Summary: Scripture proofs for the superiority of Jesus.
A NAME MORE EXCELLENT
The high Christology of Hebrews 1 bears comparison with that of John 1:1-14. We are first reminded of the many and various ways that God spoke through the prophets in times past (Hebrews 1:1). Then we are informed that the final word of God has now come to us through His Son (Hebrews 1:2).
Several propositions are made about the Person of our Lord. He is the Son of God, the heir of all things, and the agent of Creation (Hebrews 1:2). He is the outward expression of God’s glory, and the exact representation of His being; the sustainer of Creation; and both priest and sacrifice to purge away our sins; and He is exalted to God’s right hand (Hebrews 1:3).
As such, Jesus is seen to be infinitely superior to the angels (Hebrews 1:4). The writer to the Hebrews elaborates this latter point with several Old Testament quotations. To us his methodology may seem strange: but if we understand Scripture the way that Jesus evidently did, then we will see that it was always pointing to Him (Matthew 5:17; Luke 24:27).
The method seems to be the same as that of Matthew’s Gospel, where the Apostle will take a Scripture seemingly right out of context, and will invest it with new meaning. For example, who but a Spirit-led, inspired writer would have associated Herod’s massacre of the infants in Bethlehem (Matthew 2:16-18) with the metaphorical weeping of Rachel at the time of the exile (cf. Jeremiah 31:15)? Or the holy family’s sojourn in Egypt (Matthew 2:14-15) with God’s calling of Israel out of exile (cf. Hosea 11:11)?
The unknown - but inspired - writer to the Hebrews builds his case in favour of Jesus being superior to the angels by, first, following through on the idea of Jesus being:
(a) the heir of all things (cf. Hebrews 1:2). He quotes several texts under this head, with a string of rhetorical questions (Hebrews 1:5-9). Whereas the angels are just messengers (as their name means), Jesus is the Son of God (Hebrews 1:5; cf. Psalm 2:7).
The ‘son of David’ par excellence is not Solomon, as might be thought from 2 Samuel 7:14, but ultimately Christ (Hebrews 1:5). The incarnation gets a mention (Hebrews 1:6), and “all the angels of God” are called to worship Jesus (cf. Deuteronomy 32:43). As for the angels, they are not without their own dignity: they are winds and flames of God’s purposes (Hebrews 1:7; cf. Psalm 104:4).
The writer then moves on to his second head, whereby he confirms Jesus as:
Staying in the same part of the Old Testament, the writer also confirms his assertion that Jesus is: