The New Testament uses the term “sons of God” to refer to people, both Yeshua and believers in Christ. On the other hand, the Hebrew Scriptures gives the term to spiritual beings. Why is there is a difference and what caused this change? I suggest that the change occurred after the death, burial, and resurrection of the Messiah, which brought reconciliation between God and man.This reconciliation began the restoration that will change believers to spiritual beings once again, a condition that existed before sin entered the world.
The word “son” in the Hebrew Scriptures is the Hebrew word ben, which is defined as a son born of a woman, or sons as a characterization of a group. In the Hebrew Scriptures, “sons of God” is a term used exclusively for angels or spiritual beings. In the New Testament, “sons” is the Greek word huios, which means a son by birth or adoption, or anyone sharing the same nature as their father. After studying how the word huios is used in the New Testament, I concluded that a son of God begins by being reborn (adopted) by the heavenly Father-through Christ (the work of the eternal son). This term is equally used for male and female believers, who resemble the Father’s character and have legal rights to the inheritance bestowed by the Father.
I looked at all the passages where the term “sons of God” appears. It is used for beings five times in the Hebrew Scriptures. For example, in the book of Job, the “sons of God” presented themselves, accompanied by Satan, before the Lord. In other passages they are shouting for joy about the creation (Job 1:6; 2:2; 38:7). They must be spiritual beings (angels) to do this.
There are two pasages in Genesis where the sons of God came to the daughters of men. These women became their wives and they produced offspring. The results of this union were men of renown called mighty men who were giants or Nephellim (Gen 6:2,4; Jude 1:6). The concept that these “sons of God” are spiritual beings is conveyed by their being a race of giants on the earth. Normally godless men and women having children do not produce giants.
The prophet Hosea gives us an insight of a future time when the “sons of God” will be the covenant children and will be called “the sons of the living God” (Hosea 1:10). This prophetic insight is repeated by the Apostle Paul and by John, who describe the faithful covenant believers in their recorded writings in the New Testament (John 1:12; Gal 4:6; Rom 8:19).
Angelic beings in the Hebrew Scriptures have several functions. They are used by God as ministering spirits to the heirs of salvation (Heb 1:14). They are used to carry out the plan of God as messengers to man and as guards against evil (Gen 21:11-12; Num 22:22-35; Ps 91:11; Dan 8:15-27; Mat 4:1-11; Acts 12:5-15). God says in the Psalms that He will give angels charge over you to guard you in all your ways (Ps 91:11).
The book of Daniel gives several insights into the duties of angels. Michael, one of the chief princes, comes to help Gabriel so he can bring the answer to Daniel’s prayer request (Dan 10:5-14). In the New Testament, Gabriel is the angel bringing a message to Mary announcing that she is with child and will be giving birth to the long awaited Messiah (Luke 1:26-38).
Angels are described as having the ability to come before YHVH anytime they desire. Satan may also accompany them. We are told they sang for “joy” when the LORD laid the foundations of the earth (Job 21:2; 38:7). In Matthew it says that angels will be the ones who divide the wicked from among the just. The Messiah will send His angels to gather out of His kingdom all things that are an offense and those who practice evil (Mat 13:41, 49). These spiritual beings are described with several different physical descriptions. There are some called seraphim, cherubim, archangels and those looking like a young male man. Many times in Scripture an angel appears as a man (Gen 19:1; );Is 6:2; Ez 41:18-19; 1 Thess 4:16).
In the New Testament, the term “sons of God” is used six times to describe believers. These believers are described as obedient with a righteous lifestyle. The apostles Paul and John refer to “sons of God” as the believers who live in this crooked and perverse world, but keep themselves apart, blameless and harmless (Phil 2:15). Believers are doing the duties of spiritual beings described in the Hebrew Scriptures. We are to take the gospel to the lost and dying world (Mk 16:15). Also, we are to care for our fellow man and promote righteous living according to God’s instructions. We are to do good deeds in truth and love (1 John 3:18).
Are we describing the remnant, those who are keeping the commandments and have the testimony of Yeshua (Jesus) and love not their lives to the death? (Acts 3:19-21; Rom 8:14; 1 John 5:4-5; Rev 12:11).
The apostle John tells us that whoever receives the Lord as Savior believes in His name. He (Christ) gives us the power to become the “sons of God” (John 1:12). Paul tells us that it is those who believe in His name who are the ones led by the Holy Spirit (Rom 8:14). It is the Holy Spirit that gives us the power to do the will of the Father (Acts 1:8). When the Holy Spirit came on the Day of Pentecost, the believers were filled with the Spirit of the living God and became new creations in Christ. Thus, we are spiritual beings who are sitting with Christ in the heavenlies (1 Co 5:17; Eph 2:4-6).
“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” Eph 2:4-6
The Holy Spirit has changed and empowered God’s children to do the work and will of God. We now can do the functions that the spiritual beings did in the Hebrew Scriptures. The believers are numerous with many faces, and all are as different as the different types of angels. However, the world does not know us because it does not know the Father, but when He appears we shall be like Him. Believers will be revealed to all creation at the end of this age as they will be like Christ, changed and restored, at His appearing (Phil 2:15; 1 John 3:2). We have been spiritually changed and wait for our mortal bodies to take on immortality. We will be like Christ when He returns (1 John 3:2).
The physical and spiritual condition of Adam and Eve changed because they were disobedient in the garden and ate the forbidden fruit. Adam and Eve had to leave the garden and the tree of life. Sin and death entered the world because God had said, “when you eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you will surely die” (Gen 2:17; 3:21-23). God’s relationship with mankind would now require the shedding of substitutionary innocent blood to cover sin so that mankind could have fellowship with God (Lev 4:35; 5:10; Heb 9:22). The Messiah came to redeem mankind, pay our debts for sin, and begin the restoration of all things. The shedding of Christ’s innocent blood gives mankind the ability to be adopted as “sons of God,” thus no longer slaves (Heb 9:22; Gal 4:5-70.
My conclusion from this study is that mankind, filled with the Holy Spirit, has the ability to conduct a faithful, righteous walk with the same functions as spiritual beings in the Hebrew Scriptures. Spirit-led believers are referred to as “sons of God.” These “sons of God” are doing the will and the work of the Messiah until His return to set up the kingdom. For further study, you may wish to explore another conclusion, that the “sons of God,” who are walking in righteousness, are the remnant that will be ruling and reigning with Christ for a thousand years (Rev 20:4-6).
Trackback from your site.