The Son Superior to Angels, 1-14

Heb 1:1 In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways

In the past God spoke…at many times and in various ways – These various ways included ‘direct speech, proverbs, prophecy, various laws, dreams, visions, guidance, testing, providential plagues, providential provisions, heightened abilities (to the Jews in general-Deut 8:17-18; and to tabernacle builders in particular-Exod 31:1-11; 35:30-36:1), sending good or bad spirits, (1 Sam 10:9-13; 16:14) stirring one’s heart by a noble theme, (Ps 45:1) symbolic action or ritual (use of blood – Heb 9:16-25; cf. Ezekiel’s many symbolic deeds), symbolic office (high priest, king, family structure, judicial deliverer), symbolic buildings and utensils (altars, ark, veil of tabernacle-9:8), miracles of healings and control of nature, etc.’ (College Press)

vv1f God spoke…he has spoken – ‘The primary perspective of the Bible is that God has spoken to man. It is not a collection of men’s musings about God, nor sages’ finest thoughts on the good life or the afterlife or deity.’ (College Press) ‘Critical scholarship seems by and large to have lost confidence in the Bible as a word from God. The writer to the Hebrews could affirm that in former days God “spoke” through the prophets and more recently that “he has spoken” in the Son. (Heb 1:1f) But modern scholarship has mostly lost this. In discarding fundamentalist literalism it has discarded also the word from God, a classical case of throwing the baby out with the bathwater. J.V Langmead Casserley comments bitingly, “We are confronted with the paradox of a way of studying the word of God out of which no word of God ever seems to come.” Paul S. Minear points out that for many church members “heaven is silent and God does not speak”.’ (Leon Morris, I Believe in Revelation, 92.)

‘The assertion that God has “spoken”, that he has put his thoughts into words, must be taken with full seriousness.  It is impossible for us human beings to read even each other’s thoughts if we remain silent.  Only if I speak to you can you know what is in my mind; only if you speak to me can I know what is in your mind.  If, then, men and women remain strangers to each other until and unless they speak to one another, how much more will God remain a stranger to us unless he speaks or has spoken?  His thoughts are not our thoughts…It is impossible for human beings to read the mind of God.  If we are ever to know his mind he must speak; he must clothe his thoughts in words.  This, we believe, is precisely what he has done.’ (Stott, Authentic Christianity, 92)

God spoke – ‘The message of God is linguistic, often propositional. He spoke. He did not limit himself to foggy visions, fleeting feelings or veiled signs which could be easily misunderstood. He communicated to man with words of human language. The Old Testament is full of statements like, “declares the Sovereign Lord;” or “This is what the Lord says;” or “The Lord called to Moses and spoke to him saying.” Of course there are many other kinds of ways God delivered different facets of his message-dreams, symbolic acts, signs, allegories, events of history, rituals, sacred places, building structures, vocations, etc. His usual way of communicating was in ordinary speech with its ordinary linguistic devices including plain statements as well as figures of speech like commands, descriptions, metaphors, similes, rhetorical questions, hyperbole or irony. The heritage of the people of God is centered in a book, that is, in human language in written form.’ (College Press)

Note the contrast between the statements in v1 and v2:-

  • In the past…in these last days
  • to our forefathers…to us
  • through the prophets…by his Son

‘”Revelation” describes the initiative God took to unveil or disclose himself. It is a humbling word. It presupposes that in his infinite perfections God is altogether beyond the reach of our finite minds. Our mind cannot penetrate his mind. We have no ability to read his thoughts. Indeed, his thoughts are as much higher than our thoughts as the heavens are higher than the earth. (Isa 55:9) Consequently, we would know nothing about God if he had not chosen to make himself known. Without revelation we would not be Christians at all but Athenians, and all the world’s altars would be inscribed ‘TO AN UNKNOWN GOD’. (Ac 17:23) But we believe God has revealed himself, not only in the glory and order of the created universe, but supremely in Jesus Christ his incarnate Word, and in the written Word which bears a comprehensive and variegated witness to him.’ (John Stott, The Contemporary Christian)

Heb 1:2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe

Christ’s superiority

  1. Heir – ‘Heir of all things’, v2.
  2. Creator – ‘Through whom he made the world’, v2.
  3. Revealer – ‘The radiance of God’s glory, and the exact representation of his being’, v3.
  4. Sustainer – ‘Upholding all things’, v3.
  5. Redeemer – ‘Made purification for sins’, v3.
  6. Ruler – ‘Sat down at the right hand’, v3.
  7. Supreme – ‘Much superior’, v4.

(Pickering, Subjects for Speakers and Students)

But in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son – All God’s former ways of speaking, v1, were partial. The message brought by Jesus, however, was final and complete. ‘Jesus stands over against all the prophets. Before Jesus came, the messages from God were partial and scattered. The message he brought was whole, climactic, synthesizing, exhaustive. There is a similar contrast in the beginning of the Gospel of John between the law given by Moses, whereas grace and truth have come from Jesus. (Jn 1:14-18) Philip correctly saw that the primary role of Moses and the prophets was to point to Jesus. (Jn 1:43-46) This was the same perspective that Jesus presented to the two disciples who were approaching Emmaus. (Lk 24:25-27) Peter said the same to his temple listeners.’ (Ac 3:17-25) (College Press)

Hughes argues that because the speaking by the prophets (v1) and by Christ (v2) are in the aorist tense, this indicates that God has finished speaking in both cases.  The conclusion may well be correct, but it is not proved by this particular argument.  See Carson, Exegetical Fallacies, p70.

All of human history is comprehended under these two headings: ‘in the past’, and ‘in these last days’. All that came before Christ is ‘in the past’; all that comes after him is ‘in these last days.’ The centrality of Christ in history is reflected in the common dating systems, BC/AD or BCE/CE.

‘The Son’s coming marks our time period as the “latter days” of salvation promised through the prophets (Jer 23:20; Ho 3:5; Mic 4:1; cf. 1 Cor 10:11).’ (New Geneva)

‘”We” are contrasted with “our forefathers” (lit., “the fathers”). In Christ there are much greater privileges than what the fathers enjoyed. Ours is a better revelation offering better promises in a better era. This gives no justification for arrogant boasting. The fathers are made models of faith in this very book. They did well with what was available to them. Our question is, how well we do with what is available to us?’ (College Press)

‘This revelation is qualitatively superior to that given through the prophets. Moses, the greatest prophet, was only a servant in God’s house; Christ is “a Son over his own house” (3:6). The Son speaks, as the prophets did, but speaks as the Son whose revelation is final.’ (New Geneva)

Revelation was progressive and partial while God was unfolding his plan.  But in Christ, as this epistle stresses, it is final and complete.  We should be wary, then, of those who suggest that Christ and the apostles simply set up a trajectory of revelation that continues to reveal new truth right up to the present day.

This supremacy of Christ will now be spelt out in a series of seven statements, which span the whole history of redemption:-

  1. whom he appointed heir of all things
  2. through whom he made the universe
  3. he is the radiance of God’s glory
  4. he is the exact representation of God’s being
  5. he sustains all things by his powerful word
  6. he provided purification for sins
  7. he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven

whom he appointed heir of all things – There is a natural transition from Christ’s Sonship to his heirship.

God’s Son has been appointed heir of all things. Christ is God’s heir in that, (a) he is God’s only-begotten Son; (b) he is co-creator: all things are his by right; (c) he has accomplished the work of redemption.

This was the first action of God in this chain of redemptive events: he decided from all eternity where he wanted all to end up. His ultimate purpose was to appoint his Son ‘heir of all things’. ‘God decided where he wanted history to end. He planned the final outcome before he took the first step. In the beginning, before the creation of the world, God decided he wanted Jesus to end up as heir. Once he began the universe and started history, it would all lead up to this final end in which Jesus would be “heir of all things.”‘ (College Press)

His inheritance consists of all things: ‘There is not a thumb’s breadth of this universe about which Jesus Christ does not say, “It is mine”.’ (Kuyper)

Most precious to him of all his inheritance is the innumerable company of the redeemed, Heb 2:13.

Christians are, in a derivative sense, also sons and heirs of God, Rom 8:17. ‘Truly, Christ is the door that opens up the whole universe to us!’ (P.E. Hughes)

Through whom he made the universe – All things were made through God’s Son. Universe = aiones, which has a broader meaning than ‘kosmos‘, including within its scope the periods of time through which the created order exists.

Since all things were made through him, it is folly to love and serve created things above the Creator, Rom 1:25. ‘The rattle without the breast will not satisfy the child; the house without the husband will not satisfy the wife; the cabinet without the jewel will not satisfy the virgin; the world without Christ will not satisfy the soul’ (Thomas Brooks)

Heb 1:3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven

The Son is the radiance of God’s glory – All that God is, shines forth in Jesus Christ.  God is a white-hot source of light; the Son its radiant beams, Jn 1:14. As the Solar System without the Sun would be not only dark, but lifeless, so would the cosmos without Christ.  Christ’s glory is supreme, 1 Cor 2:8. His glory was veiled in his earthly life, yet broke forth with splendour from time to time, Mk 9:2-3.  In the New Heaven and the New Earth, there will be no need of the Sun, because the light of Christ will flood everyting with radiance, Rev 21:23.

‘In nature, we see God, as it were, like the sun in a picture; in the law, as the sun in a cloud; in Christ we see him in his beams; he being “the brightness of his glory, and the exact image of his person.”‘ (Stephen Charnock)

The Son…is the exact representation of God’s being – Cf. Col 1:15. The picture here is of a character made by a seal: the one being an exact copy of the other.

The Father and the Son share the same divine nature. It is not enough to say, ‘There is something divine about Christ’.

Christ reveals God’s nature, Jn 14:9. Otherwise, it would have remained unknowable, Jn 1:18.

‘Just as the image and superscription on a coin exactly corresponds to the device on the die, so the Son of God “bears the very stamp of his nature” (RSV).  The Greek word charakter, occurring here only in the New Testament, expresses this truth even more emphatically than eikon, which is used elsewhere to denote Christ as the “image” of God (2 Cor 4:4; Col 1:15)…What God essentially is, is made manifest in Christ.’ (F.F. Bruce)

‘In nature, we see God, as it were, like the sun in a picture; in the law, as the sun in a cloud; in Christ, we see him in his beams; he being “the brightness of his glory, and the exact image of his person.”‘ (Charnock)

Man was made in God’s image. This was not, of course, an exact replica, but still a faithful, though partial, representation. This image, defaced by the fall, is being restored as we are being transformed into the likeness of Christ, 2 Cor 3:18.

Sustaining all things by the word of his power – The picture here is not that of Atlas, carrying the world as a dead weight. It is rather one of dynamic action. The Son matches his work of creation with his work of governmental providence. Every breath we take, every moment we live, every prayer that we utter, is possible only because of the sustaining power of Jesus Christ. The Gospels show Jesus at work in particular instances of control over the created order; this verse shows the overall sovereignty which is his.

‘Our eyes are drawn across history to witness the predictability of stable laws that keep the universe functioning. It is nothing less than the power of Jesus’ own words that are sustaining all things. The gospel writers present Jesus out front performing miracles, interrupting or controlling the laws of nature. They do not show this side of his work, behind the scenes sustaining and holding all together as in this passage and Col 1:17.’ (College Press)

Christ is carrying all things forward to their predestined end, and his purposes cannot be thwarted.

All this is accomplished by his word: as in the original creation, Gen 1, so in providence, he speaks, and it is done. Hence he is called ‘The Word’, Jn 1:1.

The Son…provided purification for our sins – we have seen the Son’s ceaseless cosmic activity; now we learn of his once-for-all work of redemption. Indeed, for the writer of this letter, the former is just the preface of the latter, which will occupy the bulk of the next 13 chapters.

The solution of man’s entire religious quest is here summarised in four words. All who would be accepted by God must cease from all attempts at self-cleansing, self-justification, self-improvement, and rest in the finished work of Christ.

He sat down – ‘The description of the Son as seated indicates that his work of purification for sins is complete. The image may indicate his finished work as high priest or his role as reigning king. The first is the major idea of Hebrews, associating his sitting down with providing purification (Heb 1:3), with his ministry as high priest (Heb 8:1) or victory after the cross (Heb 12:2). His work of the cross is over, hence he can sit; (as Heb 12:2 says) but his interceding continues while he sits. The present tense of “intercede” is used in both Rom 8:34 and Heb 7:25. His rule as king appears to be primary in Heb 1:13. Both sacrificing and conquest are joined to his sitting down in 10:12; both roles of prince and savior in Acts 5:31. Except for Rom 8:34 where Jesus is at God’s right hand interceding for us, most NT references to Jesus’ sitting at God’s right hand relate more to power over enemies than purifying of sins.’ (College Press)

A threefold description of Christ

Following Flavel (The Fountain of Life) we see in this verse a threefold description of Christ: (a) his essential and primeval glory – ‘the radiance of God’s glory’; (b) his wonderful achievement while in his humbled state: ‘he provided purification for sins’; (c) his subsequent reward, which he now enjoys – ‘he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven’.

What is implied in Christ’s sitting at God’s right hand?

  1. It implies the perfecting and completing of his work, for which he came into the world.
  2. It shows the high satisfaction of God the Father in him and his work. God, the father, raised him from the dead and welcomed him to heaven and all his people with him.
  3. It shows the advancement of Christ’s human nature to the highest honor. Our Mediator is the man, Christ Jesus. There is a man in glory.
  4. It implies the sovereignty and supremacy of Christ over all in both worlds, for this belongs to him that sits upon that throne. “He must reign till he hath put all his enemies under his feet.”
  5. It presents Christ as the conqueror. To have all his enemies under his feet denotes a complete victory.
  6. It shows the great and wonderful change in his state and condition since his ascension.
  7. It implies the advancement of all believers to the highest honor, for he sits there (as he has always been) as their representative. We “sit with him in heavenly places.”

(Flavel)

This letter uses a variety of expressions to describe Jesus’ sitting beside God. ‘God told Jesus to “sit at my right hand.” (Heb 1:13) he “sat down at the right hand of God.” (Heb 10:12) he “sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.” (Heb 1:3) he “sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Heb 12:2) he “sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven”.’ (Heb 8:1) (College Press)

‘Christ’s present role in glory is commonly referred to as his “heavenly session.” Session (Latin: sessio) means “sitting.” The New Testament can picture Jesus’ heavenly activity as standing ready to act, (Ac 7:56 Rev 1:1-16 14:1) walking among his people, (Rev 2:1) and riding to battle, (Rev 19:11-16) but it regularly expresses his present authority by saying that he sits at the Father’s right hand-not to rest, but to rule. The picture is not of inactivity but of authority. In Psalm 110 God sets the Messiah at his right hand as king and priest-as king to see all his enemies under his feet, (Heb 1:1) and as priest to serve God and channel God’s grace forever. (Heb 1:4) Though personally the Messiah may be out fighting, (Heb 1:2-3,5-7) positionally he is always sitting at Yahweh’s right hand. In Acts 2:34-35, Heb 1:13 and Heb 10:12, and Mt 22:44, this picture is applied directly to Jesus Christ, who since the Ascension actively reigns in the mediatorial kingdom of God.’ (Packer, Concise Theology)

To be seated at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven is to take the place of highest honour. Here is not merely a seat on which he sits, but a throne from which he rules, Phil 2:8ff.

Inferences

Flavel draws out a number of inferences from this verse:-

  1. Is Christ so honoured, to sit enthroned at God’s right hand?  Then what honour is reserved for those who are faithful to him, now on earth?
  2. Is Christ enthroned in heaven?  Then how impossible is it that his interest could ever fail on earth?
  3. Is Christ set down on the right hand of the Majesty in heaven?  Then with what reverence should we approach him in worship?
  4. Is Christ is so gloriously advanced on the highest throne, then none are dishonoured by suffering the vilest things for his sake.  His very sufferings have the seeds of glory in them, Heb 11:26.  And for us, even disgrace is honourable, when endured for the Lord of glory.
  5. Did Christ not sit down to rest in heaven till he had finished his work on earth?  Then let us not think of rest till we have finished our work.  ‘Your life and labours must end together.’  You must continue to fight against sin, resist the devil, and live among wicked men.  Let grace rouse you and spur you on towards your blessed hope.

Flavel remarks that to ‘sit down at the right hand’ signifies (a) honour: it is where we place those we most highly esteem (cf. 1 Kings 2:19; Heb 1:13); (b) power: Christ has been exalted to the highest authority and dominion (cf. Mt 26:64; 1 Cor 15:27; (c) nearness of place (cf. Psa 110:5).

Flavel contrasts Christ’s former state of humiliation with his present state of exaltation: ‘He was born in a stable, but now he reigns in his royal palace. Then he had a manger for his cradle, but now he sits on a chair of state. Then oxen and asses were his companions, now thousands of saints, and ten thousands of angels minister round about his throne. Then in contempt, they called him the carpenter’s son, now he obtains a more excellent name than angels. Then he was led away into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil, now it is proclaimed before him, “let all the angels of God worship him.” Then he had not a place to lay his head on, now he is exalted to be heir of all things. In his state of humiliation, “he endured the contradiction of sinners;” in his state of exaltation, “he is adored and admired by saints and angels.” Then “he had no form or loveliness; and when we saw him, there was no beauty, why we should desire him:” Now the beauty of his countenance shall send forth such glorious beams, as shall dazzle the eyes of all the celestial inhabitants round about him.’

The Majesty in heaven– God is spoken of as ‘the Majesty’ also in Heb 8:1.  See also, for example, Psa 93:1f; 145:5; 2 Pet 1:16.  Packer comments: ‘Today, vast stress is laid on the thought that God is personal, but this truth is so stated as to leave the impression that God is a person of the same sort as we are—weak, inadequate, ineffective, a little pathetic. But this is not the God of the Bible! Our personal life is a finite thing: it is limited in every direction, in space, in time, in knowledge, in power. But God is not so limited. He is eternal, infinite and almighty. He has us in his hands; we never have him in ours. Like us, he is personal; but unlike us, he is great. In all its constant stress on the reality of God’s personal concern for his people, and on the gentleness, tenderness, sympathy, patience and yearning compassion that he shows toward them, the Bible never lets us lose sight of his majesty and his unlimited dominion over all his creatures.’ (Knowing God)

Heb 1:4 So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs.

The name he has inherited – That is, his status and reputation. ‘It may be too pedantic to inquire whether the name is “son” (as in Heb 1:2; twice in Heb 1:5 both from OT quotations; Heb 1:8 from an OT quotation; Heb 3:6; 5:5 from an OT quotation; Heb 5:8 7:28); more specifically “son of God;” (Heb 2:6; 4:14; 6:6; 10:29) “God” (as in Heb 1:8); “Lord” (as in Heb 1:10 and Php 2:9-11); “Savior” (as in Mt 1:21); or simply a metaphorical term meaning a person or position the “name” would represent, i.e., all a person would represent in his exalted position.’ (College Press)

‘We must not press the word “inheritance” here to imply that he obtained at some point in time something that he did not already possess.’ (F.f. Bruce, Answers to questions, p120)

Superior – ‘The word “superior” is written all across the epistle. Hebrews calls many things “better” or “superior:” Jesus’ ministry; Heb 8:6 his new covenant; Heb 8:6 a better hope, Heb 7:19 a better covenant; Heb 7:22; 8:6 a better resurrection; Heb 11:35 a better country; Heb 11:16 better possessions; Heb 10:34 a better sacrifice that purifies the heavenly things. Heb 9:22 It is fitting that God expects better things of us. Heb 6:9 These all become possible through the one who obtained a better name.’ Heb 1:4 (College Press)

The angels – ‘In his preface to Screwtape Letters C. S. Lewis complains about the progressively distorted picture of angels which has come down to us through religious art. Says Lewis: “Fra Angelico’s angels carry in their face and gesture the peace and authority of Heaven. Later come the chubby infantile nudes of Raphael; finally the soft, slim, girlish, and consolatory angels of nineteenth century art, shapes so feminine that they avoid being voluptuous only by their total insipidity.. They are a pernicious symbol. In Scripture the visitation of an angel is always alarming; it has to begin by saying “Fear not.” The Victorian angel looks as if it were going to say, “There, there.”‘ (Quoted by R. Kent Hughes)

What are angels? ‘Angels are mentioned over one hundred times in the Old Testament and more than 160 times in the New Testament. They exist in vast numbers. On one occasion they are described as assembling in a great throng “numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand.” Rev 5:11 In most cases they are invisible, as was the experience of Balaam when the Lord had to open his eyes so he could see the angel blocking his way. Nu 22:31 Or consider Elisha’s servant who had his eyes opened so he could see that he was protected by encircling chariots of fire. 2 Kings 6:17.

Ordinarily when angels are visible, they have a human-like appearance and are often mistaken for men. See Gen 18:2 19:1,2 Mk 16:5. Sometimes they have shined with glorious light. Mt 28:3 Lk 2:9. Other times they have appeared as fabulous winged creatures-seraphim and cherubim. Ex 25:20 Isa 6:2. The Hebrew word for angel is malak and the Greek angelos. Both mean “messenger,” designating their essential functions as divine message-bearers. As God’s messengers they can wield immense power-for example, staying entire armies 2 Kings 19:35, or delivering captives.’ Acts 12:7-11. (R. Kent Hughes)

Heb 1:5 For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my Son; today I have become your Father?” Or again, “I will be his Father, and he will be my Son”?

The rest of the chapter consists primarily of quotations from the OT. There are seven in all, just as there was a sevenfold description of the greatness of the Son at the beginning of the chapter. The OT quotations do not, however, match the earlier statement point by point.

Heb 1:6 And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says, “Let all God’s angels worship him.”

And, as Flavel says, if God’s angels offered joyful worship at the coming of his Son from heaven, ‘so at his return there again, when he had finished redemption-work, there were no less demonstrations given by those blessed creatures of their delight and joy in it. The very heavens echoed and resounded on that account. Yes, the triumph is not ended at this day, nor ever shall.’ (The Fountain of Life)

Heb 1:7 In speaking of the angels he says, “He makes his angels winds, his servants flames of fire.”

Heb 1:8 But about the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever, and righteousness will be the sceptre of your kingdom.”

See Ps 45:6-7. ‘The New Testament writer, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, is saying that the verse refers specifically to the Messiah, who is called ‘God’. Both the Authorised Version and the New International Version are quite explicit about this. There is, however, some debate among scholars as to how this verse should be translated. Many do not accept that in the original psalm God is in the vocative case and argue that the passage should be translated, ‘God is your throne,’ instead of ‘Your throne, O God.’ The only motivation for this comparatively modern rendering is the concern to evade the attribution of the title God to Christ. The Hebrew is not ambiguous; and the idea, ‘God is your throne’, is incomprehensible. Moreover, what we have here is the New Testament canon delivering itself of an authoritative interpretation of the Old Testament and telling us that this verse in Psalm 45 speaks of our Messiah and calls him ‘God’. For Christian theology that should be decisive.’ (McLeod, A Faith To Live By)

Heb 1:9 “you have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.”

Heb 1:10 he also says, “In the beginning, O Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands.”

Quoting Ps 102:24.

Heb 1:11 They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment.

Heb 1:12 “you will roll them up like a robe; like a garment they will be changed. But you remain the same, and your years will never end.”

Heb 1:13 To which of the angels did God ever say, “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet”?

This is quote from Psa 110.

“Sit at my right hand” – ‘This was the place of greatest honor and authority. The sheep were gathered at Jesus’ right hand to be blessed, while the goats were gathered at his left hand to be destroyed. (Mt 25:31-46) The scepter was held in a king’s right hand, (Mt 27:29) which was his hand of authority. (Ps 89:25) Preferential blessing was done with the right hand. (Ge 48:12-20) God swore by his right hand. (Isa 62:8) Solomon seated his mother Bathsheba at his right hand when she approached him with a request. (1 Kings 2:19) Asaph served Heman faithfully “at his right hand.” (1 Chron 6:39) The royal bride was at the king’s right hand. (Ps 45:9) It is a right hand of fellowship.’ (Gal 2:9) (College Press)

“Until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet” – ‘It should be noted that even Jesus has enemies. But they did not deter him from doing what he needed to do for the Father. He came to destroy Satan, his principle enemy, and death, Satan’s major weapon against man. (Heb 2:14-16 1 Jn 3:8) Satan is called “the enemy” in the parable of the weeds (Mt 13:25,28,39) and when the seventy-two returned from their mission. (Lk 10:17-20) Those who resist Jesus’ rule in their lives position themselves as his enemies. (Lk 19:27; Rom 5:10; Php 3:18; Col 1:21; Jas 4:4) he warned, “Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for that is how their fathers treated the false prophets”.’ (Lk 6:26) (College Press)

Heb 1:14 Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?

Are not all angels ministering spirits…? – This verse defines angels as both messengers of God and ministers to man. ‘Angels will never be kings. They will always be servants.’ (Andrew Bonar)

‘The most exalted of them, like Gabriel, were privileged to ‘stand in the presence of God’ (Luke 1:19), but none was ever invited to sit before him, much less to sit in the place of honour at his right hand, as was the Son who is now the enthroned heavenly king.’ (O’Brien)

Ministering spirits – ‘If two angels were sent from heaven to execute a divine command, one to conduct an empire and the other to sweep a street in it, They would feel no inclination to change employments.’ (John Newton)

Sent to serve those who will inherit salvation– ‘Angels are the ministering spirits who serve the Lord seated on the throne. But they also minister to us who are the “heirs of salvation” through faith in Christ. The angels today are serving us!’ (Wiersbe)

‘Thus they have done in attending and acting at the giving forth of the law, in fighting the battles of the saints, in destroying their enemies. They still minister for them in opposing the malice and power of evil spirits, in protecting and keeping their bodies, pitching their tents about theirs, instructing, quickening, and comforting their souls under Christ and the Holy Ghost; and thus they shall do in gathering all the saints together at the last day. Bless God for the ministration of angels, keep in God’s way, and take the comfort of this promise, that he will give his angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways. They shall bear you up in their hands, lest you dash your feet against a stone, Ps. 91:11, 12.’ (MHC)

Inherit – ‘is often used in the NT in senses other than the strict one of obtaining something by a will. It is used of possessing the earth (Mt 5:5), the kingdom of God (1 Cor 6:9–10), eternal life (Mk 10:17), the promises (Heb 6:12), incorruption (1 Cor 15:50), blessing (Heb 12:17), and a more excellent name (Heb 1:4).’ (EBC)

As to substance, then, angels are ‘spirits’; as to function, they are ‘ministers’.

Sent to serve

‘It was the angel of the Lord who intervened to prevent Abraham from sacrificing his only son Isaac in obedience to God and provided the patriarch with a suitable substitute for the offering (Gen 22:9–14). Subsequently an angel even guided Abraham’s servant to find a wife for Isaac (Gen 24:7, 40). After their deliverance from slavery, and as they began their wilderness wanderings, God assured Israel by saying, “I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared” (Ex 23:20). The psalmist exclaims God’s benevolent protective power toward his people at all times: “The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them” (Ps 34:7) and “He will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways” (Ps 91:11). Certainly Daniel and his companions were aware of this protection after their experience of angelic protection through the intense heat and flames of a furnace (Dan 3:28) and then later when “God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions” (Dan 6:22).’ (DBI)

Total Page Visits: 47 - Today Page Visits: 1