Chapter One

Blaine Robison, M.A.

Published 28 March 2020; Revised 27 May 2023

Chap. 2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6  |  7  |  8  |  9  |  10  |  11  |  12  |  13 


Scripture Text: The Scripture text used in this commentary is prepared by Blaine Robison and based on the Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament. The essentially literal translation seeks to reflect the Jewish character of the author and writing. All other Scripture quotations are from the NASB Updated Edition (1995, NASU), unless otherwise indicated. Click here for Abbreviations of Bible Versions. Quotations marked with the initials "BR" indicate the translation of the commentary author.

Sources: Bibliographic data for works cited may be found at the end of the chapter commentary. Works without page numbers are cited ad loc. Important early Jewish sources include the following:

DSS: the Dead Sea Scrolls, a collection of Jewish manuscripts of Scripture and sectarian documents found in the Qumran caves. Most of the Qumran MSS belong to the last three centuries BC and the first century AD. Online DSS Bible.

LXX: The abbreviation "LXX" ("70") stands for the Septuagint, the Jewish translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek, in use among Jews by the mid-2nd century B.C. Online.

Josephus: The Works of Flavius Josephus (c. 75–99 A.D.), Jewish historian, trans. William Whiston (1737). Online.

Philo: Works by Philo Judaeus of Alexandria, the Jewish philosopher (20 B.C.─A.D. 50), consisting of 45 monographs. Online.

MT: The Masoretic Text is the authoritative Hebrew text of the Tanakh for Rabbinic Judaism. Work on developing a uniform Hebrew Bible began under Rabbi Akiva (2nd c. A.D.), but completed by scholars known as the Masoretes between the 7th and 10th centuries A.D. The oldest extant manuscripts date from the 9th century. Online.

Talmud: the Soncino Babylonian Talmud (1948); online at Halakhah.com. Click here for Talmud abbreviations.

Targums: Aramaic translation of Hebrew Scripture with commentary: Targum Onkelos (1st c. AD), and Targum Jonathan (2nd c. AD). Index of Targum texts.

Syntax: Unless otherwise noted the meaning of Greek words is from F.W. Danker, The Concise Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (2009), and the meaning of Hebrew words is from The New Brown, Driver, Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon (1981), abbreviated as "BDB;" online. See the Greek Guide for the meaning of grammar abbreviations. The numbering system of the Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible is identified with "SH" (Strong's Hebrew number) and "SG" (Strong's Greek number). Strong's Online. Parsing data for Greek words is from Bible Hub Interlinear Bible, 2004-2021, and Fritz Rienecker, A Linguistic Key to the Greek New Testament, 1980.

Terminology: In order to emphasize the Hebrew and Jewish nature of the entire Bible I use the terms Yeshua (Jesus), Messiah (Christ), Tanakh (Old Testament), Torah (Pentateuch, Law), ADONAI (for the sacred name in Tanakh verses), and Besekh (New Testament).

Please see the Introduction for background information on the letter. This commentary assumes that Paul the apostle wrote the letter in the Hebrew language and Luke translated it into Jewish Greek. See also the Study Questions prepared for personal and group use.

Chapter Overview

The letter to Messianic Jews begins with a declaration that sets forth the purpose and theme of the letter. This summary description of the Son of God is one of the most profound and important theological statements in the apostolic writings (cf. Col 1:15-20; 1Tim 3:16). The first four verses below are actually one sentence in Greek, but Bible versions treat each verse as a complete thought. Writing lengthy sentences that incorporate more than two verses is typical of Paul's letters.

The arbitrary division of the multi-layered opening sentence may cause the reader to miss the crescendo of praise designed to exalt the Son of God. The opening section provides a curriculum vitae of the Son of God consisting of eight declarations, that taken together affirm his superiority. Eight is a significant number, because while seven is considered to be symbolic of completion or perfection, the number eight (Heb. shemoneh) signifies fullness, and the fullness of God dwells in the Son (Eph 1:23; Col 1:19).

The next section, verses 5-14, amplifies how the Son of God is superior to angels. Seven passages in the Tanakh are quoted to validate this truth. This section introduces a basic method of asking rhetorical questions and making contrasts, a pattern that will continue to 10:18. The series of comparisons demonstrate that the attributes of the Son of God make him preeminent in relation to the angels.

Chapter Outline

The Revelation to Hebrews, 1:1-2a

The Exalted Son, 1:2b-4

The Firstborn Son, 1:5-7

The Enthroned Son, 1:8-9

The Eternal Son, 1:10-12

The Ruling Son, 1:13-14

The Revelation to Hebrews, 1:1-2a

1 God, having spoken long ago in many parts and in many ways to the fathers among the prophets,

The word order of the verse in Greek is "In many portions and in many ways long ago God having spoken to the fathers in the prophets," which imitates Hebrew syntax. Beginning with a statement about God imitates Genesis 1:1. God: Grk. ho theos, properly, God, the omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, Creator, owner and ruler of all things (Gen 1:1; John 1:1-3). In the LXX the singular theos translates Hebrew words for God, El (SH-410, over 200 times), Eloah (SH-433, 55 times) and Elohim (SH-430, over 2500 times), as well as the sacred name YHVH (SH-3068, over 300 times) and its abbreviation Yah (SH-3050, over 40 times) (DNTT 2:67-70).

In Hebrew thought the plural form of Elohim represents fullness, which excludes the possible existence of any other deity (Isa 44:6; 45:5-6; 46:9). Elohim translated by Theos also represents the full triunity of God (Father + Son + Spirit). God is a Person, not a philosophical construct for monotheism. He is particularly the God of the Hebrew patriarchs and Israel (Matt 22:32; Luke 1:68). This God may be the God of the Gentiles (Rom 3:29), but only if they accept the revelation that He is the God of Israel and join themselves to Israel. Only the God of Israel saves (Jer 16:19-20).

having spoken: Grk. laleō, aor. part., to make an oral statement and to exercise the faculty of speech; assert, proclaim, report, say, speak, talk about, utter. Paul affirms the divine verbal inspiration of Scripture. This verb has weighty emphasis throughout this letter (1:2; 2:2-3, 5; 3:5; 4:8; 5:5; 6:9; 7:14; 9:19; 11:4, 18; 12:24-25; 13:7). The assertion of God speaking precludes revelation being the result of human reasoning. long ago: Grk. palai, adv. in reference to time past, here much earlier than the present time of the author. Stern interprets "having spoken long ago" to mean when the Tanakh was being written.

However, God began speaking when He created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1; Ps 33:9). God's first words were "let there be light" (Gen 1:3), which is both literal and figurative for "let there be knowledge of Me." Then God began speaking to people, first to the man and woman He created in the Garden (Gen 1:28-29). As history unfolded God spoke to more people, whether to invite them into covenantal relationship, to confront them for their behavior, to give instructions for expected behavior, or to announce His sovereign plans for redemption.

God also spoke words He intended to be reduced to writing and He also intended that the record of His dealings with mankind and especially His covenant people be preserved for all time. Paul rightly pointed out that it was to the Jewish people to whom were entrusted the oracles of God (Rom 3:2). God entrusted His Word and all that it entails to the Hebrew-speaking people, not the Egyptians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Greeks, Romans, British or Americans. The Psalmist declared:

"19 He declares His words to Jacob, His statutes and His judgments to Israel. 20 He has not dealt thus with any nation; and His judgments, they have not known them. Praise ADONAI!" (Ps 147:19-20 BR)

in many parts: Grk. polumerōs, adv., in many parts, piecemeal, one at one time, another after another, and so on. The adverb occurs only here in the Besekh, but it does occur in Josephus (Ant. VIII, 3:9). The great majority of versions translate the adverb as "in many times," but the adverb does not have a specific temporal meaning as chronos or kairos. Rather the adverb alludes to the many authors of the Tanakh who sequentially over 4,000 years added their portion.

The piecemeal development is especially true of Genesis which Moses wrote compiling and editing the records from twelve sources (Gen 2:4; 5:1; 6:9; 10:1; 11:10, 27; 25:12, 19; 36:1, 9; 37:2; 50:22). The history of Joshua to Second Kings was written as events unfolded by at least eight men, each contributing their part. Then the works of the three major and twelve minor prophets were written by their respective authors in their times to complete the Tanakh.

and: Grk. kai, conj. that marks a connection or addition. Kai has three basic uses: (1) continuative – and, also, even; (2) adversative – and yet, but, however; (3) intensive – certainly, indeed, in fact, really, verily, yea. The first use applies here. In the LXX kai translates the vav (ו) character added to words for conjunctive effect. in many ways: Grk. polutropōs, adv., properly, many manners or avenues (HELPS), various ways (BAG). The adverb, which describes how God spoke, occurs only here in the Besekh, but it does occur in 4Macc 3:21; Philo (Life of Moses, Book 1 §117); and Josephus (Ant., X, 8:3).

The many ways by which the voice of God was heard by human beings include:

● direct audible speech, sometimes face-to-face in pre-incarnate form (Gen 1:28-30; 2:16-17; 3:9-13; 18:29; 1Kgs 19:13);

● indirect audible speech, such as out of the pillar of fire, out of a cloud, in the holy of holies (Ex 19:9; Num 7:89; Deut 29:13; Ps 99:7);

● visions (Gen 15:1; 46:2; Ex 24:9-11; 25:9, 40; 1Sam 3:15; 2Sam 7:17; 2Chr 9:29; 26:5; Isa 1:1; Ezek 11:24; Dan 8:1; Amos 1:1; Obad 1:1; Nah 1:1; Hab 2:2);

● dreams (Gen 20:3 28:12; 31:10f; 31:24; 37:5-10; 41:1; 1Kgs 3:5; Dan 2:1; 4:5; 7:1); and

● angelic visitation (Gen 19:15; 21:17; 31:11; 32:1; Jdg 13:9; 1Kgs 19:5; Dan 4:13-14; 8:16-17; 9:21-22).

● the recording of God's words on tablets and scrolls to be preserved for reading (Ex 24:4, 12; 31:18; 32:15, 32; Deut 4:13; 5:22; 9:10; 31:9; Josh 1:7-8; 8:32-35; Isa 8:20; Luke 24:44; Rom 3:19; Jas 4:5; 2Pet 1:21).

● the covenants God made with individual men, specifically Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Aaron and David, and the nation of Israel (Gen 6:18; 9:1-17; 12:1-3; 15:1-21; 17:1-22; 26:2-5, 23-24; 28:10-22; 35:9-12; Ex 19:5-6; Num 18:19-20; Deut 4:13; 2Sam 7:12-13; Jer 31:31-33; 32:36-40; 33:20-26; Ezek 34:25; Hos 6:7).

to the fathers: pl. of Grk. ho patēr, normally used of a male biological parent, someone who fulfilled the role of a father or an ancestor. In the LXX patēr translates ab (SH-1, "av"), father, with the same range of meaning (Gen 2:24) (DNTT 1:616f). Among Jews the "fathers" were generally considered to be the patriarchs: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob from whom the Israelites and Jews descended (Luke 1:55; John 7:22; Acts 3:13; 5:30; 7:2, 32). The term "father" was also a title of honor applied to a distinguished teacher, as one to whom pupils trace back the knowledge and training they have received, or one who served as a guide and mentor. Only consider that the Son of God was called "Everlasting Father" (Isa 9:6).

among: Grk. en, prep., generally used to mark position within, and may be translated "among, at, by, in, into, on, within." The following noun clarifies which "fathers" Paul means. the prophets: pl. of Grk. ho prophētēs, one who is gifted with the ability for interpretation or revelation transcending normal insight or awareness, i.e., a prophet. In the LXX prophētēs translates Heb. nabi (SH-5030), spokesman, speaker, or prophet; first in Genesis 20:7 where it is used of Abraham. In Scripture the term refers to one who spoke as a God appointed messenger, whether in foretelling (predicting or telling beforehand) or forth-telling (declaring a message to be heeded).

The record of the Tanakh indicates considerable variance in the activity and ministry of prophets. They were a diverse group with different personalities, vocations and manner of ministry. But, they all spoke for God under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (2Pet 11). The Hebrew prophets generally offered four types of messages: (1) allegation, naming sins and warning Israel and Judah of the sins that will lead to judgment; (2) judgment, announcing consequences in the form of disasters and foreign oppression; (3) instruction, teaching how to avoid wrath and turn back to God; and (4) future hope, promises of restoration and revival, including promises of Messiah.

The phrase "fathers among the prophets" probably points to specific men who received revelations from God concerning the Messiah, such as Abraham (Gen 15:4-5; 20:7; 22:17; Gal 3:16), Moses (Deut 18:18; Acts 3:22; 7:37), David (2Sam 7:12-16; Acts 1:16; Heb 11:32), Isaiah and other writers who were given prophecies of the Messiah. An important feature of the proclamation of the good news by the apostles was demonstrating the Yeshua fulfilled the predictions of the prophets (Acts 3:18, 21, 24; 10:43; 13:27; 24:14; 26:22; 28:23; Rom 1:2; 16:26; 1Pet 1:10).

2a at these last days has spoken to us by a Son,

at: Grk. epi, prep., with the root meaning of "upon," used primarily as a marker of position or location; and in composition may be translated 'at, by, near, on, upon, or over.' The preposition is used here to introduce a time reference. these: pl. of Grk. houtos, demonstrative pronoun signifying a person or thing set forth in narrative that precedes or follows it; this. last: Grk. eschatos, adj., coming at the end or after all others; end, last. The adjective is used here of time.

days: pl. of Grk. ho hēmera , day, used here to refer to an imprecise period, a timeframe for accomplishing the purposes of God. Bruce describes the opening phrase, "at these last days" as a Septuagintalism, since eschatou tōn hēmrōn translates the Heb. expression acharit hayamim, "the latter days," at least a dozen times in the Tanakh with significant prophetic emphasis (e.g. Gen 49:1; Deut 31:29; Isa 2:2; Ezek 38:16; Dan 10:14; Mic 4:1).

Indeed the "last days" is a concept in Jewish literature associated with the arrival of the Messiah and fulfillment of other prophesied events associated with the restoration of Israel. Rabbi David Qimhi, the Medieval Jewish commentator, said that "Everywhere that there is mention made of the last days, the days of the Messiah are intended" (Santala 48, citing Mikraoth Gedoloth on Isaiah 2:2). In the context of Genesis 49:1 Jacob prophesied to his son Judah,

"The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until Shiloh comes, and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples" (Gen 49:10 NASB).

The Aramaic Targums, Onkelos and Jonathan, recognized in "Shiloh" a cryptic but shorthand form of a personal name for the Messiah. In his commentary on Genesis Rashi, the Medieval Jewish commentator, declared concerning this passage: "Until Shiloh comes: This refers to the King Messiah, to whom the kingdom belongs." For the apostles the advent of Yeshua meant that the last days had begun (Matt 24:3; Acts 2:17).

has spoken: Grk. laleō, aor. See the previous verse. to us: Grk. hēmeis, pl. pronoun of the first person. The plural pronoun identifies the author with the letter recipients, descendants of Jacob. Before the first century with few exceptions God only gave revelations to members of the Hebrew people. by: Grk. en, prep. a Son: Grk. huios, a male offspring or descendant, whether by direct birth or by more remote ancestry. In the LXX huios translates Heb. ben (SH-1121), "son," "son of," which is used to: (1) identify direct paternity; (2) mean an ancestor; or (3) mean having the characteristics of.

The great majority of versions modify "Son" with the pronoun "His," even though the pronoun is not present. Several versions have "a Son" (CEB, DLNT, ISV, LEB, MJLT, MW, NABRE, NET, NRSV, TPT, RSV, TLV, YLT). Guthrie comments that the use of "a Son" rather than "his Son" is meant to show the superior means used compared to the other means mentioned. "He is certainly not saying that God has more than one Son" [sic]. Actually, Adam was the first son of God (Luke 3:38). Then God declared that the nation of Israel was His son (Ex 4:22; Isa 63:16; 64:8; Jer 31:9; Hos 11:1; 18:13).

However, Paul affirms that the God of creation (Gen 1:1) has a Son, not that God is the Son. Moreover, this is the Son who spoke "to us," the Hebrew people. Only consider that throughout the Tanakh the God who speaks to the people of Israel is ADONAI (Heb. YHVH, "the LORD"), and Yeshua identified himself with YHVH (John 8:58; 10:33). Unbelieving Jews typically object to the concept of God having a divine Son and can rightly claim that in Jewish culture of the first century "Son of God" had a very human meaning. Yet, there are verses in the Tanakh that mention God having a unique Son in a very personal sense:

"I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be a father to him and he will be a son to Me." (2Sam 7:12-14 NASU)

"6 I myself have installed my king on Tziyon, my holy mountain." … 11 Serve ADONAI with fear; rejoice, but with trembling. 12 Kiss the son, lest he be angry, and you perish along the way, when suddenly his anger blazes. How blessed are all who take refuge in him." (Ps 2:6, 11-12 CJB)

"Who has gone up to heaven and come down? Who has cupped the wind in the palms of his hands? Who has wrapped up the waters in his cloak? Who established all the ends of the earth? What is his name, and what is his son's name? Surely you know!" (Prov 30:4 CJB)

"For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace." (Isa 9:6 NASU)

For Jews during the first century "son of God" was used as a title for a human descendant of King David, the Messiah, who would establish the promised Kingdom. "Son of God" was a title of the Davidic king inasmuch as the king functioned as God's regent on earth and was vested with God's authority. This meaning is illustrated by Nathanael (John 1:49) and Martha (John 11:27) who called Yeshua "Son of God." Barclay observes that while the prophets were friends of God (cf. Jas 2:23), Yeshua was the Son (14).

The verbal phrase "spoken to us by a Son" alludes to the teaching of Yeshua, whom the Jewish citizens of Judea, Galilee, Perea and the Decapolis heard and is recorded in the apostolic narratives. Paul includes himself in the first person plural pronoun. Paul certainly knew Yeshua before his transformation and heard his teaching (2Cor 5:16), but then he repeatedly bore witness to the personal revelation of Yeshua received on the King's Highway (Acts 22:6-11; 26:12-19; Gal 1:13-16). Paul stresses the important point that the Father sent His Son to the land of Israel and spoke exclusively to the descendants of Jacob, not any other nation of the world.

Paul then proceeds to make eight significant declarations about the nature of the Son of God, two in the remainder of this verse, five in verse 3 and one in verse 4.

The Exalted Son, 1:2b-4

2b whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He created the worlds;

References: Psalm 2:7-8; Isaiah 9:6.

whom: Grk. hos, relative pronoun used to give significance to the mention of a person, thing, or piece of information that precedes; who, which, what, that. He appointed: Grk. tithēmi, aor., to place or set, here meaning to arrange for creation of a role or status, make or appoint. In the LXX tithēmi translates no less than 37 Hebrew equivalents in all sorts of connections, both literal of putting something in a place, and figurative of putting something into a category or a plan (DNTT 1:477). The appointment of the Son was from eternity past to eternity future and no human authority can remove him from that position.

heir: Grk. klēronomos (from klēros, "a lot," and nomos, "law") refers to that which is apportioned, an inheritor in a legal sense, heir. More frequently the word means to be a recipient of a share in something, with focus on experience of divine conferral of promised benefits. In the LXX klēronomos translates the participle of Heb. yarash (SH-3423), to take possession of, to inherit, dispossess (2Sam 14:7; Jer 8:10; Mic 1:15). The term is also found in Philo, On Dreams, 1.175, in which he provides an allegorical interpretation of Jacob's dream experience (Gen 28:12-15) and uses the term klēronomos to speak of the wise man as the "inheritor of all parts of the world."

Relevant to this context is that Yeshua likened himself to an heir in the parable of the vineyard (Matt 21:38; Mark 12:7; Luke 20:14). In the parable the heir is the son of the vineyard owner (God). The parable is drawn from Isaiah 5:1-2 and the vineyard represents the nation of Israel. of all things: pl. of Grk. pas, adj., comprehensive in scope, but without statistical emphasis; all, every. Elsewhere Paul uses "all things" to refer to what was created in the heavens and upon the earth (1Cor 8:6; Eph 3:9; Col 1:16; cf. Ps 103:19).

In the LXX pas translates Heb. kol (SH-3605), every, all, the whole, first in Genesis 1:21. The promise of Messianic inheritance was first given to Abraham when he was promised an heir from his own body (Gen 15:4). In Galatians 3 Paul declares that the promise given to Abraham in Genesis 15:4-5 points to the Messiah: "Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his Seed. It says not, "and to seeds," as of many, but as of one, "and to your Seed," who is Messiah" (Gal 3:16 BR). In regard to inheritance Abraham's "Seed" (Messiah) will possess the gates of his enemies (Gen 22:17; cf. Matt 16:18).

Chrysostom comments that the phrase "heir of all things" declares two things: "His proper sonship and His indefeasible [not forfeitable] sovereignty; 'heir of all,' that is, of all the world." The declaration here probably alludes to the revelation declared by David:

"I will declare to you the decree: ADONAI has said to me, 'You are my son; today I have begotten you. 8 Ask of Me, and I will give You the nations for Your inheritance, and the ends of the earth as Your possession." (Ps 2:7-8 BR)

In Hebrew culture the right of inheritance normally belonged to the firstborn (Deut 21:17), although God made an exception several times with Seth, Shem, Isaac, Jacob, Judah, and David, who were all younger sons. In the Messianic line only Abraham and Yeshua were firstborn sons in lists where brothers are mentioned! Thus this right of being "heir" is extended to the divine Son who is "the firstborn of all creation" (Col 1:15). Paul presented this truth in his letter to the congregation in Rome: "For not through legalism was the promise to Abraham or to his Seed that he should be heir of the world, but through righteousness of faithfulness" (Rom 4:13 BR).

through: Grk. dia, prep. used as a prefix to a statement, which may express (1) instrumentality; through, by means of; or (2) causality; on account of, because of. The first usage applies here. whom: Grk. hos. also: Grk. kai, conj. He created: Grk. poieō, aor., a verb of physical action, used here meaning to produce something material or bring something into existence; lit. "made." In the LXX poieō translates two verbs: (1) Heb. bara' (SH-1254), to shape or create (first in Gen 1:1); used always of the creation activity of ADONAI; and (2) Heb. asah (SH-6213), accomplish, do, make, work (first in Gen 1:7); used of a wide range of human and divine activity (DNTT 3:1153).

Outside of this verse the verb poieō is only used in the Besekh of God's creative work four times (Matt 19:4; Mark 10:6; Luke 11:40; John 4:46). The usual word to denote "create" is ktizō (to build, create, shape), which Paul uses several times (Rom 1:25; 1Cor 11:9; Eph 3:9; 4:24; Col 1:16; 3:10; 1Tim 4:3). The choice of poieō is clearly intended to imitate the LXX use of the same verb in the Genesis account of creation (Gen 1:1, 7, 11, 12, 16, 21, 25, 26, 27, 31).

Stern points out that God creating through an intermediary, as declared in John 1:1, is not an idea alien to Judaism. Indeed, the Aramaic Targums present the Memra (lit. "Word") as the intermediary for God. Daniel Boyarin, an orthodox Jewish professor at the University of California-Berkley, explains that in the Targums the Memra was not a mere name, but an actual divine entity functioning as mediator. He lists nine examples from the Targums that suggest the Memra has many of the same roles of the Logos of John (JANT 547). See my commentary on John 1:1. Because the Son (Yeshua) was the agent of creation, then he is the rightful heir to rule over that creation in the fullness of time (Eph 1:10).

the universe: Grk. tous aiōnas, pl. of Grk. ho aiōn, properly, an age or era ("time-span"), characterized by a specific quality or type of existence (HELPS). Lexicons recognize a second category of meaning of the noun: a spatial concept, the world or the universe, i.e. the aggregate of things contained in time (Thayer). Most scholars accept this meaning as applicable in this instance. This usage of the plural aiōnas is confirmed by its repetition in 11:3 where the verse qualifies the creative act as being by the "word of God" and "what is seen was not made out of things which are visible," in other words ex nihilo ("out of nothing," Gen 1:3; Ps 33:9; Rom 4:17).

In the LXX aiōn translates Heb. ōlam (SH-5769; BDB 761), "long duration, antiquity or futurity," first in Genesis 3:22. ABP translates aiōn in the LXX as "eon." Olam is also used adverbially to mean "for ever, for all time," (Gen 9:12), as well as ancient time (Gen 6:4; 49:26), and indefinite futurity (Deut 15:17). In the Tanakh olam never means "the material universe." Time is an integral component of the triune universe that God created (Gen 1:1). The Hebrew term ōlam is generally concerned with the duration of time in relation to something specific, and frequently conveys eternity or lasting forever (DNTT 3:827).

Joachim Guhrt clarifies, "it is only in late Judaism at the turn of the era and in the apocalyptic of the first century A.D. that one finds a quite new use of olam, which exhibits a spatial significance as well as a temporal one" ("Time," DNTT 3:829). For example, in Wisdom 13:9 and 18:4 the singular aiōn is translated as "world." In those verses aiōn does not mean the "heavens and the earth." Rather, "world" means the inhabitants of the earth existing in a certain time period. The Wisdom of Solomon is a Hellenistic book dated in the latter part of the first century B.C., which declares that "Wisdom," a personification of God's intermediary, "made the kosmos" (9:9; 11:17).

Jastrow in his dictionary of the Talmud gives the first meaning of olam as "nature, existence or world" (1052). By "world" he does not mean the "heavens and the earth" per se, but rather the existence of things, whether the mundane existence of this present world or the world as it will be hereafter in the days of the Messiah and after the resurrection. He cites passages from the Talmud as support (Avot 4:16; Pes. 50a; Ber. 51a; Sanh. 100a). Bruce concurs that the rabbinic use of olam/aiōn as "world" occurred after the beginning of the Christian era (4).

Fruchtenbaum says the assertion "made the worlds," "points to the Messiah as being the beginning point of the universe, the beginning point of history. He is the beginning of all things" (19). Dr. Henry Morris, the creation scientist, comments that while aiōn normally means "ages," its use here "embraces the idea of time as well as space and matter, thus beautifully reflecting the scientific concept of the universe as a space/matter/time continuum" (DSB 1364). Many versions translate the plural noun as "universe" (AMP, CEV, CJB, CSB, GNB, GW, ISV, NABRE, NOG, NCB, NIV, NLT, TLV).

Some versions translate aiōnas as "worlds" (KJV, NKJV, NRSV), but this may be misleading since "worlds" can mean planetary bodies. It's important to note that Paul does not say God through the Son created the heavens and the earth as he does in verse 10 below. He also does not use kosmos, the most common term in the Besekh for that which God created, and which he will use later in 4:3 and 9:26. Donald Guthrie comments that aiōn is more comprehensive than kosmos, including within it the periods of time through which the created order exists (65). By using the plural aiōnas as the object of the act of creation Paul is "Semitizing," that is, conveying a Hebrew idea asserted in Genesis 1. His point is that the very existence of things was accomplished through the Son.

3 who being the reflection of the glory and the exact representation of His nature; likewise upholding all things by the word of His power, having made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,

Reference: Psalm 110:1

who: Grk. hos, relative pronoun. See the previous verse. being: Grk. eimi, pres. part., to be, a function word used primarily to declare a state of existence, whether in the past ('was, were'), present ('are, is') or future ('will be'), often to unite a subject and predicate (BAG). Bruce notes that the piling up of participial clauses embodying declarations about God as in this verse was characteristic of the liturgical style of the synagogue.

the reflection: Grk. apaugasma, brightness coming from a source; whether in the active sense of radiance or brilliance or the passive sense of reflection. Most versions favor the former, but some the latter (GW, ISV, NOG, NRSV, NTE). The noun denotes an important attribute that distinguishes the Son from the Godhead. The noun occurs only here in the Besekh. The noun is not found in Classical Greek literature, nor the Greek Tanakh, but it is found in the Apocrypha (Wis. 7:26) and Philo (On the Creation §LI.146; On Noah's Work as Planter §XII.50; Special Laws 4 §XXIV.124).

of the glory: Grk. doxa in biblical usage serves as a translation in the LXX of the Hebrew kabôd (SH-3519), splendor or brightness, which conveys the majesty of that which belongs to God, to the Messiah or to angels. Kabôd (pronounced "kah-vohd") is particularly used to refer to the luminous manifestation of God's person, His glorious revelation of Himself (Ex 24:16-17). In the Besekh doxa is a continuation of the Hebrew concept (DNTT 2:45). Thus, the Son perfectly reflects the majesty of God. The CJB and OJB translate doxa here as sh'khinah.

Shekhinah does not occur in the Tanakh at all, but does occur frequently in the Targums and the Talmud to mean "the glorious presence of God," particularly in reference to the glory cloud that led the people out of Egypt and through the wilderness (Ex 16:10), and filled the Holy Place of the Tabernacle (Ex 29:43; 40:34) and later the Temple (2Kgs 8:11). When Moses asked to see the glory of God (Ex 33:18), he was shown the Shekhinah. The term is also used frequently in Jewish writings as a euphemism for the name of God. (See the article Shekinah, Jewish Encyclopedia.)

Relevant to this description of the Son is that in Romans 6:4 Paul says that Yeshua was resurrected from death "through the glory of the Father," which must be an allusion to the Shekinah or the Holy Spirit. Yeshua is not the Glory, but the reflection of the Glory. Of historical significance is that the Shekhinah, the glory of God, had departed the Holy of Holies on Nisan 15 of A.D. 30, signaled by the tearing of the Temple veil at the death of Yeshua on the cross (Matt 27:51).

God no longer abode in the Temple as He had for centuries in the tabernacle. According to the Talmud the glory of God left the Temple forty years prior to its destruction. Four signs occurred to show evidence of this: (1) the lot for selecting priests did not come up in the right hand; (2) the westernmost light of the menorah refused to burn continually; (3) the doors of the Temple would open of themselves; and (4) the red wool no longer turned white supernaturally (Yoma 39b).

The phrase "the reflection of the glory" may also allude the biblical revelation that God dwells in unapproachable light (1Tim 6:16), which Paul would know since he was caught up to the third heaven (2Cor 12:2). Ezekiel reported being caught up to heaven and seeing the figure of a man on a throne, attended by many cherubim, who glowed like fire, surrounded by a rainbow and his appearance was the likeness of the glory (kabôd) of ADONAI (Heb. YHVH) (Ezek 1:28). Yeshua also referred to this heavenly glory in his high priestly prayer:

"And now, You, Father, glorify me with Yourself, the glory that I had with You before the universe existed." (John 17:5 BR)

In a Shabbat drash (01Feb20) Wolkenfeld likened this description of the Son to a solar flare. Solar flares ARE the sun with the same thermonuclear reaction happening. The texture seen on the sun's surface are the edges of magnetic loops. Some break out in flares, the magnetic field and magnetic lines projecting out. The "radiance of glory," also called "effulgence," is God extending or projecting out. This divine effulgence enlightens all, convicts all of sinfulness and redeems all.

and: Grk. kai, conj. See verse 1 above. the exact representation: Grk. charaktēr, properly, an engraving; fig. an exact impression or likeness which also reflects inner character (HELPS). The term was widely used in Classical Greek literature and originally denoted a tool used for engraving and then came to mean "a die." Finally it stood for a stamp or impress used on a coin or seal. In each case, the stamp conveyed the reality behind the image. As used here the term conveys "authentic representation" to express God's essential being and identity (Danker). The noun occurs only here in the Besekh.

The noun is not found in the Greek Tanakh, but it is found in the Apocrypha (2Macc 4:10; 4Macc 15:4); Philo (On Noah's Work as Planter §V.18; That the Worse Attacks the Better §XXIII.83); Josephus (Ant. XIII, 12:1), and the Testament of Simeon 5:4. The term was also used by Clement of Rome (1Cor. 33:4). McKee suggests that the closest Hebrew equivalent to charaktēr would be temunah (SH-8544), likeness, representation (BDB 568). Moses was able to see the temunah of ADONAI, and was able to speak with Him in close proximity (Num 12:8). Stern observes that charaktēr delineates even more clearly than eikōn ("image," 2Cor 4:4, Col 1:15) that God's essence is manifested in the Messiah (John 14:9).

of His: Grk. autos, personal pronoun used to distinguish a person or thing from or contrast it with another, or to give him (it) emphatic prominence. The pronoun may mean (1) self, (2) he, she, it, or (3) the same. The second meaning applies here and refers back to God in verse 1 above. nature: Grk. ho hupostasis (from hupo, "under" and histēmi, "to stand"), originally meant a legal standing under a guaranteed agreement ("title-deed"); fig. a "title" to a promise or property, i.e. a legitimate claim, because it literally is, "under a legal-standing." Then the noun came to mean the quality of having actual existence; substance or real nature. The second meaning applies here. McKee comments that,

"Yeshua’s personal attributes, ethics, morality, and grand compassion, may be regarded as being the exact same as His Father. This will surely be manifested in Yeshua’s obedience to His Father to die for sinful humanity, and the service He offers people in providing them with eternal redemption. The stamp of the Father’s complete nature upon the Son is a strong indication of Yeshua’s Divinity."

The unique word hupostasis occurs elsewhere only in 2Corinthians 9:4 and 11:17. This attribute of the Son means he not only has a claim on deity, but he is the same as the God of Israel. This statement echoes Yeshua's claim that he and the Father and I are one (John 10:30; 17:22). Yeshua's assertion echoes the Shema: "Sh'ma, Yisra'el! ADONAI Eloheinu, ADONAI echad [Hear, Israel! ADONAI, our God, ADONAI is One]" (Deut 6:4 CJB). Yeshua did not teach that he was a separate god from the Father, but that their unity makes them inseparable.

The author testifies to the fact that Yeshua is "sustaining all things by his powerful word" (NIV). He employs the participle pherōn, best translated as "bearing up" (YLT). It appears in the present tense indicating that Yeshua is presently the One who is "upholding" (RSV) the Creation—meaning that He is presently running the universe. It is notable that while many may conclude that the "word" referred to is Yeshua, the term logos, which John uses in his Gospel to refer to Yeshua, is not employed here. The author of Hebrews uses rhēma, meaning "that which is said or spoken, a word, saying" (LS).[18] The idea that appears to be communicated is not only how Yeshua is the Creator, and

Stern quotes from Raphael Patai (1910-1996), a Jewish ethnographer and historian, who brought the following extraordinary paragraph from the works of Philo, noting that he "does not mention the Messiah by this name, but speaks of the 'Shoot' (rendered in the Loeb Classical Library edition as the 'rising'),... who — remarkable words in the mouth of a Jewish thinker — 'differs not a whit from the divine image,' and is the Divine Father's 'eldest son'...." Parallel references from Scripture are in brackets.

"I have heard also an oracle from the lips of one of the disciples of Moses which runs thus: 'Behold a man whose name is the rising' ["shoot, sprout," Isa 11:1, Zech 6:12], strangest of titles, surely, if you suppose that a being composed of soul and body is here described. But if you suppose that it is that Incorporeal One [John 1:1, Php 2:6], who differs not a whit from the divine image [Col 1:15, 17], you will agree that the name 'rising' assigned to him quite truly describes him. For that man is the eldest son [Mark 6:3], whom the Father of all raised up [Acts 2:24, 32; 3:15; 4:10; Rom 8:11, 34], and elsewhere calls him his firstborn [Matt 1:25; Luke 2:7; Rom 8:29; Col 1:15, 18], and indeed the Son [Matt 2:15] thus begotten [John 3:16] followed the ways of his Father [John 5:17–26, 36], and shaped the different kinds [John 1:3, Col 1:16–17], looking to the archetypal patterns which that Father supplied [Heb 8:1–5]." (Philo, De Confusione Linguarum 4:45, as cited in Rafael Patai, The Messiah Texts, pp. 171–172). The Philo quote can be found here: On the Confusion of Tongues 14.62-63.

likewise: Grk. te, conj. used to denote addition or close connection that is tighter than with kai; also, and likewise, and both, at the same time. upholding: Grk. pherō, pres. part., properly means to bear or carry (bring) along, here to bear up, i.e. uphold or keep from falling. The Son is the preserver or sustainer of the universe. Some versions have "sustaining." The present tense is significant, indicating continuing activity. all things: pl. of Grk. pas, adj. See the previous verse. by the word: Grk. ho rhēma, a communication consisting of words, often with the implication of importance or special significance.

In the LXX rhēma occurs predominately in the Pentateuch and prophetic writings for the Heb. dabar, which means "word" or "thing." Thus, rhēma, standing for dabar, can mean both (a) a word or utterance as well as (b) a matter, event, or case in the sense of the result of things said or done (DNTT 3:1119f). All things were created in the beginning by God speaking them into existence (Ps 33:6; 148:5). Genesis 1 records God saying, "Let there be" (Gen 1:3, 6, 14-15) and substance became reality. Thus, the universe began with a word, not a bang.

of His: Grk. autos, personal pronoun. Again, the pronoun refers to God in verse 1 above. power: Grk. dunamis (from dunamai, the quality or state of being capable), power, might, or strength, here as an exhibition of divine capability. The same "word" employed in creation is the same "word" that keeps the universe functioning. The statement that Yeshua holds all things together echoes the same thought in Colossians 1:17, "in him all things consist." Philo presented a similar insight:

"For God, like a shepherd and a king, governs (as if they were a flock of sheep) the earth, and the water, and the air, and the fire, and all the plants, and living creatures that are in them, whether mortal or divine; and he regulates the nature of the heaven, and the periodical revolutions of the sun and moon, and the variations and harmonious movements of the other stars, ruling them according to law and justice; appointing, as their immediate superintendent, his own right reason, his first-born son, who is to receive the charge of this sacred company, as the lieutenant of the great king; for it is said somewhere, "Behold, I am he! I will send my messenger before thy face, who shall keep thee in the Road."{Ex 23:20.}" (On Husbandry, XII.51)

Henry Morris points out that the physical nature of matter consists of molecules, atoms, electrons, protons, neutrons and numerous submicroscopic particles that exist in opposition to tremendous forces that are always acting to disintegrate it (BBMS 221). Rabbi Wolkenfeld noted that the divine power mentioned here is illustrated in the structure of the atom, in which the electrons revolve around a nucleus. The nucleus is made up of positively charged protons and electrically neutral neutrons. The electrons are attracted to the protons. The protons repel each other but are held together by nuclear force. The nuclear strong force is about 137 times as strong as electromagnetism and 1038 (100 undecillion) times as strong as gravity (Sermon 01 February 2020).

The binding energy of the "word of His power" assures that the structure of matter remains cohesive and stable. Scripture affirms, "He established the earth upon its foundations, so that it will not totter forever and ever" (Ps 104:5 NASU; cf. Isa 45:18; Jer 51:15). Indeed it is the Son who established the earth (Prov 30:4). God promised in the Noahic Covenant, "While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease" (Gen 8:22 NASU). Yet, the transcendent Lord of the universe has entered the human sphere to accomplish something even more important.

having made: Grk. poieō, aor. part. See the previous verse. Just as this verb is associated with the creation of the ages and the heavens and the earth, so it denotes a divine miracle in the following action. purification: Grk. katharismos, the state of being clean in either a religious or spiritual sense; cleansing, purifying, purification. The noun is used here in the sense of atonement. In the LXX katharismos translates Heb. kippur (SH-3725), atonement accomplished by a daily sin offering (Ex 29:36), and especially designates Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement (Ex 30:10; Lev 23:27-28; 25:9; Num 29:11).

Katharismos also translates Heb. tahorah (SH-2893), cleansing or purifying to remove uncleanness (Lev 12:4; 14:32; 15:13; 1Chr 23:38). The use of the verbal phrase "having made purification" denotes both the ministry of a priest, especially the high priest, and the outcome of that ministry, so Paul could have both atonement and cleansing in mind.

of sins: pl. of Grk. ho hamartia may refer to (1) a behavioral action, a misdeed that creates liability, every departure from the way of righteousness; (2) the result of sinning or the condition of being sinful; or (3) an invasive evil power. Hamartia is the dominant word for sin in the Besekh. In the LXX hamartia translates a range of Hebrew words for guilt and sin, particularly Heb. chata (SH-2398), miss, go wrong, lapse, sin (Gen 20:6; 39:9) and avon (SH-5771), iniquity, guilt, punishment for iniquity (Gen 15:16). Throughout Scripture sin as a behavior is a violation of God's written commandments, whether intentional or unintentional (Rom 3:20; 5:13; 7:7). In Scripture hamartia does not include the imperfections that separate humanity from divinity, "falling short of the glory" (Rom 3:23).

The declaration "having made purification of sins" asserts the fulfillment of the prophecy in Isaiah 53:11-12,

"11 The Righteous One, My Servant will make many righteous and He will bear their iniquities. 12 … He poured out His soul to death, and was counted with transgressors. For He bore the sin of many, and interceded for the transgressors." (TLV)

Yochanan the Immerser declared of Yeshua, "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29), and that he was "slain from the foundation of the world" (Rev 13:8 NIV). So Paul affirms that not only did the Son of God present the sin offering, but became the sin offering (cf. Rom 8:3; 1Cor 5:7; 15:3; 2Cor 5:21; Heb 7:26; 9:26; 1Pet 1:19; 2:24; 3:18; 1Jn 3:5). Moreover, Yeshua's sacrifice not only atoned unintentional sins or sins committed in ignorance (Heb 9:7), but also intentional sins and capital crimes for which previously there had been no atonement, as Paul declared in his sermon in Pisidian Antioch (Acts 13:38).

Some Christians have erroneously concluded on the basis of 2Corinthians 5:21 that Yeshua became sinful on the cross. The reason for this mistaken belief is the failure of standard Christian Bibles to accurately interpret the Hebrew theology of that verse with the rest of Scripture. In the Tanakh the Hebrew word chata (Grk. hamartia in the LXX) may mean either "sin" or "sin offering" (BDB 308). A few versions do have "sin offering" in that verse (CJB, MRINT, MSG, NLT, OJB and TLV). Yeshua as the unblemished Lamb of God, bore our sins as a sin offering. He did not become sinful.

The next clause alludes to a declaration in Psalm 110:1. See my comment on verse 13 below. he sat down: Grk. kathizō, aor., to sit, to take one's seat. at: Grk. en, prep. See verse 1 above. the right hand: Grk. dexios, right as a direction or location, used of a bodily member or a location within a structure or in relation to a structure. In the LXX dexios translates Heb. yamin (SH-3225), "right hand," first in Genesis 13:9. Almost all versions have the anthropomorphic translation of "right hand."

of the Majesty: Grk. megalōsunē, greatness, majesty, as a superlative characteristic. The word occurs only three times in the Besekh (also Heb 8:1; Jude 1:25). Here the noun serves as a euphemism for God the Father. on: Grk. en, prep. high: Grk. hupsēlos, adj., may mean (1) positioned at a point that is higher; high, lofty; or (2) considered to be of special importance; high, lofty. The first meaning applies here, perhaps hinting a the "highest heavens" in which God dwells (Deut 10:19; Ps 68:33; 148:1, 4).

The "right hand" of God is the appropriate place for the Son of God because the right hand of God "spread out the heavens" (Isa 48:13). The "right hand" represents power and authority, and thus saving strength to deliver (Ps 20:6; 44:3; 60:5; 98:1; 108:6; 109:31; 118:15-16; 138:7). This affirmation is drawn from the Messianic prophecy of David (Ps 16:8; 110:1). The apostles saw the Son ascend to heaven (Acts 1:9-11), but not his position in heaven as Stephen later experienced (Acts 7:55). The seating of Yeshua in heaven is an important apostolic assertion (Acts 2:33; 5:31; 7:56; Rom 8:34; Eph 1:20; Col 3:1; Heb 8:1; 10:12; 12:2; 1Pet 3:22).

4 having become so much superior to the angels; in as much as he has inherited a name more excellent above theirs.

having become: Grk. ginomai, aor. mid. part., to become, here in reference to undergoing entrance into a particular state or condition of existence. so much: Grk. tosoutos, demonstrative pronoun, a superlative meaning so much, so great, so many. superior: Grk. kreittōn, adj. (the comparative form of kratos, "dominion"), having a degree of advantage, used here to denote status or rank; better, superior, more excellent. The adjective appears 12 times in this letter out of the 15 in the Besekh, and is used to assert the superiority of the Son, both in His nature and in His accomplishments.

to the angels: pl. of Grk. aggelos ("ang'-el-os") means one sent, a messenger, whether human or heavenly (BAG). In the LXX aggelos translates Heb. malak (SH-4397), a messenger, representative, courier or angel (DNTT 1:101f). The decision to translate malak or aggelos as angel or messenger (i.e., human) relies primarily on the context. The term is used here to mean a heavenly messenger. Post-Tanakh Judaism developed an elaborate angelology (Stern 824), primarily the Essenes and Pharisees. The Sadducees did not believe in angels (Acts 23:8). Josephus said that the Essenes in particular preserved the names of the angels (Wars, Book II, 8:7).

Angels appear frequently in Scripture and are far different from the Hollywood depiction and popular assumptions about angels. Angels are not glorified humans that earn status in heaven by doing good works on earth. All individual angels mentioned in Scripture have masculine names or descriptions, contrary to popular art and media, which sometimes depicts them as female. In addition, only a special group of heavenly beings are mentioned in Scripture as having wings (Ex 37:9; Isa 6:2; Ezek 10:5; Rev 4:8), and these beings may not be angels at all. For a review of the varieties and classes of angels see my article The Host of Heaven.

The superiority of the Son to the angels may not have the average angels in view, but the mightiest angels, the archangels. Gabriel (Dan 8:16; 9:21; Luke 1:19, 26) and Michael (Dan 10:13, 21; Jude 1:9; Rev 12:7) are included in a list of seven archangels (1Enoch 9:1; 20:1-8), referred to in Judaism as "Angels of the Presence," derived from Heb. malak panim (Isa 63:9). The remaining five archangels are Uriel, Raphael, Raguel, Saraqael, and Remiel. According to 1Enoch 20:1-8; 40:8-9 each archangel is assigned a special function that either serves God or His people Israel. The seven "Angels of the Presence" are mentioned in Revelation as having key roles in the final wrath of God on the earth (Rev 8:6; 15:1, 6-8; 16:1; 17:1).

in as much as: Grk. hosos, correlative pronoun (from posos, "how much"), used here to signify degree or extent in contrast. The Son of God would be superior to the angels simply by virtue of His deity, but Paul offers a special reason why the Son is superior. he has inherited: Grk. klēronomeō, perf., to be an heir in a legal sense. More frequently the verb means to be a recipient of a share in something, with focus on experience of divine conferral of promised benefits. In the LXX klēronomeō translates Heb. yarash (SH-3423), first in Genesis 15:3. The verb connects to the statement of the Son being appointed the heir of all things in verse 2 above.

a name: Grk. onoma is used in its central sense of identifying someone with a proper name. In Hebrew literature "name" also carries the extended sense of authority, qualities, powers, attributes or reputation. more excellent: Grk. diaphoros, adj., dissimilar, and here denotes surpassing in worth or value, excellent. above: Grk. para, prep., with the root meaning of beside (DM 108), conveys association and close proximity between persons, things, or circumstances, and in composition may be translated "above, along side of, beside, beyond, from, or with."

theirs: pl. of Grk. autos, personal pronoun. The exalted Son is in the presence of innumerable angels who bow down and worship him (Rev 5:11). The "more excellent name" may not be the title "Son of God" or the name "Yeshua," as suggested by commentators, but the name given to the Son "which no one knows except Himself" (Rev 19:12). The revelation of the existence of this special name first occurs in the narrative of Samson's birth when the Angel of ADONAI (Malak-YHVH) appeared to the wife of Manoah (Jdg 13:3).

The Angel of ADONAI appeared on twelve occasions (Gen 16:7; 22:11; Ex 3:2; Num 22:22; Jdg 2:1; 5:23; 6:11; 13:3; 1Kgs 19:7; 2Kgs 1:3; 1Chr 21:18; Zech 3:6) and is clearly distinguished from other angels. In these encounters the Malak-YHVH delivers a message in the first person with the voice of divine authority. Many Bible interpreters recognize in this name a pre-incarnate visitation of the Son of God. After all, Yeshua is ADONAI (John 8:58). Manoah asked the angel his name, who refused to give it since it is "wonderful" (Jdg 13:18; Heb. pili, wonderful, incomprehensible). Paul may have had personal reason to know the existence of the special name since he visited heaven (2Cor 12:2).

Paul's declaration on the superiority of the Son over the angels and treatment of the subject through the rest of this chapter rebutted two unbiblical practices in contemporary Jewish culture.

First, the Essenes had set forth a kingdom theology with two messianic personages, the one priestly (Aaronic) who would be superior to the other royal (Davidic), but both subordinate to the archangel Michael as the supreme head (Hughes 276). The War Scroll even speaks of the "kingdom of Michael" (1QM, XVII). In 11Q13 the heavenly deliverer in the last days is Melchizedek, but he is identified with the archangel Michael as the head of the sons of heaven (Vermes).

Second, many Jews worshipped angels as indicated by Paul's treatment of the subject in his letter to the congregation in Colossae. See my commentary on Colossians 2:18.

Paul then proceeds to contrast the Son to the angels and makes four points of comparison that demonstrate the superiority of the Son over the angels.

The Firstborn Son, 1:5-7

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 his Father, and he will be my Son?"

Reference: Psalm 2:7; 2Samuel 7:14.

For: Grk. gar, conj., a contraction of ge ("yet") and ara ("then"), and in a broad sense means "certainly it follows that; for." The conjunction has an inferential use here. to which: Grk. tís, interrogative pronoun indicating interest in establishing something definite; who, which, what, why. The pronoun introduces a clever question to assert an important biblical truth. of the angels: pl. of Grk. angelos. See the previous verse. "Go ahead, name for me one angel." did He ever: Grk. pote, adv., a generalizing temporal particle, in time past, once or formerly.

say: Grk. legō, pres., to make a statement or utterance, whether mentally, orally or in writing, often used to introduce quoted material. The focus of the verb may be declarative, interrogative or imperative; answer, ask, declare, enjoin, order, say, speak, tell, told, refer to, talk about. In the LXX legō translates Heb. amar (SH-559), to utter, say, shew, command or think. The Greek verb "say" functions here as quotation marks for the text following since ancient writings did not contain punctuation. The subject of the verb is God.

Paul then quotes from Psalm 2:7, which occurs elsewhere in the Besekh only in his sermon in Pisidian Antioch (Acts 13:33). The quotation matches the LXX exactly (ABP). Psalm 2 is typically classified as a royal psalm due to the mention of installing the King of Israel, as well as Messianic due to it prominent usage by the apostles in reference to Yeshua. Psalm 2 is one the most frequently quoted psalms in the Besekh (Mark 1:11; Luke 3:22; Acts 4:25; 13:33; Heb 1:5; 5:5; Rev 2:26-27; 12:5; 19:15). Psalm 2 was authored by David according to Peter (Acts 4:25), even though there is no superscription. See my commentary on Psalm 2.

You: Grk. su, pronoun of the second person. are: Grk. eimi, pres. See verse 3 above. My: Grk. egō, pronoun of the first person. Son: Grk. huios. See verse 2 above. today: Grk. sēmeron (for Heb. yom), today, this day, now. "Today" is used to represent something in the future as if it already existed. Indeed God's sovereign decision occurred before the world began (cf. Matt 13:35; John 17:5, 24; 1Pet 1:20; 1Jn 1:1; Rev 13:8).

I have begotten: Grk. gennaō, perf., to father, beget or procreate. In the LXX gennaō is used chiefly for Heb. yalad (SH-3205), to bear, bring forth, to beget, to father (first use in Gen 4:18), which can refer to either the male or female role in conception and birth (DNTT 1:176). The active voice of the verb denotes the role of the father as occurs in the genealogies. you: Grk. su. Paul's question ("which of the angels") might come across as a taunt, but it is intended to motivate serious reflection. The answer of course is "God never called an angel 'Son!'" The announcement "I have begotten you" has a dual meaning.

First, the announcement predicted incarnation. The psalm prophesied that God's Son would be born into the world by an impregnated woman and would thus be very God and very human (cf. Gen 3:15; Isa 7:14; Mic 5:2-4; John 1:1, 14; Gal 4:4; Php 2:7). Second, the announcement refers to a formal accession to the throne with divine rights. In Psalm 2:7 the verbal phrase "I have begotten" functions as a synonymous parallelism to "I have installed" in the previous verse.

Psalm 2 as prophetic Scripture not only referred to David's own installation and reign as king, but anticipates his descendant who would be anointed as king over Israel and serve as God's regent on the earth (cf. Isa 9:6-7; 11:1-2; Jer 23:5-6; 30:9; 33:15, 17, 22; Ezek 34:23-24; 37:24; Hos 3:5; Amos 9:11; Mic 5:2). This promise was fulfilled at the immersion of Yeshua as reiterated by the voice from heaven that said, "You are my beloved son" (Luke 3:22). Moreover, the resurrection of Yeshua confirmed absolutely the Messianic message of Psalm 2. Paul declares forthrightly that the Son of God (Yeshua) IS presently the king of Israel (cf. Matt 2:2; John 1:49; 12:13; 19:19).

And: Grk. kai, conj. again: Grk. palin, adv. with focus on a repetitive occurrence; once more, again. The phrase "and again" introduces a quotation from 2Samuel 7:14 that supports the quotation of Psalm 2:7. I will be: Grk. eimi, fut. mid. his: Grk. autos, personal pronoun. Father: Grk. patēr. See verse 1 above. and: Grk. kai. he will be: Grk. eimi, fut. mid. my: Grk. egō. Son: Grk. huios. Paul affirms that God did not make this declaration to any angel, but to David, king of Israel. The quoted passage occurs in the context of God making a covenant with David.

The covenant with David (2Sam 7:8-17; 23:5; Ps 89:3-4) contains important and everlasting promises: (1) Israel would be assured of their Land; (2) ADONAI would build David a house; (3) ADONAI would raise up the Seed of David and establish his throne forever; and (4) ADONAI would have a Father-Son relationship with David's Seed (cf. 2Sam 23:5; Ps 89:3). The covenant with David was intended to be permanent and unaffected by the level of the obedience by David's descendants as Paul declares in Romans 9:1-5.

The prophecy of 2Samuel 7:14 clearly has a double meaning. The first meaning relates to Solomon, the son of David, who would be allowed to build the temple. ADONAI promised that if Solomon committed iniquity He would not remove His covenant loyalty from Solomon as He did with King Saul. The second meaning promises that his descendants would one day produce the Messianic King, and he would sit on David's throne and have an eternal kingdom (cf. Isa 9:6; 11:1-5; Jer 23:5; 33:14-22; Luke 1:32; Acts 11:23).

6 And again, when He should bring the Firstborn into the world, He says, "And all angels of God must worship him."

Reference: LXX Deuteronomy 32:43; cf. Psalm 89:27–29; 97:7.

And: Grk. de, conj. used to indicate (1) a contrast to a preceding statement or thought, "but;" (2) a transition in presentation of subject matter, "now, then;" or (3) a connecting particle to continue a thought, "and, also," sometimes with emphasis, "indeed," "moreover" (Thayer). The third meaning applies here. again: Grk. palin, adv. See the previous verse. when: Grk. hotan, temporal conj., 'when' or 'whenever.' He should bring: Grk. eisagō, aor. subj., cause to enter into an area; bring or lead in. The aorist tense denotes a completed event and the subjunctive mood has a future orientation, so the great majority of versions translate the verb as present tense, "brings."

the Firstborn: Grk. ho prōtotokos (from prōtos, "first" and tiktō, "bring forth"), adj., first in time, being the first child in order of birth or enjoying the status of a first child; firstborn, preeminent (Zodhiates). In the LXX prōtotokos translates Heb. bekorah (SH-1062), right of the firstborn, birthright (Gen 4:4; 25:31), and then Heb. bekor (SH-1060), firstborn of a womb, whether animal or human, and for humans the references are usually for a firstborn son (Gen 10:15). In ancient times the firstborn son possessed three important rights.

● The firstborn held superior rank in his family and therefore exercised leadership authority over the clan (Gen 49:3).

● The firstborn had the spiritual responsibility of performing the priestly office and officiating at the altar (Gen 22:9; 26:25; 35:1; Num 8:17-19).

● The firstborn received a double portion of the paternal inheritance (Deut 21:17).

However, prōtotokos does occur in the LXX without reference to physical descent or birth to denote special legal rights and honors. First, God refers to the nation of Israel as His firstborn son (Ex 4:22). The Jewish Midrash connects this Exodus passage with the Messiah:

"The Holy One, blessed be He, said to Moses, 'In the same way that I made Jacob a firstborn - as it is said (Ex 4:22) Israel is My son, My firstborn -- so I will make Messiah the King firstborn' -- as it is said (Ps 89:28) I will also give him to be firstborn" (Mid. Exodus 19:7, quoted in Gruber 322).

Second, "firstborn" is used of King David (a younger son), and by extension the Davidic king, who would be exalted over the kings of the earth (Ps 89:27). Third, "firstborn" is used in an allusion to the one who was pierced (the Messiah) and Israel will mourn over him as they would a firstborn son (Zech 12:10).

In the Besekh Luke used "firstborn" of Yeshua in relation to the other children of Miriam (Luke 2:7). Then Paul called Yeshua "firstborn," first in relation to other men due to his resurrection (Rom 8:29; Col 1:18); and then in relation to creation (Col 1:15). Paul also called those enrolled in heaven "firstborn" (Heb 12:23), which Zodhiates suggests probably refers to those formerly highly distinguished on earth by the favor and love of God, such as patriarchs, prophets and apostles.

Another interpretation can be applied by considering that in 1Chronicles 5:12 prōtotokos translates Heb. rosh (SH-7218), "head." Paul could have intended this usage to emphasize that Yeshua was the source of creation and that he has authority over all creation. The Amplified Version interprets prōtotokos as "highest ranking Son," and the NLT translates the term as "supreme Son."

into: Grk. eis, prep. that focuses on entrance, frequently in relation to direction and limit, here complementing the verb "bring." the world: Grk. ho oikoumenē, the world as an inhabited area, often with focus on its inhabitants. In the earliest classical Greek literature the term was used of the world inhabited by Greeks in contrast to those lands inhabited by barbarians, but later literature included the lands of barbarians. In the Roman period the term meant the lands under Roman rule, because whatever lay outside was of no account.

In the LXX the term occurs 46 times, especially in the Psalms (15 times) and Isaiah (15 times) (DNTT 1:519). The term is found first in Exodus 16:35 to translate the Heb. phrase novoshabet erets, "inhabited land," referring to the land of Canaan in which Israel would dwell, in contrast to the uninhabited wilderness. Next oikoumenē translates Heb. tebel (SH-8398), habitable world, to denote the full expanse of the earth which God created and over which He exercises sovereign authority (2Sam 22:16; 1Chr 16:30; Ps 9:8; 18:15; 19:4).

He says: Grk. legō, pres. See the previous verse. The subject of the verb, "He," is God from verse 1 above. Bruce says the following quotation bears a general resemblance to Psalm 97:7, "Worship Him all you gods." In that verse "gods" is Heb. Elohim (SH-430), which can stand for heavenly beings or angels (cf. Job 38:7) (Thayer). Paul actually quotes from Deuteronomy 32:43, citing the LXX exactly, which is supported by the parallel text in a Hebrew manuscript from the Qumran Cave 4 (Bruce).

MT: "Rejoice O nations with His people for He will avenge the blood of His servants; and vengeance He will render to His adversaries, and He will make atonement for His land and for His people." (BR)

LXX: "Rejoice, O heavens, with Him, and all the angels of God bow down to Him; rejoice O nations with His people, and grown in strength in Him O sons of God; because He shall avenge the blood of His sons, and He shall avenge and recompense justice to His enemies; and He shall recompense the ones hating Him; and the Lord shall purge the land for His people." (BR)

DSS: "Rejoice, you heavens, with his people, and bow down to him, all gods [Elohim, heavenly beings], for he will avenge the blood of his servants sons. He will take vengeance on his adversaries, and avenge those who hate him, and will make atonement for his land and for his people." (4Q44)

Deuteronomy (Heb. D'varim, "words") is the fifth book of the Pentateuch or Torah, written by Moses in Moab. The quoted passage is in the final section (Chap. 30–34) containing instructions for covenantal continuity. The cited verse occurs specifically in the Song of Moses, which contains an indictment of the Israelites' sins, a prophecy of their punishment, and a promise of God's ultimate redemption. The translation of the MT likely reflects a revision of the original Hebrew text (DSS) because of its use by Paul to exalt Yeshua as the Son of God.

Ironically, almost all Bible versions, including Messianic Jewish versions, translate Deuteronomy 32:43 according to the MT, rather than the LXX/DSS. Only the NEB, NJB and NLT translate the Torah passage according to its original form in the LXX/DSS.

And: Grk. kai, conj. all: pl. of Grk. pas, adj. See verse 2 above. angels: pl. of Grk. angelos. See verse 4 above. of God: Grk. theos. See verse 1 above. must worship: Grk. proskuneō (from pros, "toward" and kuneō, "to kiss"), aor. imp., properly, to kiss the ground when prostrating before a superior; to worship, ready "to fall down/prostrate oneself to adore on one's knees;" or to "do obeisance" (HELPS). On Egyptian reliefs worshipers are represented with outstretched hand throwing a kiss to the deity" (DNTT 2:875).

Thus, proskuneō may mean either (1) to recognize another's prestige by offering special honor, ordinarily through a gesture of prostration; or (2) to demonstrate honor and adoration to transcendent beings or deity, ordinarily in a religious sense. The second meaning applies here. In the LXX proskuneō primarily translates Heb. shachah (SH-7812), to bend down, which is used both of bowing down before men and of worship toward deity (BDB 1005).

The first usage of proskuneō for shachah is in Genesis 18:2, in which Abraham bowed down to the three heavenly visitors, and the second in Genesis 22:5, in which Abraham takes Isaac to the place of sacrifice and describes his intended actions as worship. Based on this initial usage in Genesis "worship" involves two important actions, first, submission to sovereign authority, and second, sacrifice of a free-will offering. In the Besekh proskuneō continues the Hebrew meaning. Conducting a congregational service does not guarantee worship will take place, since true worship comes from the heart.

Him: Grk. autos, personal pronoun. See verse 3 above. A quotation from Deuteronomy 32:43 occurs elsewhere only in Romans 15:10. The apostolic narratives contain anecdotes of deference paid to Yeshua by angels (Matt 4:11; 26:53; Mark 1:31; Luke 2:8-14; John 20:12) and then God revealed to John the inspirational worship of heavenly beings and angels occurring in heaven (Rev 4:9-11; 5:11-12; 7:11-12; 11:15-18).

7 and indeed with regard to the angels He says, "The One creating His angels as spirits, and His servants a flame of fire."

Reference: Psalm 104:4.

and: Grk. kai, conj. indeed: Grk. mén, a particle of affirmation; indeed, verily, truly. Many versions do not translate the particle. with regard to: Grk. pros, prep., lit. "near or facing" and normally conveys motion toward (DM 110); to, toward, with.  With the verb following the preposition denotes "with regard to" (any person or thing), "with respect to," "as to" (Thayer). the angels: pl. of Grk. ho angelos. See verse 4 above. He says: Grk. legō, pres. See verse 5 above. The subject of the verb is God. Paul quotes from Psalm 104:4, an exact quotation from the LXX, which itself accurately translates the Hebrew text, "Who makes His angels spirits; His ministers a fire of flame" (BHIB).

Psalm 104 is in Book 4 of the Psalms and is defined as "a Hymn in which the central theme is the works of God in creation; thus it is often called a Nature Psalm, and its author the 'Wordsworth of the ancients' (Anderson 2:717). Psalm 104 is also noteworthy for mentioning the global deluge in Noah's time (verses 6-9) and the existence of the primeval dinosaur Leviathan (verse 26; cf. Job 41:1).

The One: Grk. ho, definite article but used here as a demonstrative pronoun. Among Jews "The One" was a circumlocution for the sacred name of God (e.g., Ps 3:3; 37:24; Isa 40:26; 45:7; 49:7; Amos 9:5-6; John 1:33; Acts 17:24; 19:4; Rom 5:17; 2Cor 4:6). "The One" is also shorthand for the early usage in Hebrew culture of "the Holy One" (Qadosh, Job 6:12; Prov 30:3; Isa 40:25; Hos 11:9, 12; Hab 3:3) and later "the Holy One of Israel" (Qadosh Yishraêl), which occurs 30 times in the Tanakh, 25 of which are in Isaiah (Isa 1:4). The Greek translation Ho Hagios ("the Holy One") occurs six times in the Besekh (Mark 1:24; Luke 4:34; John 6:69; 1Jn 2:20; Rev 3:7; 6:10).

A praise declaration "Blessed be He" or "Blessed is He" was added to utterance of names of God in the second century B.C. (Jubilees 25:22; 26:24; 31:17, 20; 1Enoch 39:10; 61:11). Its usage is alluded to in several Besekh passages (Luke 1:68; 2:28; 2Cor 1:3; 11:31; Eph 1:3; 1Pet 1:3). In the third century A.D. rabbinic authorities introduced the complete affirmation "The Holy One, Blessed be He" in reaction to the spread of saint-veneration in Christianity. Judaism wanted to assert that God is the only Holy Being (fn 8, Avot 3:1). The Sages believed that use of the affirmation would induce humility, prevent too strong a craving for worldly pleasures, and result in a fuller appreciation of the majesty and power of God. We should consider the praise of God declared in heaven "You alone are holy" (Rev 15:4).

creating: Grk. poieō, pres. part, lit. "making." See verse 2 above. The verb reflects the whole message of the Psalm representing ADONAI (Heb. YHVH), whom the psalmist calls "my God" (Heb. Elohim), as creator. His: Grk. autos, personal pronoun. angels: pl. of Grk. angelos. The Greek translates plural Heb. malakim. as spirits: pl. of Grk. pneuma, wind, breath or spirit. Pneuma is used in the Besekh for the human spirit, transcendent beings, and particularly the Holy Spirit. In the LXX pneuma translates Heb. ruach (SH-7307), which is used for the Spirit of God (Gen 1:2), breath (Gen 6:17), and wind (Gen 8:1) (DNTT 3:690). Ruach is also used of the human spirit (Gen 41:8) and a transcendent spirit-being (1Kgs 22:1; Job 4:15).

Many versions translate the noun as "winds," which introduces an absurdity into the verse. Psalm 104 is a song that recounts the creation of the heavens and earth and follows the sequence of events found in Genesis 1. Verse 4 does not describe the creation of wind and lightning, but the creation of angels and their essential being. Some versions do translate pneumata here as "spirits" (KJV, MEV, NIV, NKJV, NTE, YLT). Depicting angels as "spirits" does not deny they have corporeal substance, but rather that their substance is of an eternal quality in contrast to the flesh of humans created from the dust of the earth (Gen 2:7).

Exactly when the angels were created is not disclosed in Scripture. The book of Job offers the earliest hint as to the creation of the angels. God asked Job, "Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth …When the morning stars [Heb. kokabim] sang together and all the sons of God [Heb. benei-Elohim] shouted for joy" (Job 38:4, 7 NASU). In the book of Job celestial beings, including the one called Ha-Satan, are referred to as "sons of God" (Job 1:6; 2:1). The earth or land was brought into existence on the third day (Gen 1:9-13; Ps 104:5), so the angels had to have been created prior to this in order to witness the event. Psalm 104:2 suggests that angels were created on the second day when the waters of the Deep were stretched out and the expanse (or firmament) was created (Gen 1:6-8).

and: Grk. kai. His: Grk. autos. servants: pl. of Grk. leitourgos, a public servant, minister, servant. The Greek translates the participle of Heb. sharath (SH-8334), to minister or serve. The angels were created to serve God and figure prominently in Scripture in various ministering roles, especially to benefit the people of God (Gen 24:7, 40; Ex 23:23; 1Kgs 19:5; Matt 18:10; Luke 16:22; Heb 1:14). Angels gave messages to people from God that required obedience (Gen 16:9, 11; 19:15, 17, 21-22; Num 22:22, 35; 1Kgs 19:5, 7; 2Kgs 1:3; 1Chr 21:18; Zech 1:14; Matt 1:24; 2:13, 20; Acts 5:20; 8:26; 10:5; 11:13; 12:7-8).

In Scripture angels do the Lord's bidding and sometimes are God's instruments in executing His judgment on the wicked (Gen 19:1, 11-13; Ex 33:2; 2Kgs 19:35; Isa 37:36; Acts 12:23). Angels also mediated revelation, either directly or through dreams and visions (Gen 16:10; 31:11-13; 32:28; Matt 1:20; 2:12-13, 19; Luke 1:11-17, 26-37; Acts 27:22-23; Rev 1:1). Lastly, angels were present at the giving of the Ten Commandments to Moses at Mt. Sinai (Deut 33:2; Acts 7:53), and perhaps provided the instructions for the construction of the tabernacle and its contents during the 40 days Moses spent on the mountain (cf. Ex 24:12, 18; 25:9, 40; 34:27-28; Num 8:4; Acts 7:44; Heb 8:5).

a flame: Grk. phlox (from phlegō, to burn or be aflame), a flame; translates the participle of Heb. lahat (SH-3857), to blaze up, burn up, flame. of fire: Grk. pur (for Heb. esh, SH-784), a fire, as a physical state of burning, but there are also fig. uses. Various interpretations have been offered for the angels being described with the characteristic of "a flame of fire." Angels may have the physical ability to move at the speed of lightning so they can swiftly carry out any directive from God. Since in Scripture angels are sometimes employed to speak for God, then their prophetic words may have the character of fire, as God said to Jeremiah, "Behold, I am making My words in your mouth fire" (Jer 5:14 NASU).

In the Tanakh celestial beings are sometimes described as associated with or employing fire. When Adam and Chavvah were expelled from the garden, God left cherubim with a whirling sword of flame to guard access to the tree of life (Gen 3:24). The Angel of ADONAI appeared in a burning bush (Ex 3:2). On another occasion the Angel of ADONAI held a staff that shot fire to consume sacrificial meat (Jdg 6:21). A seraph cleansed Isaiah of iniquity by applying a burning coal to his lips (Isa 6:6-7). Ezekiel witnessed cherubim accompanied by whirling wheels of fire (Ezek 10:2, 9-13).

In the Besekh Yeshua will be revealed from heaven at his second coming with the angels in flaming fire (2Th 1:7-8). The apostle John saw an angel with legs like fire (Rev 10:1). In the book of Revelation angels execute God's judgment with burning substances (Rev 8:5, 8; 14:18; 16:8).

The Enthroned Son, 1:8-9

8 But to the Son, "Your throne, O God, into the age of the age; and the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Your kingdom.

Reference: Psalm 45:6.

But: Grk. de, conj. to: Grk. pros, prep. See the previous verse. Here the preposition denotes being in company with and speaking face to face. the Son: Grk. ho huios. See verse 2 above. Many versions insert "He says," to imitate the previous verse. Paul then quotes from Psalm 45, which is in Book 2 of the Psalms. Psalm 45 is generally regarded as a marriage song belonging to the Royal Psalms (Anderson). A royal wedding had great national significance, because the King was not only the most important political figure of the realm, but also the religious head of the people.

The psalm does not identify the royal couple, but it is likely David, although some commentators prefer Solomon. The link to David is in the promise that the king is said to be "blessed forever" (verse 2), as David petitioned based on God's promise (2Sam 7:13, 16, 29). In addition, Solomon was no warrior (Ps 45:3, 5), nor were his sons made princes over the land (verse 16) (Kaiser 127). The psalm does not identify the name of the bride. David had eight wives (Michal, Ahinoam, Abigail, Maachah, Haggith, Abital, Eglah, and Bathsheba) and ten concubines (2Sam 15:16; TB Sanhedrin 2:4).

David married Michal, Ahinoam, and Abigail before he became king, so the psalm would not apply to them. After David became King of Judah he married Maachah, Haggith, Abital, and Eglah (2Sam 3:2-5). Psalm 45 was written after the covenant promise made to David when he was King of all Israel and thus its wedding theme could only apply to Bathsheba (2Sam 11:27). In spite of the circumstances of their marriage Bathsheba has an honored place in the Messianic genealogy (Matt 1:6). Since David was the type of the Messiah (Ezek 37:25), Jewish exegetes later interpreted the psalm as referring to the Messiah:

"Your beauty, O King Messiah, is greater than the sons of men; the spirit of prophecy has been placed on your lips; because of this the LORD has blessed you forever." (Targum Ps 45:3 Cook)

The quotation from Psalm 45:6 begins at this point. Paul reproduces the LXX exactly. The Hebrew words translated by the LXX in the verse are noted.

MT: "Your throne, God, is forever and ever; a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of your Kingdom."

Your: Grk. su, pronoun of the second person. throne: Grk. ho thronos (for Heb. kisse, "seat of honor, throne") refers to a throne or chair upon which a king sits. Ancient thrones typically had a high back-rest and arm-rests and sometimes with a foot-stool. The throne was the official place from which the king exercised his power, authority and judgment. The term is often used figuratively in Scripture of sovereignty or dominion (DNTT 2:611-615). God is often depicted as sitting on a throne in heaven (1Kgs 22:19; Ps 47:8; Isa 6:1).

O: Grk. ho, definite article, voc., used here as an interjection. God: Grk. theos (for Heb. Elohim). See verse 1 above. Relevant to the declaration is that the throne of David was called the "throne of YHVH" (1Chr 28:5; 29:23) and the king ruled from that throne on behalf of God (2Chr 9:8). Paul quotes the words of the psalm to assert that the Son has a throne and is deity. Jewish commentators observe that the first clause "Your throne O God" is the obvious translation, but it does not suit the context (Stern). How can the Messianic "Son" be God? This may be why Rashi in his commentary on Psalm 45 substituted "judge" for "God" based on God's statement that Moses would be as Elohim to Pharaoh (Ex 7:1). Yet, Scripture is unequivocal in its insistence on the deity of the Son (Prov 30:4; Isa 9:6).

into: Grk. eis, prep. See verse 6 above. When used with a time reference the preposition can also be translated as "for" (Thayer). the age: Grk. ho aiōn (for Heb. olam, "long duration, indefinite futurity"). See verse 2 above. of the age: Grk. ho aiōn (for Heb. ad, "perpetuity, continuous existence"). Many versions translate the complete phrase as "for ever and ever," since it denotes endless time. The Son has always been in existence and will always be in existence. The Son as very God is eternal. The relevance of quoting Psalm 104:4 followed by the text of Psalm 45:6 is to assert that the Son was not created and therefore is superior to the angels.

and: Grk. kai, conj. the scepter: Grk. ho rhabdos (for Heb. shebet, "rod, staff, or scepter"), a staff or rod with a variety of functions (1) walking stick; (2) shepherd's staff; (3) a punitive rod; or (4) a scepter associated with a ruler's authority. In the LXX rhabdos is used for a shepherd's rod (Ex 4:2; Mic 7:14), a rod of punishment (Ex 21:30), Aaron's rod (Num 17:8), and a ruler's scepter (Ps 45:6; Esth 4:11). Rhabdos is used here in a figurative sense. of uprightness: Grk. ho euthutēs (for Heb. mishor, "a level place, uprightness"), the quality of being without deviation; righteousness, straightness, uprightness. The noun occurs only here in the Besekh.

Gill notes that the Syriac version translates the noun, "stretched out," which signifies a scepter of mercy, as in the instance of Ahasuerus stretching out his scepter to Queen Esther (Esth 5:2). The good news of the Messiah declares the mercy, grace, and love of God to men through the Son of God.

is the scepter: Grk. rhabdos (for Heb. shebet). of Your: Grk. su, pronoun of the second person, referring to the Son. kingdom: Grk. ho basileia (for Heb. malkuth, "royal power, reign, kingdom"), kingship, royal power, or territory ruled over by a king. Since a scepter is the symbol of king's authority and power, then saying that uprightness is the scepter of the Son's kingdom affirms that the Son's essential attribute reflects deity and therefore has authority over the angels.

9 You loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; because of this, God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness above your companions."

Reference: Psalm 45:7.

Paul continues by quoting the next verse in Psalm 45. You loved: Grk. agapaō (for Heb. aheb, "to love"), aor., may mean (1) to have such an interest in another that one wishes to contribute to the other's well-being, even if it means making a personal sacrifice to do so; or (2) to take delight in, value, esteem. The second meaning is likely intended here. The Hebrew verb aheb is a far more comprehensive word than agapaō. The Hebrew word is comparable to the English verb "love," which may be used with a variety of applications.

righteousness: Grk. dikaiosunē (for Heb. tsedeq, "justice, rightness, righteousness"), a state that is in accord with standards for acceptable or anticipated behavior, uprightness, righteousness, justice. In the LXX dikaiosunē is used for a dozen different terms, normally Heb. tzedaqah (SH-6666), with the same meaning (DNTT 3:354). The term is first used of Abraham's faithfulness being considered as righteousness (Gen 15:6). The noun is often used to describe the character of God (Ps 5:8; 35:24; Isa 5:16; 42:21; Jer 9:24) (DNTT 3:354).

In the Tanakh the concept of righteousness refers to right or ethical character and behavior that is in keeping with the covenantal relationship with God. Righteousness is more relational than legal. The term also carries the sense of salvation (deliverance) and judgment (justice). Righteousness primarily has human relationships as its focus and therefore righteousness strengthens the community. So righteousness is not just abstaining from harmful behavior, but doing good for others.

In the Dead Sea Scrolls, Psalm 45 is said to refer to the "Teacher of Righteousness," (Heb. Moreh ha-Tzedek) (4Q171; TDSS 253). The "Teacher of Righteousness" is an inspired interpreter of the prophets, as the one "to whom God made known all the mysterious revelations of his servants the prophets" (1QpHab 7:5; TDSS 84). Of interest is that Yeshua's enemies recognized him as a teacher of righteousness (Matt 22:16; cf. John 3:2; 13:13).

and: Grk. kai, conj. hated: Grk. miseō, aor., to detest, abhor or reject. In the LXX miseō translates Heb. sane (SH–8130; "saw–nay"), which has the same meaning (first in Gen 26:27). The Hebrew word often indicates an emotional impulse to despise that can result in an action to turn against. lawlessness: Grk. anomia (for Heb. reshah, wickedness). Anomia is formed from nomos, law, and the negative particle "a," making the word the equivalent of Torah-lessness or living contrary to Torah commands.

In the LXX anomia translates Heb. resha (SH-7562), wickedness, wrong, often in an ethical sense. The biblical concept of "lawlessness" does not mean abandonment of governmental laws, but rejection of God’s authority and His commandments as the standard for ethics and morality. Rienecker suggests that the aorist tense of the verbs "loved" and "hated" could apply to the life and ministry of the incarnate Son on earth.

because of: Grk. dia, prep. See verse 2 above. this: Grk. houtos, demonstrative pronoun. See verse 2 above. God: Grk. theos (for Heb. Elohim). See verse 1 above. your: Grk. su, pronoun of the second person. God: Grk. theos (Heb. Elohim). "Your God" is lit. "the God of You," i.e., "the God to whom You belong." The phrase has a dual meaning. First, Elohim is the God of the Davidic Messiah. Second, Elohim as a triunity includes Father, Spirit and Son. has anointed: Grk. chriō, (for Heb. mashach, "to smear or anoint"), aor., to anoint, setting one apart for special service. The verb is the root of the noun Christos, or "Anointed One," the Messiah. The Father and the Spirit have joined in the anointing action.

you: Grk. su. Gruber comments that the clause "God has anointed you" indicates that he is God's Anointed, i.e., Messiah (Gruber 322). with the oil: Grk. elaion, (for Heb. shemen, "fat, oil"), oil of the olive. In the Besekh anointing with oil was for cosmetic purposes (Matt 6:17), for blessing a house guest (Luke 7:46) and for healing (Mark 6:13; Luke 10:34). More importantly, Israelite kings were crowned and priests were ordained in a ceremony of anointing with olive oil, which invested them with the authority of their positions.

Yeshua was not physically anointed as part of his commissioning for ministry, although He was anointed with the Spirit in accordance with Isaiah 61:1 (Matt 3:16). However, he was anointed with nard in preparation for his death (Mark. 14:3-8; John 12:3), so in that sense he was physically anointed for his final and greatest ministry. The noun "oil" is used here in a figurative sense connected to the following descriptive noun.

of gladness: Grk. agalliasis (for Heb. sason, "exultation, rejoicing"), exuberant joy, intense joy and gladness. above: Grk. para, prep. See verse 4 above. your: Grk. su. companions: pl. of Grk. metochos (for Heb. chaber, "united, associate, companion"), having a part in something; associate, partner, companion. Since Psalm 45 is a wedding poem the mention of "companions" could allude to "companions of the bridegroom" (cf. Jdg 14:11; 1Macc 9:39; Mark 2:19; Luke 5:34; John 3:29). The companions of the bridegroom (Heb. Shoshbenin) would bring him gifts and rejoice with him and then their services and gifts were reciprocated on the occasion of their marriages (Baba Bathra 144b, fn. 20).

In addition, the companions would bring the bridegroom to the bridal chamber when it was time for consummation and later verify the tokens of virginity. Thus, they could be called upon as witnesses to attest to the bridegroom's integrity and the bride's purity. Stern suggests that the Messiah's companions are not angels, but human beings who have put their trust in him (cf. Rom 8:17, 29; Heb 2:10–11, 3:14). Of course, the angels do attend the Son and serve His interests and in that sense are parallel to the companions of the bridegroom. The last clause affirms that God anointed the Son with a greater blessing, the blessing of gladness, than the angels could hope to give to the Son. This divine blessing elevates the Son above the angels.

The Eternal Son, 1:10-12

10 And according to Bereshit, You, ADONAI, laid a foundation of the earth, and the heavens are works of Your hands.

References: Genesis 1:1; Psalm 102:25 (LXX: Ps 101:26).

And: Grk. kai, conj. Paul then quotes from the LXX of Psalm 102:25. Psalm 102 is in Book 4 of the Psalms. According to the first verse the psalm is a petition of an afflicted man to ADONAI. Even though in the midst of difficulty the psalmist exalts ADONAI and recognizes Him as the Creator. according to: Grk. kata, prep., with the root meaning of "down," expresses something associated with something else in terms of direction, position, or relation. With the noun following being in the accusative case the preposition denotes agreement or conformity and would mean "according to" or "by way of" (Thayer).

Bereshit: Grk. archas, pl. of archē, a multi-purpose word with the basic meaning of priority and here means the point of derivation or originating moment; beginning, start point. In the LXX archē normally translates Heb. reshit (SH-7725; "beginning") first in Genesis 1:1; and rosh (SH-7218; "head, ruler") first in Genesis 2:10 (DNTT 1:164f). However, the MT of this verse has Heb. panim (SH-6440), a plural noun meaning 'face' or 'faces,' but the noun has another category of meaning in relation to time, 'before,' 'from beforetime,' 'beginning' (BDB 816f). The LXX used the plural archas to conform to the plural panim.

All Bible versions translate the opening phrase as "in the beginning." However, I suggest such translation would require "en archē" in the Greek text, not "kata archas," lit. "according to beginnings." Thus the LXX translator used kata archas to allude to the narrative of Genesis 1 and to affirm the reliability of the historical narrative of God's record of origins. Genesis 1 records six days of beginnings. See my article The Truth of Creation. The Targum then inserts "when all creatures were created" (Ps 102:26 Cook).

You: Grk. su, pronoun of the second person. Luke placed the pronoun immediately following the opening conjunction kai, whereas the LXX has it in this word order. ADONAI: Grk. kurios, voc., may mean either (1) 'one in control through possession,' and therefore owner or master; or (2) 'one esteemed for authority or high status,' thus lord or master. The second meaning applies here. Bible versions translate the noun as "Lord." In the LXX kurios occurs over 9,000 times, the great majority of times to replace Heb. YHVH (DNTT 2:511). YHVH is not a title or a word for a deity, but the personal name of the God of Israel (Ex 3:15; 2Chr 14:11; Isa 42:8). For more information on the history and usage of YHVH see my article The Blessed Name.

In the Tanakh YHVH is the One who speaks for Elohim, and in this agency role YHVH did the creating (Gen 2:4; Ex 20:11; 31:17; 1Chr 16:26; Ps 96:5). The direct address of "You ADONAI" is not in the current Hebrew text of verse 25, but the direct address to YHVH is found in verse 1 and 12. The presence of the address in the LXX suggests that it was in the Hebrew text in the first century and was later removed, perhaps because of Paul's application to Yeshua.

Paul then repeats from Psalm 102:25 the creative acts of ADONAI in the order in which they are recorded in Genesis 1. The Psalmist skips over the first two days of creation and in verse 25 summarizes God's work of creation on Day Three (Gen 1:9-12) and Day Four (Gen 1:14-18). On Day Three ADONAI laid a foundation: Grk. themelioō (from themelios, "foundation," "foundation stone"), aor., 2p-sing., establish a firm base for something, to lay a foundation, used here in a structural sense.

In the LXX of this verse themelioō translates Heb. yasad (SH-3245; BDB 413), to establish, found or fix. The Hebrew verb is generally used of constructing the foundation for a building or city (Josh 6:26). However, the verb has a special use in reference to the creation recorded in Genesis 1; e.g., Job 38:4; Psalm 24:2; 78:69; 89:11; 104:8; Proverbs 3:19; Isaiah 48:13; 51:13, 16; and Zechariah 12:1. The noun themelios (for Heb. mosadah, SH-4146), is used for the "foundations" of the earth (2Sam 22:16; Ps 18:15; Isa 24:18; Jer 31:37; Mic 6:2).

of the earth: Grk. ho , land, soil or earth, and here refers to the planet earth in contrast to heaven. The LXX uses more than 2,000 times and translates the Heb. word erets (SH-776), first in Genesis 1:1 (DNTT 1:517). In the Hebrew text of this verse erets designates the earth in a cosmological sense (BDB 75). The verbal clause "you laid a foundation of the earth" emphasizes the creation of a solid structural design of the planet. God caused the waters below shamayim to be gathered into one place, and then caused dry land to appear, which He called "earth."

The earth is not a haphazard collection of elements or minerals. Such structure could not possibly come into being by chance or cosmic explosion. Yet, what these foundations are modern geophysicists do not know with certainty and Scripture notes the impossibility of searching out the foundations (Jer 31:37). Scientists have speculated on the internal structure of the earth using the methods of seismology and geodesy and theorized a layered series of spherical shells (BBMS 251).

The earth's radius is about 3,949 miles. Three layers have been labeled: (1) The core which is approximately 7000 kilometers in diameter (3500 kilometers in radius) and is located at the Earth's center; (2) The mantle which surrounds the core and has a thickness of about 1800 miles; and (3) The crust, averaging 25 miles in thickness, floats on top of the mantle. See a summary and artistic rendering here. Scripture reveals that the core of the earth is a great furnace (cf. Deut 32:22; Luke 16:24; Rev 9:2).

While scientists have speculated on the interior structure of the earth and estimated its core temperature at 8,130 degrees F (4500 degrees C), they have never been able to penetrate far enough into the earth's surface to confirm their theories. Estimates are based on the fact that the earth's furnace produces sufficient energy to cause volcanism and shape the Earth's surface through plate tectonics. Even this amount of heat is equivalent to only about 0.005 percent of the heat received from the Sun. (Joseph S. Weisberg, "Earth, Heat Flow In," The Academic American Encyclopedia, Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia, 1997.)

Contrary to popular belief the Bible does affirm that the earth is a rotating spherical body suspended in space (Job 22:14; 26:7; 38:14; Prov 8:27; Isa 40:22; Luke 17:34-36). See the article "Who Invented the Idea of a Flat Earth?" Creation Ex Nihilo, Sept.-Nov. 1992. However, the earth is not a perfect sphere, but is slightly flattened at the poles, making the earth what scientists call an oblate spheroid. The Bible mentions the earth having four corners (Rev 7:1) and while evolutionists have mocked this revelation a modern discovery has confirmed that the earth does indeed have four corners or protuberances.

These four protuberances disrupt the normal curvilinear shape of the earth and have been located as follows, in terms of latitude and longitude: (1) 55° N, 10° W (near Ireland), (2) 50° S, 48° E (near South Africa), (3) 15° N, 140° E (near the Philippines), (4) 18° S, 80° W (near Peru). (W.H. Guier and R.R. Newton, "The Earth’s Gravity Field-Doppler Tracking of Five Satellites," Journal of Geophysical Research, 1965, quoted in BBMS 248).

Then the psalmist mentions the creation of Day Four in which God made lights to appear in the expanse. and: Grk. kai. the heavens: pl. of Grk. ho ouranos refers to the area above the earth that encompasses three "heavens:" first, the atmosphere (Matt 6:26); second, interstellar space (Matt 24:29); and third, the transcendent dwelling-place of God (Matt 6:9). In the LXX ouranos translates the Heb. hashamayim (lit. "the heavens”), which has the same range of meaning (Ps 148:1-4) (DNTT 2:191). Thus, here the term "heavens" refers to interstellar space.

are: Grk. eimi, pres., 3p-pl. See verse 3 above. works: pl. of Grk. ergon (for Heb. maaseh, SH-4639, deed or work) generally means a tangible deed, action or accomplishment that may be observed, whether of men or God. The Hebrew word is actually singular, but the LXX make it plural to denote the plurality of the heavens God created. of Your: Grk. su. hands: pl. of Grk. ho cheir (for Heb. yad), the anatomical limb of the hand. The use of "Your hands" as a poetic anthropomorphism of God not only denotes a powerful divine activity but also personal involvement.

There are many wonders on the earth and in the universe that defy "known laws of science" (the mantra of evolutionists). For example, the planet Uranus rotates on its axis in the opposite direction of the rest of the planets, and of the 31 planetary "moons" in the solar system, eleven have orbits that move in the opposite direction to the others (Gish).

11 They will perish, but You remain; and all will become old as a garment.

Reference: Psalm 102:26 [MT 102:27].

Paul continues his quotation from Psalm 102. They: masc. pl. of Grk. autos, personal pronoun. The pronoun refers to the heavens and the earth mentioned in the previous verse. will perish: Grk. apollumi, fut. mid., may mean (1) cause severe damage; destroy, kill, ruin; or (2) experience disconnection or separation; lose, perish, die. The second meaning applies here with focus on loss of existence. In the LXX apollumi represents 38 different Hebrew words, most frequently, as here, abad (SH-6), to be lost, to perish or to destroy (DNTT 1:463).

The verb abad is used generally of the death of individuals, the destruction of a city or annihilation of people groups as a result of God's judgment, so its use in this psalm to describe the eventual destruction of the heavens and earth is an exception. Scripture warns that some day the present universe will be subject to catastrophic destruction (cf. Isa 13:13; 24:1-4, 20-23; 34:4; 51:6; 2Pet 3:10; Rev 20:11).

but: Grk. de, conj. You remain: Grk. diamenō, pres., 2p-sing., remain or stay with focus on the durative aspect. In this verse of the LXX diamenō translates Heb. amad (SH-5975), to stand, remain or endure. Paul contrasts the mutability of the creation with the immutability of the Creator. YHVH, the Son, being the Creator of the universe, is eternal (Isa 40:28; 43:13; 60:19-20), and is not subject to the stresses and strains which the universe suffers. and: Grk. kai, conj. all: pl. of Grk. pas, adj. See verse 2 above. will become old: Grk. palaioō, fut. pass., 3p-pl., consign to obsoleteness, become antiquated or old.

as: Grk. hōs, adv. with the primary function of connecting narrative components; used here to introduce a pattern or model; just as, just like, similar to. a garment: Grk. himation, a covering for the body, generally used of clothing or apparel without reference to its quality. In this verse of the LXX himation translates Heb. beged, (SH-899), a garment, clothing, raiment, robe of any kind (first in Gen 27:27) (DNTT 1:316). The clothing for an average Jewish man was a rectangular cloak, typically made of wool, with openings for the head and arms, and worn loosely over the under-tunic.

The scientific term for this deterioration process is the law of entropy (also known as the Second Law of Thermodynamics), which means that all created structures are in the process of breaking down. The law of entropy was effectively put into motion when God pronounced His curse of the earth because of Adam's sin (Gen 3:17). Eventually the earth will wear out, just as clothing does (Isa 51:6). In the meantime God maintains equilibrium in the universe (verse 3 above).

12 And like a cloak You will roll them, also like a garment they will be changed, but You are the same, and Your years will not fail."

Reference: Psalm 102:26-27; LXX Psalm 101:27-28.

Paul continues his quotation of Psalm 102. And: Grk. kai, conj. like: Grk. hōsei, adv. has two applications: (1) to denote a comparison; as, as if, like; or (2) when used with numbers and measures to mean, about or approximately. The first meaning applies here. a cloak: Grk. peribolaion, something made of cloth used for covering a body part; cloak, covering. Mounce adds "that which is thrown around any one, clothing." This unique word occurs only twice in the Besekh, the other at 1Cor 11:15, which adds to the evidence of Pauline authorship for this letter.

You will roll: Grk. helissō, fut., to role, roll up, fold or coil. The verb occurs only twice in the Besekh, also in Revelation 6:14, in which John describes the heavens being rolled up as a scroll. them: pl. of Grk. autos, personal pronoun. See verse 3 above. What can this word picture imply about the heavens? To answer that question we must consider how the heavens were created.

● First Day: Genesis 1:2-3 — God created a formless ball of water called the "Deep" (perhaps a watery black hole). Then God created light and separated the light from the darkness.

● Second Day: Genesis 1:6-8 — God stretched out [Heb. natah] the "Deep" and created an expanse or firmament in the midst of the waters to separate them. The expanse He called shamayim, "heaven."

This stretching of the heavens is referenced many times in Scripture and achieved the incredible distances of interstellar space (Job 9:8; 26:7; 37:18; Ps 104:2; Isa 40:22; 42:5; 44:24; 45:12; 48:13; 51:13; Jer 10:12; 51:15; Zech 12:1). For a detailed scientific analysis see Barry Setterfield, The Expansion of the Universe and the CMBR (2015), and Joe Spears, The Big Stretch (2016). Moreover, this stretching continued past creation and is apparently still going on. (Note the present tense of Job 9:8; 26:7; Ps 104:2; 144:5; Isa 40:22; Zech 12:1.) Modern astronomers generally believe that distant galaxies are all receding from our galaxy – or, that all galaxies are receding from each other (BBMS 171).

Scripture seems to indicate that it is space itself that is being expanded or stretched out rather than the galaxies moving through unbounded nothingness. This means that interstellar space is not just an empty nothing, but is a real something (Humphreys 67f). Thus, the continual stretching will reach a point at which a catastrophe will occur much like a balloon popping from being stretched to its limit. Scripture indicates that the heavens can be torn (Isa 64:1), worn out (Ps 102:26), shaken (Isa 13:13; Joel 2:10; 3:16; Hag 2:6, 21), and rolled up (Isa 34:4).

also: Grk. kai. like: Grk. hōs, adv. See the previous verse. a garment: Grk. himation. See the previous verse. they will be changed: Grk. allassō, fut. pass., to change or alter, also to exchange. Scripture teaches that one day God will exchange the present universe for a new heaven and earth (Isa 65:17; 66:22; 2Pet 3:13; Rev 21:1). but: Grk. de, conj. You are: Grk. eimi, pres. See verse 3 above. the same: Grk. ho autos. The Son's attributes and nature have never changed and will never change.

and: Grk. kai. Your: Grk. su, pronoun of the second person. years: pl. of Grk. etos, a period of twelve months. will not: Grk. ou, adv., a particle used in an unqualified denial or negation; not. fail: Grk. ekleipō, fut., to fail, to cease, come to an end. The Son always was and always will be.

The Ruling Son, 1:13-14

13 But to which of the angels ever has He said, "Sit at My right hand, until anyhow I should make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet?"

Reference: Psalm 110:1.

But: Grk. de, conj. to which: Grk. tís, interrogative pronoun. See verse 5 above. of the angels: pl. of Grk. ho angelos. See verse 4 above. ever: Grk. pote, adv. See verse 5 above. has He said: Grk. ereō, perf., inform through utterance, to say or declare (Zodhiates). The perfect tense denotes speech completed. Paul asks a confrontational question that refers to Psalm 110:1 and in so doing he omits the opening address of the psalm: "ADONAI said to my Lord."

Rashi, the Medieval Jewish commentator, agreed with the view of some Sages that "my Adôn" should apply to Abraham (Talmud: Nedarim 32b and Sanhedrin 108b), on the basis that in Genesis 23:6 Abraham was addressed by the sons of Heth by this title. The inherent problem with this interpretation is that the psalm looks forward not backward, the psalm was written centuries after Abraham's time, and the psalm also speaks of Zion, which was the city of David. But in the Midrash on Psalms, compiled in the 11th century, is found this comment:

"Rabbi Yudan [c. 350 A.D.] said in the name of Rabbi Hama [ben-Hina, c. 260 A.D.], 'In the time to come, when the Holy One, blessed be he, seats the King, the Messiah, at his right hand, as it is said, "ADONAI said to my Lord, 'Sit at my right hand,'" and seats Abraham at his left, Abraham’s face will grow pale, and he will say to God, "My son's son sits at the right, while I sit on the left!" God will then comfort him by saying to him, "Your son's son is indeed at my right, but I myself, in a manner of speaking, am at your right, since 'The Lord is at your right hand' (Psalm 110:5)." (Midrash on Psalm 18, Section 29; quoted in Stern 225)

The Midrash passage shows that there were Talmudic period rabbis (3rd to 5th centuries A.D.) who applied Psalm 110 to the Messiah. The aggadic commentary Avot de-Rabbi Nathan (AD 700–900) also refers to Psalm 110 when discussing Zechariah 4:14, "These are the two who are anointed to serve the LORD of all the earth," and states:

"These are the two sons of the clear oil, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth." This refers to Aaron and the Messiah, and we do not know who is more beloved; but, as it is written [Ps. cx. 4]: "The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent of it, thou shalt be a priest for ever." It is to be inferred from this that the latter is more beloved." (Tosefta - Avot of R. Nathan, Chap. 5, cited in Santala 124)

Psalm 110, which occurs in Book 5 of the Psalms, is typically classified as a royal psalm due to the mention of installing the King of Israel, as well as Messianic due to it prominent usage by the apostles in reference to Yeshua (Matt 22:44; Mark 12:36; Luke 20:42-43; Acts 2:34-35; and Heb 1:5, 13; 5:6, 10; 7:17, 21). Psalm 110 makes two divine declarations, the first of which Paul applies here and the second of which he will apply in Chapter Five, Six and Seven. Three distinct persons are involved in the psalm: (1) YHVH, the speaker, (2) David, the recipient of the message, and (3) one whom David calls "my Lord" and whom he understands to be his sovereign, the one to whom he must submit (Kaiser 94).

Paul then quotes from the first verse of Psalm 110. The psalm was previously quoted by Yeshua to his adversaries (Matt 22:44) in which he pointed out that the psalm's author David was not talking to himself. No angel is David's Lord. In addition, Peter in his Pentecost sermon quoted from the psalm (Acts 2:34-35). The MT reads, "ADONAI said to my Lord, 'Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool.'" The quotation here repeats the LXX exactly.

Sit: Grk. kathēmai, pres. mid. imp., be at rest on the haunches, to sit down or to take a seat. In the LXX kathēmai translates Heb. yashab (SH-3427), to sit, remain or dwell (DNTT 3:588). Sitting implies the completion of the Son's redemptive work. at: Grk. ek, prep. My: Grk. egō, pronoun of the first person. right hand: pl. of Grk. dexios, adj. See verse 3 above. To sit at the right hand of the king was a mark of the highest honor (cf. 1Kgs 2:19; Matt 20:20-21; John 13:23). At a dinner of a Sage and his disciples it was customary for the one next in rank to be on the Sage's left and the third in rank on his right (Berachot 46b).

Santala notes that the Jewish Sages say that, according to Psalm 72:17, the Messiah was granted this position before the creation (125). Bruce points out that the most exalted angels are those whose privilege it is to "stand in the presence of God" like Gabriel (Luke 1:19; Rev 8:2; cf. Dan 7:10), but none of them has ever been invited to sit before Him, still less to sit in the place of unique honor at his right hand.

until: Grk. heōs, conj., a marker of limit, here of time; till, until. anyhow: Grk. an, a disjunctive particle that nuances a verb with contingency or generalization; would, ever, might, in that case, anyhow. HELPS says the particle indicates what could occur under certain conditions, and the context determines the limits of those conditions. The particle is often not translated. The use of heōs an in combination with the subjunctive mood of the following verb leaves in doubt just when the event described will occur (Thayer). I should make: Grk. tithēmi, aor. subj. See verse 2 above. The verb has the sense of putting underneath.

In this verse of the LXX tithēmi translates Heb. shith (SH-7896), to put or set, used in the sense of making one something. Your: Grk. su, pronoun of the second person. enemies: pl. of Grk. ho echthros, adj. (for Heb. oyeb, SH-341, an enemy or foe), someone openly hostile or inimical toward another, properly an enemy. The term implies irreconcilable hostility, proceeding out of a "personal" hatred bent on inflicting harm (HELPS). In normal usage the term may refer to opponents in military conflict or to personal enemies. In the context of Psalm 110 "your enemies" can mean the enemies of David, but in its prophetic foretelling they are the enemies of the Son-Messiah.

a footstool: Grk. hupopodion, a device for supporting one's feet when in a sitting position, footstool, footrest. In the LXX of this verse hupopodion translates Heb. hadom (SH-1916), a stool or footstool, used in the psalm to denote conquest of enemies of the Messianic king by the agency of YHVH. In regular usage the term referred to a constructed item of furniture. for Your: Grk. su. feet: pl. of Grk. ho pous (for Heb. regel, foot), the body part that is used for walking or running; the foot.

The history of footstools has been dated to ancient Egypt (3200 B.C.) and were typically used by kings that sat on high thrones. The footstool of Tutankhyhahymin of Egypt was carved with pictures of his enemies. Other Pharaohs were portrayed with their feet on their enemies' heads ("Footstool," HBD). The declaration of the psalm alludes to the practice of conquerors who placed their feet on the necks of their defeated enemies (Thayer; cf. Josh 10:24). The word picture represents total dominion (HELPS).

David's prophecy indicates that there would be a considerable space of time between the Messiah assuming his place at the right hand of God and the last day of the present age when the Messiah achieves his complete victory (cf. Matt 26:64; Rom 16:20; Heb 10:11-13). Yeshua confirmed this lengthy period to his disciples (Matt 24:36-42; Acts 1:6-7). That day of the Messiah will surely come and make an end of the enemies of Israel (Isa 13:9; 42:13; Ezek 30:3; Mic 5:9; Obad 1:15; Zeph 2:3; 3:15; Zech 12:9; Matt 26:64; Rom 16:20; 2Th 1:6-11). All people and human systems will then be placed in subjection to the Messiah (1Cor 15:25, 27; Php 2:10; Heb 2:8).

14 Are they all not ministering spirits, being sent into service on behalf of those being about to inherit salvation?

Reference: Psalm 103:20-21; Daniel 7:10.

Paul follows up the confrontational question of the previous verse with a softer question that reflects an exhortation to remember.

Are they: Grk. eimi, pres., 3p-pl. See verse 3 above. all: pl. of Grk. pas, adj. See verse 2 above. not: Grk. ouchi, interrogative particle, here with a tone suggesting a positive answer ought to be self-evident or is a no-brainer, not. ministering: Grk. leitourgikos, adj. given to serving, ministering. More specifically the adjective denotes divinely-authorized service, sacred devotion that performs what is acceptable to the all-holy God. The adjective occurs only here in the Besekh. In the LXX the adjective is used of garments worn by Aaron for high priestly duties (Ex 30:10; 39:1), and items in the sacred tent used for ceremonies (Num 4:12).

spirits: pl. of Grk. pneuma. See verse 7 above. The noun is a reminder that angels were created as incorporeal spirits. The phrase "ministering spirits" as applied to angels was well known to the Jews. Frequent mention occurs in the Talmud of "the angels of ministry" or "the ministering angels" (Berachot 25b; Yoma 4b, 30a; 75b; Kiddushin 54a; Hagigah 12a, 14a-b, 16a; Ta'anith 11a; and Megillah 15b). Because of their affinity to God who is spirit (John 4:24), the first responsibility of angels is to serve God. Two passages emphasize this point.

"Bless ADONAI, you angels of His: mighty in strength, performing His word, upon hearing the utterance of His word. 21 Bless ADONAI, all you His armies, His servants who do His will." (Ps 103:20-21 TLV)

"As I looked, thrones were placed, and the Ancient of Days took his seat;... 10 … a thousand thousands served him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him;" (Dan 7:9, 10 ESV)

The number "a thousand thousands" equals one million and "ten thousand times ten thousand" equals one hundred million. Thus, according to Daniel there are one hundred and one million angels in Heaven serving God. The mention of two counts seems superfluous, but the "one million" number could refer to the angelic leadership, such as the separation of officers and enlisted in a military organization. This exact number was also witnessed by John when he visited Heaven (Rev 5:11). Since Scripture says that a third of the angels created followed Satan (cf. Matt 25:41; Rev 12:4), then the total number of angels created would be about 303,000,000.

Some angels have a particular assignment with respect to the Son (Ps 91:11) and the devil used this passage to tempt Yeshua (Matt 4:6). At the conclusion of his testing in the wilderness angels came to minister to him (Matt 4:11). In addition, Yeshua informed his disciples that ten legions of angels (about 60,000) were immediately available to him if needed (Matt 26:53).

being sent: Grk. apostellō, pl. pres. mid. part., to cause to move from one position to another, but often to send as an authoritative personal representative. In the LXX apostellō translates Heb. shalach ("stretch out" or "send"), often in contexts of commissioning and empowering a messenger (DNTT 1:128). into: Grk. eis, prep. service: Grk. diakonia, service or ministration, especially in meeting the needs of others. Sometimes the term is used in reference to dedication to a specific divine assignment. The angels of heaven live only to serve God and in that capacity Scripture records many anecdotes of angels being employed in divinely-directed errands.

on behalf of: Grk. dia, prep. See verse 2 above. those: pl. of Grk. ho, definite article, but used here as a demonstrative pronoun. being about: Grk. mellō, pres. part., a future oriented verb with a pending aspect, being in the offing, be about to, be going to. to inherit: Grk. klēronomeō, pres. inf., to be an heir in a legal sense. More frequently the verb means to be a recipient of a share in something, with focus on experience of divine conferral of promised benefits. salvation: Grk. sōtēria, means rescue, deliverance or salvation from physical harm, but often from God's wrath. In the LXX sōtēria translates six different Hebrew formations derived from the root verb yasha, to deliver (DNTT 3:206).

In the religious sense sōtēria is deliverance from both the curse and consequences of sin. Salvation is sometimes spoken of as a present experience (1Cor 1:18; Eph 2:5; Titus 3:5), but is especially a future expectation of being delivered from God's wrath (Rom 5:10; 1Cor 3:15; 1Th 2:16; 5:9). Salvation is both individual and national in reference to Israel (Rom 11:26).

The second responsibility of angels is to provide special ministry in behalf of Israel. The Angel of ADONAI (Heb. Malak-YHVH) appeared to Moses (Ex 3:2) and commissioned him to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. Then God sent an angel to provide protection against the Egyptian forces during the exodus (Ex 14:19) and later promised that an angel would go before Israel to lead the nation into Canaan (Ex 23:20, 23; 32:34; 33:2). In fulfillment an archangel leading a vast angelic army appeared to Joshua before the battle of Jericho to consecrate the land to God and to provide support to the conquest of Canaan (Josh 5:13-15).

In the next generation the Angel of ADONAI (Heb. Malak-YHVH) appeared to the sons of Israel in Canaan and reminded them of both covenantal promises and covenantal conditions that required obedience (Jdg 2:1-4). Then an angelic host supported the Israelites in their defense against a Canaanite army with 900 iron chariots led by Sisera (Jdg 5:20). ADONAI thoroughly crushed the Canaanite army (Jdg 4:15).

During the reign of King Hezekiah when Jerusalem was threatened by an invading force from Assyria, the Angel of ADONAI came and killed 185,000 of the enemy (2Kgs 19:35). In the book of Daniel the archangel Michael fights the demonic prince over Persia to permit God’s messenger to reach Daniel (Dan 10:13). Daniel is later told that Michael is one "who stands guard over the sons of your people" (Dan 12:1). Thus, Michael is Israel's guardian angel.

An angel appeared to the prophet Zechariah and declared this message from ADONAI, "I am exceedingly zealous for Jerusalem and Zion, and I am infuriated with the haughty nations." (Zech 1:14-15 TLV). The angel announced a further message from ADONAI,

"16 Therefore I will return to Jerusalem with compassion. My House will be built there, and a measuring line will be stretched out over Jerusalem. … 17 My cities will again overflow with prosperity and ADONAI will again comfort Zion and will again choose Jerusalem." (1:16-17).

The third responsibility of angels is to provide ministry to individual Israelites and followers of Yeshua. The fact that the angels are "spirits" means they are capable of passing between heaven and earth and carrying out missions on earth without being observed by humans. The errands of angels on behalf of individuals are many and varied:

● Acting as personal guardians to deliver from danger (Dan 6:22; Matt 2:12-13; 18:10; Acts 12:7-10).

● Providing strength to endure or recover from a difficult circumstance (1Kgs 19:5, 7; Matt 4:11).

Providing revelation or instruction, either directly or through dreams and visions (Gen 31:11; 2Kgs 1:3; Matt 1:20; 2:19; Luke 1:11-17, 26-37; Acts 8:26; 10:3-6; 27:22-23; Rev 1:1; 10:1-2; 14:6-8; 17:1).

● Carrying the soul to Paradise after death (Luke 16:22).

Two other ministries of angels may be noted. First, angels sometimes are God's instruments in executing His judgment for wicked acts (Gen 19:1, 13-14; 2Sam 24:17; Ps 78:49; Acts 12:23), and will be especially involved in the punishments associated with the final days of wrath (Rev 7:1; 8:2-3; 9:1; 11:15). Second, when Yeshua returns he will send his angels to gather all his followers from around the earth (Matt 24:31; Mark 13:27).

Works Cited

Alford: Henry Alford (1810-1871), Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary (1878). 6 vols. Guardian Press, 1976. Online.

Alter: Robert Alter, The Book of Psalms: A Translation with Commentary. W.W. Norton & Co., 2007.

Anderson: A.A. Anderson, The New Century Bible Commentary: Psalms. 2 vols. Marshall, Morgan & Scott, 1972.

BAG: Walter Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature. trans. W.F. Arndt & F.W. Gingrich. The University of Chicago Press, 1957.

BBMS: Henry Morris, Biblical Basis for Modern Science. Baker Book House, 1984.

BDB: The New Brown, Driver, Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon. Oxford University Press, 1907. Reprinted by Associated Publishers and Authors, Inc., 1981. Online.

Barclay: William Barclay, The Letter to the Hebrews. Rev. ed. The Westminster Press, 1976. Daily Bible Study Series.

BHIB: Bible Hub Interlinear Bible, Bible Hub (2004-2018). Online.

Bruce: F.F. Bruce, The Epistle to the Hebrews. William B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 1964. (New International Commentary on the New Testament)

Chrysostom: John Chrysostom (347-407), Homilies on the Epistle to the Hebrews. Oxford Edition. ed. Philip Schaff; trans. J. Walker, et. al. (Online)

Cook: Edward M. Cook, The Psalms Targum: An English Translation. 2001. Online.

Danker: F.W. Danker, The Concise Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, University of Chicago Press, 2009.

DSB: The Defenders Study Bible. World Publishing Co., 1995. [KJV with annotations by Dr. Henry M. Morris.]

DNTT: Colin Brown, ed., Dictionary of New Testament Theology, 3 Vols. Zondervan Pub. House, 1975.

Eisenbaum: Pamela Eisenbaum, Annotations on "The Letter to the Hebrews," Jewish Annotated New Testament, eds. Amy-Jill Levine and Marc Brettler. Oxford University Press, 2011.

Fruchtenbaum: Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, "Hebrews," Ariel's Bible Commentary: The Messianic Jewish Epistles. Ariel Ministries, 2005.

Gill: John Gill (1697-1771), Exposition of the Entire Bible. Online.

Gish: Dr. Duane T. Gish, "The Solar System – New Discoveries Produce New Mysteries." IMPACT No. 15, Institute for Creation Research, 1974. (Online)

Gruber: Daniel Gruber, The Messianic Writings. Elijah Publishing, 2011. [Translation of the New Testament Majority Text and annotations by the author.]

Guthrie: Donald Guthrie, Hebrews. William B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 1983. [Tyndale New Testament Commentaries, Vol. 15].

HELPS: Gleason L. Archer and Gary Hill, eds., The Discovery Bible New Testament: HELPS Word Studies. Moody Press, 1987, 2011. (Online at BibleHub.com)

HBD: Trent C. Butler, ed., Holman Bible Dictionary. Broadman and Holman Publishers, 1991. Online.

Hughes: Philip E. Hughes, "The Letter to the Hebrews," The Oxford Companion to the Bible. ed. Bruce M. Metzger and Michael D. Coogan. Oxford University Press, 1993.

Humphreys: D. Russell Humphreys, Starlight and Time. Master Books, 1994.

ISBE: James Orr, ed., International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. William. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co, 1939. Website HTML, 2011. Online.

JANT: Jewish Annotated New Testament, eds. Amy-Jill Levine and Marc Brettler. Oxford University Press, 2011.

Jastrow: Marcus Jastrow, Dictionary of Targumim, the Talmud Babli and Yerushlami, and the Midrashic Literature. G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1903, 1926. Online.

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McKee: John Kimball McKee, Hebrews for the Practical Messianic. Messianic Apologetics, 2012.

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Morris: Leon Morris, Hebrews. Expositor's Bible Commentary, Vol. 12. Software version 2.6. Zondervan Corp, 1989-1999.

NIBD: Nelson's Illustrated Dictionary of the Bible. Herbert Lockyer, ed. Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1986.

Nicoll: W. Robertson Nicoll (1851–1923), The Expositor's Greek Testament (1897), 5 vols. Online.

Rashi: Rabbi Shlomo Yitzhaqi (1040-1105), Commentary on the Tanakh. Online.

Robertson: Archibald Thomas Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament, 6 Vols. Broadman Press, 1933. (Parsons CD-ROM Version 2.0, 1997) Online.

Santala: Risto Santala, The Messiah in the Old Testament in the Light of Rabbinical Writings. Keren Ahvah Meshihit, 1980, 1992. Online.

Stern: David Stern, Jewish New Testament Commentary. Jewish New Testament Publications, 1996.

TDSS: The Dead Sea Scrolls: A New Translation. Rev. ed. Trans. Michael Wise, Martin Abegg Jr. and Edward Cook. HarperOne, 2005.

Thayer: Joseph Henry Thayer (1828-1901), Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (1889). Hendrickson Publishers, 2003. Online.

TLV: Tree of Life Version, Messianic Jewish Family Bible Society, 2014. Online.

Vermes: Geza Vermes, The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English. 7th ed. Penguin Books, 2012. Online.

Vincent: Marvin R. Vincent (1834-1922), The Word Studies in the New Testament. 4 vols. Hendrickson Pub., 1886. Online.

Wolkenfeld: Rabbi Shmuel Wolkenfeld, The Letter to the Messianic Jews. Sabbath Message. Or HaOlam Messianic Jewish Congregation: 1 February 2020, 8 February 2020, 15 February 2020. Online.

Wright: N.T. Wright, Hebrews for Everyone. Westminster John Knox Press, 2004.

Zodhiates: Spiros Zodhiates (1922-2009), ed. The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament. AMG Publishers, 1992, 1993.

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