The Weekend Word
The continuing comparison of Jesus to the angels
6 And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says, “Let all God’s angels worship him.”
- Alludes to Psalm 89:27 – “And I will make him the firstborn,the highest of the kings of the earth.”
- Firstborn is not an order, but it is a title.
- If they were familiar with their Greek OT they would see what the author is doing.
- Deut 32:43 (LXX) “Rejoice, ye heavens, with him, and let all the angels of God worship him; rejoice ye Gentiles, with his people…”
- Angels worship God – so by extension, worship Jesus.
7 Of the angels he says, “He makes his angels winds, and his ministers a flame of fire.”
- Direct quote of Psalm 104:4 – angels winds = spirits
- The role of angels = servants – messengers – they have an important role
- But they are created beings – Jesus created all things visible and invisible.
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.
- Psalm 45:6-7 –
- Again we are back to the throne.
- The scepter is owned by the one who sits on the throne.
- Scepter = A staff held by a sovereign as an emblem of authority.
- Angels have no such authority – they are created beings.
9 You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.”
- What is the “oil of gladness”?- The Holy Spirit
10 And, “You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of your hands; 11 they will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment,
- Quote from Psalm 102:25-27 – to bring out Jesus’ eternality.
- God / Jesus is the creator and is eternal – supremacy over creation
- Created things, including angels will perish.
- Wear out like garments = hey, these people didn’t own much more.
- We would say like your car, microwave, computer etc.
12 like a robe you will roll them up, like a garment they will be changed. But you are the same, and your years will have no end.”
- Psalmist is talking about God – which is now being applied to Jesus.
- Everything that can be said about God is said and applies to Jesus.
- Jesus is the God of the OT
- Verse 10 is “In the beginning”
- Verses 11-12 is “In Eternity”
13 And to which of the angels has he ever said, “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet”?
- Psalm 110:1
- This psalm is the most quoted in the NT – 8 times.
- So, to which of the angels did God say this? NONE – this is the required answer.
- Where is Jesus today? At the right hand, in his word, in your baptism and in the bread and the wine.
- Mark 12:35-37 “And as Jesus taught in the temple, he said, “How can the scribes say that the Christ is the son of David? 36 David himself, in the Holy Spirit, declared,
- “‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet.”’
37 David himself calls him Lord. So how is he his son?” And the great throng heard him gladly.
14 Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?
- Ministering spirits – guardian angels? Is one assigned each time a new Christian is converted?
- The difference between sit and stand.
- Angels are servants – they stand in the presence of God
- Rev 8:2 – “Then I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them.”
- Luke 1:19 – “And the angel answered him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news.”
- Standing as ready to serve – ready to go
- Not standing as in an honored position
- The comparison – Jesus sits in a stately royal position – the angels are described as no more than servants.
So what can we take away from this passage?
- The quotes from the OT allow the author to prove from the OT that Jesus is vastly superior to the angels.
- To show that the Old Covenant era of redemptive history is over and a new period of redemptive history “these last days” is here through Jesus Christ.
- Who created the angels and directs their actions?
- Jesus is vastly superior to all character in the OT – whether it is angels, or Moses or Israel’s prophets – even Abraham.
- It just shows that the prophets of old, all pointed to Jesus and “these last days.”
- It’s all about inheritance – what Jesus has inherited from the father is ours in that we are in Christ.
quick scan – but it makes my heart sing – amen
(haven’t read critically for Lutheran doctrine, yet, tho 🙂 )
God keep MLD
Good work, MLD. No arguments from me!
Thank you, again, MLD!
I have to ask, maybe for another study….why do Lutherans and Catholics believe Christ dwells in the communion offerings? Is it based on “This is my body, this is my blood?”
Lutherans don’t believe that Christ “dwell” in the communion elements – we believe that Jesus is bodily present ‘in,with and under” the elements. It’s a mystery we do not explain beyond that.
It is based on This is my body / this is my blood and the way Paul handle the supple in 1 Cor 11
I like much of what is written here and in agreement the idea of the “firstborn” never is about the actual order of who was first in the birth process.
1. Isaac is not Abraham’s “first born son.”
2. Judah is not the first born son of Jacob.
3. Israel is call God’s “first born,” and yet they are not the first born among men.
4. One must be “born again,” not an uncommon idea at the time of Jesus and yet a Pharisee and member of the ruling council of Jerusalem seems to have problem with the application from Jesus. (BTW by his asking the question wasn’t a sign of ignorance at all. It is a very rabbinic way of teaching and rooting out an opinion, interpretation or truth.)
The real question I have about the first chapter isn’t all the describing of Jesus over angel. One should be asking, “Why is this important, to the writer, his intended audience and the future readers?”
How would the confusion of the readers about the nature of Jesus in contrast to angels be important to today’s readers? Could it be people today have similar problems understanding who Jesus is?
Think about how many times you may have heard that Jesus was a great, “prophet,” “teacher,” “example of correct morality,” or something else which makes Him less.
Personally I find people (even church people) struggle today with the whole idea that Jesus was a real flesh and blood man who was murdered, buried stone cold dead in a tomb and came alive again, not as a spirit being, but a fully breathing flesh and blood person.
What are the “angel” difficulties we have today with Jesus?
Thanks for the text!
Oh I forgot, what makes Jesus “first born?”
“Oh I forgot, what makes Jesus “first born?”
The thing with God is that nothing makes him anything. Jesus is firstborn not because of any act or decision – Jesus is firstborn because he is.
#6- it might have served better to answer the intent of the question, rather than the literal…
Jesus IS the first born … that is a study in itself … for my part, tho, the stunner in yesterday’s post (which makes the case for WHO Jesus is/was) is that God, Himself, entered into humanity as one of us – for a time … the next question really is, ‘why’d He do that?’ IMO
(but there’s much more, i know)
now i’m gone
em, it’s the same as the question – “what makes God eternal?” or fill in the blank any God question. Nothing makes him eternal – he IS eternal.
MLD doesn’t think that way.
All that matters is Jesus is, not the why Jesus is.
The whole idea of a full flesh and blood man-God is historic (can also be considered a bit pagan too) and is studied and debated to this day.
The question which could also be asked is, why did God need a “second Adam,” “the son of man,” to be the Messiah? God could have just waved His finger and said, “done.” But, yet He took the path of being born a flesh and blood man.
Again the answer from MLD is simply, “because…”
It reminds me of what I used to tell my kids occasionally when they were young, “Because I said so,” even though I really did have a legit reason.
Oh the question, “What makes God eternal?” is not the same.
However, I might ask for people’s understanding, “What does it mean to be eternal?”
The answer is not in the manner in which creation thinks, a time line.
How many copies of the decalog did Moses bring down from the mountain of God and who wrote physically wrote them?
When done with that question, “Why were there two copies and what does that tell us about the relationship between God and His people?”
Yes the simple quickly grows more complex, so maybe it is easier to just say, “because I said so.”
“…who physically wrote them?”
Jesus is mentioned in this way, “Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead,…”
Maybe this will help with my question and expand it to this question:
“What does it mean to be “first born of the dead?”
It does mean something!
“The question which could also be asked is, why did God need a “second Adam,” “the son of man,” to be the Messiah? ”
God has needs? Tell me more.
You still have not answered the question, which was not “why” Jesus was firstborn… BUT “what makes Jesus “first born?”’
Yep it’s always seems to be black and white with you. Don’t you enjoy the tune, all the nuances which bring the richness to it or is it simply, “because.”
I didn’t think you asked the question about firstborn, I think I asked the question to get responses and thought from people. Since you already gave yours let’s leave some room for others, shall we!
MLD, you did not address my question about why the author seems to dedicate so much time and effort comparing Jesus to angels. Is it just because or were there other ideas in the day?
Sadly, I support your work here but somehow you really don’t like much expansion and discussion. You state Jesus is the firstborn because He is and if I agree with you (which I do) you fail to ask the important question, why do we care?
God spends time preserving and saving this text for us to read. Personally I don’t believe it is simply so we can prove our doctrines in some fashion. There’s always more, layers so to speak, all filled with richness and love for our lives!
Oh and yes MLD, I believe God does fulfill His own needs, it’s just His creation has no clue what those are.
And the question stands, “Why didn’t God just wave His finger instead of sending the “second Adam, son of Man?”
I know, of course it’s “because…”
Thanks it’s late got to go!
well and FWIW – ‘need’ needs to be defined… if you were to say that God in His grace in order to achieve His righteous will was required (of Himself) to do such and such… okay…
but God is self contained, absolute, holy and without ‘needs’ as i think of the word … God is never ever needy 🙂
“MLD, you did not address my question about why the author seems to dedicate so much time and effort comparing Jesus to angels. Is it just because or were there other ideas in the day?”
The people he is addressing are making the move to go back to Judaism. To them and their limited knowledge, it is 6 if one and half dozen of the other. In their mind after all the troubles they endured being outcasts, they figure it would be easier to going back to being “God’s people.” Abraham, the prophets, the angels all this was very important in Jewish customs and beliefs – dead beliefs but still important.
The author, and I said this last week or before is not using his words as a comparison. like the Jesus way is better than the prophets or angels (up to this part) but still a second choice. No, he is using the comparison and the “superior” wording to drive home the point – “it is Jesus or nothing.”
We will see this spelled out in ch 6 & 10.
Thank you. I’m not sure I agree with your generalizations, but I do agree the main theme throughout Hebrews is, there’s no turning back.
Bob, I love your #5. You do ask the toughest questions…what makes Jesus firstborn? Hmmm. Thinking on that one.
One thing that struck me about Hebrews is how the author treated the Psalms. Sometimes I think we (maybe just me) have downgraded them to a little less than “God’s word”. Oh, they are just poetry, the Old Testament believer’s hymn book. That is not how Hebrew’s treats the Psalms at all. He builds his entire book around a few psalms, constantly referring back to them. He sees them as authoritative, prophetic, and God-breathed, the same way he would any other Scripture.
How can something make Jesus something? Was there a cause? at one time was Jesus not the firstborn of or over all and then something caused him to be?
I say no – Jesus was always firstborn and that is what allowed him to be preeminent. When Jesus conquered death, did that ‘make’ him firstborn over death OR, because he was firstborn over death he was able to conquer death?
So, Jesus is first born – well, as Bob teases me … because.
The Jewish people still use writings beyond the Torah to make their point, so I don’t find the writer’s use of Psalms something unusual at all. It fits quite well in how they build the explanations and interpretations.
“Jesus was always firstborn and that is what allowed him to be preeminent. ”
One of the things you forget to mention or even define is how the earthly/bodily existence of Jesus play’s into His position. Even the Jewish people agree Messiah exists before creation, but our Jesus became a full flesh, blood and air breathing human.
How does that play into the idea of “first born” and “first born from the dead?”
I admire your “because” faithfulness, but the very text you teach from here alludes to much more in the writer’s comparison with angels (and through implication, all created beings).
So one might ask, “How does this apply to the physical birth, life, death and resurrection of the bodily man Jesus?” Or are you saying the eternal “first born” was a concept, a spiritual being, or some sort of mysterious spiritual side of God we can’t ever understand?
Later on the Hebrew author points that He is bodily acting/performing out “Yom Kippur” as a perfect High Priest on a daily/moment by moment basis. Did this require Him to be “the first born” from among men (son of man), the perfect High Priest?
Again, if first born is an eternal thing, why did He have to come bodily born of a woman? It would appear that while His “spiritual” side is eternal he had to eat mom’s milk and have His diapers changed like the rest of us.
I’m trying to write that for those asking that maybe there’s more to the role of being “first born.”
My father was a Marine in WWII and he was proud that Marines were the first to land on the beach and engage the enemy (of course they were also the first to die for the rest of the world). Just a random thought, maybe nothing to it at all.
It’s late! Thanks I like this thread much better than that adulterous
Bob, i like this thread MUCH better, also 🙂
I think you may be running right past what THIS verse says about “firstborn” in order to make a point. Go back and reread the verse – v.6. Here I will link you to all the translations.
6 And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says…, – ESV
Note that Jesus is already the firstborn when he comes into the world. That is who he is. This is in opposition to your question what ‘makes’ him firstborn. If this is correct that he was already firstborn before this point, then his birth had nothing to do with it.
I asked earlier – a couple of days ago – what makes God eternal? Nothing – he is. Why? Because! 😉
Now, the important part for those who don’t follow these things; Why is in left field and Because is the center fielder 🙂
I’m surprised that no one has tackled the issue of angels and their present day function.
I think it entirely possible that we have one or more assigned to us…