Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Jesus: Lower Than Angels?

Biblegems #113
Question: According to Hebrews 2:9, Jesus was made "lower than the angels.” If Jesus is God, how could any part of the Godhead ever be lower than the angels?

The passage in Hebrews reads:
         Heb. 2:9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

This is one of those beautifully transparent places in the Bible where God unveils some of the mystery of His nature. Notice how the verse says that Jesus was “made” a little lower than the angels. The implication is that He was once higher than the angels. The Scripture clearly teaches that Jesus is the second person of the Trinity—that He was and is God. Here are a few passages demonstrating this:
         Jesus is God, the Creator:
         John 1:1-3 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.
         Jesus is God along with the Father:
John 10:30 I and the Father are one.
         John 14:9 Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?  

What is so clearly apparent is that within the very nature of God Himself there is diversity. He is three persons in one God.1  And within that relationship there is a hierarchy. Each person of the Trinity exercises roles and responsibilities in relation to the other. The Holy Spirit directs people to Jesus. Jesus directs people to the Father. The Father sends the Son and the Holy Spirit to do His will.
         John 15:26 When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me.

So when the Scripture says Jesus was made a little lower than the angels, the reference is to an agreement between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit that God should enter into the human race as a man. To accomplish this, the second person of the Trinity would be “made like us in every way” (Heb. 2:17). In fact, God the Son…
         Phil. 2:6-7 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.

God is not divided into “parts.” He is three persons in one Being. He chose, for our sake and for His glory, to become Immanuel (God with us), the Word made flesh (Jn. 1:1), without ever ceasing to exist as God in Spirit. This in no way diminished His greatness, but demonstrates that our God is greater than the human mind can even begin to grasp.
         Ps. 71:19 Your righteousness reaches to the skies, O God, you who have done great things. Who, O God, is like you?

1. See Biblegems #111, “Is Jesus God?” And Biblegems #88, “Jesus, The Firstborn”.

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