Posts Tagged ‘Hebrews’

5. Jesus Christ is Lord of all – especially Angels

  • Simply because Jesus is positioned above all does not guarantee He will be worshiped as Lord over all.
  • The Holy Spirit wants us to wrap our hearts around the Lordship of Jesus Christ, the view of Him upon the Throne!
  • The Holy Spirit wants Christ enthroned within our life, so that our living is centered upon His Majesty!

Why does the Holy Spirit consider this truth so important?

The teaching of Hebrews one should be obvious to everyone, right? But people through the ages tend to worship something or someone rather that Jesus Christ. Either they feel He is out of reach, that they must use an intermediary (as the Catholics & Orthodox Church with their ‘saints and icons’), or that He is just a “super angel” (as the Mormons and Muslims believe).

A. Consider the Jewish View of Angels

Galatians 3:19 Why the Law then? It was added because of transgressions, having been ordained through angels by the agency of a mediator, until the seed would come to whom the promise had been made.

Now the old covenant was brought to man and maintained by angelic mediation. The angels ministered between God and men to carry on the work of the old covenant. The Jews knew this and consequently believed in angels. Some of them believed in angels to such a degree that they actually worshiped angels.

B. This Developed into Heretical Worship

How do we know? By Paul’s letter to the Colossians

Colossians 2:18 Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind,

Paul’s statement in Colossians 2:18 shows that the self-appointed teachers at Colossae taught a doctrine of “false humility and the worship of angels.” But the pagan Greeks had no concept of angels. This is a tenet of Judaism and became further corrupted into the heresy of Gnosticism. Gnosticism (along with many other things), involved the worship of angels. Gnostics reduced Jesus Christ to an angel.

The tenor of the false doctrine at Colossae was that the Colossians were not complete in Christ (Colossians 2:8-9 See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily,) and needed to approach God through angelic beings. Since the angels are much inferior to the Supreme God, the Colossians would have to lower their sights, so to speak, by approaching angels first!

The basic thought seems to have been the Christian’s need to reach beyond Christ to a Supreme God through the mediation of angelic beings. These beings were of lower standing on the ascending scale to ultimate truth. Therefore the believers who sought to reach God directly or through one mediator, Christ, were presumptuous and needed a measure of self-abasement that would enable them to begin lower down on the scale. They could seek gradual completeness by invoking the mediation of lower, but more readily accessible, beings. This self-imposed humility, along with the active neglect of the body, would enhance their spirituality and their quest for completeness.

Paul’s evaluation of the Colossian heresy was that it did not amount to true humility, as they had thought, but to a type of pride and carnality — a mere “appearance of wisdom” (2:23) — that was denying the significance of Christ.

Paul corrected this heresy by stressing that all believers were members of the Body of Christ, who is the Head. Since Christ had triumphed over all “powers and authorities” (2:15), the members of Christ’s Body did not need anything beyond Christ.

So Chapter one is important to frame your view of Who Jesus Christ is, and how He relates to your faith walk!

  • Jesus is the Communicator of God’s Message to you
  • Jesus is the Creator who maintains this world through the power of His Word.
  • Jesus is the Conqueror, having purified this world.
  • Jesus is the one who is crowned as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

6. Scriptural Proof that Jesus Surpasses the Angels and is Worthy of ALL Worship

The Writer provides us five Scriptural Proofs that Jesus is better than angels. He quotes seven Old Testament verses as He weaves this truth into the New Testament,

Jesus Christ surpasses the angels in His Title, His Worship, His Nature, His Eternity, and His Destiny!

A. His TITLE (vs 4,5)

Hebrews 1:5 a more excellent name … for to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my Son, today I have begotten (gegennēka– become your Father) you?” Or again, “I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son?”

Jesus is better than angels, because He has a better name. To what angel did God ever say “you are my Son, this day have I begotten thee?”

1)    No angel was ever called “my Son”.

The idea in the words, “I have begotten thee” are “I have begotten thee to kingly dignity.” The reference is not to entrance into life, but to entrance to an office. The Messianic reference is to the Son’s resurrection (Acts 13:33), and to the declaration of the Father with reference to the character of the Son as Son of God, this declaration being substantiated by the resurrection of the Son (Rom. 1:4). But the writer reminds his readers that such statements were never made of angels.[1]

Acts 13:33 this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus, as also it is written in the second Psalm, “ ‘You are my Son, today I have begotten you.’

Romans 1:4 and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord,

2)    No Angel was ever “Begotten”

This is clarified in Hebrews 1:6 when He states:

Hebrews 1:6 And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says, “Let all God’s angels worship him.”

3)    Jesus Christ is prōtótokos[2]

This is a reference to Christ’s position not just the moment of His birth (time). It is a reference to right and authority. Jesus was the ONLY begotten Son of God. He was the only one whom God declared to be His Son, His prototokos!

Example of Jacob & Esau

There were two brothers in the Old Testament, one was named Jacob, and one was named Esau. Who was the oldest? Esau. Who was the prototokos? Jacob. Jacob was the prototokos. Esau was the oldest.

Example of Reuben

Genesis 49 tells us about the character of prototokos and what it means.

Genesis 49:3, “Reuben, thou art my first-born, my might and the beginning of my strength, the excellence of dignity, the excellence of power.”

Jesus is the strength, the excellence of dignity and power of God. Prototokos is not a time word; it is a right to rule word. It’s an authority word. And Jesus Christ is the prototokos in the sense that He has the right to rule.

Colossians 1:18, “And He is the head of the church, the body, who is the beginning, the first-born from the dead.”

John 3: 16 says that Jesus is the only begotten, but uses “monogenes” –the only one of that class (gene). Jesus is totally unique, the only gene, the only one.

John alone uses monogenés to describe the relation of Jesus to God the Father, presenting Him as the unique one, the only one (mónos) of a class or kind (génos), in the discussion of the relationship of the Son to the Father[3]

B. His Worship (vs 6)

Hebrews 1:6 And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says, “Let all God’s angels worship him.”

Because of His Position as the Only, the Unique, the First in position Son of God, Jesus is greater because of the Worship that is given to Him.

“And again when He bringeth in the prototokos into the world He saith let all the angels of God worship Him.”

Now the world here is not the common word for world, it’s the word for inhabited earth. Now in the mind of God Jesus was the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world. But as far as the Angels were concerned, the Begotten Jesus was a new thing. They did not quite understand. They had to be told to worship Jesus.

The word for world does not refer to ‘kosmos’ or creation.  It is the Greek ‘oikoumenēn’ which means the inhabited earth. Jesus was not declared the first begotten until the earth was already inhabited.

When the Angels sang at His birth, they were not worshipping Him. Listen to what they sang: Luke 2:14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. The angels did not quite understand what was going on. Peter writes:

1 Peter 1:10-12 Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.

The angels did not worship the Christ, for at that time He was made a little lower than them. Oh, I’m sure there were some who worshiped  like Gabriel, but the Bible says the Angels were like the prophets, standing on their “tippy toes” looking at Jesus and trying to figure out what was going on.

But the time will come when they will understand. That day is revealed in Revelation 5:

Here we see God sitting on the throne, holding a scroll which is the “Title Deed” to the earth. No one is found who is worthy to take the Title Deed and judge the Earth, and restore it to Creator God.  John starts to weep uncontrollably.

Revelation 5:5 But one of the twenty-four elders said to me, “Stop weeping! Look, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the heir to David’s throne, has won the victory. He is worthy to open the scroll and its seven seals.”

Then the Lamb steps forward and takes the scroll and opens the seals. He has gained to right, power and authority to return to the Earth and take possession of it, and to right the curse.

Look at what happens with the angels next:

Revelation 5:11-12 Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!”.

The angels say “oh, we understand now, and they immediately burst out in worship and praise!

This is angelic worship

Revelation 5:13 And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!”

Revelation 5:14 And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped.

That’s the Amen corner of heaven, those four living creatures.

God commands His angels to worship Him. And if God, in the Old Testament (Psalm 97:7 All worshipers of images are put to shame, who make their boast in worthless idols; worship him, all you gods!), commanded the angels to worship His Son, then His Son is God.

C. Jesus is Greater because of His Nature (vs 9)

Luke 24:27 refers to the conversation Jesus had with the two disciples walking to Emmaus. “And beginning at Moses and all the prophets He expounded unto them in all the Scriptures OT, “the things concerning Himself.”

There is no way that anyone, Jew or Gentile, will ever understand the Old Testament until he understands it in terms of Jesus Christ.

John 5:39 records a statement made by Jesus in the Temple, as He looked upon the Pharisees making a show of reading through the Old Testament. “Search the Scriptures.” (OT) “For in them ye think ye have eternal life and they are they which testify of me.”

Jesus lets everyone know that the Old Testament testifies of Him!

Jesus is also the theme of the New Testament. John gives us the purpose of the writing of his book, in John 20:31, “But these are written that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and that believing you might have life through His name.”

So both the Old Testament and the New Testament have as their theme, the person of Jesus Christ.

  • What the Old Testament concealed of Christ, the New Testament revealed.
  • What the Old Testament contained of Christ, the New Testament explained.
  • What the Old Testament gave in precept of Christ, the New Testament gives in perfection.
  • What the Old Testament presented of Christ in shadow, the New Testament presents in substance.
  • What the Old Testament presented of Christ in ritual, the New Testament presents in reality.
  • What the Old Testament presented of Christ in picture the New Testament presents of Christ in person. (John MacArthur)
    • The foretold is fulfilled,
    • Prophecy becomes history,
    • Pre-incarnation becomes incarnation.

There is no way that a man will ever understand the Old Testament apart from understanding and knowing Jesus ChristOnly Christ can remove the veil. Only Jesus Christ removes the veil and gives you understanding of the old covenant.

Jesus is superior to angels because of His nature. And here the Holy Spirit shows the basic difference in the nature of angels and of the Son Jesus Christ.

The Nature of Angels

1.  Angels are Created

  • Verse 7, “And of the angels, he saith who maketh His angels spirits and His ministers a flame of fire?”

Now here in this verse we see the nature of angels. What are angels? Well, first of all, who maketh His angels? That’s the word apotelo, to create. The antecedent of who is Christ. Who created angels? Christ. If Christ created angels He is what? Better than angels.

Hebrews 1:2 it says “By His Son whom He hath appointed heir of all things and by whom also He made the ionus.” He made the universe of time space. He made the ages. He made the world.

Jesus made the angels. So we know first of all that they are created beings.

“Who maketh His angels.”

What kind of pronoun is His? It is possessive. Whose angels are these? They are His own angels. He makes His own angels. This is a quote from Psalm 104:4.

2. Angels are Messengers of His judgments

Psalm 104:4 He makes his messengers winds, his ministers a flaming fire.

His ministers are winds and flames of fire. You say why would they be called winds? Well, invisible, powerful, rapid movement. Then they’re called flames of fire.  Angels not only blow or move rapidly and invisibly and powerfully to carry out God’s bidding, but they are also flames of fire. Fire usually refers to divine judgment.

  • Angels are God’s executioners. Angels execute judgment.
  • If you are an unbeliever, you do not want to be “touched by an angel.”

a.  Genesis Chapter 19 we see the destruction of Sodom.

Genesis 19:13-22 For we are about to destroy this place, because the outcry against its people has become great before the LORD, and the LORD has sent us to destroy it.” So Lot went out and said to his sons-in-law, who were to marry his daughters, “Up! Get out of this place, for the LORD is about to destroy the city.” But he seemed to his sons-in-law to be jesting. As morning dawned, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Up! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be swept away in the punishment of the city.” But he lingered. So the men seized him and his wife and his two daughters by the hand, the LORD being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city. And as they brought them out, one said, “Escape for your life. Do not look back or stop anywhere in the valley. Escape to the hills, lest you be swept away.” And Lot said to them, “Oh, no, my lords. Behold, your servant has found favor in your sight, and you have shown me great kindness in saving my life. But I cannot escape to the hills, lest the disaster overtake me and I die. Behold, this city is near enough to flee to, and it is a little one. Let me escape there—is it not a little one?—and my life will be saved!” He said to him, “Behold, I grant you this favor also, that I will not overthrow the city of which you have spoken. Escape there quickly, for I can do nothing till you arrive there.” Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar.

Angels are sent to destroy Sodom. And they had to grab Lot and his crew and drag them out of the city. Now you remember his wife was warned not to look back and she did and turned into a pillar of salt.

b.    We see this in Psalms 78

Psalm 78:49 He let loose on them his burning anger, wrath, indignation, and distress, a company of destroying angels.

c.     We see this in Matthew 13:

Matthew 13:41-42 The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Angels are created beings, created by Jesus Christ and possessed by Him. Angels then are created servants. They do not operate independently. They operate at God’s direction and Christ’s direction.

The Nature of Jesus

Hebrews 1:8 But of the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom.

a.    The Son is the eternal God!

The Father says to the Son, “thy throne Oh God is forever and ever.” The Father acknowledges the Son as God.

John 5:18 This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.

John 10:30 “I and the Father are one.”

1 John 5:20 And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.

Then in verse 9, He moves back to the incarnate Son-ship and sees Jesus incarnate.

b.    The Son Loves Righteousness

Hebrews 1:9 You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.”

This verse tells us something about Jesus in His incarnation. “You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness.” Now those words reveal not only the actions of Jesus, but His motives. He didn’t just do righteousness. He loved righteousness.

If you love God’s right standards, he would hate the wrong standards. The two are inseparable. One cannot exist without the other.

When there is true love for God there will be true love for righteousness and there will be total hatred for sin. Jesus hated sin. You see it in His temptation. You see it in His cleansing the temple. You see it in His death on the cross.

The more you and I become conformed to Jesus Christ, the more we’re going to find we love righteousness and hate sin. And you can pretty well tell how close to being conformed to Christ you are by your attitude towards righteousness and toward sin.

c.     Jesus is anointed above the Angels.

Hebrews 1:9 “therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.”

Companions simply means associates. The Greek word implies an association. And the point that is being made here is that Jesus Christ is greater than angels and angels were only messengers of God. Christ was a messenger from God, but greater than they. And so companions has reference to angels. And in the Old Testament Christ was even called the messenger of the Lord or the angel of the Lord.

And so He’s exalted above the others. That’s a clear statement that Jesus is better than angels. When Jesus Christ is anointed that puts Him on top. He is greater than His fellows, superior to angels. He is the anointed.

Jesus was God’s anointed. And notice that He was anointed with the oil of gladness. When did this happen? Jesus received His coronation when He went to heaven after His resurrection. It was at that time that the Father exalted Him and gave Him the name above every name. He assumed His kingship at His ascension.

Verses 8 and 9 establish Christ’s deity. They establish His exalted position. They mention His kingship. They reveal the excellence of His rule. They show the perfection of His incarnate character. They indicate His willing submission to God in Sonship. They announce His coronation. They reveal His preeminence. Just those two verses.

  • So His title, His worship, His nature show that He’s better than angels.

D. His Eternity (vs 10-12)

Hebrews 1:10-12 And, “You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of your hands; they will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment, like a robe you will roll them up, like a garment they will be changed. But you are the same, and your years will have no end.”

Here the Holy Spirit quotes Psalm 45:6-7 to show that Christ is better because He is the eternal creator and will exist eternally.

Hebrews 1:10 And, “You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of your hands;

If Christ was there in the beginning to create, He must have been before the beginning, which makes Him without beginning. To create in the beginning He must have been before the beginning and thus without beginning.

Hebrews 1:11 they will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment,

Jesus is no created being. He is eternal. He is immutable, which means He never changes. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. And so He contrasts the passing of the temporal with the eternal.

Hebrews 1:12 like a robe you will roll them up, like a garment they will be changed. But you are the same, and your years will have no end.”

The Holy Spirit is saying that everything folds up. Christ will roll the mountains up. He will roll the moons up. He will roll the planets us. He will roll the Stars and the planets. Thinks that in our mind are permanent, fixed, immovable, Christ will roll up like a used newspaper.

In 2 Peter we are told:

2 Peter 3:3-4 knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.”

People nowadays are saying that Jesus isn’t coming, that God is a myth, or He doesn’t care about us. Everything will continue like it is, you only go around once so grab for all the gusto you can. It is up to us to take care of this planet. So we need to watch carbon emissions. We need to curb global warming. We need to help Mother Nature.

This old planet is millions of years old and it’s got to last another million years.

“They shall perish, but thou remain. They shall become old as doth a garment.” Clothes get old you throw them away. And look at this, “as a robe you will roll them up.”

Did you know that God is going to roll up the heavens like an old coat?

In Revelation 6:14, we see the rolling up of the heavens:

Revelation 6:14 The sky vanished like a scroll that is being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place.

During the tribulation it will be as if the heaven’s are stretched to all the possible corners and the corners are all cut and it just rolls right up like a scroll. That is what will happen to the heavens.

2 Peter 3:10-13 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

And so men come and go. Worlds come and go. Stars come and go. Angels are subject to decay as the fall of angels indicates. Jesus Christ never changes, is never subject to change, is never subject to alteration. He is eternally the same.

Therefore Jesus is superior to angels in title, in worship, in nature, in eternity and finally in destiny.

E.  In His Destiny

Verses 13 and 14 tell us that the destiny of Jesus is greater than angels. This is the seventh Old Testament quote and it’s from

Psalm 110:1 The LORD says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.”

It climaxes the full superiority of Christ to angels. First we see the destiny of Christ and then that of the angels.

1.    The Destiny of Christ

Hebrews 1:13 And to which of the angels has he ever said, “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet”?

Well, the answer is no angel.

The destiny of Jesus Christ is that ultimately everything in the universe be subject to Him. That at the name of the Jesus every knee should bow, things above the earth, on the earth, and under the earth.

Jesus Christ in God’s plan is destined to be the ruler of the universe and everything that inhabits it.

1 Corinthians 15:22-27 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him.

You say when does that happen? It happens at His second-coming. It happens when He comes in glory.

Revelation 19:15-16 From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.

The destiny of Jesus Christ is an eternal reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords! Hebrews 1:13 says “Sit at my right hand”

Angels Never Sit! Why? Their work is never done. Fortunately, we Christians will be able to do that once in a while. Hebrews 4:9 says, “There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.” And you remember in Revelation 14:13 where “Blessed are they which die in the Lord for they shall rest from their labors.” But no angel ever sits down.

Jesus sits down because it’s over. He reigns.

2.    The destiny of angels in verse 14.

Hebrews 1:14 Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?

Angels are going to serve us forever. What do angels do for believers?

  • Angels protect & guard saints.

2 Kings Chapter 6. Elisha and his servant were being menaced by the king of Syria? Elisha and his servant are just being menaced, you know, by the king of Syria and they don’t have any way to defend themselves. But listen to this,

2 Kings 6:15-17 When the servant of the man of God rose early in the morning and went out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was all around the city. And the servant said, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” He said, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” Then Elisha prayed and said, “O LORD, please open his eyes that he may see.” So 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.

You know who they were? They were angels.
  • Angels deliver from danger.

Remember the angels that grabbed Lot and his family and rescued them from the destruction of Sodom? Remember the angels went into the lion’s den with Daniel and stopped the lions’ mouths? Angels minister to us. We are never alone. Their destiny is to minister to us throughout eternity.

Jesus’ destiny is to reign. He surpasses the angels. So we find then that the son of God is superior angels in every way. And every one of his superiorities is confirmed in the Old Testament.

Jesus is Messiah. He is God in flesh. He is the mediator of a new covenant, better than the old.

Hebrews One is the first page of the Resume of Jesus Christ.

  • Titles: He’s called Son, Lord, and God.
  • Position: He is creating, sustaining, governing, redeeming, and purging sin.
  • Accomplishments:  He is omniscient, omnipotent, unchanging, and eternal.
  • Awards: He is the one to be worshipped by the angels and all creatures in the universe.
And so the Holy Spirit proclaims the superiority of Jesus Christ.

You say “So what?” Well, that’s undoubtedly what the writer thought you’d say. So He wrote the first verse of Chapter 2.

Hebrews 2:1-3 Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard,

If God expected a reaction to the law that came to the angels, what do you think He expects from you to that which came through Jesus Christ? Therefore, we ought to give Jesus more earnest heed for how shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation?

What is Your Destiny?

In 1991 a Gallup poll showed that 78 percent of Americans expect to go to heaven when they die. However, many of them hardly ever pray, read the Bible, or attend church. They admit that they live to please themselves instead of God. I wonder why these people would want to go to heaven.

In an article title, “Are We Ready for Heaven?” Maurice R. Irwin points out that only 34 percent of the American people who call themselves Christians attend church at least once a week. He says, “We sing, ‘When all my labors and trials are o’er, and I am safe on that beautiful shore, just to be near the dear Lord I adore will through the ages be glory for me.’ However, unless our attitudes toward the Lord and our appreciation of Him change greatly, heaven may be more of a shock than a glory.” Daily Bread, July 31, 1992.

Fast forward 20 years, and the number of Christians attending church is below 24%. Yet the majority of Americans continue to believe they are going to Heaven when they die…Many, I fear, will discover exactly what “Shock and Awe” truly is!

[1] Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies – Volume 2: Word Studies in the Greek New Testament, (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1973), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 44.

[2] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 1250..

[3] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 995.


Hebrews is the “Better” Book, about our Surpassing Savior

Hebrews 1:4 So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs.

  • Superior or (more excellent KJV) is diaphoros, which can mean varying, but in  this instance means different in a surpassing way.
  • Human salvation demands the divine disclosure of truths surpassing reason. Thomas Aquinas
  • So our Salvation depends upon a SURPASSING SAVIOR!
    • Everything about Jesus is Superior and Surpasses that which took place before Him.
    • Hebrews is the only book that specifically calls Jesus a priest, although implied in others
    • This is probably what Jesus explained to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:27)
    • Hebrews, more than any other book, expresses the unity of the message of the 66 books of the Bible
    • The author never refers to the human author of the Old Testament references, but always ascribes them to God or Christ!

A superior workman turns out a superior product, so Hebrews shows that the  Messiah, the Founder of the New Testament is better than the founders of the First Testament, who were the prophets, angels, Moses, Joshua, and Aaron. Therefore, the testament He brought in is superior to and takes the place of theirs. In the light of this, we can better understand the words, “But now hath He (Messiah) obtained a more excellent ministry than they (prophets, angels, Moses, Joshua, Aaron), by how much also He is the Mediator of a better covenant (the New Testament), which is established upon better promises”[1].

Commitment to Following Christ with all of your life will produce everything which is BETTER for you!

The Surpassing Life of Jesus

1. Jesus is superior to angels.

2. Jesus has a Name which is more excellent.

Hebrews 1:4 having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.

3. Jesus has a more excellent ministry

4. Jesus mediates a better covenant based upon better promises

Hebrews 8:6 But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises.

Hebrews 11:4 By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.

5. Through Jesus we have promise of better things

Hebrews 6:9 Though we speak in this way, yet in your case, beloved, we feel sure of better things—things that belong to salvation.

The Surpassing Life we share with Jesus

1. We Have a Better Hope

Hebrews 7:19 (for the law made nothing perfect); but on the other hand, a better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God.

2. We Have a Better Covenant

Hebrews 7:22 This makes Jesus the guarantor of a better covenant.

3. We have Better Promises

Hebrews 8:6 But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises.

4. We Have a Better Sacrifice

Hebrews 9:23 Thus it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.

Hebrews 10:5-6 Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, “Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body have you prepared for me; in burnt offerings and sin offerings you have taken no pleasure.

5. We Have Better Possessions

Hebrews 10:34 For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one.

6. We Have a Better Home

Hebrews 11:16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.

7. We will Have a Better Life

Hebrews 11:35 Women received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life.

Hebrews 11:40 since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.

The Surpassing Life Focus

1. Endure for the sake of Better

Hebrews 12:10 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness.

2. Sacrifice and Do good for the sake of Better

Hebrews 13:16 Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

3. Draw Near to God in Better Hope

Hebrews 7:19 For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.

4. Be Better at Provoking

Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:

5. Better produces Joy even in the face of loss and tragedy

Hebrews 10:34 For ye had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance.

Hebrews is the Better Book which details the Surpassing Life of Jesus Christ. Not only did Jesus surpass everthing before Him, He offers His surpassing life to us, so that our lives will benefit and share in His surpassing life. And if we share in His surpassing life, our lives will focus on Him, and that focus will produce changes in our works and priorities.

[1] Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies – Volume 2: Word Studies in the Greek New Testament, (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1973), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 142