Jesus: Better Than the Angels

Hebrews 1:5-14


  1. In order to understand what it means for Jesus to be better than the angels, we must ask, what is an angel?

    1. This is a transliteration of the Greek word for messenger.

    2. So in order to know whether or not this word refers to a literal human messenger or a supernatural being, one must consider the context.

    3. In the OT, the Hebrew word for messenger is still translated as angel when the translators think it refers to the supernatural entity.

    4. So even in the OT, context is important.

    5. In any event, looking at all the instances of angels in the Bible, it would appear they are supernatural agents of God whose primary function is to be a messenger of God.

  2. The Angel of the Lord.

    1. In the OT, there is an entity known as the Angel of the Lord.

    2. When studying each instance of the appearance of this Angel, there is evidence that this is actually the Lord Himself.

    3. In fact, the translators will capitalize “Angel” when this occurs.

    4. The NKJV offers a footnote when an angel of the Lord shows up and the evidence is not clear, showing that it is possibly the Lord Himself (e.g. 1 Kings 19:7).

    5. One of the first instances in Scripture is when Hagar, Sarah’s maidservant, is cast out of the camp (Gen. 16). An Angel appears to her, and the NKJV capitalizes it. Why? Because in Gen. 16:13, Moses writes, “Then she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, You-Are-the-God-Who-Sees.”

    6. But because John writes, “No one has seen God at any time” (John 1:18), and Moses also states that if they did, they would die (Exo. 33:20), this must be a reference to the Second Person of the Godhead whom we know as Jesus Christ.

  3. I present this because Jesus is called a messenger, but He is far more.

    1. Some groups and denominations will relegate Jesus to being the archangel Michael.

    2. While Jesus may have been called the Angel of the Lord, linking Him to Michael is quite the stretch.

    3. For one, Michael is mentioned in Jude 9. Why mention him there without making the obvious connection? Plus, since Jesus is the Lord, why would He say, “The Lord rebuke you,” referring to Satan, rather than, “I rebuke you”?

    4. It doesn’t make sense any other time Michael is mentioned, either, not in Daniel or Revelation.

    5. In any event, it seems likely that many Jews were positing that Jesus was nothing more than an angel and some Jewish Christians were drifting from the truth, especially since the study of angels was a big deal in rabbinical literature at the time.

    6. So the writer here addresses that very issue.

  4. So in what ways is Jesus better than the angels?

    1. Jesus is God’s Son (1:5).

    2. Jesus is Worthy of Worship (1:6-7).

    3. Jesus is King (1:8-9).

    4. Jesus is the Uncreated Creator (1:10-12).

    5. Jesus is Victorious (1:13-14).


  1. Jesus is God’s Son (1:5).

    1. The writer here makes seven references to OT passages that prove his point.

    2. The first is from Psalm 2

      1. This psalm was highly regarded at the time as a Messianic Psalm—and certainly it is one that prophesied of the coming Christ.

      2. While it was originally written as a coronation psalm for a particular king, it no doubt is shown to have greater overall significance to the coming Messiah (Psa. 2:2).

      3. This Anointed One was to bring judgment upon the earth, something which clearly did not happen at the hand of any of the Israelite kings (2:8-9).

      4. And in this psalm, attributed to David (Acts 4:25-26), the writer refers to this Christ as the Son of God, even the Son of David—this will soon be important in our Mark class.

      5. This moniker of “Son” is so very important, for in that time, identifying yourself as a son, identifies you as whatever you are the son of (John 5:18; 10:30).

        Jesus said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God.

        I and My Father are one.”

      6. Therefore, Jesus, John, and the writer of Hebrews all identify Jesus as God by calling Him the Son of God!

    3. The next quotation, from 2 Sam. 7:14 is a prophecy, directly referring to Solomon.

      1. We get from this that Solomon is a type of Christ, but how did the writer of Hebrews make this connection?

      2. In the time of Jesus, the Jews believed that this prophecy had a fulfillment in Solomon, but not in a complete sense.

      3. We find this is a common theme with many of these references—a contemporary fulfillment, though not complete.

      4. So here is another reference to the coming Messiah who was to be a Son of David (2 Sam. 7:12-16).

      5. You see, Solomon did build a house for God, the temple, but Christ set up another house of God, the church of the living God (1 Tim. 3:15).

      6. The house of God, His church, His kingdom would last forever, unlike the Kingdom of Israel. And Jesus would be its King.

      7. Solomon did end up having the Lord depart from him because he became idolatrous due to his many foreign wives.

      8. But He didn’t suffer the blows of the sons of men as Jesus did on the cross. While Jesus didn’t commit iniquity, He took on our sins on that cross for us.

      9. So this would find a true fulfillment in a Son of David to come, the Christ, as Psalm 2 also established.

    4. So Christ is God’s Son

      1. It is true that in the OT, whenever you see the phrase “sons of God,” it can be a reference to the angels (Job 1:6).

      2. But Jesus is uniquely the Son of God, firstborn of all Creation, showing, not that He was created, but His preeminence above all Creation including the angels (Col. 1:15-18).

      3. What angel can say that he has the preeminence?

      4. So not only is He a Son, but the Son of a king, which makes Him king.

    5. But before we delve into that, let’s consider the fact that He is worthy of worship.

  2. Jesus is worthy of worship (1:6-7).

    1. There are two OT verses quoted here. The first (1:6) is a quotation from the LXX in Deut. 32:45, but in our Bibles, this is a quotation of Psa. 97:7.

      1. The line there in Psalms is, “Worship Him, all you gods.”

      2. It is the Hebrew word elohim, which, in the LXX is translated as ἄγγελοι (angels).

      3. The word is translated as angels in Psa. 8:5, which is also quoted in Heb. 2, that, while being greater than the angels, He was made a little lower than they.

      4. Literally, elohim means “mighty ones,” and angels surely are mighty.

      5. Even so, He is eminently worthy of worship, particularly of the angels.

      6. In fact, Psalm 97 is a psalm about God (YHWH), of how worthy of worship He is.

      7. Angels are not worthy of such honor (Rev. 22:8-9). When John bowed down to worship this angel, the angel rebuked him, saying, See that you do not do that. For I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren the prophets, and of those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.” Only God is worthy of worship!

      8. Again, we see the writer of Hebrews elevating Jesus to be equal with God! Why? Because He is. And if He is God, He is surely greater than any other supernatural being.

    2. The next quotation is from Psalm 104:4.

      1. It is meant to show a contrast between One worthy of worship and the angels.

      2. The Son is meant to be worshiped, while the angels are subservient to the Lord.

      3. He makes His angels spirits (or perhaps winds) and they are His ministers, His servants.

    3. As a Son and one worthy of worship, He is also given a throne as king. What angel can say that?

  3. Jesus is King (1:8-9).

    1. As we stated this morning, Jesus was and is a prophet, priest, and king.

      1. Prophets, priests, and kings are anointed in the OT, and Jesus was surely anointed by the Holy Spirit at His baptism (Isa. 61:1; Luke 4:18; Acts 10:38).

      2. He is also the Son of God, which uniquely identifies Him as God.

    2. The earthly throne of David, as the psalm this is quoting is about (Psa. 45:6-7), would not last forever as it was done away with in the Babylonian Captivity.

      1. But David’s throne would last forever in heaven, the throne on which Christ would sit as the Son of David.

      2. Recall, Christ is the Anointed One as we see in 1:9, so this is about Him.

      3. He was not going to have a literal scepter, a symbol of His authority, but righteousness shall be His scepter—righteousness is His symbol of authority.

      4. Certainly there is none more righteous than Jesus (4:15).

      5. He was given this authority because of His righteousness.

    3. One other interesting note about Psalm 45—it was read at royal weddings.

      1. So who is our King and who is His bride? Why, it’s Jesus and His bride, the church of Christ!

      2. What angel can make this claim of authority?

    4. Beyond being His Son, one worthy of worship, and a King, He is also our Creator! What angel can say that?

  4. Jesus is the Uncreated Creator (1:10-12).

    1. This is from Psalm 102:25-27.

      1. As the inscription of this psalm states, it is a “prayer of the afflicted, when he is overwhelmed and pours out his complaint before the Lord.”

      2. It ends with this assurance that God is the Creator, not just the Creator, but the Uncreated Creator.

      3. We know that things decay and vanish away.

      4. Even in our lifetimes, the older one gets, the more one realizes just how much that happens.

      5. Everything material, including our bodies, they change and deteriorate; they will grow old and die.

      6. But our Lord, He never changes and will always be there (13:8).

      7. No matter what happens, He is our constant in this cold and uncaring universe.

      8. Does that comfort us? I hope it does, especially since the writer of Hebrews clearly associates Jesus Himself as this Creator.

    2. Recall, he wrote earlier that He had “made the worlds” and is “upholding all things by the word of His power” (1:2-3).

      1. He is not only our Uncreated Creator, but also our Sustainer!

      2. What angel can say that?

  5. Jesus is Victorious (1:13-14).

    1. This next quotation is from Psalm 110.

      1. We will have much to on this say later on—this writer quotes from it a lot.

      2. It certainly is a Messianic Psalm, calling the Christ a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.

      3. He was also to sit at the right hand of God, again, showing His royal position as the King, but not only the King but a King Victorious.

      4. All His enemies would be made His footstool.

    2. We see in other passages like 1 Cor. 15 what that means—His last enemy is death (1 Cor. 15:24-28).

      1. In that passage, He will reign until death is defeated.

      2. He has conquered sin and the grave when He rose from the dead!

      3. And He will conquer death and the grave once and for all in the very last day.

      4. While we are in the last days now (1:2), on the very last day, He will conquer death once and for all, deliver His kingdom (the church) up to the Father, and be subject to Him.

    3. What angel has God ever promised such victory for?

      1. Instead, we have our victory in Jesus! (1 Cor. 15:57).

      2. No, instead angels are ministers, they serve and help us (those who will inherit salvation), they do not reign.

      3. This does not imply “guardian angels,” but it does mean they help us in some undisclosed way.

      4. While Jesus certainly helps us, He does not serve us. He is not our minister; we are His ministers. We are to serve Him!


  1. Conclusion?

    1. Jesus is the Son of God, which means He is God.

    2. Jesus is worthy of all praise and glory and honor.

    3. Jesus is our Creator and Sustainer.

    4. Jesus is a King Victorious!

    5. Jesus is better than the angels.

    6. And all this proven through OT passages.

  2. This is just a taste of who Jesus is right here in this first chapter of Hebrews.

    1. We will see so much more of His glory and awe as we continue.

    2. And who wouldn’t want to serve a God like that?

  3. Greater still, He loves us and wants us to be saved.

    1. We will certainly see that in the next chapter.

    2. His divinity is focused on here, but we will see His humanity in the next chapter.

    3. While He is better than the angels, He was made lower than the angels.

    4. He was willing to do that, despite all His accolades, because He loves us.

    5. Will you become a Christian today so you can serve such a great, kind, and loving Lord?