Hebrews 1:14

14 Are they not all ministering spirits 1sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to 2inherit salvation?

Hebrews 1:14 Meaning and Commentary

Hebrews 1:14

Are they not all ministering spirits
Servants to God, to Christ, and to his people, and therefore must be inferior to the Son of God. The phrase is Rabbinical; frequent mention is made in Jewish writings F1 of (trvh ykalm) , "the angels of ministry", or "the ministering angels"; this is their common appellation with the Jews; and the apostle writing to such, uses a like phrase, well known to them, and appeals to them, if the angels were not such spirits.

Sent forth to minister for them who shall be the heirs of salvation?
the persons they minister to, and for, are those, who shall be the heirs of salvation; that is, of eternal glory, which will be possessed by the saints, as an inheritance: hence it belongs to children, being bequeathed to them by their Father, and comes to them through the death of Christ, of which the Spirit is the earnest; and this shows that it is not of works, and that it is of an eternal duration, and takes in all kind of happiness: and of this the saints are heirs now; and so the Ethiopic version renders it, "who are heirs of salvation"; nor should it be rendered, "who shall be heirs", but rather, "who shall inherit salvation"; for this character respects not their heirship, but their actual inheriting of salvation: and the ministry of angels to, and for them, lies in things temporal and spiritual, or what concern both their bodies and their souls; in things temporal, in which they have often been assisting, as in providing food for their bodies, in curing their diseases, in directing and preserving them in journeys, in saving and delivering them from outward calamities, in restraining things hurtful from hurting them, and in destroying their enemies; in things spiritual, as in making known the mind and will of God to them, in comforting them, and suggesting good things to them, and in helping and assisting them against Satan's temptations; and they are present with their departing souls at death, and carry them to heaven, and will gather the elect together at the last day. And they are "sent forth" to minister to them in such a way; they are sent forth by Christ, the Lord and Creator of them, who therefore must be superior to them; they do not take this office upon themselves, though, being put into they faithfully and diligently execute it, according to the will of Christ: and this shows the care of Christ over his people, and his kindness to them, and the great honour he puts upon them, to appoint such to minister to them; and since they are of so much use and service, they ought to be respected and esteemed, though not worshipped.


FOOTNOTES:

F1 T. Bab. Chagiga, fol. 12. 2. & 14. 1, 2. & 16. 1. Taanith, fol. 11. 1. & Megilia, fol. 15. 2. & in Zohar passim.

Hebrews 1:14 In-Context

12 like a robe you will roll them up, like a garment they will be changed. But you are the same, and your years will have no end."
13 And to which of the angels has he ever said, "Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet"?
14 Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?

Cross References 2

  • 1. Genesis 19:16; Genesis 28:12; Genesis 32:1, 2; Judges 6:11; Judges 13:3; Psalms 34:7; Psalms 91:11; Psalms 103:20, 21; Daniel 3:28; Daniel 6:22; Daniel 10:11; Matthew 18:10
  • 2. See Matthew 25:34