Angels intrigue most of us even though we know almost nothing about them. We cannot see them nor does scripture tell us very much about them. We know that some angels can appear like a man (Gen. 18:1-15) and others look strange to us (Ezekiel 1:4-21). The virgin Mary was surprised by one that apparently came through a wall and suddenly appeared in her room (Luke 1:28). Holy angels fight an invisible war of power against demonic forces which are fallen angels (Daniel 10:4-21). They are powerful, not just physically, but even with their words (Acts 5:18, 24). Angels are special, powerful beings. They live in a world that is invisible to us, yet they can see us (1 Cor. 11:10) and each of us has an angel who cares for us (Matt. 18:10). Yet, these holy beings do not know everything, because they desire to learn about Jesus according to 1 Peter 1:12 which says, ” . . . things into which angels long to look.”
As we saw in the last study, the Jewish people put angels “on a pedestal.” They considered angels superior to Moses because in some way the angels participated in the giving of the Law to Moses. So the Jews placed angels at the top of the authority structure, above Moses and the rabbis. The Holy Spirit desired to make it clear that Jesus is superior to the angels and not inferior.
The Contrast – First Coming
So the Holy Spirit starts comparing Jesus to the angels. He begins quoting scripture which speak about Jesus’ first coming – His birth, life, death and return to life. He uses Old Testament scriptures that refer to Jesus in order to show us what God has said about Jesus and not the angels.
For to which of the angels did He ever say, “THOU ART MY SON, TODAY I HAVE BEGOTTEN THEE”? And again, “I WILL BE A FATHER TO HIM AND HE SHALL BE A SON TO ME”? And when He again brings the first-born into the world, He says, “AND LET ALL THE ANGELS OF GOD WORSHIP HIM.” (NASB) Hebrews 1:5-6
God has never called any angel “My Son” nor has He ever referred to one of them as the “first-born.” The title Son of God means Jesus is God. Jesus, Himself, makes this clear when He responds to some angry Jews. These Jews had accused Jesus of claiming to be God.
The Jews answered Him, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God.” (NASB) John 10:33
How did Jesus respond? Here is His answer . . .
. . . do you say of Him, whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? (NASB) John 10:36
Jesus clearly tells us that the term Son of God refers to God. That is why the Jews wanted to kill Jesus. To say Jesus is My Son refers to the manner in which He entered into this world as the God-man.
And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy offspring shall be called the Son of God. (NASB) Luke 1:35
He was born of the Holy Spirit and Mary was His mother.
The expression “first-born” means that Jesus is the priority one – the most important one. The phrase does not mean that Jesus was the first one created as some say (see Col. 1:15). This becomes clear in Colossians 1:18.
He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the first-born from the dead; so that He Himself might come to have first place in everything. (NASB) Col. 1:18
This verse does not say that Jesus is the first one to return to life. There were at least nine different people who had been resurrected including Lazarus. Jesus was not the first one! The meaning of the Greek word PROTOTOKOS is “most important one.”
Jesus is God and He is the most important one who has ever come into the world as well as the most important one to ever return to life.
The Contrast – Second Coming
The Holy Spirit continues by using scriptures that talk about Jesus’ second coming – His return to earth and out into eternity.
And of the angels He says, “WHO MAKES HIS ANGELS WINDS, AND HIS MINISTERS A FLAME OF FIRE.” But of the Son He says, “THY THRONE, O GOD, IS FOREVER AND EVER, AND THE RIGHTEOUS SCEPTER IS THE SCEPTER OF HIS KINGDOM. THOU HAST LOVED RIGHTEOUSNESS AND HATED LAWLESSNESS; THEREFORE GOD, THY GOD, HATH ANOINTED THEE WITH THE OIL OF GLADNESS ABOVE THY COMPANIONS. And, “THOU, LORD, IN THE BEGINNING DIDST LAY THE FOUNDATION OF THE EARTH, AND THE HEAVENS ARE THE WORKS OF THY HANDS; THEY WILL PERISH, BUT THOU REMAINEST; AND THEY ALL WILL BECOME OLD AS A GARMENT, AND AS A MANTLE THOU WILT ROLL THEM UP; AS A GARMENT THEY WILL ALSO BE CHANGED. BUT THOU ART THE SAME, AND THY YEARS WILL NOT COME TO AN END.” (NASB) Heb. 1:7-12
Who is Jesus? He is God and the angels are only God’s ministers. Jesus will rule, but the angels only minister to us.
But to which of the angels has He ever said, “SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND, UNTIL I MAKE THINE ENEMIES A FOOTSTOOL FOR THY FEET”? Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation? (NASB) Heb. 1:13-14
The Jews had it wrong. Angels are ONLY ministers. Their authority comes from God. One of their purposes for existing is to minister to the saints. Matthew 18:10 tells us that we have an angel who watches out for us. We have a “guardian angel.”
God loves us – He has assigned an angel to care for us, and His Son died to forgive our sins in order for us to live forever with Him.
We have also been called to minister to others. Our purpose is not to bring honor to ourselves. Each of us is to minister to others including God. Angels are powerful and significant beings, yet they serve without question. God calls us to serve Him faithfully without question. Even though Jesus is superior to angels, He served the Father; and now the Father wants us to serve Jesus from a heart that hungers to please Him – to love Him from a heart of passion.
What do you value most? Is there “an angel” in your life that is more important than Jesus? Jesus is superior to it!