The book of Hebrews was a message of exhortation for first-century saints (Hebrews 13:22). Multiple times in this inspiring letter we read that the arrangement and blessings which we have under the new covenant are “better” than what Israel had under the old one. Yes, Jesus is “the mediator of a better covenant” (Hebrews 8:6).
The Christ Himself is superior – superior to the priests who served Israel under the law of Moses, superior to Moses, superior to Joshua, and superior to angels. When it comes to angels, in Hebrews 1:4 we read that our Lord is “so much better than angels.” What specific information and comparisons are set forth in the context of this passage which show Jesus’ superiority to them? Consider these:
Jesus has a more excellent name – “Having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they” (Hebrews 1:4).
Jesus is God’s Son, while angels are merely servants – “For to which of the angels did He ever say: ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You?’ . . . Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?” (1:5,14).
Angels worship Him, showing His higher position – “But when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says: ‘Let all the angels of God worship Him’” (1:6).
God the Father calls Jesus “God,” while such is not true about the angels – “But to the Son He says: ‘Your throne, O God, is forever and ever . . .’” (1:8).
Jesus is king; angels are not – Again, the Father acknowledged to the Son: “A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom” (1:8).
Jesus was “anointed” by the Father more than/above His companions – “You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness more than Your companions” (1:9).
Jesus was the Creator – The Father said to the Son, “And, You, LORD, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands” (1:10).
Jesus created the angels – We just read about the Christ’s creative activity (1:10). If we go back to the first two verses of the chapter, we see that “God . . . has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds.” In six days the Lord made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and all that is in them (Exodus 20:11). Therefore, when the Father created all things through the Christ, the angels were created by Him, too. Obviously, the Creator is above the created.
Jesus sits at God’s right hand (8:1) – “But to which of the angels has He ever said: ‘Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your
footstool?’” (1:13). God said it to Jesus!
The entire first chapter of Hebrews leaves no doubt that Jesus is superior to angels. It is blasphemous to suggest that our Lord also was a created angel. By the Christ “all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth . . . All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist” (Colossians 1:16,17). It is futile and fatal to argue against the Bible’s clear message about Jesus’ eternal nature and creative activity.
“But does not the Bible say that Jesus was made lower than angels? If that is so, then how can it be true that He is above them?” In fact, it is in this same book of Hebrews that we read these truths: “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone” (Hebrews 2:9). Twice in that statement we read about Jesus’ death. Jesus became a man. As a human, He suffered. As a human, He passed through physical death. Angels did not: they did not take on flesh, they did not suffer in a human body, and they did not die. The Word willingly, temporarily became flesh (John 1:14), and during that phase of His existence, He was “lower” than the heavenly beings who did not experience what He did in human form.
“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing” (Revelation 5:12). Amen and amen!
— Roger D. Campbell