Jan 12, 2004

Servants of the Saints

Hebrews 1:13

“Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?” (Heb. 1:14)

As we come to the end of chapter 1, we have seen that the Old Testament gives ample evidence both of Jesus’ deity and of His superiority to the angels. Lest there should be any doubt about this, the author of Hebrews concludes chapter 1 with both additional proof for Christ’s superiority and a definition of the role of angels.

Verse 13 tells us that no angel was ever granted to sit at the right hand of God the Father. Rather, the context makes it clear that the only person granted to sit at the Father’s right hand is none other than His Son, Christ Jesus. The verse that is quoted here is from Psalm 110 which is an oft­­-cited Old Testament text both in the book of Hebrews (e.g., 1:3, 6:20, 7:11, 8:1, 12:2) and throughout the rest of the New Testament (e.g., Rom. 8:34; 1 Cor. 15:25). Jesus also applies this Psalm to Himself in Mark 12:35–37, and His reception by the crowd demonstrates that the Jews of His day believed that this Psalm was talking about the Messiah. Clearly, the Jewish audience of Hebrews would have understood its Messianic significance and would have readily accepted it as proof of Jesus’ superiority to the angels.

The author concludes this chapter by giving a job description for the angels. They are “ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation” (1:14). This verse tells us two important things. First, it points out again the superiority of Christ. The angels, unlike Christ, serve the elect. Christ also is a servant, but the only master He has is God Almighty. Secondly, God’s gracious gift to us is not only our glorious salvation. He also has decided to give us the angels to help minister to our present needs. As John Owen writes: “These blessed angels specially minister to this family (the church) and have us under their constant care.”

The high Christology we have seen taught in the first chapter of Hebrews is not an invention on the part of its author but finds its source in the teaching of Jesus Himself. In order to help us understand the high view that Jesus had of Himself, we are going to be using Dr. Sproul’s series Knowing Christ as the basis for our next few studies. Dr. Sproul’s teaching will take us through the “I AM” sayings found in the gospel of John in order to understand what Jesus taught about Himself during His earthly ministry.

Coram Deo

God’s grace works not only in our salvation, but also in the angels He sends to minister to us. Usually, we are not sure where and how the angels are working, but the close calls and unexpected provisions we experience may just be evidence of their activity. Ask the Lord to remind you that His angels are constantly working on your behalf.

For Further Study