Angels were highly venerated by the ancient Jews, almost to the point of worship, just as they are by many today. Because so many would put the angels of God in the place of God, making them the objects of adoration and worship (Many even pray to the angels!), superstitions abound concerning those heavenly creatures. Therefore, the Holy Spirit gave us these first two chapters of the Book of Hebrews to show us Christ’s greatness and superiority over the angels. He is the Creator. They are, like us, his creatures.
The angels are, as we read in verse 14 of chapter one, -- “Ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be the heirs of salvation.” It never was God’s intention or purpose to put his people in subjection to, under the rule of, angels or to make them in any way inferior to the angels, neither in this world, nor in the world to come (v. 5).
Then, in verses 6-9, the inspired writer quotes from Psalm 8, raising the question, “What is man?” “What is man” – That God should be so gracious to him? “What is man” – That the angels of God should serve him? “What is man” – That the world to come should be put in subjection to him?
Whenever we read about, hear about, or think about God’s goodness, mercy, love, and grace toward fallen, sinful man, we ought to be utterly astonished. We ought to ask, “What is man?” (Job 7:17-18; Ps. 144:3-4).
Be sure you do not miss the backdrop against which this question is asked. Both the Psalmist (Ps. 8:1-3) and the writer of the Book of Hebrews (Heb. 1:1-3) raised this question (“What is man?) against the backdrop of the glorious greatness of God. We cannot form a right and proper view of anything in God’s creation if we fail to see the greatness and glory of God.
The root of all sin, the cause of all unbelief, and the source of all heresy in the world can be found in this one thing -- All men by nature have low views of God. Satan could not persuade Eve to sin until he convinced her that God was not as great as she thought he was. We would never doubt his Word if we did not question his greatness. Men would never pervert the gospel, if they did not have very low views of God. Therefore, the first message of every prophet, apostle, and preacher sent of God is, “Behold your God!” (Isa. 40:10). Only when we see the greatness of God will we worship him, love him, trust him, and honor him as God.