“Having become . . . much better than the angels” (Heb. 1:4).
Through a deft use of the Old Testament, the writer proves that Christ is the mediator of a greater covenant.
Man is a wonderful and amazing creation—higher than plants, animals, and any other material creation in this world. But there are created beings even higher than man—angels.
Hebrews 2:9 shows this to be the case because when Jesus became a man, He was “made for a little while lower than the angels.” After the fall of the rebellious angels under Lucifer, the angels in heaven were no longer subject to sin. These angels are holy, powerful, and wise. They are special beings created by God before He created man.
The Jewish people understood the exalted position of angels because they knew that the Old Covenant was brought to men and maintained by angelic mediation. Galatians 3:19 says, “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.”
Because of this high regard for angels by his readers, the writer of Hebrews was faced with a problem. If he was to show that Christ was the mediator of a better covenant, he would have to prove that Christ is better than angels. To do so, he used seven Old Testament passages to verify his claim.
If he had tried to prove from Christian writings that Christ is a better mediator, his unbelieving Jewish readers would have said, “We don’t accept these writings as being from God.” So in effect he wisely replies, “Open up your own Scriptures and I’ll prove my claim from them.” It results in a powerful and irresistible argument.
For the next several days, we’ll see in what ways Christ is superior to angels and how He could mediate a better covenant for us.
Suggestion for Prayer
Because much of our understanding of the New Testament is based on the writings of the Old Testament, thank God for how He has brought His complete Word to us intact throughout the centuries.
For Further Study
Read Galatians 3:8, Romans 9:15, and Matthew 4:4.
• What Old Testament verses do those passages quote?
• What truth does each of them verify?
From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187