John MacArthur in his commentary on the book of Hebrews states the following: "Keep in mind that the book of Hebrews is written to Jewish people, primarily to Jewish believers but also to Jewish unbelievers. Both groups are pressed with the truth that the New Covenant is better than the Old – that Jesus Christ is the better Priest, and the better Mediator, and that He is the final Priest and the final Sacrifice at the same time (MacArthur, 1983. p.22)
For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. Therefore, when He comes into the world, He says,
The Old Covenant sacrifices could not save from sin but we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ. The blood of animals sacrificed could never fully satisfy God's wrath for in. It took God Himself, in the person of Jesus Christ, taking on human flesh and dying on the cross to satisfy the payment for sin in order that all who repent and believe will be saved eternally.
The purpose of this section in Hebrews 1:4-14 is to show how Jesus Christ as that final Priest and Mediator and Sacrifice is superior to the angels whom the Jewish people really held up high as being 2nd only to God in their view. Angels are spirit beings they are very intelligent and have emotions. They were created before man and a third of them fell with Satan. They are organized, they have different ranks and responsibilities. The ones that did not fall with Satan exist to worship and obey God's will as we will see.
However, Jesus Christ, the eternal God and the Son of God, the 2nd Person of the Trinity is far superior to the angels because of who He is, what His name and title are, and because of what He has done, is doing, and will do. So, let's take a look together in chapter 1 of Hebrews at just how Jesus Christ is superior to the angels.
Having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they. (Hebrews 1:4 NASB)
Names and titles were very important in biblical times and the writer to the Hebrews is making it clear that the name of Jesus Christ is far superior to every other name and title. A great cross-reference to this is found in Ephesians.
Which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And He put all things in subjection under His feet.
God seated Christ at the place of power at His right hand. He placed Christ above all rule and authority and power and dominion and His name is above every name because of who He is and what He has done in sacrificing Himself on the cross. This along with Hebrews 1:4 also goes with a quotation from Psalm 8.
You make him to rule over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet. (Psalm 8:6 NASB)
In what was looking forward at the time it was written in Psalm 8, Jesus Christ completely fulfills because He is the One who will have all things put in subjection under His feet.
For to which of the angels did He ever say,
Verse 5 in Hebrews chapter 1 is the first in this chain of questions and statements in which the writer makes it clear that Jesus Christ is superior to angels. In some cases, as he does here in verse 5, he does so by asking an obviously rhetorical question. He asks, "To which of the angels did He (God) ever say...?"
This is done to draw a contrast between angels and Jesus Christ. In showing the difference between what was said about Christ and by contrast what was not said about angels, the writer to the Hebrews will make his point about Christ's superiority very clear. Notice the quotation in verse 5 from Psalm 2.
I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to Me, "You are My Son, today I have begotten You." (Psalm 2:7 NASB)
The understanding being used in Hebrews 1:5 is both coming from a quotation in Psalm 2 and also from what is said in 2 Samuel to David.
When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 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,
In building his case that Jesus Christ is superior to angels, the writer quotes Psalm 97 to make it clear that even the angels will worship Jesus Christ.
Let all those be ashamed who serve graven images, who boast themselves of idols; worship Him, all you gods (supernatural powers) (Psalm 97:7 NASB)
And of the angels He says,
Now, here in verse 7 of the 1st chapter of Hebrews, the writer shifts from asking questions about angels, to making a direct statement about angels based on what God has said about them in Psalm 104.
He makes the winds His messengers, flaming fire His ministers. (Psalm 104:4 NASB)
Angels are God's messengers. They are not His Son. They are not in the same place of prominence as Jesus Christ. They have a unique and very important position to be sure and they as we will see in verse 14 later, have a very important role in relation to us as God's saints but they, like us, are not Jesus Christ.
But of the Son He says,
Verses 8 and 9 are quoting from Psalm 45 and establish both Christ's Deity as it equates Jesus Christ with God and also establishes that it is Christ's throne that will reign forever and ever and it will be a Kingdom of righteousness and joy.
Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; a 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 joy above Your fellows. (Psalm 45:6-7 NASB)
This section here in Hebrews 1 is also taking from Isaiah 61 when it speaks of the oil of gladness and how Christ is the One who will bring the good news of the gospel to the spiritually afflicted and the ones in sinful bondage who need freedom from their captivity. The saints of Christ will be like oak trees planted in righteousness and they will glorify God in their service to His Son, Jesus Christ.
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the LORD anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners; to grant those who mourn in Zion, giving them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting. So they will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified. (Isaiah 61:1, 3 NASB)
Then in verses 10-12, the writer continues his thought that he began in verse 8 where he directly quotes the Old Testament and ascribes it to the Son, Jesus Christ as being about Him. The Son is the eternal God. The Son will have a righteous Kingdom. The Son is the One who laid the foundations of the world in the beginning. He is quoting Psalm 102.
Of old You founded the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands. (Psalm 102:25 NASB)
He then points out in verses 11 and 12 that while the earth and everything in it and everything that is created will decay and perish, Christ remains. He remains because He is as God the only uncreated Being in the entire universe. He never changes and His years will never come to an end because He has no years. He is the eternal One. Time is a created thing and Jesus exists outside of it because He is eternal and infinite.
Even they will perish, but You endure; and all of them will wear out like a garment; like clothing You will change them and they will be changed. But you are the same. (Psalm 102:26-27a NASB)
But to which of the angels has He ever said,
The writer to the Hebrews comes full circle in this section as he closes the way he began by asking if God has ever said a particular statement to angels or to Christ. Once again, the writer makes it abundantly clear that the Old Testament quotations and the statements of God can only be applied to Jesus Christ who is far superior to all created things of which angels would be a part of the created order.
The LORD says to my Lord: Sit at My right hand until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet. (Psalm 110:1 NASB)
It is Jesus Christ who sits at the right hand of the Father and not angels or man or any other created thing. It is Jesus Christ who will have all things including His enemies put in subjection under His feet and not angels or man or any other created thing.
Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation? (Hebrews 1:14 NASB)
Here we see the finality of the contrast between angels and Jesus Christ as the writer has firmly established who Jesus Christ is and who angels are in comparison to Jesus Christ. While angels are not the Son and they are not the ones who will have everything put in subjection under their feet, they do have a very important role to play in redemptive history. They render service under the sovereign direction of God Almighty to the saints and the elect of God who has been purchased by Jesus Christ.
Then the King will say to those on His right, "Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. (Matthew 25:34 NASB)
In Matthew, we find that the elect and those who will inherit salvation are also those who are joint heirs with Christ and will inherit the Kingdom prepared for them before the foundations of the world.
Jesus Christ is superior to angels. Jesus Christ is far superior to everything created because He is the Creator of all things. By His grace and His mercy, all those who repent of their sin and place their full faith and trust in Jesus Christ will inherit eternal life and eternal salvation which is found only in Jesus Christ. We are not saved by angels. We are saved by Jesus Christ.
MacArthur, John. The MacArthur New Testament Commentary: Hebrews. Chicago, Illinois. Moody Publishers. 1983.