Yeshua, the Son of God

Messianic Jews 1:5-14
Letter to the Messianic Jews

 In my last post, we learned about The Deity of Yeshua in Messianic Jews 1:1-4.   In this post, we explore Messianic Jews 1:5-14 ~ Yeshua, the Son of God is higher than the angels. {I apologize in advance that this post is a little longer than I prefer, but it was just too difficult to break it into parts and keep the flow of the passage.}

5 For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my Son; today I have become your Father”? Also, God never said of any angel, “I will be his Father, and He will be my Son.” 6 And again, when God brings His Firstborn into the world, He says, “Let all God’s angels worship Him.” 7 Indeed, when speaking of angels, He says, “… who makes His angels winds and His servants fiery flames”; 8 but to the Son, he says, “Your throne, O God, will last forever and ever; You rule Your Kingdom with a scepter of equity; 9 You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness. Therefore, O God, Your God has anointed You with the oil of joy in preference to Your companions”; 10 and, “In the beginning, Adonai, You laid the foundations of the earth; heaven is the work of your hands. 11 They will vanish, but You will remain; like clothing, they will all grow old; 12 and You will fold them up like a coat. Yes, they will be changed like clothing, but You remain the same, Your years will never end.” 13 Moreover, to which of the angels has He ever said, “Sit at My right hand until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet”? 14 Aren’t they all merely spirits who serve, sent out to help those whom God will deliver?”  ~ Hebrews 1:5-14 (CJB)

In the previous passage (Messianic Jews 1:1-4) the writer was concerned to prove the superiority of Yeshua over all the prophets. Now he is interested in establishing His superiority over the angels. At that time belief in angelic beings was on the increase. The reason was that men were more and more impressed with what is called the “transcendence of God.”  They felt more and more the distance and the difference between God and man. The result was that they came to think of the angels as intermediaries between God and man. They came to believe that the angels bridged the gulf between God and man; that God spoke to man through the angels and the angels carried the prayers of man into the presence of God.

The writer of Messianic Jews goes to great lengths to ensure that the reader understands that Yeshua is clearly superior to the angels (and in further chapters to Moshe and the Levitical priesthood). The writer naturally assumes that angels exist and proceeds to prove the proposition of verse 4, that the Messiah, as God’s Son, is much better than angels, by quoting seven texts from the Tanakh, each of which has its richness of meaning. He sums up with the conclusion, in verse 14, that angels are “merely spirits who serve, sent out to help those whom God will deliver,” that is, Believers in Yeshua.

You are my Son; today I have become your Father. Wait a minute!  Wasn’t God always Yeshua’s Father? Why did He have to become His Father? In Judaism, Psalm 2:7, quoted here, has been variously held to refer to Aaron, David, the people of Israel in Messianic times, Mashiach Ben-David [Messiah son of David] and Mashiach Ben-Yosef. But the oldest reference, Psalms of Solomon 17:21-27, from the middle of the 1st century B.C.E., applies it to Mashiach Ben-David.

The angels, collectively, are called sons of God at Job 1:6, 2:1, 38:7 and probably at Genesis 6:2; but to no angel did God say, You are my son, as he did to Yeshua at His immersion (Mark 1:11, Luke 3:22). Other parts of Psalm 2 are applied to Yeshua at Acts 4:25; Revelation 12:15 and 19:15.

I will be his Father and He will be my Son. This paraphrases 2 Samuel 7:14, because it speaks of God’s Son, and the next one, because it is introduced as referring to God’s Firstborn, both strengthen the identification, often made in the Brit Hadashah, between Yeshua the Messiah and the people of Israel (see Matthew 2:15). There is a parallel between God’s promise concerning the Messiah in v. 5b and His promise concerning Israel, I will be their God, and they will be my people,” quoted in Messianic Jews 8:10 from Jeremiah 31:32(33), but originally made, in slightly different words, to Moshe (Exodus 7:7). Earlier (Exodus 4:22) God had called Israel His son and also His firstborn. Furthermore, the Brit Hadashah is not innovating when it applies these concepts to the Messiah; the same is done in Psalm 89 (which recapitulates much of what is said in 2 Samuel 7):  “He will call unto me, ‘You are my Father, my God, and the rock of my salvation.“I will also appoint Him firstborn, the highest of the kings of the earth.” (Psalm 89:27-28)

When God brings his Firstborn into the world, that is, into the ‘olam hazeh, this is preparation for bringing Him also into the heavenly world to come, the olam haba. This is the thrust of Chapters 1-2, where Yeshua’s life on earth (the ‘olam hazeh) is the focus. But these lead us, through the Messiah’s death, to Chapter 7, where he is seen as our cohen gadol in heaven (the ‘olam haba).

Let all God’s angels worship Him. The Hebrew text of Psalm 97:7 says, “Worship Him, all gods (elohim).” Since Judaism allows that elohim sometimes means “angels,” the Septuagint’s rendering, “Let all God’s angels worship him,” is not surprising. What is surprising is that whereas in the original, the object of worship is Adonai, here it is the Son. This is another of the Brit Hadashah’s indirect ways of identifying Yeshua with God. Needless to say, if angels worship the Son, the Son is “better than angels.”

Who makes his angels winds and his servants fiery flames. This is the baseline against which is measured the portrait of the Son in this chapter’s remaining three citations from the Tanakh.

Greek pneumata, equivalent to Hebrew ruchot, is rendered “spirits” in v. 14 but winds here because the sense of Psalm 104:4 in Hebrew is usually given as “… who makes winds his messengers and fiery flames his servants.” However, Hebrew grammar allows the possibility of reversing subject and predicate, and Judaism takes cognizance of it. A first-century pseudepigraphic work states: “O Lord… before whom (heaven’s) hosts stand trembling, and at your word change to wind and fire….” (4 Ezra 8:20-21).

Barclay writes: [1]

There was one special belief, held only by some, which is indirectly referred to in this passage which we are studying. The common belief was that the angels were immortal; but there were some who believed that they lived only one day. There was a belief in some rabbinic schools that “every day God creates a new company of angels who utter a song before him and are gone.” “The angels are renewed every morning and after they have praised God they return to the stream of fire from whence they came.” 4 Esdras 8: 21 speaks of the God “before whom the heavenly host stand in terror and at thy word change to wind and fire.” A rabbinic homily makes one of the angels say: “God changes us every hour. Sometimes he makes us fire, at other times wind.” That is what the writer to the Hebrews means when he talks of God making his angels wind and fire.

You rule your Kingdom with a scepter of equity; you have loved righteousness. The same idea is found in two psalms: “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne” (Psalms 89:15, 97:2), as well as in the Messianic passage, Isaiah 9:5-6(6-7): “to establish [the government on the Messiah’s shoulder] with justice and righteousness, from henceforth for ever.”

The Messiah’s companions are those of us who have put our trust in Him (see 2:10-11, 3:14; Ro 8:17, 29).

Therefore, O God, your God has anointed you suggests Yeshua’s divinity.

In verses 10-12 in the Septuagint quoted above, God speaks these verses of Psalm 102 to someone whom he addresses as Adonai. In the Hebrew Bible as we have it now they are part of a personal prayer to God, and no one is addressed directly.

Moreover, to which of the angels has He ever said, “Sit at My right hand until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet”?  Psalm 110:1 commences with, “Adonai said to my Lord,…” The most telling proof that the Son is better than angels is saved for last. This psalm is referred to also at v. 3; 5:6; 6:20; 7:17, 21; 8:1; 10:13 and 12:2.

In conclusion, they, the angels, are all merely spirits who serve, as opposed to the Son who rules. However, they help not only Him but His companions also, those whom God will deliver.

The writer to the Hebrews lays down the great truth that we need no man or supernatural being to bring us into the presence of God. At His resurrection, Yeshua ripped the parokhet [veil separating the Especially Holy Place for the rest of the Temple] to sunder and opened a direct way for us to God.

In my next post, we’ll explore a warning against rejecting God’s revelation of Yeshua in Messianic Jews 2:1-4 ~ Yeshua, the Son of Man.

Click for the PDF version.

[1] Barclay’s Daily Study Bible (NT) by William Barclay

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