“…in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. 3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,” – Hebrews 1: 2-3
Now, to prevent the Hebrews from concluding that Christ was nothing more than another instrument through which God had “spoken,” the Holy Spirit in the verses which we are now to take up, brings before us some of the highest and most blessed of our Savior’s personal excellencies. He there proceeds to exalt the Hebrews’ conception of the Divine Prophet and Founder of the new economy. This He does by bringing into view seven of His wondrous glories. To the contemplation of those we now turn. Let us consider.
1. His Heirship.
“Whom He hath appointed Heir of all things” (verse 2). There are three things here claiming attention. First, the character in which Christ is viewed. Second, His appointment unto the inheritance. Third, the scope of the inheritance.
First, this declaration that God has appointed the Savior “Heir of all things” is similar in scope to that word of Peter’s on the day of Pentecost. “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36). In both passages the reference is to the honor which has been conferred upon the Mediator, and in each case the design of speaker or writer was to magnify the Christian revelation by showing the exalted dignity of its Author and Head.
That the title “Heir” is similar in force to “Lord” is clear from Galatians 4:1, “The heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all.” Yet though there is a similarity between the terms “Heir” and “Lord,” there is also a clear distinction between them; not only so, we may admire the Divine discrimination in the one used in Hebrews 1:2. Strikingly does it follow immediately after the reference to Him as “Son,” in fact furnishing proof thereof, for the son is the father’s heir.
The word “heir” suggests two things: dignity and dominion, with the additional implication of legal title thereto. For its force see Genesis 21:10, 12; Galatians 4:1, etc. “An ‘heir’ is a successor to his father in all that his father hath. In connection with the Father and the Son, the supreme sovereignty of the One is nowise infringed upon by the supreme sovereignty of the Other—cf. John 5:19. The difference is only in the manner: the Father doeth all by the Son, and the Son doeth all from the Father” (Dr. Gouge). The title “Heir” here denotes Christ’s proprietorship. He is the Possessor and Disposer of all things.
Second, unto an inheritance Christ was “appointed” by God. This at once shows us that the “Son” through whom God has revealed Himself, is here viewed not in His abstract Deity, but mediatorially, as incarnate. Only as such could He be “appointed” Heir; as God the Son, essentially, He could not be deputed to anything.
This “appointment” was in the eternal counsels of the Godhead. Two things are hereby affirmed: certainty and valid title. Because God has predestined that the Mediator should be “Heir of all things,” His inheritance is most sure and absolutely guaranteed, for “the Lord of hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul?” (Isa. 14:27); hath He not said, “My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure” (Isa. 46:10)! Again: because God has “appointed” the Mediator “Heir” we are assured of His indubitable right to this supreme dignity. That which is said of Christ’s being made priest, in Hebrews 5:5, may also be applied to this other dignity: Christ glorified not Himself to be an Heir, but He that saith to Him, “Thou art My Son, today have I begotten Thee,” also “appointed” Him Heir.
Above we have said, This appointment was in the eternal counsels of the Godhead. With our present passage should be compared Acts 2:23,”Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain.” Thus there were two chief things to which the Mediator was “appointed”: sufferings (cf. also 1 Peter 1:19, 20), and glory—cf. 1 Peter 1:11. How this shows us that, from the beginning, Christ was the Center of all the Divine counsels. Before a single creature was called into existence, God had appointed an “Heir” to all things, and that Heir was the Lord Jesus. It was the predestined reward of His Voluntary humiliation; He who had not where to lay His head, is now the lawful Possessor of the universe.
This appointment of Christ to the inheritance was mentioned in Old Testament prophecy: “Also I will make Him My Firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth” (Ps. 89:27). “Firstborn” in Scripture refers not so much to primogeniture, as to dignity and inheritance: see Genesis 49:3 for the first occurrence. It is remarkable to observe and most solemn to discover that, in the days of His flesh, Israel recognized Him as such: “This is the Heir come let us kill Him, and the inheritance shall be ours” (Mark 12:7), was their terrible language.