Study Notes: Hebrews 1:5-14


Review
Our first two studies in the book of Hebrews focused on Jesus as the messenger who is the message, the heir of all things, the creator of the world, the radiance of God's glory, the representation of God's nature, the upholder of all things, and the purifier of sin. All that in just four verses!
Today, we will be finishing chapter one as the author compares Jesus and the angels. You recall in verses three and four he wrote,
Hebr. 1:3-4 ...When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high; having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they.
He is better than the angels, with a more excellent name. But notice that it says, "having BECOME as much better than the angels." Remember that He, at one time, chose to be lower than them. When was that? When Christ was born in Bethlehem to the virgin Mary, He was the Son of God come to earth as the Son of Man. As John wrote,
John 1:14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Jesus became a man, and we know that man is lower than the angels.
He did this to bring salvation to us, which He accomplished by dying on the cross. After He died, He rose again from the dead, having provided for the purification of our sins. When He ascended to His Father in heaven, He sat down at the right hand of God.
Jesus is no longer lower than the angels. Nor is Jesus equal to the angels. He is far superior to them, as the author will prove in the rest of chapter one.

1:5 Thou Art My Son
Continuing his comparison of Christ and the angels, the writer quotes from the Old Testament, the first reference being from Psalm 2, the second from 2Samuel 7:14.
Although angels were called "sons of God" (Gen 6:2-4; Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7), they were never addressed individually as "My Son," and never as having been begotten.
Jesus is elevated by the title "My Son," far above the place that the angels hold.

1:6 Angels Worship Him
Not only is Jesus singled out as being higher than the angels, but He is also the object of angels' worship. Jesus is worshiped, but angels are never to be worshiped.
You may recall in the book of Revelation how the apostle John was so overwhelmed by the visions an angel was showing him, he said,
Rev. 19:10 And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said to me, “Do not do that; I am a fellow servant of yours and your brethren who hold the testimony of Jesus; worship God. For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”
Angels do not allow themselves to be worshiped. They do, however, worship Jesus. Yet Jesus was always quoting the greatest commandment, which states that you shall worship only God. How can God command that Jesus be worshipped unless Jesus is God?

1:7-12 O God
Possibly the most clear argument for Christ being far superior to the angels is that God calls Him God! God the Father, speaking to Jesus, says, "Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever."
This is what the writer is trying to get his readers to understand: Jesus Christ IS God. He is not merely a reflection of God. He is not merely a powerful angel. He is not merely an enlightened man. He is God.
This is where the skeptics yell, "Jesus never claimed to be God!" The cults cry, "Jesus isn't God, but merely a god!" But the Scripture refers over and over to the Deity of Jesus Christ.
Contrary to the critics, we know that Jesus claimed to be God.
In John chapter ten, the Jews accused Him, saying,
John 10:33 "...You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God."
Last week, in our study of the power of the Word, we remember the powerful statement that Jesus made, saying, "I AM." It was the same name God had given Himself before Moses at the burning bush. Jesus went so far as to say,
John 8:58-59 ..."Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I AM." Therefore they picked up stones to throw at Him...
The Jews knew He was claiming to be God - that's why they were picking up rocks!
He also didn't disagree with those who called Him God. Remember that Thomas wouldn't believe Christ had been resurrected without physically touching Jesus' wounds.
John 20:26-29 And after eight days again His disciples were inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst, and said, "Peace be with you." Then He said to Thomas, "Reach here your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand, and put it into My side; and be not unbelieving, but believing." Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my God!" Jesus said to him, "Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed."
Paul referred to Christ's deity as clearly as he could when he wrote to Titus that they were...
Titus 2:13 looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus
And Peter used the same language when he was writing to those who...
2Pet. 1:1 ...have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ
These statements are abundant and clear - Jesus Christ is God.

Thy Throne
Jesus Christ is God the Son. He has inherited all things from God the Father. His throne is described by the Father as being an everlasting, eternal throne. The Father credits the Son with laying the foundation of the earth, and creating the heavens with His hands. And even though heaven and earth will pass away, the throne of Jesus Christ will not.

1:13-14 Why Angels Then?
If Christ is so far superior to the angels, what good are they? Are they useful for anything? And if so, do we have a proper understanding of their mission and purpose?
The word for angel (mal-AWK in Hebrew, and ANG-el-os in Greek), simply means "messenger." And, just as God has chosen to use human beings to accomplish some of His work, He has chosen angels many times to be His messengers.

Information
Angels are messengers to man sent from God. Certainly, we have plenty of biblical examples of this. Why, just in the account of Christ's birth, we see angels used four times.
1) An angel brought the message of Mary's pregnancy with Jesus to her.
2) An angel appeared to Joseph in a dream, reassuring him that he should take Mary as his wife.
3) An angel announced Christ's birth to shepherds in the field outside of Bethlehem.
4) An angel warned Joseph to flee with Mary and Jesus to Egypt, since Herod wanted to kill the child.

Judgment
Angels are used by God to bring messages of information. They are also used to bring judgment. For example, before the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, an angel told Lot,
Gen. 19:13 for we are about to destroy this place, because their outcry has become so great before the LORD that the LORD has sent us to destroy it.

Warfare
We know that angels also wage war in the spiritual realm against evil forces. When an angel came to Daniel to give him a message of prophecy for the end times, he said,
Dan. 10:12-13 Then he said to me, “Do not be afraid, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart on understanding {this} and on humbling yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to your words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia was withstanding me for twenty-one days; then behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left there with the kings of Persia.
And when he left, he explained,
Dan. 10:20-21 "...I shall now return to fight against the prince of Persia; so I am going forth, and behold, the prince of Greece is about to come. ... Yet there is no one who stands firmly with me against these {forces} except Michael your prince.
These angels were waging war in the spiritual realm.

Provision
They also are sent to provide for people. Remember that Elijah on the run from Jezebel in 1Kings 19 was ministered to in the wilderness by an angel.
1Kgs. 19:5-7 And he lay down and slept under a juniper tree; and behold, there was an angel touching him, and he said to him, “Arise, eat.” Then he looked and behold, there was at his head a bread cake {baked on} hot stones, and a jar of water. So he ate and drank and lay down again. And the angel of the LORD came again a second time and touched him and said, “Arise, eat, because the journey is too great for you.”
Angels are sometimes appear as men to accomplish these duties. The writer of Hebrews will say in chapter 13,
Hebr. 13:2 Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.
Who knows how many angels you may have met in your lifetime?

Angels are not, however, to be our focus. They are called "ministering spirits," literally meaning that they are "servant winds." Although many Christians buy books about angels, hang pictures of angels, and pray for angels, they are simply servant winds. They are used by God.
So the writer of Hebrews is saying, "Guys, Christ is far superior. Don't get sidetracked. Don't get off course. Keep Christ as your focus." Will we heed his words?

2006 Ron Daniel - Any distribution not for profit is permitted
All Scripture (unless otherwise indicated) taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE
©1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.


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