Hebrews 1:6 — Commentary

10 Sep

And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says,

“Let all God’s angels worship him.”

So in verse 5 the idea was that Jesus is superior to the angels by virtue of His unique relationship to the Father as Son. Verse Six focuses goes one step further. Not only is Jesus distinct from the angels as Son of God, the angels themselves know this, because they all worship Jesus. The One worshiped is  greater than the one worshiping, therefore Jesus is superior to the angels.

The word ‘firstborn’ was frequently used in the LXX (130 times), mostly in genealogies and historical narratives, to indicate priority in time and sovereignty of rank. Often, ‘firstborn’ was used to speak of one who had a special place in his father’s love. So Israel is called ‘my beloved son’ (Ex. 4:22), a phrase that shows the close relation between God and Israel. So The idea of firstborn is a broad idea in the Bible. Of course, it often means the firstborn son in a family, who would carry on the family line. The firstborn received special privileges and a greater inheritance to insure that carrying on of the family line. So firstborn does not always refer to just the idea of a firstborn child in a family. And of course, Jesus, as God, was not the firstborn in the sense of being a created being. He is firstborn by virtue of His intimate relationship with the Father and the inheritance He receives by virtue of His redemptive work. God did not bring His firstborn into the world by creating Him. The phrase about bringing the firstborn into the world is a reference to the incarnation and the birth of Jesus. And we remember from Luke 2:13-14 that the angels worshiped Jesus, so we can see the fulfillment of this verse in the gospels.

This is the third in a series of quotations. The first was from Psalm 2:7, the second from 2 Samuel 7:14 and the third from Deuteronomy 32:43. Thus in the first three quotations there are quotes from the three sections of the Hebrew Bible: Wisdom, Prophets and Law. The author is showing us how the whole OT points to Jesus.

So in verse 5 Jesus is superior to the angels because He is the unique Son of God. And Jesus is superior to the angels in verse 6 because all the angels worship Him, and so the implication is that the One who is worshiped is superior to the ones who are worshiping.

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