THE FATHER'S VIEW OF JESUS #4 LET ALL THE ANGELS . . . WORSHIP HIM!
And how will the Spirit show the superiority of the Son of God to angels? Will He show us the miracles the Son of Man wrought? Will He compare those abundant displays of Divine power to the ministry of angels? His words are arresting. "And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says, "Let all God's angels worship him" (Heb 1:6, NIV). There is some question as to whether this refers to the incarnation of the Son, or His second appearing. The NASB and NKJV favor the latter: i.e., "And when He again brings the first-born into the world." Grammatically, the solution is not simplistic. Of the dilemma one has said, "If "palin" [again] is taken with "eisagagh" [brings] the reference is to the Second Coming as in 9:28. If "palin" [again] merely introduces another quotation (Ps 97:7) parallel to "kai palin" ["and again"] in verse 5, the reference is to the incarnation when the angels did worship the Child Jesus (Lu 2:13f.). There is no way to decide certainly about it.
Bear with me while I reason upon this expression. First, we are not confined to one of these two views. The Son was "brought into the world" at His birth. He will also be "brought into the world" when He "appears the second time" (Heb 9:28). Consider, He was also "brought into the world" at His resurrection, returning from the region of the dead (Psa 26:10; Acts 2:27; Rom 10:7). The sense of this text does not seem to be answered in an isolated view.
Remember--the point of our text is the superiority of the Lord Jesus to the angelic order. The relevance of both angels and men are seen within the context of God's workings in the world. There is no question about the superiority of the Son to angels in heaven, whether before His incarnation or after His exaltation to the right hand of God. Prior to being "made of a woman, made under the Law" (Gal 4:4), the angels worshiped Him because He created them (Col 1:16-17). Following His exaltation, they worshiped Him because they were made subject to Him by the Father (1 Pet 3:22). What is more, when He is revealed "the second time," the worship of angels is also taken for granted. They will accompany Him, He will not accompany them (Matt 25:31). Then, the angels will be His servants (Matt 24:31). They will gather the saints to Him.
Too, He will not be brought "into the world" at that time as He was the first time. The "heavens and the earth" will "flee" from before His face the second time (Rev 20:11). Make no mistake about this, the angels will surely be worshiping Him when He comes again--but that is not the point of our text. It is when He was "brought into the world" the first time that particularly accentuates His superiority. This is Jesus in a humbled state, having divested Himself of all of the prerogatives of Deity. When, at birth, He was "brought into the world," He could neither bless or curse, pray or preach, guide or feed. He had to be cared for, nourished, and protected. He had to be rescued from Herod, and raised to "increase in wisdom, and in stature, and in favor with God and man" (Luke 2:40,52). It was then, in that humbled condition, that the cry went out in heaven, "Let all the angels of God worship Him!" Who can forget the arresting words of Scripture: "And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!" (Luke 2:12-14).
Such things never occurred at the birth of anyone else. As great as were Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, and Moses, the heavenly hosts did not praise God at their birth! The praises of angels were not even heard at the birth of John the Baptist! But when God brought His only begotten Son into the world, the angelic order was called into activity. An angel announced His birth (Luke 1:26-29), revealed the name of the Holy Child (Lk 1:31), allayed the concerns of Joseph (Matt 1:20), and directed him in the care of the Child (Matt 2:13,19). Angels ministered to Jesus in His temptation (Matt 4:11), and one these holy ones strengthened Him in Gethsemane (Luke 22:43).
All of this confirms the superiority of the Son to the angelic order. They served Him when He was in the world! Michael, one of the chief angels, helped another angel in a conflict (Dan 10:13). That conflict, however, was not in the world, but in heavenly places. Angels did not come to the aid of angels in the world, but they did come to the aid of the Son. They worshiped Him when He was "brought into the world."
-- MORE ON THIS TOMORROW --