Hebrews 1:5 meaning

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

Paul 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 Paul 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, Paul quotes Psalm 2:7 and 2 Samuel 7:14 here. This “begotten” refers to an ancient custom of an adoption into royalty.

The inheritance Christ received, noted by the name “Son”, demonstrates why He is far greater than the angels. The phrase, you are my Son, today I have begotten you 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 land).

God the Father named Jesus an inheritor because He was a faithful servant as a human. He was also given “land” as a reward: the entire earth. 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 adopts 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.

Christ’s inheritance was won through faithful obedience to God, even to death on the cross. 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. 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.

Biblical Text:
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 a Father to Him
And He shall be a Son to Me”?

Check out our other commentaries: