When He brings his firstborn into the world, it says, "Let all the angels of God worship him."
In most translations of the Bible, people will read that God brought his firstborn into the "world." Many people are led to think the writer is talking about God the Father bringing the pre-existence Son into the world and into the womb of Mary and then the angels are expected to worship baby Jesus, "Let all the angels of God worship him."
However, the word here is referring to the heavenly economy of God and his angels. The writer tells us explicitly that he has been speaking of the world to come, "For He did not subject to angels the world to come, about which we are speaking" (Hebrews 2:5). The same Greek word is used here as Hebrews 1:6. Hence, Hebrews 1:6 can hardly be a reference to God bringing a pre-existent Jesus into the planet earth and into the womb of Mary. Baby Jesus was not born into the "world to come."
In chapter 1 of the book of Hebrews, two other factors show us what the writer has in mind. In verses 4-5, the writer quotes the second Psalm and God's promise to David at 2 Samuel 7:14. In context, these verses are pertaining to the risen Jesus who had given purification for sins and had become superior to the angels having inherited a better name than them (1:3-4). And like Paul at Acts 13:30-33, the writer applies the second Psalm, "You are my son, Today I have begotten you," to the risen Jesus. In the same way, the promise to David, "I will be a Father to him and he will be a Son to me" is applied to the risen Jesus. The word "firstborn" at Hebrews 1:6 refers to the fact that Jesus is the firstborn out of the dead (Col 1:15,18; Revelation 1:5). The writer is referring to God bringing the firstborn out of the dead into the heavenly economy where He seated Jesus on His throne at His right hand making him superior to the angels, and it is for this reason that the angels are commanded to bow down to him.
...the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, angels and authorities and powers having been subjected to him. 1 Peter 3:22 (see 1 Cor 15:24-28; Eph 1:20-23).
Having made purification of sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on High, having become as much superior to the angels, as he has inherited a more excellent name than them. Hebrews 1:3-4.
Angels must bow down to the risen Jesus because he became superior to them when he sat down at the right hand of God. Note also how the writer is profusely contrasting Jesus with the angels in chapter 1. Now look at chapter 12.
But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven. Hebrews 12:22-23.
As Paul says, we are seated with Christ in the heavenlies (Ephesians 2:6). Here in the heavenlies is where God the Father is, and where myriads of angels are. At Hebrews 1:6, writer is referring to the fact that the firstborn out of the dead is brought into this heavenly economy, the world to come. The "world" in question is the economy of God and his angels, the "world to come."
The Greek word commonly translated as "world" in Hebrews 1:6, is the word oikoumenē. It is derived from the Greek word(s) for house or household. A "household" is the people who live together in a dwelling. The word oikoumenē has been commonly defined as "habitable earth." This definition gives people the notion that an oikoumenē is wherever people are able to reside. However, this is obviously not what the word means as the following passages demonstrate. The word oikoumenē refers to the residents themselves, a population of people, an economy of people. Like the Greek word for "household," the word oikoumenē refers to the people themselves. Including the two occurrences in the book of Hebrews shown above, the following lists every occurrence of this word in the New Testament:
Observe how every single use of the Greek word oikoumenē is referring to a population of people.
The Gospel preached to People
This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole oikoumenē as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come. Matthew 24:14.
A Census of the People
Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the oikoumenē. Luke 2:1.
A Kingdom of people
And he led him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the oikoumenē in a moment of time. Luke 4:5.
Calamities coming upon the People
There will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth dismay among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the oikoumenē for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Luke 21:26.
A Famine coming upon the People
One of them named Agabus stood up and began to indicate by the Spirit that there would certainly be a great famine upon the whole oikoumenē. Acts 11:28.
They have upset/disturbed the People
When they did not find them, they began dragging Jason and some brethren before the city authorities, shouting, "These men who have upset the oikoumenē have come here also." Acts 17:6.
God will judge the People
He has fixed a day in which He will judge the oikoumenē in righteousness through a man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.” Acts 17:31
Worshiped by the People
Not only is there danger that this trade of ours fall into disrepute, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis be regarded as worthless and that she whom all of Asia and the oikoumenē worship will even be dethroned from her magnificence. Acts 19:27.
The Jews among all the People
For we have found this man a real pest and a fellow who stirs up dissension among all the Jews throughout the oikoumenē, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes. Acts 24:5.
The Gospel heard by all the People
But I say, surely they have never heard, have they? Indeed they have: "Their voice has gone out into all the earth, and their words to the extents of the oikoumenē.” Romans 10:18
The People who dwell on the earth
Because you have kept the word of my perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole oikoumenē to test those who dwell on the earth. Revelation 3:10.
The Devil deceives People
And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole oikoumenē was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. Revelation 12:9.
The Kings of the People
They are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the whole oikoumenē, to gather them together for the war of the great day of God Revelation 16:14.
Notice how every single time, the word oikoumenē is referring to the people, an economy or population of people.
Sometimes there is an overlap in meaning with the Greek words kosmos and oikoumenē. This occurs when the word kosmos ("world") is used in Scripture to refer to the people of earth. It is used in this manner routinely in the New Testament. When it is used this way, it functions similarly to oikoumenē. Compare Matthew 4:8 and Luke 4:5.
In the case of Hebrews 1:6 and Hebrews 2:5, the word oikoumenē is referring to the economy of all the personages of heaven, God and his angels.
Last Revision/Update: April 27, 2016