Forward in Faith #02
The Greatest Messenger
Angels. They are the topic of movies, books, songs, poems, plays, philosophy, theology, water cooler discussions and wildly diverse beliefs about their nature and work.
I got on Amazon.com and typed the word “ANGEL” into the search engine for their book section. 458,000+ books came up. Narrowing the search to Religion and Spirituality dropped the number to 82,000+ books. Of those, 19,000 classified as Spirituality, 15,000 as New Age books. 10,000 as Occult, 48,000 as Christianity, 12,000 as Religious Studies, and the rest scattered among other categories.
We are fascinated by the idea of Angels.
Perhaps it is because we see them as closer to us, they are not God, but they are not human. People believe that they come from or go toward becoming angels, which is NOT true if you mean the Spiritual Being … but what of the role that they have?
Well I’m a little ahead of myself
I am NOT here today to preach to you simply about angels but about what an angel is, and to ask the question is there an Angel that supersedes them all?
Let us be certain as we are in the beginning of this Epistle to the Hebrews, the writer wants to make sure we understand the most important aspects of Doctrine and that is Jesus Christ Savior and Lord and we his people, faithfully following
We are going to look at our text in a few moments piece by piece … but before we do, let’s answer some questions about Angels
1. What Are Angels?
Angels are created beings
The play an important role throughout scripture in the revelation of the plan of God for the redemption of man.
We have come to use the term Angel for All Spiritual creatures.
They have not ALWAYS been but were created –
Psalm 148:5 tells them to praise him for “he commanded and they were created”
Col 1:16 says that all things were created including visible and invisible thrones, powers, rulers, and authorities
The were most likely created in the first recorded act of creation
Nehemiah 9:6 (NIV)
6 You alone are the Lord. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you.
There is an all encompassing CREATION in that verse.
Gen 2:1 says the “heavens and the earth were completed in all their VAST array”
“Heavens” would include the 1st heaven (atmosphere) the 2nd heaven (space) and the 3rd heaven (God’s presence or Heaven)
So, Gen 1:1 – God created the heavens and the earth
That Most likely included the angels …
Job 38:6-7 says that the Angels sang when the cornerstone of the earth was laid
So they were created before the earth.
Angels do not have gender like we have
They do not die
They have a will that can choose because some chose God and others chose, in their pride, to reject his good service having “abandoned their own home” Jude 6
They have great Intelligence understanding the revelation of God’s plan and able to reveal it to men
They have great Power and some of the ability to do miracles.
2 Thes 1:7
They are spirit and not limited to bodies, though they can take a human form when necessary to complete their work
They are Beautiful as they are created by God and reflect his beauty and Glory
Isaiah saw the seraphs as they worshiped God and they were beautiful with six wings
But, Ultimately Angels are Messengers. They serve their Master. They do his will and deliver his message. The word Angel means Messenger, envoy, sent one
Are there other Angels and Messengers? Of course
Which messengers do you listen to?
What is the message they deliver?
What is the purpose of their message?
Whose message do they deliver?
So Angels are ultimately messengers
2. Whom Do They Serve?
Before you Listen to a messenger, you better know whom they serve.
Now WE are focusing on the Angels that Represent Heaven.
Whom do they serve?
As I was reading on the internet some books that claim to be about Angels and claim to be about GOD I saw something very interesting. One author, that supposedly speaks TO angels, doesn’t seem to ever mention JESUS CHRIST.
The Father has given all things to the Son. The Son desires to bring all things to the Father. The Holy Spirit draws attention to the Son.
Angels serve GOD. And if they serve God, they will direct all attention to Jesus Christ. If you are truly receiving a message from a Servant of God and you can write 49 books without writing ONE SINGLE BOOK about Jesus, you are NOT getting a message from the Angels that serve MY GOD!
V7 – he makes them winds, and flames of fire
They serve God and they do or become what he needs them to do or become
Psalm 148:2 Praise him all his angels, praise him all his heavenly hosts
They Serve Him – as do all things he has made … Col 1:16 all by him and for him
They Reflect His Attributes – they cry Holy Holy Holy in Isaiah 6
In Ezekiel 1 they show the likeness of the glory of the Lord
And our passage says they also serve
B. Believers v14
V14 – ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation
The question constantly comes up “do we have guardian angels”?
We have to honestly say “we don’t know”
The scripture doesn’t speak to it directly.
Matthew 18:10 seems to lead us to believe it saying “do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.”
But you can be SURE that we are not to PRAY to angels because they ONLY do what they are told to do
We don’t pray to saints
We don’t pray to anyone but God because all of his creation follows HIS orders
3. What Do They Do?
They do the Lord’s will
Jacob saw them as ascending and descending a stairway to heaven doing God’s will throughout the earth
Job 1 tells us that Angels come before God reporting to him and doing his bidding
Psalm 91:11 says of the Messiah that “he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways”
There are angels that are given authority or responsibilities over Israel and over God’s people in general
Angels delivered messages of revelation and encouragement
An angel came and led Peter out of prison
Angels fight spiritual battles against Evil
We see that in Daniel 10 and 12 and Eph 6 and in various passages in Revelation
There is a clear hierarchy of Angels
- Chief Princes
- Living Creatures
- Angels in general
In a sense each angel is a species to themselves because they do not reproduce or regenerate
But there are 1000s upon 1000s and ten thousand times ten thousands … i.e. a BUNCH … myriads Deut 33:2 says
They do not have ALL knowledge but great knowledge
Not all power but great power
They cannot be in every place at once but can be dispatched quickly at the God’s command … but as Daniel learned they can be delayed in a spiritual struggle
Though some of their number chose to serve Evil
In Short, Angels were created as amazing, beautiful, powerful, intelligent, wonderful, servants of God.
They are Messengers of God … That’s what an Angel is
4. And Jesus?
So Read it all with me …
Our writer wants to be clear with his Readers that Jesus Christ is what it is ALL ABOUT.
And he proves his point using 7 quotations from the Old Testament to Show us the Supremacy of Jesus Christ over EVERY Angel of God, Every Messenger, Every Prophet, Every Preacher, Jesus stands Above and Beyond Them All …
Is Jesus a messenger?
Is he an Angel? Yes because he is a Messenger. He came to serve God and he came to serve Man
“I have completed the work you gave me to do”
“I only do what I see the Father doing”
“If I your Master came to serve …”
But is he Just another Angel?
Is he just another Messenger?
Just another Preacher
Just another Prophet
Just another supposed Messiah?
NO, No, No, No, No
Let me give you a quick list …
Jesus is a Messenger who is
1. everything about Jesus is greater than any other Angel, any other messenger
2. he is superior in strength
3. he is superior in life in that he is FROM Eternity he was not created but always existed and they were created to be eternal
4. we know that the Angels are above man. They are Amazing, they are glorious but Jesus is Superior
5. don’t let the word BECAME or WAS MADE lead you to believe he was CREATED … but recognize that both the nature of Christ and the Nature of his Work has made it clear to ALL that he is SUPERIOR. Philippians 2 says he didn’t consider his equality with God worth holding on to, but emptied himself, becoming a servant, being obedient to even the point of death on the cross. And God has GIVEN HIM A NAME Above Every name that at the name of Jesus every knee would bow and tongue confess that Jesus is LORD … he is superior he has become Lord
6. He is Superior, because he already WAS Superior and because he completed a work more excellent than theirs
7. v 4 says that he is “much superior” – two words tosoutos /tos-oo-tos/ so great, so many, so long and kreitton /krite-tohn/ more useful, more serviceable, more advantageous, more excellent”
8. Jesus Christ is so great in so many ways and thus is so much more useful, so much more advantageous and greatly more excellent for so long a time.
He is Superior to the Angels ..
For he was not just awarded a name but he has inherited a name … He is Superior because he is …
B. Son v5
Our writer quotes from Psalm 2:7 and 2 Samuel 7:14; 1 Chron 17:13
1. He is not JUST a messenger, not JUST a Servant, he IS the Son
2. he has inherited a greater name – SON
3. in the economy of God, in his will and purpose God has chosen to reveal himself to us as Father, Son, and Spirit. They are three and yet they are one. The greatest messenger is Son. He is above every other Messenger because he is Son
4. What was it that gave him this excellent name? Jesus was Son from Eternity. But Just as he was slain from the foundation of the earth. He was Resurrected then from the foundation, but it was in the action of it happening Paul says that this prophetic scripture in Psalm 2:7 becomes reality in time. Acts 13:33 “he has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising up Jesus. As it is written in the 2nd Psalm: you are my Son; today I have become your Father.”
This word can be translated, “today I have begotten you as Father”
Jesus was put to death in the flesh and quickened by the Spirit … by whose command and authority? God the Father. Wiersbe says “he became a man, … in his resurrection he glorified his humanity received from the Father and received by the eternal glory he had veiled. The Resurrection declares: ‘Jesus is God’s Son!’”
5. And then quoting from David speaking of his son Solomon, the Holy Spirit teaches us that this is simply also pointing us toward Jesus which Matthew 12:42 says is greater than Solomon.
Superior, Son, and
C. Sovereign v6-8
Jesus Christ is unlike any other messenger.
No true messenger of God will receive Worship that is due to God.
When prophets and apostles were worshipped wrongly for their actions, they would always point the worshipper back to God
When men in scripture fell down before Angels to worship them, they always told them to get up because none was worthy or worship accept God alone …
But the one referred to in the Old Testament as “The Angel of the Lord” received worship
Jesus is superior to the Angels because v 6 says he is
1. Firstborn worshipped by Angels – … Why is he called “firstborn” … well he is the only part of the Godhead that is referred to an Heir, and no he wasn’t born or created, but more importantly from an inheritance standpoint, the firstborn received the greatest portion of inheritance and so Jesus is given the title of firstborn that he might have the greatest inheritance and that we as HIS joint heirs might receive his inheritance …
And so on the night he was born, he was worshipped by a Heavenly Host of Angels, it is superior to the Angels and worshipped as such …
And he is
2. Enthroned v8,
The angels v7 says were given tasks to serve him, like becoming wind and fire to serve HIS purposes – Matthew 4:11 says the angels ministered to him after he was tempted by Satan in the wilderness. In Luke 22:43 an angel ministered to him and strengthened him physically. Why? Because he is ENTHRONED
Some Cultic translations of scripture that deny the divinity of Jesus falsely translate Psalm 45:6-7 so say “your divine throne” instead of simply “your throne” … but People … Jesus Christ is not an Angel that serves BEFORE the Throne but he is THE ANGEL of the Lord, the 2nd person of the Trinity and he is ON the Throne with all things subject to him.
Angels worship him
Angels adore him
But Angels cannot be as he is
For he is Sovereign and on the throne
D. Sacred / Sep Apart v9
V9 you loved righteousness, hated wickedness; … God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy”
Read Psalm 110
Psalm 110 (NIV)
1 The Lord says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.” 2 The Lord will extend your mighty scepter from Zion; you will rule in the midst of your enemies. 3 Your troops will be willing on your day of battle. Arrayed in holy majesty, from the womb of the dawn you will receive the dew of your youth. 4 The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind: “You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.” 5 The Lord is at your right hand; he will crush kings on the day of his wrath. 6 He will judge the nations, heaping up the dead and crushing the rulers of the whole earth. 7 He will drink from a brook beside the way; therefore he will lift up his head.
This is Jesus Christ, the Messiah on the Throne, Anointed Forever.
Jesus spoke of it, in Mark 12 and 14 Peter spoke of his fulfillment of this passage in Acts 2:34-36.
When Jesus finished his work, he was anointed and enthroned, given the name above every name, LORD … that every knee should bow and tongue confess him as such. And Anointed him with Joy
Psalm 16:11 says “you have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”
E. Sustaining vv10-12
Quoting here from Psalm 102 … the point it clear. The angels were messengers who did not create anything. They themselves were created. Somewhere in first day of creation … Angels are not eternal in essence like God, they are “Aeviternal” which means they are immortal but created beings. They are eternal NOW but they haven’t always been
All things were made by him and for him …
He didn’t just create and then leave it alone but he is responsible for both it’s continuing, and it’s end and recreation … he is eternally creator.
God’s creation will one day wear out because of sin and decay that is it’s consequence. He will change it like a change of clothing. But HE Will always remain. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever
He is Superior
He is Son
He is Sovereign
He is Sacred
He is Sustaining … not just providing our salvation but maintaining our salvation because he is
F. Seated v13-14
The other angels are always seen as standing by for instructions or active and serving
Angels serve those of us who are the ones who will inherit eternal life.
But Jesus Christ is the VINE and WE are the Branches
He is seated …
Mark 16:19 says he was caught up into Heaven and seated at the right hand of God
Acts 2:33-34 Peter said he was exalted to the right hand of the Father
Rom 8:34 says Christ … died … was raised to life – is at the right hand of God …
Heb 1:3 says he sat down at the right hand of the Father.
The fact that Jesus Christ, a Superior Messenger, is seated means his work is completed
There is nothing left to be done
There is no atoning work left to be done. You do not need to earn your salvation because then Christ would not have finished it but would still be standing and working
Jesus Christ has FINISHED the Work of Salvation
You simply must receive his Grace through Faith
Because our Superior Angel has completed all that the Father Requires.
Hebrews 8:1 says that we have a priest who sat down … in the Temple, the priests were always at work, because sin was never truly atoned for …
But we have a
Savior in Christ the Lord
“That’s wonderful Pastor, so what do you want me to do with that?”
Well, If Jesus is the greatest Messenger, and we would all most likely agree with that, then I have to ask what message, which messenger gets your ear, your eyes, your mind, and your heart the MOST?
Can I challenge you to commit to the Message of Christ?
Can I challenge you to take an audit of your time and the messages you are receiving and see who is getting the most?
Does Fox or CNN deliver you the biggest message daily?
Does ESPN give you the greatest message?
Does Hollywood give you the strongest message each week, which is often anti-marriage, anti-family, anti-God?
How are you going to interpret the message given to you by the news media, the internet, the negative person who looks down on you? How can you interpret that if you are not giving yourself a healthy dose of TRUTH found in the Word of God?
I am glad you are here on Sunday morning, but the Message I deliver to you from the Lord, every Sunday, is not enough for you.
You need to find time for participation in Bible Study through our 9:30 time on Sunday and / or Wednesday night at 6:30.
And you need to be filling yourself daily with the Message of the Greatest Messenger The Angel of the Lord, the Second Person of the Trinity, the Son of God, the Eternal Word of God, Jesus Christ.
The angel told Peter in Jail, “rise quickly” … the Angel of the Lord told Gideon “arise and go in your might” … An Angel told Elijah “Arise and eat” … an Angel told Joseph in a dream, “Go quickly”… an Angel told Philip “Arise and Go” …
Let me tell you something about the messages delivered by Angels in the Bible. It always has the same basic components.
Will You Believe Me?
Will You Go?
Will You Respond Now?
When Jesus speaks through his Word … it is not for information it is for transformation through obedience
Whose Message will you believe?
Romans 10:16-17 (NIV)
16 But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our message?” 17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.
Whose message will you believe?