How is Jesus is superior to the angels inthe book of Hebrews?
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(All quotations from the New King James translation unless stated otherwise).
Explain the different angels in the Bible.
The word translated ‘angels’ in the Old Testament is the Hebrew word Malak.
Using Strong’s concordance and a Hebrew Lexicon [dictionary]:
Angel - malak; from an unused root meaning to despatch as a deputy;
In the King James translation of the Bible, the word is translated ‘angel’ 111 times, ‘messenger’ 98 times, ‘ambassadors’ 4 times.
The word translated angels in the New Testament is the Greek word Aggelos.
Using Strong’s concordance and a Greek Lexicon [dictionary]:
Angel - aggelos from aggello meaning to bring tidings
In the King James translation of the Bible the word is translated ‘angel’ 179 times, ‘messenger’ 7 times.
Only from the context can it be decided whether the Hebrew and Greek words refer to angels of heaven or messengers of men. Angels in appearance look like men and are sometimes described as men.
Genesis 19:1 Now the two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom...
10 But the men reached out their hands and pulled Lot into the house with them, and shut the door.
They are said to excel in strength and obey the commandments of God.
Psalms 103:20 Bless the LORD, you His angels, Who excel in strength, who do His word, Heeding the voice of His word.
God always deals with men through angels.
Genesis 22:15 Then the Angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time out of heaven,
16 and said: "By Myself I have sworn, says the LORD, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son — 17 "blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. 18 "In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice."
When God is said to appear to men it is always an angel so that the following statements are not contradictory.
Exodus 33:11 So the LORD spoke to Moses face to face...
John 1:18 No one has seen God at any time...
Exodus 31:18 And when He had made an end of speaking with him on Mount Sinai, He gave Moses two tablets of the Testimony, tablets of stone, written with the finger of God.
Exodus 32:16 Now the tablets were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God engraved on the tablets.
Acts 7:53 "who have received the law by the direction of angels...
Isaiah 63:9 In all their affliction He was afflicted, And the Angel of His Presence saved them...
God led Israel through the wilderness by an angel who carried his name.
Exodus 23:20 "Behold, I send an Angel before you to keep you in the way and to bring you into the place which I have prepared. 21 "Beware of Him and obey His voice; do not provoke Him, for He will not pardon your transgressions; for My name is in Him.
The angels are sometimes referred to as sons of God (a title also used of men who serve God).
Job 38:7 When the morning stars sang together, And all the sons of God shouted for joy?
Only two angels are named in the Bible.
Daniel 8:16 And I heard a man’s voice between the banks of the Ulai, who called, and said, "Gabriel, make this man understand the vision."
Daniel 9:21 yes, while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, reached me about the time of the evening offering.
Luke 1:19 And the angel answered and said to him, "I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and was sent to speak to you and bring you these glad tidings.
Luke 1:26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth,
Daniel 10:13 "But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings of Persia.
Daniel 10:21 "But I will tell you what is noted in the Scripture of Truth. (No one upholds me against these, except Michael your prince.)
Daniel 12:1 "At that time Michael shall stand up, The great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people; And there shall be a time of trouble, Such as never was since there was a nation, Even to that time. And at that time your people shall be delivered, Every one who is found written in the book.
Jude 1:9 Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, "The Lord rebuke you!"
Jude says that Michael is an ‘archangel’ meaning a chief or leading angel and the assumption is made that Gabriel is also an archangel. They both seem to have a special commission in respect of the purpose of God.
Angels exercise the power of God in judgment upon nations.
Isaiah 37:36 Then the angel of the LORD went out, and killed in the camp of the Assyrians one hundred and eighty-five thousand; and when people arose early in the morning, there were the corpses—all dead.
Angels were given a special commission to look after Christ.
Psalms 91:11 For He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you in all your ways.
Matthew 4:6 and said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’ and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’"
At his crucifixion Christ could have asked God for angelic assistance to save him.
Matthew 26:53 "Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels?
The angels are said to rejoice when sinners repent.
Luke 15:10 "Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents."
The angels minister to those who fear God and hope in his salvation.
Psalms 34:7 The angel of the LORD encamps all around those who fear Him, And delivers them.
Hebrews 1:14 Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?
They will be instrumental in the resurrection of the dead and the gathering of the elect at the return of Christ.
2 Thessalonians 1:7 and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels,
1 Thessalonians 4:16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.
Matthew 24:31 "And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
Matthew 25:31 "When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory.
The promise to those that believe the gospel, are baptised into Christ and live by his commandments is that they will be made equal to the angels.
Matthew 22:30 "For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels of God in heaven.
Luke 20:36 "nor can they die anymore, for they are equal to the angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.
Two observations can be made here.
1. If angels do not marry then the sons of God who wives of the daughters of men cannot be referring to angels.
Genesis 6:2 that the sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves of all whom they chose.
2. If we cannot die anymore then we cannot sin anymore because the wages of sin is death. If this is ‘equal to the angels’ it follows that angels cannot sin or die. If angels can sin and die and we are made equal to them we will be no better off than we are now.When we read of angels sinning, the Bible must be speaking of men and not the angels of God.
2 Peter 2:4 For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment;
This is most likely referring to Korah Dathan and Abiram swallowed by the earth in Numbers 16:32, particularly as the word translated hell is Tartarus – the deepest region of hades in Greek mythology. By being swallowed by the earth they went to a deeper grave than normal.
If angels sin then the will of God is not done perfectly in Heaven and the request in the ‘Lord’s prayer’ that the will of God might be done on earth as it is in heaven, becomes meaningless.
If angels cannot sin then Satan the devil cannot be the fallen angel of popular Christian mythology but must be a personification of something else (I will not deal with this here).
Explain when it says that Jesus is superior to the angels in the book of Hebrews.
Jesus did not literally exist before he was born of Mary.
He existed only in the plan and purpose of God.
1 Peter 1:20 He indeed was foreordained (foreknown) before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you
He was made of a woman; made under the law.
AV Galatians 4:4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,
In this way he was created with our nature.
Hebrews 2:17 Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation (atonement or reconciliation) for the sins of the people.
That he might be tempted to sin and tried in exactly the same way that we are.
Hebrews 4:15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.
He was made with our nature, lower than the angels (who cannot die) so that he could die.
Hebrews 2:9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.
Having lived a sinless life and sacrificed himself for us; God raised him from the dead, gave him the divine nature and authority over the angels.
Hebrews 1:4 having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. 5 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"? 6 But when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says: "Let all the angels of God worship Him."
The phrase ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You’ is associated not with his birth but with his resurrection to the divine nature.
Acts 13:33 "God has fulfilled this for us their children, in that He has raised up Jesus. As it is also written in the second Psalm: ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.’
As it is written in psalm 89
Psalms 89:27 Also I will make him My firstborn, The highest of the kings of the earth.
‘the firstborn’ is the firstborn from the dead.
Colossians 1:18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.
Revelation 1:5 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead...
When Jesus was raised from the dead he said that all authority in heaven and earth was now his.
Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.
This of course excludes God, who gave him the authority.
Prior to his crucifixion Christ could have asked for the assistance of angels, now he commands them.
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I hope this helps.