The writer of Hebrews uses many Old Testament passages and themes to debate that the Son (Messiah) is different from angels as one of the issues that confused Christians during that time was the ‘worship of angels.’
Colossians 2:18 (NASB95) — 18 Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self-abasement and the worship of the angels, taking his stand on visions he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind,
(1 Corinthians 6:3; 11:10; Galatians 4:9; 1 Peter 3:22)
In the Old Testament angels played a role in revelation and redemption (Exodus 3:2; Isaiah 63:9). Further, it was believed that the law had been mediated to Moses through angels.
People believed that angels were higher heavenly beings that were closer to God. Consequently, some venerated or worshipped angels, made them into images and idols, and some even believed that they could come to God only through angels.
Historically, the problem in the early church as written in Colossians was not only the idolatry of angels, but people who wanted to become saints like angels through their ascetic life and false humility, so that they are glorified, honoured and looked upon, and many people would follow them. Apostle Paul calls this “self-abasement” or “false humility.”
Hebrews is addressing this issue, saying you don’t need to honour or even envy angels. Jesus, the Son, is greater than the angels. We are sons of God and pray only in the name of Jesus.
Do not fall into such incorrect doctrines and life of faith. We must know Jesus Christ correctly, and not lose our hearts to mysticism, or Shamanistic gentile ways of believing in God, and become slaves to our desires and greed.
1. How is Jesus different from angels?
Hebrews 1:4 (NASB95) — 4 having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they.
(1) Jesus is much better than the angels
(2) He has inherited a more excellent name
Philippians 2:9–11(NASB95) — 9 For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
An angel is a “messenger” but Jesus is not just a messenger or a teacher of the Scripture. He was not created like all the other angels.
(3) He was not created but begotten
Hebrews 1:5 (NASB95) — 5 For to which of the angels did He ever say, “YOU ARE MY SON, TODAY I HAVE BEGOTTEN YOU”? And again, “I WILL BE A FATHER TO HIM AND HE SHALL BE A SON TO ME”?
This expression does not signify biological birth from father to son. God is Spirit. This begetting signifies “disclosure” and “revelation” to this world.
Jesus becoming a son means inheriting the Seed (Word), honouring the Father, and doing Father’s work through total submission and obedience
(Genesis 17:8, Exodus 29:45, Leviticus 26:45, Ezekiel 14:11, 2 Samuel 7:14)
(4) Jesus is to be worshiped
Hebrews 1:6 (NASB95) — 6 And when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says, “AND LET ALL THE ANGELS OF GOD WORSHIP HIM.”
Only God is to be worshiped. There is no other angel whom God commanded to be worshiped. This speaks about the divinity of the Messiah.
2. Attributes and work of the true Son
(1) King of righteousness and peace
Hebrews 1:8 (NASB95) — 8 But of the Son He says, “YOUR THRONE, O GOD, IS FOREVER AND EVER, AND THE RIGHTEOUS SCEPTER IS THE SCEPTER OF HIS KINGDOM.
God the Father speaks to the Son, saying, “Your throne, O God”. The true Son is the King of Righteousness and Peace.
(2) He loves righteousness and hates lawlessness
Hebrews 1:9 (NASB95) — 9 “YOU HAVE LOVED RIGHTEOUSNESS AND HATED LAWLESSNESS; THEREFORE GOD, YOUR GOD, HAS ANOINTED YOU WITH THE OIL OF GLADNESS ABOVE YOUR COMPANIONS.”
He is anointed with the oil of gladness. There is a connection between righteousness and joy. Without God’s righteousness, there is no true joy.
But when we dwell in the truth, He forgives our sins of the past, present, and future! Furthermore, it will determine where we are going to spend our eternity.
(3) The eternal Creator
Hebrews 1:10–12 (NASB95) — 10 And, “YOU, LORD, IN THE BEGINNING LAID THE FOUNDATION OF THE EARTH, AND THE HEAVENS ARE THE WORKS OF YOUR HANDS; 11 THEY WILL PERISH, BUT YOU REMAIN; AND THEY ALL WILL BECOME OLD LIKE A GARMENT, 12 AND LIKE A MANTLE YOU WILL ROLL THEM UP; LIKE A GARMENT THEY WILL ALSO BE CHANGED. BUT YOU ARE THE SAME, AND YOUR YEARS WILL NOT COME TO AN END.”
(4) He intercedes for us
Hebrews 1:13 (NASB95) — 13 But to which of the angels has He ever said, “SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND, UNTIL I MAKE YOUR ENEMIES A FOOTSTOOL FOR YOUR FEET”?
Hebrews 1:14 (NASB95) — 14 Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?
He will intercede for us until we gain final victory. He sends out the angels to minister to us until we inherit salvation (Kingdom of God).