Summary: During the time that Jesus walked the earth, people placed angels in high position relative to the Lord. With Jesus Christ now being preached as the sole way to heaven, the author of Hebrews had to convince the people that Christ was superior.
Christ is Superior to the Angels
In this text we are going to be dealing with the meat of the Word, rather then the milk. Keep in mind that the book of Hebrews is written to both believing and non-believing Hebrews. Both groups are being pressed with the truth that the New Covenant is better than the Old and that Jesus is the better Priest, Mediator, and sacrifice.
In the first three verses Jesus is shown as superior to everything and everyone. This means that Christ is superior to angels as well. If you look at the order of beings, you would have men then angels and then God on top. Hebrews 2:9, tells us that when Jesus became a man he was “made for a little while lower than angels.” See angels are free of infirmities and those remaining in Heaven after Lucifer’s fall are also free from sin.
The Bible speaks a great deal about angels. There are 108 direct references to angels in the Old Testament and 165 in the New Testament. The primary purpose of their creation was to render special worship and sacrifice to God.
I. What Angels are and Do
A. Angels are spirit beings and do not have flesh and bones like us.
B. They have the capability of appearing in human form though.
i. Hebrews 13:2 says we are warned to be careful how we treat strangers, since we might be entertaining “angels without knowing it.”
C. They are highly intelligent and have emotions
i. They rejoice when ever a sinner is saved
ii. They can speak to men to share God’s message
D. They are not subject to death
E. They are highly organized and divided into ranks
i. They apparently have supervisory responsibilities over thrones, dominions, principalities, powers, authorities, and such.
ii. They are divided into three classes
3. Those described as living creatures
F. They are stronger then men.
G. They minister to God and do His bidding
i. They are both spectators and participants in God’s work.
II. Jewish Views of Angels
A. Jews believed that angels were very important to the Old Covenant.
i. They esteemed them as the highest being next to God.
ii. They believed God was surrounded by angels.
B. Many believed that angels acted as God’s senate or council, and God did nothing without consulting them first.
i. Genesis 1:26, “Let us make man in our image.” The “us” refers to this council.
C. Many believed that the Old Covenant was brought to them from God by the angels.
i. They viewed the angels as the mediators of the covenant.
ii. Acts 7:51-53, alludes to this believe when Stephen spoke to the Jews.
D. In the Jewish mind angels were extremely exalted, immeasurably important
i. If the writer was to persuade the people of the better covenant, he would also have to persuade them that Jesus was and is superior to the angels.
III. Five Ways Christ is Better
A. Greater because of Title (vv. 4-5)
i. The name and title of a person in those days carried much weight.
1. God chose specific names that related to the character or aspect of a person’s life.
2. For God to title Christ, “Son” was to set him above everyone else.