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Hebrews 1:14  (King James Version)
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<< Hebrews 1:13   Hebrews 2:1 >>


Hebrews 1:1-14

The author's direct and indirect references to the threefold offices of Jesus Christ—prophet, priest, and king—provide a link between Hebrews' first and second chapters. Christ holds all three at once, which is impressive. He is a Leader every knowledgeable individual should yearn to serve under because, under His leadership, great things will be accomplished. Those under Him will share the rewards of His achievements.

In Hebrews 1, the author describes the Son as the One through whom God spoke prophetically as “Son” (verse 2). In verse 3, He is the High Priest who provided purification for sins. In verses 6-14, we see Him prophetically, ruling from His throne in His Kingdom, alluding to His royal authority. These verses look far into the future, assuring us that His holding of the office of High Priest is a settled, eternal issue.

Why? The answer appears in Hebrews 1:9: God places Him in that office, anointing Him “with the oil of gladness more than [His] companions,” because He “loved righteousness and hated lawlessness,” as demonstrated by His sinless life. He most certainly qualified for it. The quotation from Psalm 45:6-7 is no idle saying. Jesus was head and shoulders above all others in terms of His qualifications to lead.

These brief statements set the stage for the rest of the epistle. Hebrews 1 is a primer of what He has already done and will continue to do and expand upon for the members of the God Family. Remember, Christ Himself dogmatically states, “Without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). God is glorified by His Family producing fruit, and without Jesus Christ, no fruit can be produced. Without His work, our salvation would be impossible. As High Priest, He is the literal link between us and sharing eternity with God in His Family. Without Him, we could expect only death in the Lake of Fire.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Why Hebrews Was Written (Part Ten): Christianity's Claims



Hebrews 1:1-14

During the first century, a number of very vocal Jews were hesitant about accepting Jesus Christ as High Priest under the New Covenant. The conference recorded in Acts 15, held to resolve their doubts, provides evidence of this group's existence. However, through the human author, God led, as it were, with a knockout punch in Hebrews' first chapter. Reading the powerful and true statements about Christ from God's own Word, laid out with devastating logic, a convert could find nothing to contradict.

Is there any other person besides Jesus, be he angel or human, whom God names as His only begotten Son? Is there anyone else whom God names as His Son who will inherit all things? Through whom the entire creation came into being? Who has given life itself to all creatures including humans?

God does not stop there. He continues His direct attack. Did God appoint any other person besides the One who became Jesus of Nazareth as “the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person”? Does anyone else also uphold all things in creation by the very word of His power?

Did anyone but His only begotten Son purge us of our sins by sacrificing His perfectly lived life in an extremely painful death? Did anyone else rise from the dead and ascend to heaven to be seated at the Father's right hand, filling the second-highest position of power and authority in the entire universe?

All these questions challenge the skeptics to justify their reasons for rejecting Him as High Priest. Is there any room for even an angel, a creation of Jesus and thus on a lower plane than He, to be considered? And that is only the beginning of the questions that surely arose.

What God establishes at the very beginning of this magnificent epistle did not directly answer a few of the Jews' central doubts. What really perturbed the doubters was that Jesus of Nazareth appeared to be just another human, and He obviously died as all humans die. These facts, based on sight, not faith, did not meet their expectations.

The Jews' expectations about the appearance of the Messiah were built—and twisted from time to time—over a 1,400-year, on-and-off knowledge of God. Frankly, in terms of time, it was far more often “off” than “on.” God did not praise even one king of the ten northern Israelite tribes for leading a period of righteous rule over them. The tribes in the southern kingdom, Judah, occasionally had a David, Hezekiah, or Josiah rise to the point of God giving such praise. However, this kingdom eventually fell, and God judged that its conduct had been worse than that of the Kingdom of Israel!

Jesus was born among these people of Judah, and to them, He preached the gospel of the Kingdom of God. The Jews had had an especially long period of free access to the prophets God sent through the centuries, so they had had access to the Scriptures as they came into existence through the prophets. Hebrews 1:1 declares that God ensured that this witness occurred: “God . . . at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets.” The Israelites were never totally without access to God's guidance. Their problem was they did not believe deeply enough what He said to allow them to use it to bring Him glory. Like many modern Americans, they mostly did their own thing.

They were not totally wrong on everything, but they were in error enough that they could not come to correct conclusions to give them an accurate picture. For example, some Jews understood enough of the Promised Seed prophecy (Genesis 3:14-15) to know that it would be fulfilled by a great leader among the Israelites. They also knew He would be “the Anointed” and the “Messiah” and lead Israel to material greatness among the nations.

That scenario does not even begin to scratch the fullness of the Promised Seed's accomplishments, let alone that all nations will benefit both spiritually and materially from His greatness. They had only the slightest inkling that His appearance and subsequent accomplishments would bring salvation to the Gentile world too.

So, they had difficulty with the concept that Jesus of Nazareth was both God and man at the same time—even with the idea that He could be divine while in the flesh. They had trouble connecting their understanding of the Promised Messiah with Jesus' public ministry of both words and healings of mind and body, with His sacrificial death, and with the spiritual gifts He gives to heal the elects' minds and spirits, even though a spiritual mind can see that the prophecy in Genesis 3 contains hints of them. To some Jews, influenced by Judaism, these elements were a leap beyond their abilities to grasp.

When Christ's three-and-a-half years of ministry concluded and the church began, virtually everyone called and converted was a Jew. It was not that Jesus did not preach to Gentiles. He preached to the Gentile Samaritans as early as John 4, and His message attracted them, but none were converted during His ministry. Gentiles grasped some level of the truth, but not until God sent Peter to the home of Cornelius, a Roman soldier, and he and his family were converted and baptized into the Family of God, did the middle wall of division separating the Israelites—most specifically the Jews—and the Gentiles began to dissolve, little by little, within the church, the Israel of God.

The biblical record does not suggest in any way that the Gentiles called into God's church had any more difficulty being converted to Jesus Christ than Jews. The Jerusalem Conference resolved much of the “Gentile problem” challenging the Jews, and the church began moving to correct any remaining issues tied to this dispute.

Three things assisted the Jews through this issue:

  1. The apostles' and others' consistent, truthful teaching from the Old Testament in Sabbath services and Bible studies.

  2. The called Gentiles quick understanding of the truth, at least partly a result of their not having to overcome false, Jewish teachings.

  3. The gradual writing of gospels, letters, and other material by the apostles, especially those that became part of what is now the New Testament.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Why Hebrews Was Written (Part Eight): Hebrews 1



Hebrews 1:6-14

We should understand Hebrews 1:6-14 as comparisons made by the author to heap praise on Jesus Christ of Nazareth in contrast to any angel whom one might consider as being on the same level or even above Him.

In this first chapter, the apostle reveals the main line of his approach to the subject of who is qualified to be High Priest to the children of God under the New Covenant. He does so by using an irrefutable argument based in Scripture: that Jesus of Nazareth is far superior even to those whom some acknowledge to be primary contenders from the created world, particularly those from the angelic realm. However, Jesus is as much superior to any angel as any creator is superior even to the absolute best of his creations. The pre-incarnate Jesus, the Word, is the Creator (Ephesians 3:9; Colossians 1:16), and He created the angels and gave them life just as He did to all living things in this creation.

Our Creator and Savior has made His decision regarding the order among His created beings quite clear. Angels are valuable and highly qualified servants who are far more intelligent, powerful, and morally pure in the roles they currently fill in His purpose than human beings are. Even so, they are not created for the more exalted offices He is creating us to occupy. Therefore, we should clearly understand He created them to serve under us in the positions for which He is preparing us. This truth is both awesome and humbling at the same time.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Why Hebrews Was Written (Part Twelve): The Son's Superiority Over Angels



Hebrews 1:14

Angel literally means "messenger." Hebrews 1:14 calls them "ministering [or serving] spirits," sent by God to aid the heirs of salvation. A messenger is one dispatched to carry out a responsibility in service to the sender, and in this case, in service to the recipients as well. God has created beings greater than we are to serve us! A key to understand why He has done this is in recognizing God's sovereignty in the words "sent forth." The greater (God) rules and utilizes the lesser (angels). The Bible shows God actively commanding and managing them to perform functions in His governance of Project Earth.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Sovereignty of God: Part Five



Hebrews 1:13-14

Verse 13 derives from Psalm 110:1, a psalm considered Messianic even by Jewish scholars. We can think of this quotation as a reverberation of verse 4, in that we need to consider it in the same way as what is written there of the eternal God, Jesus Christ: “. . . having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.”

The interesting phrase here is “having become.” But how can the eternal, constant God—eternally superior—change or “become so much better”? Of course, the Son was always eternally superior to the angels. That, however, is not what is in play here. The writer refers to what the Son did in becoming human and putting away the sins of men. Because He had paid the penalty for sins, He could sit down on God's throne in the place of the highest honor, and from this standpoint, He is deemed greater than any angel. No angel has ever come close to achieving that magnificent triumph.

Regarding angels, Hebrews 1:14 asks rhetorically, “Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?” This conclusion to the chapter makes a definitive statement about angels as compared to Jesus Christ. They have a place of dignity and honor in the Kingdom of God, but they are servants. The term “all” applies to every one of the angels without distinction. Despite their uncommon excellence in many areas, they are set aside to serve, especially the saved among mankind.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Why Hebrews Was Written (Part Eight): Hebrews 1



Hebrews 1:14

The implications of this verse should restore our confidence about man's importance in God's purposes. In God's purpose for man, we witness man's dignity—his worth or value—from God's point of view. In His mind, man is worth so much that He has ordered angels to serve us. Depending on how much this world has influenced or jaded us, even this astounding revelation may not impress.

In this world, kings are served by a retinue of other, lesser men. However, in God's purpose, angels—beings of far greater powers and intellect than mere men—attend His children. What does this revelation suggest about the elect's value in our Creator's mind? These highly gifted and mighty beings wait on even the humblest of converted humanity, people who may suffer a wasting disease or may not have completed even an elementary-school education, assisting them in entering God's Kingdom. Their Creator has impressed upon them our importance to Him, so they serve us as though we are precious beyond all reason.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Why Hebrews Was Written (Part Ten): Christianity's Claims




Other Forerunner Commentary entries containing Hebrews 1:14:

Genesis 6:1-4
Matthew 18:10-11
Ephesians 1:11-14
Ephesians 1:11-14
Hebrews 1:6-14
Hebrews 1:13-14
Hebrews 1:14

 

<< Hebrews 1:13   Hebrews 2:1 >>



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