Jesus is greater than the Angels. Welcome back to our study of the book of Hebrews. Last week, we looked at verses 1 through 3 of chapter 1. And in those three verses, we understood that the author was showing the supremacy of Jesus over the prophets of old. They were indeed highly esteemed but they weren’t given the honor of sitting at the right hand of the majesty on high. In other words, they were not of the same substance as God. Today we’ll turn our attention to verses 4-9 in which the author is going to show us how Christ is also superior to the angels. Angels had an important role in the Jewish religion because they assisted in the giving of the Law at Mount Sinai. And even before the advent of Christ, they appeared to shepherds, to Mary herself just to name some of the occasions in which God used them to transmit his message to His people. But as we will see in today’s presentation, Jesus Christ is greater than the mightiest of angels, and we’ll see why.
Jesus Is Greater Than The Angels
The Passage: Hebrews 1:4-9
5 For to which of the angels did God ever say,
“You are my Son,
today I have begotten you”?
“I will be to him a father,
and he shall be to me a son”?
6 And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says,
“Let all God’s angels worship him.”
7 Of the angels he says,
“He makes his angels winds,
and his ministers a flame of fire.”
8 But of the Son he says,
“Your throne, O God, is forever and ever,
the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom.
9 You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
therefore God, your God, has anointed you
with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.”
To be able to understand verse 4 , we have to look at verse 3 carefully. After Jesus made purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of God, a place of honor only reserved for God, or one like God. So verse 3 informs what we read in verse 4. So because Jesus sat down at the right hand of God , it shows that God has glorified his humanity and has bestowed on Him the name that is above every name, greater than the angels , the name Son ( we’ll see that in verse 5) . We read about it in
Psalm 24:7-10 Lift up your heads, O gates!
And be lifted up, O ancient doors that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord, strong and mighty, the Lord, mighty in battle!Lift up your heads, O gates!And lift them up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory, The Lord of hosts, He is the King of glory!
This psalm surely shows us the glorious entry of Jesus after His mission on earth. He said somewhere that His food was to do the will of Him who sent Him. After He completed His mission ( making purification for sins , thus fulfilling the will of God in his Humanity), God glorified His humanity and sat Him at His right hand, thus giving hHim a more excellent name than the angels, the name “SON” which leads us to verse 5.
The writer of Hebrews gives the proof for the name Jesus has inherited. He gives us the interpretation of Psalm 2:7 in order to explain verse 4. God says of Jesus, You are my son , today I have begotten Thee- no angels have ever received this honor and no other person in the history of the world has this verse been applied to. God can only give this title Son to a person who is of the same substance as Him. The time of this begetting according to Paul takes place at the resurrection as we read in
Acts 13:33 this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus, as also it is written in the second Psalm,“‘You are my Son, today I have begotten you.’
So Paul interprets Psalm 2:7 to coincide with the resurrection. And He actually also mentions it in Romans 1:4. Let’s try to understand all this. From all eternity, Jesus was God the Son , the second person of the Trinity. When the word became flesh, according Philippians 2:5-11, He concealed/ veiled His glory in His humanity. At the resurrection , God glorified that humanity by giving back to Jesus the Man the glory He had for all eternity and had veiled in his humanity (John 17:1-5). The second quotation is a direct quote of 2 Sam 7:14. The immediate application of this verse is to Solomon but the ultimate application is to Jesus ( He is the one whose throne God will establish forever). And His relationship with God will be like that of a Father and a Son, in the sense that Jesus receives the honor of the Son while God, the first person of the Trinity receives the honor of the Father. Jesus is subordinate to the Father in terms of role.
Jesus being the first born doesn’t mean that He was born first biologically. Firstborn in this verse stands for His preeminence over all things . We need to know why He is the firstborn over all creation. In Colossians 1:15-19, we are told why Jesus is the firstborn , it’s because He created all things , whether thrones or principalities. He is the author of all things hence He has preeminence ( firstborn ) over all creation. This has nothing to do with biological order of birth.
Let all God’s angels worship Him – the author is quoting Deuteronomy 32:43 ( scripture that foresaw the deity of Christ ). Angels are only to worship the Lord, who is at the right hand of God. So Jesus is worshiped by angels , He is greater than the angels because He created them in the first place.
In this verse, the author is quoting Psalm 104:4. He shows one final contrast between Jesus and the angels. They are made to serve God and sometimes when ministering on earth they can assume a human body. They are spirits and have no bodies but can assume a human body when working on earth. Later on the author is going to give the role of angels in verse 14, He says:” Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?”
Now that the author has given us a synopsis of the role of angels, he is now telling us through Scriptures about the supremacy of the Son, starting with verse 8. He quotes Psalm 45, verse 6 which he attributes to Jesus. The psalmist himself calls the person to whom the psalm is addressed God. Going back to 2 Samuel 7:14, we know that Solomon’s earthly kingdom wasn’t established forever but Jesus’s kingdom will someday be established forever so the Psalm is certainly referring to HIM. Not one king in Israel was upright all the days of his life so this psalm couldn’t be applied to any of them, they all faltered at one point or another. Now Psalm 110 gives us the identity of the Son, let’s bring it up. Psalm 110 :1 The Lord says to my Lord:“ Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool.” The Jewish people knew that the Messiah would be the Son of David, of the lineage of David, but they couldn’t get the full picture of his identity. Jesus Himself corrects them in Mark 12:35-37. Romans 1:1-4 Paul gives us the full identify of the Son as well.
He continues his description of the Son by quoting verse 7 of Psalm 45. Not one human on the face of the earth has loved righteousness and hated wickedness. Scripture says that there is none righteous. But the Son by default is righteous because He has loved righteousness and hated wickedness from all Eternity ( because He is God). In verse 6 of psalm 45, the psalmist already called Him God. And Now he confirms his identity as God with these qualifiers. Notice also how the psalmist makes the distinction within the God -head. He calls the Son God and also shows that the Son is subordinate to the Father in terms of rank ( therefore God, your God). Jesus has been anointed with the oil of gladness beyond his companions by God ( the Father). To understand this oil of gladness we can look at Hebrews 12:2
Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
Jesus loves the Father and He always says, I delight to do your will. Nobody else will ever acquire or receives this joy, gladness that Jesus received and is still the recipient of after the completion of His mission on earth. I don’t even know if I can fully understand it in my limited finite mind.
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