Why was Paul not Named as the Author of the Hebrews Epistle?
One possibility was because Paul, having become known as the Apostle to the Gentiles, the "uncircumcision," he may not have been wholeheartedly received or read by the "circumcision," i.e., the Jews in Jerusalem at the time.
His name may not have carried the apostolic authority to the Jews, as it did in his epistles to the Gentiles. GEM
1 God, who at sundry times [polumeros - many portions*] and in divers manners [polutropos - many turns of speech*] spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
diverse manners...psalm, prose.history, type, symbol, metaphor, ritual, narrative, *
And he said, Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I Yahweh will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream.
My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all mine house.
With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches
- Num 12 :6-8
Spake in time past unto the fathers
The ancients of Israel, the representative heads of the tribes, who assembled at Mount Sinai to witness the covenant of Moses as he outlined the divine Will to the nation selected to manifest those qualities to the people of the earth (2Chr. 6: 33; Isa. 43: 10).*
..."the prophets" - Abraham, the father of Israel was termed a "prophet" (Gen. 20:7) as was Aaron (Exo. 7: 1). Israel's prophets, who were called upon to pronounce the divine will and purpose of God comprised the mouthpiece of Yahweh. The prophets were commissioned not to vary the message in any way, but to faithfully uphold and express the divine will (Num. 12:6). *
Surely these first words of Hebrews are the most impressive and majestic opening of any of the books in the Bible! They are comparable only to John's Gospel and first Epistle. Both are on the same subject: the greatness of Christ as the Son and manifestation of God.
God spoke in many different portions and many different manners in the past through the prophets. These were not belittled: all were vital, all were glorious. But now has come the full, open, unveiled, manifestation of the glory and goodness and purpose "in these last days." All the "many portions" that went before are fulfilled and completed and bound together in Christ in these "last days." They were the last days of Israel's commonwealth, the last days of the wonderful, but now passing, law given through Moses which had led them so long.
The Old Covenant was ended. It had run its course and accomplished its purpose. It was, as he says later, "waxed old and ready to vanish away." It was the end of the Mosaic age.
The Temple was about to be destroyed; the sacrifices discontinued; the nation scattered; the Covenant broken off.
The Epistle to the Hebrews is the great divine call to the Hebrew Christians to now leave the Law and Judaism behind-to go forth to Christ without the camp, bearing his reproach. That to which all the Law and Prophets had pointed for so long had now come-the Seed of the Woman; the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world; David's Son; the Messiah; Emmanuel-God with us.
How much more beautifully and briefly could Christ's position be defined? He was everything. All that went before bowed before him. All that followed after sprang from him. *
2 Hath in these last days [of the Jewish commonwealth and Mosaic economy 9: 26, Matt 21: 37-38.] spoken unto us by [in 4: 7] his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things [Psa. 2:8; Eph. I :22; Phil. 2: 9-10; l Cor. 15:24-28], by [through - RV] whom also he made the worlds [Aions];
A son is naturally more authoritative than servants or others, thus Christ takes pre-eminence over all other teachers. *
"by whom also"
- Diaglott: "on account of ... " RV: "through." In all His arrangements, Yahweh had His Son in view for only in this way could mankind be redeemed from the condition of sin and death into which they fell. Thus the ages are "made" through, or "with a view to," the Son. *
"He made the worlds"
- Gk. aionas, the ages. These time periods of history were all constituted by the plan of Yahweh to provide His ultimate purpose to fill the earth with His glory (Heb. 11 :3). *
What was said was not, in the, kindness of God, intended for those only to whom the word came in the first instance, but was at last made as wide as the world to everyone that had "ears to hear." Therefore we of the high ways and hedges have an opportunity of sitting at the festal board of the King.
...At first by the angels; then by His Spirit in the prophets, but last by a Son -- not His Son, though Jesus was His Son. "His" is not in the original; its insertion favours Trinitarianism the correct translation is "by a Son," leaving room for the fact that God has
"many sons whom He will lead to glory" (Heb. ii. 10).
His word came through man before, but in this case His word was made man; it became flesh by the operation of the Spirit on Mary.
Bro Roberts - The Greatness of Christ
In the first place, the Lord Jesus did not use the phrase "the end of the world" in the vulgar English sense of it. He said to the eleven, "Behold, I am with you, PASAS TAS HEMERAS, all the days, HEOS TES SUNTELEIAS TOU AIONOS, until the end of the age." Here are certain days indicated, which were comprehended in the period to elapse from the time when Jesus made the promise until the end of the age. These days are termed by Paul "these last days" (Heb. 1:2), which he characterises as those in which God spoke to the Israelites by a Son, as well as those in which he was writing to the Hebrews some thirty years after -- "these last days," says he.
Now, these days taken collectively he styles, according to the English version, "the end of the world," as it is written, "Now once in the end of the world hath Jesus appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself" (Heb. 9:26). The reader will easily perceive, by the mark in the text, that the world spoken of was that to which Jesus stood related by death; that it was near its end when He was crucified by it.
But if the world is to be taken in the vulgar English sense, Paul was wrong in saying that Jesus sacrificed Himself in the end of it, for surely that period was not the end of the world, which passed away eighteen hundred years ago! But the truth is, Paul was perfectly accurate in what he wrote. He knew nothing about the English sense of his words, for there were neither Englishmen nor English words in his day. He penned Hebraisms in Greek words; that is, he put the things God had taught Israel into a Greek dress.
He wrote "the things of the spirit in the words of the spirit selected from the Greek language. What he said in the text before us was, "but now once for all EPI SUNTELEIA TON AIONON at the end of the ages hath He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.
" The constitution of Mount Sinai was the founding of the Hebrew world, or KOSMOS, because it ordered, or arranged, the things pertaining to Israel as a system SUI GENERIS. This system had times peculiar to itself, which were appointed at. the promulgation of the law. These are termed in Scripture AIONES, that is, AIONS, from AEI alway and ON passing. The etymology of AION does not express the duration of the time; its continuance is defined by the Mosaic law.
The Hebrew Commonwealth under the Sinaitic constitution was not intended to continue always. The time of its existence was predetermined of God, but not revealed in the law or the prophets, but "reserved in His own power" (Acts 1:7; Mark 13:32). It is termed AION, and its approaching termination SUNTELEIA TOU AIONOS the end of the time, that is, of the Hebrew Commonwealth under the Mosaic law.
But, though the precise duration of this great time (1697 years) was kept secret, the lesser times, or AIONES, aions, of which it was composed, were very minutely specified, as in the case of the Jubilees, so that the whole time of the commonwealth was the AION TON AIONON, the aion of the aions, the time of the times, or age of the ages. Hence, while the Lord Jesus designated the consummation as the end of the time, Paul indicated it as the end of the times, or ages.
Elpis Israel 2.1.
The greatness of Christ was what they must see. This alone could free them from their fleshly bondage. And it is what we must see also. See that, and everything falls into place. To this greatness we are invited to be related. God has approached us and called us to Him, invited us to be part of His glorious Son, to put away everything else and seize this pearl of great price.
It is well that we constantly contemplate the infinite greatness of Christ in the Divine purpose. It broadens and enlarges our natural petty, fleshly outlook so often absorbed in trivialities. Paul said to the Corinthians, trying to lift their small cramped minds from petty present things-
"All things are yours-the world, or life, or death or things present, or things to come. All are yours, and ye are Christ's, and Christ is God's!" (1 Cor. 3:21-23).
With this most glorious relationship and destiny, how can we for a moment be concerned about the childish passing things of the present? Nothing matters but this. Nothing begins to compare with this. Get this one thing clear and strong enough in our minds, and everything else fades away and disappears.
Hebrews portrays the supreme greatness of Christ-over the angels, over Moses, over the Levitical priesthood-all very great in their place in God's purpose. To these three provisions from God, the faithful Israelites had taken heed and trusted through all their history.
But while Hebrews gives the fullest and clearest presentation of greatness and glory and preeminence of Christ in the divine purpose, it also speaks the most clearly of his weakness and subjection to mortal flesh, and his complete dependence upon the subordination to the Father.
It is Hebrews that speaks of his strong crying and tears; his being saved from death; his being heard in that he feared; his learning obedience by the things that he suffered; his being brought from the dead by the blood of the Covenant; his being made perfect through suffering.
The truth concerning Christ and his real struggle and his great victory is very beautiful and inspiring; more, it is transforming. It can turn ugliness to beauty, and death to life.
By whom also He (God) made the worlds"
Rather -"Through whom He made the ages-the aions."
All the ages-dispensations, different periods in the development of God's purpose - revolve around Christ. As in English, "made" in Hebrew is far more than to just create; it is to prepare, make ready or arrange. *
Thus, then, there are three parties, yet constitutionally one family, who are heirs of the world as it will be politically organized in the future age, namely, Abraham, Christ, and the believers in the promises made to them, called saints; who are in Abraham as their father, and in his Seed as their elder Brother.
These are the inheritors of the kingdom and empire attached to the land of Canaan; "the children of the promise who are counted for the Seed;" and "not of the world," or subjects. These are men in the flesh, Jews and Gentiles, whose lives and fortunes will be at the disposal of the Royal Family of God. The members of this circle are not known now by the world which has set its affections upon those who mislead it, teaching it to look for a visionary elysium beyond the skies! But such leaders have no light in them, for they do not speak according to the law and testimony.
The word of God converts their wisdom into folly, declaring in the teeth of their traditions, that "he that putteth his trust in God shall possess the land, and shall inherit His holy mountain" (Isaiah 57:13); while Israel in the flesh "shall be all righteous; they shall inherit the land for ever, as the branch of the Lord's planting, the work of His hands, that He may be glorified. A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation. I, saith the Lord, will hasten it in its time" (Isaiah 60:14,18,21,22).
Elpis Israel 2.2.
3 Who being the brightness of his glory [Gk. doxes, excellence, majesty - physical perfection], and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;
"Who being the brightness"
- Gk. apaugasma, radiance or effulgence, which are then reflected on the object of the brightness. Described as: "rays of Light coming from the original body and forming a similar light-body themselves" (In. 8: 12). Thus Christ was to be the perfect reflection of the mental, moral and physical glory of the Father (cp. Hab. 3:3, mg., in which is described the "brightness" as "bright beams out of His side" (In. lO:25; 12:28; 14:9). *
"of His person"
_ Gk. hupostaseos; R.V. "substance" or "essence". The Word has the idea of placing under, such as a foundation. It Speaks of divine nature as the physical being of the Deity, now seen also in His Son.
"and upholding all things"
Gk. pheron, signifying the maintaining or holding together of matter. Christ has been elevated as the Cohesive force of the new creation, and the power by which the ecc1esia is formed (Col. 1:17).*
Upholding all things by the word of his power
The "His" is clearly God in each case: His glory, His person, His power. The apostle is speaking of Christ's life on earth-an aspect of his work and accomplishment. Truly today in his glory he upholds everything by the Word of his own power. He said himself, after his resurrection (Matt. 28:18)-
"All power is given me in heaven and in earth."
But that is clearly not its meaning here. It is actually much deeper and more meaningful as related to the divine purpose.
In the days of his flesh and weakness and struggle and overcoming, how did he "uphold all things by the Word of God's power?" It is clearer if we look into the meaning of the word "uphold" (phero). Basically it means, according to Liddell and Scott, "to bear or carry a load," secondarily, "to endure or suffer." The thought is beautifully expressed in Isaiah 53-
"He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows-the chastisement of our peace was upon him; the Lord hath laid upon him the iniquity of us all."
The key thought is not just that it was laid upon him, but that he bore, he carried it, he sustained it to perfection, "by the Word of God's power." We remember his immediate reaction to the tempter-"It is written." Surely that was "enduring all things by the Word of God's power." Isaiah covers this thought when he says, by the Spirit-
"He opened not his mouth" (Isa. 53:7).
There was perfect acceptance, complete resignation to the will of God-
Upholding all things by the word of his power
Bro Growcott - By himself
"by the word of His Power"
- The Lord had to maintain all the requirements of the divine principles for the sake of those he came to save, and by which Work he provided for the Second Eve: a Bride out of himself. Compare the expression of Moses in Num, 11 :14.*
"When he had by himself"
- The Word "by" is not in the best Greek texts, but the Gk. is in the "middle voice" indicating Something done for the benefit of oneself. Thus it signifies that what Was accomplished was "in himself' and for his own interest. That interest includes the perfection of his Bride (the perfect ecclesia), which is also "for him" (Diaglott). He Was therefore involved in his own offering, by which both he, and his Bride are redeemed (eh. 9: 12; 13:20).*
"purged our sins"
- The word "our" is not in the original text. In both his life and his death, Christ dealt with the whole principle of sin in its two acceptations, as brought on by Adam - in himself and for himself. Our personal transgressions still remain, and cannot be "purged" before the judgment seat is held, and the faithful are exonerated, by which the law of sin is experienced no longer. However, the Greek relates the purging to his own actions. The Diaglott has:
"having made (through himself) a purification for sins." Roth: "purification for sins having achieved."
Christ achieved for himself and for his Redeemed the purging of sins; he has benefited already from his Work; We will do so through immortalisation.*
- Gk. ekathesen, to settle down; dwell; continue, in Contrast to the Aaronic priesthood who stood, offering daily (Heb. 7:27). The phrase here indicates that the Work has been Completed (Psa. 110).
"on the right hand of the Majesty on high"
Place of honour.
Christ is now higher than the prophets, having not only predicated salvation, but effected it. He represents his people to the Father, for Yahweh cannot look upon sin with any allowance. Therefore He will only be approached by the perfect one, His Son, and When "in him," our petitions are appropriate, being covered by his righteousness.*
This word "brightness" simply means the "fullness of the shining forth." It has always been the yearning of godly men to see, and feel, and more fully comprehend the glory of God. Moses, pressed down beyond measure with the burden of faithless, childish, fleshly, rebellious Israel, said-
"Show me Thy glory" (Ex. 33:18).
...Christ was the full manifestation of that glory to man*.
"and the express image"
Here the Greek word is character, from charagma, to sharpen, engrave. The Word is described by Liddel and Scott as "exact likeness." It signifies "the impress of His substance." Thayer points out that the Word is based upon "the impression in coins or seals." Christ is the engraving of the divine work of Yahweh, from the birth by the Holy Spirit, until the bestowal of immortality (Psa. 139: 13- 15), being carried out by a divine Hand (Zech. 3:9).
The bestowal of divine nature demonstrated the sonship of the Lord Jesus (Rom. 1:4). Yet, though manifesting such Power he was during his ministry subject to such limitations as expressed in In. 5:19,30. *
In the similitude of Yahweh
... the Son is the 'charakter' (Greek meaning 'graving') of His 'hypostasis' (substance) ... Seth was the image of Adam, and Adam the image of the Elohim (Gen. 1:26; 5:3) ... Adam the First was image of Elohim, and this was in relation to bodily form ... Body and form were the hypostasis (substance) of Adam and Seth ... Where 'image (charakter-graving) is predicated of hypostasis' (substance), that hypostasis must have both body and form.
The Father-Spirit ... is a bodily form."
More literally and correctly-
"The exact engraving of His substance."
We might point out, first of all, that this loses much of its basic meaning if we do not have a true understanding of the wonderful revelation of man being made in the image of God. But it goes much further - for it is clearly something special as related to Christ - as related to his greatness, as related to his work and accomplishment for men.
...The perfect man, the perfect image of God, the perfect, flawless, unblemished manifestation of God - the perfect Son and likeness of the perfect Father.
Perfection is a tremendous and overwhelming conception. We shy away from it as unearthly and unreal, but the command is -
"Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect" (Matt. 5:48).
This is what we must aim at constantly, unceasingly, every moment- every deed, word and thought brought into captivity to the mind of Christ.
There is a tremendous power and incentive and joy and glory in even the attempt to be perfect. What greater adventure, what greater ambition, what greater satisfaction can anything in life offer more than this complete mastery of the mind and body by the power of the Spirit of God!
This was Christ. This was his power. This was his greatness before God and men. His life was the most lowly; his circumstances the most humble; his possessions nothing; his end complete desertion by his friends, and rejoicing and triumph by his enemies.
And yet, he could truly, calmly, peacefully, triumphantly say of that end-
"Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you- be of good cheer- I have overcome the world"
(Jn. 14:27; Jn. 16:33).* Bro Growcott - By Himself
4 Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.
But He is the appointed "Heir of all things, on account of whom", "the dispensations were re-arranged by the word of God, to the end that the things seen exist not from things apparent" (Heb. 1:2; 11:3).
But, says the apostle, "we do not yet see all things put under Him: but we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that by the grace of God he should taste death for every man" (Heb. 2:8-9). Having been thus laid low, and for this gracious purpose, He is no longer "lower than the angels." He is equal to them in body; and made so much superior to them in rank, dignity, honour, and glory," as He hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they" (Heb. 1:4).
In Jesus, then, raised from the dead, incorruptible, and clothed with brightness as when He was transfigured upon the Holy Mount (Matt. 17:2), we behold the image and likeness of the God. When we contemplate Him by faith, as we shall hereafter by sight, we see A MIRROR from which the glory of Yahweh is reflected in intellectual, moral, and physical grandeur.
He that would know God must behold Him in Christ. If he be acquainted with Him as He is pourtrayed in the prophets and apostles, he will understand the character of God, whom no man hath seen, nor can see; who chargeth His angels with folly, and before whom the heavens are not clean. Jesus was the true light shining in the darkness of Judea, whose inhabitants "comprehended it not." Through Him, God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, shone into the hearts of as many as received Him, to give them the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ; that so they might receive power to become the sons of God, believing on His name (2 Cor. 3:18,4:6; John 1:5-12).
How consoling and cheering is it, then, amid all the evils of the present state, that God hath found a ransom, who is willing and able to deliver us from the power of the grave; and not only so, but that "at the manifestation of the sons of God " (Rom. 8:17-25), when He shall appear in power and great glory, "we shall be like Him: because we shall see Him as He is" (1 John 3:2). Then will the saints be "changed into the same image from glory," now only a matter of hope, "into glory," as seen and actually possessed, "even as the Lord " Himself was changed, when He became "the spirit giving life," or "a quickening spirit."
Elpis Israel 1.2.
"Being made so much better"
- Being born of a woman, Christ was originally a little lower! (ch, 2:9).
"than the angels"
- They were the ministers of the Law to Moses (Acts 7:38, 53; Gal. 3: 19; Heb. 2:2)
"as he hath by inheritance"
_ Inheriting as a son (cp. Psa. 72:17; mg.).
"obtained a more excellent name than they"
- The name has relation to the inheritance of which he is mediator. He has inherited this name because on him the birthright rests. The name Yahoshua signifies Yah will save (2Cor. 5: 19; In. 5:26; Mat. 1:21-23), for through him only is salvation to perishing mankind possible.
The angels were entrusted with the overshadowing care of the saints (Psa. 34:7; Heb. 1:14) but their eternal salvation depends upon the Lord Jesus, as "God manifest in the flesh."
"Thou art My Son"
- The angels are called "sons of God" because they bear the divine nature through their own redemption in ages past (Job 38:7; Psa. 89:6).
But Christ's status, in relation to saints, is that of FIRSTBORN out of mankind. Psa. 2:7 is cited by the apostle to show Christ's appointment to such an office by his complete obedience to the death of the stake.
"this day have I begotten thee?"
- Use of this phrase connects the redemptive work of Christ from the beginning (at his baptism in the Jordan; Mat. 3:14), to the conclusion (at his inauguration as King in Zion (Psa. 2:8). It reveals that the Lord Jesus was the manifestation of Yahweh in flesh (In. 1:14), through whom others are "begotten" by him (Un. 3:9) as "his children" (Heb. 2:13).
- The second citation from the writings of David, to establish the royal connection of Christ as not only son of David but also Son of God. It is significant that all the citations in this chapter are from the Davidic writings, either in the Psalms or in the Covenant of 2Sam. ch. 7.
"I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to Me a Son" - Citing 2Sam. 7:14.
The promised king would come from both David and God, and hence be the representative of both man and God, a position no angel could possibly occupy. Therefore Christ would be the representation of God in flesh, and be the means by which others might be brought into relationship as the children of God.*
5 For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?
These promises are styled "an everlasting covenant even the sure mercies of David" (Isaiah 55:3; Acts 13:34). There can be no doubt to whom they refer, for the apostle has applied them to Christ.
In his last words, David thus expresses himself concerning them,
"The God of Israel spake to me, saying, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God. And He (the Just One) shall be as the light of the morning when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds; as the tender grass springing out of the earth by clear shining after rain. Although my house be not so with God; yet He hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and sure; for this is all my salvation and all my desire, although He make it not to grow" (2 Sam. 23:3-5).
This covenant of the throne and kingdom was David's desire and salvation, because it promised him a resurrection to eternal life, in the assurance that his house, kingdom, and throne, with God's son and his son, one person, sitting upon it, should be established in his presence for ever. (Psa 89:3-4, 19-28, 34-37).
"I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David my servant, saying, Thy seed will I establish for ever, and build up thy throne to all generations. He shall cry unto me, Thou art my Father, my God, and the Rock of my salvation. Also I will make him my first-born, higher than the kings of the earth. My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing which has gone out of my lips. Once have I sworn by my holiness that I will not lie unto David. His seed shall endure for ever, and his throne as the sun before me. It shall be established for ever as the moon, and as a faithful witness in heaven'' (Psalm 89:3, 4, 19-28, 34-37).
After these testimonies there requires no further proof that David's family was constituted by a solemn covenant the Royal House of God's Kingdom; and that one of David's posterity whom God should acknowledge to be his son, should be its everlasting king. The claims of Jesus to be David's Seed and God's Son have been fully established by his resurrcetion from the dead; which is an assurance to all men, both Jews and Gentiles, that God hath appointed him, as the Holy one of Israel their king; to rule the world in righteousness, and to establish truth and equity among the nations; as God sware to Moses, saying, "Truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord."
Elpis Israel 2.4.
6 And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.
- These words should be incorporated into the quotation selected by the apostle Paul from Psa. 97:7, which outlines the glory of the future kingdom. The Diaglott and Rotherham translate: "when again He bringeth ... " referring the "again" to the work of God, and not to indicate another citation.*
"when He bringeth in the first begotten into the world, He saith"
- At the return of the Lord Jesus to receive his inheritance, there will be a public acknowledgement of the Son by mankind (Phil. 2:9-11), in which the angels will take part (Rev. 5:8-9).*
"And let all the angels of God worship him"
- Citing the words of Psa. 97:7), in contrast to the powers of the flesh. The angels have keenly observed the developing purpose of God (IPet. 1:12), and when the Great Redeemer is unveiled to mankind, there will be a special ceremony of consecration.
The King will be established in Zion to the acclamation of all. The Elohim that have been the "ministering spirits" for six thousand years (Heb. 1:14), will add their praises to the great monarch of mankind. This will demonstrate the superiority of the Son in the divine plan of redemption.*
Man, however, differs from other creatures in having been modelled after a divine type, or pattern. In form and capacity he was made like to the angels, though in nature inferior to them. This appears from the testimony that he was made "in their image, after their likeness," and "a little lower than the angels" (Psalm 13:5), or Elohim. I say, he was made in the image of the angels, as the interpretation of the co-operative, "let us make them in our image, after our likeness" ...
...David says, "worship Him all ye gods;" (Psalm 92:7) which Paul applies to Jesus, saying, "let all the angels of God worship Him" ... But the race will not always be inferior in this respect. It is destined to advance to a higher nature; not all the individuals of it; but those of the race "who shall be accounted worthy to obtain that age (the future age) and the resurrection from among the dead . . . who can die no more: for they are equal to the angels (isaggeloi); and are the sons of God, being the sons of resurrection" (Luke 20:35-36).
Elpis Israel 1.2.
7 And of the ["unto" - Mg] angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits [Psa. 104:4], and his ministers a flame of fire.
"Who maketh His angels spirits"
The Elohim are the manifestation of the Deity, and are of spirit-nature (Lk. 20:36; Heb. 1:14). As such they are Yahwehs servants to perform His will (Psa. 33:6; ICor. 15:44).*
"and His ministers a flame of fire"
- The powerful emissaries of Yahweh manifested in salvation for His people (cp. Gen. 3:24) and destruction of His enemies (Gen. 19:1,24).
The Ministering Spirits
In another place, God is said to appear to Jacob (Gen. 35:9), and in the eleventh verse to say to him, "I am God Almighty;' and in the thirteenth, "God went up from him in the place where He talked with him." He was then at Bethel, where formerly "the Elohim were revealed unto him." On that occasion he dreamed that he saw a ladder reaching from earth to heaven, "the Lord standing above it, and the angels of God ascending and descending on it."
These angels were the Elohim, or "ministering Spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation" (Heb. 1:14). On one occasion they declared to Jacob the promises made to his father and grand-father in the name of the "Invisible God;" he wrestled with God in wrestling with one of them, &c. Hence, they speak in the first person as personators of the Invisible and Incorruptible Substance, or Spirit, who is the real author of all they say and do.
Elpis Israel 1.6.
8 But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God [Elohim Psa. 45:6] , is for ever and ever [the hidden period and beyond]: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.
The sceptre: the constitution and policy of Messiah's dominion, divine laws and teachings " righteousness" - Gk. dikaiosenen, integrity, virtue, purity of life...
We Look For New Heavens
Give us a government animated by pure benevolence, armed by universal authority and irresistible power; and distinguished by the wisdom essential to successful enterprise of all kinds, with the world's exchequer at their disposal, and therefore untrammelled by considerations of economy in the arrangements made for the comfort and convenience of the people -- give us such a government, and all the people in every land would be as well looked after as the passengers on board the magnificent liners that plough the ocean in all directions. Man cannot give it us: God can and will: for He has promised. Therefore, we patiently wait.
Bro Roberts, Dairy of a Voyage, page 27
9 Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God [Elohim], hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows [Psa. 45:6].
This attitude has been the character of the Lord Jesus developed in his mortal ministry...
His love of righteousness is balanced by a hatred of all that is iniquitous (Rom. 11 :22). This hatred is termed a "perfect hatred" in Psa. 139:22 as it represents the divine character against sin. *
10 And, Thou, Lord [Yahweh, as in Psa. 102: 12 Christ became the fulness of the manifestation of Yahweh to the nation in a way that the Elohim were not], in the beginning [the Mosaic economy in which the Jewish heavens (rulership) and earth (social conditions) were formed] hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands:
Paul now quotes from Psa. 102:25-27 as his sixth citation. He relates this quotation to the Son as the divine manifestation and creator of the new spiritual heavens (Col. 1:16), continuing the divine creative work commenced by Yahweh in the past (Gen 3: 15).
Note the progression; in Paul's exposition of the work of Jesus Christ as superior to the Elohim: By birth (Heb 1:5); by manifestation to all people (v. 6); by royal marriage (v. 8); by regal status as king (v. 10); by victorious conquest (v. 13).
The literal text is: "the earth didst found," from the Gk. ethemeliosas, to lay a foundation firmly (cp. Isa. 51:12-16). The emphasis is on the strength of the foundation upon which later, a building is to be constructed
The Mosaic earth was established by Yahweh through Moses at Sinai when the nation was brought out of Egypt (Deu. 32:1; Isa. 1:2,10), and constituted the "son of Yahweh" nationally (Hos. 11:1).
The Spirit of Christ was manifested in the work of Yahweh from the beginning (Heb 1:10-12; 3:18-20).*
11 They [the Mosaic heavens and earth] shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment;
The word "perish" is the Gk. apolountai, signifying to abolish, to put out of the way entirely. Just as the Adamic creation was an order created out of chaos, so Paul's citation of Psalm 102 is to show that the chaos of the Jewish heavens and earth, caused by their rejection of the di vine authority, reveals their ultimate replacement by a "new heavens and earth" (Isa. 65: 17) which are designed to "remain" (Isa. 66:22).
The word "perish" indicates that a tremendous event would mark the end of the Mosaic age, and this was fulfilled in the deluge of the Roman armies against the city of Jerusalem in AD70 - Lk. 21:20, 33, 2Pet. 3: 10.
"but thou remainest" - The Gk. diameneis has the idea of remaining permanently (cp. Psa. 102:6, mg). Therefore the future of Messiah's throne (the subject of vv. 8-12) is assured. It is established by the Davidic covenant (2 Sam. 7: 16; Eze. 21:27), and will merge into the glory of the "third heaven" at the end of the millennium.
"and they" - Through the work of Christ, the ecclesial heavens today (Eph. 1:3; 2:6) and the millennial heavens yet to come (Rev. 1 :3; 4:2) are formed, as were the Mosaic and Gentile heavens beforehand. But they are also destined to be replaced by the eternal heavens beyond the millennium, when God is "all in all" (Rev. 21: 1; 1Cor. 15: 24-28).
"all shall wax old" - Gk. palaiothesontai, "make old; wear out; decay." Their purpose is temporary, since the initial foundation of the Mosaic code had outlived its usefulness.
"as doth a garment" - As a garment is changed when no longer of use, so the Mosaic constitution has been rendered useless by the coming of Messiah, who fulfilled its every principle (Mat. 5: 17). *
12 And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail.
"And as a vesture" - Ok. peribolaion, that which is put around an object as a cover. The outer garment (the Law of Moses) was previously required for labour in the development of divine righteousness in the nation of Israel, but was to be put aside by the sacrifice of Christ, in order that a new garment of faith might be put on.
"shalt thou fold them up" Gk. helixeis, to roll together (cp. Psa. 102:26 where the Hebrew has: "change them"). Thus it means to complete all that the Law required, for Christ "fulfilled the law" (Mat. 5: 17). The Lord Jesus fulfilled every prophecy, precept, type, shadow, and-feature of the Law, which was as a
"schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith" (Gal. 3:24).
"and they shall be changed" - A change to the Hebrews meant a complete revolution in their daily routine, practices and understanding (cp. ch. 7: 12). The Gk. allagesontai, means to exchange one thing for another, to transform. The Law that drew attention to transgression and sin, would be replaced by the covenant of Grace that provides for forgiveness and redemption (2Pet. 3: 13). The power that does this is shown in Psa. 80: 17; cp. Exo. 15:6.
"but thou art the same" - In comparison - to the now unusable garment, Yahweh has shown His unchangeableness in past ages, as a guarantee of His future purpose, even when manifested in flesh "through a Son" (Heb. 1:2). Thus the Son is Deity in manifestation (Psa. 102:12; In. 8:58), for as the "Word made flesh" (In.1:14), the Lord Jesus reveals the character of the Father, and as such is "the same yesterday, today and for ever" (Heb. 13:8).
"and thy years shall not fail" - Having achieved immortality, the reign of Messiah and his companions will be eternal, unlike that of the Mosaic priesthood and the Davidic monarchy, which "failed" through the weakness of flesh to maintain the divine requirements (eh. 13:8; cp. Eze.21:24-27). *
They Shall be Changed
"Change" to the Hebrews meant a complete revolution in their daily routine, practices and in very thinking (cp. eh. 7: 12). Everything in the Law made sense only in terms of its reference to Christ's appearance as the reality and fulfilment of the Law-provisions. In that sense he was the "Maker" of the Law because, without him, the Law would not have existed at all.
But in fulfilling the Law, the Lord did away with its rituals because their provisions had all been fulfilled, having accomplished the purpose for which they had been caused to exist. If Paul's readers could understand the degree to which the Law "brought them to Christ," they would understand that it was of no further use in the development of faith.* - KC.
13 But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool?
The question is rhetorical, implying a strong negative answer. No angel has been given such a promise as the Son received, in his elevation to the Father's presence. Yahweh's instruction in the Psalm is exclusive to His Son, and cannot apply to angels. His royalty was deferred whilst his mediatorship continues.
Christ was especially "made strong" for this purpose (Psa. 80: 17), a work that could not be accomplished by any of the Elohim, for it required one who would overcome sin by the sacrifice of himself, and thus lead others to salvation (Heb. 2: 10).
And yet a further limited development of the divine purpose is explained. Paul cites Psa. 110:1 to demonstrate that the heavenly ministry of the Lord Jesus was limited, and would only continue until the day of judgment arrives (cp. Acts 17:31).
"Sit on My right hand" - The place of authority and power, impossible for the angels, as the one seated there would ultimately have "his foes" as his footstool. The Lord Jesus ascended heaven that he might continue his ministration to prepare a Bride for eternity. He labours as the appointed
"mediator between God and men" (lTim. 2:5).
"until I make thine enemies thy footstool" - The word "until" by the apostle Paul indicates that his promised dominion is deferred, while the work of mediatorship continues. ... the "footstool' represents willing worship. *
14 Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation? [Acts 15: 14]
The Gk. word for "ministering" leitourgika indicates the performance of a service.
"sent forth" - These words are in the continuous present tense. The angels receive a constant series of messages to perform as their normal regular duty.
"to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?" Those "in Christ," being joint-heirs with him (Rom. 8: 17) are therefore in a higher position than any occupied under the Law, for those remaining "in Moses" could only claim a relationship with Yahweh through the Elohim. In this way Paul demonstrated Christ's superiority over the angels. *
*Hebrews - The Christadelphian Expositor
But at the fitting up of earth as a new arena for the display of the power and wisdom of the Eternal Spirit, they who figure in the work, had attained to their eternal redemption; and had become "spirits" -- Holy Spirit corporeal intelligences -- because they had been born of the Eternal Spirit or Father.
To what orb or planet of the universe they are indigenous, is not revealed; but as they are not ab-original to an earth-born race, they are not sovereign here; but only, as Paul says, "public official spirits, sent forth for service on account of those thereafter to inherit salvation"
Phanerosis - 'Elohim Developed From The Seed of Abraham'
Israel and the nations are under their [Angelic] vicegerency till the Lord Jesus comes to assume the sovereignty of the world. When he appears in his kingdom, the land of Israel especially will be no longer subjected to their superintendence.
Elpis Israel 2.3.
"What part do angels take in the Kingdom of God?
They will be the glorious attendants on Christ at his coming (Matt. xxv. 31). They will take part in the triumphant ascription of praise to his glory (Rev. v. 11), and they will be the visible mediums of communication between heaven and earth during the reign of Christ (Jno. i. 51)." (Matt 25:31; Rev 5:11; John 1:51 cf. Mark 13:26,27; Acts 1:11; 1Thess 4:16).
Furthermore, it is a well established principle of the sacred writings, that what the Everlasting Father does by His agents, He is considered as doing Himself. There is a maxim in law similar to this which runs somehow thus, qui facit per alios facit per se, what one doth by, or through others, he does of himself. If this be borne in mind, many incongruities will be harmonized. Thus, the Lord is said to have appeared to Abraham as he sat in his tent door (Gen. 18:1), but when he first caught sight of the visitant he did not see the Lord, but "three men," or Elohim, of whom one was the chief. Read the whole chapter and to v. 29 of the next, and it will be seen that the Everlasting God talks and acts by, or through, these Elohim, but chiefly through one of them styled the Lord God.
In another place God is said to appear to Jacob (Gen. 35:9) and in the second verse to say to him "I am God Almighty," and in the thirteenth "God went up from Him in the place where He talked with him." He was then at Bethel where formerly "the Elohim were revealed unto him." On that occasion he dreamed that he saw a ladder reaching from earth to heaven, "the Lord standing above it, and the angels of God ascending and descending on it."
These angels were the Elohim, or "ministering spirits sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation" (Heb. 1:14). On one occasion they declared to Jacob the promises made to his father and grandfather in the name of the "Invisible God;" he wrestled with God in wrestling with one of them, etc. Hence, they speak in the first person as personators of the Invisible and Incorruptible Substance, or Spirit who is the real Author of all they say and do.
On a certain occasion, the Invisible God spake to Job out of the whirlwind and said "Where wast thou when I laid the foundation of the earth? Declare, if thou hast understanding. Who hath laid the measures thereof? Declare if thou knowest. Or, who hath stretched the line upon it? Or, who laid the corner stone thereof; when the Morning Stars sang together, and all the Sons of God shouted for joy?"
Job could not answer these questions. He knew, doubtless, what the Elohim had done; but "touching the Almighty," by whose spirit they operated, "we cannot," said Elihu, "find him out." The Elohim were these Morning Stars and Sons of God. Jesus is styled "the Bright and the Morning Star," "the Day Star," and the Son of God. To say, therefore, that the Elohim are Morning Stars and Sons of God, is to speak in the language of Scripture.
The relation of the Elohim to Him that dwelleth in the light in the work of creation and providence may better appear by the following illustration. Experimental philosophers can form water, air and earths; they can bring down lightning from the expanse; they can weigh, or rather, calculate the weight of, the sun, moon and stars; they can speak by electricity, paint by sunlight, and outstrip the wind by fire. These are the wonderful combinations of their genius. But what have these they did not receive? And from whom did they receive it?
They subject certain substances to certain conditions. They do not originate a single principle. The elements and the laws to which all simple and compound bodies are subject are independent of the experimenters. They may say "Let water be formed;" and by passing the electric spark through the gaseous mixture water will be formed; but it is the power of God that does it, not theirs. After a like manner the Elohim gave the word; they brought the latent elements of the globe into play; they gave direction and application to power; and the spirit of the Invisible God accomplished all they were commanded to arrange.
The spirit of the Incorruptible God, through the Elohim, created the heavens and the earth. They said "Let there be light;" they saw that it was good; He made the expanse; they called it heaven -- He did it all through them, and they executed, by His power, what He enjoined. This power or spirit being committed to them, it became "the spirit of the Elohim." Hence, in the beginning, the spirit of the Elohim created; which, being plainly indicated in the second verse of the first chapter of Genesis, needed not afterwards to be repeated; so that
throughout the chapter "Elohim" is written instead of "the spirit of the Elohim," and is found in connection with a singular verb, not as its nominative, but as the governed word of the nominative singular, ruach, spirit, understood. This is the solution I offer of the grammatical enigma.
It is a part of the "strong delusion" which has supplanted the truth, to suppose that the Invisible God left the throne of the universe on a visit to this region of immensity, where, like a mechanic building a house, He worked in creating the earth and all things therein. After this fashion He is supposed to have made man; and, when his mechanism was complete, to have applied His mouth to his nostrils and "breathed into him a particle of His own divine essence, by which he became a living and immortal soul."
Such a procedure on the part of the "Only Potentate," whose abode is in the light, and whose servants, the Elohim, are innumerable, would have been unfitting His dignity and underived exaltation.
He has revealed Himself to us as a Potentate, a King, a Lord, etc.; now, they who fill these stations commit to others the service of executing their will and pleasure, And thus it is with the Invisible and Eternal Potentate. His kingdom ruleth over all. His angels, or Elohim, mighty in strength, do His commandments, hearkening unto the voice of His words. They are His hosts, His ministers that do His pleasure (Psa. 103:20, 21).
Elpis Israel 1.6.
*GEM - https://www.logos.org.au/expositor-hebrews/