ESV - 14 Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?
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The author of Hebrews in this first chapter is illustrating how superior the person and ministry of Jesus is to the person and work of angels. In verse 14 he concludes by saying that all angels are ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation. First it is important to define what we mean when we talk about angels. They are spiritual beings created by God before he created the physical universe. These beings were created to worship God and serve His purposes. Lucifer, who sought to be worshipped like God, led a rebellion that tricked 1/3 of all angels to join him. There was war in heaven and the rebellion was crushed. This group was cast out of heaven and is now known as Satan (Devil) and his Demons (Evil Spirits). He was given dominion as the prince of the power of the air. Later humankind was created and were given dominion over the earth. Then Satan deceived Eve and Adam into eating the forbidden fruit and usurped their dominion to become ruler of the earth. Ever since, Satan and his demons have sought to fill the created world with evil and wickedness. Whereas God has sought to redeem his world and restore the perfection that existed at creation. So there are constant spiritual battles going on between the "Holy Angels" and the "Evil Spirits" to see whether good or evil will triumph. When the writer refers to "those who will inherit salvation" he is referring to believers in Jesus Christ. We received the first instalment of this inheritance when we accepted Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour and Lord, freeing us from the penalty of sin. We are presently receiving the second instalment as the Holy Spirit lives in us and is sanctifying and making us holy, freeing us from the power of sin. We will receive the third instalment when Jesus comes again and we receive our new glorified bodies, freeing us from the presence of sin. Our salvation is complete when we begin to rule with Christ forever in the new Heaven and Earth. When Jesus came the first time he announced that the kingdom of God had come to overthrow the kingdom of Satan and his demons. When Jesus ascended back to heaven he put us Christians in charge of this ongoing battle to bring the kingdom of God to the earth and overthrow the power and authority of our enemy, Satan and his hordes. As the apostle Paul said: 2 Cor 10:4 "For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds." Eph 6:11-13 "Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm." The weapons we fight with are activated by Prayer and include: 1) Holy Spirit living in us, 2) Word of God as sword of the Spirit, 3) Wearing the Armour of God, 4) Holy Angels serving, protecting and fighting for us. The Holy Spirit opens our eyes to see what the enemy is doing around us and gives us the training and courage to demolish these strongholds. The Word of God is our offensive weapon to set the captives free so they can receive Jesus's salvation. The Armour of God protects us from the fiery arrows of our enemy. The Holy Angels are sent by God in response to our prayers to engage the demons in battle and defeat them. The more we pray (time spent in prayer and number of people praying) the more angels are sent into the battle and the more victorious we will be in overthrowing the kingdom of darkness. Holy Angels also protect us from accident, injury, illness, and any other natural or spiritual calamities that Satan's demons may try to throw at us. I have personally been protected twice in the past year from serious physical injury by angelic supernatural protection.
I'm not sure that the emphasis of the writer of Hebrews in this passage was on the spirits themselves (which I take to be angels), or that he meant to evoke discussion of the way in which they minister to the saved. Rather, his stress was on the word "ministering". The general purpose of the epistle to the Hebrews was to emphasize the superiority and pre-eminence of Christ over all other beings or entities to which the Hebrews had been accustomed to give worship or devotion. By specifically stating that these spirits were (merely) ministering spirits, the writer was saying that their primary purpose was to act upon the direction of Jesus as God, rather than to function on their own initiative or volition. They were to be His ministers, carrying out His will; acting for His glory rather than their own; and helping the redeemed in whatever way He ordered them to, because He was higher in power and authority than they were. I'm also not sure that Christians would even necessarily be aware of the manner in which such spirits were (or are) serving or helping them -- first, because they are normally not seen; and also because even Christians might be inclined to attribute the results of their functioning to "chance" or "coincidence", rather than their first thought being one of the spirits' involvement in their lives. We may never be aware in this life of all the ways that these "ministering spirits" have helped us or guided our paths.
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