10th September 2022
Read (Hebrews 1.5-13)
Message (Scott Woodburn)
The prophets weren't God's only messengers in the Old Testament. Throughout the history of redemption our God has commanded the heavenly host of angels who worship Him and do His bidding. Angels are not to be trifled with, they are mighty creatures who strike awe into everyone who meets them. They dwell in glory and have attributes and abilities far greater than you or I. We have seen in this chapter that Jesus is the true prophet greater than all others, but is he greater than the majestic angels? The answer is a resounding "yes".
To prove this point the Apostle takes us on a Bible study with a sevenfold argument of why Christ is greater than the angels. No angel is begotten of God but Christ certainly is. Psalm 2 is a Messianic Psalm or in simple terms it is a Psalm that speaks about Christ. It says "I will tell of the decree: The Lord said to me, 'You are my Son; today I have begotten you.'" (Psalm 2v7) Jesus is begotten not created. He is of the same substance as the Father. He is not a creature like the angels but He is true God.
Angels are sometimes called "sons of God" in Scripture (Job 1v6) but there is only one Son of God who is the second person of the Trinity. Nathan spoke God's promise to David and said "I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. When he commits iniquity, I will discipline him with the rod of men, with the stripes of the sons of men" (2 Samuel 7v14) God's promises to David were fulfilled in Christ. Jesus is the Son of God.
Indeed God's Son is not an angel or simply equal to the angels, instead the Son of God is to be worshipped by the angels. The lesser worships the greater and so with a quote from Deuteronomy 32v43 the Apostle shows once more that Christ is supreme and reigns even over the angels. His name is greater than theirs and He is the object of their worship.
The angels are wonderful creatures. God has made them like winds and a flame of fire (Psalm 104v4). We would do well to avoid anyone who pretends they have a guardian angel or treats the angels like good luck charms. The message of the angel in Revelation was so extraordinary that John fell to worship him (Revelation 22v8-9) before being told to only worship God. If an angel met you today I suspect you would be filled with awe and terror. They move rapidly, they do God's bidding and they engage in spiritual warfare. But they are still under the authority of Christ. Psalm 45 speaks of Jesus and says “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, the sceptre of uprightness is the sceptre of your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.” The angels are mighty but they serve Christ the King.
No wonder. The work of Christ is referenced in Psalm 102. It was Jesus who laid the foundation of the earth and who painted the heavens. Creation will wear out and one day Christ will roll it up like a garment and bring great change to the universe, but He does not change. He is eternal and just as Christ has no beginning so too He will have no end. Christ brought the angels into existence and it will be Christ who will judge the angels who rebelled against Him.
Finally, it is only Christ who has heard the words “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet” (Psalm 110v1) The position of authority at the right hand of God belongs only to Christ and although the angels will play their part in Gospel history, the forces of sin, death and wickedness will be placed beneath Christ's feet and not theirs.
The Apostle doesn't write these verses to humiliate the angels. It is not their fault that humans can sometimes worship angels or give them an exalted place. We would do well to be mindful of unseen spiritual realities whilst not falling into the pitfalls of the modern age. No, Paul doesn't wish to humiliate the angels but simply to remind the Hebrews that just as Christ is superior to the prophets, so too is He superior to God's angelic messengers.
It will be amazing to commune with the prophets in heaven. We will see Elijah and Moses and Habakkuk and Isaiah. It will be amazing too to gaze upon the angels who sing "holy, holy holy". But Christ is greater than them all and today the prophets and angels worship the Lord. Brothers and sisters, turn your eyes to Jesus, you're not going to be disappointed.
Q49 Which is the second commandment? The second commandment is, Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them; for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me: and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.