Thursday, 2 August 2018
…has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; Hebrews 1:2
These words are a contrast to verse 1. God once spoke in a certain way to the fathers by the prophets, but something new has come. He “has in these last days spoken to us by His Son.” The term, “these last days,” is literally “at the last of these days.” One must think of God’s revelation coming in one of two distinct epochs. The first is the period of the Old Covenant; the second is the period of the New Covenant. But what must be considered is that the New Covenant was not initiated until the night of Christ’s crucifixion. Thus, the period of record in the gospels is not included in the New, but in the Old. The New Covenant is given because of the shed blood of Christ, and it is a Covenant given not to the church, but to the house of Israel and the house of Judah (Jeremiah 31:31). The letter to the Hebrews is explaining this to them.
It is in the last of these days that God has “spoken” to us. The word is in the aorist tense. There is a single act involved in the matter. As Cambridge says –
“Are, and were, and will be are but is
And all creation is one act at once.”
God’s revelation is put forth, and it has come to us at various times and in various ways, but it is one word which is spoken forth from Him. We are in the stream of time; He is not. The reception of that revelation to the fathers and now to us bears one common element – God has spoken to the people of the world. He once spoke through the prophets; He now speaks through the Son. However, in the Greek, there is no article before “Son,” and the word “His” has been inserted. It more literally reads, “…spoken to us by a Son.” This doesn’t mean one of any number of sons, but the nature of how the revelation is given – “How is the revelation now given? It is given by a Son, not merely by a prophet, or through an angel.” The contrast to verse 1 is further highlighted by this statement. It is this Son, “whom He has appointed heir of all things.”
Again, an aorist verb is used. It more correctly reads, “whom he appointed.” It is the Son who was appointed in the eternal counsels of God to be the means by which God would speak to the people of the world in the time of the New Covenant, and it is this Son who is appointed “heir of all things.”
As soon as the Son is mentioned comes the noting of the appointment as heir. And this occurred not after God made the worlds, but before. God determined before the worlds were made that they were appointed to the Son. What we are seeing is the determining mind of God, before anything existed, concerning the order and structure of how things would be done, and how things would be determined. This is seen with the words following the appointment as heir which state, “through whom also He made the worlds.”
By place the making of the worlds after the appointment of being heir, we are left with the understanding that the Son was designated heir, the worlds were then made, and they were destined to be His possession. Thus, the glory of the Son precedes creation. He was with the Father all along. John 1:1-3 is called to mind with the structure of how Hebrews 1:2 is presented –
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.”
None of the glory of the Son is diminished in what is being said. Rather, it is being highlighted. Finally, the word translated as “worlds” is the Greek word aiōnas. It speaks of an age, a cycle (of time), especially of the present age as contrasted with the future age, and of one of a series of ages stretching to infinity. Thus, this is speaking not just of the physical worlds which comprise the universe, but the span in which they exist as well. Everything associated with the creation is contained in this thought. The word “universe” closes in on the thought, but it is insufficient unless one thinks beyond the physical aspect of it to include the span of the ages in which the universe exists.
Life application: The comments on Hebrews 1:2 by great scholars of the past are lengthy, detailed, and even complicated. Each approaches the words in a different manner, and each struggles to explain what is being relayed in a careful, coherent manner. Be sure to not limit yourself to one commentary on the Bible. There is an immense amount of information out there which is given to bring the student of the Bible to a fuller understanding of the marvelous workings of God.
Heavenly Father, it is beyond our ability to grasp the wisdom which You display in Your creation. From the intricacy of the flowers we see, to the balance of the elements in the world which allows life, to the placement of the worlds in their heavenly orbits for proper order… Nothing is missing, everything works as it should, and beauty and glory are seen in all of it. How great You are, O God. Amen.