Hebrews 1:4-6

Sunday, October 2nd, 2016

CHRIST IS SUPERIOR TO ANGELS

INTRODUCTION:

 

The occasion of the writing of Hebrews was the need to exhort Jews who had professed belief in Jesus as the Messiah to hold fast their profession in difficult times and to go on to maturity in the faith.

 

As a result of the severe persecution the readers of Hebrews had encountered after they had become Christians, some were apparently contemplating abandoning Christianity and returning to Judaism, believing that Christianity was not all that they had expected it to be. Hebrews was written to demonstrate that Christianity is better than and has taken the place of Judaism, i.e. that God’s revelation in Christ is superior to the revelation that came through the Old Testament and has superseded it.

 

The key word in Hebrews is better. Hebrews contains a series of contrasts between the good things of Judaism and the better things of Christ. Christ is better than the prophets, better than the angels, better than Moses, better than Joshua, and better than Aaron; and the New Covenant is better than the Mosaic Covenant.

 

We have seen that –

      A.  God spoke formerly to the fathers by the prophets - 1:1

 

            1.   He spoke at many times - 1:1

            2.   He spoke in many ways - 1:1

 

We have also seen that –

      B.  God has spoken in these last days by His Son - 1:2-3

 

                  1.   Christ has been appointed heir of all things - 1:2

                  2.   Through Christ God made the worlds - 1:2

                  3.   Christ is the brightness of God’s glory - 1:3

                  4.   Christ is the express image of God’s person - 1:3

                  5.   Christ upholds all things by the word of His own power - 1:3

                  6.   Christ purged believers’ sins - 1:3

                  7.   Christ sat down on the right hand of God - 1:3

 

In Hebrews 1:4-2:18 , we see that Christ is superior to the angels. We expect to take several sessions to complete the messages on these two chapters. I would like to be able to complete Hebrews chapter 1 in one session, but it will take too long to do it; so, rather than not cover it thoroughly, I have decided to split it into two sessions.

We see that Christ is superior to angels because –

    I.     HE HAS A MORE EXCELLENT NAME THAN ANGELS HAVE – 1:4-5

 

Hebrews 1:4-54 Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. 5 For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?

 

None of the angels has ever been called Son by God the Father, but Christ has.

 

The action of being made was completed before the action of sat down in verse 3. By the time Christ sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high [i.e. on the right hand of God the Father in heaven], He had already been made better than the angels.

 

Being made is used of persons and things which change their nature to indicate that they are entering a new condition. Christ died on the cross, was raised, and was exalted to the right hand of God the Father. Thus, He was no longer subject to the same limitations He had experienced prior to the crucifixion. This is made abundantly clear from the resurrection appearances. He had a glorified body. The humiliation was over. Christ was now in an exalted state, and He ascended to the right hand of God the Father. Being made thus suggests having been made. There is no hint here that Jesus Christ is a created being.

 

So much better is so much greater, so much more prominent, so much superior, or so much higher in rank.

 

Than the angels indicates a comparison between Christ and the angels. He is better than they are. All of the angels are included without exception.

 

As he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.

 

As indicates a further comparison between Christ and the angels. Jesus has been made so much greater than the angels, just as the name God gave Jesus is more excellent than the names angels have.

 

He hath by inheritance obtained means He has inherited. Inasmuch as someone may already have in his possession what he inherits, this term may also be understood in this verse in the sense of has acquired, has obtained, or has come into possession of. Its tense indicates an action completed in past time with its result continuing on. Thus, He inherited this name; He acquired it; and He still has it. This situation will never change.

 

What He has acquired is a more excellent name than they.

 

Than they means than angels have acquired.

 

Verse 5 indicates that the name Jesus has acquired is Son.

 

More excellent is more outstanding.

 

Christ has acquired a name which is more excellent than the name that angels have acquired.

 

Hebrews 1:5 For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?

 

Verse 5 is a rhetorical question and does not expect an answer; however, the answer is obvious. God has never said this to any of the angels, but He has said it to Jesus.

 

Although the angels as a group or class of created beings were collectively referred to as sons of God in Job and Psalms, the title Son of God was never given to an individual angel.

 

Job 1:6 Now there was a day when the sons of God [i.e. the angels] came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them.

 

Job 2:1 Again there was a day when the sons of God [i.e. the angels] came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the Lord.

 

Job 38:6-7 – (6) Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; (7) When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God [i.e. the angels] shouted for joy?

 

Psalms 89:6 For who in the heaven can be compared unto the Lord? who among the sons of the mighty [i.e. the angels] can be likened unto the Lord?

 

Back to Hebrews 1:5

The second half of this question, (unto which of the angels said he at any time) I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?, is also not answered. It is also a rhetorical question which does not expect an answer, but the answer is also obvious. It has clearly never been said to any angel, but it was said to Christ. Therefore, Jesus has obtained a more excellent name than any name which angels have obtained. It is the name Son.

 

Which of the angels? implies which one of the angels?

 

Angels is not limited to any particular group of angels but refers to the entire group of angels and asks which one of them. Obviously, it was to none of them.

 

The tense of said indicates an action viewed in its entirety as complete in past time.

 

He is God the Father.

 

At any time is at some time or other of the past, once, or formerly and takes in all of eternity. It suggests that at no time did God the Father ever make these statements to any angel; but He did make them to His Son.

 

The first statement is, Thou art my son, this day have I begotten thee. This was never said to an angel, but it was said to Jesus. It is found first in Psalms 2:7 and is directly quoted from there.

 

Psalms 2:7 I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my son; this day have I begotten thee.

 

Thou art refers to Christ and is emphatic. It means You are.

 

My Son emphasizes the relationship of Christ to God the Father.

 

My refers to God the Father. He is the speaker.

 

This day is today.

 

Have I begotten thee indicates an action finished in the past, the result of which continues on.

 

I is God the Father, and Thee is You and refers to Christ. Christ was begotten as God the Father’s Son, and He will always be God the Father’s Son. This will never change. That He was begotten does not refer to the erroneous idea that Christ had a beginning. It is very possible that the reference of I have begotten thee is to Christ as the eternally begotten Son of God and that this day refers to God’s eternal day. It is also possible that the reference of I have begotten thee is to His being begotten in His humanity at His incarnation by being begotten in the womb of the virgin Mary by the Holy Spirit of God.

 

However, the likely reference here is to His being resurrected from the dead as the first begotten from the dead. It is used in this sense in Acts 13:33 .

 

Acts 13:33 God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.

 

And again indicates that a second quotation is about to be considered. It is, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son and is quoted from II Samuel 7:14, where God the Father is promising David that He will be a Father to Solomon. David, however, had another Son in his lineage, Whose name was Christ; and it is apparent that the statement I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son goes beyond Solomon and includes Christ as well. This is a statement with a double fulfillment.

 

Thus, in this verse in Hebrews, I refers to God the Father and is emphatic; whereas, He refers to Christ.

 

Will be is predictive of a future event which will definitely come to pass.

 

To him a Father means His Father, and to me a Son means My Son. God is the Father of Christ, and Christ is the Son of God the Father.

We also see that Christ is superior to angels because –

  II.     CHRIST IS WORSHIPED BY THE ANGELS AS THE FIRSTBORN - 1:6

 

Hebrews 1:6 And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.

 

And again introduces an additional quotation.

 

The time intended by when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world is not clear. As translated, it suggests that this refers to the first coming of Christ which is consistent with Luke 2:13-14 .

 

Luke 2:13-1413 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

 

The time intended by when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world might instead be understood as referring to the second coming of Christ. If so, again would be understood with bringeth rather than with saith. This understanding is suggested by the meaning of when, which means whenever and suggests that something is definitely going to happen but that the time of its happening is not certain. It would then be understood in the sense of whenever He brings again the firstbegotten into the world. This view is suggested by II Thessalonians 1:7-8 and Revelation of Jesus Christ 19:11-16 .

 

II Thessalonians 1:7-87 And to you who are troubled rest with us [i.e. to you who are troubled (God will recompense) rest with us], when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, 8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Revelation of Jesus Christ 19:11-16 (speaking of Christ’s second coming) – 11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. 12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. 13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. 15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.

 

Back to Hebrews 1:6

When he bringeth is at the time He would bring, whenever He would bring, or when He would bring.

 

He is God the Father, and the firstbegotten is the firstborn and refers to Christ. He is the firstborn of every creature in that He is in authority over the entire creation. It does not mean that he is the first created being; instead it means that He has the eternal position as the firstborn of God. It has to do with his priority over the creation.

 

Into the world is unto the inhabited world.

 

He saith is He said, where He is God the Father.

 

What God the Father said was, And let all the angels of God worship him. This is not a suggestion as the English reader might infer; rather, it is a third person command for which English has no parallel. It means that angels have no choice: they must worship Christ. It is not just some angels who must worship Him, but it includes all . . . angels.

 

Worship means to fall down and worship, do obeisance to, prostrate oneself before, or reverence. Him refers to Christ.

 

The very fact that God has commanded angels to worship Christ indicates that Christ is superior to angels because the one of inferior rank worships the one of superior rank. It is not the other way around.

CONCLUSION:

 

Next time we will see in 1:7-14 that Christ is superior to angels because Christ is God; whereas, angels are ministering spirits.