What does "by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they" mean in

Hebrews 1:4 being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. ( AKJV )


  1. Did not Jesus have a "better name" than angels before?
  2. What does "obtained" mean ?
  3. What does "by inheritance" signify ?
  4. What was the "more excellent name" that He got?
  • The answer to this is well covered by the standard commentaries which need not be repeated here. See also my answer to your question on Heb 1:6. – user25930 May 26 '19 at 21:06
  • @Mac's Musings Could you please tell me which are the standard commentaries? I have not read any commentary as of now. – Siju George May 27 '19 at 1:48
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    "Standard Commentaries" include Ellicott, Pulpit Commentary, Cambridge, Meyer, Barnes, Matthew Henry, etc. See biblehub.com/commentaries/hebrews/1-4.htm – user25930 May 27 '19 at 11:59
  • Children inherit their parents fortune, but servants do not inherit their master's fortune, rather, they are part of that fortune, since they are owned by him. – Lucian Jun 6 '19 at 5:47
  • The question is not about John 1:1 nor is it about Revelation 3:14, since neither of those verses are mentioned. Neither was there a request in the question for clarity about "Jesus as the word or God" or "Jesus as the beginning of Creation". The question is about Hebrews 1:4, which has been addressed. – enegue Jun 8 '19 at 5:44

In the earthly sense, being in the family line of King David Jesus inherited his name, Son of David, but also being born by conception of the Holy Spirit and not an earthly father, he "inherited" the name the Son of God from the heavenly Father (See Luke 1:30-35). None of the angels can claim to be God, or born an earthly birth by conception of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus has so many names/tiles, so I'll only mention a few, only Jesus is the Son, the Lamb of God, the Saviour, The Christ, The Redeemer, The Good Shepherd. If you looked at the official name of an earthly monarch, they might have quite a number of titles, but Jesus' list (his official name and titles) would keep going and continue to grow as more people get saved through him and experience his work in their lives (John 21:25).

  1. Did not Jesus have a "better name" than angels before?

    No. The "man" known as Jesus of Nazareth was knit together in the womb of his mother, Mary, as a work of the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35). The name "Jesus" grew increasingly "better" than the name of any angel from that time onward.

  2. (and 3.) What does "obtained" mean, and what does "by inheritance" signify?

    "he hath by inheritance obtained" is the KJV translators' rendering of the Greek κεκληρονόμηκεν, which is the perfect/active/indicative/3rd person/singular inflection of the verb κληρονομέω (Strong's G2816 - klēronomeō), i.e. "he has inherited".

    In the minds of the KJV translators, the writer of Hebrews was intending to convey the idea that the reward for Jesus completion of his assigned task was a name (reputation) that would surpass that of any angel, which one would have to agree has been achieved (certainly from the perspective of our end of the timeline of history)

  3. What was the "more excellent name" that He got?

    Matthew 16:16 (KJV)
    16And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.

    Revelation 19:11-16 (KJV)
    11And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. 12His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself 13And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.
    14And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. 15And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.


Did not Jesus have a "better name" than angels before?

Yes, Jesus always had a "better name"than angels before, because he was the beginning of God's creation-God's only begotten son (Rev. 3:14) and was created to have the reflection of God's glory.(Heb.1:3)

Revelation 3:14 (NASB)

Beginning of the creation of God.

14 “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this."

Hebrews 1:3 NRSV

Reflection of God’s glory

3 "He is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being, and he sustains[b] all things by his powerful word. When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high."

What does "obtained" mean ? What does "by inheritance" signify ?

Most translations translate the verse as follows:

Hebrews 1:4 (NASB)

4 "Having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they."

So what was the "more excellent name" He inherited?

For the "more excellent name" or "authority bestowed to Jesus" we read:

Philippians 2:9-10 (NASB)

9 "For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth."

This is something Jesus did not posses before coming to earth, and this was because, He humbled himself , became a human being-flesh ( John 1:14) and by being obedient to the end and giving his life for the redemption of our sins , God exalted Him to a higher position.

Angels and authorities and powers are subjected to him.

1 Peter 3:22 (NASB)

22" Who is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, after angels and authorities and powers had been subjected to Him."

Granted the gift of immortality.

From Paul's inspired words ,(Rom. 6:9 below) we read that Jesus was granted the gift of immortality,something he did not possess before his resurrection: (read also 1 Timothy 6:15-16)

Romans 6:9 (NASB)

9" Knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him."

Revelation 1:17-18 (NRSV)

17 "When I (John)saw him (Jesus), I fell at his feet as though dead. But he placed his right hand on me, saying, “Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, 18 and the living one. I was dead, and see, I am alive forever and ever; and I have the keys of Death and of Hades."

God says "My Son thou art" and the "angels are messengers/ servants."

Hebrews 1:5-6 YLT

5 "For to which of the messengers said He ever, My Son thou art -- I to-day have begotten thee?' and again,I will be to him for a father, and he shall be to Me for a son?' 6 and when again He may bring in the first-born to the world, He saith, `And let them bow before him -- all messengers of God;"

In response to comments by Michael May and Walter Smetana I add the following.

Throughout the Scriptures God is identified as the Creator. He is “the Creator of the heavens, . . . the Former of the earth and the Maker of it.” Isaiah wrote:

Isaiah 45:18 (NASB)

18 "For thus says the Lord, who created the heavens (He is the God who formed the earth and made it, He established it and did not create it [a]a waste place, but formed it to be inhabited), Compare Amos 4:13;"

Amos 4:13 (YLT)

13 "For, lo, the former of mountains, and creator of wind, And the declarer to man what [is] His thought, He is making dawn obscurity, And is treading on high places of earth, Jehovah, God of Hosts, [is] His name!"

Not a co-Creator. The Son’s share in the creative works, however, did not make him a co-Creator with his Father. The power for creation came from God through his holy spirit,

Genesis 1:1-2 (NASB)

The Creation

1 "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was [a]formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters."

Psalm 33:6 (YLT)

6 By the word of Jehovah The heavens have been made, And by the breath of His mouth all their host". (the footnotes of the NET Bible also give "spirit" for breath)

Psalm 33:6 (NASB)

6 "By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, And by the breath of His mouth all their host."

And since God is the Source of all life, all animate creation, visible and invisible, owes its life to him.

Psalm 36:9 (NASB)

9 "For with You is the fountain of life; In Your light we see light."

Rather than a co-Creator, then, the Son was the agent or instrumentality through whom God, the Creator, worked. Jesus himself credited God with the creation, as do all the Scriptures. Matthew 19:4-6.(NASB)

We are here because of God's will and not Jesus

It is because of God’s will that all things “existed and were created.” (Rev. 4:11) God, who has existed for all time, was alone before creation had a beginning. Psalm 90:1, 2; 1Tim. 1:17.

Other verse which identify God as the Creator: Genesis 1:1, John 1:3-5, Isaiah 45:18, Amos 4:13, Romans 1:25, 1 Peter 4:19, Revelation 4:11, 10:6, Acts 4:24, 14:15, 17:24

  • Thank you @OzzieNicolas Can you please explain "Begining of Creation". Does it mean that Jesus was a creation? – Siju George May 29 '19 at 4:50
  • @Siju George : Yes, Jesus is a created being-the "beginning of Gods creation"." He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation."( Col. 1:15 NASB.) In Proverbs 8:22-31 Wisdom is personified , this section refers to God's Son in his prehuman existence ,8:22 reads :"The Lord created me at the beginning of his work, the first of his acts of long ago. " (Hebrews and Greek have genders for nouns,it is feminine because the gender for the Hebrew noun is "feminine gender ". Jesus is also referred to as the "only begotten son"John 1:14 NRSV – Ozzie Ozzie May 29 '19 at 20:04
  • So are you distinguishing between the "Word of God" who was God ( John 1:1 ) and Jesus, where "Word of God" is "God the Creator" and Jesus is a created being? – Siju George May 30 '19 at 3:42
  • @ Siju George :John 1:1 says the Word was with or by God, hence the word cannot be God. James Moffat New Testament gives a correct trnaslation according to grammar and scriptures , the Word is a Divine being. :Moffatt(i) 1 "THE Logos existed in the very beginning, the Logos was with God, the Logos was divine." Jesus is never referred to in the scriptures as the creator. Many translator translate their theological beliefs into the scriptures instead of translating, that is one main reason, we have so many different versions. You will find it online. – Ozzie Ozzie May 30 '19 at 6:08
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    @Ozzie Nicolas - Could you please let me know which version of the Bible you are refering to. I currently only read english versions but don't John1:3, Romans 11:36, Colossians 1:16 refer to Jesus being the creator? – Michael May 31 '19 at 23:18

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