Hebrewsby Robert M. Solomon
Yesterday, we looked at how Jesus is superior to anything the Jews have known in their religion thus far. Today's text shows how He is far superior to the angels of heaven. Angels are created beings and, apart from the fallen ones that followed Satan in his rebellion against God, are depicted as glorious creatures that serve God. But Jesus, being God the Son, is far superior to the angels. Unlike them, He is not a created being.
The author quotes several Old Testament passages to make his point. He begins with Psalm 2:7 where God tells Christ that He is His Son; such words were never addressed to any angel (Hebrews 1:5). Similarly, 2 Samuel 7:14 and 1 Chronicles 17:13 are referenced. The writer also quotes the Septuagint translation (the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible) of Deuteronomy 32:43 (″Let all God's angels worship him″) to show how all angels are to bow before Jesus (v. 6). Jesus is the ″firstborn″ because, as uncreated God, He exists before all creation.6
Angels are ministers and servants of God-like wind and fire-who do the bidding of God (Hebrews 1:7, quoting Psalm 104:4), but Jesus is far superior. He is addressed as God by God himself! God says to Christ, ″Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever″ (Psalm 45:6-7) and refers to himself as ″your God″ (Hebrews 1:8-9). Without understanding the biblical doctrine of the Trinity, that there is one God eternally existing as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we would be rather confused and puzzled.
The writer quotes Psalm 102:25-27 to show that Christ was present at the creation of the world, and remains unchanging from eternity to eternity (Hebrews 1:10-12; see 13:8). The writer also quotes Psalm 110:1, a favourite passage among New Testament writers (Matthew 22:44; Acts 2:34-35), to show the divinity of Christ (Hebrews 1:13). No angel comes close to such heights of majesty and divinity. While angels are heavenly beings and they serve God, it is wrong to focus on them over and above Christ. A fascination with angels existed among the Jews in the time of the New Testament; some elevated them as mediators to be worshipped (see Colossians 2:18). The writer points to Christ who is above all angels and our one mediator (1 Timothy 2:5; the Greek term for mediator is part of the legal language referring to an arbitrator)7 who brings us to God directly.
6Bruce, Epistle to the Hebrews, 15.
7Morris, ″Hebrews″, 76.
Why do you think the writer emphasised that Jesus is vastly superior to angels? Why is both dismissal of the existence and ministry of angels and unhealthy fascination with them unhelpful in the Christian life?
How does the truth that Jesus is unchanging throughout eternity (Hebrews 1:12) and that He is the beginning and the end (Hebrews 1:10-12; Revelation 1:8, 17; 21:6) impact your life today?