In the beginning of Paul’s epistle to the Hebrews, he establishes immediately that Jesus is better than angels. The entire chapter is devoted to enumerating the numerous ways in which Jesus is so much better than they are. The reason for proving that Jesus is better than angels is that people, particularly Jews to whom this epistle is predominately addressed, identify angels with the direct revelation of and ministry from God.
For example, angels appeared to Abraham before the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Gen 18-19, the angel spoke to Abraham in Gen 22, the angel accompanied Eliezer when he he went for Rebekah, Gen 24, angels ascended and descended upon Jacob’s ladder, Gen 28, angels met Jacob on his return from Laban, Gen 32, the angel appeared to Moses in the burning bush, Ex 3, the angel of God went before Israel in their wilderness journey, Ex 23, and on and on. Throughout the Old Testament, angels are extremely prominent in God’s relations with Israel.
However, once Jesus came to Israel, God spoke to the “Hebrews” by his Son. In speaking by his Son, Jesus supersedes any other so-called prophet who might claim to be God’s spokesman today. And in so many ways he is better than angels. In the following ways, Paul explains how he is better:
Jesus is God’s only begotten Son, v.2, v.5, v.8. See Ps 2:7, 2 Sam 7:14, and Lk 1:35. Angels are sons of God but they are not begotten; they are created, Job 38:7, Ps 82.
Jesus is heir of all things, v.2. See Ps 2:8, Matt 21:38, and Rom 8:17. Angels inherit nothing.
Jesus made the worlds, v.2. See Jn 1:3, Eph 3:9, and Col 1:16. Angels created nothing. They were here to sing when Jesus created everything, Job 38:7.
Jesus is the brightness of God’s glory, v.3. See Jn 1:14
Jesus is the express image of God’s person, v.3. See 2 Cor 4:4 and Col 1:15. He is God manifest in the flesh, 1 Tim 3:16.
Jesus upholds all things by the word of his power, v.3. By him all things consist, Col 1:17.
Jesus purged our sins by himself, v.3. See Heb 9:14 and Rev 1:5.
Jesus sat down on the right hand of God, v.3. See Col 3:1 and 1 Pet 3:22. He will be seated there until God makes his enemies his footstool, v.13. See Ps 110:1. Angels, on the other hand, surround the throne, Rev 5:11.
Jesus has a more excellent name than the angels, v.4. See Phil 2:9-10.
God commanded his angels to worship Jesus, v.6. See Rev 7:11. And the angel who revealed things to John commanded John to worship Jesus instead of him, Rev 22:8-9.
Jesus is God with a scepter of righteousness and a kingdom, v.8. See Rev 11:15. Angels, on the other hand, are ministers. They are spirits and a flame of fire, v.7. They minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation, v.14. See Ps 104:4.
Jesus was anointed by God above his fellows, v.9. See Is 61:1-3.
When the earth and heavens shall perish, Jesus will remain, v.10-11. When they wax old and are changed, Jesus will be the same and his years won’t fail, v.11-12. See Ps 102:25-27.
Conclusion: Paul had to emphatically state that Jesus is better than angels so that Hebrews, particularly in the Tribulation, will realize that Jesus, whom they initially rejected, is in fact their true Messiah and Deliverer. They must look beyond the work of God in the Old Testament to the fulfilled work of God in Jesus Christ in the New Testament to be saved, Rom 11:25-27.
To study the next lesson, see He Took On Him The Seed Of Abraham.