This question is about "interpretation of a specific Bible passage," Hebrews 1:1-2 and how it informs our view of Jehovah in the OT.

Question: Does Hebrews 1:1-2 teach that Jehovah in the OT is always the Father?

Heb 1:1-2 God , having of old time spoken unto the fathers in the prophets by divers portions and in divers manners, hath at the end of these days spoken unto us in his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom also he made the worlds. (ASV)

This verse makes a very broad statement and identifies the God who spoke through the prophets in the OT as the Father because He has a Son (See Lev 1:1; Num 1:1; Dt 1:3; Jos 1:1; Isaiah 1:1,10; Jer 1:4, 2:1;Ezekiel 1:1;Hosea 1:1; Joel 1:1; Amos 1:3; Ob 1:1; Jonah 1:1; Micah 1:1; Nahum 1:1; Hab 1:1-2; Zeph 1:1; Hag 1:1; Zech 1:1: Mal 1:1, etc.)

For example, did the author of Hebrews read passages like so:

Lev 1:1 Jehovah [the God who has a Son at Hebrews 1:1-2] called unto Moses, and spake unto him out of the tent of meeting, saying, (ASV)

Jer 1:4 Now the word of Jehovah [the God who has a Son at Hebrews 1:1-2] came unto me, saying (ASV)

Joel 1:1 The word of Jehovah [the God who has a Son at Hebrews 1:1-2] that came to Joel the son of Pethuel


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    Are you asking whether "God" in Hebrews 1:1 refers to the Father? Or whether the use of "God" here to refer to the Father logically implies that everywhere else (in Hebrews? the OT?) it must refer to the Father?
    – Soldarnal
    Feb 6, 2020 at 2:12
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    Then maybe you are getting ahead of yourself. Shouldn't you first establish the OT premise before asking about a NT application? Feb 9, 2020 at 23:29
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    You’re introducing assumptions into the OT text. It doesn’t say the Father, in fact it’s most often times the Son that talks to men on the earth because the Father is the invisible God and the Son takes on visible forms. You’ll not find the Father being seen by anyone except the Son. Everything that takes place is in the second/middle heaven the Father is in the third heaven. You can’t just mix it up because it throws off other pertinent verses and they no longer make sense. “No one has ever seen God; the only God (Jesus), who is at the Father's side, he has made him known.” ‭‭John‬ ‭1:18‬ Feb 10, 2020 at 3:20
  • 2
    Which writer? Apostle Paul? Which angel? The one who accepted worship and took the title of God? Have you not read the rest of chapter 1? To none of the angels did God say you are my son. Further v6 says that he should receive worship but in the gospels Jesus says you shall worship God alone yet here he is worshipped because He is God. And v8 distinguishes him from angels by calling him God “But of the Son he says, "Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom.” ‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭1:8‬ Feb 10, 2020 at 4:37
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    So to clarify when you add the word (Father) next to God you are assuming who God is in the text. When I read it, I read Trinity unless indicated which of the three. You assume Father based on nothing else but a 19th century interpretation from a person who lacked admittedly knowledge of the Hebrew and the Greek. Feb 10, 2020 at 4:41

1 Answer 1


According to Murray J. Harris, the reader must assume the writer of Hebrews did not mean ὁ θεός ("God"):

When (ὁ) θεός is used, we are to assume that the NT writers have in mind ὁ πατήρ unless the context makes this sense of (ὁ) θεός impossible.1

If this were so the letter is meant to be begin as:

God [The Father], having spoken long-ago in-many-portions and in-many-ways to the fathers by the prophets, spoke to us at the last of these days by a Son, Whom He appointed inheritor of all things, through Whom also He made the worlds (Hebrews 1:1-2 DLNT)

πολυμερῶς καὶ πολυτρόπως πάλαι ὁ θεὸς [ὁ πατήρ] λαλήσας τοῖς πατράσιν ἐν τοῖς προφήταις ἐπ᾽ ἐσχάτου τῶν ἡμερῶν τούτων ἐλάλησεν ἡμῖν ἐν υἱῷ ὃν ἔθηκεν κληρονόμον πάντων δι᾽ οὗ καὶ ἐποίησεν τοὺς αἰῶνας

Applying Harris' conclusion to Hebrews is speculative. "God the Father," is never used in this letter so there is no internal evidence in the letter to support this position. As the letter is anonymous, there is no definitive support from elsewhere in the NT. There is also a question why the writer would use only υἱῷ, not υἱῷ αὐτοῦ which must be addressed before presuming ὁ πατήρ is implied. Also, there is the practical issue of presuming a letter written to prevent someone from abandoning sound doctrine would begin by writing something other than they meant.

"The Father" in the OT
The New Testament, "God the Father," is applied differently in the Old Testament:

For you are our Father, though Abraham does not know us, and Israel does not acknowledge us; you, O LORD, are our Father, our Redeemer from of old is your name. (Isaiah 63:16) [ESV]

The verse reads: For thou art our Father; for Abraham knoweth us not and Israel doth not recognise us; Thou Jehovah art our Father; our Redeemer from of old is Thy Name. Jehovah is the Father of Israel, i.e. the Creator and founder of the nation (Deuteronomy 32:6; Malachi 2:10; cf. Exodus 4:22; Hosea 11:1; Isaiah 1:2; Jeremiah 3:4; Jeremiah 3:19; Malachi 1:6). The idea of the divine Fatherhood is not yet extended in the O.T. to the individual believer, although a remarkable anticipation of the N.T. doctrine is found in Sir 23:1; Sir 23:4 : “O Lord, Father and Master of my life, … O Lord, Father and God of my life.” (Cheyne.)2

One might consider "God as Father" in the context of the nation of Israel (cf. Exodus 4:22-23), but not with "Son" as in the letter.

When looking to the Old Testament, ὁ θεὸς would more reasonably be seen as referring to אלהים (Elohim) not יהוה (YHVH). This may be seen in the letter:

8 But of the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom. 9 You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.” (1:8)

8 πρὸς δὲ τὸν υἱόν ὁ θρόνος σου ὁ θεός εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα τοῦ αἰῶνος καὶ ἡ ῥάβδος τῆς εὐθύτητος ῥάβδος τῆς βασιλείας σου 9 ἠγάπησας δικαιοσύνην καὶ ἐμίσησας ἀνομίαν διὰ τοῦτο ἔχρισέν σε ὁ θεός ὁ θεός σου ἔλαιον ἀγαλλιάσεως παρὰ τοὺς μετόχους σου

6 Your throne, O God, is forever and ever. The scepter of your kingdom is a scepter of uprightness; 7 you have loved righteousness and hated wickedness. Therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions (Psalm 45)

כִּסְאֲךָ אֱלֹהִים עֹולָם וָעֶד שֵׁבֶט מִישֹׁר שֵׁבֶט מַלְכוּתֶֽךָ׃ 6
אָהַבְתָּ צֶּדֶק וַתִּשְׂנָא רֶשַׁע עַל־כֵּן מְשָׁחֲךָ אֱלֹהִים אֱלֹהֶיךָ שֶׁמֶן שָׂשֹׂון מֵֽחֲבֵרֶֽיךָ׃7

ὁ θεός is consistently used for אֱלֹהִים.

Hebrews 1:1-2 says nothing about YHVH in the Old Testament.

1. Murray J. Harris, Jesus as God, WIPF & Stock Publishers, 1992, p. 47
2. Cambridge Bible Commentary

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