Viewing the Standard King James Version (Pure Cambridge). Click to switch to 1611 King James Version of Hebrews Chapter 1
Just for the benefit of the doubt here, an easy way to understand the early 17th century English would be to say, …who at different times, and in many ways…..,
…these last days spoken…or to this Generation spoken unto us…; the language and imagery in this verse, and the first half of the next verse, are very similar to the opening statements of The Gospel of John, and also that of the Targums. The Targums were writings that referred back to the Oral teachings, and Oral interpretations of scriptural texts read in the Synagogues. The Targums, as well as the NT authors, interpreted the scriptures, particularly the Prophets, Messianically. Targum Neofiti, and the Tanakh (OT) speak of God doing all of his great works by The “Word of God,” who St John says was made flesh and dwelt among us, 1.14 St. John. It is through this Messianic lens that all of the descriptive language from the OT that is referenced within this document is seen, and understood, by both the Writer, and the recipients.
For more on the Targums, see The Targums, on the Home-Page of this Blog.
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;
See 1.14 St. John, and 1.5 Revelation.
He both Performs the Sacrifice, and IS the Sacrifice! He is the High Priest, and His humanity is the Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world, 13.8 Rev. It is John the Baptist who issued the Most Beautiful Proclamation ever spoken by the mouth of Man, “…Behold The Lamb of God which Taketh Away the Sin Of The World!” 1.29 St. John. Remember the writer here is suggesting within a Jewish understanding of Atonement that Christ purged our sins. For more clarity on the subject of Atonement, one should study the Book of Leviticus. For a quick study, see Article written by Bob Deffinbaugh, at: https://bible.org/seriespage/day-atonement-leviticus-16
A definition of the word Purge(d) provided by Google Definitions:
How was Jesus made better than the Angels? This verse is not speaking of His manhood being better, it is purely because of his Name! For in Hebrews Chapter 2 it is said that he was made a little lower than the Angels. What Name did He inherit then? The Name of Jesus in English, is a form of the Latin word Iesus, which is a form of the Greek word Ihsous, pronounced “EE-AY-SOOS.” Which is a form of the Aramaic Yeshua (Jeshua), which is in turn a form of the Hebrew Yehoshua (Joshua). Yeho, is a form of the tetragrammaton, or YHWH. Shua means To Cry For Help. To See More, go here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yeshua_(name).
Jesus bears the Name of GOD! Why then the contrast, and comparison, to the Angels? I can find No where else in the Entirety of the Word of God that this has ever been done before! So what is the writer doing? In the first three verses the writer in His opening remarks, establishes the belief that the even the resurrected Humanity of Jesus is exalted as God, by the Spirit of God! Why then does the writer feel it important to dedicate the first Two Chapters of this treatise to the fact that He was greater than the Angels?
So quickly in his writing does he bring this to the forefront, and then begins to deal with this particular issue! This bears a presupposition that there was something happening within this community concerning perhaps, that an erroneous belief was gaining a foothold. At least from the perspective of the writer to the Hebrews. Indeed there was something happening, and we will discuss that in Chapter 2 of the Epistle to the Hebrews.
2.7 Psalms, and 17.13 1st Chronicles.
2.13 St. Luke (although not a direct quote)
As you can see most of the writer’s quotations come from the Psalms. He is using all of these quotations to prove his position that Jesus is Greater than the Angels. It should be noted here that the Psalms, also known as a part of The Writings, one of the three genres of religious texts, had not yet been considered as Scripture until some time after 90 AD, by the Jewish Scholars at Jamnia. They were considered inspired but the least important of three, and they are in order of Importance, and Holiness, The Torah (the Law), The Nevi’im (the prophets), and The Ketuvim (the writings).
The reason I mention this point is because 90 represents a date to late for the composition of Hebrews by some scholars. Yet I find it hard to believe that the writer to the Hebrews would use as a defence a majority of texts not yet considered scripture by the Jews! One of the traditions suggests that the Apostle Paul dictated this writing to Luke, then Luke sends it on to the “Hebrews,” without any Name affixed to it so as not to offend the Jews with the Name of Paul, and it be rejected. If this is the case, then the writing would have to be pre 67, for Paul was executed at Neros order, and Nero commits suicide in 68. So no later than 67 and maybe as early as 64. This is only true however, if tradition concerning Paul’s execution has it right. It does seem likely though, because of Paul comments in 2 Tim ch. 4, writing while in Rome, and sensing his impending death.
This little note from Wikipedia:
In June 2009, Pope Benedict announced excavation results concerning the tomb of Paul at the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls. The sarcophagus was not opened but was examined by means of a probe, which revealed pieces of incense, purple and blue linen, and small bone fragments. The bone was radiocarbon dated to the 1st or 2nd century. According to the Vatican, these findings are consistent with the tradition that the tomb is Paul’s. The sarcophagus was inscribed in Latin saying, “Paul apostle martyr”.
Scholars also note that because there is no mention of the Destruction of the Temple in 70 AD, that it was written before that event, and the fact that the writer always references the Tabernacle, and not the Temple. So the debate goes on, from the first century till now. What is important however, is that though highly contested during the election process of Books into the Christian Canon of Scripture, it was eventually selected because it was a great masterpiece. I believe it to be the greatest within the New Testament, and then Romans! It is to our great benefit that it made it into the canon, it certainly is indeed.