A Systematic Expository on the book of Hebrews
STUDY 4: CHRIST’S SUPERIORITY TO ANGELS
Hebrews 1:4 - 14.
We must be reminded that one of the major purposes of the Epistle to the Hebrews is to show that the New Covenant is better than the Old Covenant. The Old Covenant was brought to man and maintained by angelic mediation (Acts 7:53; Galatians 3:19). For this reason, the Jews had the highest regard for angels. If the Jews were to be persuaded that Christ is the Mediator of a better covenant than that given through Moses, they must be convinced that Christ is greater, higher and better than the angels. Christ, the Mediator of the New Covenant must be shown to be better than the bearers and mediators of the Old Covenant.
In Hebrews chapter one, seven Old Testament passages are quoted to establish this Truth. The quotations are as follows: (1) “Thou are my Son, this day have I begotten Thee” (Hebrews 1:5; Psalm 2:7); (2) “I will be to Him a Father, and He shall be to Me a Son” (Hebrews 1:5; 2 Samuel 7:14); (3) “And let all the angels of God worship Him” (Worship the first begotten) (Hebrews 1:6; Psalm 97:7); (4) “Who maketh His angels spirits, and His ministers a flame of fire (Hebrews 1:7; Psalm 104:4); (5) “Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of Thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness and hated iniquity; therefore God, even Thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows” (Hebrews 1:8,9; Psalm 45:6-7); (6) “Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands; they shall perish; but Thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; 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” (Hebrews 1:10-12; Psalm 102:25-27); (7) “Sit on My right hand, until I make thine enemies Thy footstool” (Hebrews 1:13; Psalm 110:1).
Some of the quotations vary slightly from the Old Testament texts because they are taken from the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament, called the Septuagint version. This marvellous passage shows that Jesus has always been and will always be greater and better than the angels. He is greater in Name, Nature, Existence, Ministry and Exaltation.
A MORE EXCELLENT NAME
Hebrews 1:4-6; Philippians 2:9-11; Revelation 3:12; 19:12,16; Psalm 2:6-9; Matthew 3:16,17; Proverbs 30:4; Acts 13:33; Psalm 97:7.
Jesus Christ is proclaimed as being “so much better than the angels” - better than all angels of every rank. Some cults and religions teach that Christ is no greater than a mere angel. Jesus cannot be compared with the greatest of angels. He is greater. “Angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto Him” (1 Peter 3:22). Angels are servants of God and of the Church but Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Head of the Church. As a son has a rank in a family above servants; as he has a control over the property above that which servants have, so it is with Christ. “He hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they” (Hebrews 1:4). Christ’s “more excellent Name” is Son. “For unto which of the angels said He at any time, Thou art My Son” (Hebrews 1:5). Though the angels, created by God and believers, recreated by God, are referred to in general as sons of God (Job 1:6; 2:1; John 1:12; 2 Corinthians 6:17,18) yet the title “THE Son of God” has been given only to Christ. He is God’s “beloved Son” (Matthew 3:17), “the ONLY begotten of the Father” (John 1:14), God’s “ONLY begotten Son” (John 3:16), “THE SON OF GOD” (Revelation 2:18).
The name or title is given to the Messiah in a peculiar sense, implying a peculiar relationship with God, and a peculiar dominion over all things.
CHRIST’S SUPERIOR NATURE
Hebrews 1:7-9; Psalms 104:4; 45:6-7; Isaiah 7:14; 9:6,7; Jeremiah 23:5,6; Matthew 1:23; John 10:30,33; 20:26-28.
Again angels are contrasted with Christ to show that Christ is infinitely greater than the angels. The angels have an inferior nature and a humble ministry. He maketh His angels spirits (like wind) and His ministers a flame of fire (like lightning). The purpose of the passage is to show that the angels are referred to as ministers or servants, Christ acts as Sovereign, as Lord over all, and is addressed and regarded as equal with God.
Both the Old Testament and the New Testament agree that the Messiah is God. The number of passages addressing Christ as God in the Scriptures is overwhelming. Anyone who sincerely reads these simple passages in the Scriptures will have no doubt that Christ is God.
“But unto the Son He saith...” (Hebrews 1:8). Here, God Almighty Himself addresses the Son. And what does He say to the Son? “Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever” (Hebrews 1:8). God, the Father, refers to the Son as God. The throne of God, the Son, His rule or dominion will be for ever and ever. This scripture is only applicable to the Messiah and cannot be applied to any man, past, present or future. “A sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom” (Hebrews 1:8). A sceptre is a staff usually made of wood, sometimes made of ivory, five or six feet long. It was borne in the hand of kings as an emblem of authority and power. Christ’s authority as King is righteous, equitable and just. “Thou has loved righteousness and hated iniquity: (Hebrews 1:9). His very nature is holy, so His character is “holy, harmless, undefiled.” (Hebrews 7:26).
CHRIST’S ETERNAL EXISTENCE AND EXALTATION
Hebrews 1:10-14; Psalm 102:25-27; Isaiah 48:12,13; Psalm 90:2; Hebrews 13:8; Psalm 110:1; Acts 2:34-36; 1 Corinthians 15:25-27.
Many scriptures which are addressed to God are equally addressed to Christ. The attributes of Christ are the same as the attributes of God, showing beyond any shadow of doubt that Christ is God. Christ is revealed as the One who “laid the foundation of the earth”, “the heavens are the works of thine (Christ’s) hands”, He lives forever, “Thy years shall not fail” and His eternal seat is on the right hand of God.
Christ is Divine, immutable and He is the creator of all things. The writer’s purpose and conclusion is clear: Christ is better than the angels because He exists eternally. If Jesus was there in the beginning to create, He must have existed before the beginning and therefore be without beginning. One day, the earth and its elements, the heavens and the planets will perish but Christ will remain eternally. Men come and go; worlds come and go; stars come and go; but Christ never changes, is never subject to change. He is eternally the same. He is superior to all men and all angels.
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