Christ's Superiority Over the Angels | Hebrews 1:4-14 | Dr. David Harrell
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Each transcript is a rough approximation of the message preached and may occasionally misstate certain portions of the sermon and even misspell certain words. It should in no way be considered an edited document ready for print. Moreover, as in any transcription of the spoken word, the full intention and passion of the speaker cannot be fully captured and will in no way reflect the same style of a written document.
I invite you to take your Bibles this morning and turn to Hebrews 1 as we continue our verse by verse examination of this amazing epistle. We are going to be looking at verses 4 through 14 this morning and I have entitled my discourse to you "Christ's Superiority Over the Angels."
Let me read the passage. Hebrews 1, beginning in verse 4,
4 having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they. 5 For to which of the angels did He ever say, "Thou art my Son, today I have begotten Thee"? And again, "I will be a Father to Him and He shall be a Son to Me?"? 6 And when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says, "And let all the angels of God worship Him." 7 And of the angels He says, "Who makes His angels winds, and His ministers a flame of fire." 8 But of the Son He says, "Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever, and the righteous scepter is the scepter of His Kingdom. 9 Thou hast loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; therefore God, Thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy companions." 10 And, "Thou, Lord, in the beginning didst lay the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the works of Thy hands; 11 They will perish, but Thou remainest; and they all will become old as a garment, 12 and as a mantle Thou wilt roll them up; as a garment they will also be changed. But Thou art the same, and Thy years will not come to an end." 13 But to which of the angels has He ever said, "Sit at My right hand, until I make Thine enemies a footstool for Thy feet"? 14 Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?
Angels have always fascinated me but with all of the silly unbiblical ways they are portrayed on television and in Hollywood and even in print media, it's hard to separate fact from fiction at times so let me try to do that for you. Biblically, angels are God's highest created spiritual beings. Certainly they're higher than man. In Hebrews 2:9, we read that when Jesus became a man he, "was made for a little while lower than the angels." However, man is made in the image of God, angels are not. It would appear as we read Scripture, that God created angels before he created man. According to Job 38, beginning in verse 6, "the morning stars sang together And all the sons of God shouted for joy," when God laid the cornerstone of the earth and sunk its bases.
Now, Scripture doesn't tell us how many angels there are, how many that he created, however, whenever they are described, the inspired writers always use language that indicates that they are innumerable: myriads upon myriads, thousands of thousands. Scripture also indicates that there is great rank and order among the angelic beings, in fact, one angel, Michael, is called the archangel in Jude 9, a title that indicates rule or authority over other angels. Angels are capable of moral judgment. They are capable of thinking in high terms, they are highly intelligent, but they have no physical bodies therefore we cannot see them unless God gives us a special ability to do so. From time to time, angels took on bodily form to appear to various people in Scripture but essentially they are spiritual beings, spirit beings. They are magnificent creatures with incredible power, incredible abilities but they cannot procreate so they never increase, nor can they ever die or even be annihilated so they never decrease. According to Revelation 12:4 when Satan was cast from his dwelling place in heaven, a third of the angelic host went with him. We call those demons. We see that in Scripture. They serve Satan, trying to thwart the purposes and work of God.
Scripture indicates that the unfallen, the holy angels, inhabit the full realm of the universe including the third heaven where God abides; that would also obviously include the second heaven which is spatial, that infinite heaven beyond the galaxies that we are even aware of; and certainly it would include the first heaven which we are aware of that encompasses the earth. There is an indication in Luke 16:22 that angels are sent to carry the souls of believers into heaven when they die. And repeatedly we read how God will send his angels to gather up the wicked for judgment at the end of the age and deal, according to 2 Thessalonians 1:8, deal out retribution to those who do not know God, to those who do not obey the Gospel of our Lord Jesus.
Now, while there is no convincing proof in Scripture that there is such a thing as a guardian angel appointed to each one of us, we are told that God sends them to serve us, to protect us, and they join with us in worshiping God. We are even warned in Hebrews 13:2 to be careful how we treat strangers since we might be entertaining angels without knowing it. But it's important to understand that the first century Jews to whom this epistle was written literally worshiped angels. They understood that they were God's highest created beings, higher than man. They believed that angels served God but they also erroneously believed a number of things about them. For example, they believed that the angels gave counsel to God in what we might call a celestial senate. For example, in Genesis 1:26 where God says, "Let us Us make man in Our image," they thought that the "Us" referred to a collaborative effort between God and this angelic senate.
Unfortunately, the ancient rabbinic teachings, the writings found in the Talmud, reveal all kinds of fanciful things about angels that the Jewish people believed. They believed, for example, that there was such a thing as a recording angel that recorded everything that men spoke. They believed there was an angel of death who went out only to do God's bidding and who impartially delivered summons to both the righteous as well as the wicked. There was a guardian angel they believed for every nation and for every child. They believed that 200 angels controlled the movement of the stars and then there were special angels that had special assignments. For example, one was the calendar angel that controlled the days and the months and the years. Another angel was responsible for the seas. There were angels that administered the rain and the snow and the thunder and the lightning and so on. And some were considered to be the wardens of hell and torturers of the damned. That would not be a pleasant assignment.
So they believed a lot of silly things about angels but they also believed the truth about angels that the prophets taught them, revealed in the Old Testament Scriptures. They understood, for example, that God placed angels as sentinels over there in the garden of Eden. They believed that there was an angelic invisible army, for example, that was sent to Dothan to protect Elijah from the Syrians. They believed that God had sent an angel to shut the mouths of the lions when Daniel was thrown into their den. They are called mighty ones who do his word in Psalm 103:20, and so on. They believed those things, but most importantly they believed the truth that angels assisted God when the law was mediated to Moses at Mount Sinai and, of course, according to Scripture, they were commanded to carve wooden angels, overlay them with gold and with wings outspread, they were set over the ark of the covenant.
Now if for no other reasons than these, the Jews esteemed angels next to God, however, they believed therefore that angels outranked this man called Jesus of Nazareth that everybody was so excited about and so for this reason the writer of Hebrews has to convince them that Christ is the Mediator of a better covenant than that given through Moses. So it is this mixture of truth and error concerning angel worship, that's what the writer of Hebrews is up against here in his attempt to prove the superiority of Jesus Christ over all things, including the angels. I might add that because of these errors, later on a cult known as the Gnostics who also worshiped angels, taught that Jesus was merely another angel and this lie slithered into the church as all lies tend to do, slithered into the church at Colossae, causing Paul to warn them in Colossians 2:18, "Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self-abasement and the worship of the angels."
So it's for this reason in the first three verses of Hebrews that we studied the last time we were together, the inspired writer unequivocally asserts Christ's deity, that he is the Creator of all things including the angels because he made the world, there in verse 2; that he is the Sustainer of all things because he upholds all things by the word of his power, there in verse 3. He is also the Consummator of all things because he is the heir of all things in verse 2. And finally, he is the Redeemer of his elect because he has made purification of sins and has now sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. So that brings us to the passage before us, verses 4 through 14, and here he continues to make his case to his Hebrew audience by using their very own Scripture, a study, which I might add, is theologically deep; the complexity of this passage to advance this argument is profound. There is no milk here for spiritual babes, okay, only meat for those who really care nothing for the world but are starving for the greatness and the glory of God. So what we're going to have here this morning, folks, if you listen very carefully, is just a soul satisfying, filet mignon of biblical truth that will melt in your mouth and hopefully melt your heart and I'm going to do my best to make these incredible truths clear and compelling, but you must pay close attention.
Let me give you the big picture here. We always want to start with the big picture. In these verses, the writer is going to use a series of successive Old Testament quotations that will form a logical progression of God's redemptive purposes in the world culminating in the establishment of the kingdom of God on earth. He will begin with quotations that speak about the Lord Jesus Christ as the Messiah and his relationship with God. And then he will move from there to speak about the permanence of his reign, his rule over his subjects and the righteousness of his rule. And then finally, he will address the Messiah's current position and status as he prepares to return to the earth and establish his kingdom. And in this he will prove from their very own Scripture that as the Son of God, the Messiah, he is unique and he is infinitely superior to the angels. Here the Spirit reminds them that God says things about the Lord Jesus Christ that have never been and could never be said about angels, thus proving the preeminence, the superiority of Christ. He speaks of five things that are true of him but not of them.
The first one, if you will notice, he is called the Son of God in verses 4 through 5. So let's go to the text. "Having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they," and then he asks a rhetorical question, quoting Psalm 2:7, which was a royal Psalm of David, he says this, "For to which of the angels did He every say, 'You are My Son, Today I have begotten You'"? Well, the answer is obviously none. Then, again quoting from 2 Samuel 7:14, "I will be a Father to Him and He shall be a Son to Me."
Now, let's back up. The context of the first quotation in Psalm 2 is that of kings and rulers that are plotting in vain to overthrow God and his anointed one, ultimately the Messiah, but in that first context, it's referring to King David in the near sense and the Messiah Christ in the ultimate sense. And if you go to Psalm 2, you would read God's response that is found in verse 4 and following, "He sits in the heavens and laughs. The Lord scoffs at them. Then He will speak to them in His anger And terrify them in His fury, saying, 'But as for Me, I have installed My King Upon Zion, My holy mountain.' I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to Me, 'You are My Son, Today I have begotten You."
Now, the Jewish people would have understood immediately the argument here. They would have understood the context of Psalm 2 that moves from the lesser David through the Davidic dynasty to the greater David, the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ. And then how fitting, therefore, for the inspired writer to quote after Psalm 2, move to 2 Samuel 7 where we have the Davidic covenant where God reaffirmed the regal terms of the original Abrahamic covenant but with the further provision that those covenanted rights will now be attached permanently to the historic house and succession of David. That's what 2 Samuel is about, 2 Samuel 7. Moreover in that text, by God's grace, those rights, even though historically interrupted for a season, will at last in a future kingdom be restored to the nation of Israel in perpetuity with no further possibility of interruption. So it's for this reason he says, "I will be a Father to Him," referring to Jesus, the Messiah, "and He shall be a Son to Me." Wow. What an argument from their own Scriptures. They realized that none of this refers to angels, it can only refer to the Son of God, the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Now as a footnote, prior to his Incarnation, the title for the Lord Jesus Christ would have just simply been God, the second member of the Triune Godhead. He only became the Son of God in his Incarnation when he was begotten in time. Nowhere in Scripture do we read of the eternal Sonship of Christ, a truth that refutes the heretical argument of some of the cults that state, "Well, since Jesus is the Son of God, he must be eternally inferior to God, subservient to God, always under God but never God very God." And unfortunately, a poor translation of verse 4 in the King James version tends to fuel this fire. Instead of saying, "having become so much better than the angels," the King James says, "being made so much better than the angels," and some will take this to mean that Jesus was created, but the Greek term used is "ginomai," it means "to become." In other words, as the Son, he became lower than the angels when he took on the human form in his Incarnation. If the writer wanted to say that Christ was created in verse 4, he would have used the Greek term "poieo," which means "to make or to create," but he did not use that. So Jesus became the Son of God at his Incarnation and as we look at Scripture, as a result of the Holy Spirit coming upon the virgin Mary, Luke says in Luke 1:35, "the holy offspring shall be called the Son of God." And later Luke says in Luke 3:22, "the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove, and a voice came out of heaven, 'Thou art My beloved Son, in Thee I am well-pleased.'"
But, folks, he is not only the Son because of his virgin birth, but also because he was begotten again from the dead in his resurrection. Now stick with me here. Paul speaks of this in Romans 1, beginning in verse 3, he says, "concerning God's Son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh, who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord." Now, it's fascinating when you think about it, we don't become sons of God in the fullest sense until we are born again, right? We're sons of God in the sense that he created us but we're not really his sons until we are, in the fullest sense, until we are born again, likewise the Lord Jesus Christ. Yes, he became God's Son at his human birth but the fullness of his Sonship came in his second birth when he rose again. He was declared to be a Son when he rose from the dead. That's Paul's point.
Now, notice in verse 6, the writer continues to establish the Messiah's relationship with God to prove his superiority over the angels. Not only is he called the Son of God but, secondly, he is called the firstborn. Verse 6, "And when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says, 'And let all the angels of God worship Him.'" This is a quotation from Deuteronomy 32:43.
I need to pause for a second with a footnote. These quotations if you look them up, are going to vary slightly from the Old Testament text that you have, that I have, from which they were taken because at the time that this letter was written, most Jews used a Greek translation of the Old Testament called the Septuagint and it is from the Septuagint that the quotations in Hebrews are taken. I might also add this is one of several reasons why we do not believe Paul wrote this letter because he typically quoted directly from the Hebrew text more than the Septuagint.
Now, let's go back to verse 6, "And when He again brings the firstborn into the word, He says, 'And let all the angels of God worship Him." Now, first of all, this was hard for the Jews to swallow. "You mean the angels are supposed to worship this carpenter's son from Nazareth? Are you kidding me? We're supposed to worship him as our Messiah?" You see, Jesus just didn't meet up to their expectations. They wanted a conqueror, not some meek and mild mannered prophet. But notice the argument here: he is the firstborn, it says, prototokos in the original language. It means "first in rank or position." It doesn't mean first in time. This is not a description, it's a title. He is the preeminent one. He is the highest ranking one. He is the foremost one. Often but not always, the firstborn or the eldest son would be the heir to a father's estate but that wasn't always the case. You remember Esau was the firstborn, he was the eldest son, but Jacob was the prototokos, he was the first in rank.
Now, if we go to Colossians 1, for example, and verse 15, Paul says here speaking of Christ, "and He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation." Now, this does not mean that he is the first created being in a long line of created beings like the Jehovah's Witnesses and other cults would have us believe. It means that he is the preeminent one. He is the one to whom belongs the right and the dignity of the firstborn in relation to every creature. That's the point. He is the highly exalted one. He is the one above every creature and heir and ruler of all.
A few verses later in verse 18 of Colossians 1, Paul says, "He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead." Now, is "firstborn" meant first in time, in other words, the first person to be resurrected from the dead, this would be a false statement. A number of people had been raised from the dead before Jesus. Lazarus was resurrected from the dead prior to Jesus. A number of Old Testament saints were raised from the dead, remember at the crucifixion, Matthew 27. So, again, the term has nothing to do with time but with rank, with position. Jesus is the prototokos from the dead, the most highly exalted one of all who have been resurrected from the dead.
Now this helps us understand verse 6, "And when He again brings the firstborn into the world." Now let's stop here. "The world" here, an interesting term in the original language, it means "the inhabited earth." Well, obviously Christ was not the first person born in the earth but he was the preeminent one, the greatest one, the most highly exalted one who came to and inhabited earth where millions had been born prior to his birth.
Now, let's look closely here at verse 6. There is an interesting word that the Spirit of God inspired the writer to use, "And when He again brings the firstborn into the world." What does this mean? Well, this speaks of the time when the preeminent one, the firstborn, the highly exalted one, the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, returns in all of his glory as King of kings and Lord of lords at his second coming. You see, although he was the most highly exalted one, when he came the first time he came in obscurity, he came in humility. But when God the Father again brings the firstborn into the world, no one is going to miss him for they will see him as the glorified Messiah King. They will see the one described in Psalm 2 that the writer was referring to, the one who sits in the heavens and laughs. Dear friends, a day is going to come when the Lord Jesus Christ who is currently seated at the right hand of the Father is going to rise in his fury and in his indignation, and with his nostrils flared he is going to return once again to this earth in all of his wrath and all of his fury to judge the nations of the world. He will return again as this text says to this world, this inhabited earth. As Revelation says, he will return to smite the nations and he will rule them with a rod of iron and he treads the winepress of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty, and on his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, you know it, "King of kings and Lord of lords."
You know, Zephaniah and many other prophets prophesied about that coming day when the preeminent one, the firstborn, is going to return again that is described here in Hebrews 1:6. Zephaniah says this in chapter 3, verse 8, "'Therefore wait for Me,' declares the LORD, 'For the day when I rise up as a witness. Indeed, My decision is to gather nations, To assemble kingdoms, To pour out on them My indignation, All My burning anger; For all the earth will be devoured By the fire of My zeal.'" You know, when this happens, who is President of the United States isn't going to matter one raisin. All the ridiculous politically correct rhetoric won't matter when the firstborn returns again to this inhabited earth. All the military might in the world will be as useless as trying to spit at the sun to put it out.
And when the firstborn comes again into the world, notice what the writer says about God. God says, "And let all the angels of God worship Him." And again, he's quoting from their own Scriptures, a quotation from Psalm 97:7. Now, this is an intriguing statement. You might ask, "Well, don't all the angels worship him now?" Well, of course they do. All the unfallen angels have worshiped the second member of the Triune Godhead throughout time, since their creation, however we must bear in mind, when they saw the Incarnation and the Gospel, these had been mysteries to the angels. In fact, Peter says they are things into which angels longed to look. But friends, the point here is this: when the firstborn returns in all of his glory, the angels are going to understand fully and they will worship him, the Son of God who will appear in a glorified human body, the firstborn of all creation, the firstborn from the dead, our Savior, our King, the Lord Jesus Christ.
John was allowed to witness what this angelic worship will look like some day. I love this passage, Revelation 5, beginning in verse 11, "Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders," which by the way, I believe refers to the glorified church, "and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, 'Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.' And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, 'To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.' And the four living creatures kept saying, 'Amen.' And the elders fell down and worshiped." Now, folks, that's going to be a worship service, right? Remember that I said that one day when we are there.
Now, having established the Son's relationship to God the Father, the writer continues this logical progression of Old Testament passages and speaks about now the permanence of his reign, his rule over his subjects, and the righteousness of his rule. Notice the third point here: he is superior to the angels not only because he is called the Son and the firstborn but, thirdly, he is the ruler of the angels, and here he's going to cite Psalm 104:4 from their Scriptures.
Notice verse 7, "And of the angels He says, 'Who makes His angels winds, and His ministers a flame of fire.'" The term "make" can also be translated "create." The idea here is he is the one who employs his angels as the winds, his ministers as the lightning, or he makes his angelic ministers the directing powers of winds and flames and when they are required to perform his will. So once again from their own Scripture, the writer is reminding them that basically the angels are subordinate to the Son. They are servants of the Son, the one who created them. Moreover, Christ is the one that makes his angels invisible and powerful like the wind, as well as purifying and destructive as fire to execute his judgment. As I thought about this, my mind went to Matthew 13:40 where Jesus says at the end of the age, The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
So Christ is superior to the angels because he is called Son of God, he is called the firstborn, because he's the ruler of the angels and, fourthly, he has an eternal throne, and this is what the argument is in verses 8 through 12. So the writers begins by quoting Psalm 45:6-7 here in verse 8, "But of the Son He says, 'Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, and the righteous scepter is the scepter of His kingdom.'" By the way, can there be any clearer affirmation of the deity of Christ than what we have right here? Jesus is the eternal God who will rule forever. What a comforting thought with all of the chaos of this presidential election. Folks, you've just got to stay focused on the real story, the ultimate story.
Now, the word "kingdom" that is used here, "basileia," is used 18 times in the epistles and it always refers to the divine rule of God, and seven times the kingdom is specifically assigned to our Lord Jesus Christ as it is right here. This position of divine sovereignty is presented by the writer of Hebrews as evidence of our Lord's infinite superiority over all of the angelic host. That is the point.
And it's interesting, the angels are higher than us so obviously he's higher than any of us, and in verse 9, it is his personal righteousness that is made the ground of his exaltation above all of his companions. Notice verse 9, "You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness above Your companions." As I read this, I'm reminded of just the contrast that we have here to the corrupt and godless rule we experience with our leaders who hate righteousness, whose hearts know nothing of real gladness, nothing of real contentment because they have no hope, because they don't have Christ. They're obsessed with power and prestige rather than moral integrity, rather than glorifying God. They have no fear of God so they don't love righteousness nor do they hate lawlessness.
But next the writer goes on in verses 10 through 12 and cites from Psalm 102:25-27. "And, 'You, Lord,'" referring to Christ, "'in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the works of Your hands; they will perish, but You remain; and they all will become old like a garment, and like a mantle You will roll them up; like a garment they will also be changed. But You are the same, and Your years will not come to an end.'" The argument is simple: unlike the angels, Christ, the Lord Jesus, is the Creator, and he is eternal. He is immutable. He never changes. Remember in John 1, John makes it very clear that he is the eternal Word; he is the pre-existent, self-existent, uncreated Creator of the universe. And folks, what a magnificent truth this is to anchor our soul during these times of uncertainty. I mean, life is always uncertain. We have no guarantees. I mean, one lab result can radically change your life. One phone call.
I was reminded again this week of the dramatic increase in sinkholes around the world. Have you read about that? It's got pictures. I mean, you can see pictures. All of a sudden whole houses just fall into the earth. People disappear into the earth walking along. Cars. Huge buildings. A dramatic increase in this, but isn't it great to know that God is eternally the same? We can count on him. He never changes. He is the ultimate certainty. Our hope is in Christ alone as we sing so often, the one who is in control as the Almighty sovereign of his creation.
But we know that the heavens and the earth will change as we read here. The writer says, "they all will become old like a garment and like a mantle, You will roll them up; like a garment they will also be changed." Boy, this is the environmentalist's worst nightmare, isn't it? You see, as we read Scripture, at the end of the millennial reign of Christ, the Creator is going to uncreate the heavens and the earth. Peter talks about this in 2 Peter 3:10, "But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up."
I have to smile when I read this passage. You know, people today are so...or at least they're being told to feel guilty about their carbon footprint because of man-made global warming. You know, what they need to be concerned about is their spiritual footprint and God-made global incineration. I mean, that's the reality here. In Revelation 6, beginning in verse 12, we read about this time. John says, "I looked when He broke," referring to Christ, "the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became like blood; and the stars of the sky fell to the earth, as a fig tree casts its unripe figs when shaken by a great wind. The sky was split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; and they said to the mountains and to the rocks, 'Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?'" A great description of what's going to happen right before the Lord returns again. When he returns again, he will not re-create the earth, but he will make it once again, you might say, renovate the earth into Edenic splendor and then at the end of the millennial reign, he will un-create and then re-create the heavens and the earth.
Folks, we need to really relax in these great truths, by the way, especially with respect to God's unchangeable nature, his immutability. In fact, Hebrews 13:8 we read that, "Jesus Christ is the same," you know it, "yesterday and today," yes, "and forever." You know, everything that we see, everything that we experience in this world is going to pass away with a roar, Peter tells us, an inconceivable act whereby a holy God is going to purge the universe once and for all from every vestige of sin, and then our precious Jesus is going to create a new heaven and a new earth. This is the one that we worship, Christ, the preeminent one.
Well, finally, having proven Christ's superiority over the angels by emphasizing his relationship to God and establishing the permanence of his reign, he finally addresses the Messiah's current position, his current status right now as he prepares to return and establish his kingdom. So finally, Christ is superior to the angels, number 5, because all things are subject to him. I might add that this is the seventh Old Testament passage used in the writer's argument quoted from Psalm 110:1 which, by the way, is another royal Psalm which was one of the favorites of the early church because of its obvious messianic implications.
So in verse 13 he says, "But to which of the angels has He ever said, 'Sit at My right hand, until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet'?" Obviously none of them. Again, they're fully aware of what Psalm 110 is all about. It pictures the Messiah, the divine King/Priest ruling in the midst of his enemies. If you read that Psalm, it speaks of how he is preparing to destroy all of the rival kings in the day of his wrath; that he's going to come and judge the nations; he's going to fill the places with dead bodies; he's going to overthrow all of the satanic chiefs that lead the nations against him. By the way, that's what they were looking for in Jesus and they didn't see that. Ah, they're going to see it one day when he returns again. Daniel speaks of this time in Daniel 7, beginning in verse 13. He says, "I kept looking in the night visions, And behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming, And He came up to the Ancient of Days And was presented before Him. And to Him was given dominion, Glory and a kingdom, That all the peoples, nations and men of every language Might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion Which will not pass away; And His kingdom is one Which will not be destroyed."
Well, obviously, none of these Old Testament passages refer to the angels, they can only refer to the Messiah, the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the one that is King and he closes with this, "Are they," referring to angels, "not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?" The answer is yes. Christ is the King, they are the servants. By the way, this again is such a comforting thought, isn't it? I'm sure that there are angelic beings right here in our midst that we cannot see. Who knows how many thousands of them might be here. Who knows how many of them might be out there protecting us from some harm. We just don't know. Who knows how God uses them to guide us and to protect us and serve us in our lives.
Well, there you have it. Why is Christ superior to the angels? Because he is called Son of God. He alone is the firstborn. He is the Creator, the Ruler of the angels. He has an eternal throne and all things are subjected to him and all God's people can say, Amen. I mean, it's just incredible when you realize what is being said here.
Well, I want to leave you with this challenge, ask yourself: am I living in a way that is worthy of Christ's kingdom? Paul says in Colossians 1:13, "He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son." And in 1 Thessalonians 2:12 we are told to "walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory." Are you doing that? Are you walking in a manner worthy of what God has given you in Christ? You remember last week I challenged you to get excited about our eternal kingdom, not the passing kingdom of the United States of America.
You say, "Well, pastor, what must I do?" Let me give you one passage in closing, Hebrews 12, and we'll look at this in great detail when we get there later on, beginning in verse 28, the writer says this, "since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire." Folks, we've got to learn to cultivate a heart of gratitude and a worshiping life that offers holy service to our worthy and our awesome God. Are you doing that? I hope you are.
Let me give you one suggestion. The most important thing that you can do to help you walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into his own kingdom and glory is this: discipline yourself to have a consistent devotional life. Let me say it again: discipline yourself to have a consistent devotional life. Not that you do it out of duty, but you do it out of desire. The Psalmist says in Psalm 119:1, "How blessed are those whose way is blameless, Who walk in the law of the LORD." That means who habitually and with great discipline study and meditate and obey the word of God.
So may I recommend that you start with Psalm 119? I notice the beautiful banners that we have up here, Psalm 119. Take Psalm 119. Begin to go through it prayerfully with a pen and a paper. Begin to think through those incredible passages. It's a great wisdom Psalm that conveys the thought that the word of God contains everything that we need.
So let's grow together in the grace and the knowledge of Christ and that will not happen unless we get to know him and know his word. He is superior to all of the angels, superior to us, and yet he is the one who gave himself for us. Isn't that amazing? And the one who is coming again to take us unto himself.
Let's pray together.
Father, these truths are so deep, so profound, so overwhelming, and they animate our souls to the deepest gratitude and worship. May what we have learned today bear much fruit to the eternal praise of our glorious God. I ask all of this in the name of the preeminent one, the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
Shepherd’s Fire exists to proclaim the unsearchable riches of Christ through mass communications for the teaching ministry of Bible expositor David Harrell, with a special emphasis in encouraging and strengthening pastors and church leaders.