Summary: The central theme of this passage is the term Son and all that it encompasses as a category, an identity, and a role. Two primary assertions are made: first, God has now spoken by One who is indeed, Son. Secondly, this absolutely unique Son has taken his rightful place at the right hand of God, that is, the very seat of supreme authority. The whole compass of the Son's essence, his work, his role, his position, his title all help explain that this 'final' revelation of the Father is a perfect and ultimate revelation. The superiority of the Son is put in particular contrast to angels. That he was, for a time, made lower than the angels will be taken up in chapter 2. Anticipating that point, the author here builds his case with three clear sets of contrasts, each depending fully on the proper exegesis of various OT passages. The first set (v.5-6) contrasts God's direct address to the Son with his instruction to the angels. To the former the Father says, "you are my Son." The OT contexts are a psalm for the enthronement of a king (Psalm 2) and the Davidic covenant (2 Samuel 7). Both refer to the coronation of a king and the Lord's resounding affirmation. In Acts 13:30-33, Paul quotes this same phrase from Psalm 2, "...today I have begotten you" as a direct reference to Christ's resurrection (and subsequent ascension /enthronement). The author of Hebrews likewise connects these passages to Christ's exaltation, where he is given a name above every name (Philippians 2:9-11). God has never made any such proclamation to an angel. He has, however commanded angels to worship the Son. The second set (v.7-12) contrasts God's statements concerning the role of the angels and of the Son in relation to the created order. Angels are a part of creation and function within it, while the Son, as Creator, eternally reigns and rules over creation with joy and righteousness. The third and simplest set (v.13-14) presents a contrast of authority. The Son sits in the place of ultimate authority over the universe, the angels are but servants. Question: Does the adverbial participle of v.4 ( having become ) offer support (G) for v.3e, "he sat down..." or is it an entailment of .v3 (Ac-Res)? The primary verb of v.3 is the indicative, ἐκάθισεν, He sat down . The adverbial participles of v.3 ( being the radiance... upholding the universe... having made purification for sins... ) all lend support by describing the reason why "at the right hand of the Majesty on high" is Jesus' rightful place. Initially I thought of the participle in v.4 as likewise supporting the previous and central indicative. But that left the second major section of this chapter (v.5-14) as support for a secondary and somewhat obscure reference to Jesus inheriting a better name than the angels. However, in the overall flow of thought, especially into chapter two where the comparison to angels takes a decided turn to the practical and imperative, v.4 and the major work of OT exegesis in v.5-14 offered as support becomes far more prominent. As in Philippians 2:9-11, the enthronement and exaltation of Christ (v.3e) is God's declaration to the world that Jesus is Lord (v.4).
Πολυμερῶς καὶ πολυτρόπως πάλαι ὁ θεὸς λαλήσας τοῖς πατράσιν ἐν τοῖς προφήταις
Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets,
ἐπʼ ἐσχάτου τῶν ἡμερῶν τούτων ἐλάλησεν ἡμῖν ἐν υἱῷ,
but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son,
ὃν ἔθηκεν κληρονόμον πάντων,
whom he appointed the heir of all things,
διʼ οὗ καὶ ἐποίησεν τοὺς αἰῶνας•
through whom also he created the world.
ὃς ὢν ἀπαύγασμα τῆς δόξης
He is the radiance of the glory of God
καὶ χαρακτὴρ τῆς ὑποστάσεως αὐτοῦ,
and the exact imprint of his nature,
φέρων τε τὰ πάντα τῷ ῥήματι τῆς δυνάμεως αὐτοῦ,
and he upholds the universe by the word of his power.
καθαρισμὸν τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν ποιησάμενος
After making purification for sins,
ἐκάθισεν ἐν δεξιᾷ τῆς μεγαλωσύνης ἐν ὑψηλοῖς,
he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high ,
τοσούτῳ κρείττων γενόμενος τῶν ἀγγέλων
having become as much superior to angels
ὅσῳ διαφορώτερον παρʼ αὐτοὺς κεκληρονόμηκεν ὄνομα.
as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.
Τίνι γὰρ εἶπέν ποτε τῶν ἀγγέλων• υἱός μου εἶ σύ,
For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my Son,
ἐγὼ σήμερον γεγέννηκά σε;
today I have begotten you”?
καὶ πάλιν• ἐγὼ ἔσομαι αὐτῷ εἰς πατέρα,
Or again, “I will be to him a father,
καὶ αὐτὸς ἔσται μοι εἰς υἱόν;
and he shall be to me a son”?
ὅταν δὲ πάλιν εἰσαγάγῃ τὸν πρωτότοκον εἰς τὴν οἰκουμένην,
And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world,
λέγει• καὶ προσκυνησάτωσαν αὐτῷ πάντες ἄγγελοι θεοῦ.
he says, “Let all God’s angels worship him.”
καὶ πρὸς μὲν τοὺς ἀγγέλους λέγει• ὁ ποιῶν τοὺς ἀγγέλους αὐτοῦ πνεύματα
Of the angels he says, “He makes his angels winds,
καὶ τοὺς λειτουργοὺς αὐτοῦ πυρὸς φλόγα,
and his ministers a flame of fire.”
πρὸς δὲ τὸν υἱόν• ὁ θρόνος σου ὁ θεὸς εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα τοῦ αἰῶνος,
But of the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever,
καὶ ἡ ῥάβδος τῆς εὐθύτητος ῥάβδος τῆς βασιλείας σου.
the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom.
You have loved righteousness
καὶ ἐμίσησας ἀνομίαν•
and hated wickedness;
διὰ τοῦτο ἔχρισέν σε ὁ θεὸς ὁ θεός σου ἔλαιον ἀγαλλιάσεως παρὰ τοὺς μετόχους σου.
therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.”
καί• σὺ κατʼ ἀρχάς, κύριε, τὴν γῆν ἐθεμελίωσας,
And, “You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning,
καὶ ἔργα τῶν χειρῶν σού εἰσιν οἱ οὐρανοί•
and the heavens are the work of your hands;
they will perish,
σὺ δὲ διαμένεις,
but you remain;
καὶ πάντες ὡς ἱμάτιον παλαιωθήσονται,
they will all wear out like a garment,
καὶ ὡσεὶ περιβόλαιον ἑλίξεις αὐτούς,
like a robe you will roll them up,
ὡς ἱμάτιον καὶ ἀλλαγήσονται•
like a garment they will be changed.
σὺ δὲ ὁ αὐτὸς εἶ
But you are the same,
καὶ τὰ ἔτη σου οὐκ ἐκλείψουσιν.
and your years will have no end.”
πρὸς τίνα δὲ τῶν ἀγγέλων εἴρηκέν ποτε• κάθου ἐκ δεξιῶν μου,
And to which of the angels has he ever said, “Sit at my right hand
ἕως ἂν θῶ τοὺς ἐχθρούς σου ὑποπόδιον τῶν ποδῶν σου;
until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet”?
οὐχὶ πάντες εἰσὶν λειτουργικὰ πνεύματα εἰς διακονίαν ἀποστελλόμενα διὰ τοὺς μέλλοντας κληρονομεῖν σωτηρίαν;
Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?