Servants and the King
“Of the angels he says, ‘He makes his angels winds, and his ministers a flame of fire.’ But of the Son he says, ‘Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions’ ” (vv. 7–9).- Hebrews 1:7–12
Understanding that a legitimate theological argument requires a solid biblical basis, the author of Hebrews quotes extensively from the Old Testament in order to make his case for Jesus’ superiority to the angels. He has thus far demonstrated from Deuteronomy, 2 Samuel, and Psalms that Jesus is better than the angels because of His unique divine Sonship and His being the Creator Himself (Heb. 1:5–6). He carries this discussion further in today’s passage by stressing even more strongly the deity of Jesus, this time contrasting it with the servile status of the angels.
Hebrews 1:7 quotes Psalm 104:4, which depicts God’s control over creation and His use of the angels and the other elements of creation. The author makes a distinction here between Creator and creature, between the King of the universe and His servants, the angels. As powerful as the angels are, in the end they are servants of God. Now, it is no insignificant or unworthy thing to be a servant of the Lord. There can be no higher honor for a creature than to be God’s servant, to be a doorkeeper in His house (Ps. 84:10). But a servant is not the master. The point is that the angels occupy an inferior place relative to God.
To be sure, the Son can be called a servant of God (Isa. 53). However, Hebrews 1:8–12 tells us that He is also far more than a servant. Turning to Psalm 45:6–7, the author of Hebrews notes that what the psalmist says of God and His throne applies also to the Son of God (Heb. 1:8–9). In other words, Hebrews 1:8–9 identifies the throne of God and the eternal kingdom of God with the throne and kingdom of the Son, thereby identifying the Son of God as God Himself. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, enjoys a status far higher than that of the angels. In fact, it is the highest status possible, for it is the status of deity. Therefore, we must remain followers of Him and not return to the old covenant system, under which the Son was not as clearly known.
We find the deity of Jesus reinforced in Hebrews 1:10–12 as the author applies Psalm 102:25–27 to our Savior. Jesus is named as the Lord who created the heavens and the earth, the One who never changes and who can never pass away. Hebrews will not have us conceive of Jesus the Son as anything less than God Himself. Such a high Christology should inspire our worship of Jesus and make us all the more committed to remaining loyal to Him. For if we do not have Jesus, we do not have God.
Our understanding of Jesus must be as high as Scripture’s understanding of Him. Those who deny that Jesus is the incarnate God have a Christology, a doctrine of Christ, lower than that of the Word of God; thus, they have a Jesus who cannot actually save them. Jesus is very God of very God, and we must make that clear as we instruct our children, share the gospel, and disciple other believers.
Passages for Further Study