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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Hebrews 1:7

And of the angels He says, "WHO MAKES HIS ANGELS WINDS, AND HIS MINISTERS A FLAME OF FIRE."

Adam Clarke Commentary

Who maketh his angels spirits - They are so far from being superior to Christ, that they are not called God's sons in any peculiar sense, but his servants, as tempests and lightnings are. In many respects they may have been made inferior even to man as he came out of the hands of his Maker, for he was made in the image and likeness of God; but of the angels, even the highest order of them, this is never spoken. It is very likely that the apostle refers here to the opinions of the Jews relative to the angels. In Pirkey R. Elieser, c. 4, it is said: "The angels which were created the second day, when they minister before God, אש של נעשין become fire." In Shemoth Rabba, s. 25, fol. 123, it is said: "God is named the Lord of hosts, because with his angels he doth whatsoever he wills: when he pleases, he makes them sit down; Judges 6:11; : And the angel of the Lord came, and sat under a tree. When he pleases, he causes them to stand; Isaiah 6:2; : The seraphim stood. Sometimes he makes them like women; Zechariah 5:9; : Behold there came two women, and the wind was in their wings. Sometimes he makes them like men; Genesis 18:2; : And, lo, three men stood by him. Sometimes he makes them spirits; Psalm 104:4; : Who maketh his angels spirits. Sometimes he makes them fire; ibid. His ministers a flame of fire."

In Yalcut Simeoni, par. 2, fol. 11, it is said: "The angel answered Manoah, I know not in whose image I am made, for God changeth us every hour: sometimes he makes us fire, sometimes spirit, sometimes men, and at other times angels." It is very probable that those who are termed angels are not confined to any specific form or shape, but assume various forms and appearances according to the nature of the work on which they are employed and the will of their sovereign employer. This seems to have been the ancient Jewish doctrine on this subject.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:7". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/hebrews-1.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits - He gives to them an inferior name, and assigns to them a more humble office. They are mere ministers, and have not ascribed to them the name of “Son.” They have a name which implies a more humble rank and office - the name “spirit,” and the appellation of a “flame of fire.” They obey his will as the winds and the lightnings do. The “object” of the apostle in this passage is to show that the angels serve God in a ministerial capacity - as the winds do; while the Son is Lord of all. The one serves him passively, as being wholly under his control; the other acts as a Sovereign, as Lord over all, and is addressed and regarded as the equal with God. This quotation is made from Psalm 104:4. The passage “might” be translated, “Who maketh his angels winds, and his ministers a flame of fire;” that is, “who makes his angels like the winds, or as swift as the winds, and his ministers as rapid, as terrible, and as resistless as the lightning.”

So Doddridge renders it; and so did the late Dr. John P. Wilson (manuscript notes). The passage in the Psalm is susceptible, I think, of another interpretation, and might be regarded as meaning, “who makes the winds his messengers, and the flaming fire his ministers;” and perhaps this is the sense which would most naturally occur to a reader of the Hebrew. The Hebrew, however, will admit of the construction here put upon it, and it cannot be proved that it was the original intention of the passage to show that the angels were the mere servants of God, rapid, quick, and prompt to do his will - like the winds. The Chaldee Paraphrase renders this passage in the Psalm, “Who makes his messengers swift as the wind; his ministers strong like a flame of fire.” Prof. Stuart maintains that the passage in the Psalms cannot mean “who makes the winds his messengers,” but that the intention of the Psalmist is to describe the “invisible” as well as the “visible” majesty of God, and that he refers to the angels as a part of the retinue which goes to make up His glory.

This does not seem to me to be perfectly certain; but still it cannot be demonstrated that Paul has made an improper use of the passage. It is to be presumed that he, who had been trained in the knowledge of the Hebrew language, would have had a better opportunity of knowing its fair construction than we can; and it is morally certain that he would employ the passage “in an argument” as it was commonly understood by those to whom he wrote - that is, to those who were familiar with the Hebrew language and literature. If he has so used the passage; if he has - as no one can disprove - put the fair construction on it, then it is just in point. It proves that the angels are the “attendant servants” of God; employed to grace his train, to do his will, to accompany him as the clouds and winds and lightnings do, and to occupy a subordinate rank in his creation. “Flame of fire.” This probably refers to lightning - which is often the meaning of the phrase. The word “ministers” here, means the same as angels, and the sense of the whole is, that the attending retinue of God, when he manifests himself with great power and glory, is like the winds and the lightning. His angels are like them. They are prompt to do his will - rapid, quick, obedient in his service; they are in all respects subordinate to him, and occupy, as the winds and the lightnings do, the place of servants. They are not addressed in language like what is applied to the Son of God, and they must all be far inferior to him.


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:7". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/hebrews-1.html. 1870.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels winds, And his ministers a flame of fire.

The pertinent fact of this quotation from Psalms 14:4 is in its reference to the status of angels as servants, that is, ministers of God. Some have concluded that the function of angels, at least partially, is to cooperate by means of using the winds and fire to bring about God's will; but if such should be true, there is surely no information given in regard to how it is done and under what circumstances it could be expected. Christ's rebuking the winds and the waves was hailed by Richard Trench as evidence that the fallen angel, Satan, could at least take advantage of certain disorders in nature, or even cause them.[15] Surely an even greater power pertains to the angels who kept their first estate. That superiority of Christ is seen in the elevation of the Creator above the creature, the master above his servant.

ENDNOTE:

[15] Richard C. Trench, Miracles (Westwood, New Jersey: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1953), p. 156.


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James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

Bibliography
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:7". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/hebrews-1.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Or "to the angels", as in the following verse, "to the Son", which stands opposed to this; and the words said to them, or of them, are found in Psalm 104:4

who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire: this cannot be understood of the wind and lightning, and of God's making these his messengers and ministers to do his will; for such a sense is not suitable to the scope of the psalm, from whence they are taken, nor to the order of the words in which they stand; for it is not said he makes spirits, or winds, his angels, and flaming fire his ministers, but the reverse; and is contrary to the design of the apostle in citing them, which is to show the superiority of Christ to angels, of whom it is said, that they are made spirits: they are "spirits", created ones, and so differ from God the Creator: they are incorporeal ones, and so differ from men; they are immaterial, and so die not; they are spiritual substances subsisting in themselves: and they are "made" such by God the Father, and by the Son the Lord Jesus Christ, within the six days of the creation, and all at once; for it is not to be supposed that the Lord is daily making them; and this proves the Son to be God, as well as more excellent than the angels; unless this is to be understood of the daily disposal of them in providence, in causing winds, thunder, lightning, and the like. Some choose to supply the word with "as", and read, who maketh his angels as winds; for invisibility, velocity, power, and penetration: "and his ministers as a flame of fire"; and these are the same with the angels, for they are ministers to God; they attend his presence; are ready to perform any service for him; they sing his praise, and are his chariots in which he rides: and they are ministers to Christ; they attended at his incarnation: were solicitous for his preservation, ministered to him in distress, assisted at his resurrection, and accompanied him in his ascension, and will be with him at his second coming: and they are as a flame of fire, so called from their great power, force, and swiftness; and from their burning love, and flaming zeal, hence named seraphim; and because they are sometimes the executioners of God's wrath, and will descend in flaming fire, when Christ shall be revealed from heaven: angels sometimes appear in fiery forms; the chariots and horses of fire, by which Elijah was carried up to heaven, were no other than angels, in such forms: so the JewsF24Sepher Jetzirah, p. 16. Ed. Rittangel. say of the angels,

"all the angels, their horses are horses of fire, and their chariots fire, and their bows fire, and their spears fire, and all their instruments of war fire.'

And they have a notion, that an angel is half water, and half fireF25T. Hieros. Roshhashana, fol. 58. 1. .


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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855

Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:7". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/hebrews-1.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

8 And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels m spirits, and his ministers a n flame of fire.

(8) He proves and confirms the dignity of Christ revealed in the flesh, by these six evident testimonies by which it appears that he far surpasses all angels, so much so that he is called both Son, and God in (Hebrews 1:5-8) , (Hebrews 1:10) , (Hebrews 1:13).

(m) Cherub, (Psalm 18:11).

(n) Seraph, (Isaiah 6:2).


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Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:7". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/hebrews-1.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

of — The Greek is rather, “In reference TO the angels.”

spirits — or “winds”: Who employeth His angels as the winds, His ministers as the lightnings; or, He maketh His angelic ministers the directing powers of winds and flames, when these latter are required to perform His will. “Commissions them to assume the agency or form of flames for His purposes” [Alford]. English Version, “maketh His angels spirits,” means, He maketh them of a subtle, incorporeal nature, swift as the wind. So Psalm 18:10, “a cherub … the wings of the wind.Hebrews 1:14, “ministering spirits,” favors English Version here. As “spirits” implies the wind-like velocity and subtle nature of the cherubim, so “flame of fire” expresses the burning devotion and intense all-consuming zeal of the adoring seraphim (meaning “burning), Isaiah 6:1. The translation, “maketh winds His messengers, and a flame of fire His ministers (!),” is plainly wrong. In the Psalm 104:3, Psalm 104:4, the subject in each clause comes first, and the attribute predicated of it second; so the Greek article here marks “angels” and “ministers” as the subjects, and “winds” and “flame of fire,” predicates, Schemoth Rabba says, “God is called God of Zebaoth (the heavenly hosts), because He does what He pleases with His angels. When He pleases, He makes them to sit (Judges 6:11); at other times to stand (Isaiah 6:2); at times to resemble women (Zechariah 5:9); at other times to resemble men (Genesis 18:2); at times He makes them ‹spirits‘; at times, fire.” “Maketh” implies that, however exalted, they are but creatures, whereas the Son is the Creator (Hebrews 1:10): not begotten from everlasting, nor to be worshipped, as the Son (Revelation 14:7; Revelation 22:8, Revelation 22:9).


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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:7". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/hebrews-1.html. 1871-8.

William Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament

7. “He maketh the winds his messengers and the flames of fire His ministers.” The Holy Ghost fills the material world, going wherever the atmosphere interpenetrates, offering life to all human spirits, whether in heathendom or Christendom. The wind is the symbol of regeneration (John 3:8), while fire everywhere emblematizes sanctification. The wind is the breath of life, and the fire consumes all impurity. Hence, the Holy Ghost administers regeneration to all sinners, and sanctification to all Christians who will receive Him. We here have God’s definition of His ministers, “a flame of fire.” Remember, this is the only definition God gives of His ministers in all the Bible. So, if you would be a minister of God, you must get filled with the fire of the Holy Ghost. Then you will be a moving cyclone of sin-consuming flame whithersoever you go. Reader, do you not want to be a minister of God? You need but one qualification, and that is the baptism with the Holy Ghost and fire.


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Bibliography
Godbey, William. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:7". "William Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ges/hebrews-1.html.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Of the angels (προς τους αγγελουςpros tous aggelous). “With reference to” (προςpros) as in Luke 20:9. So “of the Son” in Hebrews 1:8. Note μενmen here and δεde in Hebrews 1:8 in carefully balanced contrast. The quotation is from Psalm 104:4.

Winds (πνευματαpneumata). “Spirits” the word also means. The meaning (note article with αγγελουςaggelous not with πνευματαpneumata) apparently is one that can reduce angels to the elemental forces of wind and fire (Moffatt).

A flame of fire
(πυρος πλογαpuros phloga). Predicate accusative of πλοχphlox old word, in N.T. only here and Luke 16:24. Lunemann holds that the Hebrew here is wrongly rendered and means that God makes the wind his messengers (not angels) and flaming fire his servants. That is all true, but that is not the point of this passage. Preachers also are sometimes like a wind-storm or a fire.


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The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)

Bibliography
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:7". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/hebrews-1.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

d Fourth quotation, Psalm 103:4, varies slightly from lxx in substituting a flame of fire for flaming fire.

Who maketh his angels spirits ( ὁ ποιῶν τοὺς ἀγγέλους αὐτοῦ πνεύματα )

For spirits rend. winds This meaning is supported by the context of the Psalm, and by John 3:8. Πνεῦμα often in this sense in Class. In lxx, 1 Kings 18:45; 1 Kings 19:11; 2 Kings 3:17; Job 1:19. Of breath in N.T., 2 Thessalonians 2:8; Revelation 11:11. In Hebrew, spirit and wind are synonymous. The thought is according to the rabbinical idea of the variableness of the angelic nature. Angels were supposed to live only as they ministered. Thus it was said: “God does with his angels whatever he will. When he wishes he makes them sitting: sometimes he makes them standing: sometimes he makes them winds, sometimes fire.” “The subjection of the angels is such that they must submit even to be changed into elements.” “The angel said to Manoah, 'I know not to the image of what I am made; for God changes us each hour: wherefore then dost thou ask my name? Sometimes he makes us fire, sometimes wind.”' The emphasis, therefore, is not on the fact that the angels are merely servants, but that their being is such that they are only what God makes them according to the needs of their service, and are, therefore, changeable, in contrast with the Son, who is ruler and unchangeable. There would be no pertinency in the statement that God makes his angels spirits, which goes without saying. The Rabbis conceived the angels as perishable. One of them is cited as saying, “Day by day the angels of service are created out of the fire. stream, and sing a song, and disappear, as is said in Lamentations 3:23, 'they are new every morning.'” For λειτουργοὺς ministerssee on ministration, Luke 1:23, and see on ministered, Acts 13:2.


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Bibliography
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:7". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/hebrews-1.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire.

Who maketh his angels — This implies, they are only creatures, whereas the Son is eternal, Hebrews 1:8; and the Creator himself, Hebrews 1:10.

Spirits and a flame of fire — Which intimates not only their office, but also their nature; which is excellent indeed, the metaphor being taken from the most swift, subtle, and efficacious things on earth; but nevertheless infinitely below the majesty of the Son. Psalm 104:4.


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Bibliography
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:7". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/hebrews-1.html. 1765.

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

Hebrews 1:7; Psalms 104:4. The word spirits in this passage means winds. In the original psalm, where the writer is representing the power of God, as shown in the visible creation, the meaning has been supposed to be, Who maketh angels or messengers of the winds, and ministers, that is, servants of the lightning; which involves the idea that his angels, like the winds, are employed in subordinate stations to do his will. It is in this view of the meaning that the language is pertinent here.

Hebrews 1:8,9. Hebrews 1:8,9; Psalms 45:6,7. The meaning is that, while, in the passage quoted above, it is implied that angels are only subordinate agents, to execute, like the winds, the commands of Jehovah, the Son is addressed as clothed with independent majesty and power.--Anointed thee. Anointing was the ancient ceremony of induction to the royal office. (1 Samuel 16:13.) The meaning therefore is, Thy God hath crowned thee, with rejoicings, as the monarch of the mediatorial kingdom.


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Bibliography
Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:7". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ain/hebrews-1.html. 1878.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

7.And to the angels, etc. To the angels means of the angels. But the passage quoted seems to have been turned to another meaning from what it appears to have; for as David is there describing the manner in which we see the world to be governed, nothing is more certain than the winds are mentioned, which he says are made messengers by the Lord, for he employs them as his runners; so also, when he purifies the air by lightnings, he shows what quick and swift ministers he has to obey his orders. But this has nothing to do with angels. Some have had recourse to an allegory, as though the Apostle explained the plain, and as they say, the literal sense allegorically of angels. But it seems preferable to me to consider this testimony is brought forward for this purpose, that it might by a similitude be applied to angels, and in this way David compares winds to angels, because they perform offices in this world similar to what the angels do in heaven; for the winds are, as it were, visible spirits. And, doubtless, as Moses, describing the creation of the world, mentioned only those things which are subject to our senses, and yet intended that higher things should be understood; so David in describing the world and nature, represented to us on a tablet what ought to be understood respecting the celestial orders. Hence I think that the argument is one of likeness or similarity, when the Apostle transfers to angels what properly applies to the winds. (22)

The meaning would be thus more apparent, — “Who maketh like his angels the winds, and like his ministers the flaming fire,” that is, the winds are subject to him as the angels are, and also the flaming fire as his ministers or attendants. The particle ב is sometimes omitted in Hebrew. — Ed.


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Bibliography
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:7". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/hebrews-1.html. 1840-57.

William Newell's Commentary on Romans and Revelation

In the fourth Old Testament citation concerning the Son's place above the angels, we see their former ministry described thus: And of the angels He saith, Who maketh His angels winds, And His ministers a flame of fire:

This is quoted from Psalm 104:4, the word "maketh" indicating, according to a revered expositor, "He created them so." "The thought expressed here is that God employs His angels in the physical operation of the universe"--Conybeare. Here the angels are servants, whereas in the following verse, the Son is addressed as God. For it is a state of being, not a ministry, that is in view in all this passage. It is the Son of God above the angels, although God created them able "to fly swiftly" (Dan. 9:21)'and to be His ministers Whose throne is "fiery flames." See again in Daniel 7:9, 10, and Revelation 8:2 God surrounded by these ministers, as Gabriel said (Lk. 1:19), "I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God."

("It will be well to trace through the Revelation the Very remarkable, often wholly unexpected, and hitherto unrevealed angelic activity.

"We have already noticed ... the constant and prominent part angels have in the ministration of affairs in Heaven: Rev. 5:2-11, 8:3-5; then (8:6-11:15) the seven angels with the trumpets, sending terrible direct judgment from Heaven. How God places in angels, 'Mighty in strength' the execution of His plans, is concretely suggested in Rev. 10:7. In Rev. 14:18 we find the angel 'that hath power over fire'. In Rev. 16:5, 'the angel of the waters'; in 16:8, an angel the agent that gives power to the sun to scorch men with fire; and in 19:17 an angel standing in the sun, speaking His message. These are instances of the remarkable Powers and offices Possessed through Divine gift by these beings called angels. God continually and Personally ministers the affairs of this earth; and we learn from such verses as Rev. 7:1, that He does it through angelic ministers. He loves to delegate His power to His faithful servants."--The author's book, The Revelation, pp. 109-110.)


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Bibliography
Newell, William. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:7". William Newell's Commentary on Romans, Hebrews and Revelation. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wnc/hebrews-1.html. 1938.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

7 And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire.

Ver. 7. A flame of fire] Hence they are called seraphims, because they flame, like heavenly salamanders, in the fire of pure and perfect love to God and his people; and cherubims, from their winged swiftness; swift they are as the wind; which may seem to be the sense of this text, compared with Psalms 104:4-5.


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:7". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/hebrews-1.html. 1865-1868.

Sermon Bible Commentary

Hebrews 1:7

Angelic Life and its Lessons.

I. There is no proof of the existence of other beings than ourselves, but there is also no proof of the contrary. Apart from revelation, we can think about the subject as we please. But it does seem incredible that we alone should represent in the universe the image of God; and if in one solitary star another race of beings dwell, if we concede the existence of a single spirit other than ourselves, we have allowed the principle; the angelic world of which the Bible speaks is possible to faith. But we have fallen upon faithless times; and worse than the mediaeval, who saw the glint of the angels' wings in the dazzling of the noonday cloud; worse even than the Greek, who peopled his woods with deity, we see only in the cloud the storehouse of rain to ripen our corn, and in the woods a cover for our pheasants. Those who see more have small cheerfulness in the sight; neither the nymphs nor the angels haunt the hills with us. The world is too much with us, and God too little. We cannot see the world which moves around us through the dust of the death in which we live. He who dwells in the cabin of the visible cannot see the infinite world of the invisible through the clay-built walls. Our life with nature has lost its beauty, its joy, its religion.

Note:—

I. The relation of God to angelic life. The first thing we understand of the angels is, that in distant eternities God created them. Here we have the principle of the social life of God. He would not have a life which began and ended in Himself. His life consisted in giving Himself away, and finding Himself in all things. I don't say God could not, but He would not be alone. And this is the deep principle of all being. That which is, is that which gives itself away. That which lives, is that which lives in others. God would be dead were He to live for Himself alone, and we are dead when we live only to receive, when, folding the cloak of self around us, we cease to find our being in sacrifice of self.

II. Note, next, angelic life in relation to God. It is described as a life of exalted praise. Here we have a revelation of the life of heaven. Holiness, deepening day by day; sacred love and awe, increasing as the revelation of holiness advances, and the expression of these in ceaseless worship, ceaseless praise. Then will praise be perfect, for in us love will be perfect; our voices, our unconscious aspirations, our whole life shall go forth in song to God, as the river goes forth to seek the ocean. The perfect life will be perfect joy.

S. A. Brooke, Sermons, p. 304.


References: Hebrews 1:7.—Expositor, 1st series, vol. viii., p. 461. Hebrews 1:7-9.—Ibid., vol. i., p. 447. Hebrews 1:8, Hebrews 1:9.—Ibid., vol. ii., p. 295; Homiletic Quarterly, vol. i., p. 179. Hebrews 1:10-12.—Ibid., vol. i., p. 181. Hebrews 1:11.—Homiletic Magazine, vol. vii., p. 337. Hebrews 1:12.—F. Armitage, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xii., p. 321; G. T. Coster, Ibid., vol. xvi., p. 203. Hebrews 1:13, Hebrews 1:14.—Homiletic Quarterly, vol. i., p. 182.


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Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:7". "Sermon Bible Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/sbc/hebrews-1.html.

Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

Still our apostle goes on, comparing Christ and the angels together, and giving a transcendent preference to their one before the other. The angels are ministering servants, but Christ a Son; the angels are the prime instruments of the Father's providence, most zealous and active to accomplish his pleasure, by the Son is God: Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever.

God, not by analogy and deputation, as princes are, not with a limitation and diminution, as Moses was made a god to Pharaoh, but absolutely and really, as subsisting in the divine nature; to the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever.

Learn hence, That is the divine nature of Jesus Christ that gives stability and fixedness, yea, immutability and unchangeableness, to his throne and kingdom: Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever. And whereas the sceptres of earthly kings are often unrighteously managed, and their thrones do ruinously fall, the sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of Christ's kingdom; that is, all the laws, and the whole administration of his kingdom by his word and Spirit, are all just and equal, righteous and holy: A sceptre for righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.

And farther, the apostle declares, that the righteous administration of Christ in he kingdom, proceeds from his own habitual righteousness and love thereunto: Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity, and for that reason was dignified and exalted by God over and above all his fellows.

Learn hence, That Jesus Christ as Mediator, because of his love to righteousness, and hatred to sin, is dignified and advanced by God, not only above all men, byt likewise above all angels. Therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee above thy fellows.


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Bibliography
Burkitt, William. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:7". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wbc/hebrews-1.html. 1700-1703.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

7.] And (with reference) indeed to ( πρός as in reff.: but not exactly correspondent in the two cases πρὸς τ. ἀγγέλους and πρὸς τ. ἀγγέλους: the fact being, as Bl., that πρός with a person, after λέγειν and similar verbs, implies direction of the saying towards the person, usually by direct address, but sometimes by indirect reference. So Bengel here: “Ad angelos indirecto sermone, ad filium directo sermone:” μέν, corresponding to δέ below) the angels He (God) saith, Who maketh his angels winds (see below) and his ministers a flame of fire (the citation is after the LXX according to the Alexandrine MS., which indeed commonly agrees with the citations in this Epistle. And as the words stand in the Greek, the arrangement and rendering of them is unquestionably as above (see this argued below). But here comes in no small difficulty as to the sense of the original Hebrew. It stands thus: after stating, Hebrews 1:2-3, that God takes light for His raiment, and the heavens for a tent, and the clouds for a chariot, we read, עֹשֶׂה מַלְאָכָיו רוּחוֹה מְשָֽׁרְתָיו אֵשׁ לֹהֵט, Hebrews 1:4 . And it is usually contended that these words can only mean, from the context, “who maketh the winds his messengers, and flames of fire his servants.” But, granting that this is so, the argument from the context can only be brought in as subsidiary to that from the construction of the passage. And it will be observed that in this verse the order of the Hebrew words is not the same as that in the former verses, where we have הַשָּׂם עָבִים רְכוּבוֹ, “who maketh clouds his chariots.” For this transposition those who insist as above have given no reason: and I cannot doubt that the LXX have taken the right view of the construction: that מַלְאָכָיו is the object, and רוּחוֹת the predicate, and so in the other clause: and that the sense is, “who maketh his messengers winds, his servants flames of fire,” whatever these words may be intended to import. And this latter enquiry will I imagine be not very difficult to answer. He makes his messengers winds, i. e. He causes his messengers to act in or by means of the winds; his servants flames of fire, i. e. commissions them to assume the agency or form of flames for His purposes. It seems to me that this, the plain sense of the Hebrew as it stands, is quite as agreeable to the context as the other. And thus the Rabbis took it, as we see by the citations in Schöttgen and Wetstein. So Schemoth Rabba, § 25, fol. 123. 3: “Deus dicitur Deus Zebaoth, quia cum angelis suis facit quæcumque vult. Quando vult, facit ipsos sedentes, Jude 1:6; Jude 1:11. Aliquando facit ipsos stantes, Isaiah 6:2. Aliquando facit similes mulieribus, Zechariah 5:9. Aliquando viris, Genesis 18:2. Aliquando facit ipsos spiritus, Psalms 104:4. Aliquando ignem, ib.:” and many other Rabbinical testimonies. The construction maintained above is also defended by Hofmann, Schriftbeweis, i. p. 283, and proved to be the only admissible one by Delitzsch, whose commentary has been published since this note was written. The only accommodation of the original passage made by the Writer, is the very slight one of applying the general terms “His messengers” and “His servants” to the angels, which indeed can be their only meaning. And this I should be bold to maintain, even though it be against Calvin (“Locus quem citat, videtur in alienum sensum trahi … nihil certius est quam hic fieri mentionem ventorum quos dicit a Domino fieri nuntios … nihil hoc ad angelos pertinet”), Kuinoel (“Verum enimvero Psalmi l. l., de angelis, tanquam personis, sermo esse non potest”), De Wette (on the Psalm: Sinn: er bedient sich der Winde u. Feuerflammen als seine Wertzeuge: von Engeln als himmlischen Wesen ist hier gar nicht die Rede), Bleek, Ebrard, Lünemann, al. See the whole literature of the passage in the three last. Singularly enough, the ancient Commentators confine their attention to the part. ποιῶν, and seem simply to have taken the accusatives as epithets in apposition: e. g. Chrys.: ιδού, ἡ μεγίστη διαφορά· ὅτι οἱ μὲν κτιστοί, ὁ δὲ ἄκτιστος· κ. διὰ τί πρὸς μὲν τοὺς ἀγγέλους αὐτοῦ φησιν· ὁ ποιῶν, πρὸς δὲ τὸν υἱόν, διὰ τί οὐκ εἶπεν, ὁ ποιῶν; Similarly Thl. and Thdrt. (on the Psalm also). The sense of the words I have endeavoured to give in some measure above. It is evident that πνεύματα must be rendered winds, not “spirits:” from both the context in the Psalm and the correspondence of the two clauses, and also from the nature of the subject. πάντες εἰσὶν πνεύματα, as asserted below, Hebrews 1:14; therefore it could not with any meaning be said, that He maketh them spirits): but to (that this πρός is used of direct address, and not, as Delitzsch, al., of indirect reference, is manifest by ὁ θρόνος σου following: see also above. The difficulty mentioned by Ebrard, that thus we shall have the Writer implying that Psalms 45 is a direct address to the Son of God, is not obviated by the indirect understanding of πρός, but is inherent in the citation itself, however the preposition is rendered) the Son,—Thy throne, O God ( ὁ θεός is probably vocative: both here and in the Hebrew: and is so taken even by modern Unitarians (see Yates, Vindication of Unitarianism, p. 183, and notes), who seek their refuge by explaining away θεός. To suppose the words a parenthetical exclamation to God, or the meaning “Thy God-like Throne,” or “Thy throne of God” (see De W. in Psal.), i. e. ‘the throne of Thy God,’ seems forcing them from their ordinary construction. The rendering of Grot., adopted by some modern Socinians, “Thy throne is God for ever and ever,” is not touched by any of the principal Commentators on the Psalm, and seems repugnant to the decorum (for Ps. 72:26, ἡ μερίς μου ὁ θεὸς εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα, is no case in point, the idea being wholly different) and spirit of the passage. I need hardly adduce instances of with a nom. as a form of the vocative: they will be found in the reff.) (is) for ever and ever (see Ps. 103:5; 110:3, 8, 10; and fuller still Hebrews 9:5, εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα κ. εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα τοῦ αἰῶνος); and (see var. readd.

Hofmann, Schriftbeweis i. 148, maintains that this καί, splitting as it does the citation into two, is intended by the Writer to mark off the former portion as addressed to Jehovah, and the latter only to the King, as indicated by ὁ θεός σου. But, as Delitzsch well replies, he would thus be cutting asunder the thread of his own argument, which depends on the address to the Son as ὁ θεός, as exalting Him above the angels) the rod (i. e. sceptre: see especially Esther 4:11; Judges 5:14 (see Bertheau in loc.): Amos 1:5 (this latter in Heb. and E. V., not in LXX), where the same Heb. word שֵׁבֶט occurs) of thy kingdom is the rod of straightness (i. e. righteousness, justice: see reff. to LXX. Notice that the position of ἡ ῥάβδος τῆς εὐθύτητος in all probability, according to usage, points it out as the predicate; and the other, ἡ ῥ. τ. β. σου, is the subject). Thou lovedst (the Writer refers the words to the whole life of our Lord on earth, as a past period) righteousness, and hatedst lawlessness (in (7) (8) &c. (see var. readd.) and in LXX-A, iniquity: which is therefore very probably the right reading, but is hardly strongly enough attested): for this cause (as διό, Philippians 2:9; because of His love of righteousness and hatred of lawlessness, shewn by his blameless life and perfect obedience on earth. Some take διὰ τοῦτο here, and עַל־כֵּן in the Psalm, as introducing not the consequence, but the reason of what has preceded: so Aug(9) Enarr. in Psalms 44. § 19, vol. iv. pt. i., “Propterea unxitte, ut diligeres justitiam, et odires iniquitatem:” Thos. Aq., Schöttgen, al. In Hebrews 1:2 of the same Ps. the same ambiguity occurs: and there Bl. pronounces the sense to be decidedly “because” and not “therefore,” which latter however the E. V. has, and De W. without remark: and so also Aug(10) But the sense in both places seems decidedly ‘therefore,’ and not ‘because:’ the eternal blessing of Hebrews 1:2, and the anointing with the oil of gladness here, being much more naturally results of the inherent beauty and merit of the high Person addressed, than means whereby these are conferred) God, thy God (many Commentators of eminence, both ancient and modern, maintain that the first ὁ θεός here is as before, vocative. Some of them use the strongest language on the point: e. g. Aug(11) on the Psalm,—with regard to the Greek: “O tu Deus, unxit te Deus tuus. Deus unguitur a Deo. Etenim in Latino putatur idem casus nominis repetitus: in Græco autem evidentissima distinctio est, quia unum nomen est quod compellatur et alterum ab eo qui compellat, unxit te Deus. O tu Deus, unxit te Deus tuus: quomodo si diceret, Propterea unxit te o tu Deus, Deus tuus. Sic accipite, sic intelligite, sic in Græco evidentissimum est.” And it is also assumed by Thl. ( ὅτι δὲ τὸ ὁ θεός, ἀντὶ τοῦ ὦ θεέ ἐστι, μάρτυς ἀξιόπιστος ὁ ἐχθρὸς σύμμαχος, ἐκδοὺς οὕτω· διὰ τοῦτο ἔχρισέ σε, θεέ, ὁ θεός σου ἔλαιον χαρᾶς παρὰ ἑταίρους σου), Ps-Anselm (“Sicut et in Hebræo et Græco patet, primum nomen Dei vocativo casu intelligendum est, sequens nominativo”), Wolf, Bengel, Kuinoel, De Wette, Bleek, Lünemann, Stier, Ebrard, &c. The last goes so far as to say that the Heb. will not bear the construction of the two nominatives in apposition: “It is impossible that אֱלֹהֶיךָ can be in apposition with אֱלֹהִים: even in a vocative address, such a juxtaposition would be foreign to the spirit of Hebrew idiom: certainly here in a nominative sentence, or connexion of subjects, such a redundance would be the more out of place, that an emphasis of this kind would be entirely aimless and uncalled for.” But against such a dictum I may set the simple fact that, in a vocative sentence, the apposition does occur in Psalms 43:4 (42. LXX), both in the Heb. and in the Gr.— אֱלֹהִים אֱלֹהָי, ὁ θεός, ὁ θεός μου, “O God, my God:” and in a nominative sentence again, with the very same words as here, in Psalms 50:7 (Psalms 49:7), אֱלֹהִים אֱלֹהֶיךָ אָנֹכִי, ὁ θεός, ὁ θεός σου εἰμὶ ἐγώ, “I am God, (even) thy God.” See also Psalms 57:7 (Psalms 56:7), ὁ θεός, ὁ θεὸς ἡμῶν, “God, (even) our God.” So that I confess I am unable to see the necessity of interpreting either the Hebrew or the Greek in the way proposed. I take both as giving two nominatives in apposition, ‘God, thy God.’ And so Origen appears to have taken it, Contra Cels. vi. § 79, vol. i. 692, καὶ διὰ τοῦτο ἔχρισε καὶ αὐτοὺς ὁ θεός, ὁ θεὸς τοῦ χριστοῦ, ἔλαιον ἀγαλλιάσεως (Chrys. and Thdrt. do not touch it), Grot., Estius (Calvin does not touch it), Owen, al. Delitzsch leaves it undecided, conceding that the vocative acceptation is inconsistent with the usage of the “Elohimpsalmen,” but balancing this by the consideration that the sense would be consistent with the usage of references to the Messiah, as Isaiah 9:5; Isaiah 11:2) anointed thee (how? and when? We must distinguish this anointing from the ἔχρισεν αὐτὸν ὁ θεὸς πνεύματι ἁγίῳ κ. δυνάμει of Acts 10:38, and the ἔχρισέν με of Isaiah 61:1. For it is a consequent upon the righteous course of the Son of God in his Humanity, and therefore belongs to his triumph, in which He is exalted above his μέτοχοι (see below). Again the ‘oil of gladness’ below seems rather to point to a festive and triumphant, than to an inaugurative unction. We should therefore rather take the allusion to be, as in Psalms 23:5; Psalms 92:10, to the custom of anointing guests at feasts: so that, as the King in the Psalm is anointed with the oil of rejoicing above his fellows, because of his having loved righteousness and hated iniquity, so Christ, in the jubilant celebration of His finished course at his exaltation in heaven, is anointed with the festive oil παρὰ τοὺς μετόχους αὐτοῦ (see below). There is of course an allusion also in ἔχρισεν to the honoured and triumphant Name χριστός) with ( χρίω is found with a double accus. in the N. T. and LXX (reff.); usually elsewhere with a dative. But, as Bl. remarks, the construction is in accordance with Greek idiomatic usage. He compares Aristoph. Acharn. 114, ἵνα μή σε βάψω βάμμα σαρδιανικόν: Pind. Isthm. vi. 18, πίσω σφε δίρκας ἁγνὸν ὕδωρ) oil of rejoicing (see above: oil indicative of joy, as it is of superabundance: cf. Isaiah 61:3) beyond thy fellows (i. e. in the Psalm, “other kings,” as De W., Ebrard, al.: hardly “brothers by kin” (other sons of David), as Grot., al. But to whom does the Writer apply the words? Chrys. says, τίνες δέ εἰσιν οἱ μέτοχοι, ἀλλʼ ἢ οἱ ἄνθρωποι; τουτέστι, τὸ πνεῦμα οὐκ ἐκ μέτρου ἔλαβεν ὁ χριστός: Thdrt., μέτοχοι δὲ ἡμεῖς καὶ κοινωνοὶ οὐ τῆς θεότητος, ἀλλὰ τῆς ἀνθρωπότητος: and so Bengel, citing ὡραῖος κάλλει παρὰ τοὺς υἱοὺς τῶν ἀνθρώπων, Hebrews 1:2 (3) of this Psalm. Thdrt. on the Psalm (Bl.), Calvin (“Nos sibi adoptavit consortes”), Beza, al., think of believers, the adopted into God’s family: Wittich, Braun, Cramer (in Bl.), of the high-priests, prophets, and kings, in the O. T., anointed as types of Christ: Klee, of all creatures: Kuinoel and Ebrard, as in the Psalm, of other kings. Camero says, “ μετόχους in officio nullos, in natura humana omnes homines, in gratia omnes fideles habet Christus.” Still we may answer to all these, that they do not in any way satisfy the requirements of the context. Were it the intent of the Writer to shew Christ’s superiority over his human brethren of every kind, we might accept one or other of these meanings: but as this is not his design, but to shew His superiority to the angels, we must I think take μετόχους as representing other heavenly beings, partakers in the same glorious and sinless state with Himself, though not in the strict sense, His ‘fellows.’ De Wette objects to this sense, that the Writer places the angels far beneath Christ: Delitzsch, that the angels are not anointed, whereas there is no necessity in the text for understanding that the μέτοχοι are also anointed: the παρά may consist in the very fact of the anointing itself:—and Ebrard, speaking as usual strongly, says that “neither the Psalmist, nor our author if in his senses, could have applied the word to the angels.” But this need not frighten us: and we may well answer with Lünemann, “1. that the general comparison here being that of Christ with the angels, the fresh introduction of this point of comparison in Hebrews 1:9 cannot of itself appear inappropriate. 2. Granted, that just before, in Hebrews 1:7, the angels are placed far beneath Christ,—we have this very inferiority here marked distinctly by παρά. 3. The angels are next to Christ in rank, by the whole course of this argument: to whom then would the Writer more naturally apply the term μέτοχοι, than to them?” I may add, 4. that the comparison here is but analogous to that in Hebrews 1:4, of which indeed it is an expansion: and, 5. that thus only can the figure of anointing at a triumphant festival be carried out consistently: that triumph having taken place on the exaltation of the Redeemer to the Father’s right hand and throne (Hebrews 1:8), when, the whole of the heavenly company, His μέτοχοι in glory and joy, being anointed with the oil of gladness, His share and dignity was so much greater than theirs. This meaning is held by Peirce, Olshausen, Bleek, Lünemann. Some, as Grot., Limborch, Böhme, Owen, join the interpretations—“angels and men.” Certainly, if the former, then the latter; but these are not present in the figure here used). It remains that we should consider the general import, and application here, of Psalms 45. From what is elsewhere found in this commentary, it will not be for a moment supposed that I can give in to the view of such writers as De Wette and Hupfeld, who maintain that it was simply an ode to some king, uncertain whom, and has no further reference whatever. Granting that in its first meaning it was addressed to Solomon (for to him the circumstances introduced seem best to apply, e. g. the palace of ivory, Hebrews 1:9, cf. 1 Kings 10:18; the gold from Ophir, Hebrews 1:10, cf. 1 Kings 9:28; the daughter of Tyre with her gift, Hebrews 1:13, cf. 2 Chronicles 2:3-16),—or even, with Delitzsch, to Joram, on his marriage with the Tyrian Athaliah,—we must yet apply to it that manifest principle, without which every Hebrew ode is both unintelligible and preposterous, that the theocratic idea filled the mind of the Writer and prompted his pen: and that the Spirit of God used him as the means of testifying to that King, who stood veritably at the head of the theocracy in the divine counsels. Thus considered, such applications as this lose all their difficulty; and we cease to feel ourselves obliged in every case to enquire to whom and on what occasion the Psalm was probably first addressed. And even descending to the low and mere rationalistic ground taken by De Wette and Hupfeld, we are at least safer than they are, holding as we do a meaning in which both Jews and Christians have so long concurred, as against the infinite diversity of occasion and reference which divides their opinions of the Psalm.


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Bibliography
Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:7". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/hebrews-1.html. 1863-1878.

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

Hebrews 1:7. πρός] with regard to, as Luke 20:19; Acts 12:21; Romans 10:21, and frequently. Comp. Matthiae, p. 1181; Winer, Gramm., 7 Aufl. p. 378.

μέν] corresponds to the δέ of Hebrews 1:8, thus places Hebrews 1:7 in express opposition to Hebrews 1:8.

λέγει] namely, God, in the Scripture.

The citation is from Psalms 104:4, according to the LXX. (Cod. Alex., whereas Cod. Vatican, has πῦρ φλέγον instead of πυρὸς φλόγα). The psalm praises Jehovah as the Creator and Sustainer of all nature. In the Hebrew the words cited read: עֹשֶׂה מַלְאָכָיו רוּחוֹת מְשָׁרְתָיו אֵשׁ לֹהֵט, and, having respect to their connection with what precedes and that which follows, no doubt can obtain on the point that they are to be rendered,—what is objected thereto by Hofmann (Schriftbew. I. p. 325 f., 2 Aufl.), Delitzsch, and Alford is untenable,—“God makes winds His messengers, and flames of fire (lightnings) His servants,” in such wise that the thought is expressed: as the whole of nature, so are also winds and lightnings servants of God the Lord.(37) Otherwise have the LXX. apprehended the sense of the words, as is shown by the addition of the article before ἀγγέλους and λειτουργούς, and they are followed by our author. [So the Targum also.] They have taken τοὺς ἀγγέλους αὐτοῦ and τοὺς λειτουργοὺς αὐτοῦ as the objects, ̔ νεύματα and πυρὸς φλόγα, on the other hand, as the predicates to ποιῶν, thus have found the meaning of the words: “He makes His angels winds, and His servants a flame of fire.” If we now observe the scope of the thought of those declarations of Scripture concerning the Son which follow, Hebrews 1:8-12, placed as they are in antithetical relation to the one before us, it is evident that the author must have discovered the inferiority of the angels compared with the Son, as attested in Scripture, in a twofold respect—(1) that the angels are servants, whereas the Son is ruler; (2) that the angels are mutable and perishable, whereas the Son abides the same for ever.

The conception of such a subjection on the part of the angels, that they must submit even to be changed into elements, is, moreover, not uncommon among the Rabbins. Comp. e.g. Shemoth rabba, sec. 25, fol. 123. 3 : “aliquando ipsos (angelos) facit ventos, q. d. qui facis angelos tuos ventos, aliquando ignem, q. d. ministros tuos flammam ignis.” Jalkut Simeoni, part II. fol. 11. 3 : “Angelus dixit ad Manoah: nescio ad cujus imaginem ego factus sim; nam Deus singulis horis nos immutat; cur ergo nomen meum interrogas? Nonnunquam facit nosi ignem, alias ventum, interdum viros, alias denique angelos.” See in general, Schöttgen and Wetstein ad loc.

πνεύματα] not: spirits (Luther, Erasmus, Paraphrase; Clarius, Piscator, Owen, Seb. Schmidt, Brochmann, Bengel, Böhme), but: winds.

λειτουργούς] only another name for ἀγγέλους.


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Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:7". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/hebrews-1.html. 1832.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Hebrews 1:7. πρὸς, unto) [Engl. Vers. of, i.e. in reference to] “He saith to the angels,” by an indirect speech; comp πρὸς, to, Hebrews 11:18, note, [“In reference to whom it was said, In Isaac shall thy seed be called.”] The apostle seems also to have had in his mind Psalm 130:20, which immediately precedes the passage, Psalms 104:4.— λέγει, He saith) viz. God, by the prophet.— ποιῶνφλόγα) LXX., in exactly as many letters, Psalms 104:4. πνεύματα, spirits, and πυρὸς φλόγα, a flame of fire, signify not only the office of angels, but their very nature, which is no doubt of surpassing excellence, as the metaphor is taken from things the most efficacious and the most subtile, but yet very far inferior to the majesty of the Son. Therefore the expression, ποιῶν, who maketh, intimates that the angels are creatures, made by His command; but the Son is eternal, Hebrews 1:8, and the Creator, Hebrews 1:10. The subject, viz. ἄγγελοι, angels, and λειτουργοὶ, ministers, as is proved by their being put with the article,(8) has its antithesis in Hebrews 1:8-9. Moreover, the antithesis of Who makes, intimating the creation of the angels, is found in Hebrews 1:10-11. I consider it to be the predicate of the Father; comp. Hebrews 1:8.


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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:7". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/hebrews-1.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

He adds another demonstration of the gospel Minister’s exceeding angels, because he hath the name of God, and angels are called only God’s ministers: for the Creator of angles, who best understandeth their nature and office, by his Spirit testifieth what they are, Psalms 104:4.

Who maketh his angels spirits; he created them such as they are, spiritual, intellectual, and immortal substances, the highest in this sort and kind of creatures. pneumata do not here signify winds, as if the Spirit compared angels to them for their swiftness and power, but spiritual, intellectual beings, as the Son of man is; and in this it is the attribute, and not the subject, that which is predicated or spoken of angels.

And his ministers a flame of fire; they are but ministers and servants, who reveal or perform his will to those to whom God sends them; honourable officers of the great King, fulfilling his pleasure, Hebrews 1:14, executing all his commands, and going and coming at his beck, Psalms 103:20,21. Though they are seraphims, bright, glorious, and excellent creatures, they are but the grand officers of state in heaven, encompassing God’s throne, waiting for his commands, which they obey and fulfil as swiftly as the winds or flashes of lightning could despatch them. Though they are styled by the Spirit cherubims, Genesis 3:24; compare Ezekiel 1:5 10:1-15; and seraphims, Isaiah 6:6; for their light, glory, and excellency; yet still are they creatures, and below the Son, because his servants.


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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Hebrews 1:7". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/hebrews-1.html. 1685.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

And of the angels he saith; Psalms 104:4. God indicates the nature and office of angels by calling them spirits and a flame of fire. The quotation, as usual in this epistle, is made from the Greek version of the Seventy.


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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:7". "Family Bible New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/hebrews-1.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges

7. καὶ πρὸς μὲν τοὺς ἀγγέλους λέγει, “and with reference to the Angels, He saith.” The λέγειν πρὸς here resembles the Latin dicere in aliquem, Winer, p. 505. He has shewn that the title of “Son” is too special and too super-eminent to be ever addressed to Angels; he proceeds to shew that the Angels are but subordinate ministers, and that often God clothes them with “the changing garment of natural phenomena,” transforming them, as it were, into winds and flames.

Ὁ ποιῶν τοὺς ἀγγέλους αὐτοῦ πνεύματα καὶ τοὺς λειτουργοὺς αὐτοῦ τυρὸς φλόγα, “who maketh His Angels winds,” for the Angels are already “spirits” (Hebrews 1:14). This must be the meaning here, though the words might also be rendered “Who maketh winds His messengers, and fiery flames His ministers.” This latter rendering, though grammatically difficult, accords best with the context of Psalms 104:4, where, however, the Targum has “Who maketh His messengers swift as winds, His ministers strong as flaming fire.” The Rabbis often refer to the fact that God makes His Angels assume any form He pleases, whether men (Genesis 18:2) or women (Zechariah 5:9) or wind or flame (Exodus 3:2; 2 Kings 6:17). Thus Milton says:

“For spirits as they please

Can either sex assume, or both; so soft

And uncompounded is their essence pure;

Not tied or manacled with joint or limb

Nor founded on the brittle strength of bones,

Like cumbrous flesh; but in what shape they choose,

Dilated or condensed, bright or obscure,

Can execute their aery purposes.”

But that mutable and fleeting form of existence which is the glory of the Angels would be an inferiority in the Son. He could not be clothed, as they are at God’s will, in the fleeting robes of varying material phenomena. Calvin, therefore, is much too rash and hasty when he says that the writer here draws his citation into a sense which does not belong to it, and that nothing is more certain than that the original passage has nothing to do with angels. With a wider knowledge of the views of Philo, and other Rabbis, he would have paused before pronouncing a conclusion so sweepingly dogmatic. The “Hebrew” readers of the Epistle, like the writer, were evidently familiar with Alexandrian conceptions. Now in Philo there is no sharp distinction between the Logos (who is a sort of non-incarnate Messiah) and the Logoi, who are sometimes regarded as Angels just as the Logos Himself is sometimes regarded as an Archangel (see Siegfried’s Philo, p. 22). The Rabbis too explained the “us” of Genesis 1:26 (“Let us make man”) as shewing that the Angels had a share in creation, see Sanhedrin, p. 38, 2. Such a passage as Revelation 19:10 may help to shew the reader that the proof of Christ’s exaltation above the Angels was necessary.


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"Commentary on Hebrews 1:7". "Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cgt/hebrews-1.html. 1896.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

7. And—We have here (Hebrews 1:7-9) another contrast between angels and the Son. The former are but natural instruments, the latter is God, ruling in righteousness, forever.

Spirits—Rather, winds; and thus we have the parallelism, maketh his angels winds, and his servants a flame of fire. Angels are so made that they may transform themselves into, and serve the work of, winds, and of lightning flashes or atmospheric blazes. Our author’s exact words are found in the Alexandrian Septuagint. The Hebrew at first seems to have a slightly different sense. Psalms 104:4. In that psalm, Hebrews 1:3 says, “who maketh the clouds his chariot,” and hence some infer that this cited verse should read, he maketh the winds his messengers, which would exclude any reference to literal angels. But, in fact, in the verse cited, the Hebrew reverses the order of the words of Hebrews 1:3, and reads, maketh his angels winds, which is the true rendering. Alford gives quotations from Schottgen and Wetstein showing that our author gives the meaning as held by the Jewish Church. Schemoth Rabba, § 25, fol. 123, 3, says, “God is called God of hosts, because he does with his angels whatsoever he wills. Whensoever he wills he makes them sitting; (Judges 6:11;) sometimes he makes them standing; (Isaiah 6:2;) sometimes he makes them similar to women; (Zechariah 5:9;) sometimes to men; (Genesis 18:2;) sometimes he makes them winds, (Psalms 104:4,) the citation of the present verse. Sometimes fire, ibidem.”


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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:7". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/hebrews-1.html. 1874-1909.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

‘And of the angels he says,

“Who makes his angels winds,

And his ministers a flame of fire,” ’

Firstly he takes a quotation to demonstrate what the angels are. They are powerful. They are made winds and a flame of fire (Psalms 104:4 compare Psalms 148:8), but they do not represent God directly.

We note first of all that they are said to be ‘made’ not ‘begotten’. Then that they have specifically allocated functions and do God’s will. ‘Winds’ refers to invisible but powerful activity, ‘a flame of fire’ to glory and judgment.

It may also be that we are to see them as carrying on their ministry through natural forces which are transitory and not lasting, affecting the world but not permanently transforming it. (The movement between spiritual activity and physical activity is not always made plain. The two were seen as going closely together). Certainly when connected with their attendance on Yahweh these descriptions are often connected with storm phenomena. Thus they are described in terms of created things, not as creating.

Their tasks, however, are many and varied as required, but like wind and fire they reveal no permanence. Like winds and fiery flames they arise and then disappear. They are here today and gone tomorrow. They are servants who do God’s will.

And yet that does not indicate that they must be looked on lightly. While invisible they are effective, and even devastating. They can make an impact in the world. We must not underestimate or dismiss them as unimportant. Their activity is, for example, indicated in Daniel 10. And we can indeed compare all the Psalms where such phenomena signal the approach of God Himself accompanied by His attendants. But in the end, however great, that is all they are, servants of Yahweh. Compare in Jewish literature 2 Esdras 8:21-22, ‘before whom the hosts of angels stand with trembling, at whose bidding they are changed to wind and fire’ (probably also based on the Psalm). Then he moves on to show what the Son is, the One to Whom God has in contrast given a permanent and everlasting purpose over all universes.

We should note therefore that this verse does not stand by itself but is specifically contrasted with the idea of the Son’s permanent rule. They are set individual but temporary tasks as servants. He rules on an everlasting and permanent throne. Their tasks are physical. His go to the root of morality. They are many, but He is the Anointed one, anointed as over all. Thus he now makes this contrast.


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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:7". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/hebrews-1.html. 2013.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

Instead of being sovereign, the angels are servants. The fourth quotation is from Psalm 104:4. By describing the angels as "winds" the psalmist was drawing attention to their spirit nature, invisibility, power, and role as servants of a higher Power. As flames of fire they are God"s agents of judgment and illumination. Wind and fire were also symbols of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament. They were appropriate designations of both the Holy Spirit and angels because both served the Father in similar ways as His servants. Even though the angels are as swift as wind and as powerful as fire, they are inferior to the Son.


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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:7". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/hebrews-1.html. 2012.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Hebrews 1:7. As to angels, moreover, they were made by Him (not begotten). They are spirits, not sons; and His servants or ministers, a ‘flame of fire.’ Some render ‘spirits’ by ‘winds,’ and read, ‘He maketh His angels as winds, passive, swift, and untiring.’ They do His will, as do the tempest and the lightning. In the Hebrew of the Psalm (Psalms 104:4) either meaning is possible, ‘He maketh the winds or spirits His messengers,’ or ‘His messengers spirits’ or winds. In the Septuagint, and so here, on the other hand, the only allowable meaning is, ‘His angels or messengers winds’ or ‘spirits.’ The rendering of the Greek by winds is very rare in the New Testament, and is indeed found only here, and possibly in John 3:8. In Hebrews 1:14, the angels are expressly called ‘ministering spirits’—a name that recalls both the names given in Hebrews 1:7, spirits and ministers. They are His workmanship, not His sons; and they are all either ‘spirits’ or material elements, or as material elements; ‘a flame of fire,’ an allusion perhaps to a Jewish interpretation of seraphim—‘the burning ones.’ On the whole, therefore, the A.V. seems preferable to the marginal rendering.


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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:7". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/hebrews-1.html. 1879-90.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

Hebrews 1:7. καὶ πρὸς μὲν τοὺς ἀγγέλους λέγει.… The πρὸς μὲν of this verse is balanced by πρὸς δὲ in Hebrews 1:8; and in both πρός is to be rendered “with reference to,” or “of” as in Luke 20:19; Romans 10:21; Xen., Mem., iv. 2–15. Cf. Winer, p. 505: and our own expression “speak to such and such a point”. ποιῶν κ. τ. λ. cited from Psalms 104:4, Lünemann and others hold that the Hebrew is wrongly rendered and means “who maketh winds his messengers” not “who maketh His angels winds”. Calvin, too, finds no reference to angels in the words. He believes that in this Hymn of Creation the Psalmist, to illustrate how God is in all nature, says “who maketh the winds his messengers,” i.e., uses for his purposes the apparently wildest of natural forces, and “flaming fire his ministers,” the most rapid, resistless and devouring of agents controlled by the Divine hand. Cf. Shakespeare, “thought-executing fires”. The writer accepts the LXX translation and it serves his purpose of exhibiting that the characteristic function of angels is service, and that their form and appearance depend upon the will of God. This was the current Jewish view. Many of the sayings quoted by Schoettgen and Weber suggest that with some of the Rabbis the belief in angels was little more than a way of expressing their faith in a spiritual, personal power behind the forces of nature. “When they are sent on a mission to earth, they are wind: when they stand before God they are fire.” The angel said to Manoah, “I know not after what image I am made, for God changes us every hour; why, then, dost thou ask after my name? Sometimes He makes us fire, at others wind; sometimes men, at other times angels.” Sometimes they appear to have no individual existence at all, but are merely the light-radiance or halo of God’s glory. “No choir of angels sings God’s praises twice, for each day God creates new hosts which sing His praises and then vanish into the stream of fire from under the throne of His glory whence they came.” Cf. also the Book of Jubilees, ii. 2. “On the first day He created the heavens which are above and the earth and the waters and all the spirits which serve before Him—the angels of the presence, and the angels of sanctification, and the angels of the spirit of the winds, and the angels of the spirit of the clouds, and of darkness, and of snow and of hail, and of hoar frost, and the angels of the voices of the thunder and of the lightning, and the angels of the spirits of cold and of heat, and of winter and of spring, and of autumn and of summer, and of all the spirits of His creatures which are in the heavens and on the earth, the abysses and the darkness, eventide and the light, dawn and day which He hath prepared in the knowledge of His heart.” One thing all these citations serve to bring out is that the angels were merely servants; like the physical forces of nature they were dependent and perishable. In contrast to these qualities are those ascribed to the Son.


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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:7". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/hebrews-1.html. 1897-1910.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

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[BIBLIOGRAPHY]

Greek: O poion tous Aggelous autou pneumata, not Greek: ta pneumata, the Greek article being put before Angels, and not before spirits, may seem to favour that exposition, which compares Angels to the winds and to a flame of fire.

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:7". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/hebrews-1.html. 1859.

John Owen Exposition of Hebrews

Having in one testimony from the Scripture, expressing the subjection of angels unto the Lord Christ, signally proved his main design, the apostle proceedeth to the further confirmation of it in the same way, and that by balancing single testimonies concerning the nature and offices of the angels with some others concerning the same things in the Lord Christ, of whom he treats. And the first of these, relating unto angels, he lays down in the next verse: —

Hebrews 1:7. καὶ πρὸς μὲν τοὺς ἀγγέλους λέγει· ᾿ο ποιῶν τοὺς ἀγγέλους αὑτοῦ πςνύματα, καὶ τοὺς λειτουργοὺς αὑτοῦ πυρὸς φλόγα.

There is not much of difficulty in the words. πρὸς ἀγγέλους,” unto the angels.” Syr., על מַלָאכֵא, “of” (or “concerning”) “the angels.” אלis often used for על, and on the contrary, and πρός for περί; so that πρὸς τοὺς ἀγγέλους, “to the angels,” is as much as περί τῶν ἀγγέλων, “of” (or “concerning”) “the angels:” “But as concerning the angels,” (or, “and of the angels,”) “he saith;” for these words are not spoken unto the angels, as the following words are directly spoken unto the Son. He is the person as well spoken to as spoken of; but so are not the angels in the place from whence this testimony is taken, wherein the Holy Ghost only declareth the providence of God concerning them. λέγει, “he saith;” that is, God the Father saith, or the Holy Ghost in the Scripture saith, as was before observe.

τοὺς λειτουργούς. λειτουργός is “minister publicus,” “a public minister,” or agent; from λήϊτος, which is the same with δημόσιος, as Hesychius renders it, “public.” He that is employed in any great and public work is λειτουργός. Hence, of old, magistrates were termed λειτουργοὶ θεῶν, they are by Paul, διάκονοι θεοῦ, Romans 13:4, “the ministers of God.” And Hebrews 8:2 of this epistle, he calls the Lord Jesus, in respect of his priestly office, τῶν ἁγιών λειτουργόν, “the public minister of holy things;” and himself, in respect of his apostleship, λειτουργὸν ᾿ιησοῦ χριστοῦ, Romans 15:16, “a minister of Jesus Christ.” So the name is on this account equipollent unto that of angels; for as that denoteth the mission of those spirits unto their work, so doth this their employment therein.

Hebrews 1:7. — But unto [of] the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire, [or, flaming fire.]

The apostle here entereth upon his third argument to prove the pre- eminence of the Lord Christ above angels, and that by comparing them together, either as to their natures or as to their employments, according as the one or the other is set forth, declared, and testified unto in the Scriptures of the Old Testament. And this first place which he refers unto angels we shall now explain and vindicate; and in so doing inquire both who they are of whom the psalmist speaks, and what it is that he affirmeth of them.

There is a threefold sense given of the words of the psalmist, as they lie in the Hebrew text : —

1. The first is that of the modern Jews, who deny that there is any mention made of angels, affirming the subject that the psalmist treats of to be the winds, with thunder and lightning, which God employs as his messengers and ministers to accomplish his will and pleasure. So he made the winds his messengers when he sent them to raise a storm on Jonah when he fled from his presence; and a flaming fire his minister, when by it he consumed Sodom and Gomorrah. And this opinion makes רוּחוֹת, which it interprets “winds,” and אֵשׂ לֹהֵט, “a flaming fire,” to be the subjects of the proposition, of which it is affirmed that God employs them as his messengers and ministers.

That this opinion, which is directly contradictory to the authority of the apostle, is so also to the design of the psalmist, sense of the words, consent of the ancient Jews, and so no way to be admitted, shall afterwards be made to appear.

2. Some aver that the winds and meteors are principally intended, but yet so as that God, affirming that he makes the winds his messengers, doth also intimate that it is the work and employment of his angels above to be his messengers also; and that because he maketh use of their ministry to cause those winds and fires whereby he accomplisheth his will. And this they illustrate by the fire and winds caused by them on mount Sinai at the giving of the law.

But this interpretation, whatever is pretended to the contrary, doth not really differ from the former, denying angels to be intentionally spoken of, only hooking in a respect unto them, not to seem to contradict the apostle, and therefore will be disproved together with that which went before.

3. Others grant that it is the angels of whom the apostle treats; but as to the interpretation of the words they are of two opinions.

Some make “spirits” to be the subject of what is affirmed, and “angels” to be the predicate. In this sense God is said to make those spiritual substances, inhabitants of heaven, his messengers, employing them in his service; and them whose nature is “a flaming fire,” that is the seraphim, to be his ministers, and to accomplish his pleasure. And this way, after Austin, go many expositors, making the term “angels” here merely to denote an employment, and not the persons employed. But as this interpretation also takes off from the efficacy and evidence of the apostle’s argument, so we shall see that there is nothing in the words themselves leading to the embracement of it.

It remains, therefore, that it is the angels that are here spoken of; as also that they are intended and designed by that name, which denotes their persons, and not their employment.

That angels are primarily intended by the psalmist, contrary to the first opinion, of the modern Jews, and the second mentioned, leaning thereunto, appears, —

1. From the scope and design of the psalmist. For designing to set out the glory of God in his works of creation and providence, after he had declared the framing of all things by his power which come under the name of “heavens,” Psalms 110:2-3, before he proceeds to the creation of the earth, — passing over, with Moses, the creation of angels, or couching it with him under the production of light or of the heavens, as they are called in Job, — he declareth his providence and sovereignty in employing his angels between heaven and earth, as his servants for the accomplishment of his pleasure. Neither doth it at all suit his method or design, in his enumeration of the works of God, to make mention of the winds and tempests, and their use in the earth, before he had mentioned the creation of the earth itself, which follows in the next verse unto this. So that these senses are excluded by the context of the psalm.

2. The consent of the ancient Jews lies against the sentiment of the modern. Both the old translations either made or embraced by them expressly refer the words unto angels. So doth that of the LXX., as is evident from the words; and so doth the Targum, thus rendering the place, מצלהבא דעבד אזגדוי סרהובין היךְ רוחא שמשוי תקיפין היךְ אשא; — “Who maketh his messengers” (or “angels”) “swift as spirits, and his ministers strong” (or “powerful”) “as a flaming fire.” The supply of the note of similitude makes it evident that they understood the text of angels, and not winds, and of making angels as spirits, and not of making winds to be angels or messengers, which is inconsistent with their words.

3. The word מַלְאָכִים doth usually denote the angels themselves, and no reason can be given why it should not do so in this place.

Moreover, it appears that that term is the subject of the proposition: for, —

1. The apostle and the LXX. fixing the articles before ἀγγέλους and λειτουργούς, “angels” and “ministers,” do plainly determine the subject spoken of: for although, it may be, some variety may be observed in the use of articles in other places, so that they do not always determine the subject of the proposition, as sometimes confessedly they do, as John 1:1; John 4:24; yet in this place, where in the original all the words are left indefinitely, without any prefix to direct the emphasis unto any one of them, the fixing of them in the translation of the apostle and LXX. must necessarily design the subject of them, or else by the addition of the article they leave the sense much more ambiguous than before, and give occasion to a great mistake in the interpretation of the words.

2. The apostle speaks of angels: “Unto the angels he saith.” And in all other testimonies produced by him, that whereof he treats hath the place of the subject spoken of, and not of that which is attributed unto any thing else. Neither can the words be freed from equivocation, if “angels” in the first place denote the persons of the angels, and in the latter their employment only.

3. The design and scope of the apostle requires this construction of the words; for his intention is, to prove by this testimony that the angels are employed in such works and services, and in such a manner, as that they are no way to be compared to the Son of God, in respect of that office which as mediator he hath undertaken: which the sense and construction contended for alone doth prove.

4. The original text requires this sense; for, according to the common use of that language, among words indefinitely used, the first denotes the subject spoken of, which is angels here: עֹשֶׂה מַלְאָכָיו רוּחוֹת, — “making his angels spirits.” And in such propositions ofttimes some note of similitude is to be understood, without which the sense is not complete, and which, as I have showed, the Targum supplieth in this place.

From what hath been said, I suppose it is made evident both that the psalmist expressly treats of angels, and that the subject spoken of by the apostle is expressed in that word, and that following, of ministers.

Our next inquiry is after what is affirmed concerning these angels and ministers spoken of; and that is, that God makes them “spirits,” and “a flame of fire.” And concerning the meaning of these words there are two opinions: —

1. That the creation of angels is intended in the words; and the nature whereof they were made is expressed in them. He made them spirits, — that is, of a spiritual substance; and his heavenly ministers, quick, powerful, agile, as a flaming fire. Some carry this sense farther, and affirm that two sorts of angels are intimated, one of an aerial substance like the wind, and the other igneal or fiery, denying all pure intelligences, without mixture of matter, as the product of the school of Aristotle.

But this seems not to be the intention of the words; nor is the creation of the angels or the substance whereof they consist here expressed: for, —

(1.) The analysis of the psalm, formerly touched on, requires the referring of these words to the providence of God in employing the angels, and not to his power in making them.

(2.) The apostle in this place hath nothing to do with the essence and nature of the angels, but with their dignity, honor, and employment; on which accounts he preferreth the Lord Christ before them. Wherefore, —

2. The providence of God in disposing and employing of angels in his service is intended in these words; and so they may have a double sense: —

(1.) That God employeth his angels and heavenly ministers in the production of those winds, רוּחוֹת, and fire, אֵשׁ לֹהֵט, thunder and lightning, whereby he executeth many judgments in the world.

(2.) A note of similitude may be understood, to complete the sense, which is expressed in the Targum on the psalm: “He maketh” (or “sendeth”) “his angels like the winds, or like a flaming fire,” — maketh them speedy, spiritual, agile, powerful, quickly and effectually accomplishing the work that is appointed unto them.

Either way this is the plain intendment of the psalm, — that God useth and employeth his angels in effecting the works of his providence here below, and that they were made to serve the providence of God in that way and manner. ‘This,’saith the apostle, ‘is the testimony which the Holy Ghost gives concerning them, their nature, duty, and work, wherein they serve the providence of God. But now,’saith he, ‘consider what the Scripture saith concerning the Son, how it calls him God, how it ascribes a throne and a kingdom unto him’(testimonies whereof he produceth in the next verses),’ and you will easily discern his pre-eminence above them.’

But before we proceed to the consideration of the ensuing testimonies, we may make some observations on that which we have already passed through; as, —

I. Our conceptions of the angels, their nature, office, and work, is to be regulated by the Scripture.

The Jews of old had many curious speculations about angels, wherein they greatly pleased and greatly deceived themselves. Wherefore the apostle, in his dealing with them, calls them off from all their foolish imaginations, to attend unto those things which God hath revealed in his word concerning them. This the Holy Ghost saith of them, and therefore this we are to receive and believe, and this alone: for, —

1. This will keep us unto that becoming sobriety in things above us which both the Scripture greatly commends and is exceedingly suited unto right reason. The Scripture minds us μὴ ὑπερφρονεῖν παρ᾿ ὅ δεῖ φρονεῖν ἀλλὰ φρονεῖν εἰς σωφρονεῖν, Romans 12:3, “to keep ourselves within the bounds of modesty, and to be wise to sobriety.” And the rule of that sobriety is given us for ever, Deuteronomy 29:28, לָנֹוּ וּלְבָנֵינוּ הנִּסְתָּרֹת לַיהוֹה אֶלהֵינוּ וְהַנִּגְלֹת; — “Secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but revealed things unto us and to our children.” Divine revelation is the rule and measure of our knowledge in these things, and that bounds and determines our sobriety. And hence the apostle, condemning the curiosity of men on this very subject about angels, makes the nature of their sin to consist in exceeding these bounds by an inquiry into things unrevealed; and the rise of that evil to lie in pride, vanity, and fleshliness; and the tendency of it to be unto false worship, superstition, and idolatry, Colossians 2:18. Neither is there any thing more averse from right reason, nor more condemned by wise men of former times, than a curious humour of prying into those things wherein we are not concerned, and for whose investigation we have no certain, honest, lawful rule or medium. And this evil is increased where God himself hath given bounds to our inquiries, as in this case he hath.

2. This alone will bring us unto any certainty and truth. Whilst men indulge to their own imaginations and fancies, as too many in this matter have been apt to do, it is sad to consider how they have wandered up and down, and with what fond conceits they have deceived themselves and others. The world hath been filled with monstrous opinions and doctrines about angels, their nature, offices, and employments. Some have worshipped them, others pretended I know not what communion and intercourse with them; in all which conceits there hath been little of truth, and nothing at all of certainty. Whereas if men, according to the example of the apostle, would keep themselves to the word of God, as they would know enough in this matter for the discharging of their own duty, so they would have assurance and evidence of truth in their conceptions; without which pretended high and raised notions are but a shadow of a dream, — worse than professed ignorance.

II. We may hence observe, that the glory, honor, and exaltation of angels lies in their subserviency to the providence of God. It lies not so much in their nature as in their work and service. The intention of the apostle is to show the glory of angels and their exaltation; which he doth by the induction of this testimony, reporting their serviceableness in the works wherein of God they are employed. God hath endowed the angels with a very excellent nature, — furnished them with many eminenent properties, of wisdom, power, agility, perpetuity: but yet what is glorious and honorable herein consists not merely in their nature itself and its essential properties, all which abide in the horridest and most- to-be-detested part of the whole creation, namely, the devils; but in their conformity and answerableness unto the mind and will of God, — that is, in their moral, not merely natural endowments. These make them amiable, glorious, excellent. Unto this their readiness for and compliance with the will of God, — that God having made them for his service, and employing them in his work, — their discharge of their duty therein with cheerfulness, alacrity, readiness, and ability, is that which renders them truly honorable and glorious. Their readiness and ability to serve the providence of God is their glory; for, —

1. The greatest glory that any creature can be made partaker of, is to serve the will and set forth the praise of its Creator. That is its order and tendency towards its principal end; in which two all true honor consists. It is glorious even in the angels to serve the God of glory. What is there above this for a creature to aspire unto? what that its nature is capable of? Those among the angels who, as it seems, attempted somewhat further, somewhat higher, attained nothing but an endless ruin in shame and misery. Men are ready to fancy strange things about the glory of angels, and do little consider that all the difference in glory that is in any parts of God’s creation lies merely in willingness, ability, and readiness to serve God their Creator.

2. The works wherein God employs them, in a subservience unto his providence, are in an especial manner glorious works. As for the service of angels, as it is intimated unto us in the Scripture, it may be reduced unto two heads; for they are employed either in the communication of protection and blessings to the church, or in the execution of the vengeance and judgments of God against his enemies. Instances to both these purposes may be multiplied, but they are commonly known. Now these are glorious works. God in them eminently exalts his mercy and justice, — the two properties of his nature in the execution whereof he is most eminently exalted: and from these works ariseth all that revenue of glory and praise which God is pleased to reserve to himself from the world: so that it must needs be very honorable to be employed in these works.

3. They perform their duty in their service in a very glorious manner, with great power, wisdom, and uncontrollable efficacy. Thus, one of them slew one hundred and eighty-five thousand of the enemies of God in a night; another set fire on Sodom and Gomorrah from heaven. Of the like power and expedition are they in all their services, in all things to the utmost capacity of creatures answering the will of God. God himself, it is true, sees that in them and their works which keeps them short of absolute purity and perfection, which are his own properties; but as to the capacity of mere creatures, and for their state and condition, there is a perfection in their obedience, and that is their glory.

Now, if this be the great glory of angels, and we poor worms of the earth are invited, as we are, unto a participation with them therein, what unspeakable folly will it be in us if we be found negligent in laboring to attain thereunto! Our future glory consists in this, that we shall be made like unto angels; and our way towards it is, to do the will of our Father on earth as it is done by them in heaven. Oh, in how many vanities doth vain man place his glory! Nothing so shameful that one or other hath not gloried in; whilst the true and only glory, of doing the will of God, is neglected by almost all! But we must treat again of these things upon the last verse of this chapter.


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Bibliography
Owen, John. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:7". "John Owen Exposition of Hebrews". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/joc/hebrews-1.html. 1862.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

of = with reference to. Greek. pros. App-104.

spirits. App-101.

ministers. Greek. leitourgos. App-190.:4. This verse is from the Septuagint of Psalms 104:4.


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:7". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/hebrews-1.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire.

Of , [ pros (Greek #4314) tous (Greek #3588) angelous (Greek #32)] - 'in reference TO the angels.'

Spirits - or 'winds.' Who employeth His angels as the winds. His ministers as the lightnings; or, He maketh His angelic ministers the directing powers of winds and flames, when these are required to perform His will. The English version, "maketh His angels spirits," means, He maketh them subtle, incorporeal, swift as the wind. So Psalms 18:10, "a cherub ... the wings of the wind." Hebrews 1:14, "ministering spirits," favours the English version. As "spirits" implies the wind-like velocity and subtle nature of the cherubim, so "flame of fire" expresses the burning all-consuming devotion of the adoring seraphim (meaning 'burning') (Isaiah 6:1). The translation, 'maketh winds His messengers, and a flame of fire His ministers(!),' is wrong. In Psalms 104:3-4 the subject in each clause comes first, and the attribute predicated of it second; so the article marks "angels" and "ministers" as the subjects, and 'winds' and "flame of fire," predicates [ tous (Greek #3588) angelous (Greek #32) ... autou (Greek #846) pneumata (Greek #4151), ... tous (Greek #3588) leitourgous (Greek #3011) autou (Greek #846) puros (Greek #4442) floga (Greek #5395)]. Sh


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Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:7". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/hebrews-1.html. 1871-8.

The Bible Study New Testament

About the angels. The quotation is from Psalm 104:4 Septuagint. The Expositor's Greek Testament says: "The writer accepts the LXX translation and it serves his purpose of exhibiting that the characteristic function of angels is service, and that their form and appearance depend upon the will of God."


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Bibliography
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:7". "The Bible Study New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/hebrews-1.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(7) Spirits.—Better, winds. It is very difficult to assign any clear meaning to the ordinary rendering,—unless, indeed, we were to adopt the very strange opinion of many of the earlier commentators, that the stress is laid on “maketh” in the sense of “createth.” The parallelism in these two lines of Hebrew poetry is complete, “angels” answering to “ministers,” “winds” to “a flame of fire.” The meaning appears to be that God, employing His messengers for His varied purposes, sends them forth in what manner He may please, clothing them with the appearance of the resistless wind or the devouring fire. (We may contrast 1 Kings 19:11-12.) The force of the passage lies in the vividness with which it presents the thought of the Most High served by angels who “at His bidding speed,” untiring as the wind, subtle as the fire. We feel much more distinctly than we can put into words the infinite contrast between such ministers and the Son seated at the right hand of God. The quotation is taken from Psalms 104:4, without any variation in the Greek. Whether this translation faithfully represents the original is a question that has been warmly discussed. Not that there is any doubt that such a rendering of the Hebrew is in itself natural; but it is often alleged that the context requires an inversion of the words, Who maketh winds His messengers, flaming fire His ministers. The point cannot be examined here; we will only express a decided opinion that the translation defended above not only expresses the meaning of the Hebrew, but perfectly accords with the context of the Psalm.


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Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:7". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/hebrews-1.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire.
of
Gr. unto. Who.
14; 2 Kings 2:11; 6:17; Psalms 104:4; Isaiah 6:2; *Heb:; Ezekiel 1:13,14; Daniel 7:10; Zechariah 6:5

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Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:7". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/hebrews-1.html.

E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament

But even this contrast with angels would not mean so much, unless the angels themselves were important beings. Accordingly, Paul says "God makes his angels ministering spirits", thus being very important personages in the great scheme of grace.


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Bibliography
Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:7". E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/znt/hebrews-1.html. 1952.

Haldane's Exposition on the Epistle to the Romans

And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire.

And of the angels...—The angels are here described as spirits, and as a flame of fire. The word "spirits" also signifies "winds," and some, therefore, understand the passage as teaching us that the Lord makes winds His messengers and flaming fire His ministers; but the Apostle does not here teach us the nature of winds and of lightnings, but the nature of angels. The best interpretation seems to be, that the angels when sent by the Lord to perform His will, do so in the form of winds and fire. When Elijah was taken up into heaven, "there appeared a chariot of fire and horses of fire." " Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven." This seems to be a work performed by the ministry of angels, the chariot and the horses of fire appear to have been angels. We also read, that when Elisha was surrounded by the Syrian army, the mountain was full of horses of fire round about the prophet. That these were persons is evident from what Elisha said to his servant, "Fear not, for there be more with us than with them." This interpretation both suits the phraseology and presents the angels in a very humble situation. Or, perhaps the meaning may be that the angels serve their Maker with the rapidity of the winds and the resistless power of the lightnings.


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Bibliography
Haldane, Robert. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:7". "Haldane's Exposition on the Epistle to the Romans and Hebrews". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hal/hebrews-1.html. 1835.

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