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Hebrews 1:4-14

Sunday Morning Bible Study

May 27, 2018

Memorial Day was originally known as “Decoration Day”, was started in the years following the Civil War, and intended to honor the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military.

Memorial Day Video:  Twila Paris – What Did He Die For


Caleb & Kim

Kim and the kids got back on Thursday.
The house got set up and looks wonderful!  Thanks for all the donations and help!!
Caleb returns on Tuesday (May 29).  I think we’ll see him next Sunday.
The elders are going to allow donations to the Beller Fund through the end of June.


We don’t know for sure who wrote the book of Hebrews, but we do have a pretty good idea of who it was written to.

Hebrews was written to Jewish believers.

The author expects the readers to be well acquainted with Levitical worship and sacrifice.
He will constantly quote the Old Testament in a way that expects that the reader understands what he’s talking about.

We also know that these believers were encountering very strong persecution.

Times were so bad that some were beginning to wonder if they shouldn’t quit following Jesus.

We will see three elements woven throughout this letter to the Hebrews.

1.  Both Testaments

Even though the Old Testament has become “obsolete” (Heb. 8:13), the entire book of Hebrews is built upon the clear foundation of the Old Testament.
(Hebrews 8:13 NKJV) In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.
You aren’t going to understand Hebrews, or even the New Testament correctly unless you learn the Old Testament.

2. Jesus is superior

We’ll see that Jesus is superior to angels.
He’s superior to Moses and the Torah.
He’s superior to the Levitical priests and their sacrifices.

3. Don’t quit

The ultimate goal of the book is to encourage those who are struggling with difficult times, and help them to endure.
There’s much to find strength from and not quit.

Last week we ended in the middle of a sentence about Jesus,

(Hebrews 1:3 NKJV) who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,

1:4-14 Better than angels

:4 having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.

:4 having become so much better than the angels

so muchtosoutos – of quantity: so great, so many

better thankreitton – more useful, more serviceable, more advantageous; more excellent

One of the goals of Hebrews is to show us how much better Jesus is than all the other choices out there. 

He became better than the angels because for a time, He made Himself lower than the angels.

Today we’ll see that He’s better than the angels.

Why angels?
According to Jewish tradition, the Law of Moses didn’t just come through Moses, but it came with the help of angels. (Deut. 33:2)

(Deuteronomy 33:2b NKJV) …And He came with ten thousands of saints; From His right hand Came a fiery law for them.

Angels were very involved in the Exodus from Egypt:

(Exodus 23:20 NKJV) “Behold, I send an Angel before you to keep you in the way and to bring you into the place which I have prepared.

angelsaggelos – a messenger, envoy, one who is sent

The Hebrew word used in the Old Testament is mal’ak, and carries the exact same meaning as the Greek word.
The word can be used to describe that special race of created beings that serve God – the definition we’ll be mainly using today.
We know the names of some of the angels, such as Gabriel, and Michael.
It can also be used to describe any kind of messenger.
It’s used of ordinary humans, like John the Baptist (Mat. 11:10)

(Matthew 11:10 NKJV) For this is he of whom it is written: ‘Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, Who will prepare Your way before You.’

There is one unique “angel” mentioned in the Old Testament who does not belong to that race of created beings like Gabriel.
That person is known as “the Angel of the LORD”, or “the messenger of Yahweh”.
This person is known with an exact combination of Hebrew words, the mal’ak of Yahweh.
He appeared to Hagar (Gen. 16:7)

(Genesis 16:7 NKJV) Now the Angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, by the spring on the way to Shur.

He appeared to Abraham (Gen. 22:11)

(Genesis 22:11 NKJV) But the Angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” So he said, “Here I am.”

He was at the burning bush with Moses (Ex. 3:2)

(Exodus 3:2 NKJV) And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed.

He is found in 52 verses in the Old Testament.
This person is none other than Jesus Christ, appearing before He took on flesh in Bethlehem.

When the author of Hebrews is making his case that Jesus is better than the angels, he’s not talking about this personage, because it is Jesus.

:4 He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name

more excellentdiaphoros – different, varying in kind; excellent, surpassing

This is in the “comparative” form.  Not just “excellent”, but “more excellent”.

by inheritance obtainedkleronomeo – to receive a lot, receive by lot; esp. to receive a part of an inheritance, receive as an inheritance, obtain by right of inheritance; to be an heir, to inherit; to receive the portion assigned to one, receive an allotted portion, receive as one’s own or as a possession; to become partaker of, to obtain

This is a perfect tense – something done in the past with it’s results carrying on into the present.

nameonoma – name: univ. of proper names; the name is used for everything which the name covers, everything the thought or feeling of which is aroused in the mind by mentioning, hearing, remembering, the name, i.e. for one’s rank, authority, interests, pleasure, command, excellences, deeds etc.

Contrary to some false doctrine, Jesus was not a created being like the other angels.

Jesus has always existed as God and yet functions as the “Son” to God the “Father”.

He was “begotten” when He was born in a manger to a human mother, Mary.
Since God is His “Father”, He has quite an amazing “inheritance”, something that is much greater than even the angels.

: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”?

:5 to which of the angels did He ever say

did He ever say – Said who?  God the Father (still the subject from verse 1)

To which of this race of created beings did God ever say…

Most of your Bibles will have some sort of indicator to show that the following is a quote from the Old Testament.  It may be with italics, or with bold print.

:5 You are My Son, Today I have begotten You

this daysemeron – this (very) day)

begottengennao – of men who fathered children; to be born; of God making Christ his son

Perfect tense

This is a quote from Psalm 2, a Messianic Psalm.

The Psalm even uses the word “Messiah” (anointed, vs.2).

It speaks about the nations one day gathering to make war against the Messiah.

It ends by encouraging the nations to follow the Son rather than rebel against Him:

(Psalm 2:12 NKJV) Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, And you perish in the way, When His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.

In the middle of the Psalm, David writes,

(Psalm 2:7 NKJV) “I will declare the decree: The Lord has said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.
God the Father calls the Messiah His “Son”

:5 I will be to Him a Father, And He shall be to Me a Son

This is a new quote.

In 2Samuel 7, David has come up with the idea of building a “house” for God.  He asks the prophet Nathan to speak to God about this.

Nathan comes back with a word from God that David isn’t going to build God a house, but that God will build David a house.  Included in God’s prophecy for David is the promise the Messiah being a descendant of David with this word:

(2 Samuel 7:14 NKJV) I will be his Father, and he shall be My son…
Though part of this prophecy is fulfilled through Solomon, it will ultimately be fulfilled by Jesus.

:6 But when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says: “Let all the angels of God worship Him.”

:6 when He again brings the firstborn into the world

brings … intoeisago – to lead in; to bring in, the place into which not being expressly stated

Question:  Who “brings the firstborn …”?  God the Father (still from verse 1)

firstbornprototokos – the firstborn

worldoikoumene – the inhabited earth; the universe, the world

Jesus had existed since eternity past in heaven with the Father.  When He was born in a manger in Bethlehem, He came into our dimension, the “inhabited earth”.

Jesus is the “firstborn” in that He was “born” of God through Mary. 

The word “firstborn” also speaks of “preeminence”, being the most important one.

(Psalm 89:27 NKJV) Also I will make him My firstborn, The highest of the kings of the earth.

:6 Let all the angels of God worship Him.

worshipproskuneo – to kiss the hand to (towards) one, in token of reverence; among the Orientals, esp. the Persians, to fall upon the knees and touch the ground with the forehead as an expression of profound reverence; in the NT by kneeling or prostration to do homage (to one) or make obeisance, whether in order to express respect or to make supplication

The writer here is quoting from:

(Psalm 97:7 NKJV) Let all be put to shame who serve carved images, Who boast of idols. Worship Him, all you gods.
It might sound as if the writer doesn’t do a very good job quoting the Old Testament, but he is actually quoting exactly from the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament.

:7 And of the angels He says: “Who makes His angels spirits And His ministers a flame of fire.”

:7 Who makes His angels spirits And His ministers a flame of fire

he says – Says WHO?  God the Father (the subject from verse 1)

Here the write is quoting from Psalm 104:4

(Psalm 104:4 NKJV) Who makes His angels spirits, His ministers a flame of fire.

spiritspneuma – spirit, a movement of air, wind, breath

Translating this as “winds” would fit the parallel with fire better.
Angels are sometimes connected to forces of nature, such as the pillar of cloud by day and fire by night that led the nation out of Egypt.  God referred to it as His “angel”. (Ex. 14:19)
(Exodus 14:19 NKJV) And the Angel of God, who went before the camp of Israel, moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud went from before them and stood behind them.

ministersleitourgos – servant; of the temple; of one busied with holy things; of a priest

firepur – fire

flamephlox – a flame

Several ideas in this passage:

Whereas the Son is “begotten”, the angels are “made” or “created”.
Whereas the Son will rule (Heb. 1:8,9), the angels will “serve” (“ministers”).

:8 But to the Son He says:Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom.

thronethronos – a throne seat; a chair of state having a footstool; assigned in the NT to kings, hence, kingly power or royalty

for everaion for ever, an unbroken age, perpetuity of time, eternity; the worlds, universe; period of time, age

sceptrerhabdos – a staff, a walking stick, a twig, rod, branch; a rod with which one is beaten; a staff; when applied to kings; with a rod of iron, indicates the severest, most rigorous rule; a royal sceptre

righteousnesseuthutes – rectitude, righteousness

from euthus (“well” + “to place”) – straight, level; straight forward, upright, true, sincere

:9 You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of gladness more than Your companions.”

lovedagapao – of persons; to welcome, to entertain, to be fond of, to love dearly; to be well pleased, to be contented at or with a thing

righteousnessdikaiosune – in a broad sense: state of him who is as he ought to be, righteousness, the condition acceptable to God; integrity, virtue, purity of life, rightness, correctness of thinking, feeling, and acting

iniquityanomia – the condition of without law; contempt and violation of law, iniquity, wickedness

hath anointedchrio – to anoint; consecrating Jesus to the Messianic office, and furnishing him with the necessary powers for its administration; enduing Christians with the gifts of the Holy Spirit

oilelaion – olive oil

gladnessagalliasis – exultation, extreme joy, gladness

At feasts, people were anointed with the "oil of gladness".  Paul, in #Heb 1:9, is alluding to this inaugural ceremony of anointing, and uses it as an emblem of the divine power and majesty to which to which the Son of God has been exalted.

Ac 10:38  How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.

fellowsmetochos – sharing in, partaking; a partner (in a work, office, dignity)

:8 Your throne, O God, is forever

Verses 8,9 are a direct quote from Psalm 45:6-7.

(Psalm 45:6–7 NKJV) —6 Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom. 7 You love righteousness and hate wickedness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of gladness more than Your companions.

If you’re reading Psalm 45, you might think it’s the Psalmist talking to God here about God’s throne, but it’s not.

The passage in Psalms can seem quite confusing because it seems to flip back and forth between who is saying what.
The writer of Hebrews clarifies the confusion.
It’s God the Father saying this to God the Son.


God calls Jesus “God”

Is it that important that we see Jesus as “God”?
John called Jesus God.
(John 1:1 NKJV) In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Paul called Jesus God.
(Colossians 2:9 NKJV) For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily;
Jesus called Himself God.
(John 10:30 NKJV) I and My Father are one.”
The Jews understood that Jesus was calling Himself God.
(John 10:33 NKJV) The Jews answered Him, saying, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God.”
And even here in this passage, God the Father has called Jesus God.
Jesus will be ruling on a throne “forever”.

:8 A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom

scepterrhabdos – a staff, a walking stick, branch; a rod with which one is beaten; a royal scepter

A “scepter” can be a walking stick, or maybe even a baseball bat.
Kings have a “scepter” that is symbolic of their power to rule.

God is saying that that the Messiah’s “scepter” is a scepter that represents righteousness, doing things according to God’s standard.

We call that “obedience”

As a result of how the Messiah obeys, God has …

:9 anointed You with the oil of gladness


Joy in obedience

I think that sometimes we think that living a life of obedience to God is a little like …
Video:  Ben Hur – Row Well and Live

And that “rowing” thing looks like …

Video:  Ben Hur – Ramming Speed

It doesn’t look very joyful to me.

God anointed the Messiah with the oil of gladness because the Messiah loved righteousness and hated lawlessness, just like God.
In other words, Jesus had great joy because He lived of life of whole hearted obedience to the Father.
gladnessagalliasis – exultation, extreme joy, gladness
After extensive research, I think that word looks like this:

Video:  Snoopy’s Happy Dance

Do you have trouble experiencing “joy” in serving the Lord?
Perhaps it’s because you might need a sort of attitude adjustment.
You need to adjust your standards, the way you “rule” your life, the kind of “scepter” that you rule with.
If you have been deceived to think that fleshly sinful things are the only way to experience joy, then you’ve been deceived by Satan.

Do you really feel that “joyful” after sinning?

(Romans 6:23 NKJV) For the wages of sin is death…

The “Happy Dance” comes from doing what’s right … obedience.
The joy is also connected with the “anointing”.  God “anoints” the Messiah with the oil of gladness.
Oil is a consistent picture in the Bible of the Holy Spirit.
If you are trying to live a life of obedience without the power of the Holy Spirit in your life, your life is NOT going to be filled with joy.  You’ll be down rowing with the slaves.
Real joy comes from knowing what the right thing is to do, and with the help of the Holy Spirit actually getting it done.
Maybe joy is like what a baseball player experiences when he hits a home run with his “scepter”…

Video:  Best Bat Flips Ever

:10 And: “You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands.

The “And” shows us this is just another of the Scriptures that are talking about the Son.

These next three verses all come from the same passage.

:11 They will perish, but You remain; And they will all grow old like a garment;

perishapollumi – to destroy; to put out of the way entirely, abolish, put an end to ruin; to perish, to be lost, ruined, destroyed

remaindiameno – to stay permanently, remain permanently, continue

they will … grow oldpalaioo – to make ancient or old; to become old, to be worn out; of things worn out by time and use; to declare a thing to be old and so about to be abrogated

:11 They will perish, but You remain

Talking about creation perishing, not angels.  One day the heavens and earth will pass away.

:12 Like a cloak You will fold them up, And they will be changed. But You are the same, And Your years will not fail.”

cloakperibolaion – a covering thrown around, a wrapper; a mantle; a veil

fold them uphelisso – to roll up, fold together

they will be changedallasso (from the word allos, “another”) – to change, to exchange one thing for another, to transform

will not failekleipo – fail; to fail; to leave off, cease, stop; of the failing or eclipse of the light of the sun and the moon

:10 in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth

laid the foundationthemelioo – to lay the foundation, to found; to make stable, establish

beginningarche – beginning, origin

Verses 10-12 are quoting from Psalm 102:25-27.

(Psalm 102:25–27 NKJV) —25 Of old You laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands. 26 They will perish, but You will endure; Yes, they will all grow old like a garment; Like a cloak You will change them, And they will be changed. 27 But You are the same, And Your years will have no end.
In reading the Psalm, you would think that the Psalmist is simply talking about God the Father, but the writer of Hebrews is telling us that this was written about the Son.

This is very similar to what John wrote,

(John 1:3 NKJV) —1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.
From the beginning, Jesus was involved in every aspect of Creation.

:12 they will be changed. But You are the same

All of creation around us will one day change, will one day pass away.

God on the other hand will never change.

We get very attached to the things of this world.
Our new car gets a scratch and we go crazy.
One day it will all pass away.
Invest your life in what lasts.  The things of God last.

:13 But to which of the angels has He ever said: “Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool”?

footstool translates two words:

footstoolhupopodion – a footstool; to make one a footstool of one’s feet, i.e. to subject, to reduce under one’s power; metaph. taken from the practice of conquerors who placed their feet on the necks of their conquered enemies

footstoolpous – a foot; often in the orient, one put his foot on vanquished

It’s literally, “Till I make Your enemies a footstool for your feet”

:13 Sit at My right hand

This verse comes from Psalm 110:1, a recognized Messianic Psalm.

(Psalm 110:1 NKJV) The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.”
This is one of the Scriptures that Jesus stumped the Pharisees on, because they couldn’t understand how David could be talking about his son and calling him “Lord”. (Mat. 22:41-46)

(Matthew 22:41–46 NKJV) —41 While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, 42 saying, “What do you think about the Christ? Whose Son is He?” They said to Him, “The Son of David.” 43 He said to them, “How then does David in the Spirit call Him ‘Lord,’ saying: 44 ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool” ’? 45 If David then calls Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his Son?” 46 And no one was able to answer Him a word, nor from that day on did anyone dare question Him anymore.

The seat on the right side of a king was reserved for the most important person after the king.

Who is God telling to sit on His right hand? 
It’s the Messiah, not an angel.

:14 Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?

:14 Are they not all ministering spirits

ministeringleitourgikos – relating to the performance of service, employed in ministering

spiritspneuma – spirit

to ministerdiakonia – service, ministering, esp. of those who execute the commands of others

sent forthapostello – to order (one) to go to a place appointed; to send away, dismiss

them who shall bemello – to be about; to be on the point of doing or suffering something

We are the ones who are “about to be” heirs of salvation.

This is the purpose of the angels.



Angels are here to help us, like those “helpful Honda guys”.
Video:  Honda Penguin Commercial
So what kinds of things do angels do? (besides play baseball)
1. Worship God

I’m not sure if angels play a direct part in our worship, or that they help us in specific ways, but I’d like to state that they know how to worship God.

(Revelation 5:11–12 NKJV) —11 Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, 12 saying with a loud voice: “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain To receive power and riches and wisdom, And strength and honor and glory and blessing!”

When you and I worship God, our main audience ought to be God Himself – He is the one we are singing to.

But just keep in mind that angels may be joining in as well.

2. Serve God

(Psalm 103:20–21 NKJV) —20 Bless the Lord, you His angels, Who excel in strength, who do His word, Heeding the voice of His word. 21 Bless the Lord, all you His hosts, You ministers of His, who do His pleasure.

When you are doing things to serve God, there may be some invisible help.

3. Answers to prayer

Angels are used by God at times to answer our prayers.

Several times Daniel the prophet asked God for help, and God responded by sending an angel (Dan. 9:21; 10:10-14)

(Daniel 9:21 NKJV) 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.

(Daniel 10:10–14 NKJV) —10 Suddenly, a hand touched me, which made me tremble on my knees and on the palms of my hands. 11 And he said to me, “O Daniel, man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak to you, and stand upright, for I have now been sent to you.” While he was speaking this word to me, I stood trembling. 12 Then he said to me, “Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words. 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. 14 Now I have come to make you understand what will happen to your people in the latter days, for the vision refers to many days yet to come.”

4. Invisible help

They are here to render us service but we don’t always see them.

When Elisha was surrounded by the Syrian army, his servant was freaking out.

Elisha prayed for God to open the servants eyes and he saw that they were surrounded by a far greater army of angels. (2Ki. 6:16-17)

(2 Kings 6:16–17 NKJV) —16 So he answered, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” 17 And Elisha prayed, and said, “Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

Jesus warned about not causing others to stumble,

(Matthew 18:10 The Message) “Watch that you don’t treat a single one of these childlike believers arrogantly. You realize, don’t you, that their personal angels are constantly in touch with my Father in heaven?

This is where the concept of “guardian angels” come from.

Have you ever had an unexplained situation where you came out of it unscathed?

I remember a situation forty years ago, driving my 1970 VW van filled with about eight pastors on our way to a Bible Study at Calvary Costa Mesa.  We were on the 5 freeway coming up to the 55.  The traffic suddenly stopped.  I put my foot on the brake as hard as I could, and to this day I have NO IDEA how we stopped with that much weight in the van.  Except I think an angel got squished between my front spare tire and the car in front of me.

:13 Sit at My right hand


Jesus is better

The writer of Hebrews has given us a few reasons why Jesus is better than the angels.
He is God’s Son (vs. 5)
Angels worship Jesus (vs. 6)
Angels are created (vs. 7)
Jesus is God (vs. 8)
Jesus is the Creator (vs. 10-12)
Jesus sits at God’s right hand (vs. 13)
Did you know that besides being so awesome, Jesus loves you very, very much?
Did you know that He took on human flesh and died on the cross in order to pay for your sins?
He longs for you to turn from your sins and to follow Him.