4 having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.
Since the Son holds seven superior excellencies, He is better than or greater than other entities. Verses 4 through 14 show that Jesus is greater than angels in five ways:
(1) in His relationship, v. 5
(2) in His worship, v. 6
(3) in His regal rule as God, v. 7-8
(4) in His immutability, vv. 10-12
(5) in His success, vv. 13-14
4 having become [Greek: become something He was not before]
The word “become” means that Jesus became something that He was not before. This word indicates that the incarnate Christ is in view here. Before He became man, He was God Almighty.
The Son existed in His “being” as God. He became better than angels by His exaltation by the Father (He 1:3, 13). He was made lower than the angels in His incarnation (He 2:9).
Jesus was lower than angels in His humanity (He 2:7, 9). However, He became greater than angels in His glorification, which was when He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. At that point He reassumed His pre-incarnate dignity.
so much better than
Jesus was made lower than the angels during His incarnation (He 2:9). The words “better than” convey the idea that He was superior to angels. Hebrews uses the word “better” 13 times in the book to contrast Christ’s new order with what went before Him. It is a key word in the book of Hebrews.
Angels are messengers of God. They are spirit beings that can appear in human form. They do not marry and cannot procreate. God divided them into ranks. They have different supervisory responsibilities in these ranks. They are more powerful than human beings. There are two kinds of angels: good and fallen.
as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.
Another affirmation about the Son is that He will receive a special inheritance from the Father. The Son transcended any eminence that any angel could claim. He has inherited a better name than them. His name came to Him by inheritance and appointment (He 1:2). Angels are excluded from divine inheritance because they are created beings.
The focus of verse 4 is on the word “name.” A name in the first century was a way of saying something about people. It indicated something of their nature. Jesus “obtained” a “more excellent” name than angels. The title “Son” indicates that He has a greater name than angels. Angels serve God. The messianic sonship rests on eternal sonship. It is the messianic sonship in view in this verse.
Jesus is superior to the angelic world.
In view of everything said about the Son in the first three verses, He is clearly superior to angels even though angels are superior to human beings.