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The Superiority of Jesus to the Angels

A Series in Hebrews by Pastor Bob Moya – Part V



The concept of angels is central to the Christian belief system. In the New Testament, angels are depicted as messengers of God who typically announce significant events, such as the birth of Jesus Christ. They are also seen as guardians and protectors of believers. In addition, the hierarchy of angels, including archangels and cherubim, is extensively elaborated upon in Christian theology.


Angels were very important in the Jewish Religion. One reason was that angels assisted in giving the Law of Moses at Mt. Sinai.

"He said, “The Lord came from Sinai, And dawned on them from Seir; He shone forth from Mount Paran, And He came from the midst of ten thousand holy ones; At His right hand there was flashing lightning for them." – Deuteronomy 33:2

  • The Hebrews had a high regard for angels, even holding them as the highest beings next to God.

  • Some people at the time of Hebrews had begun to elevate angels beyond the basic teachings of the Old Testament about angels, resulting in several dangerous misconceptions that began to spread.


Since the primary message of Hebrews is the superiority of Christ and His salvation compared to the Law of Moses, the writer would have to address the issue of the angels of God.


So the author begins his argument with a statement that would have shocked his audience. Read again verses 4-5:

"...having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they. For to which of the angels did He ever say, 'You are My Son, Today I have begotten You?'"


In Hebrew culture, someone’s name often expresses their nature and characteristics. A person’s name often spoke to their destiny. For example, the archangels Michael and Gabriel are two of the most prominent angels in Jewish history. The name Michael means, “who is like God,” while Gabriel means, “man of God.” The Jews would have revered these angels as guardians and messengers of Israel.


With this history in mind, one can imagine why the author had some explaining to do when he declared that Jesus’ name as the “Son” is better than that of the angels. 

The author's argument: Verse 5 points to that messianic element of sonship that fulfills the promises of the Davidic covenant.

  • "'The days are coming,' declares the LORD, 'when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land.'" – Jeremiah 23:5 (NIV)

  • "He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David." – Luke 1:32 (NIV)

  • "'I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.'" – Revelation 22:16 (NIV)


This name Son of God and only begotten, meant Jesus fulfilled the old covenant and ratified the new covenant.


This title doesn’t mean Jesus was a created being. Nor does it mean he was adopted as a Son. This name Son speaks to his deity and his eternality. This name means Jesus was anointed and appointed to fulfill God’s promises.



We can believe Jesus is superior doctrinally, but drift from this belief in our daily lives. How did Jesus fulfill ancient messianic prophecy? What is the danger of giving anyone or anything the glory that Jesus alone deserves?

 

The author argued for the superiority of Jesus by comparing and contrasting him with angels.


1.    Jesus is superior in his relationship to the Father 

"Having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they. For to which of the angels did He ever say, 'You are My Son, Today I have begotten You?' And again, 'I will be a Father to Him And He shall be a Son to Me?' And when He again brings the firstborn into bthe world, He says, 'And let all the angels of God worship Him.' And of the angels He says, 'Who makes His angels winds, And His ministers a flame of fire.'" – Hebrews 1:4-7


Notice the contrast in verse 5: "For to which of the angels did He ever say,…" these things? Which of the angels inherited these titles? The answer is none.


Notice he says, “And let all the angels of God worship Him”


In the Old Testament the Hebrews may have believed that angels were the mediators between them and God. But the author says only Jesus has that relationship with the Father.


2.    Jesus is superior in his reign.

"And of the angels He says, 'Who makes His angels winds, And His ministers a flame of fire.' But of the Son He says, 'Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, And the righteous scepter is the scepter of His kingdom. 'You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of gladness above Your companions.' And, 'You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the works of Your hands; They will perish, but You remain; And they all will become old like a garment, And like a mantle You will roll them up; Like a garment they will also be changed. But You are the same, And Your years will not come to an end.'” – Hebrews 1:7-12


The author quotes from Psalm 104:7. He uses exalted language to describe the angelic host. They are flames of fire, they enjoy the presence of God and carry out his will. But they are only servants in God’s kingdom. The angels may surround the throne of God, but the Son sits on the Throne.


Notice the writer identifies Jesus as the agent of creation, “The foundations of the earth and the heavens are the works of your hand." To which of the angels does God say this too? The answer is none.


3.    Jesus is superior in his reward.

"But to which of the angels has He ever said, 'Sit at My right hand, Until I make Your enemies A footstool for Your feet?' Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?" – Hebrews 1:13-14

 

In this last Old Testament citation the author uses Psalm 110:1 ending the way he started, with the phrase, "to which of the angels has he ever said…Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet?" The answer is none.


The psalmist served notice to the enemies of the coming Messiah (Jesus the Son of God) in Psalm 2:12 this way: “Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way, For His wrath may soon be kindled. How blessed are all who take refuge in Him.”


What are some of the ways that angels are described in these passages differ from the portrait of angels in pop culture? What did the author say was the role of angels in regards to those who are inheriting salvation?

 

When we call Jesus Lord, God will systematically remove all high places and confront all idols in our lives. He wants us to be firmly established in the belief that Jesus is superior to all others, including the mightiest things in our lives.


Until next time, stay strong in the Lord!

Pastor Bob



About Pastor Bob Moya, DMin.

Pastor Bob Moya has served as the lead pastor with his wife Candace at City Chapel in Arlington, Texas for over 22+ years. He recently graduated with a doctorate degree in Spiritual Renewal and Leadership in the spring of 2024. When not serving at the church, you'll find Bob enjoying a good read at Barnes & Noble, sipping a nitro cold brew or black coffee from Starbucks, or spending time with his family.

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