The letter to the Hebrews Message Six
II. Exaltation of Christ 1:4 – 10:18
We have learned that Jesus is –
A. Superior to the prophets. 1:1-3
1. The former words. Refer to –
1 Peter 1:10-12 Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.
Measured by these words, we see –
2. The finished work. 1:3 “…and sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.”
This morning we will learn that Jesus not only superior to the prophets, we see that He is also –
B. Superior to the Angels. 1:4-2:18
1. Superior in Person. 1:4-14
a. Superiority stated. 1:4 “…being made so much better than the angels…”
As we begin we must remember what took place in Bethlehem over two thousand years ago. When Jesus was born we are informed through their worship that these mighty angels knew that Jesus is greater than they are –
Luke 2:11-14 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
Angels are exceedingly amazing in presence and power.
Note the words of Daniel as he described his encounter with an angel sent from the Lord –
Daniel 10:9-15 Yet heard I the voice of his words: and when I heard the voice of his words, then was I in a deep sleep on my face, and my face toward the ground. And, behold, an hand touched me, which set me upon my knees and upon the palms of my hands. And he said unto me, O Daniel, a man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak unto thee, and stand upright: for unto thee am I now sent. And when he had spoken this word unto me, I stood trembling. Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia. Now I am come to make thee understand what shall befall thy people in the latter days: for yet the vision is for many days. And when he had spoken such words unto me, I set my face toward the ground, and I became dumb.
And a similar occurrence in written of by Matthew at the tomb of the Lord –
Matthew 28:2-4 And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.
We will learn more of them this morning. It will help us also to understand what the Hebrews believed about angels that made it necessary for Paul to prove Jesus is greater.
Let’s address something right away as we learn of angels. Much misinformation has been presented throughout the ages about angels. They are not the spirits of people that have died! Whatever you have seen on television – it is not true. When a person dies, their spirits either go to Heaven or to Hell immediately. They do not wander throughout the earth. Now, turning to God’s Word about His creations – Angels.
1). Their Person.
a). Angels are created
Psalm 148:2,5 Praise ye him, all his angels: praise ye him, all his hosts…. Let them praise the name of the LORD: for he commanded, and they were created.
b). Angels are spirit beings, Psalm 104:4 “Who maketh His angels spirits…”, yet they are able to appear as men to men when needed –
Remember the angels visiting Lot in as recorded in –
Genesis 19:1 And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground;
Genesis 19:5 And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night?
c). Angels are eternal beings. They are created but they do not die.
d). Angels have unique duties they perform. We will not look today at the fallen angels, but only those holy angels that remained loyal to God.
We see two categories –
(1). Angels by name.
(a). Michael the Archangel.
(b). Gabriel the messenger.
(2). Angels by group
Ezekiel 1:5-12 Also out of the midst thereof came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance; they had the likeness of a man. And every one had four faces, and every one had four wings. And their feet were straight feet; and the sole of their feet was like the sole of a calf’s foot: and they sparkled like the colour of burnished brass. And they had the hands of a man under their wings on their four sides; and they four had their faces and their wings. Their wings were joined one to another; they turned not when they went; they went every one straight forward. As for the likeness of their faces, they four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle. Thus were their faces: and their wings were stretched upward; two wings of every one were joined one to another, and two covered their bodies. And they went every one straight forward: whither the spirit was to go, they went; and they turned not when they went.
While the Cherubim are guardians of God’s glory, there are also the –
(b). Seraphim. They praise the holiness of God at His Throne. Isaiah wrote of them –
Isaiah 6:1-2 In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.
2). Their Power is controlled. The Lord of infinite power has control over the angels. The host of angels that brought forth praise at His birth were held back at His crucifixion.
Matthew 26:53 Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? (more than 70,000)
We should praise the Lord that He is in control! The Lord has revealed to us that there is a great spiritual battle going on that we do not even see –
Ephesians 6:11-13 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Notice that we are not told to look for trouble, we do not have the power to overcome Satan and his angels. We are told to stand in the power of God – He defends us!
James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
3). Their Privilege. To stand in the presence of God and serve Him night and day.
Revelation 7:11 And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God,
A thought about the ministry of angels. We have the inspired testimony of their ministry from the beginning and throughout the Old Testament. The testimony continues from the Word of God to their ministry during the New Testament times. Remember the angel that rescued the apostle Peter from the prison as recorded in Acts chapter twelve. And we must remember that the same inspired Word of God speaks of their ministry in the last days. So, they have ministered in the beginning, the Old Testament days, the early New Testament days, and the end times. Does it seems reasonable that they would not minister in our day? They may be ministering now among us. After all, why else would Paul share with us –
Hebrews 13:2 Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
Today we have seen the power and majesty of the Angels. The more important truth that we have learned is that as amazing as they are, Jesus is better – as high as the infinite is from the created! Is Jesus wonderful to you today?
One of these days, if you are saved, you will be at His throne also, worshipping Him forever because He is worthy! What a day that will be!
Will you be there?