“Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.
“For to which of the angels did God ever say,
‘You are my Son,
today I have begotten you?’
‘I will be to him a father,
and he shall be to me a son?’
“And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says,
‘Let all God’s angels worship him.’” 
We are rapidly approaching the day of feasting when we remember the birth of our Saviour—soon, it will be Christmas day. While the whole world will celebrate this day, too many of those celebrating will be ignorant of what they are celebrating. People will exchange gifts, dine sumptuously on rich foods before falling into a turkey coma, and some will become drunk on choice wines, but many of those celebrating—dare I say most—will give no thought to what they are celebrating. Ostensibly, the world will be celebrating the birth of the Son of God. The world ignored His birth when He was born, but the world will assuredly celebrate this year. Celebrating is almost mandatory.
For many years it has been my policy to speak of the Incarnation of the Christ during the Advent season. This policy is assuredly appropriate; we are, after all, rejoicing in the knowledge that God sent His Son to redeem His elect saints. Moreover, focusing on the Incarnation of the Christ is in line with the practise of almost all the churches of Christendom, even those churches that deny the foundational truths that define us as followers of the Christ.
It has always intrigued me that even the pagans celebrate Christmas; and many unsaved people will attend services during this holy season. I don’t say that the unsaved of our world seek to acknowledge Christ, but the trappings surrounding the fête are prominent throughout multiple societies.
What should be obvious is that providing sound instruction concerning the Person of the Christ is a good practise. Such teaching will equip the saints for a godly life and enable them to answer those who question whether Jesus is very God in human flesh. Also, providing the teaching of the Word concerning who the Christ is will perhaps open the heart of many outsiders to look to the Saviour and thus be saved.
Among the portions of the Word that present Jesus as God in human flesh, are these verses that constitute our text for this day. These are not the only verses that present Jesus as the Son of God, but they are powerful verses. As such, they merit our careful consideration. Let’s study God’s declaration as presented in HEBREWS 1:1-6.
GOD SPEAKS — “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs” [HEBREWS 1:1-4].
Wherever Christians gather, you will sometimes hear some earnest soul assert, “The Lord told me,” or some variation of that statement. The individual making such a statement is obviously claiming to have a message from God, and they feel they must share what they have heard. I am hopeful that most believers making an assertion of this nature mean nothing more than that for the first time they have recognised some truth through studying the Scriptures. Tragically, such is not always the case.
It is beyond the pale of reason to think that anyone can discover “new” information from reading the Word. We can discount any expectation that anything “new” will be learned from our own reading of Scripture. The old adage still prevails:
If it is new; it isn’t true.
If it is true; it isn’t new.
I suppose some few may mean that they sense some particular guidance from the Spirit of God as they are confronting a particular challenge or as they make some particular decision. I would hope they were implying that they were dependent upon the Lord for whatever they faced, that they were seeking His will as they make decisions. However, there are some who actually mean to imply that God has spoken to them in some audible manner. These individuals may wish to convey the sense that they have some super-capacity to actually receive direct, specific communication with God. What is often obvious from such souls is that they actually believe their message is mandatory for fellow worshippers. Let me caution that an impression is not a definite word from God. God has spoken audibly in the past; but it is clearly the exception and not the rule.
Despite any distortion of the Word by charlatans who deliberately deceive the thoughtless, or even by earnest people who unwittingly deceive the unwary, what is abundantly evident from our text is that God does speak. Mark this truth in your mind: God has spoken! This is not some trivial acknowledgement, some pious admission; this is an affirmation of confidence in what is written in the text and elsewhere throughout the Word of God. God has spoken, and He has spoken through the written Word.
The writer of this particular letter is looking back to those writings that we commonly identify as the Old Testament. He acknowledges that God communicated through the prophets. The fathers, those forebears to whom the Jewish people looked as progenitors of the race, had delivered the written Word as the very words of the Living God. Those who now read the Bible, the words that have been written down and received as the Old Testament and as the New Testament, are reading what God the Father has given. We are reading the very words of God. There is no need to seek further revelation; we have the revealed mind of God which is ours in the Bible
Recall what Peter wrote concerning what is written in the pages of what we identify as the New Testament. Peter said, “We did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,’ we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” [2 PETER 1:16-21].
If God had never given His Word, yet He would have been heard. Let me explain by pointing to one of the Psalms David wrote.
“The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours out speech,
and night to night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words,
whose voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world.”
God is known, and consequently, His will is known, if only through nature.
You may recognise this as the argument that Paul makes in the opening words of the Letter to Roman Christians. There, the Apostle has written, “The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse” [ROMANS 1:18-20].
People know there is a God, if only by looking at the world. Imagine actually believing that this world, and the complex interchange of life and environment simply appeared, much as Topsy. Imagine thinking that this is all an accident, and that you have no purpose other than serving as mere filler for a demigod called “nature.” You are no more essential to this world than is a turtle or a beetle or a mouse. Imagine thinking that!
If by saying, “God speaks,” we mean that people can know there is a God, and that they are thus drawn to look to Him for mercy, then it is obvious that God does speak! To think that God is incapable of speech is as wrong as imagining that He is loquacious when He is in fact silent. Certainly, God is able to speak audibly, if He chooses to do so; but verbal communication by the Holy One has always been the exception and not the rule. God does speak through creation, so that no one can say they do not know He exists or that they cannot know of His mercy and grace. However, it is through His Word that God has chosen to communicate with mankind. Through the Word of God, the Lord God continuously communicates with mankind so that we are without excuse!
God still speaks through His Word. Though I would never encourage you to listen for an audible voice which you might imagine to be the voice of God, I do urge each Christian to hear what God says. And we hear God speak through His Word! Whenever you read the Word of God, whenever you hear the Word read aloud, whenever you hear the declaration of this Word, you will hear God speaking to your soul.
I have always been impressed by the emphasis in Scripture on hearing the Word of God. For instance, we witness the Master early in His ministry in the flesh. “[Jesus] began to teach in their synagogues and was continuously receiving praise from everyone.
“Then Jesus came to Nazareth, where he had been raised. As was his custom, he went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day. When he stood up to read, the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling the scroll, he found the place where it was written,
‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me;
he has anointed me to tell
the good news to the poor.
He has sent me to announce release to the prisoners
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to set oppressed people free,
and to announce the year of the Lord’s favor.’
Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. While the eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fixed on him, he began to say to them, ‘Today this Scripture has been fulfilled, as you’ve heard it read aloud’” [LUKE 4:15-21].
As he opens the Book of Revelation, John records a blessing that is pronounced. It is a blessing that receives short shrift in this day, I fear. Nevertheless, this is what is written. “Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near” [REVELATION 1:3]. The one reading the prophecy delivered in the book is blessed; and those hearing the words as they are read aloud are blessed; and those who keep what has been written therein are blessed. The blessings begin with the open reading of the book.
When the Letter to the Church in Colossae had been read to the congregation, the Apostle issued instructions for the letter to be read to the congregation in Laodicea. He wrote, “When this letter has been read among you, have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans” [COLOSSIANS 4:16a]. This was an instruction echoed in Paul’s first Letter to the Thessalonians. There, he wrote, “I put you under oath before the Lord to have this letter read to all the brothers” [1 THESSALONIANS 5:27].
Why was it important that Scripture should be read aloud? This is the Word of God; this is the revelation of the mind of God. The implication is that when Scripture is read aloud, it is for the benefit of all within the sound of the voice of the one reading. We are prone to think that when Scripture is read aloud, it is to instruct others, whether members of our family, whether those participating in the services of our assembly, or whether to instruct outsiders who would not otherwise hear the revelation of the mind of the Lord. When you hear this Word read, you are hearing the mind of the Living God expressed in such a way that any can understand. When you read this Word, God is speaking directly to your heart. As you hear the Word, as you read the Word, the Spirit of God is at work revealing the mind of the Lord to you.
WHAT GOD HAS SAID — “To which of the angels did God ever say,
‘You are my Son,
today I have begotten you?’
‘I will be to him a father,
and he shall be to me a son?’”
Jesus struggled with His Passion to which He submitted; and at that time He spoke, saying, “Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour?’ But for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name” [JOHN 12:27-28a]. God the Father answered at that hour, saying, “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again” [JOHN 12:28]. People that heard the voice were confused. Thus, we read, “The crowd that stood there and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, ‘An angel has spoken to him’” [JOHN 12:29].
Don’t be overly hard on those who heard that voice on that day; don’t imagine yourself to be superior to them. You’ve never heard the voice of the LORD booming out, so you have no idea of how His voice might sound. What do you imagine you might hear? What they heard at that time was heard by their forefathers at Sinai. Listen to this account of GOD’s actions when giving the Ten Words. “On the morning of the third day there were thunders and lightnings and a thick cloud on the mountain and a very loud trumpet blast, so that all the people in the camp trembled. Then Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they took their stand at the foot of the mountain. Now Mount Sinai was wrapped in smoke because the LORD had descended on it in fire. The smoke of it went up like the smoke of a kiln, and the whole mountain trembled greatly. And as the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him in thunder” [EXODUS 19:16-19].
The text for this day informs us that the Father spoke on multiple occasions declaring that the One to whom He spoke was His Son. That One cannot be an angel, for though an angel may be ever so powerful, no angel can do what God does. The citation given in the fifth verse, the statement originally given through the Psalmist, has given some people pause.
You will recall that in the Second Psalm, the Lord God is quoted as saying,
“I will tell of the decree:
The LORD said to me, ‘You are my Son;
today I have begotten you.’”
You may also recall that Paul cited this portion of this particular Psalm as explanation of Christ’s resurrection. It was in Antioch in Pisidia during the first missionary journey as the Apostle preached in the synagogue of that city. Paul declared that though Jesus was crucified, He conquered death, rising from the dead. He explained what had happened in this manner: “We bring you the good news that what God promised to the fathers, this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus, as also it is written in the second Psalm,
‘You are my Son,
today I have begotten you.’”
This is the import of the fact that Christ has been raised from the dead. Paul ties the resurrection of the Master from the grave as the point of uncontested declaration of Jesus as the Only Begotten of the Father.
Jesus is the “Only Begotten from the Father” [see JOHN 1:14 NASB]. Is that not a powerful testimony that is included in the early verses of John’s Gospel? There, we read, “No one has ever seen God. The only one, himself God, who is in closest fellowship with the Father, has made God known” [JOHN 1:18 NET BIBLE].
Fascinatingly enough, the writer of this Letter will appeal to this same verse drawn from this Second Psalm as he identifies Jesus as possessing an eternal priesthood [see HEBREWS 5:5-6]. Now, in the text before us, the writer of this Letter to Hebrew Christians cites this same Second Psalm in order to proclaim Jesus’ royal dignity revealed in His resurrection and ascension. It is essential to recognise the argument that the writer is making if we will avoid drifting into error. The struggle for some is God’s statement that the Son is begotten. We are taught that the Son of God is eternal. It is the word “begotten” that causes a measure of consternation for some who haven’t read with due care what has been written. The issue should not give the worshipper of the Christ heartburn. Consider the context in order to understand what is stated.
In the Old Testament, angels are called sons of God, in the sense that God created them. However, in Scripture, no single angel is identified as the unique “Son of God.” Nor has any angel ever heard God speak, declaring, “Today I have begotten you.” The reason this is so is that angels are not related to God in that way. They are, in a general sense, “sons of God” because they were created by God, but the writer of this letter is focused on reminding his Jewish readers of the unique position occupied by God’s Son.
God’s declaration in our text is focused on the human nature of the Son of God, and not on His divine nature. By assuming His human nature as Mary’s son, the Son of God was “made lower than the angels” [see HEBREWS 2:7, 9]. This should not be taken as meaning that Christ has a dual nature that is interchangeable according to His desire; Jesus was always God, even when He was born of a virgin.
In fact, taken in concert with the verses preceding this particular verse, the statement as written presents a very strong declaration of the deity of Christ Jesus. Note what precedes that statement of the begotten Saviour.
• The Son is appointed “heir of all things” [see HEBREWS 1:2]. Has any angel ever been appointed an heir of God?
• God created the world through the Son [see HEBREWS 1:2]. Did God ever create anything through an angel?
• The Son of God bears the exact imprint of the Living God [see HEBREWS 1:3]. Does any angel bear the exact imprint of God’s nature?
• God’s Son upholds the universe by the word of His power [see HEBREWS 1:3]. Does any angel uphold the universe by his word?
• The Son of God made purification for sins [see HEBREWS 1:3]. Has any angel ever been said to make purification for sins?
• The Son of God is declared to be superior to the angels [see HEBREWS 1:4]. Thus, the Name He has inherited is more excellent than that of all the angels.
Even during the days while He dwelt on this earth, having taken upon Himself the form of a servant, Jesus did not interrupt the activity associated with His divine being. When some of the disciples of the Baptist came to Jesus with questions from the servant of the Living God at a time of deep discouragement, Jesus simply continued doing what He alone could do. Then, He sent those disciples back to John with the message, “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me” [LUKE 7:22-23].
Ultimately, Jesus’ redemptive work—work that could be performed only by One Who is infinite—demonstrated that this Jesus of Nazareth was very God in human flesh. That is precisely the argument with which Paul opens his letter to the Christians gathered in Rome. Listen to the opening verses of that marvellous treatise on salvation. “Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord” [ROMANS 1:1-4].
Focus in particular on the FOURTH VERSE. There, we witness the Apostle acknowledging that though Jesus was descended from David according to human genealogy, He has been declared to be “the Son of God in power” by His resurrection from the dead. Born of a virgin, Jesus was declared to be the Son of God by His resurrection from the dead. We boldly avow that Jesus Christ is our Master. We who follow the Christ declare Him to be Lord, doing so gladly and without reservation.
WORSHIPPING THE SON — “When [God] brings the firstborn into the world, he says,
‘Let all God’s angels worship him.’”
“Let all God’s angels worship [Him who is identified as the Son of God].” In this statement we witness the Father commanding the holy angels to worship the Son of God. Since the angels worship the Son, then it should be no great surprise that all people are responsible to worship the Son of God. The Revelator witnessed a marvellous scene in Heaven, and he wrote of what he saw so that we might marvel with him at what shall be. John describes the emerald-circled throne of God. Arrayed around the throne are all the holy angels and the redeemed of the ages, worshipping Him Who is seated on the throne.
Then, John saw a wonderous sight, stunning in its beauty, which he described in this FIFTH CHAPTER of the book. “I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice, ‘Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?’ And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it, and I began to weep loudly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it. And one of the elders said to me, ‘Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.’
“And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. And he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne. And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints” [REVELATION 5:1-8].
Let me emphasise by pointing again to what is written. When the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, the Lamb that was slain, takes the scroll from the right hand of the Father who is seated on the throne, did you note the response of those around the throne? “The [cherubs] and the [redeemed saints] fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.” When Christ the Lord appears, all Heaven worships Him.
Angels are undoubtedly powerful beings—more powerful than we could ever imagine. Yet, we must never worship angels. When the messenger of God had completed the revelation of Christ the Lord, John fell down to worship that mighty being. The account of what happened is provided in the final chapter of the Word of God. The Revelator wrote, “I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me, but he said to me, ‘You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book. Worship God’” [REVELATION 22:8-9].
Paul warned the saints in Colossae against being disqualified as followers of the Son of God. He wrote, “Let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God” [COLOSSIANS 2:16-19].
Imagine! There are religions in which supplicants actually worship angels. Religions actually exist that call on worshipers to bow before fallen angels—demons. There are still other religions in which participants actually worship what they suppose to be angels. Gnostics, both in antiquity and in this present day, believed they could gain power over a succession of angels by learning their name, since the name of a deity represented the power of that demigod. Thus, when the name of the angel was learned, the Gnostic possessed power to make that angel do the bidding of the Gnostic; the angel could be manipulated because the name of that angel was no longer secret. Discovering this secret knowledge, these deluded souls imagined they could work their way through a seemingly unending series of angels as they moved ever closer to learning the name of the True and Living God. In this peculiar religion, worshippers believe that when they had at last learned the name of God, they would have power over God.
How foolish! We know the Name of God. He invites us to call Him “Father.” There is nothing secret about the power God has entrusted to His children. Writing the saints in Corinth, the Apostle declares, “The word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” [1 CORINTHIANS 1:18].
Continuing in these opening verses, he encourages the saints when he writes, “Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God” [1 CORINTHIANS 1:20-24].
Having written these words, Paul then points to the message he declared, writing, “I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God” [1 CORINTHIANS 2:1-5].
There it is, then. The message of the cross of Christ is “the power of God.” Christ crucified and risen from the dead is demonstration of the power of God. There is nothing secret about God’s power. His is power to do good, power to raise the dead, power to bless, power to glorify His Name, power to deliver from sin—this is the power of God, and it is power that is entrusted to each person who comes to Christ as Master.
Do you remember the words Jesus spoke as He prepared to ascend into glory? “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” [MATTHEW 28:18b-20].
As one who has received Christ as Lord, you hold the power of God. When you tell others of Jesus the Lord, you will witness the power of God as they hear and turn to Him in faith. As you testify of His grace and His mercy, you will see His power working as some come to Him and receive the forgiveness of sin. When you pray and see the goodness of God giving you the answer you sought, you will witness His power.
That is God! That is His power. God calls all people to worship the Son of God. We are not called to worship a child in a manger; we are called to worship Him who conquered death, hell and the grave and is risen to life. We are called to worship the Son of God who lives forever and ever, Who is even now seated at the right hand of the Father. We are called to worship the Son of God who is coming again to receive to Himself those who have believed His Word. Have you believed the Son of God? Are you looking for His return to receive His people to Himself? Have you received the forgiveness of sin? Look to Christ today. Amen.
 Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2016. Used by permission. All rights reserved.