As we continue in this context about Jesus, we read: “…Being made 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, 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 1:4-5)? This is a very interesting text to consider. It is made even more interesting when you consider something that is written in the next chapter of this epistle. Notice: “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man” (Hebrews 2:9).
So, how is it that Jesus was made much better than the angels and at the same time was made a little lower than the angels? The answer should be simple if you think about it from reading the verses this article started with. Jesus was made better than the angels by being the begotten son of God. In this, Jesus is truly unique. The Scriptures reveal that Jesus is the only begotten son of God. Notice: “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth… No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him… For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life… He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God… In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him” (John 1:14, John 1:18, John 3:16, John 3:18, and I John 4:9).
So, in what way was Jesus made a little lower than the angels? The only way in which Jesus was made lower than the angels was that He was born of a woman, and thus was made man in the flesh. Consider this: “What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas” (Psalms 8:4-8). In fact, the context from which we read about Jesus being made a little lower than the angels refers to Hebrews 2:5-8. That gives us our answer. The reason He came in the flesh was so that He could die as a sacrifice for sins (Romans 8:3 and Hebrews 10:1-10).
Now that we have that in order, let us move on to consider the remaining points of Hebrews 1:4-5. As the only begotten of the Father, Jesus has obtained a greater inheritance than the angels. When John received his revelation, he had a vision of the angels praising the Lord (Revelation 4:1-5:14). In that context, we find this: “And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts 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 honour, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever” (Revelation 5:11-13). The angels recognized what the Hebrew penman declared. What Jesus did, as the only begotten of the Father, earned Him a place of high exaltation and a name above every name (Philippians 2:3-11).
The relationship between Jesus and His Father is drawn into light in what we are studying. God the Father proclaimed that Jesus was His beloved Son (Matthew 3:17 and Matthew 17:5). When Peter later accounted of the transfiguration of Christ, he wrote this: “For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount” (II Peter 1:16-18). Those words reveal how the Father glorified His only begotten Son.
God the Father never spoke of the angels in the way He did of His only begotten Son. The angels were/are servants (Psalms 104:4). While a son may serve his father, there is a distinction between a servant and son (Galatians 4:7). Jesus came to do the will of His Father (John 5:30). The key difference is that of relationship. As we study through this book don’t forget that the book opened with talking about the relationship between God the Father and God the Son.
Before I end this study, let me draw your mind to one more thing. While Jesus is the only begotten of the Father, He is not the only child of God. Those of us whom are faithful to the will of the Lord are called the sons and daughters of God (II Corinthians 6:14-7:1 and I John 3:1-10). We, as saints, are also the beloved of God (Romans 1:7). Also, like Jesus, we shall be made higher than the angels. We will be given a share in the inheritance of Christ (Romans 8:17). We shall be in a position of authority over angels (I Corinthians 6:3). While lower through the flesh now, we shall be great in the world to come!
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