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Hebrews 1:6-9 by Robert Dean
Series:Hebrews (2005)
Duration:52 mins 27 secs

Lesson 19  July 21, 2005

 

NKJ Romans 8:38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

We are in Hebrews 1 forging ahead rapidly. We will get to verses 6 and 7 this evening. Last time we did a review of the Davidic Covenant. As you go through the first part of the chapter there is a discussion about the fact that in these last days God has spoken to us by means of His Son. This term Son is loaded with nuance related to His Davidic Sonship. The concept of Sonship is immediately related to the fact that He has been appointed the heir of all things. 

 

Vs. 1 After God spoke in a variety of fragments and in various forms in time past to the fathers by means of the prophets

 

Vs. 2 He has in these last days spoken to us by the Son whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom he also made the ages;

 

Vs. 3 Who being the radiance of His glory and the exact image of His person, and Upholding all things by the word of His power, after he had by himself made purification for our sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on High.

 

In verse 4 we are reminded that He has a name more excellent that they. 

 

NKJ Hebrews 1:4 having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.

 

That relates to His Davidic kingship. 

 

NKJ Hebrews 1:5 For to which of the angels did He ever say: "You are My Son, Today I have begotten You"? And again: "I will be to Him a Father, And He shall be to Me a Son"?

 

In verse 5 a quote from Ps 2:7 is linked with a quote from Ps 89 or II Sam 7:14. This indicates that the sonship is a Davidic Sonship. So we took time last session to look at the Davidic Covenant.  I want to review it briefly. The passages are II Sam 7:11-14(the central text), I Chron 17:10-14 (also an important text), and Psalm 89 (a meditation on the Davidic Covenant). We see from these passages four basic points.

 

  1. The contract or the covenant between the party of the first part and the party of the second part- the first party is God and the second party is David - is a unilateral contract.  That means it is given by God. It is established by God. It is based upon God and God alone for fulfillment. It is not based on some condition of fulfillment in the party of the second part. That is David. It is a freely granted contract.
  2. It promises to David an eternal dynasty, an eternal kingdom, an eternal throne, and an eternal descendent. The key word in all that is the word eternal. That means ongoing or never ending.
  3. The promise indicates a line that ends with an eternal descendent. Either you have an eternal line where you keep having one son after another and that lines go on to eternity or it culminates in a descendent that is infinite or eternal. He is eternal. He is also human because He is a physical, genetic descendent from David.  So you have an indication of a somewhat cryptic nature but a clear indication of a divine human ruler. This shows that God Himself will eventually rule mankind as a man in hypostatic union. That is the second person of the trinity, the Lord Jesus Christ.

4.  The house referred to is David's dynasty. Throughout the Middle East at the time of Christ's birth there was a tremendous fervor for the Messiah. Even in Gentile nations the word about this Jewish expectation had spread throughout the Parthian Empire and into the Roman Empire. There were people who had a Messianic expectation.  They were looking for the appearance of the Son of God as the Son of David. This is clearly seen in Luke 1:32 in Gabriel's announcement to Mary about the birth of the Messiah. It is foundational for understanding who Jesus Christ is. The Davidic Covenant is foundational. You have to understand the Davidic Covenant or you don't see how Jesus Christ fits into the overall plan of God. Phase one is the First Advent and accomplishes salvation, the payment for sin. That is only the first part. The resolution of evil and resolution of God's plan comes to fulfillment when Jesus returns at the Second Advent and establishes the kingdom. That is when all the covenants from the Old Testament are fulfilled. The Abrahamic Covenant, the land covenant, the Davidic Covenant and the New Covenant all come to fulfillment at that instant when Christ returns at the Second Coming. 

 

This is indicated in several passages related to Jesus' birth. Gabriel is making the announcement of the birth to a somewhat astonished Mary.

 

NKJ Luke 1:32 "He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David.

 

You can't understand Gabriel's announcement if you don't understand the significance of this.  This is the Davidic king. He is the one upon whom Israel placed all their hopes for future glory and their destiny. Later on in that same chapter, it begins with the announcement to Zecharias who serves as the high priest going into the Holy of Holies that his wife who is barren is going to have a baby. That baby will be John the Baptist. He doesn't really believe it so he is struck dumb, speechless until the baby is born. When the baby born (John the Baptist) suddenly he can speak again.  In his speech when John the Baptist is born he says the following. 

 

NKJ Luke 1:68 "Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, For He has visited and redeemed His people,

 

NKJ Luke 1:69 And has raised up a horn of salvation for us In the house of His servant David,

 

Zecharias is doctrinally oriented. He knows the Scriptures. He is able therefore to interpret what is going on in history during his time. That is true for any believer at any time even in the church age when there is no prophecy to be fulfilled. We can discern what the trends are and have the ability to accurately interpret the trends of history because we can do it from a framework of the Word of God. It gives us that eternal reference point that allows us to properly understand what is happening in history. We can have real objectivity. Zecharias goes on to say the following in this hymn of praise about the birth of his son.

 

NKJ Luke 1:70 As He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets, Who have been since the world began,

 

NKJ Luke 1:71 That we should be saved from our enemies And from the hand of all who hate us,

 

NKJ Luke 1:72 To perform the mercy promised to our fathers And to remember His holy covenant,

 

God is going to perform mercy. What covenant is that? 

 

NKJ Luke 1:73 The oath which He swore to our father Abraham: 74 To grant us that we, Being delivered from the hand of our enemies, Might serve Him without fear,

 

See how significant this is! Zecharias in his understanding of doctrine pulls it all together and shows that this is the Savior from the house of David that is a fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant. Hebrews 1:5 introduces us to the Davidic sonship and the session of Christ – His role as David's Son, not as the Davidic king, His future inheritance and the role it has for us today. We understand what Jesus is doing today because of what is going on in Psalms chapter 2. 

 

We got into the first part of a five-point sermon. Each point concludes with a challenge of exhortation to obedience. Those exhortations contain warnings to believers about the fact that if we fall apart in the Christian life there can be devastating circumstances and consequences not just for time but also for eternity. He lays the foundation for the rest of the book. That is that Jesus Christ is the most significant person in history. He is not just another prophet in history; He is superior to the angels. He is superior because He has inherited a Davidic name. He connects them together. 

 

NKJ Hebrews 1:5 For to which of the angels did He ever say: "You are My Son, Today I have begotten You"? And again: "I will be to Him a Father, And He shall be to Me a Son"?

 

The verse quotes directly from Ps 2:7 and then II Sam 7:14. 

 

"Today" here is the resurrection of Christ. There is a dedication by the Father that this is a begotten Son. He was not begotten then. He was begotten eternally. This is a declaration related to His fulfillment of the plan for salvation and hypostatic union that qualifies Him to be promoted to heaven. 

 

Now he goes to a second verse to support this. Then he goes to II Sam 7:14. 

 

NKJ 2 Samuel 7:14 "I will be his Father, and he shall be My son. If he commits iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men and with the blows of the sons of men.

 

Hebrews 1:5 lays the foundation that connects Psalm 2:7 to II Sam 7:14. 

 

NKJ Psalm 2:7 "I will declare the decree: The LORD has said to Me, 'You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.

 

Three things are important here. Try to focus on this. We have been in Psalm 2 a lot so this ought to be good review. Each time I try to tweak it a little bit so that you understand it a little better. 

 

It starts off with the Son speaking. What decree is He declaring? This is not God's eternal decree.  We have all studied the doctrine of the divine decrees. That is not what he is talking about. This is a specific decree. The contents of the decree are laid out in verses 7-8. The declaration is that Jesus is the begotten Son. This happened at the resurrection. The next part of the decree is then given.

 

NKJ Psalm 2:8 Ask of Me, and I will give You The nations for Your inheritance, And the ends of the earth for Your possession.

 

So the first part of the decree is this elevation and recognition that occurred at the ascension. The second part of the decree is the request for the nations. The idea of inheritance is possession as it indicates in the parallel of the second strophe. 

 

This is what you are going to own. When you own a piece of property, what is the piece of paper called? It is a title deed. This decree is focusing on His qualifications in verse 7 and the content of the title deed that is the whole earth. The decree is in essence a summary of this title deed that God is giving the Son for the ownership of planet earth. Who runs things on planet earth right now? We all know this. It is Satan, the prince and power of the earth. So Jesus Christ will take ownership of the earth at some future date. 

 

We saw in Revelation chapter 5 and saw that this decree is essentially the scroll that the Lamb takes and begins to open that are the seven seals of judgment. They are the seven seals of trumpet judgments and the bowl judgments. The seven seal are the judgments that come about during the tribulation period as the Lamb of God takes ownership of the planet. That culminates when He defeats the kings of the earth at the Battle of Armageddon. That is a reference to Psalm 2:9.

 

NKJ Psalm 2:9 You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them to pieces like a potter's vessel.' "

 

We studied that same thing in reference to believers in Revelation chapter 2. The reign of Christ in the millennium is characterized as this rod of iron reign even though it is perfect environment.  That means that the climate is going to be great. It isn't going to be too humid. It isn't going to be too cold. No ice storms. No floods. None of that. It will be perfect government and recognition of establishment principles. No nation will be legitimizing homosexual marriage and any of those other things that are going on today. It will be perfect government, perfect administration, perfect judicial system, perfect legislation, and perfect everything. One thing won't be perfect. All the babies born in the millennium will have old sin natures. Sin natures have to be controlled. So there will be a rule of iron because you still have to control the total depravity of the human race. 

 

That is one of the lessons of the Millennial Kingdom. It's not the environment. It's not the education system. It's not the legislature. It's not the fact that Democrats are in office or that the Republicans are in office. It's not the fact that there is a monarchy or communism. The problem is man. Every man has an old sin nature. That is the problem.  It is not the environment.  We all want to blame the environment. That has been true ever since the Garden of Eden. The whole period of the Millennial Kingdom is characterize in chapter 2 as a rod of iron government but it begins when Jesus Christ returns to crush the opposition, the kings of the nations, at the end of the tribulation. That gives us our context.

 

This is a written decree that gives ownership to the Lord Jesus Christ of planet earth. He takes ownership when? At the Second Coming. Did He take ownership at the First Coming?  No. Did He inaugurate the kingdom at the First Coming? No. What happened at the First Coming? He offered the kingdom. It was rejected so it was postponed. This is foundational for understanding what is going on here. 

 

NKJ Hebrews 1:6 But when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says: "Let all the angels of God worship Him."

 

The basic point to get the summary of the importance of the verse is that the angels are going to worship the Lord Jesus Christ. That means the Lord Jesus Christ is superior to angels. Don't lose sight of that. That is where his argument is going. There are some interesting things that are going on here because of this particular quote. Hebrew 1:6 quotes from the Old Testament that all the angels will worship him.

 

There is some disagreement on how to understand this and how to interpret it. The first major issue is how you understand this little word "again." It is always the little words that are important in understanding a passage. I have so much fun when I come to a passage like this.  It has certain interpretive problems and you have got to figure out what these things mean and what their significance is. You don't just play a guessing game. You don't just come along and say as a pastor-theologian that you like a certain option best. That is what a lot of guys do. It makes sense to them. That is a post-modern response. No, you have to go in and you have to do a lot of investigation. Now what we have seen in verse 5 is that you have two citations from the Old Testament. Basically what the writer is saying is, "This here and again this here." The again in this verse adds another quotation to the first quotation. Got it? So he adds one thing to what he already said. 

 

When we come to verse 6 is he using "again" in the same way? In other words is it saying, "And when he again says." "Says" would be understood from the context. It would be ellipsized. That means it is left out of the context. Is he just adding a third quote to the list? Or does the word "again" modify the verb? That would mean, "But when he brings again the first born into the world". That would be Second Advent. If you take it the other way the idea would be his First Advent when all the angels sang at the birth of the Lord. So what is it? First Coming or Second Coming? 

 

There are reasons to analyze this. We don't want to make an educated guess at this. So here are the options. Does again indicate the First Advent or the Second Advent? 

  1. Does it connect to an elipsized verb "to say" as in verse 5b?
  2. Does it connect to the verb to "bring"?

 

Is it "And it says again" or is it "But when He comes again?"

 

So are you talking First Advent or Second Advent? There is a big difference. It opens up the interpretation of the whole passage. How do we resolve this? There are several different things you have to investigate when you go through this.  First of all we should notice that in verse 5 "again" is used (the Greek word is palin) in an introductory formula. But in the Greek of verse 6 it is linked with a conjunction and a temporal particle hotan meaning at that time, whenever or when. It has the opening conjunction but. In the Greek you have a strong adversative conjunction alla. It is clearly translated but. It shows a contrast. You have another conjunction de. This can indicate ongoing development "and" or a contrast as in "but". Now the translator has to make a decision. Is he saying "and" in a continuation of the same thought or is he offering a new or additional thought or is there some sort of contrast going on here. The way you figure that out is to look at how the author tends to use the word. 

 

NKJ Hebrews 1:13 But to which of the angels has He ever said: "Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool"?

 

The "but" here is the Greek word de. It is the same word we have in verse 6. That shows that the writer has a preference of using that particle to refer to contrast and not a continuation. So, you have to analyze the author's writing style. 

 

The second thing that reinforces this is the verb itself. That is the verb "brings." That is the aorist active subjunctive mood of the Greek verb eisago. It means to bring or to lead something into something else. It means to bring it from one place to another. He brings the First Born from one place into the world. The aorist is a constantive aorist. That simply views the act as a whole. It doesn't make a distinction as to its beginning, its progress, its end, its result or the manner of the action. It is simply a summary of past action. But the subjunctive mood is very important to understand because the subjunctive mood is used in clauses like this to indicate a future action. If it was the First Advent it would be past action. But this is subjunctive mood. "De" indicates a contrast as the stylistic preference of the author. The aorist subjunctive in a temporal clause indicates a future event. 

 

Third we have the word 'world' here. He brings the first born into the world. The Greek word for world is oikodomeo. It is related to the word for house and dwelling. It has to do with looking at the world as a place that is inhabited. Now it is used again in chapter 2:5.

 

NKJ Hebrews 2:5 For He has not put the world to come, of which we speak, in subjection to angels.

 

The verb to come is future. So, we have a future tense. 

 

A fourth reason has to do with the quote itself. This is where it really gets interesting. Sometimes I love a good investigation. It's a lot of fun. The quote comes out of the Old Testament. It corresponds to a verse that is not found in the Hebrew Masoretic text (It is the basis for our translations of the Old Testament.) but it is found in the LXX of Deut 32:43. It is added at the beginning of the verse. It pops out of nowhere.  There are two clauses there that are not in the Masoretic text. The writer of Hebrews quotes from the LXX all the time. He is not quoting the Masoretic text. This is the text that everybody used. The apostles used the Greek translation of the Old Testament. So he quotes Deut 32:43. It is the song of Moses. It is prophetic. It is one of the most frequently quoted sections and familiar passages of the Old Testament in the New Testament.

 

If you were a Jew you understood Deut 32 as a challenge of Israel to obey God. But there is a prophetic element here that they would fall by the wayside and eventually return to God and God would restore them. Now the question is if you look at your Bible I would bet that when you look at the little letter "a" at the end of the quote and you look at the middle column for the cross-reference, it says Psalm 97:7. I bet most of them say that. You may scratch your head and ask where Deut 32:43 comes from. What was interesting as I came through this is that when I looked at commentaries that are written by a-mills (He doesn't believe in a literal millennium. He believes that Christ will return but not to establish the kingdom because we are already in the kingdom. You knew that. You saw it in the news with all the crime! That is right. We are not in the millennium.) they consistently go to Deut 32:43 as their basis because the context in their view is not clearly the Second Coming and millennial. But Psalm 97 is an enthronement psalm.  Most of the psalms in the 90's are enthronement psalms. They praise and prophesize the Davidic king, the Messiah on the throne of Israel. Is this the king of a spiritual kingdom or a literal kingdom? A literal kingdom. So they don't want to go to Psalm 97. So they go to Deut 32:43 and they may be right. So we have to make a decision. Is this from Psalm 97 or Deut 32? 

 

Now Deut 32:43 is the first line in the Greek. The second line is the transliteration of the phrase as it's found in Hebrews 1:5. Notice that they are identical - the same form of the verb. The verb ends with osan. The same word and the same word order, except for the word angels. But, who are the sons of God in the Old Testament? The angels. He substitutes angellos for the sons of God for bene ha elohim when it is brought over into Hebrews 1:5. But when you look at Psalm 97 verb here it doesn't have the same ending. It is an "ate" ending indicating an aorist imperative. So it is not a direct quote. On the surface looks like it is a direct quote out of the LXX of Deut 32:43 

 

Let's go back to Deut 32 for just a minute. You see that you can't understand the New Testament unless you understand the Old Testament. The Jews that were reading Hebrews were thoroughly conversant in Deut 32. This is a crucial passage in the Old Testament.

 

In verse one Moses calls upon the heavens and the earth as witnesses to this contract that God has made between Himself and Israel and the outworking of the provisions.

 

NKJ Deuteronomy 32:1 "Give ear, O heavens, and I will speak; And hear, O earth, the words of my mouth.

 

He isn't talking about the heavens and the earth or about immaterial bodies in space. He is talking about the angels and all mankind - the inhabitants of heaven and the inhabitants of earth. These are the witnesses. In fact Deut 32 is written according to what is called in the Hebrew the riv format. That is basically a prosecutor's document. It is a lawsuit against Israel.  Moses is presenting this case against Israel based on a contract dispute between God and Israel. That is the basic thing that is going on here. He warns Israel that if they don't fulfill the conditions of the Mosaic Law then there is something called the five cycles of discipline and they will be kicked out of the land not enjoy the blessing. Eventually they will return and God will defeat all of their enemies and bring them back into the land. 

 

NKJ Deuteronomy 32:36 "For the LORD will judge His people And have compassion on His servants, When He sees that their power is gone, And there is no one remaining, bond or free.

 

That is a restoration at the end of a lengthy period of apostasy when they are out of the land.

 

NKJ Deuteronomy 32:37 He will say: 'Where are their gods, The rock in which they sought refuge?

 

Where are the gods that Israel has been chasing after for all of these years?

 

NKJ Deuteronomy 32:38 Who ate the fat of their sacrifices, And drank the wine of their drink offering? Let them rise and help you, And be your refuge.

 

NKJ Deuteronomy 32:39 'Now see that I, even I, am He, And there is no God besides Me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; Nor is there any who can deliver from My hand.

 

He is telling them to finally recognize that He is the only God. 

 

NKJ Deuteronomy 32:40 For I raise My hand to heaven, And say, "As I live forever,

 

NKJ Deuteronomy 32:41 If I whet My glittering sword, And My hand takes hold on judgment, I will render vengeance to My enemies, And repay those who hate Me.

 

What is coming out of Jesus' mouth in Revelation? A sword. 

 

My enemies are the enemies of Israel.

 

NKJ Deuteronomy 32:42 I will make My arrows drunk with blood, And My sword shall devour flesh, With the blood of the slain and the captives, From the heads of the leaders of the enemy." '

 

What does that remind you of? What event do you think is being described in these verses? It is the Battle of Armageddon. This is the same event referred to in Psalm 2 when the kings of the earth gather together and conspire against the Lord and He comes and destroys them.

 

NKJ Deuteronomy 32:43 "Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people; For He will avenge the blood of His servants, And render vengeance to His adversaries; He will provide atonement for His land and His people."

 

Before you get to the first phrase in the LXX it says "Worship Him all you angels". 

 

This seem to makes sense to me. Why? Because at the beginning of the chapter, it says to give an ear. Who are the witnesses? They are the inhabitants of the heaven and the inhabitants of the earth. So now when we get to the end and you have this reaching its culmination it says to worship. So it seems to fit. The point I want to make is that this is talking about an event that occurs when? At the First Coming or Second Coming? The Second Coming. So if you are a-millennialist and you think you can go to Deut 32 and get support of your view that this is First Coming, you can't. This is Second Coming terminology.

 

Now turn with me to Ps 97

 

As I said earlier it is an enthronement psalm. The one being enthroned or put on the throne of David is the Messiah. This is written in praise of that future event. It is written as if it has already occurred, but it hasn't.

 

NKJ Psalm 97:1 The LORD reigns; Let the earth rejoice; Let the multitude of isles be glad!

 

This is when the Messiah has come and established His rule. 

 

The islands were always the Gentile nations.

 

NKJ Psalm 97:2 Clouds and darkness surround Him; Righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne.

 

NKJ Psalm 97:3 A fire goes before Him, And burns up His enemies round about.

 

What does that image remind you of? Second coming and the destruction of the unbelievers in the armies of the anti-Christ.

 

NKJ Psalm 97:4 His lightnings light the world; The earth sees and trembles.

 

NKJ Psalm 97:5 The mountains melt like wax at the presence of the LORD, At the presence of the Lord of the whole earth.

 

NKJ Psalm 97:6 The heavens declare His righteousness, And all the peoples see His glory.

 

NKJ Psalm 97:7 Let all be put to shame who serve carved images, Who boast of idols. Worship Him, all you gods.

 

Didn't we just get through dealing with the problem of idolatry in Deut 32 leading up to verse 43?  Do you see any similarities?

 

There is a command there. The word for gods in the Hebrew is elohim. It is a generic term for god or gods. It should be interpreted as supernatural powers. Not gods or deities per say. We would refer to them as angels. That is how the LXX translates Psalm 97:7. "Worship Him all you angels." So whether the background of Hebrews1:6 is Deut 32 or Psalm 97, (It could be either one.), the writer under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit can pick up either one. What do both of these phrases refer in their original context to the First Coming or the Second Coming? The Second Coming. So we have several reasons now why this refers to the Second Coming. The use of the contrastive de at the beginning indicates a contrast. The aorist subjunctive indicates future tense. The word oikodomeo is used in context to refer to a future event. And then the quotation of Deut 32:43or Ps 97:7 can also refer to a future event. 

 

What is the context then?

 

NKJ Hebrews 1:6 But when He brings again the firstborn into the world, He says: "Let all the angels of God worship Him."

 

So this is Second Coming. This is not talking about the angels worshipping Jesus at His birth. It is talking about the angels worshipping Him as the returning Son of David to establish the kingdom at the Second Advent. This is the same kind of thing that we see throughout the Scripture. The angels recognized Christ's authority and that His authority is greater than theirs. There are a couple of other verses that indicate that. 

 

NKJ John 5:23 "that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.

 

The same honor is due both the Son and the Father. The angels worship them both because they are both undiminished deity.

 

 Another reference would be Rev 5:6 and following where we see the worship of Christ because He is worthy to open the scroll and because of what He did on the cross. 

 

Now let's get into the verse itself. 

 

NKJ Hebrews 1:6 But when He brings again the firstborn into the world, He says: "Let all the angels of God worship Him."

 

That word for first born is the Greek word prototokos meaning first born.  It is used of Jesus in several passages including Matt 1:25, Luke 2:7, Hebrews 11:28, Romans 8:29, Col 1:15, 18, Heb 1:6, and Rev 1:5. So this is a title that refers to Jesus. We have a little difficulty understanding this because in our thinking first born means first in time as if there is a temporal progression. He was the first one born. The idea of birth indicates there was a time when Jesus wasn't. That was called Arianism. It was a heresy that was condemned at the Council of Nicea. There was no time when Jesus was not. He always has been. Prototokos doesn't mean simply first in birth order. It has to do with the special status of the first-born. There is the second meaning. It pertains to having a special status associated with being the first-born. You could actually be the second born but because of various reasons you could supplant the first-born in time and have the double blessing go to you. The term is used that way of Jesus Christ as the first born of His humanity in terms of resurrection. It is used in an absolute sense of Jesus Christ as first-born. A better word for you to use is pre-imminent one. That's the idea here. That He is the pre-imminent one. Now we see this applied to Jesus in 5 basic passages. The other passages list Him as first-born in terms of resurrection.

 

  1. To us the term first-born indicates order of birth or origin but in the Bible this term often relates to priority or rank rather than chronological order.  Who is the most significant?  He is the first-born. He may not be the first-born in time but He is the pre-imminent one. 
  2. It is used that way in several passages related to Jesus.
    1.  NKJ Romans 8:29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.

 

It refers to His pre-imminence in relationship to His work on the cross.

 

  1. NKJ Colossians 1:15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.
  2. NKJ Colossians 1:18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.

 

There it is resurrection as in the first fruits.

 

  1. NKJ Revelation 1:5 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood,

 

This is also first fruits.

 

  1. NKJ Hebrews 1:6 But when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says: "Let all the angels of God worship Him."

 

  1. In Jewish culture they practiced the law of primogeniture. We all know what that is. It meant that the first-born male child gets the double blessing of the inheritance. He is the one that the line goes through. But in Jewish culture the oldest son could fall out of favor with the father and be replaced by a younger brother. So the younger brother becomes the first-born even though he is not the first one in chronological order. That is the principle of the older serving the younger. We see this principle throughout the Old Testament.  Ishmael served Isaac. Esau served Jacob. Reuben served Joseph. Manasseh served Ephraim. Aaron served Moses. In each of these cases the older served the younger. The Gentiles serve Israel. Ex 4:2. Adonijah served Solomon the Younger I Kings 1:5ff
  2. When the younger son was elevated he is now known as the first-born. That is his title, his rank. 
  3. So the term of first-born of Christ is His Deity as the pre-immanent one, the eternal Son.  And secondly it relates to His humanity in resurrection. So it is applied to Him in two ways. Absolutely in terms of deity and relatively in terms of His humanity in His resurrection. Acts 13:33, Ps 2:7
  4. In conclusion Christ is the first-born because He deserves the preferential share in honor and inheritance. He gets the double blessing. That is why He is elevated to the right had of God the Father.

 

The significance of the term here is related to His inherited right over the angels

 

NKJ Hebrews 1:4 having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.

 

NKJ Hebrews 1:6 But when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says: "Let all the angels of God worship Him."

 

 That is when He received His inheritance, at the Second Coming. 

 

The indication is that the Son is superior to the angels. And then they are to worship Him. The word for worship is the Greek verb proskuneo in the aorist active imperative form. It means to express an attitude or gesture, one's complete dependence on or submission to a high authority figure. It means to bow down to the king. Literally proskuneo means to bend the knee, to bow down in submission, to subordinate your will to someone else's will. It is not raising your hands. It is not speaking in tongues. It's not singing praises. It is a mental attitude of subordination that you are putting yourself under authority of someone who is higher. That is what worship is. It means to put yourself in an obedient position to the Lord. The highest form of worship is studying the Word where you say, "I am going to listen to the words and let God tell me how to think. I will change that way I think so I can bring my thinking into conformity with that of God the Father." 

 

So Jesus Christ will be brought into the inhabited world and at that time God the Father tells the angels to bow down in subordination to Him. 

 

NKJ Hebrews 1:7 And of the angels He says: "Who makes His angels spirits And His ministers a flame of fire."

 

In this particular verse we have a quote from Ps 104:4. This is our fourth Old Testament quotation in Hebrews.

 

NKJ Psalm 104:4 Who makes His angels spirits, His ministers a flame of fire.

 

That is the New King James translation. 

 

The LXX reads.

 

Who makes his angels, spirits; and his servants flames of fire.

 

The Masoretic text reads.

 

Who makes his angels winds, His servants devouring flames.

 

You see that same idea. This indicates something about the character of angels. They are spirit beings. They look like flames or light. The key word here is the word "makes". What does that indicate? That indicates that the angels are creatures. But Jesus Christ isn't a creature. He is eternal. 

 

The writer quotes this verse because it indicates angels are creatures and the creatures are always subordinate to the creator. 

 

NKJ Psalm 104:1 Bless the LORD, O my soul! O LORD my God, You are very great: You are clothed with honor and majesty,

 

NKJ Psalm 104:2 Who cover Yourself with light as with a garment, Who stretch out the heavens like a curtain.

 

Notice the idea of being the creator.

 

NKJ Psalm 104:3 He lays the beams of His upper chambers in the waters, Who makes the clouds His chariot, Who walks on the wings of the wind,

 

When we get into Hebrews 1:7 the emphasis is on angels as creatures. This will be contrasted to the Son in verse 8 who is seen as the Davidic King who sits on the righteous throne. There we have two more quotes from Ps 45 and Is 61.

 

We will come back and address those next time.