adverbial. In Hebrews thirteen times. See also 1 Peter 3:17; 2 Peter 2:21. Often in lxx. It does not indicate here moral excellence, but dignity and power. He became superior to the angels, resuming his preincarnate dignity, as he had been, for a brief period, less or lower than the angels (Hebrews 2:7). The superiority of Messiah to the angels was affirmed in rabbinical writings.

He hath by inheritance obtained ( κεκληρονόμηκεν )

More neatly, as Rev., hath inherited, as a son. See Hebrews 1:2, and comp. Romans 8:17. For the verb, see on Acts 13:19, and see on 1 Peter 1:4.

More excellent ( διαφορώτερον )

Διάφορος only once outside of Hebrews, Romans 12:6. The comparative only in Hebrews. In the sense of more excellent, only in later writers. Its earlier sense is different. The idea of difference is that which radically distinguishes it from κρείττων betterHere it presents the comparative of a comparative conception. The Son's name differs from that of the angels, and is more different for good.

Than they ( παρ ' αὐτοὺς )

Lit. beside or in comparison with them. Παρα , indicating comparison, occurs a few times in Luke, as Luke 3:13; Luke 13:2; Luke 18:4. In Hebrews always to mark comparison, except Hebrews 11:11, Hebrews 11:12.


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The text of this work is public domain.

Bibliography
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:4". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/hebrews-1.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

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

This verse has two clauses, the latter of which is treated of, Hebrews 1:5; the former, Hebrews 1:13. Such transpositions are also found in the other epistles of St. Paul, but in none so frequently as in this. The Jewish doctors were peculiarly fond of this figure, and used it much in all their writings. The apostle therefore, becoming all things to all men, here follows the same method. All the inspired writers were readier in all the figures of speech than the most experienced orators.

Being — By his exaltation, after he had been lower than them, Hebrews 2:9.

So much higher than the angels — It was extremely proper to observe this, because the Jews gloried in their law, as it was delivered by the ministration of angels. How much more may we glory in the gospel, which was given, not by the ministry of angels, but of the very Son of God! As he hath by inheritance a more excellent name - Because he is the Son of God, he inherits that name, in right whereof he inherits all things His inheriting that name is more ancient than all worlds; his inheriting all things, as ancient as all things.

Than they — This denotes an immense pre-eminence. The angels do not inherit all things, but are themselves a portion of the Son's inheritance, whom they worship as their Lord.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.

Bibliography
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:4". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/hebrews-1.html. 1765.

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

So much better than; so much superior to.--The angels. The writer brings Jesus into comparison with the angels, because the Jews regarded the Mosaic law as given by the ministration of angels, (Acts 7:53;) and he accordingly adopts this as one of the points of comparison between the two dispensations.--A more excellent name, that is, the name of Son, as specified in the Hebrews 1:5.


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Bibliography
Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:4". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ain/hebrews-1.html. 1878.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

4.Being made so much better, etc. After having raised Christ above Moses and all others, he now amplifies His glory by a comparison with angels. It was a common notion among the Jews, that the Law was given by angels; they attentively considered the honorable things spoken of them everywhere in Scripture; and as the world is strangely inclined to superstition, they obscured the glory of God by extolling angels too much. It was therefore necessary to reduce them to their own rank, that they might not overshadow the brightness of Christ. And first he proves from his name, that Christ far excelled them, for he is called the Son of God; (17) and that he was distinguished by this title he shows by two testimonies from Scripture, both of which must be examined by us; and then we shall sum up their full import.


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These files are public domain.

Bibliography
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:4". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/hebrews-1.html. 1840-57.

William Newell's Commentary on Romans and Revelation

Having become by so much better than the angels, as He hath inherited a more excellent name than they:

"Better" (the Greek word kreitton) is used thirteen times in this book of Hebrews, out of nineteen times in the whole New Testament. Beginning here in Heb 1:4 with Christ Himself better than the angels we have "better things" (Heb 6:9); "better person" (than Abraham (Heb 7:7); "better hope" (Heb 7:19); "better covenant" (Heb 7:22); "better covenant ... better promises" (Heb 8:6); "better sacrifices" (Heb 9:23); "better possession" (Heb 10:34); "better country" (Heb 11:16); "better resurrection" (Heb 11:35); "better things" (Heb 11:40 and Heb 12:24). No wonder Paul uses the same word "better" in Philippians: "To depart and be with Christ ... is very far better"! (Phil 1:23).

(Jewish minds thought much of angelic glory. They had received the Law as ordained by ministry of angels (Acts 7:5). They were wont, therefore, to regard with awe and wonder those obedient messengers of God's power. There can be no stronger proof of this than John's temptation to worship one (Rev. 19:10, 22:8-9). Hence the weight of the further testimony here to Christ's glory, He having become by so much better than the angels, as He hath inherited a more excellent name than they.)

This blessed Son having in His humanity the "body" which, He said, His Father prepared for Him (Heb 10:5), was "made for a little while lower than the angels" (Heb 2:9). Astonishing fact! (--which, by the way, eternally protects the elect angels from the pride by which the others were lost, following the dragon in his pride--Rev. 12:4, 8, 9). Now this Son is said to have become so much better than the angels, as He hath inherited a more excellent name than they. And this was as MAN, remember! For He is here set before us as the Son in Whom God--at the end of the Old Testament days--had spoken! So He is "the Word made flesh" and having as such, "tabernacled among us" (John 1:14), of whom God is here speaking! Read Hebrews 1 over and over!

Now, how much better than the angels had He, though Man, "become"?

  1. He is the Son of God; they are "servants" (Heb 1:5, 7).
  2. He is to be worshiped by the angels! (Heb 1:6).
  3. He is addressed as "God" by God the Father! (Heb 1:8).
  4. He is addressed as "King"--Whose "sceptre" is that of "uprightness" (Heb 1:8).
  5. For His love of righteousness, and hatred of iniquity, His God had "anointed Him with the oil of gladness above His fellows"--whoever they be! (Heb 1:9).
  6. He is addressed as "Lord," Who "in the beginning did lay the foundations of the earth," and the works of Whose hands the very Heavens are! (Heb 1:10).
  7. He shall continue, though these Heavens shall pass away: "They shall perish, but Thou continuest ... Thou art the same; Thy years shall not fail" (Heb 1:11, 12).
  8. "Of which of the angels hath He said at any time, Sit Thou at My right hand, till I make Thine enemies the footstool of Thy feet?" (Heb 1:13).
  9. "Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to do service for the sake of them that shall inherit salvation?" (Heb 1:14).
  10. "Not unto angels did He (God) subject the world to come" (whereof in Hebrews we speak, and to which we look forward) (Heb 2:5)

Of course no moral or spiritual excellence is indicated here, for He was ever perfect. But He was, we read, "perfected through sufferings (Heb 2:10, 5:9, 7:28). He went on from trial to trial, from testing to testing, to perfect obedience to God's will--which involved His death, and that as a Sin-offering. But thence God raised Him, and thus He must be held in our minds--from the words of Heb 1:3, "When He had made purification of sins," as a Risen One, seated on the right hand of God! He has taken that place above the angels which belonged to Him eternally as Son and Heir of all things, and now belongs to Him as the "one Mediator between God and men, the MAN Christ Jesus" (1 Tim. 2:5). Few believe in their very hearts that there is a MAN in the glory!--and that Paul wrote of "Christ concerning the flesh," the words, "Who is over all, God blessed forever"!

Note especially that word "become." As God the Son, He could not "become." He could say, "Before Abraham was born, I AM!" But, as having emptied Himself, having taken the form of man, and humbled Himself, even to "obedience unto death, yea, the death of the Cross"--it is thus He is seen in the words before us. His "becoming" took Him for a little while "lower than the angels." Now, raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, and being by the right hand of God exalted, He has taken His seat as Man (none the less God, but as Man) on the right hand of the Majesty on High. And this phrase, become by so much, measures the distance--infinite and incomprehensible to us--between the Risen Christ and the angelic host. How much better? As He hath inherited a more excellent name than they. This "Name" is never for a moment to be thought of as in competition with the angels or other beings. Competition with their Creator? Subjection is their delight! "Glory to God in the highest," they sang when He was born in Bethlehem--to be for "a little while lower than the angels"! How happy is their sweet ministry, "sent forth to do service for the sake of them that shall inherit salvation," which service they delight to do. But, brother, it is not the vote of the heavenly beings that makes the Son of God become by so much better than the angels. It is the facts in the case. He is God. They are creatures. The cleavage is infinite, between Him and all creatures and between His work and that of any creature, forever--much as God loves His faithful servants.

Note that it is by so much and not merely so much better. That is, it is a measure Of place, or degree; not of quality of being. (This comparative phrase, in its four occurrences in Hebrews, really sets forth infinity. The measure in each case is beyond measure! Hebrews 3:3, 5 says Moses was faithful in all God's house but Jesus was "counted worthy of more glory than Moses by so much as He that built the house hath more honor than the house." Heb 7:22: "Inasmuch as it is not without the taking of an oath ... by so much also hath Jesus become the Surety of a better covenant." (Not until Heb 13:20 will the great announcement of that "eternal covenant" between God and Christ, by which He was "brought again from the dead," be definitely set forth; but it is doctrinally involved throughout the book from Heb 1:3-4, on.) And Heb 8:6 "He hath obtained a ministry the more excellent, by so much as He is also the Mediator of a better covenant.")

The great mystery we must never forget is even that when He became "for a little while lower than the angels," He was still the same in Deity as when He created all things. We must make careful distinction here between "having become" and "having inherited a name." This "inheriting" compels us to regard Him as Man, as the Word made flesh, as the Son, perfected forevermore, and ascended to Heaven. Indeed, the language of the whole Verse sets this forth. He "sat down," the previous verse tells us, and now, "having become," and having "obtained by inheritance," are spoken of Him.

After these seven utterances concerning our Lord's Person (Heb 1:1, 3), God cites seven Old Testament Scriptures, elucidating and proving verse 4. Let us examine these seven quotations made, as usual in Hebrews, from the Septuagint. "The Septuagint was a translation of the OT from the Hebrew into the Greek language, made about 270 to 235 B.C.; so-called because of the 70 translators said to have been engaged in making it. It is the most ancient of all versions of the Hebrew OT."--Angus, Cyclopedic Handbook to the Bible.


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Newell, William. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:4". William Newell's Commentary on Romans, Hebrews and Revelation. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wnc/hebrews-1.html. 1938.

Scofield's Reference Notes

angels

Angel, Summary: Angel, "messenger," is used of God, of men, and of an order of created spiritual beings whose chief attributes are strength and wisdom. 2 Samuel 14:20; Psalms 103:20; Psalms 104:4. In the O.T. the expression "the angel of the Lord" (sometimes "of God") usually implies the presence of Deity in angelic form.; Genesis 16:1-13; Genesis 21:17-19; Genesis 22:11-16; Genesis 31:11-13; Exodus 3:2-4; Judges 2:1; Judges 6:12-16; Judges 13:3-22 (See Scofield "Malachi 3:1"). The word "angel" is used of men in; Luke 7:24; James 2:25; Revelation 1:20; Revelation 2:1; Revelation 2:8; Revelation 2:12; Revelation 2:18; Revelation 3:1; Revelation 3:7; Revelation 3:14 In Revelation 8:3-5. Christ is evidently meant. Sometimes angel is used of the spirit of man.; Matthew 18:10; Acts 12:15. Though angels are spirits; Psalms 104:4; Hebrews 1:14 power is given them to become visible in the semblance of human form. Genesis 19:1 cf; Genesis 19:5; Exodus 3:2; Numbers 22:22-31; Judges 2:1; Judges 6:11; Judges 6:22; Judges 13:3; Judges 13:6; 1 Chronicles 21:16; 1 Chronicles 21:20; Matthew 1:20; Luke 1:26; John 20:12; Acts 7:30; Acts 12:7; Acts 12:8 etc.). The word is always used in the masculine gender, though sex, in the human sense, is never ascribed to angels.; Matthew 22:30; Mark 12:25. They are exceedingly numerous.; Matthew 26:53; Hebrews 12:22; Revelation 5:11; Psalms 68:17. The power is inconceivable. 2 Kings 19:35. Their place is about the throne of God.; Revelation 5:11; Revelation 7:11. Their relation to the believer is that of "ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation," and this ministry has reference largely to the physical safety and well-being of believers.; 1 Kings 19:5; Psalms 34:7; Psalms 91:11; Daniel 6:22; Matthew 2:13; Matthew 2:19; Matthew 4:11; Luke 22:43; Acts 5:19; Acts 12:7-10. From; Hebrews 1:14; Matthew 18:10; Psalms 91:11 it would seem that this care for the heirs of salvation begins in infancy and continues through life. The angels observe us; 1 Corinthians 4:9; Ephesians 3:10; Ecclesiastes 5:6 a fact which should influence conduct. They receive departing saints. Luke 16:22. Man is made "a little lower than the angels," and in incarnation Christ took "for a little "time" this lower place.; Psalms 8:4; Psalms 8:5; Hebrews 2:6; Hebrews 2:9 that He might lift the believer into His own sphere above angels. Hebrews 2:9; Hebrews 2:10. The angels are to accompany Christ in His second advent. Matthew 25:31. To them will be committed the preparation of the judgment of the nations. Matthew 13:30; Matthew 13:39; Matthew 13:41; Matthew 13:42. See Scofield "Matthew 25:32". The kingdom-age is not to be subject to angels, but to Christ and those for whom He was made a little lower than the angels. Hebrews 2:5 An archangel, Michael, is mentioned as having a particular relation to Israel and to the resurrections.; Daniel 10:13; Daniel 10:21; Daniel 12:1; Daniel 12:2; Judges 1:9; 1 Thessalonians 4:16. The only other angel whose name is revealed Gabriel, was employed in the most distinguished services.; Daniel 8:16; Daniel 9:21; Luke 1:19; Luke 1:26.

Fallen angels. Two classes of these are mentioned:

(1) "The angels which kept not their first estate place, but left their own habitation," are "chained under darkness," awaiting judgment. 2 Peter 2:4; Judges 1:6; 1 Corinthians 6:3; John 5:22.

(See Scofield "Genesis 6:4")

(2) The angels who have Satan Genesis 3:1 as leader.

(See Scofield "Revelation 20:10").

The origin of these is nowhere explicitly revealed. They may be identical with the demons.

(See Scofield "Matthew 7:22"). For Satan and his angels everlasting fire is prepared. Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:10.


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Scofield, C. I. "Scofield Reference Notes on Hebrews 1:4". "Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition)". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/srn/hebrews-1.html. 1917.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

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.


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

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

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.


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

Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

In the foregoing verses a comparison was made between Christ and the prophets, here between Christ and the angels, and the preference and pre-eminence is given to him above them all. Angels were very glorious creatures, employed by God in giving of the law; but Christ, whom God the Father employed in the dispensation of the gospel, is far superior to them, and has an excellency above them.

1. A more excellent name, they being called ministers or servants, he styled a Son.

2. A more excellent nature, his being a divine, theirs an angelic nature: yea, his human nature, by virtue of its union with the God- head, has a dignity surpassing the nature of angels.

3. A more excellent office and function, as Mediator between God and man, which belongs not to any angel.

4. Consequently a more excellent power and authority, with a right to adoration and worship, which the angels have not, but are commanded to worship him.

When he brought his first-begotten into the world, that is, in the morning of the resurrection, when he was in a glorious manner begotten from the dead, the Father says, Let all the angels of God worship him; and therefore he that is to be worshipped is greater than they that are to worship him.

Learn hence;

1.That the evidencing and declaring of Christ to be the Son of God, was the particular care and special work of God the Father; he said it, he recorded it, he revealed it; Thou art my Son.

2. The Lord Jesus Christ, the Mediator of the new covenant, is in his own person God blessed for ever, to whom divine honour and religious worship is due and payable from glorified angels: Let all the angels of God worship him.

3. The command of God is the ground and reason of all religious worship; the angels are to worship Christ, by the ground of their doing it is God's command: He saith, Let all the angels of God worship him.

4. It can be no part of our duty to worship the angels, who are our fellow-servants in the worship of Jesus Christ; they that are to worship Christ with us, surely are not to be worshipped by us.


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Burkitt, William. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:4". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wbc/hebrews-1.html. 1700-1703.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

4.] having become ( γενόμενος, distinct from ὤν, Hebrews 1:3; that, importing His essential, this, His superinduced state. This is denied by Chrys. ( τὸ γενόμενος ἐνταῦθα ἀντὶ τοῦ ὰποδειχθείς, ὡς ἂν εἴποι τις, ἐστίν), Thl. (but not very clearly: ἀντὶ τοῦ ἀποδειχθείς· ὥσπερ καὶ ὁ ἰωάννης λέγει ὁ ὀπίσω μου ἐρχόμενος ἔμπροσθέν μου γέγονε· τουτέστιν ἐντιμότερός μου ἀπεδείχθη· οὐ γὰρ δὴ περὶ οὐσιώσεως ἐνταῦθα λέγει), Estius (“Significatur tum Christum angelis majorem effectum, i. e. excrevisse super angelos in hominum estimatione et fide, postquam cœpit sedere ad dexteram Dei”): but they certainly are wrong. For we are now, in the course of the enunciation,—which has advanced to the main subject of the argument, the proving of the superiority of the New Covenant,—treating of the post-incarnate majesty of the Son of God. He WAS all that has been detailed in Hebrews 1:3; He made purification of sins, and sat down at the right hand of the majesty on high, and thus BECAME this which is now spoken of. This is recognized by Thdrt., but in a form not strictly exact: κ. τοῦτο δὲ κατὰ τὸ ἀνθρώπειον εἴρηκεν· ὡς γὰρ θεός, ποιητὴς ἀγγέλων κ. δεσπότης ἀγγέλων· ὡς δὲ ἄνθρωπος, μετὰ τὴν ἀνάστασιν κ. τὴν εἰς οὐρανοὺς ἀνάβασιν κρείττων ἀγγέλων ἐγένετο· ἐπειδὴ καὶ ἐλάττων ἦν ἀγγέλων διὰ τὸ πάθημα τοῦ θανάτου (ch. Hebrews 2:9). ὥσπερ τοίνυν ἐλάττων ἦν ἀγγέλων ὡς ἄνθρωπος, ἐπειδὴ ἐκεῖνοι μὲν ἀθάνατον ἔχουσι φύσιν, αὐτὸς δὲ τὸ πάθος ὑπέμεινεν, οὕτω μετὰ τὴν εἰς οὐρανοὺς ἀνάβασιν κρείττων ἀγγέλων ἐγένετο. To this Bleek very properly objects, that the making this exaltation belong only to Christ’s human nature, and supposing Him to have while on earth possessed still the fulness of the majesty of his Godhead, is not according to the usage of our Writer, nor of the N. T. generally, and in fact induces something like a double personality in the Son of God. The Scriptures teach us, that He who was with God before the creation, from love to men put on flesh, and took the form of a servant, not all the while having on Him the whole fulness of his divine nature and divine glory, but having really and actually emptied himself of this fulness and glory, so that there was not only a hiding, but an absolute κένωσις, a putting off, of it. Therefore His subsequent exaltation must be conceived of as belonging, not to his Humanity only, but to the entire undivided Person of Christ, now resuming the fulness and glory of the Godhead (John 17:5), and in addition to this having taken into the Godhead the Manhood, now glorified by his obedience, atonement, and victory. See Ephesians 1:20-22; Philippians 2:6-9; Acts 2:36; 1 Peter 3:21-22. Œcumenius, as an alternative, has given this well: ἢ τὸ γενόμενος οὐκ ἐπὶ σαρκὸς ἐκλάβοις, ἵνα μὴ διαιρεῖν νομισθῇς, ἀλλʼ ἐπὶ τοῦ χριστοῦ τοῦ ἐν μιᾷ ὑποστάσει προσκυνουμένου, καὶ μετὰ τῆς σαρκὸς αὐτοῦ. The Son of God before his Incarnation was Head over Creation; but after his work in the flesh He had become also Head of Creation, inasmuch as his glorified Body, in which He triumphs sitting at God’s right hand, is itself created, and is the sum and the centre of creation) so much (reff. Bleek cites from Philo, νομίζοντες ὅσῳ θεὸς ἀνθρώπων διαφέρει κατὰ τὸ κρεῖττον, τοσούτῳ καὶ βασιλείας ἀρχιερωσύνην. Leg. ad Cai. § 36, vol. ii. p. 586. In the classics, the idiom is common enough: see Palm and Rost’s Lex. It is wholly unknown to the writings of St. Paul) better than (the usual word of general and indefinite comparison in our Epistle, whether of Christian with Jewish (ch. Hebrews 7:19; Hebrews 7:22; Hebrews 8:6; Hebrews 9:23), heavenly with earthly (Hebrews 10:34; Hebrews 11:16; Hebrews 12:24), eternal with temporal (Hebrews 11:35): see also Hebrews 6:9; Hebrews 7:7; Hebrews 11:40. It is used only three times by St. Paul, and never (unless 1 Corinthians 12:31 rec. be counted) in this sense: but thirteen times in this Epistle. “The Greeks used οἱ κρείττονες, to signify superhuman beings, gods and demi-gods,” Bl. So on κρείττονας, Æsch. fragm. Ætn. 2, Hesych. says, τοὺς ἥρωας. καὶ οἱ θεοὶ δέ. See also Eurip. Orest. 709: Plato, Sophist. p. 216 (cir. init.): and Philo above) the angels (of God: the heavenly created beings; afterwards, Hebrews 1:14, called λειτουργικὰ πνεύ ιατα. All attempts to evade this plain meaning are futile; and proceed on ignorance of the argument of our Epistle, and of the Jewish theology: see some such noticed in Bleek.

But why should the angels be here brought in? and why should the superiority of the Incarnate Son of God to them be so insisted on and elaborated? Bl. gives a very insufficient reason, when he says that the mention of God’s throne brought to the Writer’s mind the angels who are the attendants there. The reason, as Ebrard remarks, lies far deeper. The whole O. T. dispensation is related to the N. T. dispensation, as the angels to the Son. In the former, mankind, and Israel also, stands separated from God by sin; and angels, divine messengers (cf. “the angel of the covenant”), stand as mediators between man and God. And of these there is, so to speak, a chain of two links: viz. Moses, and the angel of the Lord. The first link is a mere man, who is raised above his fellow-men by his calling, by his office, the commission given to him,—and brought nearer to God; but he is a sinner as they are, and is in reality no more a partaker of the divine nature than they are. The second link is the angelic form in which God revealed himself to his people, coming down to their capacity, like to man, without being man. So that Godhead and Manhood approximated to one another; a man was commissioned and enabled to hear God’s words: God appeared in a form in which men might see Him: but the two found no point of contact; no real union of the Godhead and the Manhood took place. Whereas in the Son, God and the Manhood not only approximated, but became personally one. God no longer accommodates Himself to the capacities of men in an angelophany or theophany, but has revealed the fulness of His divine nature in the man Jesus,—in that He, who was the ἀπαύγασμα of His glory, became man. The argument of the Writer necessarily then leads him to shew how both Mediators, the angel of the O. T. covenant, and Moses, found their higher unity in Christ. First, he shews this of the angel or angels (for it was not always one individual angelic being, but various) by whom the first covenant was given: then of Moses, ch. Hebrews 3:4. This first portion is divided into two: Hebrews 1:4-14, in which he shews that the Son, as the eternal Son of God, is higher than the angels (see the connexion of this with the main argument below): then, after an exhortation (Hebrews 2:1-4) founded on this, tending also to impress on us the superior holiness of the N. T. revelation, the second part (Hebrews 2:5-18) in which he shews that in the Son, the manhood also is exalted above the angels (mostly from Ebrard)), in proportion as (see above) he hath inherited (as his own ( γνήσιον): the word κεκληρονόμηκεν being perhaps chosen in reference to the O. T. prophecies, which promised it to Him: see below. The perfect is important, as denoting something belonging to His present and abiding state, not an event wholly past, as ἐκάθισεν above, indicating the first ‘setting himself down:’ though that word might also be used of a permanent state of session, as in κεκάθικεν, ch. Hebrews 12:2) a more distinguished (or more excellent, as E. V. This sense of διάφορος is confined to later writers, as Polybius and Plutarch: e. g. Polyb. vi. 23. 7, ἔχει δʼ αὕτη ( ἡ μάχαιρα) κέντημα διάφορον. So also Symm. in reff. The comparative is found only, besides ref., in Sextus Empir. Phys. i. 218, ὁ δʼ αἰνησίδημος διαφορώτερον ἐπʼ αὐτῶν ἔχρητο ταῖς περὶ τῆς γενέσεως ἀπορίαις. For the construction, see below on παρά) name (to be taken in its proper sense, not understood, with Beza, Calov., al., to mean precedence or dignity; as Hebrews 1:5 shews: whence also we get an easy answer to the enquiry, what name is intended: viz. that of υἱός, in the peculiar and individual sense of the citation there. The angels themselves are called “sons of God,” Job 1:6; Job 2:1; Job 38:7; Daniel 3:25, and Genesis 6:2 (notwithstanding Ebrard’s denial of this sense: see Delitzsch in loc., Jude 1:6, note, and Proleg. to Jude, § Hebrews 1:11); but the argument here is, that the title ‘SON OF GOD’ is bestowed on Him individually, in a sense in which it never was conferred upon an angel. This view is far more probable than that of Bleek, who thinks that the Writer used only the LXX, in which ἄγγελοι θεοῦ stands in all these places except Genesis 6:2, and there in the alex. MS. and Philo: and that he interpreted Psalms 28:1; Psalms 88:6, of other than the angels. To say nothing of à priori considerations, the canon to be followed in such cases is clearly never to suppose partial knowledge in a sacred writer, except where the nature of the case compels us in common honesty so to do: and here that canon is not applicable. See as a parallel, Philippians 2:9 ff. Still it must be remembered, as Delitzsch beautifully remarks, that the fulness of glory of the peculiar name of the Son of God is unattainable by human speech or thought: it is, Revelation 19:12, an ὄνομα ὃ οὐδεὶς οἶδεν εἰ μἠ αὐτός. And all the citations and appellations here are but fragmentary indications of portions of its glory: are but beams of light, which are united in it as in a central sun. Der uberengelische Name selber, den der aus dem Wege der Geschichte zu Gottes Thron Emporsteigende aus immer zu eigen bekommen, hegt jenseit der begrifflich zersplitternden Sprache der Menschen. Die folgenden Schriftworte find nur wie auswarts weisende Finger-zeige, die uns ahnen lassen, wie herrlich er ist.

Since when has Christ in this sense inherited this name? The answer must not be hastily made, as by some Commentators, that κεκληρονόμηκεν implies the glorification of the humanity of Christ to that Sonship which He before had in virtue of his Deity: e. g. Œc. (altern.): ἡ κληρονομία κυρίως τῶν προσηκόντων γίνεται, ἀλλʼ οὐ τῶν ἠλλοτριωμένων· ἐκληρονόμησεν οὖν, ὅπερ ἄνωθεν ἐνῆν τῷ λόγῳ, τοῦτο πανταχόθεν διʼ αὐτοῦ καὶ ἡ προληφθεῖσα σάρξ. τί δέ ἐστι τοῦτο; τὸ υἱός,— τὸ λέγεσθαι τὸν τῶν ὅλων θεὸν πατέρα αὐτῆς,— τὸ γεγέννηκά σε. Evidently so partial a reference cannot be considered as exhausting the sense of the Writer. Nor again can we say that it was at the time of His incarnation, though the words of the angel in Luke 1:35, τὸ γεννώμενον ἅγιον κληθήσεται υἱὸς θεοῦ, seem to favour such a reference: for it was especially at His incarnation, that He was made a little lower than the angels, ch. Hebrews 2:9. Rather would the sense seem to be, that the especial name of SON, belonging to Him not by ascription nor adoption, but by his very Being itself, has been ever, and is now, His: inherited by Him, “quâ γνήσιον,” as Chrys. says: the O. T. declarations being as it were portions of the instrument by which this inheritance is assured to Him, and by the citation of which it is proved. Observe, that the κρείττων γενόμενος is not identical with the κεκληρονόμηκεν, but in proportion to it: the triumphant issue of his Mediation is consonant to the glorious name, which is His by inheritance: but which, in the fulness of its present inconceivable glory (see above), has been put on and taken up by Him in the historical process of his mediatorial humiliation and triumph) than (this construction of a comparative with παρά is never found in St. Paul (Romans 14:5, is a somewhat doubtful exception, and ἄλλος παρά occurs 1 Corinthians 3:11), but often in this Epistle; and once in St. Luke (reff.). It occurs in Esdr. 4:35, ἡ ἀλήθεια.… ἰσχυροτέρα παρὰ πάντα: and in Thuc. i. 23: Herod. vii. 103) they.


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Bibliography
Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:4". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/hebrews-1.html. 1863-1878.

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

Hebrews 1:4. The author has first, Hebrews 1:1-3, instituted a parallel between the mediators of the Old Testament revelations in general or in pleno, and the Mediator of the Christian revelation. But among the revelations of God under the Old Covenant, none attained in point of glory to the Mosaic; inasmuch as this was given not only through the medium of a man enlightened by the Spirit of God,—i.e. by one of the προφῆται, mentioned Hebrews 1:1,—but, according to the universal Jewish belief (vid. ad ii. 2), was given by the instrumentality not only of Moses, but also of angels. As, therefore, the author has maintained the superiority of Christ, as the Son of God, over the προφῆται, so is he now naturally further led to show the superiority of Christ over the angels also. This is done in the declaration, Hebrews 1:4, which in a grammatical sense is closely connected with that which precedes, and serves for the completing of the description of Christ’s characteristic qualifications; at the same time, however, logically regarded, affords the theme for the following disquisition, which constitutes the first section of the epistle (Hebrews 1:5 to Hebrews 2:18).

The supposition of Tholuck, that the addition of Hebrews 1:4 “has an independent object,” i.e. is occasioned by polemic reference to the opinion spread abroad among the Jews, in addition to other conceptions with regard to the person of the Messiah, that He was an intermediate spirit or angel,(32) is entirely erroneous. It finds no countenance whatever in the reasoning of the author, and is opposed to the whole scope of the epistle, that of showing in detail the inferiority of the Old Covenant as compared with the New, and of influencing in a corresponding manner the conduct of the readers.

The oratorical formula of comparison: τοσούτῳὅσῳ, which recurs Hebrews 7:20-22, Hebrews 8:6, Hebrews 10:25, is found likewise with Philo, but never with Paul.

κρείττων] better, or more excellent, namely, in power, dignity, and exaltedness; comp. Hebrews 7:19; Hebrews 7:22, Hebrews 8:6, Hebrews 9:23, Hebrews 10:34, Hebrews 11:16; Hebrews 11:35; Hebrews 11:40, Hebrews 12:24.

γενόμενος] marks the having begun to be in time, whereas ὤν, Hebrews 1:3, expressed the timeless eternal existence. κρείττων τῶν ἀγγέλων did Christ become just at that time when, having accomplished the work of redemption, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. The γενό΄ενος thus closely attaches itself to the ἐκάθισεν, Hebrews 1:3, and is more fully explained by the fact that Christ, by virtue of His incarnation, and so long as He dwelt on earth, was made lower than the angels; comp. Hebrews 2:7; Hebrews 2:9.

The comparative διαφορώτερον, found in the N. T. only here and Hebrews 8:6, serves, since even the positive διάφορον would have sufficed for the indication of the superiority, for the more emphatic accentuating of the signification of the word. The opinion of Hofmann, that the comparative is chosen because the name ἄγγελος is in itself an ὄνο΄α διάφορον, when the author contrasts the spirits of God with men living in the flesh, is quite remote from the idea of the passage.

παρά] after a comparative is very common in our epistle; cf. Hebrews 3:3, Hebrews 9:23, Hebrews 11:4, Hebrews 12:24. Comp. also Luke 3:13; 3 Esdr. 4:35; Thucyd. i. 4:23: ἡλίου τε ἐκλείψεις, αἳ πυκνότεραι παρὰ τὰ ἐκ τοῦ πρὶν χρόνου ΄νη΄ονευό΄ενα ξυνέβησαν; Herod. 7. 103; Winer, Gramm., 7 Aufl. p. 225. With Paul it never occurs. Similar is ὑπέρ with the accusative, Hebrews 4:12; Luke 16:8.

ὄνο΄α] must not, with Beza, Calov, Wittich, Storr, Valckenaer, Zachariae, Heinrichs, be altered into the notion of “dignity.” For this ὄνο΄α never signifies in itself, and its substitution would in our passage, in relation to κρείττων γενό΄ενος, bring about only a tautology. The name of pre-eminence above the angels, which Christ has obtained as an inheritance, is the name υἱός, Son of God,—comp. Hebrews 1:5 and Hebrews 1:1,—while the angels by their name are characterized only as messengers and servants of God. Contrary to the context, Delitzsch says: the name υἱός suffices not to express the thought in connection with ὄνο΄α. The supra-angelic name, to which the author refers, lies beyond the notionally separating and sundering language of men. It is the heavenly total-name of the Exalted One, His שֵׁם הַמְּפֹרָשׁ, nomen explicitum, which in this world has entered into no human heart, and can be uttered by no human tongue, the ὄνομα οὐδεὶς οἶδεν εἰ μὴ αὐτός, Revelation 19:12. The following words of Scripture are, he supposes, only upward pointing signs, which call forth in us some foreboding as to how glorious He is. But this is opposed to the connection. For even though it be true, as advanced by Delitzsch in support of his view, that in the following O. T. passages there occur also, in addition to υἱός, the wider appellations θεός and κύριος; yet, on the other hand, not merely ἐν υἱῷ, Hebrews 1:1, as likewise Hebrews 1:5 with its proof-giving γάρ, but also the antithesis πρὸς μὲν τοὺς ἀγγέλους and πρὸς δὲ τὸν υἱόν, Hebrews 1:7-8, shows that υἱός is the main conception, to which the words of address: θεός and κύριε, Hebrews 1:8; Hebrews 1:10, stand in the relation of subordination, inasmuch as they are already contained in this very idea of Son.

The perfect κεκληρονίμηκεν, however, not the aorist ἐκληρονόμησεν, is employed by the author; because Christ did not first obtain this name at the time of the καθίζειν ἐν δεξιᾷ τῆς μεγαλ., Hebrews 1:3, but had already as pre-existing Logos obtained it as an abiding portion and possession. We have not, in connection with κεκληρονόμηκεν, to think “quite in general of the O. T. time, in which the future Messiah received in the Word of God the name of Son,” as is asserted by Riehm (Lehrbegr. des Hebräerbr. p. 274), whose statement is endorsed by E. Woerner.(33) For this view is contradicted by the διʼ οὗ καὶ ἐποίησεν τοὺς αἰῶνας, Hebrews 1:2, in its relation to ἐν υἱῷ, Hebrews 1:1, according to which Christ already existed as the Son before all time. The declarations of Hebrews 1:5, which Riehm has urged in favour of the construction put by him on our passage, have only the object of affording vouchers for a condition of things already existing.

The difficulty raised, for the rest, that the name of Son is here insisted on as a distinguishing characteristic of Christ, while, nevertheless, in single passages of the O. T. (Job 1:6; Job 2:1; Job 38:7; Genesis 6:2; Genesis 6:4; Psalms 29:1; Psalms 89:7; Daniel 3:25), angels too are called sons of God, is already disposed of by the reflection that this is not the characteristic name for the angels as such. There is no need, therefore, of the justification of the author made by Bleek, that this writer, since he was not at home in the Hebrew text of the O. T., but only in the Alexandrine version thereof, which latter freely renders the majority of those passages by ἄγγελοι τοῦ θεοῦ, may easily have overlooked, or perhaps have otherwise interpreted, those passages in which the literal translation is found in the LXX. (Psalms 29:1; Psalms 89:7 [Genesis 6:2; Genesis 6:4?]).


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Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:4". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/hebrews-1.html. 1832.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Hebrews 1:4. τοσούτῳ, so much) This verse has two clauses, of which, by Chiasmus, the second is discussed in Hebrews 1:5, but the first in Hebrews 1:13; and the Interrogation gives a point to both. The Chiasmus,(6) σχῆμα χιαστὸν, oratio decussata, is so frequent in this epistle, that the observation of this figure alone contributes very much to the explanation of the epistle. See Hebrews 1:9, ch. Hebrews 2:9; Hebrews 2:12; Hebrews 2:17, Hebrews 3:1; Hebrews 3:8, Hebrews 4:14-16, Hebrews 5:7, Hebrews 6:7, Hebrews 7:6, Hebrews 8:4; Hebrews 8:10, Hebrews 9:1, Hebrews 10:20; Hebrews 10:23; Hebrews 10:33; Hebrews 10:38, Hebrews 11:1; Hebrews 11:33, Hebrews 12:22-24, Hebrews 13:10, with the annott. It may be asked, Why, in this one epistle, does that figure occur in every chapter? Ans. It is shown, at some of those passages which I have just now quoted, that Paul uses the Chiasmus even elsewhere, but more frequently to the Jews; and Surenhusius shows, in the βίβλος καταλλαγῆς, p. 78, etc., 607, 608, that their teachers greatly delight in this figure of speech in their writings. Therefore the apostle, who became all things to all men, has adapted his style to the Hebrews; and these men, who were guided by the Spirit, had quite ready at their command all the forms of discourse, in a greater degree than the most practised rhetoricians.— κρείττων γενόμενος, being made better) by His exaltation, Hebrews 1:3; Hebrews 1:13. The antithesis is ἠλαττωμένον, made lower or less, ch. Hebrews 2:9. This may be compared with Mark 10:18, note, [where Jesus, in His voluntary humiliation, saith, “Why callest thou Me good?” etc.] κρείττων, better, more excellent, more powerful: οἱ κρείττονες, the gods, among the ancient heathens.— τῶν ἀγγέλων, than the angels) whose excellence is elsewhere spoken of as great.— παρʼ αὐτοὺς) παρὰ denotes great pre-eminence above [as compared with] others. Comp. παρὰ, Hebrews 1:9, ch. Hebrews 3:3. Angels are excluded in part explicitly, Hebrews 1:5; Hebrews 1:13, and in part by implication; for while none of them has taken this name, the Son of GOD, from that very circumstance they are not the heirs of this name, and therefore not the heirs of all things; but they are a portion, no doubt a distinguished one, of the inheritance of the Son, whom they worship as Lord, Hebrews 1:6 : nor were the worlds created by them, but rather they themselves were created, Hebrews 1:7.— κεκληρονόμηκεν ὄνομα, He hath inherited a name) The name of Son is proper for the Son, because He is the Son; and in this name principally the inheritance consists. All things are an addition to the inheritance, Hebrews 1:2. The inheritance of the name is more ancient than the worlds themselves. The inheritance of all things is as old as all things themselves.


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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:4". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/hebrews-1.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

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 1:20,21. 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 13:32 2 Thessalonians 1:7; of various ranks, orders, and degrees, Ephesians 1:21 Colossians 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 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 1:31,32. 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.


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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Hebrews 1:4". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/hebrews-1.html. 1685.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

Better; in dignity and office.

By inheritance obtained; obtained as his just right. See note to verse Hebrews 1:2.

A more excellent name; that of the Son of God. Angels and men are called sons of God; but Christ alone is "the Son of God" in a high and peculiar sense, because, as Son, he has the same nature with the Father.


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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:4". "Family Bible New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/hebrews-1.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges

4. τοσούτῳ. The familiar classical ὅσῳτοσούτῳ (involving the comparison and contrast which runs throughout this Epistle, Hebrews 3:3, Hebrews 7:20, Hebrews 8:6, Hebrews 9:27, Hebrews 10:25) is not found once in St Paul.

κρείττων. This word, common as it is, is only thrice used by St Paul (and then somewhat differently), but occurs 13 times in this Epistle alone (Hebrews 6:9, Hebrews 7:7; Hebrews 7:19; Hebrews 7:22, Hebrews 8:6, Hebrews 9:23, Hebrews 10:34, Hebrews 11:16; Hebrews 11:35; Hebrews 11:40, Hebrews 12:24).

γενόμενος, “becoming,” or “proving himself to be.” The allusion is to the Redemptive Kingdom of Christ, and the word merely qualifies the “better name.” Christ, regarded as the Agent or Minister of the scheme of Redemption, became mediatorially superior to the Angel-ministrants of the Old Dispensation, as He always was superior to them in dignity and essence.

τοσούτῳ κρείττων τῶν ἀγγέλων. The writer’s object in entering upon the proof of this fact is not to check the tendency of incipient Gnostics to worship Angels. Of this there is no trace here, though St Paul in his letter to the Colossians raised a warning voice against it (Colossians 2:18 ἐν θρησκείᾳ τῶν ἀγγέλων). Here the object is to shew that the common Jewish boast that “they had received the law” εἰς διαταγὰς ἀγγέλων (Acts 7:53) involved no disparagement to the Gospel which had been ministered by One who was “far above (ὑπεράνω) all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come” (Ephesians 1:21). Many Jews held, with Philo, that the Decalogue alone had been uttered by God, and that all the rest of the Law had been spoken by Angels. The extreme development of Jewish Angelology at this period may be seen in the Book of Enoch. They are there called “the stars,” “the white ones,” “the sleepless ones.” St Clement of Rome found it necessary to reproduce this argument in writing to the Corinthians, and the 4th Book of Esdras illustrates the tendency of mind which it was desirable to counteract.

κεκληρονόμηκεν, “hath inherited.” Comp. Luke 1:32; Luke 1:35. “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him and given Him a name which is above every name” (Philippians 2:9). He does not here speak of the Eternal Generation. Christ inherits His most excellent name, not as the Eternal Son, but as the God-Man. Possibly too the writer uses the word “inherited” with tacit reference to the prophetic promises.

διαφορώτερον παρʼ αὐτοὺς ὄνομα. Διάφορος in the sense of “excellent” is only found in later Greek. The name here intended is not the name of “the only-begotten Son of God” (John 3:18), which is in its fulness “a name which no one knoweth save Himself” (Revelation 19:12). The “name” in Scripture often indeed implies the inmost essence of a thing. If, then, with some commentators we suppose the allusion to be to this Eternal and Essential name of Christ we must understand the word “inheritance” as merely phenomenal, the manifestation to our race of a prae-existent fact. In that view the glory indicated by the name belonged essentially to Christ, and His work on earth only manifested the name by which it was known. This is perhaps better than to follow St Chrysostom in explaining “inherited” to mean “always possessed as His own.” Comp. Luke 1:32, “He shall be called the Son of the Highest.”

διαφορώτερον παρά. Comp. 3 Esdr. 4:35 ἡ ἀλήθειαἰσχυροτέρα παρὰ πάντα. This construction (παρὰ after a comparative) is not found once in St Paul’s Epistles, but several times in this Epistle (Hebrews 1:4, Hebrews 2:9, Hebrews 3:3, Hebrews 9:23, Hebrews 11:4, Hebrews 12:24). It should be observed, as bearing on the authorship of the Epistle, that in these four verses alone there are no less than six expressions and nine constructions which find no—or no exact—parallel in St Paul’s Epistles.

ὄνομα. The שׁם המפורשׁ, the ὄνομα ὃ οἶδεν οὐδεὶς εἰ μὴ αὐτός, Revelation 19:12 .


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"Commentary on Hebrews 1:4". "Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cgt/hebrews-1.html. 1896.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

4. Being made—Rather, having become; a state which had a commencement, as the being of Hebrews 1:3 is a state without commencement. This being made, takes place in the incarnate exaltation, as the made a little lower than the angels, of Hebrews 2:9, takes place in the incarnate humiliation.

By inheritance—From an undying Father.

Name— Rather, dignity embraced in the name of Son. It was by power of his eternal inheritance (Hebrews 1:2) as Son that he passed through the humiliation of the incarnation, and attained an incarnate exaltation above angelic rank.


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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:4". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/hebrews-1.html. 1874-1909.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

‘Having become by so much better than the angels, as he has inherited a more excellent name than they.’

Furthermore in His exaltation He,as man, ‘has become’ (contrast ‘being’ - Hebrews 1:2) superior to the angelic realm (see Hebrews 2:6-9). He has received superiority (kreitton) in status and power above the angels as a result, being raised far above all (Ephesians 1:19-22), something which will now be shown from Scripture. This was important. The Jews saw the Law as having been ministered by angels (Hebrews 2:2; Galatians 3:19), and as therefore superior. They saw it as something which gave it its supernatural aura (see also Deuteronomy 33:2; Psalms 68:17; Acts 7:53).

This idea of Messiah’s exaltation above the angels is also found in the Rabbinical writings. For example, commenting on Isaiah 52:13, they wrote ‘he shall be exalted beyond Abraham, and extolled beyond Moses, and raised high above the ministering angels’. He was to be supreme.

Angels had an important place among both orthodox (e.g. the Pharisees) and unorthodox (the Essenes, etc.) Jews, as well as in the Gentile world (Colossians 2:18). They were seen as intermediaries and mediators, maintaining the separation of the awesome holiness of God from men. They were those through Whom God acted because He Himself was unapproachable. Others considered that there were hierarchies of them between God as pure spirit, and man as unworthy flesh, a descending order with a gradual lessening of deity as the lower ‘angels’ became less spirit-like. Through them men received ‘knowledge’ about God. Their mediation was seen as essential so that they had even been introduced into the idea of God’s dealings with Moses. In their view it had to be so. Thus the thought that Jesus as the Christ (Messiah) was in direct touch with God and reigned with Him as representative Man was awesome. It was a revelation of the fact that even in His Manhood He was superior to the angels. Who then, the writer will ask, could sensibly and rightly seek to come to God through angels, when a greater than the angels, Who is directly approachable, is here?

That Jesus Christ is already seen in His essential deity to be superior is first confirmed by the fact that the One Who came is called ‘Son’, that is, among other things, the One Who is over the house instead of just being in it (Hebrews 3:6), the One Who has unique rights of intimate relationship. However, the writer now describes Him as also ‘having become so’ in His manhood as a result of inheriting a ‘more excellent’ name. He will then go on to describe other indications of His superiority to the angels from Scripture.

‘Having become.’ Note the contrast with ‘being’ (Hebrews 1:3 a). What is described in Hebrews 1:3 is His essential being, what is described here is what He ‘became’ as man in the purposes of God, ‘so much better than the angels’.

‘As he has inherited (come into possession of) a more excellent name than they.’ And this is because He ‘has inherited’, perfect tense, ‘has inherited and still possesses’, ‘a more excellent name.’ In view of the following quotations where it is continually mentioned, it would appear that that more excellent name is the title ‘Son’. Although it may be that we should not lay the emphasis on a particular name, but on the significance of ‘name’ which indicates status. Thus the more excellent name also has in mind His exaltation in His manhood as ‘Lord and Christ’ (Yahweh and Messiah) which goes with the idea of His sonship (Acts 2:34-36; Philippians 2:9-11 compare Ephesians 2:20-22). For ‘the name’ refers to what a person actually is. As the appointed heir of all things (Hebrews 1:2) He Who was already the outshining of the glory of God has now ‘inherited’ in His manhood that exalted status as the Son, the anointed Christ, the receiving Heir. He receives in practise what was already His.

So in these verses the writer has laid bare the full truth about Jesus Christ; His eternal Being (Hebrews 1:2), His being able fully to reveal the Father (Hebrews 1:2), His being appointed before time began to bring the world to Himself (Hebrews 1:3), His creative and sustaining power and activity (Hebrews 1:3), His becoming man and dying for our sin (Hebrews 1:3), His rising and being exalted in His manhood by taking His seat at ‘at God’s right hand’ (Hebrews 1:3), and His receipt as man of the name of ‘Son’ as both ‘Lord’ (Yahweh) and ‘Christ’ (Messiah) (Hebrews 1:4).


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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:4". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/hebrews-1.html. 2013.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

These seven facts also reveal clearly the Son"s superiority to any other of God"s messengers, even the angels. This superiority is clear too in the fact that His name is Son (singular) rather than sons (collectively). The Old Testament writers called angels "sons of God" (e.g, Job 2:1; Job 38:7). Jesus Christ "inherited" the name "Son" before creation ( Hebrews 1:2; cf. Hebrews 5:8). Within the Trinity, God the Son carried out the will of God the Father in a way that corresponds to the way in which sons in biblical culture carried out the wills of their fathers. In another sense, Jesus became God"s Son at His ascension by taking His seat at the Father"s right hand with a view to returning to the earth and ruling over it (cf. 2 Samuel 7:12-16; Psalm 2:7).

This is the first of the writer"s13uses of the word "better" (Gr. kreitton) all of which contrast Jesus Christ and His order with what preceded Him in Judaism ( Hebrews 6:9; Hebrews 7:7; Hebrews 7:19; Hebrews 7:22; Hebrews 8:6 [twice]; Hebrews 9:23; Hebrews 10:34; Hebrews 11:16; Hebrews 11:35; Hebrews 11:40; Hebrews 12:24). This word appears only six times elsewhere in the New Testament. The writer used many comparatives (e.g, "more excellent," "lesser," "better," "more," "greater," et al.) to support his argument that the new Christian order is superior to the old Jewish order. This is also a "signpost passage" in which a brief statement (in this case "much better than the angels") identifies a main subject the writer proceeded to develop later (cf. Hebrews 2:17; Hebrews 5:9-10; Hebrews 10:36-39; Hebrews 12:11?). [Note: See David J. MacLeod, "The Literary Structure of the Book of Hebrews ," Bibliotheca Sacra146:582 (April-June1989):187.] "Angel" (Gr. angelos) is another of this writer"s favorite words. It appears13times in Hebrews.

"Opinions differ as to what is meant here by "the name." Some take this to mean that in his whole character and personality Christ was superior to any angel. Others think the reference is simply to the name " Song of Solomon ," which is a better name than "angel" because it denotes superiority in character and personality. Either interpretation is possible." [Note: Morris, p16.]

The writer introduced several concepts in the prologue that he developed more fully later. These include the distinctive quality of the Son"s Revelation , the superiority of His sacrifice, His sovereignty, and His greatness compared with the angels. [Note: For another exposition of Hebrews 1:1-4, see David J. MacLeod, "The Finality of Christ: An Exposition of Hebrews 1:1-4 ," Bibliotheca Sacra162:646 (April-June2005):210-30.]

The differences in the beginning of this epistle compared with the beginnings of other New Testament epistles are striking. There is no introduction of the writer, no mention of the original readers, and no benediction, all of which were common features of letters in the first century. The writer obviously wanted his readers to give their full attention to the greatness of Jesus Christ. Some students of Hebrews have concluded that the writer did not identify himself or his readers because he wanted to make Jesus Christ primary in the readers" thinking throughout this epistle. I think this is very likely.

"In Hebrews 1:1-4 the writer gave christological precision to a cluster of ideas derived from hellenistic Judaism. He boldly applied the categories of Wisdom to a historical figure, Jesus. The writer to the Hebrews was a creative theologian who brought together wisdom motifs and priestly motifs in a tightly formulated statement concerning the dignity and achievement of the Son of God. The opening paragraph establishes a firm christological foundation for all that the writer has to say concerning the character and demands of the revelation mediated by the Son. The joining together of wisdom and priestly notes in the carefully orchestrated presentation of the Son provides the readers with the assurance of Jesus" sustained concern for them and his ability to strengthen and vindicate the people of God when they become objects of contempt in a hostile world." [Note: Lane, p19.]


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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:4". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/hebrews-1.html. 2012.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Hebrews 1:4. Having become, after He had made at nement for sin, as much superior to the angels, as he has obtained a name far more excellent than they. His greatness is partly essential and partly acquired (see Philippians 2:6-11). The first He had as Son before the world was; the second He obtained through His incarnation, and after He had suffered.


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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:4". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/hebrews-1.html. 1879-90.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Being made so much better, &c. The Arians pretended from hence that Christ was made, or created. But the apostle speaks of Christ as man, and tells us that Christ, even as man, by his ascension was exalted above the Angels. --- As he hath inherited a more excellent name. That is, both the dignity and name of the Son of God, of his only Son, and of his true Son. See 1 John v. 20. (Witham)


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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:4". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/hebrews-1.html. 1859.

John Owen Exposition of Hebrews

The design of the apostle, as we have now often showed, is to evince the necessity of abiding in the doctrine of the gospel, from the excellency of the person by whom it pleased God to reveal it unto us. This he hath done already in general, in that description which he hath given us of his person, power, works, offices, and glory; whereby he hath made it evident that no creature whom God was pleased at any time to make use of in the revelation of his will, or the institution of his worship, was any way to be compared with him. Having proceeded thus far in general, he descends now to the consideration of particular instances, in all those whom God employed in the ministration of the law and constitution of Mosaical worship; and takes occasion from them all to set forth the dignity and incomparable excellencies of the Lord Christ, whom in all things he exalts.

First, then, he treateth concerning angels, as those who were the most glorious creatures, employed in the giving of the law. The Hebrews owned, yea, pleaded this in their own defense, that besides the mediation of Moses, God used the ministry of angels in the giving of the law, and in other occasional instructions of their forefathers. Some of them contend that the last of the prophets was personally an angel, as the signification of his name imports. Holy Stephen, upbraiding them with their abuse and contempt of their greatest privileges, tells them that they “received the law by the disposition” (“ordering,” or “ministry”) “of angels,” Acts 7:53. And the Targum interprets the chariots of God, with the thousands of angels, Psalms 68:17-18, of the angels by whose ministry God taught Israel the law. This, then, might leave a special prejudice in their minds, that the law being so delivered by angels must needs have therein the advantage above the gospel, and be therefore excellent and immutable.

To remove this prejudice also, and further to declare the excellency and pre-eminence in all things of Him who revealed the gospel, the apostle takes occasion, from what he had newly taught them concerning the exaltation of Jesus Christ at the right hand of God, to prove unto them, out of the scriptures of the Old Testament, that he is exceedingly advanced and glorious above the angels themselves, whose concurrence in the ministration of the law they boasted in; and to this purpose produceth four signal testimonies, one after another. This is the design of the apostle, which he pursues and makes out unto the end of this chapter; and that we may rightly conceive of his intention, and the meaning of the Holy Ghost in the whole, we shall, before we consider his proposition laid down in this fourth verse, or the ensuing confirmations of it, inquire in general what it is in Christ which he compareth with and preferreth above the angels, and wherein it is that he so exalts him.

The comparison entered on between the Lord Christ and angels must be either with respect unto their natures, or unto their dignity, office, power, and glory. If the comparison be of nature with nature, then it must be either in respect of the divine or human nature of Christ. If it should be of the divine nature of Christ with the nature of angels, then it is not a comparison of proportion, as between two natures agreeing in any general kind of being, — as do the nature of a man and a worm, — but a comparison only manifesting a difference and distance without any proportion. So answereth Athanasius, Orat. 2 adv. Arian. But the truth is, the apostle hath no design to prove by arguments and testimonies the excellencies of the divine nature above the angelical. There was no need so to do, nor do his testimonies prove any such thing. Besides, speaking of angels, the other part of the comparison, he treats not of their nature, but their office, work, and employment, with their honorable and glorious condition therein. Whereas, therefore, the apostle produceth sundry testimonies confirming the deity of the Son, he doth it not absolutely to prove the divine nature to be more excellent than the angelical, but only to manifest thereby the glorious condition of him who is partaker of it, and consequently his pre-eminence above angels, or the equity that it should be so.

Neither is the comparison between the human nature of Christ and the nature of angels; for that absolutely considered and in itself is inferior to the angelical; whence, in regard of his participation of it, he is said to be made “lower than the angels,” chap. 2.

The apostle, then, treats of the person of Christ, God and man, who was appointed and designed of God the Father to be the revealer of the gospel and mediator of the new testament. As such, he is the subject of the ensuing general proposition; as such, he was spoken of in the words immediately foregoing; and concerning him as such are the ensuing testimonies to be interpreted, even those which testify to his divine nature, being produced to demonstrate the excellency of his person, as vested with the offices of the king, priest, and prophet of his church, the great revealer of the will of God in the last days.

Hebrews 1:4. τοσούτῳ κρείττων γενὸμενος τῶν ἀγγέλων, ὅσῳ διαφορώτερον παρ᾿ αὐτοὺς κεκληρονόμηκεν ὄνομα.

τοσούτῳ κρείττων γενόμενος Syr. וְהָנָא כֻּלֵהּ יִרֵב“Et ipse tantum praestantior fuit,” Boderian.; — “And he was so much more excellent.” “At tanto potior factus est,” Tremel.; — “And he is made so much more better.” “At ipse toto excellit;” or, as De Dieu, “At hoc totum excellit;” — “And he wholly excelleth;” or, “in all things he excelleth.” Vulg. “Tanto melior factus angelis.” The translation of κρείττων by “melior” is blamed by Erasmus, Beza, Vatablus, and is generally deserted by the expositors of the Roman church; and it is hard, if not impossible, to find “melior” in any good author used in the sense that κρείττων is here and elsewhere constantly applied unto. Ours render the word “better,” “made better;” to avoid, I believe, a coincidence with that which they express διαφορώτερον by, “more excellent.” κρείττων is properly “nobilior,” “potentior,” “praestantior,” “excellentior,” — “more powerful,” “able,” “excellent,” as to love, honor, or state and condition; as in that of Homer, Il. A. 80, —

The name “sons of God” is given to angels. But it is a different thing to apply a common name in the plural to a class, from what it is to apply the same as an individual name in the singular to an individual. When Jehovah, in Psalms 2:2; Psalms 2:7, declares his anointed to be his Son whom he has begotten, this is something different from what is said, when the angels as a class are called sons of the Elohim who has created them. — Ebrard.

κρείτ. refers to superiority in rank or dignity. The term “better” suggests the idea of moral excellence, which is not the thought here. — Craik.

TRANSLATIONS. — κρείτ. Exalted above the angels. — Stuart.

Greater. — Boothroyd, Conybeare, and Howson. Superior to the angels. — Craik,

γενόμ. Being made. — Diodati. διαφορ.

More distinguished, more singular. — Ebrard. — ED.

Hebrews 1:4. — Being in so much preferred [exalted, made eminent] above angels, as he [obtained] inherited a more excellent name than they.

There are five things considerable in and for the exposition of these words: —

1. What it is that the apostle asserts in them as his general proposition, namely, that the Son, as the great priest and prophet of the church, was preferred above, and made more glorious and powerful than the angels; and how this was done, and wherein it doth consist.

2. When, he was so preferred above them; which belongs unto the explication and right understanding of the former.

3. The degree of this preference of him above the angels, intimated in the comparison, “Being by so much made more excellent, as he hath,” etc.

4. The proof of the assertion, both absolutely and as to the degree intimated; and this is taken from his name.

5. The way whereby he came to have this name; he obtained it as his lot and portion, or he inherited it.

1. He is made “more excellent” than the angels, preferred above them, — that is, say some, declared so to be. “Turn res dicitur fieri, cum incipit patefieri.” Frequently in the Scripture a thing is then said to be made, or to be, when it is manifested so to be. And in this sense the word γίνεσθαι is sometimes used: Romans 3:4, γινέσθω ὁ θεὸς ἀληθὴς, πᾶς δὲ ἄνθρωπος ψεύστης, “Let God be true, and every man a liar;” that is, manifested and acknowledged so to be. So, James 1:12, δόκιμος γενόμενος, — he that is approved in trial, and thereby manifested to be sincere and sound. In this sense the apostle tells us, Romans 1:4, that the Lord Christ was “declared to be the Son of God by the resurrection from the dead.” The resurrection from the dead did not make him to be the Son of God, but evidently manifested and declared him so to be. According to this interpretation of the words, that which the Holy Ghost intimateth is, that whereas the Lord Christ ministered in an outwardly low condition in this world, whilst he purged our sins, yet by his sitting down at the right hand of God he was revealed, manifested, declared to be more excellent than all the angels in heaven.

But I see no reason why we should desert the proper and most usual signification of the words, nothing in the context persuading us so to do. Besides, this suits not the apostle’s design, who doth not prove from the Scripture that the Lord Christ was manifested to be more excellent than the angels, but that really he was preferred and exalted above them. So, then, κρείττων γενόμενος is as much as “preferred,” “exalted,” actually placed in more power, glory, dignity, than the angels. This John Baptist affirms of him, ᾿εμπροσθέν μου γέγονεν· ὅτι πρῶτός μου ἧν· — “He was preferred before me, because he was before me,” — preferred above him, called to another manner of office than that which John ministered in, made before or above him in dignity, because he was before him in nature and existence. And this is the proper sense of the words: the Lord Jesus Christ, the revealer of the will of God in the gospel, is exalted above, preferred before, made more excellent and glorious than the angels themselves, all or any of them, who ministered unto the Lord in the giving of the law on mount Sinai.

Some object unto this interpretation, “That he who is said to be made or set above the angels is supposed to have been lower than they before.” To which I answer, And so he was, not in respect of essence, subsistence, and real dignity, but in respect of the infirmities and sufferings that he was exposed unto in the discharge of his work here on the earth, as the apostle expressly declares, Hebrews 2:9.

2. And this gives us light into our second inquiry on these words, namely, when it was that Christ was thus exalted above the angels.

(1.) Some say that it was in the time of his incarnation; for then the human nature being taken into personal subsistence with the Son of God, it became more excellent than that of the angels. This sense is fixed on by some of the ancients, who are followed by sundry modern expositors. But we have proved before that it is not of either nature of Christ absolutely or abstractedly that the apostle here speaketh nor of his person but as vested with his office, and discharging of it. And, moreover, the incarnation of Christ was part of his humiliation and exinanition, and is not, therefore, especially intended where his exaltation and glory are expressly spoken of.

(2.) Some say that it was at the time of his baptism, when he was anointed with the Spirit for the discharge of his prophetical office, Isaiah 61:1-2. But yet neither can this designation of the time be allowed; and that because the main things wherein he was made lower than the angels, as his temptations, and sufferings, and death itself, did follow his baptism and unction.

(3.) It must therefore be the time of his resurrection, ascension, and exaltation at the right hand of God, which ensued thereon, that is designed as the season wherein he was made more excellent than the angels, as evidently appears from the text and context: for, —

[1.] That was the time, as we have showed before, when he was gloriously vested with that all power in heaven and earth which was of old designed unto him and prepared for him.

[2.] The order also of the apostle’s discourse leads us to fix on this season: “After he had by himself purged our sins, he sat down,” etc.; “being made so much more excellent;” that is, therein and then he was so made.

[3.] The testimony in the first place produced by the apostle in the confirmation of his assertion is elsewhere, as we shall see, applied by himself unto his resurrection and the glory that ensued, and consequently they are also in this place intended.

[4.] This preference of the Lord Christ above the angels is plainly included in that grant of all power made unto him, Matthew 28:18; expounded Ephesians 1:21-22.

[5.] The testimony used by the apostle in the first place is the word that God spake unto his King, when he set him upon his holy hill of Zion, Psalms 2:6-8; which typically expresseth his glorious installment in his heavenly kingdom.

The Lord Christ, then, who in respect of his divine nature was always infinitely and incomparably himself more excellent than all the angels, after his humiliation in the assumption of the human nature, with the sufferings and temptations that he underwent, upon his resurrection was exalted into a condition of glory, power, authority, excellency, and intrusted with power over them, as our apostle here informs us.

3. In this preference and exaltation of the Lord Christ there is a degree intimated: “Being made so much more,” etc. Now our conceptions hereabout, as to this place, are wholly to be regulated by the name given unto him. ‘Look,’saith the apostle, ‘how much the name given unto the Messiah excels the name given unto angels, so much doth he himself excel them in glory, authority, and power; for these names are severally given them of God to signify their state and condition.’What and how great this difference is we shall afterwards see, in the consideration of the instances given of it by the apostle in the verses ensuing.

4. The proof of this assertion which the apostle first fixeth on is taken from the name of Christ, — his name, not given him by man, not assumed by himself, but ascribed unto him by God himself. Neither doth he here by the name of Christ or the name of the angels intend any individual proper names of the one or the other; but such descriptions as are made of them, and titles given unto them by God, as whereby their state and condition may be known. ‘Observe,’saith he, ‘how they are called of God, by what names and titles he owns them, and you may learn the difference between them.’This name he declares in the next verse: God said unto him, “Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.” It is not absolutely his being the Son of God that is intended, but that, by the testimony of the Holy Ghost, God said these words unto him, “Thou art my Son,” and thereby declared his state and condition to be far above that of the angels, to none of whom he ever said any such thing, but speaks of them in a far distinct manner, as we shall see. But hereof in the next verse.

Some by this “excellent name” understand his power, and dignity, and glory, called “a name above every name,” Philippians 2:9. But then this can no way prove that which the apostle produceth it for, it being directly the same with that which is asserted, in whose confirmation it is produced.

5. The last thing considerable is, how the Lord Christ came by this name, or obtained it. κεκληρονόμηκε, — he obtained it by inheritance, as his peculiar lot and portion for ever. In what sense he is said to be κληρονόμος, “the heir,” was before declared. As he was made the heir of all, so he inherited a more excellent name than the angels. Now he was made heir of all, in that all things being made and formed by him, the Father committed unto him, as mediator, a peculiar power over all things, to be disposed of by him unto all the ends of his mediation. So also being the natural and eternal Son of God, in and upon the discharge of his work, the Father declared and pronounced that to be his name. See Luke 1:35; Isaiah 7:14; Isaiah 9:6. His being the Son of God is the proper foundation of his being called so; and his discharge of his office the occasion of its declaration. So he came unto it by right of inheritance, when he was “declared to be the Son of God with power, by the resurrection from the dead,” Romans 1:4.

This, then, is the sum of the apostle’s proposition, and the confirmation of it. A name given by God to that end and purpose doth truly declare the nature, state, and condition of him or them to whom it is given; but unto Christ the mediator there is a name given of God himself, exceedingly more excellent than any that by him is given unto the angels: which undeniably evinceth that he is placed in a state and condition of glory far above them, or preferred before them.

I shall only observe one or two things concerning the Hebrews, to whom the apostle wrote, and so put an end to our exposition of this verse.

First, then, This discourse of the apostle, proving the pre-eminence of the Messiah above the angels, was very necessary unto the Hebrews, although it was very suitable unto their own principles, and in general acknowledged by them. It is to this day a tradition amongst them that the Messiah shall be exalted above Abraham, and Moses, and the ministering angels. Besides, they acknowledged the scriptures of the Old Testament, wherein the apostle shows them that this truth was taught and confirmed. But they were dull and slow in making application of these principles unto the confirmation of their faith in the gospel, as the apostle chargeth them, Hebrews 5:11-12. And they had at that time great speculations about the glory, dignity, and excellency of angels, and were fallen into some kind of worshipping of them. And it may be this curiosity, vanity, and superstition in them was heightened by the heat of the controversy between the Pharisees and Sadducees about them; — the one denying their existence and being; the other, whom the body of the people followed, exalting them above measure, and inclining to the worship of them. This the apostle declares, Colossians 2:18. Treating of those Judaizing teachers who then troubled the churches, he chargeth them with fruitless and curious speculations about angels, and the worshipping of them. And of their ministry in the giving of the law they still boasted. It was necessary, therefore, to take them off from this confidence of that privilege, and the superstition that ensued thereon, to instruct them in the pre-eminence of the Lord Christ above them all, that so their thoughts might be directed unto him, and their trust placed in him alone. And this exaltation of the Messiah some of their later doctors assert on Daniel 7:9. חָזֵה הֲוִיִת עד דִּי כָרְסָוָן רְמִיו, — “I beheld until the thrones were set,” “placed,” “exalted,” — as in the original Chaldee, and as all old translations, Greek, Latin, Syriac, and Arabic, render the words, however ours read, “until the thrones were cast down,” — affirming that one of those thrones was for the Messiah, before whom all the angels ministered in obedience.

Secondly, It may not be amiss to remark, that the Jews have always had a tradition of the glorious name of the Messiah, which even since their utter rejection they retain some obscure remembrance of. The name which they principally magnify is מטטרון, “Metatron.” Ben Uzziel, in his Targum on Genesis 5, ascribes this name to Enoch when he was translated: “He ascended into heaven in the word of the Lord, מטטרון ספרא רבא וקרא שמיה,” — “and his name was called Metatron the great scribe.”

But this opinion of Enoch being Metatron is rejected and confuted in the Talmud. There they tell us that Metatron is שו העולם, “the prince of the world;” or, as Elias calls him in Thisbi, שר הפנים, “the prince of God’s presence.” And in the first mention of this name, which is Talmud. Tract. Sanhed. cap. 4. fol. 38, they plainly intimate that they intend an uncreated angel by this expression. And such, indeed, must he be unto whom may be assigned what they ascribe unto Metatron; for as Reuchlin, from the Cabbalists, informs us, they say, רבי של משה מטטרון, — “The teacher of Moses himself was Metatron.” He it is, saith Elias, that is the angel always appearing in the presence of God, of whom it is said, “My name is in him:” and the Talmudists, that he hath power to blot out the sins of Israel, whence they call him the chancellor of heaven. And Bechai, on Exodus 23, affirms that this name signifies both a lord, a messenger, and a keeper; — a lord, because he ruleth all; a messenger, because he stands always before God to do his will; and a keeper, because he keepeth Israel. I confess the etymology that he gives of this name to that purpose is weak and foolish; as is also that of Elias, who tells us that Metatron is יון בלשון, — in the Greek tongue, “one sent.” But yet it is evident what is intended by all these obscure intimations. The increated Prince of glory, and his exaltation over all, with the excellency of his name, is aimed at. As for the word itself, it is either a mere corruption of the Latin word, “mediator,” such as is usual amongst them; or a gematrical fiction to answer שדי, “the Almighty,” there being a coincidence in their numeral letters.

The doctrine of the preference and pre-eminence of Christ is insisted on by the apostle unto the end of this chapter, and therefore I shall not treat of it until we have gone through all the proofs of it produced; nor then but briefly, having already in part spoken of it, in our consideration of his sovereignty and lordship over all. That which we are peculiarly instructed in by these words is that, — All pre-eminence and exaltation of one above others depends on the supreme counsel and will of God.

The instance he gives of him who is exalted over all sufficiently confirms our general rule. He had his “name,” denoting his glory and excellency, by “inheritance,” — a heritage designed for him and given unto him in the counsel, will, and good pleasure of God. He gave him that “name above every name,” Philippians 2:9, and that of his own will and pleasure: “It pleased the Father that in him all fullness should dwell,” that so “in all things he might have the pre-eminence,” Colossians 1:16-19. He foreordained him unto it from eternity, 1 Peter 1:20; and actually exalted him according to his eternal counsel in the fullness of time, Acts 2:36; Acts 5:31.

This prelation, then, of Christ above all depends on the counsel and pleasure of God; and he is herein a pattern of all privilege and preeminence in others.

Grace, mercy, and glory, spiritual things and eternal, are those wherein really there is any difference among the sons of men. Now, that any one in these things is preferred before another, it depends merely on the sole good pleasure of God. No man in these things makes himself to differ from another, neither hath he any thing that he hath not received. “God hath mercy on whom he will have mercy.” And this discrimination of all things by the supreme will of God, especially spiritual and eternal, is the spring, fountain, and rule of all that glory which he will manifest and be exalted in unto eternity.


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Bibliography
Owen, John. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:4". "John Owen Exposition of Hebrews". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/joc/hebrews-1.html. 1862.

Gary Hampton Commentary on Selected Books

Christ is Superior

Jesus is the author of redemption. While on earth, He was lower than the angels (). Lightfoot translates Hebrews 1:4; "having become as much superior to angels as the name he has obtained is more excellent than theirs." Jesus was lower than the angels while on earth. He resumed His position as one "better" than them when He sat down on God"s right hand. The word "better," or superior, appears thirteen times in Hebrews. Once each in Hebrews 6:9; Hebrews 7:7; Hebrews 7:19; Hebrews 7:22; Hebrews 9:23; Hebrews 10:34; Hebrews 11:16; Hebrews 11:40; Hebrews 12:24. It is used twice in Hebrews 1:4; Hebrews 8:6. The whole point of the book is that Christ and His covenant are superior.

The points concerning Christ made in the previous verses are used as reasons He is better than the angels. His name is better than all. One day, at the sounding of Jesus’ name, every knee will bow (Ephesians 1:21; Philippians 2:9-10). It should be noted angels were used in giving the law of Moses (Acts 7:53; Galatians 3:19). However, the one with the excellent name of the Son of God delivered the new covenant. Christ"s excellent name comes from His rank.


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Hampton, Gary. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:4". "Gary Hampton Commentary on Selected Books". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ghc/hebrews-1.html. 2014.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Being made = Having become.

hath . . . obtained = hath inherited. more excellent. Greek. diaphoros. See Romans 12:6.

name. Compare Acts 2:21; Acts 3:16. Isaiah 9:6.


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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:4". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/hebrews-1.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

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

Being made so much better - by His exaltation by the Father (Hebrews 1:3; Hebrews 1:13); in contrast to His being "made ... lower than the angels" (Hebrews 2:9). "Better," i:e., superior to. As "being" (Hebrews 1:3) expresses His essential being, so "being made" (Hebrews 7:26) marks what He became in His assumed manhood (Philippians 2:6-9). His humbled form (at which the Jews stumble) is no objection to His divine Messiahship. As the law was given by the ministration of angels and Moses, it was inferior to the Gospel given by the Divine Son, who both is (Hebrews 1:4-14) as God, and has been made, as the exalted Son of man (Hebrews 2:5-18), much better than the angels. The manifestations of God by angels (and even by the Angel of the covenant) at different times in the Old Testament, did not bring man and God into personal union, as the manifestation of God in human flesh does.

By inheritance obtained. He always had the thing itself, sonship; but He 'obtained by inheritance,' according to the Father's promise, the name "Son," whereby He is made known to men and angels. He is "the Son of God" in a sense far above that in which angels are "sons of God" (Job 1:6; Job 38:7). 'The full glory of the special name, "the Son of God," is unattainable by human thought. All appellations are but fragments of its glory-beams united in it as in a central sun' (Revelation 19:12) (Delitzsch).


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Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/hebrews-1.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(4) Being made.—Better, having become. These words must be closely joined with the last clause of Hebrews 1:3; they speak, not of the glory which was ever His, but of that which became His after He had “made purification of sins.”

Better.—That is, greater. We may discern a twofold reason for the comparison; having become “greater than the angels,” our Lord is exalted above the highest of created beings (see Ephesians 1:21; Philippians 2:9), and above those through whom God had in former time declared His law (Hebrews 2:2).

Name.—The verses which follow show that we are to understand by this all the dignity and glory contained in the name SON OF GOD. Not that this name first belonged to Him as exalted Mediator; but the glory which “became” His (Hebrews 1:3-4) is proportionate to and consonant with the name which is His by essential right (Hebrews 1:2).

That this name and dignity belong to Jesus Christ (as yet unnamed, but confessedly the subject of the preceding verses) is now to be established by the testimony of Scripture. Two important questions have been asked:—(1) Does the writer adduce these quotations as strictly demonstrative? (2) If so, on what assumption does their relevancy rest? It is evident that the whole argument is addressed to men who believed that the Christ had appeared in the person of Jesus. Of the passages here cited some were already, by universal consent, applied to the Messiah. As to the others, it was sufficient if the trained and thoughtful reader could recognise the accuracy of such an application when once suggested. That in no case is there mere “accommodation” or illustration will, it is hoped, be made clear. On the other hand, the writer’s object is less to convince his readers of some new truth than to draw attention to what the well-known passages really contain and express.


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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:4". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/hebrews-1.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.
so
9; 2:9; Ephesians 1:21; Colossians 1:18; 2:10; 2 Thessalonians 1:7; 1 Peter 3:22; Revelation 5:11,12
by
Psalms 2:7,8; Philippians 2:9-11

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:4". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/hebrews-1.html.

The Bible Study New Testament

Was made greater. The Jews were very proud of the Law of Moses, because it has been given through angels (Deuteronomy 33:2; Acts 7:53; Galatians 3:19; Hebrews 2:2). Some said Jesus was himself an angel and had no real human nature (compare 1 John 4:2-3). That God gave him. The name Son was not his until God gave it to him by the Incarnation (Hebrews 10:5; John 1:14). This is inheritance in the sense of his Messianic Sonship. The Old Testament is a witness of the fact of his Sonship.


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Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:4". "The Bible Study New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/hebrews-1.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.

E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament

Better does not apply to the personal character, for the angels who are living in heaven are perfect in that respect. Thayer defines the original word, "It is more advantageous." The meaning of the phrase is that Jesus was given a greater advantage in the great plan of God than the angels. The word excellent is to be understood also in the sense of advantage. By inheritance means that Jesus received this mentioned advantage through his relationship with God. It was not merely given to him as a man might see fit to give something to a stranger, but this was his by right of being the Son of God; he inherited it. While the favors or honors that the angels enjoy were given to them by the Creator of all things.


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Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:4". E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/znt/hebrews-1.html. 1952.

Commentary by J.C.Philpot on select texts of the Bible

Hebrews 1:4

"Being made so much better than the angels, as he has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they." Hebrews 1:4

Christ was made so much better than the angels, not as the Son of God, because as that he was better than they already, being, indeed, their Maker and Creator. Nor did he become God"s Son by being appointed heir of all things," and "obtaining by inheritance a more excellent name" than all the angelic host. If I have an only Song of Solomon , and he inherits my property, his being my heir does not make him my Song of Solomon , but his being my son makes him my heir. So the blessed Jesus is God"s heir. But the beauty and blessedness, the grace and glory, the joy and consolation of his being "the heir of all things," lies in this, that he is such in our nature—that the same blessed Immanuel who groaned and wept, suffered and bled here below, is now at the right hand of the Father as our High Priest, Mediator, Advocate, Representative, and Intercessor; that all power is given unto him in heaven and earth as the God-man ( Matthew 28:18); and that the Father has "set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come" ( Ephesians 1:20-21).

But he has all this pre-eminence and glory not to make him the Son of God, but because he who, as the Son of God, "Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a Prayer of Manasseh , he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." ( Philippians 2:6-11). The joy of heaven above, the delight of the saints here below, their only hope and help, strength and Wisdom of Solomon , spring from this, that the Son of God is exalted to the right hand of the Father in the very nature which he assumed in the womb of the virgin.


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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Philpot, Joseph Charles. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:4". Commentary by J.C.Philpot on select texts of the Bible. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jcp/hebrews-1.html.

Haldane's Exposition on the Epistle to the Romans

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

Being made so much better than the angels.— It is abundantly manifest that the title of the Son of God, who is said to be appointed heir of all things, to have been the brightness of God's glory and the express image of His person, purging our sins, and sitting down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, is descriptive of Immanuel, God manifest in the flesh. God is invisible, and could not be the image of Himself; and the Song of Solomon , in His Divine nature, is as invisible as the Father. Besides, where was the necessity for proving God to be superior to angels? But the Divine and human natures were united in the one person of Christ, and it is in this character that the Apostle establishes His superiority to angels.

As he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.—Angels are, indeed, termed by courtesy the sons of God, but to Christ this name belongs by inheritance. [This is illustrated by a passage in English history. Henry II, having admitted his son to a share of the sovereignty, caused him to sit at table while he waited on him, at the same time observing that never king was more royally served. The prince pleasantly replied, that there was nothing extraordinary in the son of a Count serving the son of a king. The son's rank came to him by inheritance, the father's by conquest.] He is possessed of the Divine nature, as a son partakes of the nature of his father, while from His mother Christ equally partook of human nature. Hence He is indifferently described as the Son of God, implying His Divinity, and as the Son of Prayer of Manasseh , implying His humanity. God does nothing in vain; He accomplishes His purposes by means exactly adapted to the end He has in view. In the first creation He spoke and it was done, He commanded and all things stood fast; but to reconcile justice with mercy, to destroy the works of the devil, the Son of God was manifested, and suffered, and died, and revived, that He might be the Lord both of the dead and the living.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Haldane, Robert. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:4". "Haldane's Exposition on the Epistle to the Romans and Hebrews". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hal/hebrews-1.html. 1835.

Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, November 16th, 2019
the Week of Proper 27 / Ordinary 32
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