Focus – Why Settle for Angels?
By Major Anne Pickup –
“Please return this survey,” were the instructions on the notice in my mailbox. There were four questions: Do you believe angels exist? Do you believe you have a guardian angel? Have you ever felt an angel’s presence? Do you believe angels act as God’s special messengers on earth? If I returned the questionnaire I would receive a free calendar “filled with inspiring masterpieces of angelic art” and one free issue of a magazine featuring stories of “eyewitness accounts of the miraculous intercession of angels on earth.”
A recent survey from a popular magazine reported 70 percent of Americans believe in angels and 50 percent believe they have a guardian angel.
I believe in angels, and yet I believe many people are putting too much stock in them. Maybe it’s because of their closeness to God, their ability to live in God’s presence and the significance of their task in caring for the whole of God’s creation that angels are seen as glorious, leading to a sense of awe. This excessive interest has led many to worship and pray to angels.
The writer of Hebrews apparently dealt with a similar angel frenzy because the issue of angels is addressed in the first three chapters, stating in 2:5
“It is not to angels that he has subjected the world to come.”
At the moment, says the author of Hebrews, we do not clearly understand everything in the spiritual and natural world, but….
“We do see Jesus…therefore, fix your thoughts on Jesus.”
Jesus is no angel! He is God, with God at creation and worshiped, not like God, but as God. He is at the same time human, recognized by the Father as a Son. This combination of divine and human natures, this God/Man is something quite beyond an angel:
“He is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being.”
Jesus is no prophet! Jews reading this letter believed Abraham and Moses were the greatest prophets. Abraham was father of the nation and Moses was founder of the faith. But Jesus was greater than Abraham and Moses, because through him came spiritual birth into the family of God and a faith of the heart. Relationship replaced religion and nationality.
Jesus is no priest! Following the giving of the Law through Moses, a style and system of worship was established for which the tribe of Levi was responsible. The Levites were set apart to carry out religious duties, temple singing, administration and manual work of various kinds. Jesus was from the tribe of Judah, not Levi, yet he was called “a great high priest.” And Jesus was no ordinary priest! He was a priest like Melchizedek.
Melchizedek is a rather shadowy figure described in Genesis 14. He supernaturally appeared to Abraham to give a special blessing. Jesus is compared to Melchizedek in that he was specially appointed by God for a unique purpose, bringing in a new order of priesthood to match the new heart-based law.
But Jesus can’t even be compared to Melchizedek because he offers so much more to people. Through his personal sacrifice the barrier separating us from God has been removed. His human existence makes him fully understanding of our spiritual temptations and daily struggles. Because he is divine, Jesus has direct access to God, personally praying and pleading for us continually.
Since we see Jesus, why settle for angels?