The author of Hebrews is still talking about angels in Chapter 2. In Chapter 1, he clearly laid out the case for the superiority of Jesus to all the angels in that they simply do His bidding and when they’re not, they are worshipping Him. But now, the role that angels filled in the past is compared to their role regarding Jesus. The Jews believed that angels played a role in delivering the law to Moses at Sinai. The Jewish priest and historian, Josephus, makes this clear when he says, “We have learned the noblest of our doctrines and the holiest of our laws from the angels sent by God” (see Antiquities XV:136, or XV,5:3 in Whiston’s translation). Stephen includes this fact in his sermon before being stoned to death. In Acts 7:53 he says, “…who have received the Law by the disposition of angels and have not kept it.” The most interesting thing in Stephen’s quote is the fact that the law ministered through angels was not kept. This affirms the truths of the Old Testament regarding Israel’s failure under their own law.

Hebrews 2:2-3a says, “For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?” Failure to keep Moses’ law resulted in the destruction of Israel, both the Northern and Southern Kingdoms. In concluding the law in its second giving (Deuteronomy) there are blessings and curses: blessings for keeping the law and curses for violating the law. This is sowing and reaping. “Don’t be deceived,” Paul tells the Galatians, “God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.” The law establishes firmly the principles of sowing and reaping. We all live under that law and we’ve all sowed seeds to the flesh. Even our righteous deeds are not good in God’s eyes. Isaiah 64:6 tells us that even “our righteousness is as filthy rags.” The ESV puts it this way: “We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment.”

The author is saying “under the law, you cannot escape your judgment.” It is very reliable and every failure will have its consequences. But Jesus paid the consequences for our sins! Yes, we made our  bed but Jesus slept in it for us! It’s God’s pure demonstration of His love for us! “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” If you ignore, diminish, demean, or dismiss this truth in favor of works righteousness there is no remedy for your sin! As Hebrews 1:3 says, Jesus “made purification for our sins.” Focusing on the law, works, my own righteousness, and my own efforts will bring no peace. There is no rest in the law! But Jesus calls us out of the law to Himself. “Come to me,” He says, “and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).