Jesus Christ, Superior to Angels (Hebrews 1:4-14)



2012-03-11 Jesus Christ, Superior to Angels (Hebrews 1:4-14) Lent 2

At the end of the passage last week we read in v 3,

Hebrews 1:3 (NAU) And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,

 

And our reading for today picks up with verse 4,

 

4This shows that the Son is far greater than the angels, just as the name God gave him is greater than their names

5For God never said to any angel what he said to Jesus:

“You are my Son. Today I have become your Father.” (Psa 2:7a)

God also said,

“I will be his Father, and he will be my Son.” (2 Sam 7:14b)

 6And when he brought his supreme Son into the world, God said,

“Let all of God’s angels worship him.” (Deu 32:43c)

7Regarding the angels, he says,

He sends his angels like the winds, his servants like flames of fire.” (Psa 104:4d)

8But to the Son he says,

“Your throne, O God, endures forever and ever. You rule with a scepter of justice. 9You love justice and hate evil. Therefore, O God, your God has anointed you, pouring out the oil of joy on you more than on anyone else.” (Psa 45:6-7e)

10He also says to the Son,

“In the beginning, Lord, you laid the foundation of the earth and made the heavens with your hands. 11They will perish, but you remain forever. They will wear out like old clothing. 12You will fold them up like a cloak and discard them like old clothing. But you are always the same; you will live forever.” (Psa 102:25-28f)

13And God never said to any of the angels,

“Sit in the place of honor at my right hand until I humble your enemies, making them a footstool under your feet.” (Psa 110:1g)

14Therefore, angels are only servants– spirits sent to care for people who will inherit salvation.

 

(A modern day parable)

  • A man and his son, who was somewhat of a genius like his dad, started a business together. Think of a business like Best Buy or Target, a large retail store in its beginning stages.
  • The father wanted the son, even though he had helped start the business, to work on the inside of business and one day to become the CEO of the company in addition to being co-owner.
  • But the condition was the son had to start at the bottom, and to work his way up through every single job in the company and then, when the time was right, he would be appointed CEO of the company. The father and the son agreed it was a good plan.
  • The father wanted the son to understand the business inside and out so that the customers would receive the best products and services the company could provide
  • The employees of the store understood the plan, and they were loyal to the owner and his son because they had given them their jobs.
  • The son began by sweeping floors, stocking the shelves, running the cash registers, and helping the customers.
  • The customers saw him working and didn’t know who he was, but in every publication of the store – every piece of advertising or information that went out to the customers, the owner gave some hint that his son would someday become the CEO of the company.
  • And as the son did his job, some of the customers – the haughty ones, who thought they were important – looked down on him and spoke to him harshly because he was just a worker in a retail store – no one special – to them!
  • But other customers treated him well even though he was just a worker in a retail store, because these customers didn’t think they themselves were all that important. They saw him as a good worker and wanted to see the young man succeed.
  • Over the years the son worked in every aspect of the business. He knew what it was like to be an employee and he knew what the customers needed and wanted because he had helped and spoken to thousands of them over the years. He had paid his dues.
  • Finally the day came, and because he had paid his dues, his father appointed him CEO of the company. From now on he would run the company and his father would continue to be his partner in the business for many years to come.
  • It was announced in every publication of the company – the son, who had worked his way up in the company, who had paid his dues, was now not only co-owner but also the CEO of the company. The father and the son wanted everyone to hear the good news because the plan they had devised long ago was working out.
  • But this business had a twist to it. The plan from the beginning was that not only would his son become CEO, but also one day this company would go public, but not in the normal way.
  • Not investors, but their loyal customers would become co-owners with the father and the son. Not because they invested money in the company – they didn’t have anything to contribute to the business – but they would be made co-owners because they treated the son with respect and love while he was still working on the floor – before he became CEO, before he moved into the big office.
  • And the customers who treated him with disrespect – the haughty ones who thought they were better than he was – they will not receive anything from the man and his son.
  • What about the workers? They will keep their jobs working in the store and they will enjoy watching the father and his son and all the new co-owners in the biggest and best store ever.
  • If you haven’t figured it out already, the Owner is God, the Owner’s Son is Jesus, the Employees in the company are the angels, the Loyal Customers are believers, the haughty customers are unbelievers.
  • Our passage today, and the entire Book of Hebrews, represents the time between when the Son is appointed as CEO and the company goes public. The loyal customers have been promised they will become co-owners.
  • But the promise hasn’t yet been realized. The loyal customers – the believers in Rome in the first century, and you and I – are tempted to give up on the son, the new CEO who has promised to make them co-owners one day. They, and we, are tempted to go back to business as usual, thinking maybe the Son and his plan are not all they’re cracked up to be.

 

Why is Jesus compared to the angels in this passage? The Jews had a high view of the angels because they delivered the law to Moses on Mt. Sinai as we read in Stephen’s speech in Acts 7:37, “You deliberately disobeyed God’s law, even though you received it from the hands of angels.” Angels were one of the mediators of the old covenant.

 

The purpose of letter to the Hebrews was to encourage a group of Jewish converts to Christianity in Rome, not to fall back to their former way of life in dependence on the old covenant in which their relationship to God was mediated by angels, by the law and by the Levitical priests and their animal sacrifices.

 

Instead, they should continue to trust in Christ, God’s final word, in whom they had come to believe. Jesus is God’s final word, spoken of throughout the pages of OT, who, after his exaltation would serve as the mediator of a better covenant because he would be superior to the angels, superior to Moses and the Law, and superior to the Aaronic priesthood and to the sacrifices they brought to God.

 

This passage tells us three ways Jesus is superior to the angels by way of comparison.

 

It tells us that God has said,

  1. Jesus was appointed to be God’s son, but the angels were appointed to worship the son
  2. Jesus was anointed to rule the creation, but the angels were sent to serve the creation
  3. Jesus was appointed to reign in heaven, but the angels were appointed to serve on earth

 

It uses a technique called catena or chaining OT references together sometimes called a “string of pearls” to make the point that God has been saying these things about his Son throughout the OT. Here in just ten verses, seven quotations from the OT are like pearls strung together to demonstrate the Jesus is better or superior to the angels.

 

Verse 4 introduces the theme, 4This shows that the Son is far greater than the angels, just as the name God gave him is greater than their names. 

 

First,

It tells us that God has said,

 

  1. Jesus was appointed to be God’s son, but the angels were appointed to worship the son.

 

5For God never said to any angel what he said to Jesus:

“You are my Son. Today I have become your Father.” (Psa 2:7a)

God also said,

“I will be his Father, and he will be my Son.” (2 Sam 7:14b)

 6And when he brought his supreme Son into the world, God said,

“Let all of God’s angels worship him.” (Deu 32:43c)

 

The writer of Hebrews points out that the OT has said God and Jesus would have a special relationship, that of Father and Son. Quoting the psalmist in Psalm 2:7 and Nathan’s prophecy to David in 2 Sam. 7.14 – both of which were considered Messianic passages – he points out that God has called and appointed the coming Messiah, who he identifies as Jesus, to be his unique son and has called himself his Father.

 

But the angels, according to Deu 32:43, he has appointed to worship the Son.

 

Therefore the Son, Jesus, is superior to the angels and should be trusted to fulfill his plan to make believers co-heirs of his kingdom.

 

It tells us second that God has said,

  1. Jesus was anointed to rule the creation, but the angels were sent to serve the creation

 

7Regarding the angels, he says,

“He sends his angels like the winds, his servants like flames of fire.” (Psa 104:4d)

 

Psalm 104:4 says the angels are sent by God’s command, in whatever form he chooses. They may be manifested as wind or flames of fire, but they serve his purpose in his time and in his way, in the created order.

 

But the Son has a special relation to the Father.

 

8But to the Son he says,

“Your throne, O God, endures forever and ever. You rule with a scepter of justice. 9You love justice and hate evil. Therefore, O God, your God has anointed you, pouring out the oil of joy on you more than on anyone else.” (Psa 45:6-7e)

 

He is anointed to rule the creation. When a man was anointed to serve as the king in Israel, he was set apart for God. He had a blessed relationship to God that was unique to him. Likewise, Jesus, because he loved justice and hated evil, he was anointed to rule eternally.

 

 

A second point can be made here.

  1. Jesus is the eternal unchanging creator, but the angels are part of the perishable changeable creation

 

The Son, according to Psa 102:25-28, is the creator and sustainer of the universe. He laid it out in the beginning and he will roll it up like old clothing when he is finished. He was before the creation and he will continue beyond the present creation.

 

10He also says to the Son,

“In the beginning, Lord, you laid the foundation of the earth and made the heavens with your hands. 11They will perish, but you remain forever. They will wear out like old clothing. 12You will fold them up like a cloak and discard them like old clothing. But you are always the same; you will live forever.” (Psa 102:25-28f)

 

But the angels are merely part of the perishable, changeable creation. They are “like the winds, like flames of fire,” all part of the created order.

 

Therefore Jesus is superior to the angels.

—-

It tells us third that God has said,

  1. Jesus was appointed to reign in heaven, but the angels were appointed to serve on earth

 

13And God never said to any of the angels,

“Sit in the place of honor at my right hand until I humble your enemies, making them a footstool under your feet.” (Psa 110:1g)

14Therefore, angels are only servants– spirits sent to care for people who will inherit salvation.

 

The author quotes Psa 110:1, a famous royal Messianic psalm to say that Jesus, the son, is reigning – seated at the right hand of God as we saw also last week in verse 3. He is seated there for two reasons:

 

First, because he accomplished his father’s will. He died in our place so that we might live. He followed the plan, he suffered the pain, he was obedient unto death on a cross to pay for our sins. Therefore he is exalted to the highest place of honor by the Father.

 

Second, he is seated because God the Father has seated him there. He did not seat himself. He was invited by the Father to be seated in the place of honor and authority.

 

The angels, by way of contrast, are “only servants.” They do not reign as Jesus does. They are not seated beside the Father. They, like servants, stand ready to serve at the master’s call.

They are at the beck and call of God the Father and the Son.

 

 

A second and final point can be made here as well.

 

  1. Jesus is anticipating the consummation of salvation, while the angels are merely assisting the heirs of salvation.

 

“Sit in the place of honor at my right hand until I humble your enemies, making them a footstool under your feet.” (Psa 110:1g)

 

God has promised to consummate the kingdom he has given Jesus giving him final victory over his enemies. When Christ returns, he will pronounce and send his enemies to their final judgment for eternity. The salvation that Jesus inaugurated, which announced and accomplished, will come to its consummation, it completion at the appointed time. His and our enemies will be finally defeated for all time.

 

But the angels, they are merely “spirits sent to care for the people who will inherit salvation.”

They are sent to assist believers, Jesus’ fellow-heirs, the co-heirs of the salvation he has accomplished in his death and exaltation.

 

Therefore, Jesus is superior to the angels. Therefore, we should put our trust in him….

 

 

Summary:

 

God’s has said About Jesus About the angels
  1. Vv 5-6
-Appointed unique Son of the Father -Appointed to worship the Son
  1. Vv 7-12
-Anointed to rule-Eternal unchanging creator -Sent to serve-Perishable changeable creation
  1. Vv 13-14
-Seated supreme in heaven-Anticipating the consummation of salvation -Standing to serve on earth-Assisting the heirs of salvation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Son – nearly 5000

 

Have you ever known someone who got free alcoholism or drug addiction or

 

Or someone who came out

Better life

-immigrants coming to America

 

 

Here’s the good news we call the gospel: Jesus died for our sins, he was raised for our salvation. He died in our place, he was raised to give us eternal life.

 

How do you know what to believe?

 

The word of God, the Bible, contained in the Old and New Testaments are God’s spoken word. It is God’s spoken word to us – his church, we who will inherit salvation.

 

has promises are as yet unfulfilled for us.

 

 

Notes from Lane’s comm

  • OT quotations in 5-13 elaborate on assertion in 4 that by virtue of his exaltation the Son acquired a status superior to the angels.
  • OT quotes exhibit the transcendent dignity of the son
  • 7 quotes are a succession of words God spoke to the Son which the church is permitted to overhear.
  • They establish that God’s witness is the decisive factor in the enthronement of the Son
  • By implication, the hearers are invited to acknowledge the worth of the Son by displaying their confidence in him (cf. 1-14; 3.1,14).
  • Writer’s concern is to summarize the biblical testimony to Jesus’ sonship and rank, and establish his super…ty to the heavenly mediators of the old revelation.
  • The quotes reinforce the church’s confession (1.2b-4) and prepare for the solemn warning to respect the word of salvation proclaimed by the Lord (2.1-4)
  • Vs 14 calls hearers to decision to recognize the that in contrast to the Son, who is invited to share the divine presence and splendor, angels are sent forth on a mission of assistance to those who find themselves oppressed and confused in a hostile world.

 

  1. Appointment as royal Son and heir vv 5-9
  2. Mediator of the creation (v 10)
  3. Unchanging, eternal nature (vv 11-12)
  4. Exaltation to God’s right hand (v 13)

 

  1. 1st comparison (vv 5-6) – Jesus’ divine sonship
  2. 2nd comparison (vv 7-12) – Jesus’ divine sonship
  3. 3rd comparison (vv 13-14) – superiority in rank to angels

 

V 5 (Psa 2.7)         —- inclusio ——- v 13 (Psa 110.1)

 

Old Testment quotations in Hebrews 1:5-13

  1. Psalm 2:7 The king proclaims the LORD’s decree: “The LORD said to me, ‘You are my son. Today I have become your Father.
  2. 2 Samuel 7:14 I will be his father, and he will be my son. If he sins, I will correct and discipline him with the rod, like any father would do.
  3. Deuteronomy 32:43 “Rejoice with him, you heavens, and let all of God’s angels worship him. Rejoice with his people, you nations, and let all the angels be strengthened in him. For he will avenge the blood of his servants; he will take revenge against his enemies. He will repay those who hate him and cleanse the land for his people.”
  4. Psalm 104:4 The winds are your messengers; flames of fire are your servants.
  5. Psalm 45:6-7 Your throne, O God, endures forever and ever. You rule with a scepter of justice. You love justice and hate evil. Therefore God, your God, has anointed you, pouring out the oil of joy on you more than on anyone else.
  6. Psalm 102:25-28 Long ago you laid the foundation of the earth and made the heavens with your hands. They will perish, but you remain forever; they will wear out like old clothing. You will change them like a garment and discard them. But you are always the same; you will live forever. The children of your people will live in security. Their children’s children will thrive in your presence.”
  7. Psalm 110:1 The LORD said to my Lord, “Sit in the place of honor at my right hand until I humble your enemies, making them a footstool under your feet.”

 

 

God’s has said About Jesus About the angels
1.    Vv 5-6 -Appointed unique Son of the Father -Appointed to worship the Son
2.    Vv 7-12 -Anointed to rule-Eternal unchanging creator -Sent to serve-Perishable changeable creation
3.    Vv 13-14 -Seated supreme in heaven-Anticipating the consummation of salvation -Standing to serve on earth-Assisting the heirs of salvation

 

 

 

4This shows that the Son is far greater than the angels, just as the name God gave him is greater than their names.

 

 

 

The central theme of Hebrews is the importance of listening to the voice of God in Scripture and in Christian preaching. It tells us that God has spoken in the OT Scriptures and that God has spoken in these last days through his Son Jesus. The final warning of the letter is “Be careful that you do not disregard the one who is speaking” (12:25a) If we should choose not to believe in the one who has delivered salvation to us through his death and exaltation it would be catastrophic.

 

The point is that God has been speaking about his Son throughout the OT. What he promised in the OT has taken place through his Son. God’s has been saying the same thing all along. He has not changed the channel. He has not… He has been speaking about final deliverance through his Son Jesus. From Gen 3:15 in the protoevangel to the last prophecy in Zechariah or Zephania it has all pointed to the Son who would accomplish salvation through his death and who would be exalted by the Father to a position of authority above everything in the universe.

 

This passage uses the technique of stringing together a series of OT passages called a “string of pearls” to prove his point that God has been speaking about his Son as the bearer of salvation throughout the OT. So the message is nothing new. God was saying the same thing then that he has said in these last days through his Son. He will deliver salvation to his people in himself.

 

The point of this passage is that the Son is superior to angels. Among the Jews, the tradition arose that the angels, or an angel served as a mediator to deliver the Law on Mt. Sinai to Moses. That’s what we heard in Stephen’s speech to the Sanhedrin, “………….”  So the Jews had a high view of the angels.

 

The Hebrews were perhaps dealing with an angel Christology of some sort in which Christ is included among the angels – as some modern day Jehovah’s Witnesses do – which compromises his unique and definitive status on the one hand and the significance of his redemptive death is minimized on the other. http://tearsofoberon.blogspot.com/2009/09/high-angel-christology-is-jesus-christ.html

 

 

There was perhaps a desire on the part of some Judaizers among them to

 

I want you to notice several things about the sermon text we just read and the sermon notes below.

  1. First, the sermon text includes seven quotations from the OT. I tried to highlight this in several ways.
    1. The introduction to the quote is on one line and the quote is indented on the next line or several lines.
    2. The quote by the author of Hebrews is in quotation marks and I put it in italics also for emphasis.
    3. I also included the OT references written out on the facing page in the notes so you could read the original for yourself.
  2. As we saw in vv 1-3 last week, God spoke in the past through the prophets – all of the OT Scriptures – but has spoken finally and fully – in these last days – through his Son Jesus.
  3. One of the points the writer is trying to make is that GOD SPOKE through the OT. The underlined words show that the introduction to each quotation includes a reference to what God said or God says.
  4. The main point of this passage is that GOD SPOKE TO or ABOUT JESUS throughout the OT, that he would be the fulfillment of a promised new and better covenant that would change the way believers relate to the Father.
  5. Each OT quotation makes reference to his unique Son. The introduction in verses 1-3 said, God has spoken finally – in these last days – through his Son, who is Jesus Christ.
  6. This passage tells us how he spoke about his Son in the pages of the OT, particularly, that in the OT he promised something BETTER or SUPERIOR would take place through his Son.

 

 

 

 

 

 

God’s has said About Jesus About the angels
  1. Vv 5-6
Appointed unique Son of the Father Appointed to worship the Son
  1. Vv 7-12
-Anointed to rule-Eternal unchanging creator -Sent to serve-Perishable changeable creation
  1. Vv 13-14
-Seated supreme in heaven-Anticipating the consummation of salvation -Standing to serve on earth-Assisting the heirs of salvation

 

 

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