4 having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.
5 For to which of the angels did He ever say: “You are My Son, today I have begotten You”? And again: “I will be to Him a Father, and He shall be to Me a Son”?
6 But when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says: “Let all the angels of God worship Him.”
7 And of the angels He says: “Who makes His angels spirits and His ministers a flame of fire.”
Verse 4 is a continuation of the thought (and the sentence) in verse 3. He sat down at the right hand of God, having by His name been made better than angels.
The preincarnate Christ was called the Angel (Messenger) of the Lord, but He is not an angelic being.
better (v.4) — higher position or rank
inheritance (v.4) — see “heir” (v.2)
He has by inheritance obtained (v.4) — one word in the Greek. A technical term for legal title, secure tenure.
Christ’s right to His supreme dignity is twofold: first, because of the union between His humanity and essential Deity; Second, as a reward for His mediatorial sufferings and unparalleled obedience to His Father. — An Exposition of Hebrews, by Arthur W. Pink, page 31.
more excellent name (v.4) — His relationship to the Father, His inheritance makes Him better than angels — more distinguished, more eminent — Philippians 2:9: Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name.
Angels were the most excellent of all created beings. Christ is more excellent than angels and so is most excellent — as reflected by His position on the right hand of the Majesty.
name (v.4) — specifically “Son of God”
This title is applied to Christ as the Messiah born on earth, and not as king in the coming day. Nor does the statement refer to His resurrection. That was not when He was begotten of the Father. That the quotation speaks of His birth is made clear from Paul’s narrative in Acts 13, where, if verse 33 is rightly understood, the statement is set in preliminary contrast to the fact of His resurrection. God fulfilled the promise made to the fathers (v.32) “in that He raised up Jesus” (that is to say, in the nation, by means of His incarnation); as it is written in the second Psalm, Thou are My Son, this day have I begotten Thee. Then follows the contrasted event of His resurrection, as distinct from His being raised up in the nation: “And as concerning that He raised Him up from the dead … He hath spoken on t his wise, I will give you the holy and sure blessings of David” (v.34). It should be observed that the same fact concerning the raising up among the people is stated of David in verses 22-23. In every place where the statement is made, “This day have I begotten Thee,” the reference is to the birth of Christ. — Hebrews, by W.E. Vine, page 255.
To appreciate the force of this we must, briefly, consider the excellency of the “angels.” Angels are the highest of all God’s creatures: heaven is their native home (Matthew 24:36). They “excel in strength” (Psalm 103:20). They are God’s “ministers” (Psalm 104:4). Like a king’s gentlemen-in-waiting, they are said to “minister unto the Ancient of Days” (Daniel 7:10). They are “holy” (Matthew 25:31). Their countenances are like “lightning,” and their raiment is as white as snow (Matthew 28:3). They surround God’s throne (Revelation 5:11). — Pink, page 31.
The quotes in verse 5 are from Psalm 2:7 and 2 Samuel 7:14.
My Son (v.5) — Angels are called “sons of God” (Job 38:7) in reference to their creation, as is Adam (Luke 3:38) and believers. But none are called “My Son.”
I have begotten Thee (v.5) — His incarnation. Proof of the virgin birth.
first-begotten (v.5) — dignity, honor, dominion — The position conferred upon Him because of His suffering and obedience. First in time, but also chief
The word “first-begotten” is the translation of prototokos, a term used by Paul in Colossians 1:15 and by the writer to the Hebrews here, of the Son of God. The term speaks of priority to all creation and sovereignty over all creation. Whereas the term “only-begotten” (monogenes) describes the unique relationship of the Son to the Father in His divine nature, prototokos (first-begotten) describes the relation of the risen Messiah in His glorified humanity to man. — Hebrews in the Greek New Testament, by Kenneth S. Wuest, page 46.
I will be (v.5) — referring to Christ’s time on earth
I will be to Him a Father … (v.5) — This was God’s promise concerning the Messiah, David’s Son a thousand years before He appeared on earth. “I will be to Him a Father.” I will own Him as My Son. I will treat Him accordingly. This He did. In death He would not suffer Him to see corruption. He raised Him from the dead. He exalted Him to His own right hand. “And He shall be to Me a Son”: He shall act as such. And He did. He ever spoke of Him as “Father,” He obeyed Him even unto death. He committed His spirit into His hands. — Pink, page 34.
The quote in verse 6 is from Psalm 97:7.
again (v.6) — connected with “brings … into” — bring in again — His second coming
Let all the angels of God worship Him (v.6) — When He has triumphed over all His enemies and appears in glory — His second coming. At Christ’s first coming, there was a multitude of angels (Luke 2:13). At His second coming, all angels will be present (Matthew 16:27). If the Son is worshiped by angels, He must be better than they are.
The quote in verse 7 is from Psalm 104.4.
The word “spirits” is the translation of pneuma, which means “wind, spirit, messenger.” Here the meaning is “winds.” The emphasis is upon the variableness of the angelic nature. They are what they are at any time by the decree of God, fitted by their character to any special service. The point of the writer is that the angels are not merely servants, but of such a nature that God makes them according to the needs of His service, and being such as they are, they are changeable, in marked contrast to the Son who is their ruler, and unchangeable. The word “servants” is the translation of leitourgos, the word used of the sacred and religious ministry of the Old Testament priests. — Wuest, page 47.
The Spirit’s purpose in quoting this verse in Hebrews 1 is evident: it was to point a contrast between the natures of the angels and the Son: they were “made” — created; He is uncreated. Not only were the angels created, but they were created by Christ Himself “Who maketh” which looks back to the last clause of verse 2, “He (the Son) made the worlds:” it is the making of the worlds that Psalm 104 speaks of. Moreover, they are here termed not merely “the angels” but “His angels!” They are but “spirits,” He is God; They are “His ministers,” He is their Head (Colossians 2:10). — Pink, pages 36-37.
flame of fire (v.7) — refers to God’s use of angels in divine judgment.