|Vol. 12 No. 11 November 2010||
What Is the Implication of Angels
Worshipping Jesus Christ?
Louis Rushmore, Editor
Someone asks, “What is the implication of angels worshipping Christ in Hebrews 1:6?” Chapter One of Hebrews emphasizes the superiority of Jesus Christ over all the heavenly host (i.e., angels, Hebrews 1:4). The reason Jesus Christ is superior to the angels is because He is part of the Godhead, was at creation and participated in the creation of everything, including the angels (Hebrews 1:2).
“To forestall such a development [apostasy by Jewish Christians], the author of Hebrews stressed the superiority of Christ in a series of contrasts to the angels, Moses, Aaron, Melchisedek, and the Levitical system. The object of such contrasts was to show the inferiority of Judaism and the superiority of Christ” (Wycliffe). Hebrews 1:6 concerning the superiority of Jesus Christ over angels is just one of those contrasts.
Christianity offers greater promises than previous God-given religions, chief of which is true forgiveness of sins. Jesus Christ is central to salvation through His sacrificial death, burial, resurrection, Ascension and coronation in heaven.
Wycliffe Bible Commentary. CD-ROM. Chicago: Moody Press, 1962.
Louis Rushmore, Editor
“…please explain to me how that John the Baptist in Luke 1:15 was filled with the Holy Spirit from his mother’s womb, and this filling seemed to be without means (i.e. the word of God)?”
Luke 1:15 reads, “For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb.” The prohibition of “wine” from before birth designates John the Baptist as a Nazarite like others before him (Numbers 6:2-3; Judges 13:7, 14, 24). Both the designation as a Nazarite and being filled with the Holy Spirit from the womb demonstrate “the divine intention that he should be set apart to this work…,” and especially the reference to being filled with the Holy Spirit “…refers to an actual fitting for the work from the birth by the influence of the Holy Spirit, as was the case with Jeremiah (Jer 1:5)…” (Barnes’). Clarke’s suggests that the incident in Luke 1:41, 44 where the unborn babe, John the Baptist, reacted to the exchange of greetings between Mary and Elizabeth pertains to John being filled with the Holy Spirit; note that Elizabeth on this occasion was said to be “filled with the Holy Spirit.” Yet, being filled with the Holy Spirit evidently did not mean John the Baptist had miraculous abilities since “indeed of John it is expressly said that he ‘did no miracle’ (John 10:41). Nor can the reference be to inspiration, because this does not appear to have come upon John until his public ministry commenced, when ‘the word of God came to John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness’ (Luke 3:2)” (Jamieson).
Whatever being filled with the Holy Spirit means, “…John the Baptist proves conclusively that being filled with the Spirit does not necessitate speaking in tongues!” (Butler). Therefore, being filled with the Holy Spirit does not necessarily mean Christians were enabled to perform miracles or received inspired revelation from God. Since Bible miracles no longer occur (1 Corinthians 13:8-13), today we purposely fill ourselves with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18) through spiritual digestion of the Word of God (2 Timothy 2:15).
Being filled with the Holy Spirit must be defined by the context in which we find the reference. The phrase in John the Baptist’s case at least includes divine selection to prepare the way of the Lord (Luke 1:17). In some other references “filled with the Holy Spirit” resulted in miraculous manifestation (Luke 1:67; Acts 2:4; 4:8). Context is always important to the correct interpretation of any passage.Works Cited
Adam Clarke’s Commentary. CD-ROM. Seattle: Biblesoft, 1996.
Barnes’ Notes. CD-ROM. Seattle: Biblesoft, 1997.
Butler, Paul T. The Gospel of Luke. CD-ROM. Joplin: College Press, 1981.
Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary. CD-ROM. Seattle: Biblesoft, 1997.