"THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS" Jesus' Superiority To Angels (1:4-14) INTRODUCTION 1. The subject of angels has certainly become a popular one lately... a. Bookstores are filled with books dealing with angels b. Popular TV shows and movies depict angels working in our lives ("Highway To Heaven", "Touched By An Angel", "The Preacher's Wife", "It's A Wonderful Life") 2. Angels were also an important part of the Jewish religion... a. Angels assisted with the giving of the Law at Mount Sinai - cf. Deut 33:2; Ps 68:17; Ac 7:53; Ga 3:19 b. They appear throughout the history of Israel, coming to Abraham, Daniel, and many others 3. Since the purpose of "The Epistle To The Hebrews" is to show the superiority of Christ and the New Covenant to the Law of Moses... a. It is necessary that the writer has something to say about angels b. So it is that we find the comparison of the Son to prophets followed now by a comparison to angels - He 1:4-14 4. The premise is clearly stated that the Son (Jesus) is "much better than the angels" - He 1:4 a. The reason in a nutshell is that "He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they" b. That name is "Son", a title that only Jesus can properly wear... 1) Angels may be called "sons of God" collectively - cf. Job 1:6 2) But no angel can be called this name individually! [As evidence for the superiority of Jesus over angels, the author proceeds to offer scriptural support from the Old Testament. His first two quotations are to prove...] I. JESUS IS THE "SON" (5) A. TWO PROPHECIES REFER TO THE MESSIAH AS "SON"... 1. The first is Ps 2:7 a. A psalm depicting the enthronement of the Messiah (the Lord's Anointed) b. In which Jehovah calls the Messiah "My Son" c. The "begetting" has reference to the resurrection of Jesus - Ac 13:33; Ro 1:4 2. The second is 2Sa 7:14 a. This passage had immediate application to Solomon, David's son b. But as the Messiah who would receive the throne of David was also descended from David... 1) It's ultimate application would be to the Messiah 2) I.e., Jesus, the "son of David" - Mt 1:1; Mk 10:47; Jn 7:42 B. BUT NO ANGEL IS EVER CALLED "MY SON"... 1. Collectively they were called "sons of God", but never individually! 2. This not only demonstrates Jesus' superiority to angels... a. It proves that Jesus Himself was NOT an angel! b. Contrary to what some (such as JW's) believe [The superiority of Jesus over the angels is further illustrated as we continue...] II. JESUS IS "THE FIRSTBORN" WHO RECEIVES WORSHIP (6) A. JESUS IS DESCRIBED AS "THE FIRSTBORN"... 1. The term "firstborn" does not always mean "born first" a. It is also used in the Scriptures as a metaphor to describe one who occupies the rank and privilege of being firstborn (without literally being "firstborn") b. Used by God in this way to refer to the nation of Israel - Exo 4:22 c. Used by God in this way to refer to David, youngest of eight - Ps 89:20,27 2. It is used of Jesus in this way to stress His preeminence over creation... a. As Paul explains in Col 1:15-18 b. By virtue of being the Creator, He maintains the rank and privilege of "firstborn"! B. WHEN THE FIRSTBORN CAME INTO THE WORLD, THE ANGELS WERE TO WORSHIP HIM... 1. The quotation in verse 6 is from Deut 32:43 as found in the Septuagint version 2. The angels of God were to worship Him 3. Note well: No created being is or was ever worthy of worship! a. The angels themselves refused to be worshipped - Re 22:8-9 b. The apostle Peter refused to accept worship - Ac 10:25-26 4. Yet Jesus received worship! a. From the wise men - Mt 2:11 b. From the leper - Mt 8:2 c. From the ruler - Mt 9:18 d. From His disciples in the boat - Mt 14:33 e. From the Canaanite woman - Mt 15:25 f. From the man born blind - Jn 9:38 g. From the women and other disciples following His resurrection - Mt 28:9,17 h. From the disciples following His ascension - Lk 24:52 [That Jesus is worthy of worship, especially now, becomes more evident as we consider how...] III. JESUS IS "GOD" ENTHRONED AND ANOINTED (7-9) A. ANGELS ARE SIMPLY FOR THE SERVICE OF GOD... 1. They are created spirits to serve God (called "ministering spirits" in He 1:14) 2. Their service can be as powerful yet transient as "wind" or "flames of fire", if need be B. BUT THE "SON" IS GOD HIMSELF, ENTHRONED AND ANOINTED! 1. The author is quoting from another Messianic psalm - Ps 45: 6-7 2. Notice that the Son is called "God"! - He 1:8 a. The Hebrew writer clearly proclaims the deity of Jesus! - cf. He 1:3a b. Yet in the next verse we read where it says "God, Your God has..." 1) Here we find a distinction of personalities within the Godhead 2) Which we learn through later revelation involves the Father and the Son (and the Holy Spirit) 3. The Son, Who is God, has been enthroned, and reigns over an everlasting kingdom with righteousness a. A kingdom of which Daniel said "shall never be destroyed" - Dan 2:44 b. A kingdom of which Gabriel (an angel) told Mary: "there will be no end" - Lk 1:33 c. Both Paul and John wrote of this kingdom - Col 1:13; Re 1:9 4. This Son, Who is God and King, has been "anointed" - He 1:9 a. Of course, the word "Messiah" means "anointed one" b. In this passage, the emphasis is on how Jesus has been anointed with gladness "more than Your companions" 1) Who are these "companions"? 2) In view of He 2:11; 3:1, it is likely the followers of Jesus, His brethren! [As God, King, and Messiah, Jesus is certainly greater than angels! But there is even more...] IV. JESUS IS THE "LORD" WHO IS THE ETERNAL CREATOR (10-12) A. JESUS IS "YAHWEH" (JEHOVAH)! 1. Now the Hebrew writer is quoting from Ps 102:25-27 a. A psalm which addresses God using His covenant name Yahweh (or Jehovah) b. This is the name that God used to identify Himself to Moses - Exo 3:13-14 2. But the Hebrew writer by inspiration knew this psalm equally applied to Jesus! a. Such would be blasphemy, unless Jesus is truly Deity! b. So while the Son is distinct from the Father (cf. He 1:9), He and the Father are also the same! 3. In this chapter, then, we find evidence relating to the nature of the Godhead... a. There is one God, but three distinct personalities within the Godhead (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) b. As Jehovah, Jesus is not "a god", or any sort of created being (contra JWs, Mormons, etc.) c. As the Son who is distinct from the Father, the Son is not the same in personality as the Father (contra the Oneness Pentecostals) -- Though not a biblical term, the word "trinity" does help to convey the Biblical evidence as to the nature of the Godhead! B. JESUS IS THE ETERNAL CREATOR! 1. In the beginning it was He who created the earth and the heavens - He 1:10 a. As the author had already stated in He 1:2c b. As both John and Paul professed - Jn 1:3; Col 1:16-17 2. He is also eternal, therefore unchangeable - He 1:11-12 a. The heavens and the earth "will perish", "grow old" and "be changed" - cf. 2Pe 3:10-12 b. But Jesus will "remain", be the "same", and "not fail" - cf. He 13:8 [The superiority of Jesus over angels is illustrated with one last comparison in this chapter...] V. JESUS IS THE "SOVEREIGN" (13-14) A. NO ANGEL HAS BEEN INVITED TO SIT AT GOD'S RIGHT HAND... 1. The psalm quoted now is Ps 110:1 a. This psalm is quoted or alluded to more than any other psalm in the NT b. It refers to the Messianic reign of Christ that began when Jesus sat down at the right hand of God
- cf. He 1:3; Ac 2:34-36; 1Pe 3:22 2. That no angel has been asked to sit at God's right hand... a. Once again proves that Jesus was not an angel (contra JWs) b. Only Jesus, as the Son of God, has been so invited, and is truly the Sovereign! B. ANGELS ARE BUT MINISTERING SPIRITS... 1. While Jesus sits enthroned in heaven, angels are "sent forth to minister (serve)" 2. They minister for those "who will inherit salvation" a. They have certainly ministered in the past - cf. Lk 1:11-38 b. They will certainly minister at the time of Christ's return - cf. Mt 13:36-43 c. But to what extent they minister in the present, the Scriptures reveal little (cf. Mt 18:10), and we should be careful to refrain from vain speculation CONCLUSION 1. In a very forceful manner, the writer to the Hebrews has shown Jesus' superiority to angels: a. Jesus is the "Son" (not angels) b. Jesus is the "Firstborn" who receives worship (not angels) c. Jesus is "God" enthroned and anointed (not angels) d. Jesus is the "LORD" (Yahweh) who is the eternal creator (not angels, who are only created beings) e. Jesus is the "Sovereign", reigning at God's right hand (angels are but ministering spirits) 2. While angels certainly have a special place in God's plan for redeeming man... a. They are not to become the object of worship or adoration - Col 2:18-19 b. Only Jesus is worthy of such worship and adoration! As innumerable angels proclaimed with a loud voice: "Worthy is the Lamb who was slain To receive power and riches and wisdom, And strength and honor and glory and blessing!" - Re 5:11-12 Let Jesus, and not angels, be the focus of your interest and adoration!