Hebrews 1:3 – As a result of this work that He Himself accomplished He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.” – This means that His work of Atonement is complete. It is finished. This is a reference to His superiority over the angels as well as His superiority over priests. The Day of Atonement was the only day that the High Priest could enter the Holy of Holies. This is where the Ark of the Covenant was and the dwelling of God’s Spirit on earth. There was no chair anywhere in the court of the Levites, the Holy Place or in the Holy of Holies. But our Messiah has sat down in the Presence of God Himself and intercedes for us before His Throne.
Having become as much better that the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they. The wording “became” is interesting. We would expect a statement that the Messiah was eternally superior to the angels, instead we have the statement, “becoming superior to them.” But this is an allusion to the work that the Son did in becoming man and putting the sins of man away. It brings to mind the words of Isaiah the prophet who wrote 700 B.C.. Isaiah 53 Read. This work caused Him to inherit a more excellent Name -“HaShem.” (A substitute word for Jehovah.)
There is an allusion to this in the words of the Hallel in Psalm 118:26 “Blessed be He who comes in the Name of the Lord.” A reference to the Messiah. Jesus is the Name above all names. We need to realize that this Jesus that we have come to believe in is Lord and King of the Universe Represents the image of the Father to mankind Is Far Superior to all men and angels.
In the next section the writer moves on immediately to compare Jesus with the angels. The ancient world made a great deal of angels. They worshiped them in many of the ancient religious rites. Therefore, this letter was written to people who particularly had an interest in angels. The writer deals with this very rapidly, but very thoroughly. This subject has recently become very popular and all the more it demonstrates the greatness of the person of Christ.
Scripture tells us that angels have bodies that are suitable for dwelling in heaven, but they are able to appear in bodily form here on earth. (Hebrews 13:2) Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.
Angels have emotions as we can see from Luke 15:10 where they are described as rejoicing when a sinner comes to repentance. They speak to men as in the case of Abraham and in Sodom when they rescued Lot. They do not die, even those who rebelled and were cast from heaven, remain alive in the form of demons under God’s judgment. While a third of the angels fell there are “myriads of myriads” that have remained faithful and serve the Lord (Daniel 7:10, Revelation 5:11).
The term “angel” is derived from the Greek word “angelos” which means “messenger.” The Hebrew equivalent, malak also means “messenger” whose task is to convey the message or do the will of God who sent him. Cherubim and seraphim are spoken of in the visions of the prophets (Ezekiel 1:4-28; 10:3-22) and (Isaiah 6:2-6). Cherubim function primarily as guards or attendants to the divine throne. Seraphim appear only in Isaiah’s vision and there attend God’s throne and voice praises. Only cherubim and seraphim are represented with wings.
Scripture seems to suggest that as a heavenly “host” (i.e. “army”) there is a chain of command and that references to archangels (1 Thessalonians 4:16; Jude 9) and a special class of angels which has intimate fellowship with God such as the seraphim of Isaiah 6:2-6, indicate that angels are organized in a rank system. This seems apparent concerning the fallen angels and there is evidence of this among the faithful angels (Ephesians 1:21) far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in the one to come. In rabbinic thought as well, in the First century, there are descriptions of different orders of angels and this is articulated in the New Testament (see Romans 8:38; Ephesians 3:10; 6:12; Colossians 1:16; 2:10, 2:15; Titus 3:1).
Angels are created beings. Only God is eternal. The Bible never reveals when God created angels. Angels seem to have a role guarding God’s children we see this in Matthew 18:10 and other passages which assign protective roles to angels (for example, Michael, the angelic prince over Israel, Daniel 12:1; angels of specific churches in Daniel 10:13; Acts 12:15; Revelation 1:20; 2-3). This evidence is commonly used to suggest that each individual has a “guardian” angel assigned to him or her by God. The term, “guardian angel,” however, is not biblical, and the idea is at best only implied in these passages.
In the Old Testament angel’s function as messengers or agents of God revealing His will and/or announcing key events (Genesis 19:1-22; Exodus 3:2-6; Judges 2:1-5; 13:2-23). We also see angels providing protection ensuring the well-being or survival of God’s people (Exodus 14:19-20; 1 Kings 19:1-8). We also see them meting out punishment and enforcing the wrath of God on the wicked among Jews and Gentiles (Genesis 19:12-13; 2 Samuel 24:17; 2 Kings 19:35).
In the New Testament the majority of references to angelic activity are in the Gospels and Acts. The epistles include some brief references to angels. Hebrews with its lengthy contrast between Jesus and the angels is exceptional (Hebrews 1:3-2:16) which is why we are spending this time considering them. Revelation has much to say about angels as well in the Old Testament. Is it any wonder then that the Jewish perspective of angels and the work of the Messiah needed to be clarified?
The writer of Hebrews compares the angels to the son beginning by comparing angels as servants and Jesus who is the Son. Jesus is greater because of his relationship, the fact that he is a Son. C.S. Lewis wrote, “what we make with our hands is always something different than who we are, but what we beget with our bodies is always the dearest thing in the world to us because it is part of us.” The angels were made; the Son was begotten.
What we give birth to has the same nature we have; what we make is always different. The angels, being made, cannot have the same relationship as the Son, who was begotten. Both Mormonism and Jehovah’s Witnesses teach that Jesus Christ was nothing more than an angel, the highest created angel. They identify him with Michael, the Archangel. But this passage in Hebrews utterly demolishes that theory, for Christ is a Son and not an angel. To what angel did God ever say, “Thou art my Son.”
Second, Christ is greater than the angels by the demonstration of worship. And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says, “Let all God’s angels worship him.” We only worship that which is superior to us. The worship of the angels at Bethlehem is testimony to the deity of the babe in the manger. John Bunyan said, “If Jesus Christ be not God, then heaven will be filled with idolaters.” For in Revelation and Daniel, those books that give us a glimpse into the heavenly realms, we see ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands of angels engaged in worshiping the Son. So he is seen to be greater than angels by the demonstration of worship.
Third, his superiority is evidenced by the demonstration of authority. What are angels? They are servants and ministers of God., depicted by wind and fire. In our daily life wind and fire are two elements which are more than man can handle for they frequently get out of bounds, yet they are made to be servants of men. These symbolize the angels, superior in being to men, yet servants of men. The quotation concerning angels is from Psalm 104.
The writer then he moves to contrasting angels to the Son, quoting from Psalm 45. “But of the Son he says, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever”. Here we see God the Father acknowledging God, the Son. Once again in no uncertain terms Jesus is declared to be God. This was the claim of Jesus (John 5:18, 10:30) “I and the Father are one.”