What does Hebrews 1 mean?
Chapter Commentary:
The book of Hebrews is intended to solidify Jewish believers' trust in Jesus as all they need for salvation. At the same time, the book provides several stern warnings about the consequences of rejecting Jesus. The first chapter of Hebrews begins by pointing out that God does, in fact, speak to His people. In the past, this was through various prophets (Hebrews 1:1). Now, however, that message is primarily through Jesus Christ (Hebrews 1:2).

The writer of Hebrews starts by pointing out that Jesus is not an angel or other created being. Rather, Jesus is identical to God. This was an especially important distinction to make in the very early church. Jewish thought commonly held that angels would rule the world one day. According to the actual Word of God, quoted here in Hebrews, this is not the case. The Promised One, also known as the Messiah, is given descriptions which cannot match any angel. In fact, what the Jewish Scriptures say about Messiah make it clear that this figure is actually divine.

Chapters 1 and 2 are mostly made up of a list of Old Testament quotations. These are used to provide several points of evidence that Jesus is above and beyond any angel. Verses 1–4– of chapter 1 summarize this idea.

Verse 5 cites Psalm 2:7 and 2 Samuel 7:14. These verses highlight the fact that the Promised One is not the same as an angel, but is labelled as the "Son of God."

Verses 6 and 7 portray angels as servant beings. These creatures worship God and serve God. They have a shifting, changing nature, depending on the tasks they are assigned by God. In contrast, according to verses 8 through 14, Jesus is given ultimate authority, and has a nature which is unchanging and eternal. He is not worshipping, but He is worshipped. The distinction between Jesus and these angels is clear.

These proofs will continue through chapter 2, which opens with the first of several warnings about the danger of rejecting Christ and His message.
Verse Context:
Hebrews 1:1–4 summarizes the entire book of Hebrews. God has spoken to mankind in many ways, but now He speaks to us through Christ. This same man, Jesus Christ, is also God, and shares in all aspects of the divine nature. Jesus' superiority over all other things is summarized in His symbolic position, seated at the right hand of God the Father. Everything which follows in the book of Hebrews supports this same basic theme: Christ is above and beyond all other things.
Hebrews 1:5–14 uses a collection of Old Testament quotations. These are used to support the claims made in verses 1 through 4. In particular, the writer is explaining that Jesus Christ is not merely some angelic being or a created spiritual power. He is the exact nature of God and above all other authorities. Since this letter is written to a Jewish audience, this use of Old Testament material is crucial and would have been especially effective. This explanation continues through the entire second chapter of Hebrews.
Chapter Summary:
Chapter 1 starts off with an immediate appeal to God's communication with mankind. It also establishes the divinity of Jesus Christ. Hebrews describes Jesus as superior to all other beings and all other claims. The first area where Jesus is elevated is with respect to angels. Using direct quotations from the Old Testament, this chapter clearly demonstrates that Jesus is above, beyond, and far more than every angel. This theme will continue through chapter 2.
Chapter Context:
The first chapter of Hebrews establishes two primary ideas used to support the rest of the book. First, that God has spoken to mankind, most recently through Jesus, so we ought to be listening to Him. Secondly, chapter 1 introduces the fact that Jesus is superior to other spiritual beings, such as angels. These concepts are used to support the superiority of faith in Christ, over the Old Testament Law, expressed in the book's later chapters.
Book Summary:
The book of Hebrews is meant to challenge, encourage, and empower Christian believers. According to this letter, Jesus Christ is superior to all other prophets and all other claims to truth. Since God has given us Christ, we ought to listen to what He says and not move backwards. The consequences of ignoring God are dire. Hebrews is important for drawing on many portions of the Old Testament in making a case that Christ is the ultimate and perfect expression of God's plan for mankind. This book presents some tough ideas about the Christian faith, a fact the author makes specific note of.
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