Hebrews 1:8-14 are a wonderful source for comparing and contrasting Jesus with the role of the ministering angels. In it, we not only discover what ministering angels do, but we also see both the nature of Jesus, and ultimately, God through Him.
Jesus’ Throne, God’s Kingdom
“But about the Son, the Father says to Him, “Your throne, Oh God, is forever and ever. And the sceptre of absolute righteousness is the scepter of His kingdom.”Hebrews 1:8
“You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning, and the Heavens are the works of your hands.”Hebrews 1:10
Verse 8 describes the kingdom of God as never-ending. God truly establishes Himself as the Alpha and the Omega- the beginning and the end. The verse establishes Jesus as on the throne after His resurrection for all of eternity.
Yet, that wasn’t what caught my spirit.
“Sceptre”? What is it about sceptre?
The word, “sceptre” caught my attention. What is the sceptre of absolute righteousness? Why is it the sceptre of His kingdom? What is the significance?
Upon further research, I discovered that the sceptre was an indication of Jesus’ power, authority, and dominion over the earth. The sceptre indicated that He (Jesus) ruled with authority- and was given authority as outlined in the Gospels on several occasions.
Verse 9 describes the nature of Jesus (thus God as well).
“You have loved righteousness (integrity, virtue, uprightness in purpose) and have hated lawlessness (injustice, sin). Therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness above your companions.”Hebrews 1:9
Again, a phrase caught my attention.
The Significance of The Oil of Gladness
What is the oil of gladness? Is it a special anointing reserved especially for Jesus? What is its significance?
The oil of gladness is the anointing received by Jesus when the Spirit of God was upon Him without measure. We first see God’s anointing with the Holy Spirit when He is baptized by John. It is the first biblical evidence we see of the trinity acting as one simultaneously.
We see God when He refers to Jesus as His Son, in whom He is well pleased. We see Jesus acting out of obedience, and then the Holy Spirit which the dove represents all occurring at the same time. This marked the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. But why?
Up until then, all we see of Jesus is that He is in the Temple discussing scripture. The only miracle that is referenced is the creation of wine at the wedding- in which He clearly states that His time had not yet come.
However, after the baptism by John, and the infilling of the Holy Spirit, we see the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. Jesus begins to preach to the multitudes and performs numerous miracles.
It is also interesting to note, that after Jesus’ baptism in Luke 3, the subsequent scripture we see Jesus in the Temple reading Isaiah.
“He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”Luke 4:16-20
The scripture reference in Isaiah:
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed and commissioned me to bring good news to the humble and afflicted; He has sent me to bind up [the wounds of] the brokenhearted. To proclaim release [from confinement and condemnation] to the [physical and spiritual] captives and freedom to prisoners. To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance and retribution of our God. To comfort all who mourn. To grant to those who mourn in Zion the following: To give them a turban instead of dust [on their heads, a sign of mourning]. The oil of joy instead of mourning. The garment [expressive] of praise instead of a disheartened spirit. So they will be called the trees of righteousness [strong and magnificent, distinguished for integrity, justice, and right standing with God]. The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”Isaiah 61:1-4
Acts 10:38 discusses how God anointed Jesus with the Holy Spirit and power (fire). This all ties into the “anointing with the oil of gladness”.
Matthew additionally tells us that we have been given the same authority through the power of Jesus’ name. All we have to do is pray and ask.
“And Jesus came and said to them, All authority in Heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always to the end of the age.”Matthew 28:18-20
Another phrase caught my eye. Who were Jesus’ companions? Was the scripture referencing the apostles? Didn’t seem quite right.
Upon further study, Jesus’ companions were both the ministering spirits (angels) and those who had passed under the law. The original text tells us that Jesus is above the angels, and has authority over them. This is why when we pray in the name of Jesus (which is the authority that we have been given), ministering spirits are being sent to answer our prayers.
The prayers go from our lips, to Jesus’ ear, to the ministering angels to complete the task.
End Times or sin nature?
Verses 11-12 in Hebrews discusses the fragility of the earth’s state of being, and the eternity of Heaven. “They will perish, but you remain forever and ever. And they will all wear out like a garment and like a robe you will roll them up; like a garment they will be changed. But you are the same forever and your years will never end.”
The verse discusses how the earth will wear out. At first, this verse may be a reference to end times and establishing a new kingdom in Heaven. However, upon further reflection, it may also reference how our sin nature will destroy our soul along with the earth- a type of Sodom and Gommorah, if you will.
Yet it says, “like a robe you will roll them up; like a garment they will be changed.”. This reference ties into Hebrews 1:3 which makes reference to salvation.
Ministry of Angels
Verse 13 contrasts Jesus to the angels. “But to which of the angels has the Father ever said, “Sit at my right hand (together with my in royal dignity), until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet (triumphant conquest)”?
This again establishes Jesus’ authority over the angels, and that they are to do as He commands. None of the angels have ever been at God’s right hand, and none of the angels have conquered Satan. All that was accomplished by Jesus dying on the cross, His resurrection, and ascension into Heaven.
Verse 14 describes the role of angels. “Are not all the angels ministering spirits sent out by God to serve those who will inherit salvation?”
Angels are sent out by God. Their purpose is to serve, accompany and protect those who will inherit salvation. The wording in verse 14 is interesting because it says those who will. It does say those who have, but those who will inherit salvation.
You don’t have to believe for a ministering angel to appear. A ministering angel can appear even if you don’t believe to perform a miracle. The purpose of this would be to draw the person undeniably to God, and for God to receive the glory.
The ministering angels are not just for believers, but for everyone according to this verse. Everyone benefits from them. Believers benefit a little differently, though, as we have direct access to Jesus upon our salvation. The purpose in this case is to build up our faith, to protect us, and to serve us.
Hebrews 1 is an interesting verse, and ties together salvation, the ministry of Jesus, and the resurrection. Here we see the ascension to the throne- what did it mean to Jesus and why was it important. Previous scriptures cite Jesus as being human (as He was fully God and fully man) by being placed a little lower than the angels- just like man is. However, after His ascension, we see that He has a new position- higher than the angels. The transition is very interesting to note.