The Book of Hebrews #4 chapter 1:4-6, pt. 2
The Book of Hebrews
Jesus Christ, Superior to Angels, Part 2
Hebrews 1:4-6
 
Tonight we are returning to our study of the book of Hebrews.  The author is just beginning to tell us about the superiority of Christ to everything else in the world.  His primary objective is to help his primarily Jewish audience to, either understand their new-found faith, or accept Jesus as the Messiah. 
 
And he is telling them that God is intent on revealing that truth in these last days.  He makes a summary statement in verses 2-3, then begins to unpack the particulars in the next verses.
 
First on the list are angels.  Verses 4-14 cover that subject.  And remember, he is using Old Testament scripture to support his claims.  We began last week to see that Jesus is superior to angels, first of all, because of his name (verses 4-5).
 
Next we see Jesus is superior because of 
 
2.  His Worship
 
verse 6
 
Now this is a fantastic verse. And we must take our time in going through this opening chapter, because this is foundational to understanding everything that follows.
 
Even though Jesus Christ humbled Himself, even though He was made for a time lower than the angels, angels are to worship Him.
Now if angels are to worship Him, then He must be greater than they. And if He's greater than they, then His covenant is greater than the one they brought. The new covenant is greater than the old covenant.
 
What that boils down to is this:  Christianity is greater than Judaism.  Now I realize that is not the politically correct thing to say.  We aren’t supposed to condemn anybody’s religion or present ours a s superior. 
 
After all, there are many valid paths to God and every one of them is equal.  But notice
 
Verse 6
 
Now that's a quote from Psalm 97:7. Even the Old Testament Psalmist said that all the angels were to worship the Lord's Christ. The Jews should not be surprised at this. It comes right out of their own text.  
 
Now let me give you this thought. Haven’t angels always worshipped Jesus?  Yes, they did. They worshipped Him throughout all the time of their existence prior to His incarnation. They worshipped Him as God.
 
But they are now to worship Him as Son. That’s the difference.  In His incarnate state as the Son of God,  they are to worship Him. He's trying to show that this Son who became a man was higher than angels.
 
 
 
Think about it like this.  To the Jews, and in fact, I believe to anyone who has ever lived, it is an absolute sin in violation of all of God's laws to worship anybody except God. 
 
And if God is saying all the angels worship Jesus, then He must be God. So Jesus as God the Son is what is being addressed here. 
 
Then notice it says He is the first begotten. Now a lot of people who want to cast doubts on the deity of Jesus like to point to his verse to try and prove Jesus is a created being, therefore Jesus can’t be eternal God because He has a beginning point in time.
 
Therefore, he was begotten like all everyone else.  But what they miss is that the phrase “first begotten” has nothing to do with time, but rather with position. 
 
It is not a description, it is a title.  So when it says that He is first begotten it's not talking about a point in time when Jesus was born.  It’s talking about the fact that He is the chief of everything. He is The Sovereign One or the chief one.
 
And the reason it's connected with the concept of first begotten is because it was the first Son that was usually the heir to everything. And He usually became the chief one of the father's estate. And to be in the chief position or first begotten one actually means the one with all the dignity and all the honor who stands as the primary representative. 
 
And that is Jesus.  That is his position; his authority. 
 
We see that illustrated in the Old Testament through Jacob and Esau. Who was the oldest? Esau. Who was the “first begotten”?
 
Genesis 49:3 tells us about what it means to be the “first begotten”. 
 
"Reuben, you are my first born, my might and the beginning of my strength, the excellence of dignity, the excellence of power."
 
There you have a definition of what it means to be the first born:  Might, strength, dignity and power.
 
And what Hebrews is telling us is Jesus Christ is the “first-begotten” in the sense that He has the right to rule.
 
Colossians 1:18 says this, "And He is the head of the church, the body, who is the beginning, the first born from the dead." Now that says Jesus was the first born from the dead.
 
Had anyone been resurrected before Jesus? Sure. From Jewish history, we have both Elijah and Elisha raising the children of widows. Then there’s the guy thrown into the tomb who landed on top of the body of Elisha and came back to life.
 
Everyone knows about Lazarus.  Then we have Jairus’ daughter and the son of the widow at Nain.  After the resurrection of Jesus, we are told that many bodies of the saints which slept arose and went into Jerusalem. 
 
 
We have Dorcas whom Peter raised and Eutychus, who went to sleep and fell out of a third story window while Paul was preaching and Paul raised him. 
 
So lots of people have been raised from the dead before Jesus. So what does it mean to say that He was the first born from the dead? It means He was the chief One or the primary One or the most important One of all who had ever been raised.
 
It can't mean time or that verse would be a lie. He is simply the main one. He is the most honored one; the most dignified one; the highest one; the most powerful one. Of all the ones who were ever resurrected, He is the greatest.
 
Now, I want to spend the rest of our time on a little word in verse 6 and it doesn’t seem all that important, but causes commentators an awful lot of problems and it is the word “again” in verse 6.
 
When He again brings the first-born into the world. .
 
Now the word “again” is very important because when it is included the meaning of the verse changes considerably.  And before we can understand “again”, we really need to understand word “world”.
 
Because how we translate “world” helps us determine what “again” means.  And it is important to understand that because that is what triggers the worship of Jesus by the angels.
 
Now the “world” here is not the common word for world to describe the cosmos.  Instead, it's the word for inhabited earth.
In other words, “when He again brings the One in the first position into the Inhabited earth.”
 
Now some say this verse is talking about creation.  It can’t be.  How could He again bring Jesus into and inhabited world when nothing existed before creation?
 
The world is already inhabited when He's the first begotten. To put it simply, the first begotten is coming to an inhabited earth, and when He does the angels will worship Him. 
 
So what is verse 6 talking about if it’s not the cosmos at creation?  Read it again: "But when He again brings His first born into the world."
 
Now if you read it carefully and think about it logically it makes all kinds of sense.  You tell me, when is He again, going to bring His first-born into the world? 
 
When does the “again” happen? At the second coming. That's the way it has to be. He already brought Him into the world once as Son. He's going to bring Him again in the future. 
 
And it is at the second-coming that the fullness of this prophecy comes to pass and then is when all the angels of God worship Him.
 
I don’t believe that right now angels understand the whole picture well enough to give Him full worship. You say you mean angels don't understand everything now? I don't believe they do.
 
Listen to 1 Peter 1:11
Here's the picture of the Old Testament prophets who wrote down all those wonderful things and then read them over to figure out what they meant.  They were inspired by the Holy Spirit and in many cases didn't understand.
 
That’s why they are searching through what they've written.  They were looking at the sufferings and about Messiah trying to figure out what they'd written and when it was going to happen.
 
Then watch verse 12
 
They were looking to see the things that weren't understood until our time when Christ had come and the gospel took place and the church was established. 
 
And pay particular attention to the end of verse 12 
 
Angels don't understand it all yet.
 
Now maybe those angels in the very presence of God do.  Maybe the arch-angels know more than others.  But the vast angelic hosts have evidently not yet been able to get everything figured out.  They're not omniscient.
 
And apparently, it is only when God again brings to the inhabited world His first begotten Son that the worship of angels will be fully complete.   
 
And we get a little peek into what that will be like in Revelation 5
 
Verse 11
 
Now I would suggest that is angels worshipping as they ought to!  And there worship is in regard to Jesus coming to occupy His rightful throne as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. 
 
In verse 1, the Father's there with the title deed to the earth, the little scroll. And they're all saying "where is one that can open the scroll?" And John's crying because there's nobody to open the scroll. And all of a sudden one of the elders says don't cry John, here He comes. The Lion of the tribe of Judah. And Jesus Christ the Lamb takes the scroll and He's about to unroll the judgments and take possession of the earth and the angels say, Oh, now I understand!”  And as it all becomes clear, praises burst out from the millions of angels all over heaven.
 
And it says in verse 13, "every creature that is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such are as in the sea and all that are in them heard I saying, blessing and honor, glory and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne and unto the Lamb forever and ever and the four living creatures said Amen."
 
This is His second-coming. And it is at the second-coming that He is revealed in full glory as firstborn Son, And even angels will see it when they see Him come as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
 
So obviously, He is greater than angels because God commands angels to worship Him. And my friends, if God, in the Old Testament, commanded the angels to worship His Son, then His Son must be God. I think we'll stop there. Let's bow in prayer.

 

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