Hebrews 1 Commentary


God speaks through his Son (1:1-4)

Israel prepared the way, but Jesus Christ brings God’s plan of salvation to its fulfilment. In Old Testament times God spoke to people through Israelite prophets, but now he speaks more directly, for he speaks through his Son. In addition, his revelation is much clearer, for Jesus Christ is the exact expression of the divine nature. All things were created by him, are controlled by him, and one day will return to him as his rightful possession (1:1-3a).

Besides revealing God to needy sinners, Jesus brings needy sinners to God, by providing them with cleansing from sin through his death on the cross. Because of who Jesus is and what he has done, God has given him a position far above all things, angels included (3b-4).

Christ greater than angels (1:5-14)

According to Jewish beliefs, angels were beings of a high order who fulfilled an important role in the giving of God’s law to Israel (Acts 7:53; Gal 3:19). The writer therefore shows from the Old Testament (which the Jews believed to be the Word of God) that Jesus Christ is greater than angels. His birth into the world as a man does not mean that he is inferior to angels. On the contrary, angels worship him, for he is God, inseparably united with his Father (5-6).

Angels are merely servants, and carry out God’s commands through wind and fire. Christ is King, and is exalted by God to the highest place. He lived a life of practical righteousness, and God has given him an eternal kingdom (7-9). In contrast to created things, Christ is himself the Creator. Created things change and eventually pass away; Christ never changes and lives eternally (10-12). He was victorious in his work on earth and now awaits the final victory over all things. Angels, by contrast, are simply servants sent by God to help those who share in the victory Christ has won (13-14).

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