And Let All Worship Him
And when He again brings the first-born into the world, He says,” And let all the angels of God worship Him.” Hebrews 1:6
If you ever wanted an understanding of how our Great God was preparing to bring forth the Christ and His church according to type and foreshadows, Hebrews is the book you want to study because of its use and interpretation of Old Testament passages within it.
We covered the Old Testament quotes found in Hebrews 1:5 previously, so today we consider the Old Testament passage cited in Hebrews 1:6.
All you gods or all you angels?
The writer of the Hebrew letter quotes from Psalms 97:7. In the NASB the whole verse reads: “Let all those be ashamed who serve graven images, who boast themselves of idols; worship Him, all you gods.” The Septuagint translation renders the last part of the verse, “..worship Him, all His angels.”
You may be asking yourself, ‘How did “all you gods” become “all His angels”?’ The Hebrew word rendered “gods” here in the NASB is ‘lohiym. This is a form of the word elohim, which when used with the article is typically translated God, in reference to the True One God. It’s apparent though, in this word that there is a sense of the divine, the superlative, of those who possess and wield power, of those who share in some way, whether perceived wrongly (idols), or correctly (as in angelic beings) in the spiritual or heavenly realm.
In Psalm 97, the reference is obviously to the idols, the false gods, that they should understand that the True God is He who reigns over all, causing them to fall down and worship him. This principle would also apply to those in Israel who had set themselves up as gods, in their determining of the correct who (or what) to worship, and how to worship.
Thus we see in Psalm 82, God’s condemnation upon the rulers (Hebrew word elohim) in Israel for not adjudicating righteously as His representatives. They were to wield the power of judgment in accordance with the righteous nature and character of God, which they weren’t doing. The whole nation however, because of their rank, station, and specific revelation received as the people of God, were considered “gods” (elohim) and “sons of the Most High” (Ps. 82:6). Thus Jesus uses this passage in John 10:34 to make His point.
The angels, because of their rank and station in the presence of God, as well as those entrusted to execute the will of the LORD and His judgments, were referred to as “sons of God” in the Old Testament (C. f. Job 1:6, 2:1, 38:7 ) and therefore would share in having the appellation of “gods” conferred upon them as well. So, we can see how the Septuagint (Greek) translators arrived at their interpretation.
He who reigns is worthy of worship.
The context of Psalm 97 is about the LORD, the True God, reigning over all the earth. Several concepts are brought out in the psalm which produce rejoicing and gladness in His righteous ones (Ps. 97:12), as well as a willingness to worship Him only. They include righteousness and justice, the foundation of His throne. The absolute assurance that He will remove all His adversaries by burning, the awesome power of His presence, as well as the heavens and all else He has ordered and arranged, declaring His righteous nature, offering a glimpse of His glory. (Ps. 97:2-6)
Now, let’s take verses Ps. 97:7-9 as a group and consider those in light of Hebrews chapter one, verse six.
“Let all those be ashamed who serve graven images, who boast themselves of idols; worship Him, all you gods. Zion heard this and was glad, And the daughters of Judah have rejoiced because of Thy judgments, O LORD. For Thou art the LORD Most High over all the earth; Thou art exalted far above all gods.”
From the previous context of Psalm 97 along with the historical knowledge of many of Yahweh’s miraculous feats, those rebellious in Israel as well as the nations, should have been ashamed to serve graven images. The faithful in Zion, knew of the LORD’s judgments, knew He was the only True God. Through His great works and wonders, He had exalted Himself far above all the so-called gods of this world. He alone was worthy of worship.
Hebrews 1:3 makes it clear that Jesus has ascended to the throne in glory. After making purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of majesty and now reigns. The discourse then begins on Him being greater than the angels. The writer helps secure this perspective by quoting from Psalm 97, which remember, is about Yahweh reigning. Psalm 97 then, used by the writer of Hebrews, is a type and a messianic prophesy of Jesus Christ’s ascension to glory.
Through His resurrection and ascension to the throne as the son of God, the demonstration of His power over physical and spiritual death, Jesus proved He was exalted far above all the “gods” (i. e. the angels) in the heavenly realm. The church, (Mt Zion, heavenly Jerusalem, Heb. 12:22), rejoices in this fact, knowing His righteous judgments (i. e. offering of Himself on our behalf) has delivered us from the hand of the wicked one and preserved (saved) our souls (Ps. 97:10). He has raised us into His powerful presence in heaven and removed (cast down) all His angelic adversaries. In the heavenly where we are seated by faith, “light is sown like seed for the righteous and gladness for the upright in heart.” (Ps. 97:11) He who reigns is worthy of worship. The Father through the prophets has said so. “Let all the angels of God worship Him.” Now, reread Psalm 97 with Jesus in mind. It’s how it was intended to be read. Amen.