4 So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs. 5 For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my Son; today I have become your Father”? Or again,“I will be his Father, and he will be my Son”? 6 And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says, “Let all God’s angels worship him.” ~ Hebrews 1:4-6
The book of Hebrews is extremely deep. It was written to a Jewish audience, and to understand its teaching, we must crawl into that Jewish way of thinking. This book was written to Jewish believers, but, the writer had Jewish unbelievers in mind, as well, as he wrote this. He did so in order to convince them that the Lord Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of the old covenant.
In v.4 of today's text we read, "So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs."
The subject of this verse is the Lord Jesus Christ who created all things and sustains all things. In this verse, the unknown writer of this book of Hebrews establishes the idea that the Lord Jesus is greater than the angels. Now, angels are spirit beings who are capable of appearing in a human form. In Hebrews 13:2, we are exhorted to be careful how we treat strangers for we might be entertaining angels unawares.
In a previous blog, we established that God created all things through the Lord Jesus Christ. So, the Lord Jesus made angels, and thus, He is greater than the angels. Now, there are 108 references in the Old Testament to angels, and 165 in the New Testament. They render intelligent worship and service to God which is why they were created. Angels are intelligent and are capable of emotion. Sometimes they are pictured with wings. In fact, in some cases they have as many as six wings.
According to Mark 13:32 and Jude 6, many angels live in heaven with God. And, there are thousands upon thousands of angelic beings inhabiting this universe, even though, a third of them rebelled against God with Lucifer who has the title of Satan. Some angels are called in the Bible cherubim, and some seraphim. Some have names and certain roles: Michael, for example, is the head of the armies of heaven, and Gabriel is called the mighty one. They are seen in Scripture as spectators at all redemptive events. They minister to God, and they do His bidding.
In the book of Hebrews, God gives us a biblical look at angels. The Jewish people at the time this book was written had come up with some extra-biblical views of angels, so that when the writer of Hebrews wrote this book, he was correcting their wrong views. The Jews had always esteemed angels as the highest beings next to God. They believed that angels were the mediators between men and God. And, some of them even believed in angels to such a degree that they actually worshipped them. Out of their worship of angels, the Jews developed a heresy known as Gnosticism which reduces the Lord Jesus Christ to an angel. In Colossians 2:18 the Apostle Paul warned his readers not to worship angels.
This was the context that the book of Hebrews was written, and so, the writer of Hebrews was used of God to address proper teaching on the angels. This proper teaching began with proper teaching regarding the Lord Jesus Christ who is God. Here, in Hebrews 1, the writer of Hebrews proves the superiority of Christ over angels by using seven Old Testament passages to verify it. Today, we will consider the first three of these seven that are given in v.5-13.
In v.5-6 of today's text we read, "5 For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my Son; today I have become your Father”? Or again,“I will be his Father, and he will be my Son”? 6 And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says, “Let all God’s angels worship him."
The first Old Testament passage the writer of Hebrews quotes is Psalm 2:7, and the second is 2 Samuel 7:14. The point is while angels are excellent creatures, Christ is more excellent. The Lord Jesus Christ is greater than angels, because He has been given a greater name. God never calls any angel, "Son." And, even though the Lord Jesus humbled Himself, even though He was made for a time lower than the angels, angels, yet, are to worship Him.
In v.6 of today's text, the writer of Hebrews quotes Psalm 97:7 which informs us that angels worshipped the Lord Jesus as God throughout all the time of their existence prior to His incarnation. But they are now to worship Him as Son. This Son, who became a man, has always been higher than the created angels. He is the very God that angels have always worshipped.
According to v.6, the Lord Jesus is referenced as the "firstborn" which is not a time word, it is a position word. It is not a description word, it is a title word. And when it says that He is first begotten, it’s talking about the fact that He is the chief of everything. He is Sovereign, He is preeminent. The Greek word used for "firstborn" is "prōtotokos" means the One with all the dignity and honor, who is the preeminent One.
We all believe that we are most happy when we are found at the center of our world. But, we are starved not for more of self. No, we are starved for the One who made us. This is why into the darkness of petty self-preoccupation Christ came to shine God's glory. The point of it all, the point of everything is “the glory of Christ.” In John 17:24, the Lord Jesus asked His Father to enable us to see His glory. This is the greatest thing He can do for us because He is the expressed image of God to man. He is the longing of our parched and weary hearts. He is to be worshipped which is our highest calling and experience.