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Study Notes: Hebrews 1. 14

Hebrews 1.14

14 Are they not all divinely authorized spirits being sent out to serve the ones about to inherit salvation?

Angels and their God given Purpose

Tonight we finally come to the last verse in chapter one, and it has taken us almost 12 months to complete our study of this chapter.

As you will know the writer of Hebrews has gone to some lengths to state the superiority of Jesus over the angels.

In this last verse he gives us an insight into the role of angels, and their God appointed purpose.

The Theory of Angels in the Scriptures

In the New Testament times there was a lot of emphasis on angels.

People had come to believe that God was so far removed from them that they needed a go-between.

They believed that angels provided that service.

Therefore, they prayed to angels, believing that the angels would intercede for them.

Angels in the Old Testament

They knew that some of the angels (seraphim and cherubim) surrounded the throne of God.

We see this in Isaiah 6:

[2] Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying.

[3] And they were calling to one another:

“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty;

the whole earth is full of his glory.”

1 Kings 22.19:

[19] Micaiah continued, “Therefore hear the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on his throne with all the host of heaven standing around him on his right and on his left.

The hosts of Heaven were seen as the angels.

The angels were considered as being more knowledgeable than mankind.

In particular they had knowledge of the future.

They were a kind of senate, whom God consulted.

The number of angels stretched into the millions.

From the Scriptures it was known that the angels were interested & involved in the affairs of mankind.

Amongst some in the ancient world it had become the thing to do to pray to the angels, expecting them to represent them before God, since they were always around Him.

According to W Barclay it was believed that angels were ethereal* fiery beings.

*ghostly, unearthly.

The belief was that they were created on the second or fourth day of creation, although there is no Biblical evidence for this.

They were thought of as being immortal, although some believed that they only lived for a day.

There was also the archangels, who had names:

GabrielMichaelRaphaelUrielRaguelRemiel and Saraqael.

We may be familiar with two of them: Garbiel who features heavily in the nativity narratives of the New Testament, as well as in Daniel.

Gabriel

Daniel 8.15-17:

[15] While I, Daniel, was watching the vision and trying to understand it, there before me stood one who looked like a man.

[16] And I heard a man’s voice from the Ulai calling, “Gabriel, tell this man the meaning of the vision.”

[17] As he came near the place where I was standing, I was terrified and fell prostrate. “Son of man,” he said to me, “understand that the vision concerns the time of the end.”

Ulai is a river near the ancient town of Susa, which is now in Iran.

Daniel 9:20.21

[20] While I was speaking and praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel and making my request to the LORD my God for his holy hill—

[21] while I was still in prayer, Gabriel, the man I had seen in the earlier vision, came to me in swift flight about the time of the evening sacrifice.

[22] He instructed me and said to me, “Daniel, I have now come to give you insight and understanding.”

Gabriel was bringing God’s revelation to Daniel, the revelation concerning the end times.

Gabriel is mentioned a couple of times in the New Testament:

Luke 1.18-20

[18] Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.”

[19] The angel answered, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news.

[20] And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their proper time.”

We are all familiar with this event and how Gabriel was the announcer of good news.

It was good news for Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth, because they were to have a son, even though they were beyond child bearing.

It was good news for the nation, since their son was to be the one to prepare the way for the Messiah, Jesus.

He then appears to Mary:

Luke 1.26-28

[26] In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee,

 [27] to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.

[28] The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favoured! The Lord is with you.”

Gabriel is the one who gently informs Mary that she is highly favoured by God, and that, as such, she has been chosen by God to be the one to give birth to Jesus, the Messiah.

Michael

Then there is Michael, whom we also come across in Daniel as well as in Jude and Revelation.

He is mentioned three times in Daniel:

Daniel 10.13-14

[13] But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia.

[14] Now I have come to explain to you what will happen to your people in the future, for the vision concerns a time yet to come.”

The context is the man in linen with a gold belt around his waist, who was resisted by the prince of the Persian Kingdom.

Who was the man dressed in linen?

He was dressed similar to the high priest, and also similar to part of the description of Jesus revealed to John in Revelation 1.12-16:

[12] I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands,

[13] and among the lampstands was someone “like a son of man,” dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest.

[14] His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire.

[15] His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters.

[16] In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.

Perhaps we can assume that the man dressed in line who appeared to Daniel was Jesus, the Son of Man.

Next we turn to Daniel 10:20-21:

[20] So he said, “Do you know why I have come to you? Soon I will return to fight against the prince of Persia, and when I go, the prince of Greece will come;

[21] but first I will tell you what is written in the Book of Truth. (No one supports me against them except Michael, your prince.

These verses give a little glimpse of the powers that we fight against are not flesh and blood.

Probably this is what Paul refers to in Ephesians 6.12:

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

The other reference to Michael is in chapter 12.1:

[12:1] “At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise.

 There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then.

But at that time your people—everyone whose name is found written in the book—will be delivered.

Here Michael is described as the protector of Daniel’s people – the Jews.

 

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