A Study of Hebrews Chapter 1: Part 15

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And of the angels He says:“ Who makes His angels spirits And His ministers a flame of fire.” 

The writer has just made a very remarkable and most likely shocking statement by declaring that the angels would worship the Son. The writer now advances in his argument by substantiating exactly why the angels would worship the Lord Jesus. He does so by presenting the contrast between the angels (v.7) and the Son (vs.8-12). This would have been important to the original readers since there needed to be justification for such a strong statement when they viewed the angels in such a high regard only second to Jehovah.

 Jehovah here addresses firstly his angelic hosts in defining their nature and role in the span of spiritual things. He quotes from psalm 104 that is a psalm of praise and worship unto God and it should be noted that this quotation is most likely cited from the LXX[i]. This is important to remember when we examine further quotations in the verses ahead. The writer begins by acknowledging firstly their nature as “spirits” (pneuma), which is synonymous with the thought of “wind”and suffice it to say that the wind is quick, powerful and under the control of God so must we believe such can be said of the angels. There is also a contrast from the Son which stems from the fact that they are “spirits” and by nature He is eternal which we further examine when we will see vs.10-12[ii] 

The second portion of this text deals with their function in that they are “ministers” or “servants”. Their existence is therefore one of servitude of God and in some cases in the care of mankind. The angels, unlike the Son, never have an opportunity to sit down since their work is never accomplished. There have been many interpretations of the term “flame of fire” yet if we pause for a moment and consider that we are speaking of the future in these particular texts, we will understand that it is speaking of the Son’s return.  The Son will come to the fulfillment of His Kingship, the role of the angels in this particular period will be one of “flaming fire” which generally refers back to judgment (Gen. 19:13; Matthew 13:41-42) We indeed find it pertinent to note that this is exactly their role in the things to come since the Angels have been and are the executioners of God’s wrath (Revelation 8 & 9). 


[i] LXX refers to the Septuagint which is the Greek translation of the OT Hebrew.

[ii] Also see Micah 5:2


Written by shawnkjmcgrath

August 12, 2009 at 1:25 pm

Posted in Hebrews Ch.1

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