So the author of Hebrews begins with sharing with the Hebrews Jews that Jesus Christ is the great High Priest. Not only that but he is the final priest and final sacrifice. These Jews were living a life that demanded sacrifice by an earthly priest over and over, so this thought was hard for them to fathom and even believe. Not only that but they had a view of angels that caused them to minimize in various ways the Supreme understanding of the divinity of Jesus Christ. So now we journey to see how Jesus is greater than angels.
We do know that there are very numerous Angels. They are older than man, and it would be very hard to put a number on it. They are a very complex organization, highly organized, and are divided into ranks and responsibilities. Daniel said he saw “Thousands and thousands”, and “Myriads and Myriads.” John at Patmos said thousands upon thousands and Myriads upon Myriads. The shepherds saw a great company of heavenly host singing.
Myriad = very great, indefinitely great number. Innumerable
And the Bible teaches us that of the 1/3 of the angels that fell with Lucifer (satan) they were cast down and are demons and we are not to take them lightly.
We aren’t talking demons today but I want you to know.
Ephesians 6:10, and 12, “be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might, for our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Fallen Angels, now demons)
SO WE NEED TO GET OUR UNDERSTANDING OF ANGELS RIGHT!
ANGELS AS VIEWED BY THE HEBREW JEWS.
The quotes in Hebrews vary just a little bit from the Old Testament texts that they are taken from. This is because by the time Hebrews was written many Jews used a Greek translation of the OT, the Septuagint. Another reason we don’t think it is from Paul is because he usually quoted from the Hebrew text not the Septuagint.
The writer uses the Hebrews own text to prove the understanding that the New Covenant is better than the Old covenant. IF he hadn’t they could have easily said well we don’t believe that because we have our own text, so he uses their own understandings to prove His point.
The Jewish people used the Talmud, this is their basic books that teach them the law and theology. It also made a huge understanding of the role of angels which lead to a lot of misconceptions for the Jewish people. In fact they had a high sense of the importance of angels, while that is true that angels are extremely important, it also lead some to believe Jesus was on the same level as an angel. Angels were seen as the highest beings next to God.
They believed that God was surrounded by angels. That they were his counsel. They were made of a fiery substance, they didn’t eat, drink, or procreate.
They even believed that God wouldn’t do anything without consulting with the angels first. Example, Genesis 1:26, “Let us make man in our image.” For the Jewish people the US referred to his Angelic counsel.
Some believed that a group of angels were against the creation of man, and were immediately annihilated because of their objections.
Others thought that Moses was attacked on the way up to Mount Sinai, because they opposed the giving of the Law to man.
They gave some of the angels names. There were “Presence angels” who stayed in the presence of God at all times. They had names like Raphael, Yuriel, Phanuel, Gabriel, and Michael. The EL at the end of the names was a name for GOD.
They believed 200 angels controlled the movements of the stars.
They believed the calendar angel controlled the never ending succession of days, months, and years.
There was a mighty angel who controlled the seas.
There were angels who controlled the frost, dew, rain, snow, hail, thunder and lightning.
There were angels who controlled hell and tortured the souls there.
A recording angel or angels who wrote down every word a man says.
Angel of death.
Angel that guarded each nation and each child.
There were so many angels, that one Rabbi said there was an angel for every blade of grass.
They believed that angels brought the OT covenant to them, which exalted the angels status in their understanding. They believed that angels were the mediators of their covenant with God, and that the angels continually ministered God’s blessings to them.
As seen from Stephen’s sermon –
Acts 7:51-53, “You men who are stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears are always resisting the Holy Spirit, you are doing just as your fathers did. Which one of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who had previously announced the coming of the Righteous one, whose betrayers and murderers you have now become, you who received the law as ORDAINED by ANGELS, and yet did not keep it.”
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 should come to whom the promise had been made.”
So because the angels had brought to man the Old Covenant, they had immense respect for Angels that in fact sometimes turned to worship.
Paul said, “Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self-abasement and the worship of angels.” Colossians 2:18
The writer had to show that the NEW COVENANT through JESUS CHRIST was a better covenant, so in order to do this he had to persuade the Jewish people that Jesus was better and higher than the angels, otherwise they reduced Jesus’ importance and made him in some aspects an angel.
John MacArthur – “Christ must be shown to be better than the bearers and mediators of the Old Covenant – namely the angels.”
WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT ANGELS –
The bible speaks a lot about angels. There are 108 direct references about angels in the Old Testament and 165 in the New Testament.
Their primary purpose was to render special worship and service to God.
Angels are Spirit beings and do not have flesh and bones, but they do have bodies.
Whatever heavenly or spiritual form they have they do have the capabilities of appearing in human form.
Hebrews 13:2, “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without know it.” GENESIS 18 – ABRAHAM AND SARA
GUARDIAN ANGELS – The bible doesn’t directly state that we have guardian angels, (a single angel for every believer.) However it looks like it may be even better than that!
Matthew 18:10, “See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven continually see the face of the My father who is in heaven.”
Some have said “Their angels” refers to guardian angels. Singular angel for singular person.
Then back it up with Acts 12:14 -15 –
“When she recognized Peter’s voice, because of her joy she did not open the gate, but ran in and announced that Peter was standing in front of the gate. They said to her, “you are out of your mind! But she kept insisting that it was so. They kept saying, “it is his angel.””
But I’m not sure that there is enough there to say one angel one human. It is more likely a lot of angels for all of us.
John Calvin said to the text of Matthew 18:10 – (To which I agree.)
“The interpretation given to this passage by some commentators, as if God assigned to each believer his own angel, does not rest on solid grounds. For the words of Christ do not mean that a single angel is continually occupied with this or the other person, and such an idea is inconsistent with the whole doctrine of Scripture, which declares that angels encamp around the godly (Psalm 34:7), and that not one angel only, but many, have been commissioned to guard every one of the faithful. Away, then, with the fanciful notion of a good and evil angel, and let us rest satisfied with holding that the care of the whole church is committed to angels, to assist each member as his necessities shall require.”
I am not opposed to one angel one person, but I believe a better understanding that it is many angels for the whole of the body of Christ. The Old Testament speaks of it often.
He [Jacob] dreamed, and behold, there was a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven. And behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it! (Genesis 28:12)
The angel of the Lord appeared to the woman and said to her, “Behold, you are barren and have not borne children, but you shall conceive and bear a son.” (Judges 13:3)
The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them. (Psalm 34:7)
He will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. (Psalm 91:11)
Bless the Lord, O you his angels, you mighty ones who do his word, obeying the voice of his word! Bless the Lord, all his hosts, his ministers, who do his will! (Psalm 103:20–21)
“My God sent his angel and shut the lions’ mouths, and they have not harmed me, because I was found blameless before him; and also before you, O king, I have done no harm.” (Daniel 6:22)
NOW LOOK AT THE CONTEXT OF
HEBREWS 1:14, “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?
John Piper on this verse – “Angels are simply God’s servants who do his bidding for the sake of those who are on their way to heaven.”
Ministry “For the sake of”
Piper continues, “This means that everything angels do, everywhere in the world, at all times, is for the good fo Christians. An angel who does something by God’s assignment anywhere in the world is fulfilling the promise that God will work all things out for the good of all Christians – everywhere. This is a sweeping and stunning promise. All angels sere for the good of all Christians all the time. They are agents of Romans 8:28.”
Matthew 18:10, not that the angels just serve us, they serve others. Remember the context is how we treat other believers. They are surrounded by angels who see God’s face.
CAN YOU IMAGINE, YOU DON’T HAVE JUST ONE ANGEL FOLLOWING YOU AROUND, YOU HAVE A HOST OF ANGELS SURROUNDING YOU AND MINISTERING TO YOU, PROTECTING YOU, FIGHTING FOR YOU. LET THAT SETTLE ON YOU NEXT TIME YOU WALK INTO A ROOM WITH FEAR.
One of my favorite verses with similar understanding and the ministering of angels is –
Luke 16:22, “Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s bosom.” LOVE THIS
SO THAT IS MY THOUGHTS ON GUARDIAN ANGELS AND I THINK IT IS PRETTY AWESOME –
Angels also appear in other forms –
Brilliant and bright
Lightning – Do not be afraid
Shepherds saw a multitude of angels singing
Cherub and seraphim have wings
Many different forms.
They are highly intelligent and have emotions. (Luke 15:10 they rejoice over a sinner being saved.)
Matthew 22:28-30, Lets us know that they aren’t married and don’t procreate.
“In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife of the seven will she be? For they all had married her. But Jesus answered and said to them, You are mistaken, not understanding the scriptures nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.”
And it would seem from John 1:3 and Colossians 1:16 It would seem that God made them all at once, we have no record of any new angels being added to them.
John 1:3, “all things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.”
Colossians 1:16, “For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things have been created through Him and for Him.”
Scripture does not say that angels die.
However 1/3 of them fell from heaven with satan and now are demons. Revelation 12:4
AND SCRIPTURE SAYS –
Hebrews 1:4, “Having become much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they.”