We have just begun our study in the book of Hebrews, and I want to just preface our lesson tonight by saying that you’re going to find that this book is extremely deep, and tonight we are going to be dealing with meat as opposed to milk. I can’t remember in my own studies since I’ve been at Grace Church a particular passage on which I spent more time than on these particular verses. I realize that in measure, it’s like an iceberg; you’re going to get the top of it.
It may come off rather simply to you, but believe me, these are deep, deep truths that we shall look at in verses 4-14, not easy to be understood, by any means. If I succeed in any small measure in making them simple, then I have succeeded in doing what I’ve asked God to help me to do, after many, many days of study and toil over these verses. Now, keep in mind that the book of Hebrews is written to Jewish people; primarily to Jewish believers, but also with Jewish unbelievers in mind, to convince them that the new covenant is better than the old covenant.
That Jesus Christ is the better priest, and the better mediator, and that He is the final priest and the final sacrifice at the same time. And so, all throughout this book, we have a comparison between the new covenant and the old covenant, and between Jesus Christ and everybody else, to show that Jesus is superior. Now, in our first message dealing with the first three verses, we saw that Jesus Christ is superior to everything and everybody, which pretty well covers it all. Then, beginning to unfold all of the everybodys that He is superior to, we come to verses 4-14.
And the Holy Spirit teaches us here that Jesus Christ is superior to angels; to angels. Now, man is a wonderful and an amazing creation, certainly higher than the plants and the animals, whether simple animals or complex animals; higher than any other material creation in this world. But above man there is yet another created group even higher than man, and that created group are the angels. And Hebrews, chapter 2 and verse 9, indicates to us that angels are higher than humans, for it says that when Jesus became a man, He was a made a little lower than the angels.
So, angels have a place that is higher than men, in terms of special creation. And obviously, after the fall of the angels, they were no longer subject to sin. They are holy, they are powerful, they are wise. They do not suffer with the infirmities that men suffer with. And so, they are specially created spirit beings, made by God before men were ever created; they were in the heavens, in fact, watching, when God was doing the creating, when He was making the world, and they were made higher than men - at least, higher than fallen men.
Now, to begin with tonight, I want to give you what I call a little angelology - a brief theological look at angels. And it’s going to come out in a whole lot of rapid fire statements, so we’re just going to fire through these things, so you get a little picture. Now, angels are spirit beings, and Jesus said that a spirit does not have flesh and bones. Consequently, angels do not have flesh and bones like humans. They do have some sort of a body. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 15 that there are bodies terrestrial, and there are bodies celestial; that is, there are bodies of the earth, and there are bodies of the heavens.
Angels have some kind of form. They are even capable of appearing in a human form. In Hebrews 13:2, the Bible says be careful how you treat strangers or you might be entertaining angels unawares. They can take on a form that is human, or decidedly like a human. They also appear - for example, in Matthew chapter 28, in verses 3 and 4 - to have a form. Speaking of an angel, at Christ’s resurrection - the one who was there when the stone was rolled away - it says, “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” - a dazzling kind of brilliant, blazing glory.
Now, when we say that angels are spirits, we do not necessarily mean that they have no form. They have a form that is celestial, and can manifest itself as a human, or in another way. In the Old Testament, we even have the saints wrestling with angels. Now, angels were all created simultaneously. According to Colossians 1:16-17, we believe that inference is made. Angels are unable to procreate. They are not man and wife, and having little angels. Only men and women have little angels, who grow up to be anything but. There were no angels, then, added to the original batch.
God made them. He made them all uniquely as single identities; they do not cohabitate. Matthew 22:28-30 indicates that to us. So, they were all made at once. They do not procreate. The number of angels has not changed one angel since they were originally created. Though a great number of them have fallen, they still exist as they were created. They are not subject to death. Scripture nowhere indicates that they die. Scripture nowhere indicates that they are in any way able to be made extinct. They do not decrease, and they do not increase.
Each angel, then, is a direct creation of God, standing in immediate personal relationship to God the creator, who made him. Now, the Old Testament assumes the existence of angels. There are 108 references in the Old Testament to angels, and 165 in the New Testament, so there’s no doubt about the fact that angels exist, and that the Old Testament saints were well aware of it is also fact. Now, angels render intelligent worship to God and service to God; that’s why they were created. They were created as a special spirit-being group to render service to God of a special nature.
Angels are intelligent. They can render intelligent service and worship to God. They are also emotional. The Bible talks about angels rejoicing when sinners are saved. They are capable of emotion. Angels can even speak, according to Galatians 1:8, where the apostle Paul says, “Though we, or an angel of heaven, preach any other gospel unto you.” They can speak. Angels also, according to Daniel 9:21, have incredible speed. Sometimes they are pictured with wings, aren’t they? Sometimes with as many as six wings.
Now, according to Mark, chapter 13, verse 32, and to Jude 6, they have a special abode in the heavens. They dwell in all of the heavens, and we know in the Bible that the heaven where God lives is called which heaven? The third heaven. That’s the heaven where God is. The second heaven is the spatial infinite heavens, the first heaven is that just about the earth. They dwell in all of those heavens. People say, “Are there beings in other parts of the universe?” All over the universe, but not with little things out of their head, flying around in little spaceships.
There are angelic beings inhabiting the universe. They are countless ages older than men, and there are trillions and trillions, and whatever and whatever, of them, evidently. And even after numberless hosts of them fell with Satan, there are still numberless holy angels left. For example, in Daniel 7:10, Daniel said “thousand thousands were ministering unto Him, and ten thousand times ten thousand were standing before Him.” That’s just more and more. In Revelation, chapter 5, it says in verse 11, “The number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands.”
Just take ten thousand times ten thousand, and just keep adding thousands of zeroes - there are a lot of angels. You say, “How many are there?” I’ll tell you. There are exactly enough to get the work done. There is not one loafing angel. They are more powerful than men, and men must call on divine power to deal with them, especially fallen ones. The Bible tells us - as we’ve studied in Ephesians chapter 6 - be strong in the Lord and the power of His might, for we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against angels, fallen angels.
They are highly organized, and they are divided into ranks. Very, very complex organization; some of them are thrones, some of them are dominions, some of them principalities, some of them powers, and some of them are called authorities. There are cherubim, seraphim, and living creatures. Some have names: Lucifer, Michael, and Gabriel. Michael 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.
They ministered to Christ in His humiliation. Remember, at the conclusion of His temptation, the Bible says, “and angels came and ministered unto Him.” They ministered to the saved. How? The Bible says that they watch the church, and they watch the preacher. They also aid the church by answering prayer, delivering from danger, encouraging Christians, and protecting children. They minister to the unsaved also, by announcing judgment and afflicting it - judgment angels. Now, that is a brief course in angelology.
Now, that is a biblical look at angels. The Jewish people at the time that this Epistle was written had a little bit different view. As many of their views had begun to wander from the basic Old Testament context, because of all the Talmudic writings and the rabbinical feelings and ideas, they began to wander off the main biblical points of angels. And they came up with some interesting views of angels, so that when the writer of Hebrews is writing, He is writing not only with a true backdrop of a biblical view of angels, but he’s writing against a backdrop of the Jewish common concept of angels.
Now, the Jews did believe that they were very important to the Old Covenant, angels were. And they had always esteemed angels as the highest beings next to God. They believed that angels were the mediators between men and God. They believed, for example, that God lived surrounded by angels. They believed that angels were really the beings who are instruments in bringing God’s word and the working of God’s will in the universe and to men. They were said to be ethereal creatures made of fiery substance like blazing light, which may not be far from wrong.
They believed that angels were created. They believed that they did not eat and drink, and they also believed that they did not have little angels. They believed that angels were God’s senate, and that God never did anything without asking the angels. They were His council. And they believed that when Genesis says, “Let us make man,” that the one God was speaking of His angelic senate in the word us; He was talking to His angels. Now, some Jews believed also that angels objected to the creation of men, and were annihilated at that time for their objection.
Others believed that they objected to the giving of the law, and they attacked Moses on the way up Mount Sinai. They even named angels. They believed there were seven presence angels, who stayed in the presence of God at all times, and they named them Raphael, Uriel, Thanuel, Gabriel, Michael - and the El is a name of God, and that was always tagged on the end of every name, and so forth. They believed that there were 200 angels who controlled the movements of the stars and kept things on course.
And they believed that there was one super-special angel who controlled the never-ending succession of days, months, and years. He was the calendar angel. They believed that there was a mighty angel who took care of the seas. They believed there were angels of frost, dew, rain, snow, hail, thunder, and lightning. There were also angels who were the wardens of Hell and the torturers of the damned. They believed also - and this is interesting - that there were recording angels, who wrote down every single word which every man spoke.
They also believed that there was an angel of death. They believed that every nation had a guardian angel, as well as every child, and there were so many angels that one rabbi said, and I quote, “Every blade of grass has its angel.” So, they believed in angels, obviously. Now, I’ve given you a backdrop, both scripturally and in the mind of the Jewish people, as to their concept and understanding of angels. They believed in angels, and they believed that they were the highest created beings in the universe, and that they mediated between God and men.
But one more thing needs to be noted, and this is the particular backdrop against which the book of Hebrews is written in reference to angels. The Jews also knew that the old covenant and the Old Testament was brought to them from God by angels. And this, above everything else, exalted the angels in the mind of the Jews, the children of Israel. They believed that the angels were the mediators of their covenant with God; that angels kept the administration running between them and God, all the time, and so they had a lofty view of angels.
And to show you that they believed this, notice in your Bible, Acts, chapter 7, verse 51. Acts 7:51 says, “Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Spirit: as your fathers did, so do ye.” And of course, this is Stephen’s sermon indicting Israel. Verse 52, “Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them who showed before the coming of the Just One, of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers: Who have received the law” - you received it - “by the disposition of” – what? - “angels, and have not kept it.”
Now, look at Galatians, chapter 3, and then we’ll comment on that. Galatians 3:19 - I’ll read it to you. “Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.” Now, the old covenant was brought to man and maintained by angelic mediation. The angels ministered between God and men to carry on the work of the old covenant, the old economy, and the Jews knew this; and consequently, they believed in angels.
Some of them believed in angels to such a degree that they actually worshipped angels. They worshipped them. This developed into a heresy known as Gnosticism. Gnosticism, with many other things, involved the worship of angels, and Gnosticism reduced Jesus Christ to an angel. In Colossians 2:18, we read this - and the Colossians were messing around with Gnosticism, so Paul writes to them, “Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels.” Don’t get trapped in worshipping angels.
And so, you see, they had exalted angels to the place where there was the imminent danger that they would worship angels, and some of them had fallen into even that pattern of worshipping angels. Now, I hope you see to the Jewish mind angels were extremely exalted and important. Now, if the writer of Hebrews, in our epistle here, if he is to present to the Hebrews that Christ is the mediator of a better covenant, then he will have to show that Christ is better than angels. Do you see that? And that becomes his whole purpose from verse 4 to 14.
He must show that Christ, the bearer of the new covenant, a new covenant, the New Testament in His blood, one sacrifice, one priest, believing in Him by faith, accepting what He did on the cross, receiving Him as your Savior, that new covenant is better than the old, because Christ is a new mediator, better than the old mediators, who were angels. Christ must, then, be better than angels. And so, the writer sets out to do this, and he does it beautifully in verses 4 to 14, by using - guess what? - the Old Testament.
He proves the superiority of Christ over angels by using seven Old Testament passages to verify it. Tremendous. Now, if you were to go down and take these Old Testament passages, and look in the cross reference, and go to the Old Testament and find them, you would find that they are not quoted exactly; that there is slight variation in the quotation. The reason for that is this. By the time Epistle of Hebrews was written, there had existed - and prior to that already it existed - a book called the Septuagint.
Septuagint was the Old Testament written, translated into Greek. The Old Testament was written in Hebrew. By the time of Christ, there was such a tremendous number of Greek speaking Jews, that 70 men had gotten together and translated the old Hebrew into Greek, and that is the Septuagint. It is a Greek translation of the Old Testament. And evidently, the writer of Hebrews was a Greek-culture individual, because when he quotes the Old Testament, he invariably quotes it from the Septuagint, or the Greek translation.
And consequently, it varies slightly from the Hebrew translation. Not in truth or in fact, simply in translation. So, where there’s a little area of difference - and it won’t be a difference in meaning by any stretch of the imagination, but only just in a phrase, the word choice, or whatever it may be - it is because he is quoting the Septuagint. That’s one of the reasons we don’t believe that Paul was the writer, because he quotes the Old Testament more from the Hebrew than from the Septuagint. All right.
So, he uses the Old Testament so wisely, and deftly, and so beautifully, to show the Jews from their own testament, from their own old covenant, that Christ is a better mediator. And thus, the argument is powerful. Were we to try to prove to Israel from the New Testament that Christ is a better mediator, they would say, “I don’t accept the New Testament,” right? And so, the writer says, “Let me prove it to you from your own testament. Open it up, and I’ll show you that Christ is a better mediator, and the new covenant is better than the old.”
And so, as we come to it, we will see the tremendous power that is in this kind of an argument. Now, I want to give you the text for the sermon. That’s in verse 4a, the first part of it; look at it. “Being made so much better than the angels” - that’s the whole - that’s the text for the sermon. From now through verse 14 is the sermon itself. That’s the proposition that he seeks to prove; there it is. “Being made so much better than the angels” - who is? Jesus Christ, who is the subject of verses 1-3.
Christ being made so much better than the angels: that’s the point. And then he goes on from there, to show all of the proofs, and all of the reasons, all from the Old Testament, that Christ is better than angels. Now, I want to point out one thing that has caused problems. A lot of cults, and a lot of other religious organizations, at this point deny that deity of Christ, and they very often come to this passage to prove that Christ was not God, but that He was a created being. And they start in verse 4, with the statement, “Being made so much better than the angels.” And they say, “You see? Christ was made.”
But the word there is not poieō, to make or create; it is ginomai, to become. Jesus Christ always was, but He became better than the angels in His exaltation - inferring at one time that He had been lower than the angels, and that’s exactly what it says in chapter 2, verse 9. Now, you’re going to have to stay with me on this, because this is heavy stuff. But it’s talking here - we’ll get to this in a minute - it’s talking here about His Son - if you get this, you’re really going to have some good stuff. Hopefully you’ll get it.
It’s talking here about Christ as the Son. As the Son, He was made lower than angels, but because of His faithfulness, obedience, and the wonderful work that He accomplished as a Son, He was exalted back up above angels, where He was before. So, He became better than the angels. For a while, lower than the angels, faithful, accomplishing God’s work, He became better than the angels, as a Son. Now, in what ways was Jesus better than the angels? His title was better, His worship, His nature, His eternity, and His destiny.
And these are the points of the sermon of the Holy Spirit, of which the text is He became so much better than the angels or becoming so much better than the angels. First of all, His title was better, verses 4 and 5. Notice it. “Being made” - or becoming – “so much better than the angels, as He hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. For unto which of the angels said He at any time” - that is, said God, “‘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?’”
The Holy Spirit here says Jesus is better than angels, number one, because He has a better name. To what angel did God ever say, “You are my Son, this day have I begotten Thee.” The answer is, to no angel. You see? To what angel did God ever say, “I will be a Father to You, and You will be a Son to Me?” The answer is, to no angel did God ever say that. The angels are ministers and messengers, Christ is the Son. Do you see? The angels are servants, Christ is a Son. There’s a great difference there. He has obtained a more excellent name than they.
Now, in our culture we don’t put a lot of stock in names. You name your kid anything you want. It doesn’t make - and some of you do - but anyway, you can name him anything you want, and there’s really no connection at all with the child. Nicknames do pick up some meaning later on. We usually nickname somebody something because of some particular characteristic. But very often in the word of God, God has chosen specific names that have to do with character, or have to do with some aspect of the individual’s life. And frequently, the outward name spoke of an inward reality.
And so, Jesus Christ has been given a name. He has been given, Paul tells us, “a name that is above” – what? - “every name.” It’s a better name than angels. You know what angel means? Angel means messenger or servant. Jesus’ name is Son. There’s a big difference between your son and your servant. Now, in order to show this, he quotes two Old Testament passages. “To which angel did God ever say, ‘Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten Thee,’” and that’s Psalm 2:7, right down the line. You see, he’s quoting their own text.
And then he says, “I will be to Him a Father, and He shall be to Me a Son,” and he’s quoting exactly 2 Samuel 7:14. You remember the prophecy there to David, that David would have a greater son? And God said “I will be to Him a Father, and He will be a Son.” Now, which angel has ever been called a son? None. Collectively, as are Christians, angels are called sons of God, or children of God, in the sense that God created them, but no one angel is ever called Son of God. And to no angel has he ever said, “This day have I begotten Thee.” But God says, “I have a Son who has a greater name.”
Now, the Old Testament predicts that a Son was going to come. Psalm 2:7 says that. “Thou art My Son, this day have I begotten Thee.” There’s a Son coming. 2 Samuel 7:14 predicts the Son. And so, you see, angels are excellent creatures; of all creatures they are the most excellent. But if Christ has a more excellent name than the most excellent, He must have the most excellent name. Did you get that? If He has a more excellent name than the most excellent, He must have the most excellent name.
And so, says the writer of Hebrews to the Jews from their own Old Testament, Jesus Christ is greater than angels, because He hath obtained a greater name. God never called any angel Son. Secondly, He is greater because of His worship; verse 6. Now, this is a fantastic verse, and we must take our time in going through this opening chapter, because this is foundational to understanding everything. Even though Jesus Christ humbled Himself, even though He was made for a time lower than the angels, angels are to worship Him.
And if angels are to worship Him, then He must be what? Greater than they. And if He’s greater than they, then His covenant is greater than the one they brought; then the new covenant is greater than the old covenant; Christianity is greater than Judaism. Verse 6, “And again” - watch that again, we’re going to get to that one, that is loaded - “when He bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, He saith, ‘And let all the angels of God worship Him.’” You see? He must be greater than angels, for God calls upon angels to worship Him.
Now, that’s a quote from Psalm 97:7. Even the Old Testament psalmist said that all the angels were to worship the Lord’s Christ. That’s in the Old Testament. The Jews should not be surprised at this. It comes right out of their own text. And so, far from approaching the glory of angels - or the glory of the incarnate Son, I should say - angels are commanded to worship Him. Now, let me give you this thought. You say, “Well, didn’t angels always worship Him?” Yes, they did. They worshipped Him throughout all the time of their existence prior to His incarnation; they worshipped Him as God. Do you understand this?
But they are now to worship Him as Son. You see? In His incarnate character, they are to worship Him. He’s trying to show that this Son, who became a man, was higher than angels. He is the very God that angels have always worshipped. Do you know that it is an absolute sin, in violation of all of God’s laws, to worship anybody but whom? God. And if God is saying all the angels worship Him, then He must be God. He must be. And He is not only God of eternity, He is Son. He is God as Son; in His incarnate character He is to be worshipped.
Now, it says that He is the first begotten. Now, this again is where all these people jump and down, and they think they’ve found their proof text, that Jesus is a created being. “Look, look, look, He’s first begotten. You see, He was begotten like all the rest.” They just don’t understand, you see, that the word firstbegotten is not a word that has anything to do with time. It is a word that has to do with position, prōtotokos. In Colossians 1:15, “Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.”
And that’s another one they use, “You see, you see, you see? He was the firstborn in creation. He was the one who was created.” Prōtotokos, my friends, is not a time word, it is a position word. It is not a description, it is a title. And when it says that He is first begotten, it’s not talking about the fact that He was begotten, it’s talking about the fact that He is the chief of everything; the Sovereign. Prōtotokos means the chief one.
And the reason it’s connected with the concept of first begotten is because it was the first Son that was usually the heir to everything, and He usually became the chief one of the father’s estate. And prōtotokos then came to mean the one with all the dignity, and the one with all the honor, who stood as the chief one. And so, Jesus Christ is prōtotokos. That is a reference to position, not time. It is a reference to right and authority, not to time. I can give you an illustration of that.
There were two brothers in the Old Testament; one was named Jacob, one was named Esau. Who was the oldest? Esau. Who was the prōtotokos? Jacob. Jacob was the prōtotokos. Esau was the oldest. Genesis 49 tells us about the character of prōtotokos and what it means. Genesis 49:3, “Reuben” – here it’s in connection with Reuben - “thou art my firstborn, my might and the beginning of my strength, the excellence of dignity, the excellence of power.” Now, there you have a definition of prōtotokos.
What does it mean? Might, strength, dignity, and power. That’s what it means - Genesis 49:3. It is not a time word, it is a right-to-rule word. It’s an authority word. And Jesus Christ is the prōtotokos in the sense that He has the right to rule. In Colossians 1:18, it says this: “And He is the head of the church, the body: Who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead.” Now, that says Jesus was the firstborn from the dead. Had anybody been resurrected before Jesus? Sure.
Lazarus, those people that Jesus had resurrected in His own life, all the saints who came alive at the crucifixion, the Old Testament people who came alive from the dead; lots of people have been raised from the dead before Jesus. You say, “Yeah, but it says right there that He was the firstborn from the dead.” You know what it means? He was the chief one of all who had ever been raised, you see? It can’t mean time, or that verse would be a lie. Prōtotokos means He is the main one.
He is the most honored one, the most dignified one, the highest one, the most powerful one; that in resurrection, of all those who are resurrected, He is the greatest. So, the title refers, then, to Christ’s glory, it refers to His dignity, not to the time, and not to the concept of being created before anything else was created. All right, now, I want you to notice the word again here in verse 6, because this has really caused commentators an awful lot of problems.
And I wrestled with it an awful long time, until I finally just took my Greek text, and I just said, “Now, what does it say here in the Greek text? Let’s assume that this is what God meant it to say, and let’s just take it simply and read it. And then we’ll just pray about it, and say, ‘God, what are you trying to tell me?’” And it worked. And I stuck all the other books away. The word again is very important. Before we can understand again, let me pick up the word world here. “And again, when He bringeth in the prōtotokos into the world, He saith ‘Let all the angels of God worship Him.’”
Now, the world here is not the common word for world, it’s the word for inhabited earth; inhabited earth. “When He bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world.” Some people have said, “You see, that talks about His creation.” It couldn’t. That couldn’t mean that He was created before anything else, because the word for world there is oikoumenē, which means the inhabited earth. It’s already inhabited when He’s the first begotten; you understand what I’m saying? The first begotten, the prōtotokos, the most dignified one, He is coming to an inhabited earth.
Now, that’s - just file that somewhere in your mind. The point of it is, He brings His first begotten into the inhabited earth. Now, what is He talking about? As I say it can’t mean just the kosmos, the whole universe, when He first begot Him. It can’t mean that. It’s an inhabited earth already when He brings it. Now, I want you to notice the again. The Greek simply says this - here’s the order of it, and it’ll reverse what you have in your Authorized. It says this: “And when again He brings in the prōtotokos into the world” – now, wait a minute.
“And when again He brings His firstborn into the world.” You tell me; when is the again going to happen? Second coming. That’s all I could get out of this. That’s the way it has to be. “And again” – yes – “when” – again – “He brings in the firstbegotten.” He already brought Him into the world once as Son; He’s going to bring Him again. It has to be future, doesn’t it. Sure. Is God going to bring Christ again? Sure is, in blazing glory. Now, watch this: it is, then, at the second coming that the fullness of that prophecy comes to pass – “And let all the angels of God worship Him.”
You see? Do you know that right now, angels don’t understand the whole picture well enough to give Him full worship? You say, “Oh, you don’t mean it.” That’s right. You say, “You mean angels don’t understand everything now?” I don’t believe they do. You say, “What’s your evidence?” 1 Peter 1:11 - you know I have a verse for that. Searching what person - or here’s the picture of the Old Testament prophets, you know, who wrote down all those wonderful things, and then read them over to figure out what they meant; they were inspired by the Holy Spirit, and in many cases, didn’t understand.
“Searching” - here the prophets are searching through what they’ve written - “what” – person – “or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ who was in them did signify, when He testified beforehand the suffering of Christ, and the glory that should follow.” The prophets were looking about all the sufferings, and about Messiah, trying to figure out what they’d written, and when it was going to happen. Watch verse 12. “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 Spirit.”
You see, they were looking to see the things that weren’t understood until our time, when Christ had come, the gospel took place, and the Spirit preached. But I love that at the end of verse 12. “Which things the angels” – what? Ho-ho - “desire to look into.” They don’t understand it all yet. Now, maybe the presence angels around the throne do, but the vast angelic hosts have not yet, evidently, been able to discern everything. They’re not omniscient. But it is again when He brings in the first, the prōtotokos, into the world that He says, “Now, angels, you have the picture,” worship will be full and complete.
Now, I believe the angels around the throne worship God now. And I believe that, in a sense, perhaps there are angels that worship the Son. But if I read my Bible right, the angels are still looking into the things that they do not understand. But, my friends, once the time comes for Jesus to return, would you like to see how the angels are going to react? Turn to Revelation 5, and I’ll show you. They’re going to see the whole picture clearly. Revelation 5:9 - well, 11, we’ll start at 11 - Revelation 5:11.
“And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the living creatures and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; Saying with a loud voice, ‘Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing.’” You see? Here’s angelic worship. Why? Because He is beginning His move to come again and to take the earth. Do you see? In chapter 5, He goes to the throne.
In verse 1, the Father’s there, with the title deed to the earth, the little scroll. And they’re all saying, “Where is one that can open the scroll?” And John’s crying ’cause there’s nobody to open the scroll. And all of a sudden, one of the elders says, “Don’t cry John, here He comes; the Lion of the tribe of Judah.” And Jesus Christ the Lamb takes the scroll, and He’s about to unroll the judgments and take possession of the earth, and the angels say, “Oh, it’s all clear,” and praises burst out from the millions of angels, all over heaven.
And it says in verse 13, “every creature that is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such are as in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, ‘Blessing, and honor, glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.’ And the four living creatures said, ‘Amen.’” That’s the amen corner of heaven, those four living creatures. “And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped Him that liveth for ever and ever.” You see, this is His second coming.
And so, you see, it is at the second coming that He is revealed in full glory as Son, as prōtotokos. And even angels will see it all then, when they see Him come as King of kings and Lord of lords. So, He is greater than angels, because God commands angels to worship Him. And, my friends, if God, in the Old Testament, commanded the angels to worship His Son, then His Son must be God. I think we’ll stop there. Let’s bow in prayer. Our Father, we just are overwhelmed at the power of these truths.
Lord, as we see the tremendous person of Jesus Christ exalted to the highest heavens, above angels, to equality with Thee, our minds and hearts cannot comprehend it. And yet, Father, it is such joy to our hearts. Lord, we do not understand the mysteries of deity, but we do know this: we were sinners, and You loved us, and you sent Jesus Christ, the Son, to die for us. To pay the penalty for our sins, and to rise again, that we might walk in newness of life. Father, we rejoice.
We rejoice, because in our weakness, and our misunderstanding, and the stupidity of our human, finite, frail brains, we cannot grasp the truths, which have yet grasped us and made us Yours forever. And Father, as we have seen Jesus Christ lifted up and exalted tonight, we join together now in praise to Him. Christ, we exalt You. We praise You. We worship You. For we know that indeed You are greater than anything and anybody; the mediator of a better covenant; the full and final and ultimate sacrifice, to which can be added none other; the final great high priest.
And Lord, we bow before Your feet in worship and praise. Father, we would pray that if there are some in our congregation tonight who are not worshipping You, that You would turn their hearts to You. Lord, if there are some from Israel - Your chosen, Your beloved, Your wife of old - Father, call them to Your side. Help them to see that Jesus is the Messiah. That He is Your Son, God in human flesh, come into the world to redeem them.
Help them now even to look on Him whom they have pierced, and mourned for Him as an only Son; see Him as Son of God; turn their life to Him. May they receive the blessings, and the rewards, and the riches of the new covenant; better than the old, which could not take away sin. Father, we thank You for Jesus Christ, and His sacrifice, which can and does remove our sin. And bring us to fellowship with You, abundant and eternal. We pray in Christ’s name. Amen.
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