Sunday: Hebrews 1:4
Verse 4: At this verse the author of Hebrews begins comparing Jesus to angels. At first it might seem confusing as to why he would go to such lengths to make what seems to be an obvious point, that Jesus is superior to angels. In this section (vs 4-14; 2:5-8) he repeatedly reinforces this truth. Yet, we can be confident he taught this as firmly as he did because some in the Jewish Christian community were suggesting that Jesus was a created spiritual being like an angel rather than a divine, begotten Son. The concept of the incarnation (Jn 5:18; 10:33; 19:8), along with other difficult concepts like a crucified Messiah (1Co 1:23), the resurrection (Ac 17:32; 23:6-8; 24:15, 21; 26:6-8) and the evangelization of the Gentiles (Ac 22:21, 22) would have been the focus of much arguing in Jewish homes and synagogues. So its easy to see how some must have tried to strike a theological compromise by proposing that Jesus was merely an angel, though probably the highest of all angels, rather than a divine Son.
Monday: Hebrews 1:4
Verse 4 (continued): Such a stance would continue to honor Jesus without disturbing anyones view of monotheism. In fact, if Jesus nature was that of an angel a number of problematic issues would disappear. The incarnation would simply be one more appearance of the angel of the Lord just as he had already appeared in the Old Testament (Ge 16:7; 18:1, 2; Jos 5:13-15; Jdg 6:11; 13:3, etc.). And the crucifixion and resurrection would not involve a real death on Jesus part but only the appearance of a death. In this way the awkward elements of the gospel could be sanitized and made much more palatable. But to the author of Hebrews such a compromise is nothing less than blasphemy. As well soon see, the Jesus he declares is not only more than an angel, He created the angels (v 7).
Tuesday: Hebrews 1:4
Verse 4 (continued): Jesus superiority to the angels is expressed by the name the Father gave Him. Only to Jesus did the Father apply the title Son. And it is a name He inherited rather than earned or received as an honorary title. Jesus as the eldest son in Judaism inherited the family estate by virtue of His blood and birth, so Jesus inherited the name Son because He shares the Fathers divine nature. Hes called Gods Son because in some non-sexual begetting He has come forth from the Father. He is as divine as His Father just as a human son is as human as his father.
Wednesday: Hebrews 1:5-14 (introduction)
To reinforce his proclamation of the divinity of Christ the author of Hebrews compares Old Testament passages which are addressed to Gods Son as opposed to others which speak about angels. Over the course of these next nine verses (vs 5-14) he quotes from seven different texts and the interpretations he gives are a radical break from conventional understanding. So, before we read through them we need to first understand why this may be so. Is the author misusing scriptures to support his view or is he giving us a deeper apostolic insight into them? First of all, we need to remember that the Old Testament quotes he uses are drawn from the Septuagint (LXX), a translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek made around 270 B.C. in Alexandria, Egypt. Its purpose was to provide access to the Bible for Greek-speaking Jews who had lost the ability to read the original Hebrew. It was the Bible of most New Testament Christians and had great influence (see: Gordon Fee, Douglas Stuart, How to Read the Bible Book by Book, Zondervan, 2002, p 441).
Thursday: Hebrews 1:5-14 (introduction)
The quotations we find in Hebrews are not the result of the authors poor memory or manipulation of the text, they are drawn from a respected and reliable translation being used by Jews living all over the world at that time. And second, I do not believe that the radically new insights we find here originate with the author of Hebrews. Instead I believe he is recalling the explanations which Jesus Himself gave to these passages. When did Jesus systematically interpret such Old Testament passages? He may have done so many times, but we have at least a definite record of one: His discourse with two disciples on the road to Emmaus after His resurrection (Lk 24:13-32). In verse 27 were told, Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures. This was an extremely important moment for early Jewish Christianity. Jesus was showing them from their own scriptures who He is. Its impossible for me to think that conversation was forgotten. I believe the Lords observations were preserved and translated and became the foundation for apostolic preaching (Ac 2:25-36; 3:22-25; 4:11, 25, 26; 7:37, 56; 8:30-35; 13:33-37, 47; 15:15-18; 17:23; 26:21-23).
Friday: Hebrews 1:5-14 (introduction)
As Cleopas and another disciple walked along the road to Emmaus with Jesus He would have quoted passage after passage and then said something to the effect, The Person this speaks of is Me! We catch a glimpse of Him trying to reveal one of these passages during a debate with religious leaders. He asked them to whom David was referring in Psalm 110 when he said, The Lord said to my Lord, sit at My right hand until I put your enemies beneath Your feet (Mt 22:40-46). The question He was asking was if the Messiah is merely Davids physical offspring how would it be possible for him to address his own descendant as Lord? To answer Jesus question fairly one would have to say, Apparently Davids son must also be Gods divine Son. And its along these same lines of reasoning that the author of Hebrews here in chapter one and elsewhere points to passages which bestow divine attributes on Gods Son. If my assumption is correct, then Jesus Himself is the One responsible for the interpretations given here.
Saturday: Hebrews 1:5
Verse 5: By asking the question,
to which of the angels did God ever say, You are My Son? The answer expected by the author is none! He wants us to see that God only said such things to His Son. He quotes here from Psalm 2 which is in its entirety a prophecy pointing to the day on which God will give the Messiah total authority over all the governments of the earth. In it God calls the Messiah (His Anointed, v 2) His Son (v 7) and commands kings and judges along with everyone else to submit to Him. In Acts 13:33, 34 we hear Paul explain the next statement quoted here, Today I have begotten you
(Ps 2:7). He says it refers first of all to Christs resurrection from the dead. At that moment He became the first resurrected man and as such the firstborn or eldest son over a great family of believers who would also be resurrected at the end of age (1Co 15:20, 21; 1Th 4:14-17; Rev 20:6).