Agonizomai: Heb 1:5-6 - Christ - Is More Than An Angel

Friday, October 23, 2009

Heb 1:5-6 - Christ - Is More Than An Angel

Heb 1:5-6 Christ - Is More Than An Angel

Heb 1:5-6 For to which of the angels did God ever say, "You are my Son, today I have begotten you?" Or again, "I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son?" 6 And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says, "Let all God’s angels worship him."

Now the writer brings out of the very writings that the Hebrews always held sacred those passages that speak of the incarnate Son. This is because what was known as "Moses and the Prophets" (but which included the whole of our OT Canon) was unquestionably authoritative to them. He eschewed quoting Paul or Peter or Luke - though these inspired writings were probably around at the time.

He starts with {Ps 2:7} and adds {2Sa 7:14}. The first citation was, on the face of it, simply a familiar attestation of Israel (the Son), declaring that it would be victorious over its enemies because, in opposing them, the nations were opposing the Omnipotent God Who was with them. The second is ostensibly a prophecy about Solomon, given to David through Nathan on the occasion when David expressed a desire to build a permanent home for the ark in Jerusalem.

These passages can be and were read by all manner of men in Israel precisely in the ways indicated - and they still speak that way to those who read them apart from the illumination of the Spirit of God. But Jesus, upon Whom the Spirit dwelt without measure, undoubtedly saw Himself everywhere spoken of in the writings - for He had put Himself there by writing history, and by inspiring the authors to record what He put into their hearts and minds concerning Himself. This is the nature of the mystery that was hidden from the ages waiting to be (fully) revealed when Christ came.

I’m not saying that just because Christ came and lived and died then all men can now see what God had hidden in plain sight. I’m saying that for those who are in Christ Jesus, the same Spirit that embedded these treasures in the record also reveals the spiritual relevance of them to the heart of faith in this present age. The Spirit has been given to the church in a unique way and with the full ammunition and context of the actual, historical life of He of Whom it speaks.

Yet we cannot, nor would we wish to, deny that there is a very real contemporary context for these OT passages. In Psalm 2 Israelites of the 9th century BC would have no trouble seeing Israel and Jerusalem and their present earthly king in all the references contained there. And in 2 Samuel Chapter 7 it is quite clear to contemporaries of that time that Solomon and the earthly line of David is spoken of. In fact, there is specific mention within the prophecy of what God will do "if he (the seed) commits iniquity".

This sort of duality is ever present in OT prophecies. Not only are there parallels between Christ and Israel, but between Israel and the church and between Israel and the individual believer. There is virtually no end to the latent imagery, metaphor and typology on both spiritual and economic levels. Christ Himself is everywhere prefigured in the writings, as Jesus Himself showed the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. {Luke 24:27}

So it is hardly surprising that the writers of the New Testament looked for Christ in the Hebrew Scriptures and saw Him all over the place. These two passages are cases in point. In retrospect, and with the aid of the illuminating Spirit, it is not difficult to see Psalm 2 as being all about Jesus Christ; it is a prophetic Psalm. On the other hand, the 2 Samuel passage contains elements that are solely applicable to Solomon and his descendants (the mention of sin, for example), and elements that apply both to Solomon and to Christ.

The Hebrews writer, desiring to distinguish the Lord of Glory from a mere angel, or even from all other prophets, has begun to argue his case. The angels are in fact spoken of as the "sons of God" {Job 1:6,2:1,38:4-7, Ps 29:1,89:6} in the OT. But none is spoken of as the begotten son of God. All these others were creatures - they were created and called sons in that sense, because their existence derived from Him, through that means. But the Eternal Son was never created. He is without beginning or end. He is Alpha and Omega. He is of the same substance as God - is, in fact, of one substance with Him.

So the Son of God is related by eternal generation, meaning that "this day" is the eternal day - the unchanging “nowness” of eternity. It can also be taken to refer to the incarnation of the Son in time into human form. Along this latter line, the second citation from 2 Samuel does not imply that the incarnate Christ will become a son to God - either by being born in the flesh, or by adoption as we saints are - but that He will conduct Himself as only a true son could, being the perfect image of His Father in thought, word and deed. To quote the various translators of the writer to the Hebrews, the incarnate Christ is "the exact representation, the express image, bearing the very stamp of His nature, the very image of His (God’s) substance."

The reference in verse 6 is from Ps 97:6-7, which is taken by the writer of the homily to be a prophetic psalm of the revelation of God in His Messiah, and is why the command to worship follows the pronouncement that "all the peoples see His glory." We ought not to be confused by some translations that say "Let all the gods worship Him." The original Hebrew word is "elohiym," which is indeed the plural for god, but which is also used of angels. In fact, the translation of the OT known as the Septuagint expressly uses the Greek word "aggeloi" (angels) in this psalm to render the original Hebrew "elohiym".

Whatever the details hold, the overall thought of the writer is that Jesus Christ is Messiah and that he is "God with us" - not man alone, not incarnate angel, either before or after His resurrection. He is eternal Son come from the bosom of the Father and returned thereto, more gloriously revealed than before, co-deity and fully worthy to be adored and worshiped.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I pity the cult people who ever unwittingly knock on your door or meet you on the street. What glorious good news- that Jesus is in God, and we are in Jesus, who is God. Talk about safety! When I was a new believer, I thought the OT was just a historical account of Israel.. It's amazing how many direct references there are to Jesus there. Now i see them in every book. The more II read the bible, the more I see Jesus everywhere. No wonder the cult leaders only teach their followers certain, carefully selected verses. I wish all the door knockers could hear this teaching.

9:44 am  
Blogger agonizomai said...


What you see you see with the eyes of faith through the gift of God in Jesus Christ. Many look at the same things and see the figures and the prophesies and the history utterly absent the faith that the Holy Spirit gives. He adds a completely different dimension to our view of the facts. It is the difference between life and death.

I hope none of us ever ceases to be in awe and wonder of not only WHAT we see by the grace of God, but also the FACT that we see in the way that we do. This will keep us from thinking ourselves better than those who are blind, or even those who preach blind religions.

The same Spirit Who opens our eyes is the only One Who can open theirs. And you are so right that it starts with the preaching of the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.



4:39 pm  

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