1. Who would have guessed that, in the 1990's, western civilization would become completely fascinated by angels? We are fairly inundated with them! Everywhere you look, there are angels: angel jewelry, angel posters, angel telephone "hot lines," angel "good luck" charms, angel toys and games. An astonishing number of new books have been written about angels, and several popular motion pictures have been made about them.
2. Curiously enough, there was a similar preoccupation with angels among those to whom the letter of Hebrews was addressed. A great popular mythology about the work and the place of angels in the cosmos had been developed and enlarged. Some of these beliefs were rooted in the pages of what we now call the Old Testament, but much had been added to the sacred record during the intertestamental period ( some 400 years ) between Malachi and Matthew. An expanded "angelology" can be traced through the Qumran literature of this era and can be seen in the record of some first century rabbinical teaching. An energetic belief in angels also existed in the Greek culture of that time, particularly the teachings of the Gnostics, whose dualistic belief in two entirely separate worlds -- the spiritual and the material -- assigned great importance to the "mediating" ministry of angels. Some of the Gnostic teaching about angels had been absorbed into popular Jewish beliefs, so that the writer of the letter to the Hebrews is addressing a hybrid angelology in our text passage this morning.
3. His purpose in this section is not to challenge some of the curious beliefs about angels which had been adopted by the Hebrew Christians. Remember, the primary purpose of this letter is the set forth the absolute superiority of Jesus Christ and the new covenant He has mediated. In Hebrews 1:1-3 our writer declared the revelation of God through Christ vastly superior to the revelation
made available through the p __ __ __ __ __ __ __, and in 1:4 - 2:9 he will show Christ's great superiority over a __ __ __ __ __, no matter what one should believe about them.
1. Background: Some Notes on Angels in the Biblical Record
a. Chief attributes
(1) w __ __ __ __ __
ref: 2 Samuel 14:20
(2) s __ __ __ __ __ __ __
ref: Psalm 103:20
b. They are n __ __ __ __ __ __ __.
ref: Psalm 68:17
c. They are s __ __ __ __ __ __.
ref: Matthew 22:23-30
d. Three are called in Scripture by n __ __ __.
(1) M __ __ __ __ __ __ , sometimes known as the " a __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __"
ref: Daniel 12:1-2
(2) G __ __ __ __ __ __
ref: Daniel 8:15-19
(3) L __ __ __ __ __ __
ref: Isaiah 14:12-15? ( In truth, Lucifer can be characterized as an angel only by implication. The name appears in the Bible only in the referenced passage, where he is not specifically
referred to as one of the angelic host. )
NOTE: Three other angels are named in the Apocrypha: Raphael, Uriel, and Jeremial.
e. Two "types" of angels are referenced in Scripture.