Speaking of Angels
Lord God, Shepherd of my life, let me remain in You today, conforming to Your will and living out Your ways.
Read Hebrews 1:5-14
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
This chapter of Hebrews is a reminder to the Jewish Christians that they must not look back but press forward. They must grasp what is to come.
In the first century angels were prominent in Jewish thinking, but there is a lot of confused thinking about them in today’s world. N.T. Wright writes in his commentary on this passage: “Many today are dissatisfied with traditional Christianity and want to ‘open their horizons’ to angels, saints and other interesting distractions. In thinking about angels we need to make a careful distinction between popular ideas and those found in Scripture.”
Part of the popular appeal of angels today lies in a desire for spirituality without the church, without traditional Christianity, without accountability. But biblical angels are God’s messengers–indeed the primary meaning of the Greek word angelos is “messenger.” They are always represented as male, and evoke fear in the people to whom they are sent. Their first words are often, “Don’t be afraid.” First-century Jews took them seriously, and the first step in understanding today’s reading is to think about the role that angels play in the Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments.
Angels appear in Scripture from Genesis to Revelation. They were created as majestic beings to do God’s will, as mediators between God and man. They are powerful, but not omnipotent or omniscient. In speaking of our salvation, Peter writes that the words of the prophets contain things that “angels long to look into” (1 Pet. 1:12). The point in today’s reading is how much greater Jesus is than all the angels we read about. The writer prepares the ground for the challenge he will pose at the beginning of the next chapter. The angels spoke God’s message to humans; how much more does Jesus speak to us! We had better pay attention.
Take time to think about the wonder of Jesus, who he is and what he has done, until the worries of this life fall away by comparison.
Father, I thank You for angels, Your ministering servants. I am grateful for all the ways they minister.
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