Hebrews 1 – Jesus and the Angels

The first section of Hebrews develops an argument that Jesus was foreshadowed by various people and events in the Hebrew Bible. In chapter 3 he will contrast Jesus and Moses, perhaps the most faithful servant of God and certainly the person associated most with the Law. It is well known that Matthew uses a kind of Moses typology in his Gospel to show that Jesus is a teacher in the tradition of Moses yet superior to him.

It is therefore somewhat surprising that the book of Hebrews does not begin with the contrast with Moses.  After the introduction, the writer says that the Son who is seated at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven is superior to the angels (1:3). Following this statement, the writer constructs a lengthy comparison of Jesus and the angels, drawing on a series of texts from the Hebrew Bible (1:4-14, 2:1-9). Why start with the angels?

Dore AngelsAngels were very popular in Jewish mythology from the second century B.C. through the first century A.D.  A whole hierarchy of angels was developed along with some theological teachings that were not present in the Old Testament.  In the re-telling of Biblical stories writers often had angels performing acts that were acts of God in the Hebrew Bible.  Although the imagery is found in Daniel 10, the appearance of angels as glowing white, fiery, glowing, etc. was developed during this time as well.

Angels were associated with giving of the Law to Israel in early Judaism.  This tradition develops from Deut 33:2, where the “holy ones” accompany the Lord as he arrives at Sinai. “Holy ones” was taken to mean angels. In Acts 7:53, Stephen refers to the Law as “delivered by angels.” The Second Temple book Jubilees predates Hebrews and begins with a reference to the “angel of the presence” who wrote a text for Moses:

And he said to the angel of the presence, “Write for Moses from the first creation until my sanctuary is built in their midst forever and ever. And the LORD will appear in the sight of all. And everyone will know that I am the God of Israel and the father of all the children of Jacob and king upon Mount Zion forever and ever. And Zion and Jerusalem will be holy.” (Wintermute, “Jubilees,” in OTP 2: 54)

The tradition that angels delivered the Law is found in later Judaism as well:  “The presence of angels at the event of the giving of the law was a favourite bit of embroidery in rabbinic tradition, and was meant to enhance the glory of Sinai” (H. Schoeps, Paul, 182).  The emphasis in this literature is on the angels as intermediaries, delivering the Law to Moses.  When God revealed himself to Moses, he used angels.

Since the writer of Hebrews began his book by saying that God is new revealing himself through his Jesus, it is possible a Jewish reader might think of Jesus as an angel, like a Michael or Gabriel.  He must therefore begin by showing that Jesus is something other than an angel; he is “Son of God.”

One last observation:  Is this a “difference” between Jewish Christian literature and the Pauline Letters? Perhaps not. While Paul cannot be accused of emphasizing angels, he does use the same sort of language as Stephen in Gal 3:19: The law was “put in place through angels” (ESV).

Are there other reasons that the writer begins with a sustained argument that Jesus is superior to the angels in every way?

39 thoughts on “Hebrews 1 – Jesus and the Angels

  1. The opening chapter of Hebrews is striking evidence that the earliest believers had a conception of Jesus unfamiliar to us. This deserves greater study.

    • I agree; a major roadblock is that the style of exegesis is not modern, western, grammatical-historical method. Honestly, if a student handed in a Greek exegesis paper with Hebrews 1 style interpretation, they would fail. We do not blend texts quite this way to make theological points the way a Jewish writer in the first century did. (And thanks for the correction!)

  2. I find that Hebrews has difficulty getting any real traction in our day, because we do not live in the same ‘enchanted’ world of its original audience. They almost deified angels. But we think of angels as a carry-over myth from a bygone era, a way of explaining the forces of nature which we now know to be governed by universal laws and not supernatural beings. So in exalting Jesus above angels, we immediately sense that we just don’t have that issue and so do not find ourselves being addressed by the text. So maybe the first step to a higher christology is to reinstate the doctrine of angels. (I think I remember hearing Neal Plantinga say a while back that preachers should be delivering about one sermon per year on angels.) Or maybe a preacher could help his/her hearers diagnose whether they believe, in essence, that Jesus is merely an angel.

  3. I find Jobes’ observation of the ancient world viewing humans as inferior to angels quite interesting (Jobes 93). Understanding this cultural belief and knowing Jesus lived as a human being would cause all the more reason for the Hebrew author to emphasize Jesus’ superiority – especially as the Son of God. The author must have been compelled to provide Jesus with a substantial and credible background before further developing the Hebrew writings.

  4. Many new Christians at the time may have mistakenly thought of Jesus Christ as an angel. Having the notion of God’s unity (Deut. 6:4, etc.) ingrained into their theological understanding, it may have been hard for them to accept Jesus Christ’s divinity. Maybe the author opens the letter this way in order to correct them. I think this understanding of Hebrews 1 would be a bit of meat for Jehovah’s Witnesses who claim that Jesus Christ is the archangel Michael.

  5. I agree with Sean, that they may have mistaken Jesus Christ as an angel. I also think that people may not have Jesus Christ as the Messiah that they were waiting/looking/hoping for, or even they thought him to be a prophet or simply a man after God’s own heart, like David was. The fact that the author of Hebrews defends this there was obviously more than one problem with who people thought Jesus Christ was, other wise it wouldn’t be in the scriptures. For all scripture is God-breathed. (2 Timothy 3:16)

  6. I think it is very important and significant that the author of Hebrews made a point to portray Jesus as superior to the angels. Like others have commented, it is understandable that early Christians and jewish people would think of Jesus as an angelic being. We know that in order for Jesus to have been our Savior, he had to have been both fully God and fully man, and not an angel. I think that this argument also helps to clear up our knowledge of angels. The subject of angels is a mysterious one, and we aren’t told much about them. But by this author stating that angels are messengers from God and different from humans, we can more clearly define what angels are and what they do.

  7. Read in the light of its ancient Jewish apocalyptic and mystical context, establishing the son’s identity in relation to the angels would have been a natural and necessary topic to address. As you note, angels were “very popular” around this time, but especially in Jewish apocalyptic and mystical traditions. Not only are angels virtually omnipresent in the ancient Jewish and Christian apocalypses, and often portrayed as highly exalted, but the relationship between the angels and someone who has ascended into their habitat is very much an apocalyptic/mystical question (e.g. Dan 12:3; 1 En. 14–16; 104:1–6; 2 En. 22:8–10; 2 Bar. 51:10; Ascen. Isa. 7–9). As a figure who has recently ascended into the heaven realm, the question of the son’s identity in relation to the angels would have been an obvious one to someone coming from this kind of environment, and need not suggest a polemic against angel veneration or an angel Christology (Barnard, Mysticism of Hebrews, pp. 157–70, 243–70).

    • Thank you for your valuable comments. I agree that there was angels were “virtually omnipresent in the ancient Jewish and Christian apocalypses,” the texts you cite more than show that. In some cases angelic beings have almost become semi-divine beings, I am thinking of Metron, but there are others. Obviously there is evidence to evaluate than a short post like this can handle; my point here is to point out that what seems odd to the western, 21st century reader would resonate with the Jewish reader of the first century.

      I have not had the chance to read your book yet, our local seminary libraries do not have it yet (although I should request it!)

      • My pleasure. I’m delighted to have come across these stimulating posts on Hebrews – thank you.

  8. I would suggest that the author of Hebrews argues that Jesus is superior to angels in every way at the beginning of the book because many of those reading Hebrews knew that Jesus was a man but they may not have realized he was even more superior than the angels. Hebrews was written with a very Jewish attitude about it and it was necessary to talk about just how superior Jesus was so that the readers knew how important He was as well. The believers of the time may have thought of Jesus in a number of ways and they needed to be reminded just how superior He was even to the great beings that they thought angels were.

  9. I find that Hebrews has any real relevance to our times today simply because we weren’t born in the same era as its original audience. As seen in Heb. 2:9 Jesus was made lower for a while so that he could be made fully human. He did so that he could restore us of our sins of the human race, he wanted to be made in human likeness. In Jobes book it clearly says that Jesus was an angel that did something that other angels couldn’t- he die as the sacrificial love for the atonement of our sins to humankind. (p. 99). Without the accession of Christ this atonement would be incomplete. I do think it’s important to note these things to fully understand the complexity of the religion and I think that Hebrews really adds to that emphasis.

  10. Any thoughts on Dr. Heiser’s “Unseen Realm” regarding this? His exploration of sons of God and the supernatural structure intrigues, me, just wondering if you have any comments about it.

  11. Interesting connection between Jesus and the angels. I never had made that connection before, that God used angels to reveal himself to the Jewish people and then Jesus was all of the sudden sent instead. It would make complete sense why the author of Hebrews would make a point to tell his audience that Jesus was different than the angles and that although his purpose was similar, Jesus was much much more significant. Maybe another reason was to tell that Jesus was even greater than what their preconceived notions of a messiah were. Instead of an angelic warrior from heaven like Michael, Jesus was even greater.

  12. I think it’s important that Jesus be contrasted from the Angels because, as we are told of his story, and throughout the New Testament, they are present authorities of God. They are his messengers, they send blessings, miracles. They are not part of God, but more of his creations. The angels were even the ones who, outside of prophecy, brought news of Jesus’ birth. In the appropriate times, they were mouthpieces for God. We can see some comparisons between the angels and Jesus, so the author of Hebrews makes a point to draw that line of contrast.

    • I think that you make a good point Rowan. If the Jewish people saw Jesus teaching and preaching along with performing miracles, they probably would mistake Him for an angel. I like how you said that the angels are not part of God, they are His messengers whereas Jesus was a part of God; He was and is God. Like you said we can see and make comparisons between the angels and Jesus Christ which is why, I too, can understand why the author of Hebrews would feel it necessary to draw a line of contrast between Him and the angels. I feel that in doing so the author may have been able to eliminate some confusion that the believers at the time (and even possibly today), may have had.

  13. I think that it is interesting how just as the Israelites thought a lot about angels and how a couple thousand years later Christians still have questions and think about them. I never thought that the Jewish people may have thought of Jesus as just another angel sent to share a message from God. If there was a possibility that the Jewish people would think that Jesus was an angel, then I think that the book of Hebrews is trying to make sure that the people know that Jesus was not just an angel; that He was the Son of God. As stated above, angels would deliver a message or the Law, but Jesus was sent to fulfill it. By explaining that Jesus, in His human form still had authority over the angels, I think was to help them understand that He still was God and had power and was holy.

  14. I believe the author of Hebrews began with angels because in the past the Bible portrays angels to be of such a high value. They are majestic and holy. Even today as Jobes mentions in our culture people love angels on cards or jewelry or anything. It’s a symbol of meaning to us. I believe that the writer of Hebrews was developing a way to make his point clear to his recipients. Christ our savior was not an angel. He was not a deliver of news, but eternal life. The distinction was needed to be clear because like Jobes says, “can you imagine angels worshiping a human being!” (49). This would seem to be wrong. However, Hebrews 1:1-4 clearly states that Jesus was much more than an angel. He was a representation of God’s being. He was not just a symbol of holiness or there to only bring news, He was sent by God to save us. I think the author of Hebrews was making it clear to the recipients before he continued his writing what Jesus did and trying to show in the best way possible the magnificence of Christ. By explaining the difference between angels and Jesus the writer was laying the groundwork for explaining the power and importance Jesus had.

  15. In Hebrews chapter 1 God reminds us that His son is superior and above all creation even the angels. This gives Jesus full reign both cosmos and earth and under earth. God made Jesus Christ his son, taking that sonship to another level such as Father-Son relationship. Not only the Son of God, but well the Son of Man giving Christ Jesus the legal status to fully accomplished God’s redemptive plan. God assign angels to continue to minister those that to inherit salvation, worship Jesus Christ. In my ESV footnotes angels are considered “sons of God,” but without the rights of the unique Son of God Jesus Christ. Moreover, it is not by the name of angels we can be saved, but it is the name of Christ Jesus that God has given him to be above all other names, a person can be saved. Giving us the understanding that only through Christ Jesus are we forgiven for our sins and given salvation for eternal life. Hebrews 1:4 says, “having become as mush superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.” I thought this verse, was very interested in seeing a level of authority and power and superior position.

  16. In Hebrews 1:2-3, states that God appoints Jesus the heir of all things. Like I stated in my previous blog post, this title of heir holds a lot of authority, especially within God’s kingdom. This title was only given to Jesus which means that in this title alone, he holds the supremacy above the angles. I think throughout Hebrews this title is becoming more apparent and the author makes an important shift by making note that Jesus is above all heavenly hosts. If we even look at what the author says after verses 2-3, we see that in verse 4 he mentions that “his name is more superior than the angels.” This refers back to the the title that Jesus had received, this title states that he is above all, and nobody is superior to him.

  17. Like the other blog post, Jesus was the heir or the firstborn to God. This makes Jesus over all the other angels. We like those angels will glorify and worship God and Jesus. One thing that we also have to remember is that there is no one that can take Jesus’ place on the throne. God created Jesus to be his one and only son and gave him up to die for all of us out of love and compassion. We will never be superior to Jesus nor will the angels ever be either. All we can do is praise Jesus and worship him for the heir and first-born son He is. If it wasn’t for Jesus, we wouldn’t even be considered sons of God. We have to remember that and keep this in mind when we think about this idea that if it wasn’t for Jesus, we wouldn’t be sons or daughters of God. This is what makes him heir and first born overall.

  18. To argue with you a little bit here, Hebrews 2:7 says, “you made him for a little while lower than angels…”. This sounds like Jesus made himself lower or inferior to angels while he was on earth. But after his resurrection he was crowned in glory. From this part of hebrews it sounds like angels are superior to Jesus.

    To answer your question there are other reasons that the writer begins with a sustained argument that Jesus is superior to the angels in every way. It is the fact that he died on the cross. Jobes says, ” The incarnate son did what no angel could ever do – he died” (Jobes Pg.94). He rose again and no angel could ever do that. therefore he is superior to angels. Also he is appointed the high priest also reigning over all everything. John 3:16 shows that Jesus was God’s one and only son so he would be above all the angels.

  19. The importance of angelology is extremely high in Jewish culture especially in first century A.D. I agree with your statement on that. It seems as though there was a growing pressure to explain things in a way that makes sense in a human mind. Angels were the comprehensible thing that helped glue these Jewish stories together. It also may have made these stories more enticing to listeners. However, another thing that might have caused this spike in the usage of angels would be the Neoplatonic dualistic influence in the culture at the time. Neoplatonic dualism would have helped provide a worldview where spiritual things were greater and purer than the things on earth. This idea helps provide an explanation as to why Jews would start to define and give detail to angelology. These angels would help glorify God, make these stories more holy, and also play into the culture of first-century Judaism. The author of Hebrews has been clearly influenced by Neoplatonic dualism. In multiple places throughout the book of Hebrews glimpses of Neoplatonic dualism perks up like in Hebrews 8:5 where the author refers to a “copy and shadow” of sacrifice or Hebrews 10:1 where the author talks about “true form”. This type of language can be directly pointed to Neoplatonic dualism. More evidence for this influence is found in the style of the book of Hebrews. It is well written, has ideas that are not found elsewhere in the Bible, and clearly shows the author’s profound rhetoric. He claims that he is not a witness to Jesus’ ministry (2:3). Therefore it is very possible for him to be a Hellenistic Jew who is well versed in rhetoric and knows a thing or two about Platonic philosophy. All that to say, the author emphasized Jesus advanced position over the angels first because the Jewish culture at the time had such a high view of angels (possibly due to platonic influence) that this would be the hardest argument to tackle. It needed to be addressed first.
    Whether this is a difference in Pauline literature or not is probably not a very important question. I would say it is a difference but not a major one. The audience, for the most part, seems Jewish, whereas in Pauline literature the audience seems both Jewish can Gentile but mostly Gentile. And honestly, the difference is of less importance to me because both authors write truth and that is what is necessary. Whether the topics are different or not, both authors give calls to action through what has been revealed to them. That is what is important.

  20. It is interesting to see how much of the author of Hebrews theology comes through in his comparison of Jesus to the angels. During his discussion of how Jesus is superior, he talks about how Jesus was made human. Humans were considered to be inferior to angels, and so to claim that Jesus was still superior seemed absurd (Long, 33). In reality, Jesus is made complete and superior through his life on earth as a man. Jesus came to the world to save it by sacrificing himself for the sake of all men. Because of his redemption of man, God elevated him and set him above everything, even the angels. Everything will one day be placed “under Jesus’ feet,” and he will rule, unlike the angels (Long, 40-41). It was necessary for Jesus to be a man in order for him to be exalted and placed at the right hand of the Father.
    This also shows Jesus superiority to other things, including death. Jesus took the form of man so that death would no longer have a hold over man. By dying and then rising again to life, he was able to overcome the power of death and show his power over something that no one can overcome. This again shows how he is greater than the angels because of his incarnation.

  21. It is very interesting that the author would start off addressing Jesus’ power in relation to angels. Back when this was originally written, the author probably had in mind that angles were held in very high regard. I believe this may partly due to the fact that angles flooded the Old Testament with stories of prophecy, visions, and more. Also, as someone mentioned above, the original targeted audience of this excerpt likely didn’t realize that Jesus, our Lord, was also fully man. They may have believed that since he was God, he could not have also been the son of God. They may have called him an angel for that reason. This goes to show that the author intentionally started with this because of his audiences lack of knowledge of the trinity and of Christ’s fully human deity,

  22. The popularity and frequency of angels within this timeframe surprises me. If angelology was as prominent among the New Testament readers as the blog states, why isn’t more common in literature?
    The blog post states that angels were, “very popular in Jewish mythology” from second century BC to first century AD. This makes it a critical piece of information for understanding the text within its historical context. Up until now, however, I’ve never heard of it.
    This makes me wonder what the rest of Jewish mythology was and how similar/different it is to the Old Testament Jewish traditions.The blog also mentions Daniel 10 and the descriptions of angels in that passage. Was this the spark that initiated the Jewish views of angelology?
    With this understanding, the argument the author of Hebrews makes holds well. Jesus is not an angel. But he is even higher than their most treasured figures in mythology.
    I enjoyed the blog post and agree with its premise.
    What I really want to know though, is how the virgin birth played into (or didn’t play into) Jewish mythology.

  23. I feel that understanding the cultural belief and knowing who Jesus is as we go through life is very important and is very key to life. The person who wrote Hebrews talks about how Jesus is the best of the best and how no one ever could surpassed him to be great.

  24. Oddly, I was not aware of how important the idea of angelology was to the Jews of this time. To me, this falls more in line our modern “obsession “with guardian angels, TV shows about angels, etc., not ancient Judaism. But it does make sense that they would have been a vital piece of Judaism, more so than today, as they often made actual appearances throughout the Bible. Because of this, while at first the opening of Hebrews seemed a little odd (because of course Jesus is superior to angels), I can now understand why the author was deliberate in focusing the beginning of his sermon on the distinct difference between Jesus and angels. Jobes talks about how it is natural to think of humans as lower than angels (p. 49), who have supernatural abilities and power given by God. With that in mind, the author of Hebrews is setting the groundwork by making sure his readers understood that even though Jesus came to the Earth as a human, he is above angelic beings for he is the only Son of God. I think it can be difficult to put myself in the shoes of these early Christians and their understanding because of the wealth of biblical scholars (and professors) we now have at our fingertips to explain scriptures. I would likely have had the same confusion when trying to reconcile the idea of Jesus and angelic beings. The depth the author goes into connecting the Old Testament passages with his message shows the importance he placed on making sure his readers understood just who Jesus was. He has a heart for not simply informing others about Jesus Christ, but teaching it in a way the listeners can truly understand and have a genuine faith in Jesus.
    Jobes, K.H. (2011). Letters to the Church. Zondervan.

  25. I believe there are a couple key reasons the author of Hebrews first compares and concludes that Jesus is above the angels before comparing Jesus to Moses. First I think it’s important to recognize that, as Jobes writes, although there is information in the Old Testament about the existence of angels; there is not as much information as us readers would like. (p. 49) I believe that the author wanted to first express the existence of angels and then validate the fact that Jesus is above them. Also I think that we as the reader know that the angels are above Moses and if Jesus is above the angels then he is also above Moses. I also think that it’s important to understand that Jesus is above the angels to understand that He is the Messiah. Once the reader understands that He is above the angels, we now know the importance of reading the rest of the information presented about Jesus. Especially because the author was likely writing to Jewish readers that needed explanation on why they no longer had to follow all of the laws written in the Old Testament.

  26. I think this blog post is the perfect example of how scripture was written for us, but not to us. It especially shows how situational the letters of the New Testament are. Jobes does explain that some scholars believe Hebrews was originally a sermon that was written down and recorded for a group of people. It does not carry the traditional greeting of a letter, which makes it likely that it was not originally composed as a letter (p.43). Even though it may have originally been a sermon instead of a letter, it is still written for a very specific time, to be relevant to them. We desire the sermons we hear every week in church to be relevant to our lives today. We want to know how to navigate the world around us, and the beliefs of the world in light of the gospel. The same was true of early Christians. The blog does an excellent job of explaining the role of angels in that time period. Angels were written about as doing acts of God, the imagery of them as dressed in white and emanating light also came from this period. They were associated with the giving of the law. The writer of Hebrews was making a defense of Jesus as the Son of God. With the conception of angels in this time, it could be easy to dismiss all of Jesus’ works and words as those of angels. It was vital to the gospel to show that Christ is greater than the angels. Dealing with this from the very start, the author is striving to be relevant to their audience. Even though this was written for a specific audience in a specific time, it is still useful to us and we can still learn from it.

  27. It is interesting that the author of Hebrews brings up angels in his first few passages. Karen Jobes in her book Letters to the Church suggests that the purpose for this could have been to emphasize Jesus as the Son of God, fully human but also superior to the angels (Jobes, 2011). Professor Long mentioned that the writer of Hebrews starts his book by emphasizing God’s act of revealing himself through Jesus. He also mentions that Jewish readers might have considered Jesus as an angel, thus the author of Hebrews needed to emphasize Jesus’ humanity and divinity as the Son of God and the Son of Man (Long, 2018). This distinction between Jesus being the Son of God and Jesus as an angel is very important because angels are unable to call or consider themselves as sons of God (Long, 2018). If Jesus was merely an angel, then the significance of his sacrificial atonement would not bear any weight. The same could be said if Jesus was only human. By Hebrews commenting on Jesus’ superiority and uniqueness the author is able to portray the theological significance of Jesus’ relationship between the humanity and divinity of his being. Jobes mentions that one of Hebrews’ major theological themes is the humanity of Christ (Jobes, 2011). Therefore, the author of Hebrews may have mentioned angels and God’s divinity in order to then accept and explain the entwined relationship between Christ’ humanity and divinity, which ultimately make up Christ’s identity.

  28. Here is my reference that I didn’t include.
    Jobes, K. H. (2011). Letters To The Church: A Survey of Hebrews and the General Epistles. Zondervan.

  29. As you stated, Angels were popular in Jewish mythology, so addressing them would not have been out of the ordinary for the recipients of Hebrews.
    Because God use to speak to people by other means, like prophets and messages from angels, the author has to make it clear that Jesus is neither of those. The author uses quotations from the Old Testament to show how Jesus has fulfilling the prophecies that were spoken long before he came. The first three chapters of Hebrews quotes at least twelve statements from the OT. The ESVSB also notes that a central motif in the book is using the word “better”, or, “greater” as it is used a total of 25 times (2001). This motif shows the significance and importance of Jesus being superior to the angels. Jobes also points out that the portrayal of angels in our culture is adoration and fascination of these wonderous, mysterious creatures that look like humans, but are slightly below them (2011). Therefore, since Christ was once fully human, it could be mistaken that Jesus is lower than the angels. However, the author makes its clear that while he was human and “for a little while was made lower than the angels” (Heb 2:9), he now sits at the right hand of the Majesty on high and has become superior to angels (1:4)

  30. Hebrews 1:4 starts out by saying “having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.” (ESV) Jesus is above all things on this earth and planet. I think that it is important to note that the angels are high up, but Jesus is above them. This may be a misconception to some people. I feel like many people put angels higher than Jesus. Karen Jobes states “Hebrew goes to great lengths to explain that even though Jesus Christ was fully human, he was nevertheless superior to the angels in unique ways.” (Jobes, 49) There is a huge difference between angels and Jesus. Jesus is our hope and eternal life after death. The angels were just carries of good news. It was in fact God who created them. It is hard to study angels as there are so many unanswered questions. I think that this distinction is made so early on to distinctively lay out who Jesus was compared to the angels. We are saved through Christ, not by the angels. Another idea that could turn people to think that angels are above Jesus is that he was once fully human. With that being said, if people believe that he is just like us, they may think that angels are more powerful than him. We must remember who made Jesus and what his intent was. Jesus is more than what we could imagine. The angels are created from God to serve the people who are saved by the Lord.

  31. The Bible is frustratingly unclear in regards to the beings and happenings of the divine realm. Supernatural beings are such a natural fascination for humans, yet the Bible remains fairly vague in its descriptions of these beings. In all honesty, it seems an argument for biblical accuracy can be formed from the fact that the authors did not offer lengthy descriptions about things which would be especially fascinating. If they wanted to trick people into following their newly invented religion, they would certainly make the divine realm seem more interesting. If the authors instead wanted people to focus on God as the fascinating, primary being of the divine realm, then it makes sense for them to not offer exciting descriptions of angels, as mankind might be too quick to idolize them.

    It also makes sense that Hebrews would seek to separate Christ from the angels, as Christ has to be God-incarnate in order for His sacrifice to work. Sin is an eternal crime with eternal consequences, deserving of eternal punishment. So, only an eternal sacrifice can atone for such crime. There is nothing in Creation that is eternal, only God is eternal, and so it had to be God who sacrificed Himself for us.

    On an unrelated note, since Hebrews makes it clear that angels cannot be called the sons of God, and Christ is a singular being who is unknown in the Old Testament, it eliminates angels as an option for the “sons of God” that the nations are divided according to in Deuteronomy. Though this does not solve the debate, but only removes one of the three options (angels, human rulers, and divine beings which are separate from and above the angels yet below Christ), it still brings some clarity to this passage which has interested me throughout my educational journey.

  32. I think the question of was Jesus Superior to the angels, and the first-born of God can actually go hand in hand with the argument of was Adam and Eve the first born of God, because God did indeed create them, and Jesus came later on in the bible. I think this is a valid argument in my opinion in the sense that Adam and Eve were first born for humankind to evolve, but God never called Adam and Eve their sons and daughters like God did Jesus to Mary. In John 3:16, it says “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” so in this sense, Jesus would be superior to the angels, because God is obviously above every thing in the universe, and so for God to call Jesus his one and only son, that has a powerful aura around that word, that the angles of God have no say. In Jobes he makes a statement that says “In the past, God spoke through prophets, but now he has spoken through and by the Son” and I think to make that transition God really had to put trust in his son, and to talk through him is in the essence of being greater than angels. Because God had a worthy being to talk through with, God through John 3:16 gave us an eternal life through Jesus, something that was not said about angels.

  33. I agree with Long’s statement that people have had many misconceptions about angels throughout history. Like he mentioned, many thought that the acts done by angels were done by their power and not done through God’s bidding and instruction. However, throughout Scripture we see instances were angles come to do the will of God and say so with words such as, “thus says the Lord” or “the Lord has blessed you” (Luke 1:28). Although the angels did acts of God, such as appearing to humans in human form, or giving the Law as tradition held, Jesus far surpassed the angels by not only doing acts of God but by being God. The acts Jesus did while on earth, the miracles, the words and inspiration he did, and ultimately dying. As the author of Hebrew concludes the discussion that Jesus surpasses the angels, he says this in closing, “To which of the angels did God ever say, ‘Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet’?” (Hebrews 1:13). This, in and of itself, is the best argument that Jesus is above the angels, despite being angelic, holy beings doing the Lord’s will.

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