His Distinguished Name

Having achieved the purification of sins, the Son inherited a more distinguished name than the angels.

Jesus Name - Photo by Edward Cisneros on Unsplash
The Son has achieved the “
purification of sins,” thus qualifying to “sit down at the right hand of the majesty on high.” And there, he continues as the high priest who is interceding for his people. He also has inherited the “more distinguished name,” namely, “Son,” and as such, he surpasses even God’s mightiest angels in status and honor - [Photo by Edward Cisneros on Unsplash].

The letter to the Hebrews uses several comparisons to demonstrate the superiority of Jesus over all persons and things that preceded him. His priesthood, covenant, and sacrifice have completed what the Levitical sacrifices and rituals could not, and he has received even more honor and authority than the great lawgiver himself, Moses.


The letter’s first contrast is between Jesus and the angels. It employs several Old Testament passages to demonstrate his superiority over them, as well as his supremacy over all things.

  • (Hebrews 1:4-7) - “By so much BECOMING SUPERIOR TO THE ANGELS by as much as, going beyond them, HE INHERITED A MORE DISTINGUISHED NAME. For to which of the angels said he ever: You are my son; I, this day, have begotten you? And again: I will become his father and he shall become my Son? But whenever he again introduces the firstborn into the habitable earth, he says: And let all God’s angels worship him! Even as to the angels, indeed, he says: Who make his angels winds, and his ministers of state a fiery flame.”

The type of argument used several times in the letter demonstrates the superiority of Jesus by comparing him to persons widely recognized as excellent, and in this first instance, angels. If they are glorious and holy, how much more so is God’s Son?

This passage is the first to employ the term “better” or kreittĂ´n, an adjective of comparison that denotes something or someone that is “better, best, nobler, noblest.” It is used thirteen times in the letter to stress the superiority of what God has done in Jesus - (e.g., “better sacrifices” - Hebrew 7:7, 7:19, 9:23).

The description of his “distinguished name” translates the Greek term diaphoros, meaning that which is “distinct, distinguished, different.”

The point is not simply that his name is even better than “angel,” but also that it is of an entirely different kind and order. And that is because he bears the name “son” in contrast to “angels” and “prophets.”

The emphasis is on his position and name as the “son.” Certainly, the author of the letter is aware that this son is none other than Jesus, but that name does not appear until the second chapter when discussing his sacrificial death.


The comparison begins with the rhetorical question - “to which of the angels said He at any time?” The expected and obvious answer is “none.” At no point did Yahweh call any angel “son” or elevate one to sit at His “right hand.”

Mount Shasta - Photo by Deniz Altindas on Unsplash
[Photo by Deniz Altindas on Unsplash]

Seven scriptural citations are used to demonstrate his superiority over angels, and the first six are divided into three pairs for literary effect:

  • Psalm 2:7 and 2 Samuel 7:14.
  • Deuteronomy 32:43 and Psalm 104:4.
  • Psalm 45:6-7 and Psalm 102:25-27.

The first pair concerns his status, the second, the functions of angels, and the third pair presents the exalted reign of the Son.

The seventh citation responds to the first rhetorical question - What God said to the Son He never said to any angel (i.e., “Sit at my right hand until I make your foes your footstool”).

The two words that link all seven citations to the letter’s opening proposition are “angels” and “Son” - (Psalm 110:1, Psalm 103:20-21, Hebrews 1:1-4, 2:1-4).

Jesus is distinct from the angels because he is God’s Son, which means he has a close and unique relationship with his Father that no other being has regardless of how powerful and exalted it might be. He alone is designated the “Son.”

Thus, Jesus is superior to angels by the very fact that he is a “Son.” Not only so, but God also commanded all the angels “to render homage” to him. His high status is the result of his priestly act when he “achieved the purification of sins.”




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Kingdom Parables