Christ: Greater than the angels - Hebrews 1:4-2:18

These days it is not difficult to find angels in popular culture. One only has to turn on their television sets and find shows like Touched by an Angel or Saving Grace, where angels are portrayed as powerful beings that intervene in human affairs, and those shows are just the beginning of our fascination with angels movies, magazine articles, novels, comic books have portrayed angels in shapes and sizes. In fact, even if you’d look at the ‘religious’ section of an average bookstore you’d even find non-fictional books about angels that most of the time deviates from how they were revealed to us in the Bible. However it is interesting to note that if one would browse those books it would not be very difficult to see Jewish underpinnings in them, after all angels are a Judeo-Christian concept, but as mentioned earlier these are far from Biblical revelation as most of them trace their theology from the mysticism of the Jewish Kabbalah.

Like many people today, many Jews had this thing about angels.

Many Jews had a superstitious or idolatrous respect for angels, because they had received the law and other tidings of the Divine will by their ministry. They looked upon them as mediators between God and men, and some went so far as to pay them a kind of religious homage or worship. Thus it was necessary that the apostle should insist, not only on Christ's being the Creator of all things, and therefore of angels themselves, but as being the risen and exalted Messiah in human nature, to whom angels, authorities, and powers are made subject.1

What are angels?

  • Angels are indeed special but they are like us also created beings.

  • They are Spirit beings. Psalm 104:4

  • Angels are at times referred to as the ‘sons of God’ (Job.1: 6; Genesis 6:1)

  • They are often God’s messengers. Throughout the Old Testament and even into the New Testament, angels delivered messages from God.

  • The angels, in some special way, were involved with the giving of the law. Acts 7:52-53

  • In spite of how special angels may be, the Lord Jesus is better than they are.

Looking at the Word

Hebrews 1:4 - Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.

  • Names in the Bible were more important than they are today. Often names reflected a person’s character.

  • When Jesus had purged our sins, that is died on the cross, was buried and rose again, he went back to Heaven and sat down on “the right hand of the majesty on high.” No angel ever sat at God’s right hand. That position was reserved for the One who God called “Son”.

Hebrews 1:5 - For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?

  • This portion of Hebrews contains many quotes from the Old Testament. Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee is a quote from Psalm 2:7.

  • Jesus has always been God, the Son.

  • But there was a time of special declaration that Jesus is God the Son. That took place at the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Acts 13:33, Romans 1:3-4

  • The second quote in Hebrews 1:5, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son, is a quote from 2 Samuel 7:14. This quote, though it partially refers to Solomon, looks ahead to David’s Greater Son or descendent, the Lord Jesus Christ. There is a tremendous father/son relationship within the Trinity.

Hebrews 1:6 - And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, and let all the angels of God worship him.

  • Jesus is called “the firstbegotten” or “first born”.

  • According to Warren Wiersbe “The title is one of rank and honor, for the firstborn receives the inheritance and the special blessing. Christ is the “Firstborn of all creation (Col. 1:15) because He created all things; and He is the highest of all who came back from the dead (Col. 1:18).” 2

  • When Jesus came into the world, the angels worshipped Him, showing His superiority.

  • Now you may be asking, “So Jesus is the Son of God, why should I be so thankful?”

  • You should be thankful if you know Jesus as your Savior, if you’ve been born again. This means that as the Son Jesus sits at the right hand of God. As the Son Jesus has special access to the Father.

  • Be thankful because the Lord Jesus is at the right hand of God interceding for you! Hebrews 4:14-16, Hebrews 7:24-25, 1 John 2:1-2

Hebrews 1:8 - But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. (A quote of Psalm 45:6)

  • What is a scepter? A scepter is a staff held by a ruler. It is an emblem of authority.

  • Our Lord Jesus has an emblem of authority. His scepter is a scepter of righteousness. He rules and will rule in righteousness. Isaiah 11:1-5

  • Be thankful! There is coming a day when nobody will be able to legitimately say that there is any unrighteousness anywhere. And what’s neat about this is that we, as Christians, are going reign with Christ in His kingdom!

Hebrews 1:9 - Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. (Ps. 45:7)

  • We are again reminded of Christ’s superiority because of His love for righteousness and hatred of iniquity.

  • If we know Jesus as Savior, we should love righteousness and hate iniquity also! We carry His name as Christians and should act accordingly. 1 John 2:6

Hebrews 1:10 - And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands: (A quote of Psalm 102:25)

Why does the universe exist? Why does the world exist? Why do the wonders of nature exist? Why do we exist? It is because the Lord laid the foundation of the earth and everything is the work of His hands.

Hebrews 1:10-12 - And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands: [11] They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; [12] And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail. (A quote of Psalm 102:25-27)

  • Why this world is not even stable.

  • There is coming a day when this old world will be taken off and discarded like an old garment. It shall be replaced with something new. 2 Peter 3:10, Revelation 21:1-2

  • Through this Christ will continue to exist but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail.

  • Hebrews 13:8 - Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and forever.

  • Now why should you and I be thankful for this stability of our Lord?

  • What has He promised to those that believe on Him for forgiveness and salvation?

  • He has promised eternal life! John 10:27-28

  • Jesus would not be able to give us eternal life unless He himself is eternal. He will never die. He is stable! Be thankful!

Hebrews 1:13 - But to which of the angels said he at any times, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool? See Psalm 110:1

Jesus is superior to the angels. Jesus is waiting for His enemies to be made His footstool and He will reign for all eternity.

The angels, however, are not waiting to reign.

The angels are serving now and will serve in the future. In fact, we are and will be served by angels.

Angels are servants. God will use them to pronounce, protect and provide. But there is better news than this.

Be thankful because Jesus is superior to the angels. It is Jesus who sits at the right hand of God.

It is Jesus who is to be thanked and worshipped. If it weren’t for Jesus, the angels wouldn’t even exist!

CONCERNING SAINTS AND SINNERS: Look Out by Heeding the Word and Don’t Drift (2:1-4) (Warning to the Intellectually Convinced)

Saints and Sinners alike are to "take heed".

Hebrews 2:1 - (first of five great warnings interjected throughout the book of Hebrews) We (writer must be Jewish) must therefore (for this reason; because of Jesus’ superiority) pay even more attention to what we have heard (the ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus), so that we will not drift away (slip away slowly)

Saints and Sinners alike are not to "neglect so great salvation".

Hebrews 2:2-3 - For if (a fulfilled condition) the message spoken through angels was legally binding (unalterable), and every transgression (willful act against God) and disobedience (sin of neglect and omission) received a just punishment (by God’s very nature, He can never be unjust; the law punished every sin, Jude 5 and James 2:10), how will we escape (the wages of sin is death; see Rom. 3:23; 6:23) if we neglect such a great salvation? It was first spoken by the Lord (See John 10:38 and Acts 2:22) and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him.

Signs, wonders, and miracles confirmed the message to Saints and Sinners.

Hebrews 2:4 - At the same time, God also testified by signs and wonders, various miracles, and distributions [of gifts] (miraculous gifts, like given to the apostles, not promised to believers in general, included healing, miracles, tongues and interpretation of tongues) from the Holy Spirit according to His will.

The message to Saints and Sinners was that of victory

Hebrews 2:14-15 – Since the children have flesh and blood, He too shared in their humanity so that by His death He might destroy him who holds the power of death – that is – the devil – and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear off death.

The final authority of death is in the hands of our God (Deut. 32:39; Matt.10: 28; Rev. 1:18). Satan can do only that which is permitted by God (Job 1:12, 2:6). But because Satan is the author of sin (John 8:44), and sin brings death (Rom. 6:23), in this sense Satan exercises power in the realm of death. Jesus called him a murderer (John 8:44). Satan uses the fear of death as a terrible weapon to gain control over the lives of people.3

We who trust in Jesus Christ have once and for all been delivered from Satan’s authority from and from the fear of death. The death burial and resurrection of Christ has given us victory! (1 Cor. 15:55-58)4

1 Henry, Matthew – Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews

2 Wiersbe, Warren W. – Be Confident, How to keep your balance in the day we live p.22

3 Ibid

4 Ibid

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