God’s Final Word in His Son
1 God, having spoken to the fathers long ago in [the voices and writings of] the prophets in many separate revelations [each of which set forth a portion of the truth], and in many ways, 2 has in these last days spoken [with finality] to us in [the person of One who is by His character and nature] His Son [namely Jesus], whom He appointed heir and lawful owner of all things, through whom also He created the universe [that is, the universe as a space-time-matter continuum]. 3 The Son is the radiance and only expression of the glory of [our awesome] God [reflecting God’s [a]Shekinah glory, the Light-being, the brilliant light of the divine], and the exact representation and perfect imprint of His [Father’s] essence, and upholding and maintaining and propelling all things [the entire physical and spiritual universe] by His powerful word [carrying the universe along to its predetermined goal]. When He [Himself and no other] had [by offering Himself on the cross as a sacrifice for sin] accomplished purification from sins and established our freedom from guilt, He sat down [revealing His completed work] at the right hand of the Majesty on high [revealing His Divine authority], 4 having become as much superior to angels, since He has inherited a more excellent and glorious [b]name than they [that is, Son—the name above all names].
5 For to which of the angels did the Father ever say,
“You are My Son,
Today I have begotten (fathered) You [established You as a Son, with kingly dignity]”?
And again [did He ever say to the angels],
“I shall be a Father to Him
And He shall be a Son to Me”?(A)
6 [c]And when He again brings the firstborn [highest-ranking Son] into the world, He says,
“And all the angels of God are to worship Him.”(B)
7 And concerning the angels He says,
“Who makes His angels winds,
And His ministering servants flames of fire [to do His bidding].”(C)
8 But about the Son [the Father says to Him],
“Your throne, [d]O God, is forever and ever,
And the [e]scepter of [absolute] righteousness is the scepter of [f]His kingdom.
“You have loved righteousness [integrity, virtue, uprightness in purpose] and have hated lawlessness [injustice, sin].
Therefore God, Your God, Has anointed You
With the oil of gladness above Your companions.”(D)
“[g]You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning,
And the heavens are the works of Your hands;
They will perish, but You remain [forever and ever];
And they will all wear out like a garment,
And like a robe You will roll them up;
Like a garment they will be changed.
But [h]You are the same [forever],
And Your years will never end.”(E)
13 But to which of the angels has the Father ever said,
“Sit at My right hand [together with me in royal dignity],
Until I make your enemies
A footstool for your feet [in triumphant conquest]”?(F)
14 Are not all the angels ministering spirits sent out [by God] to serve (accompany, protect) those who will inherit salvation? [Of course they are!]
2 [i]For this reason [that is, because of God’s final revelation in His Son Jesus and because of Jesus’ superiority to the angels] we must pay much closer attention than ever to the things that we have heard, so that we do not [in any way] drift away from truth. 2 For if the message given [j]through angels [the Law given to Moses] was authentic and unalterable, and every violation and disobedient act received an appropriate penalty, 3 how will we escape [the penalty] if we ignore such a great salvation [the gospel, the new covenant]? For it was spoken at first by the Lord, and it was confirmed to us and proved authentic by those who personally heard [Him speak], 4 [and besides this evidence] God also testifying with them [confirming the message of salvation], both by signs and wonders and by various miracles [carried out by Jesus and the apostles] and by [granting to believers the] gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will.
Earth Subject to Man
5 It was not to angels that God subjected the [inhabited] world of the future [when Christ reigns], about which we are speaking. 6 But one has [solemnly] testified somewhere [in Scripture], saying,
“What is man, that You are mindful of him,
Or the son of man, that You graciously care for him?
“You have made him for a little while lower [in status] than the angels;
You have crowned him with glory and honor,
[k]And set him over the works of Your hands;
You have put all things in subjection under his feet [confirming his supremacy].”
Now in putting all things in subjection to man, He left nothing outside his control. But at present we do not yet see all things subjected to him.(G)
Jesus Briefly Humbled
9 But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while [by taking on the limitations of humanity], crowned with glory and honor because of His suffering of death, so that by the grace of God [extended to sinners] He might experience death for [the sins of] everyone.
10 For it was fitting for God [that is, an act worthy of His divine nature] that He, for whose sake are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the [l]author and founder of their salvation perfect through suffering [bringing to maturity the human experience necessary for Him to be perfectly equipped for His office as High Priest]. 11 Both Jesus who sanctifies and those who are sanctified [that is, spiritually transformed, made holy, and set apart for God’s purpose] are all from one Father; for this reason He is not ashamed to call them [m]brothers and sisters, 12 saying,
“I will declare Your (the Father’s) name to My brethren (believers),
In the midst of the congregation I will sing Your praise.”(H)
13 And again [[n]He says],
“My trust and confident hope will be placed in Him.”
“Here I am, I and the children whom God has given Me.”(I)
14 Therefore, since [these His] children share in flesh and blood [the physical nature of mankind], He Himself in a similar manner also shared in the same [physical nature, but without sin], so that through [experiencing] death He might make powerless (ineffective, impotent) him who had the power of death—that is, the devil— 15 and [that He] might free all those who through [the haunting] fear of death were held in slavery throughout their lives. 16 For, as we all know, He (Christ) does not take hold of [the fallen] angels [to give them a helping hand], but He does take hold of [the fallen] descendants of Abraham [extending to them His hand of deliverance].(J) 17 Therefore, it was essential that He had to be made like His brothers (mankind) in every respect, so that He might [by experience] become a merciful and faithful High Priest in things related to God, to make atonement (propitiation) for the people’s sins [thereby wiping away the sin, satisfying divine justice, and providing a way of reconciliation between God and mankind]. 18 Because He Himself [in His humanity] has suffered in being tempted, He is able to help and provide immediate assistance to those who are being tempted and exposed to suffering.
Jesus Our High Priest
3 Therefore, [o]holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, [thoughtfully and attentively] consider the Apostle and High Priest whom we confessed [as ours when we accepted Him as Savior], namely, [p]Jesus; 2 He was faithful to Him who appointed Him [Apostle and High Priest], as Moses also was faithful in all God’s house.(K) 3 Yet Jesus has been considered worthy of much greater glory and honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has more honor than the house. 4 For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God. 5 Now Moses was faithful in [the administration of] all God’s house, [but only] as a ministering servant, [his ministry serving] as a testimony of the things which were to be spoken afterward [the revelation to come in Christ];(L) 6 but Christ is faithful as a Son over His [Father’s] house. And we are His house if we hold fast our confidence and sense of triumph in our hope [in Christ].
7 Therefore, just as the Holy Spirit says,
“Today if you hear His voice,
Do not harden your hearts as [your fathers did] in the rebellion [of Israel at [q]Meribah],
On the day of testing in the wilderness,
Where your fathers tried Me by testing [My forbearance and tolerance],
And saw My works for forty years
[And found I stood their test].
“Therefore I was angered with this generation,
And I said, ‘They always go astray in their heart,
And they did not know My ways [nor become progressively better and more intimately acquainted with them]’;
So I swore [an oath] in My wrath,
‘They shall not enter My rest [the promised land].’”(M)
The Peril of Unbelief
12 Take care, brothers and sisters, that there not be in any one of you a wicked, unbelieving [r]heart [which refuses to trust and rely on the Lord, a heart] that turns away from the living God. 13 But continually encourage one another every day, as long as it is called “Today” [and there is an opportunity], so that none of you will be hardened [into settled rebellion] by the deceitfulness of sin [its cleverness, delusive glamour, and sophistication]. 14 For we [believers] have become partakers of Christ [sharing in all that the Messiah has for us], if only we hold firm our newborn confidence [which originally led us to Him] until the end, 15 while it is said,
“Today [while there is still opportunity] if you hear His voice,
Do not harden your heart, as when they provoked Me [in the rebellion in the desert at Meribah].”(N)
16 For who were they who heard and yet provoked Him [with rebellious acts]? Was it not all those who came out of Egypt led by Moses? 17 And with whom was He angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose dead bodies were scattered in the desert? 18 And to whom did He swear [an oath] that they would not enter His rest, but to those who disobeyed [those who would not listen to His word]? 19 So we see that they were not able to enter [into His rest—the promised land] because of unbelief and an unwillingness to trust in God.(O)
The Believer’s Rest
4 Therefore, while the promise of entering His rest still remains and is freely offered today, let us fear, in case any one of you may seem to come short of reaching it or think he has come too late. 2 For indeed we have had the good news [of salvation] preached to us, just as the Israelites also [when the good news of the promised land came to them]; but the message they heard did not benefit them, because it was not united with faith [in God] by those who heard. 3 For we who believe [that is, we who personally trust and confidently rely on God] enter that rest [so we have His inner peace now because we are confident in our salvation, and assured of His power], just as He has said,
“As I swore [an oath] in My wrath,
They shall not enter My rest,”
4 For somewhere [in Scripture] He has said this about the seventh day: “And God rested on the seventh day from all His works”;(Q) 5 and again in this, “They shall not enter My rest.”(R) 6 Therefore, since the promise remains for some to enter His rest, and those who formerly had the good news preached to them failed to [grasp it and did not] enter because of [their unbelief evidenced by] disobedience, 7 He again sets a definite day, [a new] “Today,” [providing another opportunity to enter that rest by] saying through David after so long a time, just as has been said before [in the words already quoted],
“Today if you hear His voice,
Do not harden your hearts.”(S)
8 [This mention of a rest was not a reference to their entering into Canaan.] For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not speak about another day [of opportunity] after that. 9 So there remains a [full and complete] Sabbath rest for the people of God. 10 For the one who has once entered His rest has also rested from [the weariness and pain of] his [human] labors, just as God rested from [those labors uniquely] His own.(T) 11 Let us therefore make every effort to enter that rest [of God, to know and experience it for ourselves], so that no one will fall by following the same example of disobedience [as those who died in the wilderness]. 12 For the word of God is living and active and full of power [making it operative, energizing, and effective]. It is sharper than any two-edged [t]sword, penetrating as far as the division of the [u]soul and spirit [the completeness of a person], and of both joints and marrow [the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and judging the very thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And not a creature exists that is concealed from His sight, but all things are open and exposed, and revealed to the eyes of Him with whom we have to give account.
14 Inasmuch then as we [believers] have a great High Priest who has [already ascended and] passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession [of faith and cling tenaciously to our absolute trust in Him as Savior]. 15 For we do not have a High Priest who is unable to sympathize and understand our weaknesses and temptations, but One who has been tempted [knowing exactly how it feels to be human] in every respect as we are, yet without [committing any] sin. 16 Therefore let us [with privilege] approach the throne of grace [that is, the throne of God’s gracious favor] with confidence and without fear, so that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find [His amazing] grace to help in time of need [an appropriate blessing, coming just at the right moment].
The Perfect High Priest
5 For every high priest chosen from among men is appointed [to act] on behalf of men in things relating to God, so that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins. 2 He is able to deal gently with the spiritually ignorant and misguided, since he is also subject to human weakness; 3 and because of this [human weakness] he is required to offer sacrifices for sins, for himself as well as for the people. 4 And besides, one does not appropriate for himself the honor [of being high priest], but he who is called by God, just as Aaron was.
5 So too Christ did not glorify Himself so as to be made a high priest, but He [was exalted and appointed by the One] who said to Him,
“You are My Son,
Today I have begotten (fathered) You [declared Your authority and rule over the nations]”;(U)
6 just as He also says in another place,
7 In the days of His earthly life, Jesus offered up both [specific] petitions and [urgent] supplications [for that which He needed] with fervent crying and tears to the One who was [always] able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His reverent submission toward God [His sinlessness and His unfailing determination to do the Father’s will]. 8 Although He was a Son [who had never been disobedient to the Father], He learned [active, special] obedience through what He suffered. 9 And having been made perfect [uniquely equipped and prepared as Savior and retaining His integrity amid opposition], He became the source of eternal salvation [an eternal inheritance] to all those who obey Him,(W) 10 being designated by God as High Priest according to the order of [w]Melchizedek.(X)
11 Concerning this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull and sluggish in [your spiritual] hearing and disinclined to listen. 12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers [because of the time you have had to learn these truths], you actually need someone to teach you again the elementary principles of God’s word [from the beginning], and you have come to be continually in need of milk, not solid food. 13 For everyone who lives on milk is [doctrinally inexperienced and] unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a spiritual infant. 14 But solid food is for the [spiritually] mature, whose senses are trained by practice to distinguish between what is morally good and what is evil.
The Peril of Falling Away
6 Therefore let us get past the elementary stage in the teachings about the Christ, advancing on to maturity and perfection and spiritual completeness, [doing this] without laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, 2 of teaching about washings (ritual purifications), the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. [These are all important matters in which you should have been proficient long ago.] 3 And we will do this [that is, proceed to maturity], if God permits. 4 For [it is impossible to restore to repentance] those who have once been enlightened [spiritually] and who have [x]tasted and consciously experienced the heavenly gift and have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted and consciously experienced the good word of God and the powers of the age (world) to come, 6 [y]and then have fallen away—it is impossible to bring them back again to repentance, since they again nail the Son of God on the cross [for as far as they are concerned, they are treating the death of Christ as if they were not saved by it], and are holding Him up again to public disgrace. 7 For soil that drinks the rain which often falls on it and produces crops useful to those for whose benefit it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God; 8 but if it persistently produces thorns and thistles, it is worthless and close to being cursed, and it ends up being burned.(Y)
Better Things for You
9 But, beloved, even though we speak to you in this way, [z]we are convinced of better things concerning you, and of things that accompany salvation. 10 For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown for His name in ministering to [the needs of] the saints (God’s people), as you do. 11 And we desire for each one of you to show the same diligence [all the way through] so as to realize and enjoy the full assurance of hope until the end, 12 so that you will not be [spiritually] sluggish, but [will instead be] imitators of those who through faith [lean on God with absolute trust and confidence in Him and in His power] and by patient endurance [even when suffering] are [now] inheriting the promises.
13 For when God made the promise to Abraham, He swore [an oath] by Himself, since He had no one greater by whom to swear, 14 saying, “I will surely bless you and I will surely multiply you.”(Z) 15 And so, having patiently waited, he realized the promise [in the miraculous birth of Isaac, as a pledge of what was to come from God]. 16 Indeed men swear [an oath] by [aa]one greater than themselves, and with them [in all disputes] the oath serves as confirmation [of what has been said] and is an end of the dispute. 17 In the same way God, in His desire to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable nature of His purpose, intervened and guaranteed it with an oath, 18 so that by two unchangeable things [His promise and His oath] in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled [to Him] for refuge would have strong encouragement and indwelling strength to hold tightly to the hope set before us. 19 This hope [this confident assurance] we have as an anchor of the soul [it cannot slip and it cannot break down under whatever pressure bears upon it]—a safe and steadfast hope that enters within the veil [of the heavenly temple, that most Holy Place in which the very presence of God dwells],(AA) 20 where Jesus has entered [in advance] as a forerunner for us, having become a High Priest forever according to the order of [ab]Melchizedek.(AB)
- Hebrews 1:3 The word “Shekinah” does not appear in Scripture, but has been used by both Christians and Jews to describe the visible divine Presence of God, in such things as the burning bush, the cloud and the pillar of fire that led the Hebrews in the wilderness, and the Presence of God that rested between the cherubim over the mercy seat of the ark.
- Hebrews 1:4 In Greek “name” occurs last in this verse to emphasize that Jesus alone bears the name Son. No angel is superior to the Son.
- Hebrews 1:6 Most likely a reference to the second coming of Christ when He will be acknowledged as divine and worshiped as the Son of God. Another view suggests that this may be a reference to His incarnation as Jesus of Nazareth.
- Hebrews 1:8 The Son is recognized as deity by being addressed by the Father as “God.”
- Hebrews 1:8 I.e. symbol of authority.
- Hebrews 1:8 Late mss read Your.
- Hebrews 1:10 The deity of Jesus is acclaimed by the designation “You, Lord.”
- Hebrews 1:12 Since He is deity, the eternality of Jesus is recognized.
- Hebrews 2:1 This refers back to all of ch 1, not just the final verse.
- Hebrews 2:2 It was a tradition in Judaism that angels, whom the Jews highly regarded, had an important role in God’s giving of the Law to Moses. See Acts 7:38; Gal 3:19.
- Hebrews 2:7 Two early mss do not contain “And...hands.”
- Hebrews 2:10 Or pioneer, originator, champion.
- Hebrews 2:11 Lit brethren.
- Hebrews 2:13 By placing these two OT quotations on the lips of Jesus the author illustrates: 1) his high view of Scripture, and 2) that he views even written Scripture as the words of Jesus.
- Hebrews 3:1 See note 2:11.
- Hebrews 3:1 In the Greek text the name of Jesus is placed last for emphasis.
- Hebrews 3:8 See Ex 17:1-7.
- Hebrews 3:12 “Heart” includes the entire human personality—mind, will, and emotions. The core of one’s being where there is no pretense.
- Hebrews 4:3 God “rested” because everything that needed to be done was done—everything was complete, fully accomplished. In human terms this expression is used when a lawyer completes his presentation in a court of law; he “rests” his case—everything is in evidence, there is nothing left to present.
- Hebrews 4:12 In addition to “sword,” the word in Greek was used for the knife used by the priests to slit the throats of the sacrificial lambs and for the knife (scalpel) used by a surgeon.
- Hebrews 4:12 “soul and spirit” used here to emphasize the whole person, not two separate entities as in other passages.
- Hebrews 5:6 See note 7:3.
- Hebrews 5:10 See note 7:3.
- Hebrews 6:4 This is the same Greek word that is used in Matt 27:34 regarding Jesus’ tasting the wine mixed with gall during His crucifixion. After tasting what was being offered to Him He refused to drink it. Perhaps the use of this word in this passage (vv 4-6) refers to those who superficially “tasted” the gospel and outwardly appeared to embrace the Christian experience, but inwardly never committed in full surrender to Christ. In this case, the act of “falling away” was simply the public expression of their true position and their rejection of Jesus as Messiah regardless of the evidence.
- Hebrews 6:6 This passage is one of the most difficult to interpret in Hebrews. Four major views have been suggested: 1) some interpret the passage to teach the possibility of loss of salvation, 2) some see the text as hypothetical, with the author using an illustration of what would occur in the case of apostasy, but which, in fact, cannot occur, 3) some suggest the passage refers to apparent believers who are in the church, but who are not truly saved. These commit apostasy, depart from the fellowship, and thus give evidence they were not genuinely converted, and 4) the loss of rewards view that suggests that the context indicated the people described in vv 4-6 are genuine believers who commit willful sin and fail to press on to maturity. These are disciplined by God in this life, and lose rewards at the Judgment Seat of Christ along the lines of 1 Cor 3:11-17.
- Hebrews 6:9 The concerns of the writer of Hebrews as outlined in vv 1-8 have not happened to the Hebrew believers and the writer does not expect them to happen.
- Hebrews 6:16 Or Him who is greater.
- Hebrews 6:20 See note 7:3.