Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Hebrews, Chapter 1

Hebrews is a 13 chapter pep talk for the soul. That's really the best way to describe it. We're not really sure who wrote is, as my Study Bible lists possible authors as Paul, Barnabas, Luke, or Apollos, but the writer's intent in this letter is to provide support for the struggling new Christian. While the support was directed at Christians who were facing persecution and were reverting back to the Old Testament ways because of when it was written, once again that amazing nature of the Bible shows that its words can be relevant today.

The first chapter deals solely with the superiority of Christ. It is important to remember that these Christians were still somewhat hesitant to fully embrace the divinity of Christ. To them He was still somewhat of a polarizing figure and they were still trying to compare him to the old covenant through the Old Testament. As we learned throughout the last four books we discussed here in this blog though, the old covenant was washed away with the blood of Christ. He now stands superior in its place.

"3The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. 4So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs." – Hebrews 1:3-4

I know recently I have put a lot of emphasis on the human characteristics of Jesus, but let us not forget that He was fully God at the same time. For as much as He lowered Himself to come to earth and die for our sins, he was that much higher than everything else in creation including the angels. He was God personified and placed into a human body, but at the same time he was and still is bigger than we can possibly imagine. He had human nature when He was in human form as well as His divine nature.

So what is the role of the angels then? Well, we see here in the first chapter of Hebrews that they are indeed subordinate to Christ, but they still play a very important role in the spiritual hierarchy. Even as we are to worship Christ and his divinity so are the angels even though they were created before man and still are above man by being in the physical presence of God.

"6And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says, "Let all God's angels worship him." 7In speaking of the angels he says, "He makes his angels winds, his servants flames of fire." 8But about the Son he says, "Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever, and righteousness will be the scepter of your kingdom." – Hebrews 1:6-8

We see here that the angels serve an important role as ministering servants. Think of them as behind the scenes workers at a TV show that don't get the glory of being seen on camera, but the show could not be done without them. They offer protection, guidance, ministering, and watch over God's people. They also can dole out judgment to the wicked, all while honoring and praising God. They are strong spiritual beings and those in both Old and New Testament times interacted with them and sometimes even worshipped them. This is why the author writes to show Christ's superiority because even though these angels were powerful beings, they were still subordinate to Christ.

So you may ask where that put mankind in the grand scheme of things. Well, think about this for a second. We're below the angels, who are always in the presence of God, yet God loved us so much He came to earth in the form of a man (that is Jesus) in order to die for our sins so that we can be with Him. This is not something He had to do, but He chose to do it out of His love for us. He had the angels to honor and glorify Him as they are already righteous, but God chose to simplify things with Christ in order to make righteousness available to us. This is something we will discuss more as we get deeper into the book of Hebrews, but for now just concentrate on the Godly characteristics of Christ.


  1. What role did the angels have before Christ?
  2. If Christ is the mediator between us and God why does He still need angels?
  3. How did God achieve being fully God and fully man in Christ is man is naturally fallable?

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