We’ve begun our study in the book of Hebrews, and really, we come to the second message, but we’re dealing with it in two parts. Because getting through the first 14 verses here - and actually, the whole first chapter that is comprising those 14 verses - is very difficult. There is so much depth in terms of what is presented to us concerning the person of Jesus Christ that it must be taken carefully, with great care, because it presents to us, perhaps as well as any other place in Scripture, a definitive statement as to the identity of Jesus Christ.
Now, the book of Hebrews is written to exalt Christ, to show to the Jewish reader that Christ is superior to everything and everybody, and so naturally the first chapter deals with the superiorities of Christ. Verses 4 to 14 deal with Jesus Christ’s superiority to angels, and so we will continue in our study of those verses tonight. Our blessed, matchless, and incomparable Christ then becomes the supreme person in the book of Hebrews as He is in all the universe. Throughout all of Scripture, really, the person of Jesus Christ is exalted.
He is the theme of the Old Testament, as well as He is of the New Testament. In Matthew, for example, chapter 5 and verse 17, that familiar verse, Jesus said, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.” He was the fulfillment of Old Testament truth. In Luke, for example, chapter 24 and verse 27, Jesus, speaking to the disciples on the road to Emmaus, said, and Luke records for us, “And beginning at Moses and all the prophets He expounded unto them in all the Scriptures” - and that has reference to the Old Testament - “the things concerning Himself.”
Moses, dealing with the law, the prophets, dealing with the prophetic writings, and the Scriptures, the hagiographa, the writings, make totally the Old Testament, and so Jesus taught concerning Himself from the Old Testament. In verse 44, it says, “And he said unto them, ‘These are the words which I spoke unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning me.’ Then opened He their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures.”
There is no way that anybody, be he Jew or Gentile, will ever understand the Old Testament until he understands it in terms of Jesus Christ. In John, for example, chapter 5 and verse 39, Jesus makes the clear-cut statement, “Search the Scriptures” - and He’s referring to the Old Testament; the New Testament isn’t even written by this time. “For in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of Me.” Jesus says, “The Old Testament testifies of Me.” In Hebrews, chapter 10 and verse 7, we read “Then said I, ‘Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of Me).’”
The Old Testament has as its theme the person of Jesus Christ. And though He does not arrive and is not detailed as to His life until the New Testament, He is nonetheless the theme, the fulfillment, the anti-type, the One prophesied in the Old Testament. And not only that, Jesus is also the theme of the New Testament. John gives us the purpose of the writing of his book, which could well be the purpose of the writing of the whole New Testament, when he says in John 20:31, “But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you might have life through His name.”
So, both the Old Testament and the New Testament have as their theme the person of Jesus Christ. Consequently, it is no wonder that those Jewish people who adhere to the old text, and not the new, have trouble interpreting it. They cannot understand it apart from Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ, then, is the binding on the book of Scripture. For example, what the Old Testament concealed of Christ, the New Testament revealed. What the Old Testament contained of Christ, the New Testament explained.
What the Old Testament gave in precept of Christ, the New Testament gives in perfection. What the Old Testament presented of Christ in shadow, the New Testament presents in substance. What the Old Testament presented of Christ in ritual, the New Testament presents in reality. What the Old Testament presented of Christ in picture, the New Testament presents of Christ in person. The foretold is fulfilled, prophecy becomes history, pre-incarnation becomes incarnation. The New Testament presentation of Jesus Christ, then, closes the meaning of the Old Testament.
In 2 Corinthians, for example, chapter 3 and verse 14, we read this: “But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same veil untaken away in the reading of the Old Testament; which veil is done away in Christ. But even unto this day, when Moses has read, the veil is upon their heart. Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away.” Do you see? There is no way that a man will ever understand the Old Testament apart from understanding and knowing Jesus Christ, and the veil is on until they turn to Christ.
And that’s why it is so intensely difficult for the Jew to understand the Old Testament. And that’s why in Judaism today you have a very, very small group of Orthodox Jews, and the great majority of Jews have wandered off into what is called conservative Judaism or liberal Judaism, because they cannot adhere to the basic little nitty gritty things of Judaism, because they have no meaning apart from fulfillment. And so, they begin little by little to just let them go, unable to signify their meaning.
And this is precisely the message that the writer is bringing to the Hebrews. The message is this: Jesus Christ removes the veil and gives you understanding of the old covenant. Not only that, He brings to you a better covenant, for it has additions, as well as explaining the old. It is not that everything in the Old Testament is obsolete, and everything in the Old Testament goes by the board. There’s still gracious principles there. There are still principles that are of God. There are still truths that are eternal there.
It’s not that everything passes away. Some things pass away. The forms and the types and the rituals pass away, because the reality has come. But the principles of morality, and God’s attitude towards sin, remains the same. Now, Hebrews speaks of the temporary nature of the old covenant in the sense of its forms. For example, in chapter 8, verse 13, we have a very important statement. It says, “A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and groweth old is ready to vanish away.”
Now, that does not mean that everything God said in the Old Testament goes by the board; that now you can covet, and now you can murder, and now you can do whatever you want, because all the morality of the Old Testament is gone away. No, it means the forms, and the rituals, and the types, and the pictures, and the symbols of the Old Testament, all of the sacrificial ritual at the symbolic area, goes by the board, because the reality has arrived. That’s the point.
In chapter 10, also, the classic statement, verse 1: “For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of things” - just a shadow - “can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make those who come to it perfect.” All of the Old Testament sacrifices couldn’t make a man perfect. They only were pictures of Christ, Who alone could bring perfection. In verse 9 of 10, “Then said He, ‘Lo, I come to do Thy will, O God.’ He taketh away the first, that He may establish the second.”
Now, you see, the tendency in these Jewish readers was to receive Christ, and then hang on to the ritual; hang on to the Judaistic symbolism. And the writer is saying you’ve got the new, let go of the old. You can’t mix the two. There is no reason. There’s no point. In chapter 11, verse 40, “God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.” In other words, there was no perfection provided in the old covenant. There was only a picture of perfection, which came in the better thing, the new covenant.
And throughout Hebrews, you have all these signified statements. For example, the Aaronic priesthood needed to be changed - chapter 7, verse 12 - it was an inadequate priesthood. Not only that, even the rituals of Israel needed to be changed, also in chapter 7, verse 12. The Old Testament priests were only a shadow of the heavenly priest, priest, singular - chapter 8, verse 5. The sacrifices were all abolished - chapter 9, verses 12-15. The old covenant was not faultless, and so it decayed and vanished away - chapter 8, verse 7.
So, we see, then, that the old covenant was merely a temporary and temporal shadow of things to come. And when we open up the book of Hebrews, we meet the new covenant, which isn’t a shadow any more, it’s the real thing. It isn’t a picture, it’s the person. It’s not the imperfect priesthood, it’s the perfect priest. It’s not the repeated sacrifices which couldn’t do the job, it’s the one sacrifice, once for all, which did the job. And so, in Hebrews, everything is eternal.
And we read about eternal salvation - chapter 5, verse 9; eternal judgment - chapter 6, verse 2; eternal redemption - chapter 9, verse 12; eternal inheritance - chapter 9, verse 15. And then, in chapter 13, verse 20, we read that it is an eternal covenant. The new covenant is eternal; the Old was temporal and passing away. So, we see, then, this is very, very basic to understanding the concept of the New Testament. The Old Testament principles are still good, the morality is still good, that which is taught about God is still good, that which is taught about man is still valid.
But all the ritual, and all the form goes out, because the reality has arrived. And this is precisely the message that the writer of Hebrews wants to get across. The new covenant is here, don’t hang on to the rituals of the old; you don’t need them anymore. The heavenly high priest has come. You don’t need the priests of Judaism. The once-for-all sacrifice has been accomplished, forget the rest of the sacrifices. It’s over with. Once the reality has come, the ritual which prefigured it is no longer needed. Do you understand that point?
And so, the Holy Spirit is saying to the Hebrew Christian, “Make a break with Judaistic ritual total and complete. Don’t hang on to any of it; you don’t need it.” And to the unsaved Hebrew, He’s saying, “There’s a better covenant. Recognize the better covenant, turn to Jesus Christ, and embrace it.” Now, this brings out a very important point that I want you to see. It is the basic reason that we do not believe in ritual in the church today. Now, there are many churches that you go to that are very ritualistic.
Stand up, sit down, march over here, turn over there, say a thing, read a thing, up and down, and people wandering around doing things. And various symbolism, whether it’s the Catholic church, or Episcopalian church, or whatever other church it may be; even sometimes Baptist and Presbyterian churches and other churches fall into patterns of ritual. But mainly the high church orders. But you see the important thing that you need to realize is that there is no point in symbols, and in types, and in liturgy, because the reality is here. Do you understand that?
Why should I wave around things that symbolize Jesus, when I can stand up and say, “I want to tell you about Jesus?” Why should I go through all kinds of rigmarole and hocus pocus symbolizing something or other that half the people can’t figure out, when I can stand up and say, “Now, let me take you over here to this verse, and show you what it’s all about?” In other words, with the coming of Christ spelled the end of ritual. And that is what’s so tragic about the church today, because so much of the church, doing like these Hebrew Christians tended to do, have hung on to symbolism, and rejected the reality; you understand?
There is no place for that. It is absolutely unnecessary, and the Lord made sure of that by only telling us two things that we were really supposed to do which were symbolic. One was the Lord’s table, remembering the cross, and two was the baptism, which remembers and signifies and testifies to our identification with Christ. Apart from that, there is no ritual that belongs in the church of Jesus Christ. It is gone. We do not need any of it. Now, that’s the message to Israel, and it’s also a message to us.
That we are not to spend our time running around in forms and symbols when we have reality, do you see? And so many people think they’re religious because they go through the ritual, and it’s a complete - it’s a complete statement on their part that they don’t know the reality. They substitute ritual for reality, and form for a relationship. And that’s the tragic thing about people in the denominations that are like that, and in the Catholic church. And we love those people, and we care about them, but we see so many of them lost in the patterns of ritual, when the truth is there but they never can see it.
We don’t need any pictures, and we don’t need any illustrations. We have the realization of everything in Jesus Christ. And that is the message, not only to us, but to the Hebrew believers. The key person, then, in the new covenant is Christ. Once He arrived, everything was gone of ritual, and type, and picture, and illustration, et cetera, et cetera. The reality came. Now, to prove that the New Testament is better than the old, and the new covenant does replace the forms of the old with reality, the writer of Hebrews must then prove that Jesus is better than anybody attached to the old covenant.
If it’s a better covenant, it’s got to have a better mediator, right? And thus, we begin the book of Hebrews with just that attempt; to show us that Jesus Christ is superior to everything and everybody connected to the old covenant. He’s a better priest than the Aaronic priesthood. He’s even a better priest than Melchizedek - and we’ll get in to who he is in weeks to come - or months, whatever. Jesus Christ is better than Moses. He’s better than Aaron. He’s better than everybody and anybody connected with the old covenant.
And through Hebrews, we find the writer showing us just that very thing. But we also learned last week that the old covenant was mediated to men by angels, and that the Jewish people revered and esteemed angels higher than any other created being. And if they were the mediators of the old covenant, then the writer must prove that Jesus is better than angels. If He’s a better mediator, with a better covenant, He must be better than angels. And so, as we come to verses 4-14, we find the subject Jesus better than angels.
Now, verse 4 gives us the text, and we’ll review for a few minutes, and then we’ll pick up where we left off. But verse 4 begins, “Being made so much better than the angels.” Now, that’s the text of verses 4-14. That’s the basic proposition; the rest is just the sermon. This is the point he wants to prove. Usually in a sermon, if it’s good, if it’s technically what it ought to be, you have one point you’re trying to get across, and you work through all of the ways you can to get to that one point. Now, sometimes, some of us have several points, but basically, you’re driving at one thing.
Here in these verses from 4-14, He wants us to see that Jesus is better than angels. That’s what I want you to see tonight as well. Now, he says also - we’ll just quickly go over this, because we’ve been in it in depth last week - but he says Jesus made, “being made,” verse 4, and we said that the word made is ginomai, or became. Jesus became - that is in His incarnation and His humiliation, He was then lifted up to become better than angels, glorified above them, exalted above them; for a little time made lower, but exalted above them eventually.
He was lower in the sense that He became a man. He was not lower in the sense of His deity, but in humanity. Then He goes on to give us five ways that Jesus is better than angels. His title is better, His worship, His nature, His eternity, and His destiny, and we’ll take them one at a time. First of all, Jesus is better than angels because He has a better title. And we saw this last week, verse 4: “As He hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.” Verse 5, what is His name? “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.’” In other words, did God ever say to an angel, “You are My son, this day have I begotten you?” Did God ever say to an angel, “I will be to you a Father and you will be to me a son?” And the answer is no. And remember what I told you last week, of how carefully and deftly the writer uses the Old Testament to prove His point? He makes seven quotes in this little sermon about Jesus better than angels, and all seven of them come from the Old Testament.
And all seven of them are geared to prove that Jesus is better than angels from the Old Testament itself, and rightly so, since the Old Testament speaks of Christ. So, in the first point, when he says He has a better title, he quotes from Psalm 2:7, and 2 Samuel 7:14, in verse 5; both of those quotes are there. And he shows us that Christ has a better name. An angel is an angel, a messenger. It simply means a servant. Jesus is not a servant, He is what? Son. He is Son. He’s not hired help. He’s not messenger boy, He is Son.
And so, Jesus has a better name than they. Now, we talked also last time about the fact that this name of Son belongs to Jesus in His incarnation. In the appearances of Christ in the Old Testament, for example, He is not called Son; He is not called Son. He is called the angel of the Lord. On one occasion in the authorized version - it was pointed out to me last Sunday night after we concluded - that in Daniel 3:25, when they looked into the fiery furnace, they saw the three, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, in there.
And they looked in there, and the comment was that there was “one like unto the Son of God,” the old authorized says. But any of the new translations have corrected it to say what it ought to say: “He looked like a son of the gods.” It was the comment of a pagan, indicating that whoever that fourth person was in there, he looked to be something from another world. It is not the title of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; that’s a New Testament title that belongs to His incarnation, and we went into detail on that.
He became a Son in His virgin birth and in His resurrection. So even in His humiliation, He turns out to be greater than angels. Even in humanness, He is still a Son, and they are still servants. All right, so first of all, then, He has a better title. Secondly, His worship indicates that He is better. Verse 6: “And again, when He bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, He saith, ‘And let all the angels of God worship Him.’”
Now, here we see a prophecy that came, really, out of Psalm 97:7, indicating that at the second coming of Christ, as we saw last week, all of the angels of God would be called upon to worship Him. Now, we know that there are undoubtedly angels who see His glories now. We know that there are angels now who perhaps praise His glory, but nothing like is going to take place, according to Revelation 5, at the time of His second coming. When Jesus comes, then all of heaven bursts forth in a great climax of praise and honor to Jesus Christ when He is hailed King of kings and Lord of lords.
And so, He deserves the worship of angels. Now, if He deserves the worship of angels, He must be what? Better than angels. Now, we come to point three, and this is where left off last time. Not only is His title better, and His worship indicates that He is better, but thirdly, Jesus is superior to angels because of His nature; His nature - point three. And here the Holy Spirit shows the basic difference in the nature of angels and of the Son, Jesus Christ. And watch this - some tremendous statements are made here.
Verse 7: “And of the angels, He saith, ‘Who maketh His angels spirits, and His ministers a flame of fire?’” Now, here in this verse, we see the nature of angels. What are angels? Well, first of all, Who maketh His angels? That’s the word poieō, to create. The antecedent of Who is Christ. Who created angels? Christ. If Christ created angels, He is what? Better than angels. He created angels; He must be greater. Chapter 1, verse 2, it says “by His Son, Whom He hath appointed heir of all things, and by Whom also He made the aiōnas.”
He made the universe of time-space, He made the ages, He made the world. Jesus made the angels. So, we know, first of all, that they are created beings. Not only that - I love this: “Who maketh His angels.” What kind of pronoun is His, you English students? It’s a possessive. You remember that? Whose angels are these? They’re His own angels. He makes His own angels. Now, that’s a quote from Psalm 104:4. And again, He’s using the Old Testament to verify the superiority of Christ to angels.
Now, the word spirits there can also mean wind, and perhaps would be better signified as winds. Although angels are spirits, and maybe it’s a play on the word; but because of the comparison with fire, His ministers are winds and flames of fire. You say, “Why would they be called winds?” Well, invisible, powerful, rapid movement. Then they’re called flames of fire. Now, this is interesting. Angels not only blow, or move, rapidly and invisibly and powerfully to carry out God’s bidding, but they also are flames of fire.
Now, whenever you read about a flame of fire, it’s usually in connection with divine judgment. And so, we see that angels are God’s executioners. Angels mete out on the earth, judgment. Back in Genesis, chapter 19 - familiar passage, the destruction of Sodom - we read in verse 13 concerning this destruction. “‘For we will destroy this place, because the cry of them has become great before the face of the Lord; and the Lord has sent us to destroy it.’ And Lot went out, and spoke unto his son-in-laws, who married his daughters, and said, ‘Up, get you out of this place; for the Lord will destroy this city.’
“But he seemed as one that mocked unto sons-in-law. And when the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying, ‘Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters, which are here; lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city.’ And when he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand” - these were angels in the form of men - “and the hand of his two daughters; the Lord being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth, and set him outside of the city.” Now, here are these angels, sent to destroy Sodom, and they had to grab Lot and his crew, and drag them out of the city.
You may remember, his wife was warned not to look back, and she did, and turned into a pillar of salt. So, angels appear there, in Genesis 19, as, really, executioners, and they brought fire and brimstone on Sodom and Gomorrah. In the Psalms, Psalm 78, there is a verse that indicates this to us. Verse 49: “He cast upon them the fierceness of His anger, wrath, and indignation, and trouble, by sending evil angels among them.” Now, evil angels here I do not believe means demons. I believe it means judgment angels; angels which bring judgment.
God sent His angels of judgment to bring anger, wrath, indignation, and trouble. And so, we learn, then, in the New Testament, that there are judgment angels. In Matthew, chapter 13, in two verses there, I think it’s verse 41 and 42, we read this: “The Son of man shall send forth His angels, and they shall gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and them who do iniquity; and shall cast them into a furnace of fire: and there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” Now, in the great judgment, angels are the executioners.
So, here in this verse, then, we see that angels are winds; that is they are powerful, they are swift, they are invisible. They are also agents of judgment, but significantly, they are created beings, created by Jesus Christ, and possessed by Him; personal possessive pronoun. So, angels then are created servants, created ministers. They do not operate on their own whims. They operate at God’s direction and Christ’s direction. But what about Christ? What is the difference between the nature of angels, and the nature of Christ?
And here, you’re going to hear one of the greatest statements in all of the word of God. Verse 8: “But unto the Son He saith,” you see, to the angels, He said, “You’re just ministers, servants, created beings.” “But unto the Son He saith, ‘Thy throne’ - what are the next two words? - ‘O God, is for ever and ever.’” Now, there’s a difference between angels and the Son, because the Son is the eternal God. Did you get that? A classic dynamic statement in the word of God that Jesus is God eternal.
People who are always going around saying, “Jesus was just a man,” and “Jesus was just one of many angels,” or “Jesus was one of many prophets of God,” or “Jesus was like a lot of other little gods, sub-gods, the inferior gods,” are lying, and bringing upon themselves the anathema, the curse, of God. Jesus is God. That’s what He’s saying. The Father says to the Son, “Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever.” That is the Father acknowledging the Son as God. Now, I believe this verse supplies us with the most powerful, clear, and emphatic, irrefutable proof of the deity of Christ in the Bible.
In John 5:18, it’s corroborated, because it says, “The Jews sought to kill Him, because He not only had broken the Sabbath, but said also that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God.” Jesus all along claimed equality with God. John 10, for example, verse 30: “I and my Father are one.” And “The Jews answered Him” - verse 33 – “saying, ‘For a good work we stone Thee not, but for blasphemy; and because that Thou, being a man, makest Thyself God.’” They understood that that was His claim. That’s more than I can say for a lot of so-called Bible scholars.
You have it again in Romans, chapter 9 and verse 5, talking about Israel and all their blessings, Israel, “Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever.” And the King James stuck the comma in the wrong place. “Who is over all God, blessed forever.” Not “Who is over all, God blessed forever” - “Who is over all God” - the claim that Jesus Christ is God. In 1 Timothy, chapter 3, verse 16: “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the nations, believed on in the world, received up into glory.”
And who was it? It was God, that’s who it was. Jesus is God. Titus 2:13: “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ.” There is no question that the Bible claims that Jesus is God. 1 John 5:20: “And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know Him that is true, and we are in Him that is true, even in His Son Jesus Christ. this is the true God.” Now, you can’t say it any more simply than that.
And I belabor the point because it is so basic, so important, and I want you to have those verses so you can get them to the people who need to hear them. Now, in verse 8, we read, continuing: “Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever” - He has an eternal throne - “a sceptre” - and a sceptre is the symbol of rule - “of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.” Now, here is the eternal throne, for ever and ever; the eternal God. Did you know that Jesus Christ rules eternity? The Son right here is identified as the eternal kingdom God.
Powerful evidence from the mouth of God to the deity of Jesus. And so, it is that He is the eternal King, with an eternal kingdom, and a sceptre of righteousness. He rules rightly, justly, righteously. Then in verse 9, He moves back to the incarnate Sonship, and sees Jesus incarnate. Verse 9: “Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even Thy God” - and here you have the other side of the incarnation; not only is He God, but as a man, the Son of God. “And so God, Thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.”
Now, this is an interesting verse, because it tells us something about Jesus in His incarnation. “Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity.” Now, those words reveal not only the actions of Jesus, but His motives. He didn’t just do righteousness, He what? He loved it. How many times in our Christian lives have we obeyed without joy, and kind of in an unwilling condescension? Jesus loved righteousness. He loved it. In James 1:17, it says, “Every good and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”
That’s righteousness. Never any variation; never any variation. Always just, always righteous. In 1 John 1:5, “This then is the message which we have heard of Him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.” God never varies. He’s total light. He’s total perfect righteousness. So, if Jesus is God, then He loves righteousness, and hates iniquity. The spring of everything Jesus did was His love for righteousness. Like the Psalmist in Psalm 119:97, who said, “O how I love Thy law! it is my meditation all the day.”
Now, naturally, because Jesus Christ loved righteousness, He hated iniquity. The word iniquity is anomia, or lawlessness. If He loved God’s right standards, He would hate the wrong standards. The two are inseparable. One cannot exist without the other. You cannot say, “I love righteousness, but I also like sin.” But you know something, most of us try to say that. When there is true love for God, there will be true love for righteousness, and there will be total hatred for sin. Jesus hated sin.
You see it in His temptation. You see it in His cleansing the temple. You see it in His death on the cross. And I’ll tell you something, the more you and I become conformed to Jesus Christ, the more we’re going to find out we love righteousness, and hate sin. And you can pretty well tell how close to being conformed to Christ you are by your attitude towards righteousness, and toward sin. And most Christians, unfortunately, would agree that they love righteousness, but would also have to agree that they love sin, to a degree.
Then comes a direct a statement of His superiority to angels, in verse 9: “God, even Thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.” Now, some commentators think the word fellows has to do with men, but that’s not the issue of the passage. Fellows simply means associates. The Greek word simply implies an association, nothing more. And the point that is being made here is that Jesus Christ is greater than angels, and angels were only messengers of God. Christ was a messenger from God, but greater than they.
And so, fellows here, I believe, has reference to angels, and in the Old Testament, Christ was even called the messenger of the Lord or the angel of the Lord. And so, He’s exalted above the others. That’s a clear statement that Jesus is better than angels; couldn’t be more clear. And it says that “He has anointed Thee.” Now, not everybody got anointed; just the king. In the Old Testament, God had designed that the king would be anointed. And so, when Jesus Christ is anointed, that puts Him on top. He is greater than His fellows, superior to angels.
He is the anointed. In Acts 10:38, the Bible says - Peter’s sermon there in Cornelius’ house - “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth.” God had anointed Him, and ordained Him. Now, the Old Testament anticipates God’s anointed in Psalm 2:2, and other places. David is the type of the Lord’s anointed, even in His own anointing. The word in the Old Testament for the coming redeemer was the word what? Messiah. Do you know what that means in Hebrew? The anointed. You know what the word Christ means in the New Testament? The anointed.
Jesus was God’s anointed. And notice that He was anointed with the oil of gladness. You say, “When did this happen?” Well, personally, I believe that what he’s referring to here happened when Jesus received His coronation, when He went to heaven after His resurrection. It was at that time that the Father exalted Him, and gave Him the name above every name, and so forth and so on. He assumed His Kingship at His ascension, and He hasn’t really brought all of His kingdom together yet, but someday soon, He will.
So, we see that Jesus has a greater nature than angels. Now, these are amazing verses. Verses 7, 8, and 9, you could spend days and months studying. But just looking, for example, at verse 8 and 9, you know what we’ve learned? Verses 8 and 9 establish Christ’s deity. They establish His exalted position. They mention His Kingship. They reveal the excellence of His rule. They show the perfection of His incarnate character. They indicate His willing submission to God in Sonship. They announce His coronation. They reveal His preeminence.
Just those two verses. So, His title, His worship, His nature, show that He’s better than angels. Fourthly, His eternity - and this has already been hinted at in verse 8 - His eternity. And here, the Holy Spirit quotes Psalm 102, verses 25 to 27, to show that Christ is better because He is the eternal creator, and will exist eternally. Verse 10 - tremendous verse: “And, Thou, Lord” - and that’s God talking to Jesus, you see. “And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning” - remember what I told you? If He was in the beginning to do it, He must have been before the beginning, which makes Him without beginning.
“And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth.” To create in the beginning, He must have been before the beginning, and thus without beginning. And John 1:1 says, “In the beginning was the Word.” He was already there. Now, if it says in verse 10 that He in the beginning, that is, Christ, laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of His hands; if He created all of that, then He must have populated it as well. So, if He created those things, He must have populated it with angels; thus, He was the creator of angels, as is indicated in verse 7.
Now, then, in verse 11, “They shall perish” - that is, what You’ve created, the heavens and the earth - “they shall perish.” Peter tells us how, remember that? “Melt with” - what? - “fervent heat” - 2 Peter 3. They’re going to perish, and the Lord’s going to create a new heaven and a new earth. “They shall perish; but Thou remainest” - The eternity of Jesus Christ. “They all become old like a garment; And as a vesture” - an outer cloak - “shalt Thou roll them up” - just like you’d roll up your outer cloak when you’re done with it – “and they shall be changed: but Thou art the same, and Thy years shall not fail.”
Jesus is no creature. He is eternal. He is immutable, which means He never changes. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. And so, He contrasts the passing of the temporal with the eternal. Let me just pick out a couple of thoughts, because our time is gone. But He’s saying that everything folds up, the things that look so permanent. You know, remember the argument of the people in 2 Peter, when they warn them about the fact that God will judge, and they say, “Oh, everything continues as it was from the beginning.
“Why, what do you mean it’s going to pass away? All things continue as they were from the beginning. Why, this old thing will just keep going on and on forever.” Don’t you believe it. “They shall perish, but Thou remainest. They shall become old as doth a garment” - clothes get old, you throw them away. And look at this: “As a vesture shalt Thou fold” - or roll – “them up.” Did you know that God’s going to roll up the heavens? I can show you what it’s going to be like in Revelation 6:14, when we see the rolling up of the heavens.
“And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.” During the time of the tribulation, as if the earth – or as if the heavens are stretched to all the possible corners, and the corners are all cut, and it just rolls right up, like a scroll. That’s what’s going to happen to the whole sky. The stars are going to fall, come crashing into the earth. Every island and every mountain moved out of its place. The whole world is going to start to fall apart.
Creation comes, and creation goes. In Revelation, chapter 8 and verse 7, “The first angel sounded” - and this is during the tribulation - “there followed hail and fire mixed with blood” - that’s the blood of the people that are dying. “They were cast on the earth; and the third part of the trees was burnt up, and all the green grass was burnt up. The second angel sounded, as it were a great mountain burning with fire Was cast into the sea” – undoubtedly, some body out of heaven. “Third part of the sea became blood” - or bloodlike in color.
“The third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and a third part of the ships were destroyed. The third angel sounded, there fell a great star from heaven, burning as though it were a lamp, and it fell upon a third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters.” Verse 12: “And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten” - can you imagine that? Third part of the sun, fouling up everything. Nothing can grow, because of the imbalance of light and dark, heat and cold.
“Third part of the moon” - the tides go berserk. “Third part of the stars” - charting, encompassing, and mapping the way in space, in flight, is lost – “so that the third part of them was dark, and the day shown not for a third part of it, and the night likewise.” The next verse says if you think that’s bad, wait till you hear the next trumpets. This whole earth and sky as we know it is headed for a collapse. And so, when the Bible says they shall perish in Hebrews 1:11, that’s exactly what it means.
But it may perish, but Jesus will not. He will create a new heaven and a new earth, right? Read it in Revelation. And so, men come and go. Worlds come and go. Stars come and go. Angels are subject to decay, as the fall of angels indicates. Jesus Christ never changes, is never subject to change, is never subject to alteration. He is eternally the same. And thus He is superior to angels in title, in worship, in nature, in eternity, and finally in destiny. Verses 13 and 14 tell us that the destiny of Jesus is greater than angels, and we close with some marvelous things.
This is the seventh Old Testament quote, and it’s from Psalm 110:1, and it climaxes the full superiority of Christ to angels. Now, first, He presents the destiny of Christ, and then of angels. Verse 13: “But to which of the angels” - did God ever say – “said He at any time, ‘Sit on My right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool?’” Well, the answer is no angel. To which angel did God say, “I’m going to make your enemies your footstool?” To no angel. But do you know what the destiny of Jesus Christ is?
The destiny of Jesus Christ is that ultimately, everything in the universe be subject to Him. Do you understand that? That at the name of the Jesus, every knee should bow, things above the earth, on the earth, and under the earth - Philippians 2. Jesus Christ, in God’s plan, is destined to be the ruler of the universe, and everything that inhabits it. In 1 Corinthians 15:25 - well, backing up to 23: “But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterwards they that are Christ’s at His coming” - talking about resurrection.
“Then cometh the end” - what happens at the end? – “when He shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when He shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign, till He hath put all enemies under His feet.” And verse 25 - verse 26: “The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For He hath put all things under His feet.” And verse 28: “And when all things shall be subdued unto Him, then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him that put all things under Him, that God maybe all in all.”
In relationship of Sonship, He is subordinate to God, only in the designation of Sonship; and under His feet are placed all the kingdoms and authorities and powers of the world. You say, “When does that happen?” It happens at His second coming. It happens when He comes in glory. I read you one verse that describes it, Revelation 19:15: “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.”
Verse 16, one more verse: “And He hath on His vesture and on His thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” The destiny of Jesus Christ is an eternal reign. Notice in verse 13 the word sit. At no time in Scripture do you ever find an angel doing that. Why? Their work is never done. Fortunately, we Christians will be able to do that once in a while. Hebrews 4:9 says, “There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.” And you remember in Revelation 14:13, where “Blessed are they which die in the Lord: for they shall rest from their labors.”
But no angel ever sat down. Jesus sits down because it’s over; He reigns. Then the destiny of angels, in verse 14. “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?” Jesus reigns, that’s His destiny, they serve, and they’ll keep serving forever, those who are the heirs of salvation. That’s us. Isn’t that great? The angels are going to serve us forever. You say, “What are they going to do for us?” Well, angels do a lot of things. They protect from temporal danger.
Remember 2 Kings, chapter 6, Elisha and his servant were being menaced by the king of Syria? Fantastic passage. Let me just read two verses, three verses. Isaiah 6:15 - and poor Elisha and his servant are just being menaced, you know, by the king of Syria, and they don’t have any way to defend themselves. But listen to this: “And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, ‘Alas, my master! What shall we do?’”
You know, Syrians everywhere. “And he answered, ‘Fear not, for they who are with us are more than they who are with them.’ And Elisha prayed, and said, ‘Lord, I pray Thee, open his eyes, that he may see.’ And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire around Elisha.” You know who they were? They were angels. Angels protect the believer, the saint, from temporal danger. Not only that, but they deliver from danger. Remember the angels that grabbed Lot and his family, and yanked them out of Sodom?
Remember the angels that got down in there, into the lions’ den with Daniel, and stopped the lions’ mouths? What a marvelous truth, to know that angels minister to us. Their destiny is to minister to us throughout eternity. Jesus’ destiny is to reign. He is thus better than angels. So, we find, then, that the Son of God is superior angels in every way. And every one of his superiorities is confirmed by an Old Testament passage. Jesus is Messiah. He is God in flesh. He is the mediator of a new covenant, better than the old.
And just think back for a minute, will you? In this little, brief, 14-verse chapter, we have seen the deity of Jesus Christ established by divine names, number one: He’s called Son, Lord, and God. By divine works: He is creating, sustaining, governing, redeeming, and purging sin. By divine attributes: He is omniscient, omnipotent, unchanging, and eternal. By divine worship: He is the One to be worshipped by the angels, and all the creatures in the universe. And thus is the superiority of Jesus Christ proclaimed.
You say, “So what?” Well, that’s undoubtedly what the writer thought you’d say, so He wrote the first verse of chapter 2. “Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. For the if the word spoken by angels was steadfast” - if that was good stuff - “and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward; How shall we escape, if we neglect so great” – what? - “salvation?” Listen, if God expected a reaction to the law that came through the angels, what do you think He expects from you to that which came through Jesus Christ?
“Therefore we ought to give them more earnest heed, for how shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation?” Let’s pray. Father, we thank You for Jesus Christ, the superiorities that we’ve learned about tonight. Thank you that we’re not worshipping a religious leader who was human. We’re not worshipping some ethical teacher. We’re worshipping Christ, Who is God the creator. And to think that He lives within us, and the person of the Spirit empowers us and loves us with a personal love, cares about us, sends His angels to minister to us, and Father, these things overwhelm us.
But God, having presented all these truths of Jesus Christ, our hearts shudder and shake to know that there will be some people who would turn away, and walk about of this place tonight neglecting the salvation that they’ve heard. Who would fail to take earnest heed to that which they have heard. Who would turn their back on Jesus Christ, and walk out into a night of sin. God, it’s almost beyond belief. Lord, if Jesus Christ is God, as the Bible says, then He has a claim to lay on our lives. We’re to receive Him, to believe in him as Lord and Savior.
And we pray to that end, Father, tonight, that there may be no one in this place who would leave not having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Some have come doubting, some have come questioning, some have come wondering whether it’s all so. Father, may they be willing to put Jesus to the test, that He said, “If you really desire to know My will, you will know the truth.” So, Father, we pray that the honest, seeking heart will be found by You, and open to receive Christ tonight.
May those of us as Christians see Him all the more beautiful, because we’ve seen what the writer has taught us in this marvelous chapter. May we be better equipped to witness for Christ, with more power and boldness, because we know the facts. Bless us as we close, we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
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