The Preeminence of the Lord Jesus Christ over Angels

Isaiah 6:1-3; Colossians 1:16-18

In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.

By him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: and he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): Isaiah saw not Jehovah, the essence of God―no man has seen that, or can see it―but Adonai, His dominion. He saw the Lord Jesus; so this vision is explained, John 12:41, that Isaiah now saw Christ’s glory and spoke of Him, which is an incontestable proof of the divinity of our Saviour.

ADAM CLARKE (1760-1832): John, therefore, saying that it was the glory of Jesus, shows that he considered Jesus to be Jehovah.

JOHN WESLEY (1703-1791): And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts.” It is there expressly said to be the glory of the Lord, Jehovah, the Supreme God…“Holy”―This is repeated thrice, to intimate the Trinity of persons united in the Divine essence.

JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564): I have no doubt that the angels here describe One God in Three Persons―and, indeed, it is impossible to praise God without also uttering the praises of the Father, of the Son, and of the Spirit.

MATTHEW HENRY: See God upon His throne, and that throne “high and lifted up,” not only above other thrones, as it transcends them, but over other thrones, as it rules and commands them…Above the throne, as it were hovering about it, or nigh to the throne, bowing before it, with an eye to it, the seraphim stoodthe holy angels, who are called seraphim―“burners;” for He “makes his ministers a flaming fire,” Psalm 104:4…Whether they were only two or four, or―as I rather think―an innumerable company of angels that Isaiah saw, is uncertain.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): How many angels are there? The answer of the Scriptures is that they are very great, that they are countless in number…You remember that we are told that the shepherds at His birth heard “a multitude of the heavenly host,” suggesting almost an innumerable company, Luke 2:13. And indeed, the fifth chapter of the book of Revelation tells us that such is the case, for “the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands,”―a great mighty host, a myriad of these angelic beings…Read again the fifth chapter of the book of Revelation, and you’ll find that they’re singing His praise, worshipping and adoring Him―that’s the thing they delight in.

JOHN CALVIN: Now, when we are informed that the angels are employed in uttering the glory of God, let us know that their example is set before us for imitation.

JOHN TRAPP (1601-1699): The holy angels make their addresses unto Him with greatest reverence and self-abasement; for they know that He humbleth Himself to behold things in heaven, Psalm 113:4-6.

MATTHEW HENRY: The earth is full of his glory,” the glory of his power and purity; for He is “holy in all His works,” Psalm 145:17. “Holy, holy, holy”―this bespeaks the zeal and fervency of the angels in praising God; they even want words to express themselves, and therefore repeat the same again. It is God’s holiness which, above all His attributes, the angels celebrate―the superlative excellency of God’s holiness, above that of the purest creatures. He is holy―thrice holy, infinitely holy―originally, perfectly, and eternally so.

JOHN GILL (1697-1771): Though there are holy men and holy angels, there are none holy as the Lord.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: The first chapter of the epistle to the Hebrews draws a distinction between the Son of God and the angels―the angels, while they are spiritual beings, are nevertheless created beings; they have not existed from eternity, as God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit have existed. Indeed, Paul in Colossians 1:16 very definitely teaches that the angels were created by the Son. So, as we think of the angels, we realize that they are inferior to the Godhead, inferior to the Son in particular.

JOHN GILL: Christ is not only above them, as He is God, being their Creator Who has made them―but also as He is man, in union with the Son of God; and chiefly in Hebrews 1:13, He is said to be above them on account of place, being at the right hand of God, where they are not: “To which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool?

MATTHEW POOLE (1624-1679): Christ having the fullness of the Godhead dwelling in Him bodily, is Head unto the good angels in regard of His excellency and eminency above them, who are far below Him in perfection, Ephesians 1:21 Hebrews 1:4; the best of them are “ministering spirits” (Hebrews 1:14), and “subject unto Him” (1 Peter 3:22), and so under His authority and at His command, (Matthew13:41; 24:31).

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: Clearly, the angels are divided into two groups…There are good angels, and bad angels―there are some angels that can be described as the elect angels, and others not.

JOHN CALVIN: The elect angels are always obedient to Him, and the devils are compelled to obey His command, although they strive in the contrary direction. We know how strongly the demons resist God, but yet they are compelled to obey Him, not willingly, but by compulsion.

JOHN GILL: The holy elect angels―good angels―are subject to Him, as appears by their attendance on Him at His incarnation, ascension, and second coming; by their ministration to Him in the wilderness, and in the garden; by their employment under Him, for the good of the heirs of salvation; by their dependence on Him, as their Creator and Head, and by their adoration of Him as their Lord and God. Evil angels, the devils, are also put under His feet, as is evident from His overcoming Satan, and baffling all his temptations; by His dispossessing the devils out of the bodies of men, and giving His disciples also power over them; by His spoiling them at death, and triumphing over them in His ascension; by delivering His people out of their hands, and power, in conversion; and by His binding of Satan during the thousand years, and by casting him and his angels into everlasting fire prepared for them.

JOHN CALVIN: It hence follows that none of the angels should stand in the way of His preeminence, Who alone possesses supremacy.


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