to the Hebrew Christians, knowing that angels were held in high
regard by those addressed, proves the Son to be better than the
angels. Not only because of the relation of angels to the patriarchs,
but because of their place in giving the law, they were revered
by the Jews. The old covenant was mediated by angels and prophets.
The author of the Hebrew epistle, in order to prove the superiority
of the new covenant over the old, must prove that the Son, the
Mediator of the new covenant is not only better than prophets
but is also better than angels. In verse four we read the phrase,
"Better than angels." The author does not say, 'being
created' but 'being made' literally 'having become' so much better
than the angels. This statement is at once proved by means of
a number of quotations from the Old Testament. In the passage
before us, we have ten reasons why the Son is better than angels,
founded on seven quotations from the Old Testament.
1. He has
obtained a better name (1:4-14)
2. He receives worship from the angels
3. He created angels who do His will
4. He has an eternal throne
5. He rules with uprightness
6. He is anointed with the oil of gladness
7. He created the universe
8. He is eternal
9. He is unchangeable
10. He is sovereign.
Let us consider these points that prove the superiority of the
Son over angels.
1. He has obtained a better name (1:4,5)
"He hath by inheritance obtained a better name" than
the angels. The writer is here speaking of the Son's glorification.
The Son of God had a glory with the Father before the worlds were
called into existence. (John 17:5) This we may term His essential
glory. By the stoop of the incarnation, He who was equal with
the Father, (John 10:30) became the Servant of God. In his condescension
He said: "My Father is greater than I." (John 14:28)
Because of His obedience unto death, even the death of the cross,
God "has highly exalted Him and given Him a name which is
above every name." (Philippians 2:8,9) This we term His acquired
glory. He had become a little lower than angels when He became
incarnate, but now He is made higher than angels. He always was
superior to angels. The thought here is that He who was the despised
man of sorrows is now raised to a place of dignity and power over
the angels. Peter says, "who is gone into heaven, and is
on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being
made subject unto Him." (1Peter 3:22)
He has obtained a better name than the angels through His inheritance.
He is not a creature but the Eternal Son of God. He is God: angels
are only creatures. He is begotten but the angels are created.
The author quotes from Psalm 2:7 and 2 Samuel 7:14 and asks the
question, "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." (Hebrews 1:5)
What a sweeping statement! He scans the heavens and then says,
"To which of the angels hath he said?" God never made
such a statement to Gabriel, to Michael nor to Lucifer. Neither
to an angel, archangel, seraphim nor a cherubim had the Father
addressed as a Son.
In the second Psalm, a Psalm of twelve verse,
we have the voice and attitude of the world, vv. 1-3;
the voice of God the Father,vv.4-6
the voice of the Son, vv.7-7;
the voice and entreaty of the Holy Spirit,vv 10-12.
In the seventh verse we hear the Son saying to the Father, "The
Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten
Thee." Thus we are permitted to be carried back into the
hush of eternity to hear conversations between the Father and
the Son. "This day have I begotten Thee." The Lord Jesus
Christ is the only begotten Son of God. The term "begotten"
can be understood as to mean: 1. begotten before worlds, 2. begotten
at the incarnation, and 3. begotten by the resurrection. He was
the eternal and only begotten Son. However, the phrase 'this day"
has a reference to point of time. Paul giving his address in the
synagogue at Antioch, (Acts 13:14:-43) gives us a comment on this
verse. He says, "God has fulfilled the same unto us their
children, in that He has raised up Jesus again; as it is written
also in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten
thee." (Acts 13:33) Thus the Son is begotten by resurrection..
(Colossians 1:18) "First born from the dead" and Revelation
1:5 "The first begotten of the dead." The word 'begotten'
here in Hebrews has reference to His official position as head
of the new race. Wuest says: "The reference is not to entrance
into life but to entrance into an office."
The statement "I will be to Him a Father and He shall be
to me a Son" is directly applied here to the Lord Jesus Christ.
In 2 Samuel 7:14 we read: "If He commit iniquity I will chasten
Him." Adam Clarke translates this: "When iniquity is
laid upon Him, I will chasten Him with the rod of men." Is
this not a parallel to Isaiah 53 concerning the suffering Christ?
2. He Receives Worship from the Angels (1:6)
The sixth verse is better translated, "When He bringeth
in again the second time the first begotten into the world."
He came at the first advent and He is coming again. This refers
to His second advent. When He comes the second time the angels
will worship Him. The author quotes from one of the millennial
Psalms in which God calls upon all the angels to worship the Son
as He descends to earth. The quotation is from the Septuagint
translation of Deuteronomy 32:43 and no doubt also from Psalm
97:7. What a sight, when the resurrected glorified Christ returns
to earth upon His white steed. (Revelation 19:11-16, Psalm 45:3-5)
and all the angels will fill the heavens as they crowd out to
worship Him. Truly in that day the Jews will look upon Him 'whom
they have pierced' and recognize that He is better than any angel
could ever hope to be.
3. He Created the Angels who do His Will (1:7)
"But of the angels He saith, who maketh His angels spirits,
and His ministers a flame of fire." This quotation is taken
from Psalm 104:4. What a contrast we have here. The Son is Master.
The angels are only servants. Angels are created by Him. (Colossians
1:16) They excel in strength and delight to do His will. The angels
are servants ...the Son is Sovereign. The angels are creatures
.... the Son is Creator.
4. He has an Eternal Throne (1:8)
"But unto the Son He saith." Here we have a quotation
from Psalm 45:6. "Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever."
Here is another conversation between the Father and the Son which
we are permitted by the Spirit to hear. The Father does not address
the Son as a messenger or servant. He is not coming forth as an
angel of fire. He is not an angel of God's service. He is called
"God." He has a throne. It is a throne better than Israel's.
It is an eternal throne.
5. He Rules with Uprightness (1:8)
The writer is still quoting from the 45th Psalm. " A sceptre
of righteousness is the sceptre of Thy kingdom." He, the
righteous One, shall rule in righteous judgment. What a contrast
to the rule of the previous one. Antichrist, the unrighteous one,
will have ruled in unrighteousness. But now the Son reigns in
6. He is Anointed with the Oil of Gladness (1:9)
Continuing the quotation from the same Psalm, we hear the Father
still addressing the Son. "Thou has loved righteousness and
hated iniquity." The antichrist who had lifted up his head
over all nations had loved wickedness and hated righteousness.
But now the Son of God, whose sceptre is one of righeousness,
is anointed with the oil of gladness. What sublime words these
are. The Father continues His address not to angels but to the
Son who condescended to take on the likeness of sinful flesh;
became a curse and died and rose triumphantly over hell, death
and the grave. "Therefore God, even Thy God, hath anointed
Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows." Angels
had never been anointed with this 'oil of gladness.' Aaron and
his sons were so anointed, but angels never. The Son is seated
upon the throne. He is sovereign. His throne is 'for ever and
ever.' He holds a righteous sceptre. He loved righteousness and
hated iniquity. He is above all His fellows, "anointed with
the oil of gladness." He is superior to former kings and
priests. No matter who may be compared with Him. Solomon in all
his glory is surpassed by the Son of God. Which of the angels
were ever addressed by God as was the Son? The Son is seated upon
the sure throne. Angels are servants and subject to the throne.
Isaiah saw the Lord high and lifted up as an eastern monarch upon
his throne, while angels as ministers of state awaited to do His
bidding. (Isaiah 6)
7. He Created the Universe (1:10)
The conversation between the Father and the Son continues in
the quotation from Psalm 102:25. "Thou Lord in the beginning
hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heaven are the
works of Thy hands." Our Lord and Saviour laid the foundation
of the universe. He is the Redeemer who bore our sins, died and
arose. He is the coming one, the Lord of all the earth who shall
rule over all.
8. He is the Eternal One (1:11)
Continuing the quotation from Psalm 102:26, we hear the Father
say: "They shall perish; but Thou remainest and they all
shall wax old as doeth a garment." These words take us down
to the close of the millennium when at the close of Christ's reign
on earth Satan is loosed from the bottomless pit and leads in
a revolt and a revolution. "When the thousand years are expired
Satan shall be loosed out of his prison and shall go out to deceive
the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, God and
Magog, to gather them together to battle; the number of whom is
as the sand of the sea. And they went up on the breadth of the
earth and compassed the camp of the saints about and the beloved
city; and fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them."
Following this short season of revolt and satanic opposition
to the will of God, the present earth and heavens shall pass away.
(Revelation 21:1) "The heavens shall pass away with a great
noise and the elements shall melt with fervent heat; the earth
also and the works that are therein shall be burned up."
(2 Peter 3;10) The quotation here in Hebrews from Psalm 102:26
refers to this period of time. The words of His hands shall perish
but the Son remainest. He is eternal. Blessed are those who are
found in Him.
9. He is Unchangeable (1:12)
Continuing further, in the quotation the Father says to the Son:
"And as a vesture shalt thou fold them us and they shall
be changed; but thou at the same and thy years shall not fail."
No matter what method may be used to dissolve the earth, it is
the Son who causes the elements to melt and to fold up. When all
shall crumble to nothingness He shall continue for ever, His years
shall not fail. What a contrast, here to the Son, who in humiliation
suffered on the cross such an ignominious death. He, the mighty
conqueror, who triumphed death and ascended to the Father's throne,
shall return to reign upon the earth. He shall fold up the earth
and the heavens but Himself continueth unchangeable forever. His
position has changed often but never His person. He is the same.
His years fail not.
10. He is Sovereign (1:1314)
The writer to the Hebrews now quotes from the 110th Psalm. It
is still the Father's words to the Son: "Sit on my right
hand until I make thine enemies thy footstool." The writer
of this epistle asks the question: "Unto which of the angels
said He at any time." What a seeping statement is this. Never
to any angel, nor to archangel, seraph or cherub said He: "Sit
on my right hand." That was the prerogative of the son only.
On the day of Pentecost Peter in exalting the risen Lord said:
"For David is not ascended into the heavens but he saith
himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, 'Sit thou on my right hand
until I make thy foes Thy footstool.' Therefore let all the house
of Israel know assuredly that God hath made that same Jesus whom
ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ." (Acts 2;34-36)
That is the Son's present position, seated at the right hand
of the Father on His throne. He is waiting until that day when
He shall rise and descend to earth and reign. Angels are not upon
the throne; they are about the throne. They are only ministering
spirits sent forth to minister to them who shall be heirs of salvation.
The Son is upon the Throne; angels are servants waiting upon the
saints who shall be the heirs of salvation. He is sovereign; they