Recently, I was reading the book of Hebrews and I found a few verses in the first chapter hard to understand. In Hebrews 1:8-12, is God the Father talking to Jesus and calling Jesus God? Hebrews 1:5-13 seems like a mixture of certain Old Testament verses, so I suppose verse 5 through 13 shouldn’t be read directly to come to a conclusion. Please expound these verses for me.


The basic outline of Hebrews is this:  Jesus is awesome and amazing for this reason and that reason.  Therefore this is what you should do in order to remain faithful to Jesus to the end and to make it to heaven.

First, the Hebrew writer tells us that Jesus is greater than all the prophets in Hebrews 1:1-3.  Then in Hebrews 1:4-14 that Jesus is vastly greater and more important than angels.  “So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs.”  The next several verses explain what he means, using quotes from the Old Testament.  He argues that angels are merely messengers, whereas Jesus is THE MESSAGE.  The Hebrew writer uses a couple of somewhat obscure passages in the Old Testament with regard to angels.   These passages may be a bit obscure to Christians, but to the Jews in the first century, they were well-known.  The Jews at the time of Jesus talked much about angels.  The Hebrew writer is trying to change their focus to Jesus.  That is what is going on in these verses, and it explains the choice of Old Testament passages.  For example, God said about Jesus, “You are my Son” in Psalm 2:7, but about angels he said that they worship God in Deuteronomy 32:43.  From this, we see that Jesus is far greater than angels.  The Hebrews writer then contrasts Psalm 45:6-7 and what it says about Jesus/the Messiah to Psalm 104:4 which describes angels as mere servants.  The writer of Hebrews concludes in Heb 1:14 that angels are merely servants, and that they serve us.  Jesus is vastly greater than the angels.  Focus on him!    This is what is happening in Hebrews 1:4-14.

John Oakes

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