Are angels above or below us in authority?

Hebrews 2:7 states that we are lower than angels. Is that a correct translation, or should it be lower than God? In Hebrews 1:14 it says that angels are under us or ministering spirits for us. Which is correct? Are angels above or below Christians in authority?

The question you raise from Hebrews 2:7 is best answered with an understanding of the word “little”, which occurs in the verse before “lower”. The original Greek word for little is brachus, which literally means “short” and refers to “a short time”. This helps explain the meaning of the verse in that the verse can read, “You have made him (mankind), for a little while, lower (in rank) than the angels.

In spite of the superiority of angels to mankind at this time, God had originally placed the administration of the earth into the hands of mankind (Genesis 1:26-28). Due to the fall into sin (Genesis 3:1-6), however, mankind has been incapable of fulfilling that divinely ordained position. One day in the future, when redeemed mankind is glorified in heaven, there will be equality with the angels as Jesus said in Matthew 22:30, “For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels of God in heaven.”

So, now, while mankind is affected by sin and its consequences, the angels are more enlightened beings. But, one day, in heaven, we will have equal enlightenment and power. The issue of authority is not really eluded to in this verse in Hebrews and, actually, it’s not a sense of authoritarian hierarchy, because the angels humbly minister to mankind now, in time…and…in eternity, we will equally worship and serve Jesus (Revelation 4:8, 22:3).

May the Lord bless you with the knowledge that mankind and angels can be united in giving Jesus all honor, glory, and praise, both now and forever!