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Heb 1:6 yet future!

  

(Heb 1:6) And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.

As far as I can remember, I have always viewed this verse as speaking of a future event.

But I have noticed that for some “reason”, some among our ranks have now changed their minds and see this verse as talking about the birth of Christ; and I simply can’t see why!! 🙁

The following is my reasons:

Now the context that I speak of is ‘The worship of Christ’ as shown in verses such as
Matt 2:2,8,11; 8:2, 9:18, 14:33, 15:25, 20:20, 28:9,17;
Mark 5:6, John 9:38, etc.

The meaning of the word “worship” in relation to Christ using the words ‘shachah/proskuneo’ has been nicely explained in articles such as

(So please look at these for background)

So my context is “bowing down before Christ & doing obeisance/reverance before him.”
That is indeed, the principal meaning of the words ‘shachah’ & ‘proskuneo’.

Now in showing the supremacy of Jesus Christ as over the angels, the writer of Hebrews contends that when God brings the firstbegotten into the world, all the angels of God will have to worship/proskuneo the Lord Jesus.

I believe a source of confusion may be where do you place the word ‘again’ in Heb 1:6?

The KJV rendering above could be taken to mean
“And again” i.e. my next point is … ‘

However modern renderings of the Greek such as:

  • (ASV) And when he again bringeth in the firstborn into the world he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.
  • (NKJV) But when he again brings the firstborn into the world, He says: “Let all the angels of God worship him.”
  • (NASB) And when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says, “AND LET ALL THE ANGELS OF GOD WORSHIP HIM.”

show that this is speaking of a time when God again brings the firstborn into the world.

Besides, regardless of the KJV rendering, doesn’t Heb 2:5, show that the context is about the world/oikoumene to come!!
Hence future!

Now the event described, is when all the angels of God will pay homage to our Lord Jesus Christ.

This sounds like an incredible, amazing, spectacular event.
So my question then is, did this event happen at the birth of Christ?

In Matthew’s account, Matthew Chapter 2.
Matthew makes it clear that wise men from the East sought out, him born King of the Jews, in order that they may worship/proskuneo him. (Matt 2:2,8,11).

The only mention of angels is the angel of Yahweh appearing to Joseph in dreams – Matt. 1:20,24; 2:13,19.

In Luke account, Luke Chapter 2.
an angel of Yahweh appeared visibly to shepherds and then …

(Luke 2:8-20) And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. 15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. 16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. 17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. 18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

[I assume you know that Matthew’s account is when Jesus was by this time a toddler, living in a house – Matt. 2:11.
And Luke’s account is when Jesus was born and the shepherds visited him in a manger.
The wise men & the shepherds never did meet at the same time! I’m afraid the Nativity plays got that wrong! 🙁 ]

 

Note the heavenly host were praising God! There is no mention of them worshipping the babe Jesus.
(Come to mention it, neither did the shepherds!)

If this is the event supposedly depicted in Heb. 1:6, IMO, this is a bit of non-event in comparison.
Because it was a very localized event, witnessed by some shepherds; and I doubt it was all the angels of God!
Do you see my point?

So IMHO, Heb 1.6 does not speak of the birth of Christ.

However, I believe Paul has an future event in mind which corresponds with Heb 1.6.

(Phil 2:9-11 NASB) For this reason also, God highly exalted him, and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Surely this is what Heb 1:6 speaks of?
When every knee will bow i.e. proskuneo, of all those who are in heaven!!

What say ye?

13 Responses to “Heb 1:6 yet future!”

  1. on 13 Oct 2008 at 12:46 pmAnders Branderud

    Hello! I found your website. My name is Anders Branderud and I am from Sweden.

  2. on 15 Oct 2008 at 2:27 amJaco

    Great post, Delroy
    You are correct in stating that the crux of this scripture is the placement of the “again”. I think, where it comes to Bible translation, one should firstly be cautious so as not to limit a rendering to a certain interpretation while some ambiguity exists, and then, as in this case, consider the pattern or line of reasoning used in the immediate context.
    Using Paul’s line of reasoning, we could rearrange the phrasing of that argument as follows, using the rendering as per Lamsa’s Translation of the Peshitta:
    Heb 1:4-7. And he is altogether greater than the angels, just as the name he has inherited is a more excellent name than theirs. 5 For to which of the angels has God at any time, said
    You are my Son, this day have I begotten you?

    And again,

    I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?

    6 And again, when he brought the Firstbegotten into the world, he said,

    Let all the angels of God worship him.

    7 And of the angels he said thus, Who makes his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire.

    The Scripture Paul apparently quotes in vs. 6 is Psalm 97:7.

    As you have shown, the actual fulfilment of this prophecy is very likely to be in the future, although from the grammar alone we cannot limit the rendering to that interpretation. The challenge is to translate, and not to interpret. To render it:

    • (NKJV) But when he again brings the firstborn into the world, He says: “Let all the angels of God worship him.”
    One limits the meaning to His “bringing again” the firstborn into the world, i.e. a future bring into the world. The Greek text is in itself somewhat ambiguous, and the Scripture in its translated rendering should not restrict it any further. I do not think leaving it “ambiguous” poses any problem. To render it the way KJV or Lamsa (and others) do, namely, that he would bring his firstborn into the world (while using the ‘again’ only repetitively, following Paul’s argument), leaves it up to the reader to search the Scripture and see how that prophecy reaches fulfilment. This rendering facilitates Jesus’ life back in the first century, since, as you’ve shown, angels did do obeisance before him, and at other times strengthened and ministered to him. But, it also leaves its fulfilment open to a future glorification and exaltation when His Majesty returns in Kingdom glory.

  3. on 15 Oct 2008 at 6:15 amDelroy

    Thanks Jaco.
    I do understand what you’re saying.
    However, I have NOT shown angels doing obeisance before him, in the first century!! That’s my point. There is no such reference!!
    Therefore, it must be yet future,
    because there is no ref. of Heb 1.6, Phil 2.10 being fulfilled.

  4. on 15 Oct 2008 at 12:33 pmWolfgang

    Hi Delroy,

    you say above

    There is no such reference!!
    Therefore, it must be yet future,
    because there is no ref. of Heb 1.6, Phil 2.10 being fulfilled.

    Do you think that there will at some time in the future another book added to the Bible which lists the fulfillment ? because otherwise, according to your logic, there would never be a fulfillement since there would not be a reference anywhere in Scripture about such fulfillment …

    As to the point of whether v 6 is a reference concerning an event yet future or already past (from the perspective of the time of writing of the epistle), it seems to me that one should observe the following:
    (1) the “and again” is used repeatedly in the passage, and it is used in these cases to introduce an OT quote … rather than “again” being linked to some action spoken of in the quote
    (2) the expression “when he brought the Firstgebotten into the world” is not part of a quote, but part of the introductory remark for the next OT quotation
    (3) the word “brought” (in “brought the Firstbegotten into the world”) is in past tense … which would normally point to an event which has already happened

    Cheers,
    Wolfgang

  5. on 15 Oct 2008 at 12:38 pmWolfgang

    Hi Delroy,

    I forgot to mention something else re Heb 1 … it seems to me that many interpretations of this chapter given nowadays in commentaries and books are failing to correctly understand the OT quotations and how they were applied by the writer of Heb in order to scripturally support certain points.

    In particular, I have found quite many such incorrect interpretations in works where the trinity doctrine is advertised and these passages are used because they supposedly declare that Jesus is God … which is NOT at all what the OT quotations teach and certainly NOT what the writer of Heb is writing about.

    Cheers,
    Wolfgang

  6. on 15 Oct 2008 at 7:18 pmDelroy

    Thanks Wolfgang for your comments
    Although I don’t understand this remark, “Do you think that there will at some time in the future another book added to the Bible which lists the fulfillment ? because otherwise, according to your logic, there would never be a fulfillement since there would not be a reference anywhere in Scripture about such fulfillment …”

    Why the need for another book? What’s wrong with my logic?

    I am simply stating why I believe Heb 1:6 cannot be referring to the birth of Christ, seeing that there is no record of “all the angels of God worshipping/proskuneo Christ”;
    hence, it must be some future event;
    which God willing, we will ALL witness at Christ’s return.

    That’s the point I am making, that’s all!

  7. on 16 Oct 2008 at 1:11 amJoseph

    Shalom Anders,

    I followed the link you posted, do you participate in a Messianic congregation in Ra’anana? I lived and worked in Netanya with family for a few months, where is Ra’anana from there?

  8. on 16 Oct 2008 at 6:56 amWolfgang

    Hi Delroy,

    you mentioned that the fulfillment had not yet happened because there was no reference of it having happened and having been fulfilled. Your loogic seems that as long as there is no reference to a prophecy’s fulfillment in the Scripture, it is still future and has not been fulfilled … From this it follows, that unless there will be another book added after those prophecies have been fulfilled in which readers then have a reference to the fulfillment, the readers would need to regard those prophecies as unfilfilled and yet future ….

    For example, as regards Heb 1:6 … if that were yet unfulfilled because there is no reference in the Scriptures we do have at this time, what about those folks who will live after the fulfillment of it? how would they know that it has been fulfilled, unless there will be another book added in which they can find a reference to the fulfillment?

    I have already stated that I do think that the verse itself gives evidence that it is NOT talking about a future event but that the firstgebotten was BROUGHT (past tense!) into the world, and that the word “again” is NOT linked with the “bringing into the world”, but according to the context and its structure is used to introduce yet another (an again) OT quotation.

    Furthermore, one must determine how the OT quotations (things that have
    declared and can be read in OT scripture) are utilized in the context and how they do apply to the then current situation.

    Cheers,
    Wolfgang

  9. on 16 Oct 2008 at 7:31 amDelroy

    Wolfgang, we don’t need another book.
    Simply, by God’s grace, we will ALL be resurrected to see the fulfilment of the majority of unfulfilled prophecies at Christ’s Coming.
    Thanks for your comments.

  10. on 16 Oct 2008 at 12:49 pmWolfgang

    Hi Delroy

    does that mean that you believe that there won’t be any people living on earth after the return of the Lord and the resurrection who would be looking back on events that mark a fulfillment of prophecy but who could not recognize it as such since there would not be any reference in Scripture which would tell them about the fulfillment?

    By the way, I do think that all the angels did in fact worship the Messiah … and that we do not need another book with a reference to a fulfillment of prophecy since the prophecies of certain events are very clear and it is obvious that they either have happened as prophesied or else — if they were not fulfilled as prophesied — those who made such prophecies would be false prophets.

    Cheers,
    Wolfgang

  11. on 17 Oct 2008 at 9:32 pmJohn

    Hi Delroy,
    I understand Wolfgang’s argument. The fact that there’s no explicit reference to the fulfillment of Heb 1:6 doesn’t mean it did not happen yet. Of course, it doesn’t mean it happened either.

    But I have to notice, what Wolfgang says is not entirely accurate: it does not say that the firstborn “was BROUGHT (past tense!)”. There’s no past tense here. The verb in Greek is “εἰσαγάγῃ”, which is a subjunctive aorist. Subjunctives do not indicate absolute time – like past, present, future, but only aspect: a continuous action or an undefined one. The aorist form of the subjunctive indicates an undefined aspect. The translation simply says:

    “And when He again BRINGS the firstborn”

    So just from looking at this verb, we don’t know if this has already happened or not. Although, if we look at the writer’s previous and subsequent arguments (of which 1:6 is one), we see the majority of them (if not all!) took place in the past.

    Delroy, you mention Heb 2:5 as proof that the world Jesus enters in is a future one. I think you are correct here, the author says

    “For He did not subject to angels the world to come, CONCERNING WHICH WE ARE SPEAKING. ”

    Now what is this “world to come”? Is this is a future world to us and to Jesus as well? Or only to us? Having this future world in mind, the writer continues:

    Hebrews 2:6-9
    But one has testified somewhere, saying, […] “You have made him for a little while lower than the angels; YOU HAVE CROWNED HIM WITH GLORY AND HONOR, AND HAVE APPOINTED HIM OVER THE WORKS OF YOUR HANDS; 8 you have put all things in subjection under his feet.” For in subjecting all things to him, He left nothing that is not subject to him. But now we do not yet see all things subjected to him. 9 BUT WE DO SEE HIM who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, JESUS, […] CROWNED WITH GLORY AND HONOR […]

    So God did not subject this future world to angels (vs. 5) but to Jesus (vs. 9). But before subjecting this future world ENTIRELY to Jesus, God crowns him with glory and honor, and has appointed him over everything in this future world. He has ALREADY been appointed over this world, and has already been crowned with glory and honor concerning this world. For Jesus, this world is not a future world. The only aspect that lies in the future regarding this world is its total subjection to Jesus. That will be achieved when “the last enemy will be abolished, death” (1Co15:26)

    You would expect that when Jesus was crowned with glory and honor, the angels would acknowledge this by doing obeissance to him. So when did this coronation take place? You are correct when you say that Phil. 2:9-10 is connected with Heb 1:6:

    Philippians 2:9-10
    For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

    There’s only one misleading factor here: NASB says “WILL bow”, but the Greek verb κάμψῃ used here is not in future tense; once again we are dealing with a subjunctive aorist (see above). But this time, we have an important hint: it is preceded by “ἵνα”, rendered as “for this reason”. Mounce’s “Basics of Biblical Greek Grammar” says about this construction that it can indicate purpose. For example: I am going into the temple in order that I MAY PRAY. So, similary, “God highly exalted Him” with the purpose that every knee should bow to Jesus. That is why other translations mention no future tense, but say:

    “that at the name of Jesus every knee SHOULD bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth”

    Yes, since God has already (in the past) highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, everybody SHOULD, NOW, bow his knee to Jesus. His followers do that already, and I have no doubt the holy angels in heaven do that as well. This is not a future event, but one already in progress. So when did God bring Jesus AGAIN into the world? When was Jesus missing from the world? Wasn’t he absent three days while dead? God resurrects him, bringing him AGAIN in the world. After resurrection Jesus says:

    “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth” – Mt 28:18

    He says the same thing as the writer of Hebrews: after he was made a little lower than angels while a man, he was crowned with glory and honor after the resurrection, given all authority in heaven and on earth.

    Acts 2:32-36
    “This Jesus God raised up again […] “Therefore HAVING BEEN EXALTED TO THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD[…] “Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that GOD HAS MADE HIM BOTH LORD AND CHRIST– this Jesus whom you crucified.”

    So in my opinion, Jesus enters the world again when he is resurrected by God. God then exalts him giving him authority over everything, and that’s why every knee should bow now.

  12. on 21 Oct 2008 at 3:48 pmDelroy

    Wow John! Jesus enters the world again when he is resurrected by God. That is indeed a novel thought.
    I’ll have to muse over that for a while. Thanks for that.

  13. on 21 Oct 2008 at 8:42 pmJohnE

    You’re welcome!

  

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