Series on Hebrews, I Superior Potentate, B Superior by Proclamation, Text: Hebrews 1:5-14, Title: Untouched by an Angel

Introduction:


The decisive event of all time and the event around which all history turns has occurred. God the Creator of the universe has appeared in the flesh and demonstrated that he is the heir of all. Thus, we saw, last time, that we live in the last days of fulfillment as opposed to the former days of preparation. The hour of decision is here. The author points out the decisive event, but concludes with the fact that the Messiah, Jesus Christ has inherited a better name than the angels. As you look at verses 5-14 you may wonder why all this fuss about angels. Isn’t it curious that there is such a preoccupation with angels in our thinking today. Films and TV shows are filled with speculation. It is as if we could somehow get closer to God without Jesus Christ. We are repeating an ancient mistake.  Paul warns about the worship of angels in Colossians 2:18  Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you for the prize. Such a person goes into great detail about what he has seen, and his unspiritual mind puffs him up with idle notions. In Hebrews the author connects this to the Old Covenant law. Stephen says to the Jews in Acts 7:35, You received the law as it was ordained by angels. And in Galatians 3:19  Paul reminds us that the Law was put into effect through angels.  In our text, Hebrews 1, the author is contrasting the superior covenant of promise in Jesus with the works of the law of which the Jews were so proud. God gave the promise of a Savior directly to Abraham but the law indirectly through Angels. We had better pay attention here. A society that is preoccupied with angels is a society that thinks that the way to God is through keeping his law. Because they utterly fail and cannot succeed, they look for some other way to God-Angels. But by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. Here then we have the Superiority of the savior!!!. Superior in His Conception, Superior in His Conflict, and Superior in his Conquest.

I Superior in His Conception

In verses 5 & 6 we have the plain designation of the Messiah, Jesus Christ as God’s only son. It is his title. For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my Son; today I have become your Father”? Or again, “I will be his Father, and he will be my Son”? And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says, “Let all God’s angels worship him.” Men and angels may on occasion be called sons of God, but God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten, his one and only Son, that whosoever believes in him might not perish but have everlasting life. In verse 6 the words “let all the angels of God worship him” are applied to Yahweh in the Old Testament. God is saying that he has come in the person of His son and the command to worship the Son at his birth is no different than the endless praise that the angels carry on before his throne, Revelation 5:11 and 12, Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders.  In a loud voice they sang: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!” God gave Jacob a vision of a ladder or stairway with angels ascending and descending to remind him of the promise to his father Abraham. At the top of the ladder was God who spoke and signified that he was with Jacob. So Jacob called the name of the place Bethel which means in the Hebrew, House of God. He said the Lord is in this place. Dear friends the ladder was not to climb up. It symbolized God coming down. When Nathaniel confesses that Jesus is the Son of God in John 1:51, Jesus says I tell you the truth, you shall see heaven open and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man. Jesus is Jacob’s ladder. Nobody goes up unless he comes down. What foolishness then, for them or for us, to turn away from the only way to heaven.

II Superior in His Conflict

The author next speaks of the angels as involved in the providential government of the world in verses 7-9,  In speaking of the angels he says, “He makes his angels winds, his servants flames of fire.”  But about the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever,
and righteousness will be the scepter of your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.”
They are like flames of fire and winds which are under God’s direction in the natural realm. But the Messiah king who will sit on David’s throne forever must enter the battle against sin and evil. He must be the King who causes righteousness to triumph over wickedness. The quotation is from Psalm 45, which is a royal wedding song for Solomon. It celebrates the triumph of the king in battle in verses 3-5, Gird your sword upon your side, O mighty one; clothe yourself with splendor and majesty. In your majesty ride forth victoriously in behalf of truth, humility and righteousness; let your right hand display awesome deeds. Let your sharp arrows pierce the hearts of the king’s enemies; let the nations fall beneath your feet. In this the angels have no part. He must tread the wine press of the wrath of God alone. He must bear the wrath of God for our sin on a solitary cross. Indeed in I Timothy 3:16 Paul says God appeared in the flesh and was seen by angels, but not helped. Peter, in his first epistle 1:10-12, writes of our salvation and says, Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things. Perhaps the most poignant reminder of this is in the Garden of Gethsemane when Peter attacks the servant of the high priest with his sword. Jesus says in Matthew 26;53, Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than 12 legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen this way.” A mighty army of thousands at his bidding and they cannot help. They await the word,  but the Lamb is silent. What total folly of these Jewish believers to think there is any other way. The Lamb slain from the foundation of the world must suffer for our sins. There is no other hope than to follow him to the end and never turn back.

III  Superior in His Conquest

The final Scriptures point to the victory, verses 10-14,  He also says, “In the beginning, O Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will roll them up like a robe; like a garment they will be changed. But you remain the same, and your years will never end.” To which of the angels did God ever say, “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet”? Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation? He is again described with words that originally referred to Yahweh, the God of Israel. He is to remain when this present creation is rolled up like a robe. The second quote from Psalm 2 reminds us he will do it sitting down. Notice the angels are serving, ministering, working, helping those who are the heirs of salvation together with Christ. But He is sitting down until his enemies become his footstool. The choice is clear. A life of mental and spiritual anguish. A life of servile obedience which unlike the holy angels will avail us sinners nothing. “Not the labors of my hands can fulfill thy laws demands. Could my zeal no respite know, could my tears forever flow, all for sin could not atone, thou must save and thou alone.”  Or choose life in Christ victorious over sin and death. The promise of salvation fulfilled in Christ has prevailed. “The strife is o’er the battle done, the victory of life is won, the song of triumph has begun.” He is seated. “The powers of death have done their worst, but Christ their legions hath dispersed. Let shouts of holy joy outburst.” Not legions of angels but one Savior won it all. He is seated. “Look ye saints the sight is glorious, see the man of sorrows now, from the fight returned victorious, every knee to him shall bow. Crown the savior, angels crown him, rich the trophies Jesus brings, in the seat of power enthrone him, while the vault of heaven rings.” Angels may minister to you in a multitude of ways-invisible, unseen, unknown in your pilgrimage. But let me remind you that the object is to get back into paradise. If you could go there now, what would you find at the door? Cherubim with flaming swords flashing back and forth defying you to enter. Jesus met the angel’s swords on Calvary. The angels would keep you out, but the Savior lets you in.

Conclusion:

What will you choose. The author of Hebrews begs the Jewish converts not to return to the inferior and incomplete.  The law was added through angelic messengers to serve the promise. The promise is a Savior they can only watch.. Give Him your sin, give him your guilt, give him your failure, trust Him and never turn back. If you look at the words of angels in scripture you will be surprised. They say arise and go, go quickly, rise quickly. Get up and get going is the message. With such a salvation they cannot understand why we hesitate and hang back from following Christ.