Who’s He Talking To?

For to which of the angels did He ever say…And of the angels He says…But to the Son He says…But to which of the angels has He ever said…” (Hebrews 1:5-13).

An essential to rightly dividing God’s word is asking the question: “Who is being addressed?” As the framework of Hebrews 1:5-13 demonstrates, this is most fundamental. None of the angels were ever the fulfillment of predictive prophecy (v. 5) or addressed as “God” (v. 8) or “Jehovah” (v. 10). None were ever instructed to sit at God’s right hand until His enemies were vanquished (v. 13). Angels are always portrayed in Scripture as God’s spiritual ministers (v. 7).

Careful and conscientious interpretation of God’s word necessitates an accurate answer to the question of “Who is being addressed?” For example, the promise of “when He, the Spirit of truth has come, He will guide you into all truth” (John 16:13) was not spoken to a large gathering of Christians. It was said to the apostles (minus Judas—John 13:30). Only the apostles were with Jesus in the Upper Room when this promise was made (Luke 22:14). Only the apostles were given this promise, and the New Testament (i.e., “the apostles’ doctrine”—Acts 2:42) is proof that Jesus has kept this promise. Many a falsehood about the Holy Spirit and the Christian has arisen from a failure to ask and accurately answer the simple question of “Who is Jesus addressing?” in John 16:13.

Careful and accurate handling of God’s Word is not optional when pursuing the truth. The writer of Hebrews gives us an inspired example to follow.

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Author: jchowning

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