Angels have been a topic of discussion in our world for several years. “Highway to Heaven” and “Touched By An Angel” are two TV shows that peaked a lot of interest in angels. Even some movies have angels in the plots. Angels are not the chain-smoking, hard drinking, womanizing creatures portrayed by John Travolta in the movie “Michael.’ Angels are definitely not humans, especially not dead humans who earn their wings as portrayed in Frank Capra’s classic movie, “It’s A Wonderful Life.”
But who and what are angels? Have some information in the Bible but not much and definitely not enough to satisfy everyone’s curiosity.
Angels are created beings and they do God’s bidding from heaven.
Angels are not omniscient - they can’t read your mind
Omnipresent - they aren’t everywhere at once - even though they are fast
Omnipotent - their powers are limited
Can only do what God allows them to do
Cannot create or sustain anything
Cannot have faith or be saved
Always point to God’s glory - not their own
Even so - many even to this day worship angels. And Christians in the first century were tempted to give them a higher place than they ought. Among some early churches angels were the object of worship - especially in Colossae, Ephesus, and Crete.
In a way the arguments to the original readers about Jesus being superior to the Angels is very applicable to our own times. The proponents of New Age beliefs do not dismiss Jesus out right; they merely demote him to the status of an angel, or spirit guide.
The common New Age practice of “channeling” is nothing more than demons acting through men and women who make themselves available to evil spirits so as to receive supposedly “hidden wisdom” alleged from the past or from other worlds.
Today there are two cults that teach that Jesus is just an angel. Jehovah witnesses teach that Jesus is Michael the Archangel. Mormons believe that Jesus is a cherub, the brother of Lucifer.
Thesis: These verses, mainly out of the OT, give us 4 reasons why Jesus is superior to the angels.
His name is superior (vs. 4-5)
It is true that the name of Jesus is superior.
Philippians 2:8-11: And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Peter says in Acts 4:12: Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven (Jesus Christ of Nazareth) given to men by which we must be saved.
However, this is talking about more than the name of Jesus. Several people, even today, have the name Jesus. It is talking about Jesus Christ, the Son of God, not a son, but the Son. Vs. 3
Matthew 16:16: You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.
Angels are servants, while Jesus is the Son. To be a son in a family is superior than a servant. “Son” is used many times in this chapter.
C. Vs. 5- Angels as a group have been referred to as “sons of God” (Job 1:6, 2:1) but no individual angel has ever been called the “Son of God.”
Angels worship and serve Jesus, who is their God (Vs. 6-7)
Vs. 6- angels are worshipers. The Son is the object of worship. The object of our worship is One who is greater than ourselves. Angels worship Christ who is greater than any angel.
We are warned by the Apostle Paul not to be deceived into the worship of angels Colossians 2:18-19: Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you for the prize. Such a person goes into great detail about what he has seen, and his unspiritual mind puffs him up with idle notions.
Any real angel (there are demons) will urge you not to worship them but to worship only God.
Vs. 7- Angels bring about God’s message (the wind) and His judgment (the fire.)
The Father Himself calls Him (and not any angel) God and Lord (Vs. 8-12)
Vs. 8-9: This is where God calls Jesus God. John calls him God in his gospel, Paul called him God, Thomas called Him God - now God calls Him God.
Jesus is not temporary - He is here to stay and He will be King forever. The Psalm was sung at weddings and at coronations of kings. Jesus was prophet, priest, and King. The anointing here would be that of a King. Angels are not kings - they do not rule, they merely carry out orders - that is their purpose.
No angel was ever invited to share God’s throne. Satan, the only angel foolish enough to try to usurp that throne was disgraced and thrown out of heaven.
Vs. 10-12: Science tells us by the second law of thermodynamics that this universe will eventually wind down. Motion produces friction. Friction produces wear; wear produces disintegration. It is affected by the process of aging. Like a fragile garment susceptible to such things as sunlight, humidity and moths, this physical creation will shrivel, dry out and decay.
But not so the Lord, He remains the same forever.
Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lords
He has sat down, having completed His work, while the angels work and do not sit down (Vs. 13-14).
No one sits in God’s presence unless they have the right to do so and Jesus does
There are no seats for the angels around the throne of God, because they are busy praising God and serving Him.
It isn’t good to be too comfortable in the presence of majesty. There is a story about a man named Lear who was hired to give Queen Victoria art lessons. Things were going well, and Lear started to feel quite at home in the palace. He enjoyed standing in front of the fire, leaning on the hearth and warming himself in a relaxed manner, but every time he did, one of the Queen’s attendants would invite him to look at something on the other side of the room, making him move. No one explained it to him, but after a while, he got the idea. It is wrong for a subject to have such a relaxed attitude in the presence of their Queen.
In the same way, the angels don’t “relax” before God. They “stand” before Him, but the Son sits down - because He isn’t a subject, He is the King.
Angels are like the Energizer Bunny that won’t quit; they have to keep working, while the Son can take a posture of rest, because He is the Son.
Jesus is also called a servant and a minister, but this is part of His earthly humiliation for us, not his nature -- as is the case with the angels.
Conclusion and invitation:
An interesting concept: angels work for us (those who will inherit salvation- vs. 14)
We see the angels doing things for us in the Scriptures. However, no man has ever ordered an angel around. When an angel comes on the scene in his heavenly state, man is frightened.
What are angels doing for us today? For the Christian, more than we realize. “John Paton was a missionary in the New Hebrides Islands. One night hostile natives surrounded the mission station, intent on burning out the Patons and killing them. Paton and his wife prayed during that terror-filled night that God would deliver them. When daylight came they were amazed to see their attackers leave.
A year later, the chief of the tribe was converted to Christ. Remembering what had happened, Paton asked the chief what had kept him from burning down the house and killing them. The chief replied in surprise, “Who were all those men with you there?” Paton knew no men were present--but the chief said he was afraid to attack because he had seen hundreds of big men in shining garments with drawn swords circling the mission station. [Today in the Word, MBI, October, 1991, p. 18]
Hebrews 2:8 says that Jesus was made a little lower than the angels. While Jesus was here in the flesh angels ministered to him but rarely do we see him ordering angels around. Jesus was like we are. We are a little lower than the angels. Angels minister to us but we don’t order angels around. However, one day that will change.
Revelation 3:21: To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne.
When we inherit salvation (final salvation on the Day of Judgment) we will reign with Christ. We will be like the 24 elders who sit on thrones around the Great Throne in Revelation 4. Angels will serve us. However, even then, while we are worshipping, we will fall down and lay our crowns at the feet of Jesus.
We fall down and lay our crowns At the feet of Jesus The greatness of Your Mercy and love At the feet of Jesus And we cry holy, holy, holy And we cry holy, holy, holy And we cry holy, holy, holy Is the lamb