1 “God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, 2 in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom He also made the world. 3 And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become so much better than the angels, to the extent that He has inherited a more excellent name than they.”
“For to which of the angels did He ever say,
‘You are My Son,
Today I have fathered You’?
‘I will be a Father to Him
And He will be a Son to Me’?
And when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says,
‘And let all the angels of God worship Him.’
7 And regarding the angels He says,
‘He makes His angels winds,
And His ministers a flame of fire.’”
Throughout the book, the author of Hebrews stresses the supremacy of Christ over any and all Old Testament figures or authorities, like angels. This message of Jesus’ superiority also demonstrates the superiority of the New Covenant over the Old Covenant. Whereas the Old Covenant was given by angels the New Covenant was given by Jesus. It is therefore superior.
Prophets in many portions: God spoke many different types of messages to people in the Old Testament. Some messages were affirming and comforting, while others were about impending judgment. These were all spoken to the people of Israel, who have a long history with God.
But in these last days: In this New Covenant age, God has spoken to us through His Son. Jesus is the final word from God. This would have been difficult for Israelites to accept because they were used to the Old Covenant law. The Jews revered their history with God and rightly so. However, the mistake made by Israel is finding identity in this history to the point that they missed Jesus. But Jesus is the final word from God. It is the revelation of God’s love and is a superior revelation than the Old Testament which is described in Hebrews as a shadow of what Christ accomplished (Hebrews 10:1). The love of God is not a feeling or experience of God where we hear His voice. The confirmation of the love of God is found in Jesus Christ. He is God’s spoken word. This is why the New Covenant matters.
He sat down: Christ sat down because His work was sufficient and final. Under the Old Covenant, High Priests never sat because sin was constantly being dealt with. However, Jesus, the final High Priest, dealt with sin once and for all, and therefore, was able to sit down. His work was sufficient for the removal of the sins of the world. Consequently, no sin stands in the way of the Christian’s relationship with God. We have been perfected by the finished work of Christ (Hebrews 8:12; 10:14). The book of Hebrews does not leave room for the all-too-often present practice of trying to be more forgiven or more like Jesus. But Jesus’ work doesn’t allow for this. Jesus’ work is perfect and has perfectly cleansed us. He has so cleansed us, in fact, that we are as righteous as He is in this life (1 John 4:17; 2 Corinthians 5:21).
So much better than the angels: Hebrews is arguing for the superiority of Jesus over the angels because of His relationship to the Father. In fact, the New Covenant is a promise between the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Hebrews 6:16). This means that salvation in Christ is accomplished without taking individual humans into account. The Father cherishes His Son immensely and desires for us to respect His finished work. This superior work of Jesus and His divinity makes Him worthy of worship. This is seen in contrast to the angels who are merely servants of God and not God Himself. The angels worship the Son and consequently the Old Covenant bows to the authority of the New Covenant. Therefore, Hebrews forbids Christians from going back to something that angels ordained when they have the better covenant in Christ. This covenant is better, not just for salvation, but for the entirety of our lives afterwards.