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Hebrews 1:5 meaning

The Son is greater than the angels because God has made Him the heir of all things.

The Pauline Author reiterates why Christ is above the angels, pulling heavily from Old Testament Scripture, demonstrating that Jesus is better than the angels in every way. God has never called an angel Son, so Christ is greater. Again, it might seem confusing for the Pauline Author to refer to Jesus as being begotten when he just said in verses 2 and 3 that Jesus is God and created the world. But this is nothing new; the Pauline Author quotes Psalm 2:7, 2 Samuel 7:14 here. This begotten refers to an ancient custom of a superior king rewarding a faithful servant by adopting him into his royal family and granting him authority over a realm.

The inheritance Christ received, noted by the name Son, demonstrates why He is far greater than the angels. The Pauline Author asks his audience: For to which of the angels did God ever say, "You are my Son, today I have begotten you"? (v 5) This phrase is similar to the language used in ancient times when a great ruler honored a faithful subject as an inheritor by an "adoption" ceremony. If a master had a faithful servant, he could name him as an inheritor in his kingdom by calling him "son" and saying in an adoption ceremony, "You are my son, today I have begotten you." This ceremony of naming a faithful servant as a son came with an inheritance (which was often sovereignty over a territory or land).

God the Father named Jesus an inheritor because He was a faithful servant as a human (Philippians 2:6-10). He was also given authority over a territory or "land" as a reward: in His case the entire earth (Matthew 28:18). Jesus has always been the Son of God, but after He lived faithfully on earth as a human, He took His place at the right hand of God as both God and as a human.

Jesus will one day inherit the entire earth as His inheritance for His faithfulness. God depicts here His reward of Jesus by adopting Jesus the human, becoming a Father to Him. Jesus is now the Son as a human who lived faithfully, in addition to being the Son of God.

The Pauline Author phrases another question like the first earlier in verse 5, asking about angels, wondering which of them has heard anything like this: and again, "I will be a Father to Him, and He shall be a Son to Me (v 5)" ? What angels has God named "Son?" The expected answer is "None." No angel has heard anything like that, because angels are subordinate to Jesus.

Christ's inheritance was won through faithful obedience to God, even to death on the cross, as a human. If Jesus had not become fully human, He would not have been able to be the perfect example for us or attain the reward of being named Son. The book of Hebrews exhorts these believing Jews to keep their focus on obtaining the reward of inheritance through obedience, and not get distracted. Religious observance does not take the place of the obedience of faith.

Since Christ came down to the earth as both fully man and fully God, He was able to demonstrate to us the truest form of obedience. Jesus was then elevated to a place above the angels as a man, and He paved the way for humanity to be restored to our original design to rule the earth, and to rule angels as well (Matthew 28:18, Philippians 2:6-10). He showed us that if we are obedient to God on earth, we can also be named sons and share in what is now Christ's inheritance (Revelation 3:21).

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