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"The Apostle, in his exhortations to Christian obedience, and the more perfect worship of the Christian Church, plainly alludes to the directions of the Hebrew ritual : 'Having, therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way,' &c. (Chap. x. 19-22.)
"From this plain and useful manner of the Apostle's reasoning from the Hebrew ritual in explaining the doctrines of [the] Christian faith, and in exhorting the Christian Church to the obedience of faith, we may justly conclude an allowance, and I think a direction, to consider the Hebrew ritual as a plan or sketch; a pattern, type, or prophetic description of the Christian economy, and of the future good things which were reserved to be revealed at the coming of the Messiah.
"If it should be enquired how far we may consider the Hebrew ritual a typical plan of the Christian doctrines and worship, ask the ancient prophets, ask the apostles, ask Christ himself, the best interpreters of the law, they will all tell you that the whole law as a ritual, that the principal parts of it, each in particular, are figures of the good things now come to us with Jesus the true Messiah. Hence such use and application of the ritual will not proceed from a vain spirit, turning all things into type and allegory, but it is authorized by the same spirit of prophecy which gave the ritual, and formed it to this design and meaning."—(Lowman's rationale of the Ritual of the Hebrew Worship, Part iii. chap. 3.)
GOD, who at sundry times and in
3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;
4 Being made so much better than
CHAP. I. Ver. 1. At sundry times.—Mackn. “in sundry parts." So Mr. Pierce explains it: "God discovered his will anciently in several parts, or parcels; so that one part was to be learned from one prophet, and another from another."And in divers manners.-Mackn. remarks, "This clause does not refer to the different manners in which God revealed himself to the prophets, such as dreams, visions, voices, &c. but it refers to the different ways in which the prophets communicated the dif ferent revelations which they received, to the fathers-in types and figures, significant actions, and dark sayings, as well as in plain language."
Ver. 2. Hath in these last days-Namely, of the gospel dispensation. See Note on 1 Tim. iv. 1.————— By his son.-Doddr. "The Son," the pronoun his being an unnecessary supplement.Heir-that is, Lord or proprietor, of all things.-So Paul teaches us, Gal. iv. i. The heir is "Lord of all," which title Peter also ascribes to Christ, Acts x. 36. Dr. Pye Smith remarks, that the Greek word for heir is by no means restricted to the primary meaning of possession by descent, and refers to Biel and Schleusner, as authorities.
Ibid, By whom also he made the worlds-i, e, the
material or visible creation: so the word is evidently used in chap. xi. 3.
Ver. 3. Who being the brightness of his glory-. i. e. of the Father's glory-and the express image -or "character;" that is, says the learned Mr. Leigh," answering to the divine perfections, as the impression of wax does to the engraving of the seal." Doddr. adds, "It is observable, that Philo calls the Logos the character of the image of God.""of his person (Gr. Hypostasis). So Doddridge; but Macknight renders it, "An exact image of his substance." (Compare Col. i. 15) And so the word hypostasis is rendered, ch. xi. 1: "The substance of things hoped for." Dr. Pye Smith quotes Rosenmuller, as saying, "It denotes God himself. The Son is called the absolutely perfect image of the Father, because he is like him in power, wisdom, goodness, &c.; since, by a Son, we understand one of the same nature as the Father." Schleusner explains it, "The express resemblance of the essence or nature of God, and of his unchangeable majesty. Ibid. And upholding all things." The word properly signifies upholding, bearing, or sustaining J M'Lean. Compare Col. i. 16.
Ver. 4. Being made, &c.-Mackn, "He is so
the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.
5 For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?
6 And again, when he bringeth in the first-begotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.
7 And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire.
8 But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.
9 Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God,
[the Son of God.
even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.
10 And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands:
11 They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment;
12 And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail.
13 But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool?
14 Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation? (A)
(A) Ver. 1-14. Christ coming in these Fast times, is preferred before the angels. The greater part of this Epistle consists in a comparison and contrast between the law and the gospel, and it begins with comparing the manner of their delivery to mankind the former, that is, the Old Testament revelation, was parcelled out at different times (so the original signifies) in the course of 2000 years; the latter was revealed, as it were, all at once, for it was not more than ten years from the baptism
of Christ to the mission of St. Paul. Again, the former revelation was given in a great variety of ways, and by a succession of prophets, through many generations; the latter by the ministry of Jesus, and his apostles, within the space of a few years.
Another circumstance, far more striking and important, was the different ranks and importance of the messengers-God “hath in these last days spoken to us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things," &c., and whose rank and dignity now demands our special consideration.
NOTES-Chap. I. Con.
much better than [Doddr. "superior to] the angels by how much he hath inherited," &c. Our common translation, "by inheritance obtained," seems to imply the death of the Father, from whom such inheritance descended; but it is not so in the East, as we have observed in the parable of the prodigal son, where the father "divided his living," or property, between his sons. (See Luke xv. 12, and Exposition.) Doddridge, Macknight, and M'Lean, read simply," He hath inherited;" and Dr. Campbell (on Matt. v. 3) remarks, that the original may denote the attainment of property by any kind of title.
Ver. 5. For unto which, &c.—that is, none of the angels have been thus honoured. See Ps. 1. 7, with our Exposition.I will be to him a Father, &c.2 Sam. vii. 14, where it is spoken of Solomon, who was a type of Christ.
Ver. 6. And again, when he bringeth.-Margin, "And when he bringeth again," i. e after his resurrection. So Doddridge, Macknight, M'Lean, &c.
The first-begotten.-Macknight and M'Lean, "firstborn." Compare Rom i. 4; Col.i. 18; Rev.i.5. Ver. 7. And of.-Marg. “unto;" Doddr. "con
cerning "-the angels.And let all the angels of God worship him.-This appears taken from Psalm xcvii. 7, which is thus read in the Ixx. Warship him all ye his angels." Abrabanel, in Isa. lit. 13, confesses that the ancient Rabbies explained this place of the Messiah, who was to be exalted above Abraham, above Moses, and above the angels. See Hammond in Heb. i. 4.
Ver. 8. But unto the Son he saith.-Psa. xlv, 6,7, which see.A sceptre of righteousness,—Marg. "rightness," or "straightness."
Ver. 9. Above thy fellows.-Doddr. "associates;TM by which many understand the angels, but we think unjustly. See Exposition.
Ver. 10 Thou, Lord, in the beginning, &c.—This is quoted from Psa. cii. ver. 25-27.
Ver. 12. As a vesture shalt thou fold them up – Compare Isa. xxxiv. 4; Rev. vi. 14; also 2 Peter
Ver. 13. But to which, &c.-See Ps. cx. 1. Com pare Matt. xxii. 43--46.
Ver. 14. To minister for them.-Doddr. "to attend on those who shall inherit salvation."
1. He is the Son-so called in distinction from all the adopted Sons of God; and he is therefore elsewhere called God's own, and only begotten Son. (Rom. viii. 3; and John i. 14, 18.) As such he is declared to be "heir of all things," and "Lord of all" creatures; by whom also he made the worlds, as is stated by St. John (chap. i. 3). He is also asserted to be the "brightness," effulgence, and beaming forth of the Father's glory, and the express character of his person; so that whatever perfections exist in the nature of the eternal Father, have an exact counterpart in the person of the Son; just as every mark or character of a seal is imprinted on the melted wax to which it is applied; language which certainly can be applied to Do mere creature without confounding opposites in Nature.
When it is said, "upholding all things by the word of his power," it has been questioned whether the pronoun [his] should be referred to the Father or the Son; but so united, so completely the sume, are the divine perfections of the sacred Three, that it is in vain to attempt to distinguish them: if they are one in nature, so must they be in every divine perfection. It is added, "when he had by himself purged our sins;" that is, when by the sacrifice which he offered on the cross, he had atoned for our sins, he then took his place at the right hand of the Majesty on high and here we may remark a striking difference of expression. Before his incarnation, the Son was in the bosom of the Father; after his ascension, he took his place at his right handhis person, his character, his achievements for our redemption were acknowledged, and gloriously rewarded.
"Being made, or having become, so much better than the angels, as he hath by ight of inheritance, as the Son of God, obained a more excellent and honourable name han they" ever could; for though angels are, in an inferior sense, the sons of God Job xxxviii. 7), He (the Father) never addressed any one of them thus emphati
cally-"Thou art my Son!" much less exalted any other being as an object of worship to the heavenly hosts, saying, "Let all the angels of God worship him!"
And here we may remark how much the sacred writers (and Paul especially) delight in heaping honours upon our Saviour.Speak of him as a man, and he is " fairer than (all) the sons of men" beside. Speak of him as a king, and he excels both in the equity and dignity of his throne; he is "King of kings, and Lord of lords." Thus is he anointed with the oil of gladness and of grace, above all with whom he may be reckoned or associated. "In all things he hath the pre-eminence." (Col. i. 18.)
What is said, verse 7, concerning the angels, is generally understood as a comparison between those celestial beings, and the material agents of air and fire, as we have explained it, in the Exposition of Psa. civ. 4, from whence these words are quoted; and Doddridge here paraphrases the passage thus: "He who rules the winds and the lightnings, has his angels under equal command; and employs them with the strength of winds, and the rapidity of lightnings, in his service." With respect to the doctrine of angels, we know that they are all ministering spirits, employed by Christ in the government of the world and of the church. Sometimes they direct the tempest or the pestilence, and at others, they wait upon the church or its ministers (see 2 Kings xix. 35; 1 Kings xix. 5, &c.); but we never read of their being seated upon thrones, or authorised to receive the homage of their fellow-creatures, which, indeed, when offered, they have conscientiously refused. Rev. xxii. 8, 9.
When it is said, They" are all ministering spirits," the word all" is here emphatical, denoting (says Dr. Macknight) that even the highest orders of angels bow the knee to Jesus; ministering in the affairs of the world according to his direction. But though the Scriptures speak of all the angels as thus ministering, this does not imply that every angel is thus ac
CHAP. II. Ver. 1. Therefore ought to give the more earnest heed-Mackn. "On this account we ught to attend the more earnestly."
Ibid. Let them slip-Marg. "Run out, as leaking vessels," or, perhaps, as water through a sieve.
and disobedience received a just recompence of reward;
3 How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;
4 God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?
5 For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak.
6 But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him?
7 Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands:
8 Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he
[exaltation of Christ.
put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him.
9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he, by the grace of God, should taste death for every man.
10 For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
11 For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren;
12 Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee.
13 And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I, and the children which God hath given me.
EXPOSITION-Chap. I. Continued.
tually employed, in ministering for the heirs of salvation, but that every one of them is subject to be so employed." And these angels are ministers who belong to Christ, not to men, though employed for
their benefit: nor will this passage prose that every heir of salvation has a guardian angel individually assigned to him, as some have supposed.
NOTES-Chap. II. Con.
Ver. 4. And gifts-Marg. " distributions;" that is, of the various gifts of the Spirit. Compare 1 Cor. xii. 1.
Ver. 5. For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection-i. e. under their government or direction, as the animal world was placed under subjection to Adam, as is stated in ver. 8 following, and in Gen. i. 28.--The world to come.-This, as we learn from Maimonides, was a common phrase to designate the kingdom of Messiah, called also the age to come, or the future age. Whereof we speak-or treat; and that he was speaking of this kingdom of the Messiah, is evident from the context, verse 3, 4.
Ver. 6. In a certain place-Namely, Ps. viii. 4; on which see our Exposition.
Ver. 7. A little lower.-Marg. "A little while inferior to;" meaning the Son of Man when upon earth.
Ver. 9. But we see Jesus, &c.-In our translation, it should seem as if the death of Christ was subsequent to his exaltation, which is exactly the reverse of the fact; Dr. Macknight therefore transposes the passage thus: "But we see Jesus, who for a little while was made less than angels, that by the grace of God he might taste of death on account of every one, for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour." The Doctor admits that the original text is in the order of our translation; but he adds, "This inverted order the Greek language admits,
by reason of its peculiar structure: but in translating such passages into a language which, like the En lish, sparingly admits an inverted position of the words, they must be arranged according to their tural order, as is done in the new translation Compare with this passage Phil. ii. 9-11.
Ibid. For the suffering.-Marg. " By the suffer ing," but both Doddridge and Macknight retain f
For every man-Mackn. as above, renders t Greek (uper), "on account of;" bat Doddr. retain the common version," For."-Every "Every one," in Macknight, is somewhat more teral, and he restrains the term (as Gill does) to every one of the sons who is to be brought to glory;" though he admits the death of Christ to be a benefit to all men. Compare Exposition on 1 Tim. chap. ii., and Note on verse 4.
Ver. 10. It became him, &c.-See Rom. xi. To make the captain-Doddr. "Leader," or Prince. The word is rendered Prince in Acts i 15; v. 31.
Ver. 11. All of one-i. e. of one family; or, according to M'Lean, of one Father.
Ver. 12. Saying, &e.-See Psa. xxii. 22, 25 —— In the midst of the church.-The Psalmist says, the great congregation." But according to article xix. of the Establishment, "The Church of Christ is a congregation of faithful men," &c.
Ver. 13. Behold I, and the children.-See Istiah
A merciful and]
14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;
15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their life-time subject to bondage.
16 For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on
[faithful High Priest.
him the seed of Abraham.
17 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.
18 For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted. (B)
(B) Ver. 1-18. We must take heed to the gospel of Christ Jesus, who became man, and suffered for our salvation.-It is the manner of St. Paul to associate himself with the persons to whom he wrote as one of them; and therefore, though he had himself received the gospel immediately from the Lord Jesus, he speaks of himself as if he had only heard it preached in the same way as others, in order to press upon them the more effectually, the necessity and importance of attending to its momentous doctrines.
The present chapter connects itself with the former by a "therefore;" deriving from the dignity of Christ's person a forcible argument for attending to the message of his "for if the word spoken by grace; angels was steadfast," &c. But what was the word spoken by angels? Unquestionably the Mosaic dispensation, and especially the moral law. This, St. Stephen informs us, was "given by the disposition of angels (Acts vii. 38); and St. Paul says, "It was ordained by angels in the hands of a Mediator (namely Moses). (Gal. iii. 19.) How far the agency of angels may be employed, it is alike useless and imper. tinent to inquire; but the gospel being delivered by the mouth of the Son of God himself, acquires thereby a weight superior to the law, which, though from the voice of God, was delivered by the medium of his servants. So the apostle had argued in the beginning of this epistle: "God, who in time past spoke by the prophets, hath now spoken by his Son." Well might he therefore add, "How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation!" A salvation
truly great, in every point of view in which it can be considered; whether in reference to the ruin from which it saves, or the happiness to which it exalts; whether we consider the price it cost, or the grace it exhibits. And great also is the evidence with which its promulgation is attended"signs and wonders, with divers miracles and gifts of the Holy Ghost."
By" the world to come" (ver. 5), we understand the gospel dispensation, or kingdom of Messiah (as in chap. vi. 5), which was so called, as is well known, by the ancient Rabbies; but what is the meaning of this not being subjected to the angels? 1. It implies that the old dispensation was so subjected, as we have seen in the preceding chapter; for "the law was given by the disposition of angels;" but, 2d, Not so the gospel; that was committed to men like ourselves-even to sinners, that they might know how to act toward their fellow-sinners. Angels are appointed neither to govern, nor to instruct the church on the contrary, when they enter the church, it is to learn" the manifold wisdom of God, as displayed in the mysteries of the gospel, which things the angels desire to look into." (See Ephes. iii. 10; 1 Peter i. 12.)
In the passage here quoted from the 8th Psalm, it is evident that the apostle considers Christ as "the second Adam" (as in 1 Cor. xv. 45-47), sent to "restore the ruins of the first;" and to realize that government which the other forfeited by sin. And "we see Jesus (the Lord from heaven) made a little (while) lower than the angels," that he might be capable of dying for our sins; and, as a reward for such humilia
Ver. 14. Destroy him, &c.-Doddr. " depose him who had the empire of death." Dr. Pye Smith, "Holdeth the dominion;" but the word does not imply a right to such dominion.
Ver. 16. Took not on him the nature of angels.
Marg. "He taketh not hold of angels;" but of the seed of Abraham he taketh hold. Chrysostom explains this to mean, that when mankind fled-fled far from him, Christ pursued, and caught hold of them. See Hammond.