Hebrews 2:5-18 - Outline of Hebrews (Book Notes menu page)
Chapter 1: The Son is God - better than the angels.
Chapter 2: The Son is Man - lower than the angels.
2:5 For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak.
the world {GK=oikoumene, inhabited earth}
The future earthly Millennial Kingdom of Christ, rather than the heavenly kingdom, is in view here.
not angels - Angels are not meant to be rulers, but servants. (cp. Heb 1:7,14)
Who, then, will rule?
2:6 But one in a certain place testified, saying,
What is man, that thou art mindful of him?
or the son of man, that thou visitest him?
The ''certain place,'' well known to the Hebrew readers, is Psalm 8,
which speaks of man's position before God and of God's purpose for man (v.6-8 quote Psa 8:4-6).
     [For further study of this Messianic Psalm, see the Book Notes on Psalm 8.]
mindful {GK= mimnesko, recall to mind, remember}- cp. the English word ''mnemonic.''
Since man's significance is as nothing before the greatness of God's creation (Psa 8:1,3,4), it is amazing that God even remembers him. Yet, the Creator has innumerable thoughts concerning each of us (Psa 139:17,18). In fact, He has...
visited {GK=episkeptomai, to inspect, to look upon} -
God is not only mindful of our fallen race, but He also came down to do something about it. He sees our condition perfectly. He will see His purposes to completion, for all who trust in Him. Luk 1:68,78; 7:16; 19:10
2:7 Thou madest him a little lower than the angels;
thou crownedst him with glory and honour,
and didst set him over the works of thy hands:
a little lower - may also be translated ''for a little while lower...''
glory - Man was made ''in the image and likeness of God.''
honor - Man was given dominion over the earth.
Although man was created inferior to angels, God purposed that man should rule over His earthly creation (Gen 1:26-28). This was never His purpose for angels.
     Lucifer rebelled against God's purpose and sought to establish his own throne, and thereby, fell from the purpose for which God created him (Isa 14:12-14). Under Satan's influence, man also fell and demonstrated himself to be incapable of ruling, due to sin and godless self-confidence.
2:8 Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet.
For in that he put all in subjection under him,
he left nothing [that is] not put
{in subjection} under him.
But now we see not yet all things put
{in subjection} under him.
in subjection - The GK text is emphatic, with four occurrences of this word, in v.8.
Man's dominion will include ''all'' and exclude ''nothing.''
But now, we see not...- 'See' is GK=horao, to observe with the physical eye.
The ''facts on the ground'' do not yet satisfy the promise.
Man, in his present ungodly state, does not fulfill the prophecy of this Psalm.
Man's governance is in disarray on every level (at home and in the throne).
Under man's hand we see injustice, corruption, deception and destruction.
This prophecy will not be fulfilled, until Christ returns to judge the world
and to establish His earthly Kingdom of righteousness. Jer 23:5,6; Joh 3:35; 1Cor 15:24-28
2:9 But we see Jesus,
who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death,
crowned with glory and honour;
that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man
{lit., for every thing}.
we see {GK=blepo, to discern with the mind's eye, to see with understanding, cf. v.8}
Jesus - This is the first occurrence (in Hebrews) of the human name of God the Son.
Ch. 1 emphasized His deity (He is superior to prophets and angels. He is the Creator and the Closer of creation). Here, we see Him as man...
crowned with glory and honor - The eye of faith perceives that because this man,
Jesus, has been exalted to God's right hand (Heb 1:13), the promise of man's dominion is both secure and in process. Rev 5:9-12
Now we consider the process: God the Son became Jesus, a man...
-- who was made... lower than the angels for the suffering of death, Php 2:6-8.
-- to taste death (in all its bitterness) for every ''thing,'' 1Pet 3:18; Rom 8:18-21.
-- by the grace of God - not because any man deserved His intervention.
2:10 For it became him,
{ie., it was fitting, in harmony with His person and purpose}
for whom [are] all things, and by whom [are] all things,
Whom?- God the Father and God the Son (cp. Heb 1:2,3; Col 1:17).
For what purpose?-
in bringing many sons unto glory, (cp. Rom 8:17,29,30)
To do what?-
to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
the captain - ie., the author, the originator, of our salvation. Heb 12:2
perfect - Christ was always the perfect man, without sin.
But His virgin birth, sinless life, authoritative teaching, and supernatural powers... could not save us.
through sufferings - only through His suffering of death, in our place, could Jesus
purchase our salvation, since the penalty for sin is death (Rom 6:23; Heb 5:8,9).
Because the Life of the God-Man is eternal, His death is sufficient to pay the debt of every man who will believe. Heb 9:27,28
2:11 For both he that sanctifieth {ie., Christ}
and they who are sanctified {ie., the many sons, v.10}
[are] all of one:
for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren,
sanctified {GK=hagiazo, made holy, purified, set apart for God}
In much of the NT, 'sanctification' refers to the process by which the Holy Spirit changes our 'condition,' causing us to grow more like our Savior, who is completely holy and undefiled. Here, the word refers to what Christ has accomplished on the cross which establishes our 'position'-- in Him, we are Holy, we belong to God, we are set apart for Him. Joh 17:19
all of one - ie., in Christ, we belong to one Father and one family. Joh 17:19-21
In contrast, the false doctrines of the 'Universal Fatherhood of God' and the 'Universal Brotherhood of Man' hold that all men are accepted by God and belong to God's family. However, this passage teaches that, to become God's children, men must be made holy, through the salvation which Christ provided, at the expense of His own death.
not ashamed - This word for 'shame' (or, disgrace) is in an intensive form.-
God cannot fellowship with those who are unholy. For Him to do so would be ''shame upon shame.'' Only those whom He has sanctified are included among the ''brethren'' of God the Son.
2:12 Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren,
in the midst of the church
{ie., congregation} will I sing praise unto thee.
Quote: Psa 22:22
The first part of this Psalm (Psa 22:1-21) provides a detailed and intimate look at the sufferings of Christ on the cross. At v.22, the tone changes from sorrow to joy, due to deliverance from death (ie., the resurrection). It is at this point, after the completion of His work of salvation, that He refers to believers as His brethren. cp. Joh 20:17
As the Author of Salvation, this Man leads His brethren in worship.
     [For further study of this Messianic Psalm, see the Book Notes on Psalm 22.]
2:13 And again, I will put my trust in him.
Quotes or alludes to several passages: eg., Psa 16:1; Isa 8:17; 12:2
As the Author of Salvation, this Man, walked by faith.
In the context of Isaiah ch.8, Isaiah is both a prophet declaring God's Word and a man of faith awaiting its fulfillment. In this, Isaiah foreshadowed the earthly life and ministry of Christ. As the next verse indicates, Isaiah's children foreshadowed other believers who are in fellowship with Christ.
And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me.
Quotes: Isa 8:17,18
As the Author of Salvation, this 'Son of God' and 'Son of Man,' is accompanied by many "sons of men,"
who through Him have become like Him, sons of God. In the context of Isaiah ch.7-8, Isaiah and his sons (who had prophetically significant names) were ''for signs and wonders in Israel.'' Similarly, Christ and His 'children' show forth the grace of God, to the unsaved of Israel and of the gentile world. Psa 22:30,31; Isa 53:10; Joh 17:6-18; Eph 2:4-7; 1Tim 1:16; 1Pet 2:9
2:14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood,
are partakers {GK=koinoneo, hold in common}
he also himself likewise took part of the same;
likewise {ie., in a similar, but not identical, manner}
took part {GK=metecho, lit., ''to have with''}
These words limit His ''partaking.''
His nature was fully human, but it was not fallen human nature. cp. Luk 1:35; Heb 4:15
God the Son took on flesh and blood (His incarnation) for one purpose: that He might die for our sins.
that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death,
that is, the devil;
power {GK=kratos, dominion, strength}
The power behind death is sin. Rom 5:12,18-21
the devil - Satan, who instigates sin, also demands that sin's penalty be paid.
The deceiver is also the accuser. eg., Rev 12:9,10
destroy {GK=katargeo, to render ineffective or powerless, abolish} Joh 12:24,31-33; 2Tim 1:9,10
In His death and resurrection,
Christ (A) destroyed Satan's power over men. Heb 9:15,25-26; 1Joh 3:8; Rev 1:18
2:15 And deliver them who through fear {ie., terror, dread} of death
were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
bondage - ie., in slavery.
fear of death - provides motivation for -
  • Worldly wisdom: ''Eat, drink, be merry, tomorrow we die.''
    ''You only go around once. Get what you can, while you can.''
  • Fleshly religion: which attempts to merit God's favor, but cannot. Rom 3:10-20; 7:7-25
In His death and resurrection,
Christ (B) delivered sin's slaves. Rom 6:23; 1Cor 15:55-57
2:16 For verily he took not {hold} on [him the nature of] angels;
but he took
{hold} on [him] the seed of Abraham.
he took hold - ie., for the purpose of helping 'them' (of v.15).
Read the above verse without the words in [brackets].
Christ came, not to save fallen angels, but to save fallen men.
Therefore, He became a man, in fulfillment of promises made first to Adam and later to Abraham and the patriarchs. Gen 3:15; 22:18; Isa 49:1-9
2:17 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto [his] brethren,
in all things - like His brethren, He entered into a world of sin and came under its effects:
eg., poverty, temptation, sorrow, pain, death.
that he might be {ie., become} a merciful
and faithful high priest in things [pertaining] to God,
a high priest - is the representative...
(1) of God before man - God the Son is obviously qualified for this role.
(2) of man before God - the Son of Man is fit for this role, since He is both...
merciful - compassionate toward those whose woes He shares (cp. Heb 5:1,2).
faithful - toward God. He was obedient even unto death (cp. 5:7-9; Php 2:8).
to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.
reconciliation {GK=hilaskomai, expiation, propitiation}
The word is used of the ''Mercy Seat'' on the Ark of the Covenant in the Temple. Here, the High Priest presented the blood of sacrifice once each year (on the Day of Atonement) symbolizing that the sentence of the Law was met.
Propitiation (A) satisfies God's righteousness by execution of His judgment upon sin (ie., death),
     and (B) enables God to look favorably upon the sinner whose sins are thus put away.
Christ, our High Priest, by His sacrifice, transformed the judgment seat of God into the Mercy Seat for us. (This will be explained more fully in ch. 9 and 10.) cp. Luk 18:13 (where 'be merciful' {GK=hilaskomai} is a plea that his sins 'be propitiated' at the Mercy Seat); Rom 3:20-26
2:18 For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted,
he is able to succour them that are tempted.
suffered {GK=pascho, felt, experienced}
succour - ie., to help, to come to the aid of.
tempted - ie., tested.
The 'test' may be (A) the opportunity for evil doing, or (B) the opposition of evil foes.
Jesus proved Himself in both cases. Through His provision and enabling, His own are also able to endure testing. 1Cor 10:13; Gal 2:20; 1Pet 4:1,2; 2Pet 2:9

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