“But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool? Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation” (Hebrews 1:13-14)? Now, the writer of this epistle is returning to the points that were being made in verses four through seven. As I am considering this text and as you consider it as well, let’s remember that these writings are inspired of God (II Timothy 3:16-17). What that means, in simple terms, is that the writer of this epistle is being moved to write what is written by the Holy Ghost. We know that because we see such throughout both the Old and New Testament writings (II Samuel 23:2, Job 32:8, Isaiah 39:5-8, Jeremiah 1:9, Matthew 10:16-20, I Corinthians 2:9-13, I Corinthians 14:37, Galatians 1:10-12, and II Peter 1:20-21). So, we need to take a moment and consider why it is that the Holy Spirit is having this writer repeat the same points in such close proximity.
Jewish Christians in the first century had to transition from one law given by God to a new law given by God. The angels had a hand in delivering that old law. In fact, as we read through this letter to the Hebrews, we are going to read this next: “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 if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will” (Hebrews 2:1-4)? Stephen preached this: “Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers: Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it” (Acts 7:51-53). Paul wrote this: “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” (Galatians 3:19). After reading those points, you should be able to see why it is that God is having the penman of this letter show Christ’ supremacy over the angels.
Now that we should have an understanding as to why this had to be written, let’s consider what was written. First, God the Father never gave the place to the right of Himself to any angel. The right hand of the throne of God our Father belongs to His only begotten Son Jesus Christ (Acts 2:25-34, Acts 5:30-31, Acts 7:55, Romans 8:34, Ephesians 1:15-23, Colossians 3:1, Hebrews 10:1-12, Hebrews 12:1-2, and I Peter 3:18-22). That shows our Heavenly Father’s preference of His only begotten Son over any of the angels.
Jesus’ position of authority will remain until His enemies are subdued. Here is an easy to understand commentary as to what that means and what will happen then: “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming. Then cometh 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. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. 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 may be all in all” (I Corinthians 15:20-28).
The role of Christ is to reign. All authority has been given to Him (Matthew 28:18 and Colossians 1:12-18). Angels on the other hand were and are ministering spirits. We addressed this point in Hebrews 1:7 which came from Psalms 104:4. In another Psalm, the Psalmist wrote: “Bless the LORD, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word. Bless ye the LORD, all ye his hosts; ye ministers of his, that do his pleasure” (Psalms 103:20-21). The angels were not created to have authority in the way that Christ does. In fact, they weren’t even created to have authority in the ways we do now (Genesis 1:24-29, Genesis 9:1-3, Psalms 8:1-9, and Hebrews 2:5-8) and will in the future (I Corinthians 6:1-5).
As you study through the New Testament it is obvious that some Jews that were converted to Christ struggled with the transition from the Law of Moses to the perfect law of liberty. This first chapter of the book of Hebrews and will continue into the second chapter as well, is making the case from Jesus being supreme over the angels of Heaven. The Jews needed to see the authority of Christ above all that had been said before no matter who the messenger was.
For them then and us now, all need to realize that we will stand before the Judgment seat of Jesus Christ (II Corinthians 5:10). The standard from which we will be judged is the words given by Christ (John 12:48). Remember, that includes more than just what Jesus Himself stated (John 16:1-13). In fact, it even includes many things taught of old that were reestablished by our Lord (i.e. Matthew 19:16-30 and Galatians 5:13-14). Never allow any man or an angel from Heaven teach you something that is not from Christ (Galatians 1:6-12).
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