His Angels as Winds – Hebrews 1:7 & Psalm 104:4

“And of the angels he says, He makes his angels as winds, and his ministers as a flaming fire…”

The point of Hebrews 1:7 is to elevate the Son. The angels of God are swift as the wind, strong as a fire, but they pay homage to the son (verse 6). The “feel” of the verse is that angels are beings whom we should hold in awe, but they are subject to the Son. In the Old Testament both wind and fire were ways that God revealed Himself, and as well as angels being quick and powerful, they reveal God.

Pneuma and wind

This is the only time in the New Testament when the Greek word pneuma is translated “wind.” Pneuma can mean “wind,” and often does so in the Greek writings, but it is not used that way in the New Testament except here. The reason for the translation “wind” is that this verse is a quotation from the Old Testament. The Old Testament uses the word ruach, which can mean “spirit,” “breath,” or “wind,” to refer to the wind on many different occasions, so it is not at all unusual that it would refer to the wind in Psalm 104. The translation “wind” seems clearly to be the correct one.

Psalm 104:3,4
He lays the beams of his chambers on the waters; he makes the clouds his chariot; he rides on the wings of the wind [ruach]; he makes his messengers winds [ruach], his ministers a flaming fire.

Psalm 104:3 and 4 are one sentence in the Hebrew text and the Hebrew word ruach occurs twice. The first use clearly refers to the wind. The second use fits well as “wind,” and it would be unlikely that the two uses of ruach would refer to different things in this sentence. Since the verse in the Hebrew text refers to wind, not “spirit,” then it would refer to that in the New Testament when it is quoted. Of course, the angels are not wind, nor are they fire, but in what they do they are “as winds” and “as fire.”

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(The commentary above is from our free 1,000+ page Revised English Version® Commentary.)

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