Monday, October 8, 2012

Of Men and Angels

Hebrews 1:1-4
1 In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. 3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. 4 So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs.
Hebrews 2:5-12
5 It is not to angels that he has subjected the world to come, about which we are speaking. 6 But there is a place where someone has testified:

“What is mankind that you are mindful of them,
a son of man that you care for him?
7 You made them a littlelower than the angels;
you crowned them with glory and honor
8 and put everything under their feet.”

In putting everything under them, God left nothing that is not subject to them. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to them. 9 But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

10 In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists,should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered. 11 Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters.12 He says,

“I will declare your name to my brothers and sisters;
in the assembly I will sing your praises.”

Nobody knows who wrote the book of Hebrew, from where we get our New Testament reading today. Some say it was Paul, because, well the wording and theology sounds very much like Paul. Others say it was Appollus one of Paul’s followers who was very knowledgeable. But the true writer is lost to history. So it might be the only letter given to us that is included in the New Testament that was not written by an Apostle. But like all the letters written by the Apostles it addresses issues that have arose in the churches at the time of its writing and I think the reason why this letter is included even though it was possibly not written by an apostle is that the issues faced by these churches and individuals 2 thousand years ago are the same issues faced by us today.

One of the main themes in the beginning of the book of Hebrews is angels.

I heard that a few weeks ago of an odd circumstance. It seems that God was looking down at Earth and saw all of the evil that was going on.  He decided to send an angel down to Earth to check it out.  So he called one of His best angels and sent the angel to Earth for a time.  When she returned she told God, yes it is bad on Earth, 95% is bad and 5% is good.
Well, he thought for a moment and said, maybe I had better send down a second angel to get another point of view.  So God called another angel and sent her to Earth for a time too. When the angel returned she went to God and told him yes, the Earth was in decline, 95% was bad and 5% was good.
God said this was not good. So He decided to email the 5% that were good and He wanted to encourage them, give them a little something to help them keep going.
Do you know what that email said?
Ah, so you didn't get one either?

What are angels? There is a lot of confusion on just what they are. Literally the word angel means messenger. An angel is a messenger of God. Also Hebrews 1;14 tells us “Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?”,  and in the Old and New Testament we see taking on bodily form as humans. Hebrews 13:2 tells us “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.” . So angels are messengers of God that are spirits in essence that can take bodily form. For the purpose of delivering God’s message or doing God’s work in the lives of His children. Well it seems that during the writing of Hebrews people were confused about Angels. They saw them as many do today as superior and powerful beings. And some people began to worship angels. We even see that today, angels are very popular and there are many people who pray to angels.

The author of Hebrews wanted to emphasis that angels are created beings, not to be worshipped. Our New Testament reading today tells us:
The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command. When he had cleansed us from our sins, he sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven.  This shows that the Son is far greater than the angels, just as the name God gave him is greater than their names… And furthermore, it is not angels who will control the future world we are talking about. For in one place the Scriptures say,
“What are mere mortals that you should think about them,
    or a son of man that you should care for him?
Yet you made them only a little lower than the angels
    and crowned them with glory and honor.
 You gave them authority over all things.”
Now when it says “all things,” it means nothing is left out. But we have not yet seen all things put under their authority. What we do see is Jesus, who was given a position “a little lower than the angels”; and because he suffered death for us, he is now “crowned with glory and honor.” Yes, by God’s grace, Jesus tasted death for everyone. God, for whom and through whom everything was made, chose to bring many children into glory. And it was only right that he should make Jesus, through his suffering, a perfect leader, fit to bring them into their salvation. So now Jesus and the ones he makes holy have the same Father. That is why Jesus is not ashamed to call them his brothers and sisters. For he said to God,
“I will proclaim your name to my brothers and sisters.
    I will praise you among your assembled people.”

Angels are powerful beings. They are heavenly beings that manifest themselves to guide and protect the people of God. But they are creatures. God is to be worshiped, and Jesus as God is to be worshiped  Angels are created beings. They are more powerful than man, and although Jesus was made a man He still is God manifest in the flesh. Angels help the Lord, but they are just His messengers.

The writer of Hebrews tells us that we are to worship and pray to God alone. Part of the result of Jesus’ death for us is that we now have direct access to the throne of God. We do not need someone to go before God for us. As again the writer of Hebrews in chapter 4 verse 16 tells us, “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
Today and through the week, remember that God loves you and He wants to hear directly from you. You can go directly to Him with all your problems, all your worries and cares. Because He truly cares about you and what you are going through, and He wants to help. He want to help rescue you or help give you purpose to the trials of life.

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