And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten - This is not a correct translation of the Greek, Ὁταν δε παλιν εισαγαγῃ τον πρωτοτοκον εις την οικουμενην· But when he bringeth again, or the second time, the first-born into the habitable world. This most manifestly refers to his resurrection, which might be properly considered a second incarnation; for as the human soul, as well as the fullness of the Godhead bodily, dwelt in the man, Christ Jesus on and during his incarnation, so when he expired upon the cross, both the Godhead and the human spirit left his dead body; and as on his resurrection these were reunited to his revivified manhood, therefore, with the strictest propriety, does the apostle say that the resurrection was a second bringing of him into the world.
I have translated οικουμενη the habitable world, and this is its proper meaning; and thus it is distinguished from κοσμος, which signifies the terraqueous globe, independently of its inhabitants; though it often expresses both the inhabited and uninhabited parts. Our Lord's first coming into the world is expressed by this latter word, Hebrews 10:5; : Wherefore when he cometh into the world, διο εισερχομενος εις τον κοσμον, and this simply refers to his being incarnated, that he might be capable of suffering and dying for man. But the word is changed on this second coming, I mean his resurrection, and then οικουμενη is used; and why? (fancy apart) because he was now to dwell with man; to send his gospel everywhere to all the inhabitants of the earth, and to accompany that Gospel wherever he sent it, and to be wherever two or three should be gathered together in his name. Wherever the messengers of Jesus Christ go, preaching the kingdom of God, even to the farthest and most desolate parts of the earth where human beings exist, there they ever find Christ; he is not only in them, and with them, but he is in and among all who believe on him through their word.
Let all the angels of God worship him - The apostle recurs here to his former assertion, that Jesus is higher than the angels, Hebrews 1:4, that he is none of those who can be called ordinary angels or messengers, but one of the most extraordinary kind, and the object of worship to all the angels of God. To worship any creature is idolatry, and God resents idolatry more than any other evil. Jesus Christ can be no creature, else the angels who worship him must be guilty of idolatry, and God the author of that idolatry, who commanded those angels to worship Christ.
There has been some difficulty in ascertaining the place from which the apostle quotes these words; some suppose Psalm 97:7; : Worship him, all ye gods; which the Septuagint translate thus: Προσκυνησατε αυτῳ, παντες αγγελοι αυτου· Worship him, all ye his angels; but it is not clear that the Messiah is intended in this psalm, nor are the words precisely those used here by the apostle. Our marginal references send us with great propriety to the Septuagint version of Deuteronomy 32:43, where the passage is found verbatim et literatim; but there is nothing answering to the words in the present Hebrew text. The apostle undoubtedly quoted the Septuagint, which had then been for more than 300 years a version of the highest repute among the Jews; and it is very probable that the copy from which the Seventy translated had the corresponding words. However this may be, they are now sanctioned by Divine authority; and as the verse contains some singular additions, I will set it down in a parallel column with that of our own version, which was taken immediately from the Hebrew text, premising simply this, that it is the last verse of the famous prophetic song of Moses, which seems to point out the advent of the Messiah to discomfit his enemies, purify the land, and redeem Israel from all his iniquities.
Deuteronomy 32:43, from the Hebrew Deuteronomy 32:43, from the Septuagint - Rejoice, ye heaven, together with him; and let all the ... Rejoice, O ye nations, with angels of God worship him. Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people ... his people; and let the children of God be strengthened ... for he will avenge in him; for he will avenge the blood of his children; the blood of his servants; - and will render he will avenge, and will repay judgment to his adver- vengeance to his adversaries: - and ... saries; and those who hate him will he recompense: ... will be merciful to his land and to his people and the Lord will purge the land of his people
This is a very important verse; and to it, as it stands in the Septuagint, St. Paul has referred once before; see Romans 15:10. This very verse, as it stands now in the Septuagint, thus referred to by an inspired writer, shows the great importance of this ancient version; and proves the necessity of its being studied and well understood by every minister of Christ. In Romans 3 there is a large quotation - from Psalm 14:1-7; :, where there are six whole verses in the apostle's quotation which are not found in the present Hebrew text, but are preserved in the Septuagint! How strange it is that this venerable and important version, so often quoted by our Lord and all his apostles, should be so generally neglected, and so little known! That the common people should be ignorant of it, is not to be wondered at, as it has never been put in an English dress; but that the ministers of the Gospel should be unacquainted with it may be spoken to their shame.
And again - Margin, “When he bringeth in again.” The proper construction of this sentence probably is, “But when, moreover, he brings in,” etc. The word “again” refers not to the fact that the Son of God is brought “again” into the world, implying that he had been introduced before; but it refers to the course of the apostle‘s argument, or to the declaration which is made about the Messiah in another place. “The name Son is not only given to him as above, but also in another place, or on another occasion when he brings in the first-begotten into the world.” “When he bringeth in.” When he introduces. So far as the “language” here is concerned this might refer to the birth of the Messiah, but it is evident from the whole connection that the writer means to refer to something that is said in the Old Testament. This is plain because the passage occurs among quotations designed to prove a specific point - that the Son of God, the Author of the Christian system, was superior to the angels.
A declaration of the writer here, however true and solemn, would not have answered the purpose. A “proof-text” was missing; a text which would be admitted by those to whom he wrote to bear on the point under consideration. The meaning then is, “that on another occasion different from those to which he had referred, God, when speaking of the Messiah, or when introducing him to mankind, had used language showing that he was superior to the angels.” The meaning of the phrase, “when he bringeth in,” therefore, I take to be, when he introduces him to people; when he makes him known to the world - to wit, by the declaration which he proceeds immediately to quote. “The first-begotten.” Christ is called the “first-begotten,” with reference to his resurrection from the dead, in Revelation 1:5, and Colossians 1:18. It is probable here, however, that the word is used, like the word “first-born,” or “first-begotten” among the Hebrews, by way of eminence.
As the first-born was the principal heir, and had special privileges, so the Lord Jesus Christ sustains a similar rank in the universe of which God is the Head and Father; see notes on John 1:14, where the word “only-begotten” is used to denote the dignity and honor of the Lord Jesus. “Into the world.” When he introduces him to mankind, or declares what he is to be. “He saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.” Much difficulty has been experienced in regard to this quotation, for it cannot be denied that it is intended to be a quotation. In the Septuagint these very words occur in Deuteronomy 32:43, where they are inserted in the Song of Moses. But they are not in the Hebrew, nor are they in all the copies of the Septuagint. The Hebrew is, “Rejoice, O ye nations with his people; for he will avenge the blood of his servants, and will render vengeance to his adversaries.” The Septuagint is, “Rejoice ye heavens with him; and let all the angels of God worship him. Let the nations rejoice with his people, and let all the sons of God be strong in him, for he has avenged the blood of his sons.” But there are objections to our supposing that the apostle had this place in his view, which seem to me to settle the matter.
(1) one is, that the passage is not in the Hebrew; and it seems hardly credible that in writing to Hebrews, and to those residing in the very country where the Hebrew Scriptures were constantly used, he should adduce as a proof-text on an important doctrine what was not in their Scriptures.
(2) asecond is, that it is omitted in all the ancient versions except the Septuagint.
(3) athird is, that it is impossible to believe that the passage in question in Deuteronomy had any reference to the Messiah. It does not relate to his “introduction” to the world. It would not occur to any reader that it had any such reference. The context celebrates the victory over the enemies of Israel which God will achieve. After saying that “his arrows would be drunk with blood, and that his sword would devour flesh with the blood of the slain and of captives, from the time when he began to take vengeance on an enemy,” the Septuagint (not the Hebrew) immediately asserts, “let the heavens rejoice at the same time with him, and let all the angels of God worship him.” That is, “Let the inhabitants of the heavenly world rejoice in the victory of God over the enemies of his people, and let them pay their adoration to him.” But the Messiah does not appear to be alluded to anywhere in the context; much less described as “introduced into the world.”
There is, moreover, not the slightest evidence that it was ever supposed by the Jews to have any such reference; and though it might be said that the apostle merely quoted “language” that expressed his meaning - as we often do when we are familiar with any well-known phrase that will exactly suit our purpose and convey an idea - yet it should be remarked that this is not the way in which this passage is quoted. It is a “proof-text,” and Paul evidently meant to be understood as saying that that passage had a “fair” reference to the Messiah. It is evident, moreover, that it would be admitted to have such a reference by those to whom he wrote. It is morally certain, therefore, that this was not the passage which the writer intended to quote. The probability is, that the writer here referred to Psalm 97:7, (in the Septuagint Psalm 96:7). In that place, the Hebrew is, “worship him, all ye gods” כל אלהים kaal 'elohiym- “all ye ‹elohiym.”
In the Septuagint it is, “Let all his angels worship him;” where the translation is literal, except that the word “God” - “angels of God” - is used by the apostle instead of “his” - “all his angels” - as it is in the Septuagint. The word “gods” - אלהים 'elohiym- is rendered by the word “angels” - but the word may have that sense. Thus, it is rendered by the Septuagint; in Job 20:15; and in Psalm 8:6; Psalm 137:1. It is well known that the word אלהים 'elohiymmay denote “kings” and “magistrates,” because of their rank and dignity; and is there anything improbable in the supposition that, for a similar reason, the word may be given also to “angels”? The fair interpretation of the passage then would be, to refer it to “angelic beings” - and the command in Psalm 97:1-12 is for them to do homage to the Being there referred to. The only question then is, whether the Psalm can be regarded properly as having any reference to the Messiah? Did the apostle fairly and properly use this language as referring to him? On this we may remark:
(1) That the fact that he uses it thus may be regarded as proof that it would be admitted to be proper by the Jews in his time, and renders it probable that it was in fact so used.
(2) two Jewish Rabbis of distinction - Rashi and Kimchi - affirm that all the Psalms Hebrews 1:1, the earth is called on to rejoice that the Lord reigns. In Hebrews 1:2-5, he is introduced or described as coming in the most magnificent manner - clouds and darkness attend him; a fire goes before him; the lightnings play; and the hills melt like wax - a sublime description of his coming, with appropriate symbols, to reign, or to judge the world. In Hebrews 1:6, it is said that all people shall see his glory; in Hebrews 1:7, that all who worship graven images shall be confounded, and “all the angels are required to do him homage;” and in Hebrews 1:8-12, the effect of his advent is described as filling Zion with rejoicing, and the hearts of the people of God with gladness. It cannot be proveD, therefore, that this Psalm had no reference to the Messiah; but the presumption is that it had, and that the apostle has quoted it not only as it was usually regarded in his time, but as it was designed by the Holy Ghost. If so, then it proves, what the writer intended, that the Son of God should be adored by the angels; and of course that he was superior to them. It proves also more. Whom would God require the angels to adore? A creature? A man? A fellow-angel? To ask these questions is to answer them. He could require them to worship none but God, and the passage proves that the Son of God is divine.
Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son? And again, when he bringeth in the first begotten into the world, he said, And let all the angels of God worship him. Hebrews 1:4-6. LHU 34.1Read in context »
There is the throne, and around it the rainbow of promise. There are cherubim and seraphim. The commanders of the angel hosts, the sons of God, the representatives of the unfallen worlds, are assembled. The heavenly council before which Lucifer had accused God and His Son, the representatives of those sinless realms over which Satan had thought to establish his dominion,—all are there to welcome the Redeemer. They are eager to celebrate His triumph and to glorify their King. DA 834.1
But He waves them back. Not yet; He cannot now receive the coronet of glory and the royal robe. He enters into the presence of His Father. He points to His wounded head, the pierced side, the marred feet; He lifts His hands, bearing the print of nails. He points to the tokens of His triumph; He presents to God the wave sheaf, those raised with Him as representatives of that great multitude who shall come forth from the grave at His second coming. He approaches the Father, with whom there is joy over one sinner that repents; who rejoices over one with singing. Before the foundations of the earth were laid, the Father and the Son had united in a covenant to redeem man if he should be overcome by Satan. They had clasped Their hands in a solemn pledge that Christ should become the surety for the human race. This pledge Christ has fulfilled. When upon the cross He cried out, “It is finished,” He addressed the Father. The compact had been fully carried out. Now He declares: Father, it is finished. I have done Thy will, O My God. I have completed the work of redemption. If Thy justice is satisfied, “I will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am.” John 19:30; 17:24. DA 834.2
The voice of God is heard proclaiming that justice is satisfied. Satan is vanquished. Christ's toiling, struggling ones on earth are “accepted in the Beloved.” Ephesians 1:6. Before the heavenly angels and the representatives of unfallen worlds, they are declared justified. Where He is, there His church shall be. “Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.” Psalm 85:10. The Father's arms encircle His Son, and the word is given, “Let all the angels of God worship Him.” Hebrews 1:6. DA 834.3
With joy unutterable, rulers and principalities and powers acknowledge the supremacy of the Prince of life. The angel host prostrate themselves before Him, while the glad shout fills all the courts of heaven, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing.” Revelation 5:12. DA 834.4Read in context »
Now the guilt of Satan stood forth without excuse. He had revealed his true character as a liar and a murderer. It was seen that the very same spirit with which he ruled the children of men, who were under his power, he would have manifested had he been permitted to control the inhabitants of heaven. He had claimed that the transgression of God's law would bring liberty and exaltation; but it was seen to result in bondage and degradation. GC 502.1
Satan's lying charges against the divine character and government appeared in their true light. He had accused God of seeking merely the exaltation of Himself in requiring submission and obedience from His creatures, and had declared that, while the Creator exacted self-denial from all others, He Himself practiced no self-denial and made no sacrifice. Now it was seen that for the salvation of a fallen and sinful race, the Ruler of the universe had made the greatest sacrifice which love could make; for “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself.” 2 Corinthians 5:19. It was seen, also, that while Lucifer had opened the door for the entrance of sin by his desire for honor and supremacy, Christ had, in order to destroy sin, humbled Himself and become obedient unto death. GC 502.2
God had manifested His abhorrence of the principles of rebellion. All heaven saw His justice revealed, both in the condemnation of Satan and in the redemption of man. Lucifer had declared that if the law of God was changeless, and its penalty could not be remitted, every transgressor must be forever debarred from the Creator's favor. He had claimed that the sinful race were placed beyond redemption and were therefore his rightful prey. But the death of Christ was an argument in man's behalf that could not be overthrown. The penalty of the law fell upon Him who was equal with God, and man was free to accept the righteousness of Christ and by a life of penitence and humiliation to triumph, as the Son of God had triumphed, over the power of Satan. Thus God is just and yet the justifier of all who believe in Jesus. GC 502.3Read in context »
“Father,” He says, “I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am.” And then the Father declares, “Let all the angels of God worship him.” The heavenly host prostrate themselves before Him, and raise their song of triumph and joy. Glory encircles the King of heaven, and was beheld by all the heavenly intelligences. No words can describe the scene which took place as the Son of God was publicly reinstated in the place of honor and glory which He voluntarily left when He became a man (The Signs of the Times, May 10, 1899). LHU 102.5Read in context »
Christ, Our Divine Sin Bearer
[This article appeared in The Signs of the Times, September 30, 1903.]Read in context »
1, 2 (Matthew 28:1; Luke 24:1; Romans 6:3-5; 1 Corinthians 11:26). Resurrection Did Not Consecrate First Day—Christ rested in the tomb on the Sabbath day, and when holy beings of both heaven and earth were astir on the morning of the first day of the week, He rose from the grave to renew His work of teaching His disciples. But this fact does not consecrate the first day of the week, and make it a Sabbath. Jesus, prior to His death, established a memorial of the breaking of His body and the spilling of His blood for the sins of the world, in the ordinance of the Lord's supper, saying “For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come.” And the repentant believer, who takes the steps required in conversion, commemorates in his baptism the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. He goes down into the water in the likeness of Christ's death and burial, and he is raised out of the water in the likeness of His resurrection—not to take up the old life of sin, but to live a new life in Christ Jesus (The Spirit of Prophecy 3:204). 5BC 1113.1
6 (John 1:1-3, 14; Philippians 2:5-8; Colossians 2:9; Hebrews 1:6, 8; 2:14-17; 4:15). Deity Did Not Die—Was the human nature of the Son of Mary changed into the divine nature of the Son of God? No; the two natures were mysteriously blended in one person—the man Christ Jesus. In Him dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. When Christ was crucified, it was His human nature that died. Deity did not sink and die; that would have been impossible. Christ, the sinless One, will save every son and daughter of Adam who accepts the salvation proffered them, consenting to become the children of God. The Saviour has purchased the fallen race with His own blood. 5BC 1113.2Read in context »
Jesus took the nature of humanity, in order to reveal to man a pure, unselfish love, to teach us how to love one another. 5BC 1126.1
As a man Christ ascended to heaven. As a man He is the substitute and surety for humanity. As a man He liveth to make intercession for us. He is preparing a place for all who love Him. As a man He will come again with power and glory, to receive His children. And that which should cause us joy and thanksgiving is, that God “hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained.” Then we may have the assurance forever that the whole unfallen universe is interested in the grand work Jesus came to our world to accomplish, even the salvation of man (Manuscript 16, 1890). 5BC 1126.2Read in context »
4-10. Glorified in Those Who Believe—In the intercessory prayer of Jesus with His Father, He claimed that He had fulfilled the conditions which made it obligatory upon the Father to fulfill His part of the contract made in heaven, with regard to fallen man. He prayed: “I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. [That is, He had wrought out a righteous character on earth as an example for men to follow.] And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.” In this prayer He further goes on to state what is comprehended by the work which He has accomplished, and which has given Him all those who believe on His name. He values this recompense so highly that He forgets the anguish it has cost Him to redeem fallen man. He declares Himself glorified in those who believe on Him. The church, in His name, is to carry to glorious perfection the work which He has commenced; and when that church shall be finally ransomed in the Paradise of God, He will look upon the travail of His soul and be satisfied. Through all eternity the ransomed host will be His chief glory (The Spirit of Prophecy 3:260, 261). 5BC 1146.1
5. Let the Veil Be Removed—[John 17:1-5 quoted.] Christ is not praying for the manifestation of the glory of human nature; for that human nature never had an existence in His pre-existence. He is praying to His Father in regard to a glory possessed in His oneness with God. His prayer is that of a mediator; the favor He entreats in the manifestation of that divine glory which was possessed by Him when He was one with God. Let the veil be removed, He says, and let My glory shine forth—the glory which I had with Thee before the world was (The Signs of the Times, May 10, 1899). 5BC 1146.2
5, 24 (Hebrews 1:6; 1 John 2:1; see EGW on John 20:16, 17; Hebrews 3:1-3). Public Reinstatement of Christ in Heaven—The prayer of Christ was answered. He was glorified with the glory which He had with His Father before the world was. But amid this glory, Christ does not lose sight of His toiling, struggling ones upon earth. He has a request to make of His Father. He waves back the heavenly host until He is in the direct presence of Jehovah, and then He presents His petition in behalf of His chosen ones. 5BC 1146.3Read in context »
(Matthew 27:51.) Satan Fell Like Lightning—When Christ cried, “It is finished,” God's unseen hand rent the strong fabric composing the veil of the temple from top to bottom. The way into the holiest of all was made manifest. God bowed His head satisfied. Now His justice and mercy could blend. He could be just, and yet the justifier of all who should believe on Christ. He looked upon the victim expiring on the cross, and said, “It is finished. The human race shall have another trial.” The redemption price was paid, and Satan fell like lightning from heaven (Manuscript 111, 1897). 5BC 1150.1Read in context »
“The tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity.” “The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression.” “He that is slow to wrath is of great understanding: but he that is hasty of spirit exalteth folly.” “He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.” “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: for the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.” “He that hath knowledge spareth his words: and a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit.” Margin, “a cool spirit.” 2T 426.1
Our great Exemplar was exalted to be equal with God. He was high commander in heaven. All the holy angels delighted to bow before Him. “And again, when He bringeth in the First-begotten into the world, He saith, And let all the angels of God worship Him.” Jesus took upon Himself our nature, laid aside His glory, majesty, and riches to perform his mission, to save that which was lost. He came not to be ministered unto, but to minister unto others. Jesus, when reviled, abused, and insulted, did not retaliate. “Who, when He was reviled, reviled not again.” When the cruelty of man caused Him to suffer painful stripes and wounds, He threatened not, but committed Himself to Him who judgeth righteously. The apostle Paul exhorted his Philippian brethren: “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men.” Is the servant greater than his master? Christ has given us His life as a pattern, and we dishonor Him when we become jealous of every slight, and are ready to resent every injury, supposed or real. It is not an evidence of a noble mind to be prepared to defend self, to preserve our own dignity. We would better suffer wrongfully a hundred times than wound the soul by a spirit of retaliation, or by giving vent to wrath. There is strength to be obtained of God. He can help. He can give grace and heavenly wisdom. If you ask in faith, you will receive; but you must watch unto prayer. Watch, pray, work, should be your watchword. 2T 426.2
Your wife might be a blessing if she would only take upon her the responsibility that it is her duty to take. But she has shunned responsibility all her life, and now is in danger of being influenced, instead of influencing you. Instead of having a softening, elevating influence upon you, there is danger of her thinking as you think, and acting as you act, without reaching down deep to be guided by principle in all her actions. You sympathize with each other, and, unfortunately, help each other to view matters incorrectly. She can exert an influence for good, but she possesses a spirit which savors of spiritual indolence and sloth. She is reluctant to engage in any good work if it is not pleasant and agreeable. What was the sin of Meroz? Doing nothing. It was not because of great crimes that they were condemned, but because they did not come up to the help of the Lord. 2T 427.1Read in context »