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Lowell Brueckner

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Superior to Prophets and Angels


 An expository study of the book of Hebrews


Chapter 1

1. God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets,

2. 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;

3. who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,

 Jesus Christ is greater than the prophets. Who is He?

 We enter this chapter and this book with great anticipation. We want to see Jesus and we open our hearts for the illumination that comes only from the Holy Spirit. Before the writer gives the first piece of advice, he extols Christ and thereby our hearts are warmed and encouraged to be faithful to Him at all costs. It is for our eternal benefit that God, Who created and rules over heaven and earth, desires to communicate with us. As we begin to ponder this book, verse by verse, that is our first consideration. In the past and in the present, God has spoken from heaven and we have a Bible that contains 66 books, by which we look into things from His perspective (v.1).

  We marvel at the insight of the prophets and their wonderful relationship with God, but God sends One, Who is superior to the prophets. In His great love for His people, the Father searches heaven, looking for a more perfect way to share His thoughts and heart with us. He sent His Word personified… In these last days, He sent us God the Son incarnate, in order to communicate from human lips to human ears, the infinitely superior purposes, existing in His throne room (v.2). There is something in the nature of God that pleases Him to save the best for last.

 We live in the very last moments of the last days. Peter quoted the prophet Joel, who prophesied of them: “It shall come to pass in the last days, says God, that I will pour out of my Spirit on all flesh” (Ac.2:17). We know, then, that the last days had already begun, when God poured His Spirit upon 120 disciples. Peter wrote in his second epistle that we should be patient, as we wait for the second coming of the Lord because, “with the Lord one day is as a thousand years…” (2 P.3:8). As the Lord sees things, a little less than two days have goneby since the time of the apostles. 

 In verse two, the main purpose of thiis book begins, which is the revelation of the Son of God. He confirms, what the apostle John wrote, that He already existed before the dawn of creation and, in fact was the Creator of the universe (Jn.1:1-3). God appointed Him heir of all things in eternity, before He created the worlds.

 Glory is that which beams forth from a body, such as we see emanating from the stars and feel from the sun. The sun would not be visible to us, were it not for its glory, which gives us warmth and light. Jesus Christ shines with the brightness of the glory of God (v.3). It was so, when He emptied Himself and became Man, humbled to the point of death (Php.2:7), that John said, “We beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father…” (Jn.1:14). It was also John, who recorded Him saying, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (Jn.14:9). The express image means a stamped imprint. Colossians 1:15 declares, “He is the image of the invisible God.” The expression shows that though He is one with the Father, yet He is not the same as the Father, but comes forth from the Father.

 Warren Wiersbe commented on Colossians 1:17: “In Him all things consist (are held together).“A guide took a group of people through an atomic laboratory and explained how all matter was composed of rapidly moving electric particles. The tourists studied models of molecules and were amazed to learn that matter is made up primarily of space. During the question period, one visitor asked, ‘If this is the way matter works, what holds it all together?’ For that, the guide had no answer. But the Christian has an answer: Jesus Christ!” Similarly, in verse 3, it states that He upholds “all things by the word of His power”. He not only holds everything together, but he carries it all with purpose from its beginning to its end; the Logos of God created and holds all things together by the utterance of His powerful word (Logos is the Greek term that John used for Word). 

 We will study more of the high priesthood of Jesus Christ in this book, but here we have an opening statement to the subject, “He had by Himself purged our sins”. The Old Testament priests stood as they ministered continually, generation after generation, but Christ finished the work and sat down. As the high priestly Son of Man, in the full confidence and satisfaction of the Father, with absolute authority, He “sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.”  

 4. having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.

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 to Him a Father, and He shall be to Me a Son?”

6. But when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says: “Let all the angels of God worship Him.”

7. And of the angels He says: “Who makes His angels spirits and His ministers a flame of fire.”

8. But to the Son He says: “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom.

9. You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness more than Your companions.”

10. And: “You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands.

11. They will perish, but You remain; and they will all grow old like a garment;

12. Like a cloak You will fold them up, and they will be changed. But You are the same, and Your years will not fail.”

13. But to which of the angels has He ever said: “Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool?”

14. Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?

 Superior to angels

Hebrews 1:7-12, papyrus
As if he knew that one day the false “Jeovah’s Witnesses” would appear, the writer of Hebrews, inspired by the Holy Spirit, showed us a clear difference between the angels and His divine Son. The people bearing the Watchtower magazine, first of all, come to the damning conclusion that Jesus Christ is not divine, but rather claim that He is the archangel Michael. The book of Daniel introduces Michael to us and Jude mentions him (v.9), as well as John in Revelation 12:7. They come far short of proving their point, simply because it is an assumption, not indicated in Scripture, and prove themselves destitute of the glory of God!

 t is true that the Son of God appears frequently in the Old Testament as the Angel, meaning Messenger, of the Lord, far beyond taking a place among, or even chief over the heavenly host, He is clearly shown to be divine and infinitely superior to the angels. He also appears as a Man, but that only describes His appearance, and not His nature in its pre-incarnate state. In this place, I will not go into detail to belabor the argument or to show the biblical proof of my statements, because we have enough evidence right here in this chapter and throughout the book of Hebrews.

 Verse 4 declares Him to be “so much better than the angels” and shows that He has a “more excellent name”. Throughout the Bible, a name of a person does much to reveal his nature. His name is inherited in eternity, begotten and not created, and declared on earth in His incarnation as the Son of God. Jamieson-Fausset-Brown comments: “The fullness of the glory of the peculiar name ‘the Son of God’ is unattainable by human speech or thought.” In the Annunciation, the angel Gabriel informs Mary, “The Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God” (Lk.1:35). To help us understand the divine implications in that term, let me say that to inherit fully all the genes of a father, without those of a mother, implicates equality with the father. The apostle Paul teaches, “(He) did not consider it robbery to be equal with God” (Php.2:6). Jesus Himself said, “that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father” (Jn.5:23). The Jews wanted to kill Him, because He “said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God” (Jn.5:18).

 In verse 5, the writer begins to quote a series of Old Testament Scripture, building the New upon the foundation of the Old, as did all the New Testament writers. The first quote is from David in Psalms 2:7, and the word today refers to the timelessness of eternity, in which there is no past, present or future, but one continued day, not succeeded by another. God made the declaration to the human race by the resurrection: “Declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead” (Ro.1:4). The second quote is a messianic promise that God gave to David, concerning his Son, according to the flesh (see 2 Samuel 7).

 Verse 6 gives the command by God to angels, which we see carried out at His incarnation in Luke 2:13-14: “Suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” Notice the clause, “when He again brings the firstborn into the world”, shows that He was begotten in eternity and afterwards brought into the world. Firstborn indicates, not the order of birth, but the position of preeminence, which the Bible gives to the firstborn, meaning over all others. Notice Colossians 1:15: “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation”, but John says that He is “the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (Jn.1:14). The Son of God is not among the angels or simply a commanding angel, He is the Creator of all things “in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or power. All things were created through Him and for Him” (Co.1:16). He is worshiped by the mightiest angel.

 Verse 7 quotes Psalm 104:4, giving a description of the speed (Where translations use the word spirits, they should better translate winds here. The Greek pneuma, as the Hebrew ruach, mean both spirit and wind.) and consuming power, with which God created angels in order to carry out His commands. It is also correct to say that angels are spirits, which inhabit the heavens. The spirits of men, whose bodies succumb to the dust, also find a more perfect home in the heavenly places, where they await their eternal, transformed bodies, “conformed to His glorious body” (Php.3:21) at the resurrection. On this earth, our vile bodies are like a tent, mortal and conformed to the dust (2 Co.5:1).

 The angels are wind and fire, but the Father speaks to the Son in verse 8: “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever (to the ages of the ages); and the scepter of Your kingdom is a scepter of (absolute) righteousness (of justice and straightforwardness)(Amplified Bible). Here is a clear statement, as clear as is John 1:1, that the Son is God and therefore higher than the highest angel. That is what the writer seeks to prove. Only twisted and corrupt minds, deceived by the devil, will see anything less. The scepter is the emblem of His reign which, as can only be said of God, is absolute righteousness and His throne is eternal… from eternity to eternity… the throne of God. 

 Pilate asked, “Are you a king then?” and Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king” (Jn.18:37) and so He has always been and so He is, even when He is a carpenter’s adopted Son and a Prisoner, sentenced to die. Even in His most humble and lowly moment, He reigns and no challenger will ever rise to usurp His throne. They cannot for He is God on His throne, King of kings and Lord of lords. Even when His throne becomes a cross, He will arise from the dead for “it was not possible that He should be held by it” (Ac.2:24). He is the Author of life, the light of life, which the darkness could not overcome. He rules in His own unique and infinite light, to which no one can approach, be they men or angel (1 T.6:16). All are only His creation and He is the Creator, for “without Him, nothing was made that was made” (Jn.1:3). By Him all things are held together (Col.1:17). 

 Not only the Christian, but the Jew, recognized Psalm 45:6 & 7, quoted in verses 8 and 9, to be unquestionably messianic, and therefore the writer quotes with authority. It was the promise and hope of the Jew, broadened to include the Gentile, who would hold to it, not by a national relation to patriarchs or prophets, but by faith.  The Messiah is our Christ as well, Creator and God, along with the Father and the Holy Spirit.

 The character of God is concerned with righteousness and in His mercy, He must also demonstrate His righteousness. “Whom (Christ Jesus) God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Ro.3:25-26). To the degree that He loves righteousness, to the same degree He hates lawlessness (v.9).  The verse shows that Christ, as well as the Father, loves righteousness and hates those who ignore His law (Ps.5:4-5; 11:5).

 The cross was a demonstration of His righteousness, because God must be seen as just, before He could demonstrate His mercy. Sin cannot be swept under the rug in the Kingdom of God. Blood must be shed; sin must be punished. In the Old Testament, the high priest sprinkled blood upon the Mercy Seat or Propitiatory. By the cross, the wrath of God was propitiated, meaning it was placated through Christ, and mercy came to light. Christ thoroughly dealt with sin, appeared spotless before the throne of an infinitely holy God, and was accepted. Through faith, every sinner can also appear in Him, without sin, before the throne.

 Related to the love of righteousness is the oil of gladness. “Therefore God”… Jesus Christ is again addressed as God, “Your God has anointed You…” David prophesied in another messianic Psalm, “You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Ps.16:11). Life triumphed over death, Christ entered the joyful presence of the Father to enjoy eternal pleasures, under the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Jamieson-Fausset-Brown comment: “The anointing here meant… that with the oil of gladness, or ‘exulting joy’ wherewith, after His triumphant completion of His work, He has been anointed by the Father… fellow men (are) partakers in part with Him, though infinitely His inferiors, in the glories, holiness, and joys of heaven.”  There is no joy to compare to the gladness that comes, when sin has been disposed.

 Allow me to interpose a direct word to the believing reader: Joy is experienced by every sinner, who has been washed at the cross. The Father had you in mind in eternity, when He created the world. The Son had you in mind from the cross, when He suffered and died, and the Holy Spirit had you in mind in all the details that led up to your salvation. He worked over generations and throughout your life, in order to bring you to repentance and faith through His word. The trinity has been involved with you and you have every reason to rejoice in your salvation.

 From verses 10-12, the writer quotes from Psalm 102:25-27. The details of the coming Messiah are abundant throughout the Old Testament. Here the enduring lordship of Christ is proclaimed, in that He outlives all created things. Through His creation, He laid the foundation of the earth and through His judgment they will perish. He is Lord over all and He does what He pleases. A new heaven and a new earth will replace the old. Notice, however, the word changed, meaning that though “the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat” (2 P.3:12), still the new will spring from the old. Nothing that God has done can be utterly destroyed. Jesus Christ remains the same throughout time, yesterday, today and forever, and throughout eternity. Therefore it is supreme wisdom to submit to His eternal lordship for eternal salvation. The Jewish Christian must keep this in mind, as persecution threatens his life on this earth.

 Remember that Solomon teaches us in Ecclesiastes that all things under the sun are vanity. Because this world will grow old and perish, it is for our own good that the apostle John instructs us not to love or trust in it. “The world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever” (1 Jn.2:17). James adds, “Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” (Jm.4:4). A line from an old song said,

 Take the world, but give me Jesus,

All its joys are but a name;

But His love abideth ever,

Through eternal years the same.


Oh the height and depth of mercy,

Oh, the length and breadth of love!

Oh, the fullness of redemption,

Pledge of endless life above!

 Before ending this chapter, we contemplate one more quote from the inspired writer. He brings up one verse after another of the Old Testament, to testify to the supremacy of the One, Whom we have come to know as Jesus of Nazareth. God, the Father, gave no angels such a position or such a promise. The 13th verse is from Psalms 110:1 and we will hear more of it, as we go through Hebrews. "Sit at my right hand" denotes rest after the finished work of the cross. It is finished and appearing before the Father, He takes His seat at the Father’s right hand. He is promised that His enemies will form the footstool of His throne. He will put His feet upon their necks and they will submit to His lordship. “At the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Php.2:10-11).

 All these quotes have one end: It is to show the infinite superiority of the Lord Jesus Christ over the entire sphere of angels. Angels were created to serve; He lives to reign! The angels, in fact, are serving the purposes of the King, when they aid the ones, for whom He came to save. They will further His Kingdom, until He returns to reign upon the earth for a thousand years. Angels surround the ones who will inherit eternal salvation. They ascend and descend upon the Son of Man, carrying their prayers to the throne room of heaven. They blend with the incense on the heavenly altar and arise to God. To believe on Jesus is to know that He is Lord and God. This must be determined in the human heart, before His salvation work can be considered.








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