In today’s passage (Hebrews 2:5-18) the author of Hebrews claims that Scripture prophecies that ‘the world to come’ was not promised to angels but rather to humanity. This is part of a biblical story-line that we don’t pay much attention to.
Deuteronomy 32:8 suggests that when God divvied out the land to nations, he gave some measure of governance over those lands to spiritual beings. These may be the beings with whom he consorts in Psalm 82:1 “in the midst of the gods He holds judgement.” Furthermore, these spiritual beings may be those behind the various New Testament references to principalities, powers, rulers, forces, etc.
From Psalm 82:2 we infer that most of these forces, which seem to be something more than just merely demons, failed in their oversight of their lands, perhaps even welcoming worship of themselves through the idolatrous practices of the people.
If Psalm 8 indicates that it is God’s plan to pass authority of all things in the cosmos to humanity, and if Hebrews 2 implies that he has decisively done this in Christ, than it would be understandable if spiritual forces were actively opposed to Christ and his followers. Against such a background, Paul’s claim that Christ “disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame” makes sense (Col. 2:15). Additionally, the claim that “we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities, etc.” makes perfect sense, too. In and through Christ, we are direct threat to their existence and authority. Remarkably, Paul even insists that we will sit in judgment over these spiritual beings (1 Cor. 6:3).
What might this mean for daily life and ministry? Well, we’re out of space so I guess we’ll have to leave that question for a later article!