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Angels: The Ministering Spirits of God

The Superiority of Christ to Angels

Hebrews 1:1-2:18

          Many people have an interest in angels and love to think about angels. Speaking through the Bible, the Holy Spirit of God teaches us in the Book of Hebrews about angels, but the Holy Spirit starts with a special revelation about Jesus Christ.  We know that God took flesh and lived among men as Jesus Christ.  You see, Jesus Christ was God in the flesh, and infinitely superior to angels in every way. Also, never forget that Jesus was fully God and fully man at the same time. As God who created the entire universe, Jesus humbled Himself and became a man, born of Mary the virgin, and lived among men, just like a man without sins. Therefore, to understand angels, we should first understand Jesus Christ. The best guide to understanding angels will be the Bible, which is the Word of God.  In the Bible, the Holy Spirit of God helps us understand angels. So, let usturn to the Book of Hebrews to begin our study of Angels.

Hebrews 1:4, page 1869
“having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they.”

Jesus Better than the Angels.  In the beginning, Jesus was God and has always been God.  When Jesus took flesh, Jesus came to earth make purification for sins. 1Consider Hebrews 1:3, page 1869. After Jesus had made purification for sins (“καθαρισμὸν τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν ποιησάμενος”) by dying on the cross, Jesus then sat down at the right hand of God in heaven.  Compare Philippians 2:7, page 1836, which declares that Jesus emptied himself (” ἑαυτὸν ἐκένωσεν “), taking the form of a bond servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Jesus never stopped being God, even when He walked upon the earth in flesh.  Jesus created angels long before He came to earth in the flesh.  So, as we study angels, we need to keep in mind that Jesus created all the angels, because He is the Son of God, and inherited as the Son of God a better name than all angels. Do not misunderstand. Jesus was never created, but has always been eternal God.  

Hebrews 1:5, page 1869
“For to which of the angels did He ever say, ‘YOU ARE MY SON, TODAY I HAVE BEGOTTEN YOU’? and again, ‘I WILL BE A FATHER TO HIM AND HE SHALL BE A SON TO ME’?”

God Never Called an Angel the “Son of God”.  In Hebrews 1:5, page 1869, we learn that Jesus was born into the world through Mary as a Son of God. Jesus explained that the quotation from the Old Testament, “YOU ARE MY SON, TODAY I HAVE BEGOTTEN YOU” refers to His resurrection. 2See Psalm 2:7, page 858.  In Acts 13:33, page 1726, the Holy Spirit interpreted this statement to mean that Jesus was “begotten” (“γεγέννηκά”) in the sense that Jesus was raised from the dead. Jesus was never begotten in the sense of created by God, because Jesus was always God Himself and created all things. 3See John 1:1-3, page page 1653 and Colossians 1:16017, pages 1841-1842; regarding the deity of Jesus, see Colossians 2:9, page 1843 Therefore, we know that Jesus has always been infinitely superior to the angels because He created the angels, and enjoys a special relationship to God the Father.  As the Son of God, Jesus has an infinitely better relationship with the God the Father than any angel.  God the Father never called any angel His son.  Only Jesus enjoys that title and relationship with God the Father.

Hebrews 1:6, page 1869
“And when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says, ‘AND LET ALL THE ANGELS OF GOD WORSHIP HIM.'”

Angels Worship Jesus.  We see that angels worship Jesus. So, we also learn the first thing that angels do: they worship Jesus. Notice that all the angels of God worship Jesus. When you read the Book of Revelation, you see many kinds of angels and many other beings worshiping Jesus in heaven. 4Revelation 7:11, page 1922; compare Revelation 5:11-14, page 1920 Because the angels worship only God, 5Compare Revelation:19:10, page 1937, where the angel tells John not to worship him, but only God. Notice too that the angel called himself a “fellow servant of yours and your brethren” (“σύνδουλός σού εἰμι καὶ τῶν ἀδελφῶν σου”) and he holds the testimony (“τὴν μαρτυρίαν”)  of Jesus. 

Hebrews 1:7, page 1869
“And of the angels He says, ‘WHO MAKES HIS ANGELS WINDS, AND HIS MINISTERS A FLAME OF FIRE.'”

Angels Are Ministers of God, Flames of Fire. In Hebrews 1:7, page 1869, we see that God makes angels His winds.  The angels also serve as God’s ministers, like a flame of fire. 6We know that the Holy Spirit is God, and not an angel, but the Holy Spirit came down upon the disciples at Pentecost as a violent rushing wind (“φερομένης πνοῆς βιαίας”), and appeared as tongues distributing themselves as flaming tongues of fire (“διαμεριζόμεναι γλῶσσαι ὡσεὶ πυρός”) (Acts 2:1-4). Of course, angels do not always appear as flames of fire (Hebrews 13:1, page 1886, indicates that some entertained angels unaware;  Joshua 5:14, page 353, the angel serving God as captain of the host of the LORD appeared to Joshua to announce Joshua was standing on Holy Ground). God uses angels like wind and they also serve God as His ministers (“τοὺς λειτουργοὺς “). We see here that angels minister to the needs of people. Consider Matthew 4:11, page 1505, where the angels began to minister to Jesus after He completed His fast for forty days, followed by temptation from the Devil.  God uses angels to minister to our needs today, just as God did in the Bible. 

Angels Deliver People. God used angels to deliver people.  For example, an angel led the apostles out of prison and commanded them to speak in the temple the whole message of this life (Act 5:17-21, pages 1707-1708). God also sent an angel to lead Peter out of prison (Acts 12:7-11, page 1723).

Angels Guide and Comfort People. In Acts 27:21-26, page 1754, Paul faced shipwreck in a dangerous storm. During the storm, an angel appeared to Paul and encouraged him to be strong and courageous, even though the boat would be shipwrecked.  The angel announced to Paul that God would spare the people on the boat through the shipwreck.

Angels Guide and Rescue People. An angel also spoke to Philip to go south to the Gaza road in the desert, just to meet the Ethiopian eunuch, who received Christ as Savior through the preaching of Philip (Acts 8:26-40, pages 1715-1716).  An angel also played a role in bringing Paul and Cornelius together (Acts 10:3, page 1718). Angels rejoice when sinners repent (Luke 15:10, page 1631).

Reference    [ + ]

1. Consider Hebrews 1:3, page 1869. After Jesus had made purification for sins (“καθαρισμὸν τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν ποιησάμενος”) by dying on the cross, Jesus then sat down at the right hand of God in heaven.  Compare Philippians 2:7, page 1836, which declares that Jesus emptied himself (” ἑαυτὸν ἐκένωσεν “), taking the form of a bond servant, and being made in the likeness of men.
2. See Psalm 2:7, page 858.  In Acts 13:33, page 1726, the Holy Spirit interpreted this statement to mean that Jesus was “begotten” (“γεγέννηκά”) in the sense that Jesus was raised from the dead.
3. See John 1:1-3, page page 1653 and Colossians 1:16017, pages 1841-1842; regarding the deity of Jesus, see Colossians 2:9, page 1843
4. Revelation 7:11, page 1922; compare Revelation 5:11-14, page 1920
5. Compare Revelation:19:10, page 1937, where the angel tells John not to worship him, but only God. Notice too that the angel called himself a “fellow servant of yours and your brethren” (“σύνδουλός σού εἰμι καὶ τῶν ἀδελφῶν σου”) and he holds the testimony (“τὴν μαρτυρίαν”)  of Jesus
6. We know that the Holy Spirit is God, and not an angel, but the Holy Spirit came down upon the disciples at Pentecost as a violent rushing wind (“φερομένης πνοῆς βιαίας”), and appeared as tongues distributing themselves as flaming tongues of fire (“διαμεριζόμεναι γλῶσσαι ὡσεὶ πυρός”) (Acts 2:1-4). Of course, angels do not always appear as flames of fire (Hebrews 13:1, page 1886, indicates that some entertained angels unaware;  Joshua 5:14, page 353, the angel serving God as captain of the host of the LORD appeared to Joshua to announce Joshua was standing on Holy Ground).

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