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The Son Exalted Above the Angels

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”? But when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says: “Let all the angels of God worship Him.” And of the angels He says: “Who makes His angels spirits And His ministers a flame of fire.” But to the Son He says: “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of gladness more than Your companions.” And: “You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands. They will perish, but You remain; And they will all grow old like a garment; Like a cloak You will fold them up, And they will be changed. But You are the same, And Your years will not fail.” But to which of the angels has He ever said: “Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool”? Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?   (Hebrews 1:5-14)

In a recent case before the U.S. Supreme Court, the town of Greece, New York, was accused of violating the nation’s Constitution with its practice of opening meetings of its town council with prayer. Most interesting about this court case is what the town council did to try to make those prayers acceptable to the Supreme Court. When some from the community complained that the prayers were Christian in character, the council brought in some representatives of non-Christian groups to say prayers. Among them were a Jewish layman and a Wiccan priestess.

This “solution” highlights the problem which public prayers at civic events present for Christians. To make such prayers acceptable to all segments of the community the name of Jesus Christ has to be left out. This amounts to saying that Jesus Christ is really not very important.

The Christians addressed in the book of Hebrews were being tempted to think that Jesus was not very important. They were suffering persecution as Christians and were considering that they might buy some peace for themselves by turning away from Jesus and returning to the religion of the synagogue.

To turn them back from this disastrous course the writer reminded them that Jesus was not merely an important person. He is absolutely unique. He is completely indispensable and irreplaceable (these points about Jesus are made throughout the epistle).

This first chapter begins by showing that Jesus is superior to the angels. These Christians from a Jewish background knew of the heavenly angels and may have thought that these spirit beings could serve as replacements for Jesus. They may have thought that the angels could even do more for them than Jesus did. Therefore the writer quotes several passages from the Old Testament which teach that Jesus is far above the angels.

Those passages teach that the Christ is God’s own Son. God never said to an angel, “You are My Son.” But He did say of Christ, “You are My Son, today I have begotten You” (Psalm 2:7), and “I will be to Him a Father, and He shall be to Me a Son” (2 Samuel 7:14).

Jesus Christ is not just a son of God; He is God the Son, the second person of the Triune God. He is to be worshiped; indeed, the angels are to worship the Son. “Let all the angels of God worship Him,” says the Scripture (Hebrews 1:6). Angels are not to be worshiped, nor do they want to be worshiped. They are happy with the place that God has given them, as all of us should be. Angels are God’s servants, created to do His bidding.

He even sends them to serve those who are heirs of eternal salvation through Christ.

Jesus Christ has all the attributes of God. He is eternal; He rules forever; and His rule is one of perfect righteousness; His power and glory are far above those of any human ruler—their kingdoms will end, but Christ’s will endure forever.

Jesus is the eternal God made flesh, who reconciled us to God by His sacrifice for us.

He showed His victory over sin and death by His resurrection.

He has ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of the Father.

His is the only name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved (see Acts 4:12).

Prayers to God in His name are the only prayers heard and answered.

Let others pray to whom—and in whatever name—they will. We will pray to God only in the name of His Son Jesus Christ.