Every generation seems to have had a preoccupation with angels. Dating back to the 1940s, angels have been popular in media, epitomized by “angel second class” Clarence in the 1946 Christmas classic, “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Angels were more sparsely seen in media in the 1950s and 60s but made a grand comeback in the 80s and 90s incited by 1978’s hugely popular, “Heaven Can Wait,” which spawned a string of angelic appearances wherein one could date an angel or almost be an angel; angels were found, in disguise and in America; on television there was an angelic, highway to heaven; and in the cinema, angels could be found in the endzone, the outfield, and the infield; there were unlikely angels, dog angels that all go to heaven, and few in our nation were un-touched by an angel during the 1990s where Monica, Tess, and Andrew became household names. According to surveys, 55% of Americans believe that angels directly influence their lives, and 13% have had supernatural encounters where they have sensed an angelic presence. Christians, as they regrettably all too often do, follow the culture. Author Stephen F. Noll commented that “angelology (the study of angels) is a weathervane, showing the direction of the various winds of doctrine that blow through the history of Christian thought.” Although angels are mentioned nearly 200 times in the Bible, it is unfortunate that the ideas of many Christians as to the nature and function of angels, have not been derived from the Scripture’s revelation but are often contaminated by pop-culture. As with most fads, the Christian attraction to angels has not correlated with people turning to Christ; instead the new trend was linked more to a New Age hype than to the Christian faith. But when angels are ignored in our studies and only appear in our hymnals and as little chubby cherubs on our greeting cards, we should not be surprised to find so much confusion about them.
As little attention is paid in our churches to the true place of angels in God’s creative order, the resultant trend becomes a focus on the hype about angels to the neglect of truth; this trend is not new in human history. It seems that among First Century Jews there was an imbalanced emphasis on angels. Scripture reveals that angels were magnificent, holy (Ps 89:5,7) creatures who closely attend to God in His holiness (Isaiah 6:6); they were involved in bringing the Law (Heb 2:2, Acts 7:53, Gal 3:19); and they were even called “sons of God.” Scripture also reveals that angels are created beings (Psalm 148:1-5) who are subject to their Creator, God (Psalm 103:20). Jesus, who is the unique and uncreated Son of God, is greater than the created “sons of God.” In chapter one of the epistle to the Hebrews, the author lists 7 Old Testament passages showing that Jesus is greater than angels. The first two (Psalm 2:7, 2 Samuel 7:14), declare Jesus is God’s unique Son, and thus infinitely greater than the angels. The second two (Psalms 97:7; Deuteronomy 32:43, 104:4), tell us that angels worship Jesus, thus showing His superiority. The third pair (Psalm 45:6-7; Psalm 102:25-27) focus on Jesus’ eternal divinity and unchanging nature; angels are not creators, but creatures. And lastly in Psalm 110:1 God says to Jesus, ‘Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.’ Jesus is most certainly greater than any angel!
Read Hebrews chapter 1-2; as you do, make a list, from the text and from your general Bible knowledge, of ways that Jesus is greater than angels.