Hebrews 2:5-11

Sunday, October 23rd, 2016

CHRIST IS SUPERIOR TO ANGELS

INTRODUCTION:

 

The occasion of Hebrews was the need to exhort Jews who had professed belief in Jesus as the Messiah to hold fast their profession in difficult times and to go on to maturity in the faith.

 

As a result of severe persecution the readers of this epistle had encountered after they had become Christians, some were apparently contemplating abandoning Christianity and returning to Judaism, believing that Christianity was not all they had expected it to be. Hebrews was written to demonstrate that Christianity is better than and has taken the place of Judaism, i.e. that God’s revelation in Christ is superior to the revelation that came through the Old Testament and has superseded it.

 

The key word in Hebrews is better. Hebrews contains a series of contrasts between the good things of Judaism and the better things of Christ. Christ is better than the prophets, better than the angels, better than Moses, than Joshua, and than Aaron; and the New Covenant is better than the Mosaic Covenant.

 

In Hebrews 1:4-2:18 , we see that Christ is superior to the angels.

 

We have already seen that –

      1.   CHRIST HAS A MORE EXCELLENT NAME THAN ANGELS HAVE – 1:4-5

 

We have also seen that –

      II. CHRIST IS WORSHIPED BY THE ANGELS AS THE FIRSTBORN - 1:6

 

We have furthermore seen that –

      3.   CHRIST IS GOD - 1:8-13

 

By contrast, we have seen that, although Christ is God, –

      4.   ANGELS ARE MINISTERING SPIRITS - 1:7, 14

 

Finally, we have seen that –

      5.   WHAT CHRIST HAS SAID CARRIES MORE AUTHORITY THAN WHAT ANGELS HAVE SAID - 2:1-4

 

In 2:5-18 we see that the coming inhabited world has been subjected to Christ rather than to angels.

 

According to verses 5-8, all things have been put in subjection under man’s feet; whereas, according to verses 9-18, Christ has been crowned with glory and honor after He had been temporarily made lower than the angels in order that He might obtain redemption for all humanity.

 

Jesus was not a mere human being who experienced suffering and death and who was inferior to angels. The world to come has not been subjected to angels, but it will be subjected to mankind; and the leader of mankind is Christ, the Son of man.

 

    I.     ALL THINGS HAVE BEEN PUT IN SUBJECTION UNDER MAN’S FEET - 2:5-8

 

Hebrews 2:5-8 5 For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak. 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? 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: 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 under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him.

 

            A.  God has not put the world to come in subjection to angels – 2:5

 

Hebrews 2:5 For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak.

 

For introduces another step in the writer’s thinking and is best understood in the sense of now.

 

Unto the angels is simply to angels.

 

He is God the Father.

 

Hath . . . not put in subjection is has not subjected or has not subordinated. It has been translated in a way which emphasizes the result of an action completed in the past.

 

The world to come is the inhabited world to come or the inhabited earth, the coming one. It is speaking of the millennium.

 

Whereof we speak is concerning which we are speaking or about which we are speaking, where which refers to the world, the inhabited world, or the earth.

 

In verse 5 it is specifically stated that the world to come has not been put in subjection to angels.

 

            B.  Surprisingly, God has an interest in humanity – 2:6

 

Hebrews 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?

 

But introduces a statement in mild contrast to what was said in verse 5.

 

One in a certain place is simply someone somewhere. Although the writer of Hebrews does not tell the readers who the one is or where the certain place is that he testified, it is recognized as a quotation from Psalms 8 . A Jewish reader familiar with the Old Testament Scriptures would also have recognized this.

 

Testified suggests bore witness to. What was testified is the rest of verse 6 and all of verse 7 which are quoted from Psalms 8:5-6 .

 

Furthermore, what was stated generally regarding man in Psalms 8:5-6 is specifically applied to the Lord Jesus Christ beginning in Hebrews 2:9 .

 

The term for man in the question, What is man that thou art mindful of him?, is the generic term for human being or mankind. The point of the question is that the writer is amazed that the God of the universe would have any interest whatsoever in humanity.

 

That is used in the sense of so that or with the result that.

 

Thou is You and refers to God the Father.

 

That thou art mindful of is so that (or with the result that) You remember (i.e. You think of, You care for, or You are concerned about).

 

Him refers to man.

 

Or introduces a second way of stating basically the same thing.

 

In Hebrew thought the phrase the son of is used to describe a chief characteristic or quality of someone. The characteristic is the word following of in the phrase the son of. Hence, when Jesus is said to be the Son of God, it means that Jesus is God. Hence, son of man means one who is a man or man. Again man is the generic term for human being rather than for an adult male.

 

That thou visitest him is so that You (God the Father) are concerned about him.

 

Visitest refers to God’s gracious visitation in bringing salvation and suggests God’s concern about him, i.e. about man (or about humanity). Why the God of the universe, the God of all creation, the God of all eternity, would have any interest in humanity is utterly incomprehensible; but He does!

 

            C.  God has placed redeemed humanity over the works of His hands – 2:7

 

Hebrews 2:7 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.

 

Thou is God the Father.

 

Madest lower is made inferior, and its tense denotes action completed in past time.

 

Him refers to man in general in Psalms 8 . In this context in Hebrews, however, it is being applied not only to redeemed man in general, but specifically, to Christ beginning in verse 9.

 

Little describes lower and implies lower in degree. It is also possible to understand the Greek word in the sense of for a little while or for a short time.

 

Lower than the angels suggests comparison and indicates that man was made lower than angels. That this was only a temporary situation is indicated by the second half of verse 7.

 

Thou crownedst literally means You (God the Father) wreathed or crowned and is used figuratively meaning You honored or You rewarded.

 

In Psalms 8 him refers to mankind in general as it does in Hebrews 2:5-8 .

 

It is with glory and honour that man has been crowned or rewarded. Of course, man fell from this exalted position which had been given to Adam in the Garden of Eden.

 

And didst set him over the works of thy hands means You put him in charge over the works of Your hands. Although man lost this dominion over the creation when he fell into sin, God’s original intent for man has not changed.

 

The works of thy hands suggests the entire creation. The entire creation, including angels, will one day be subjected to man; and Christ is man’s leader.

 

            D.  God has put all things, including the world to come, in subjection to redeemed mankind – 2:8

 

Hebrews 2:8 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 under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him.

 

In thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet, thou is You and refers to God the Father.

 

Hast put in subjection means subjected or subordinated, and its tense implies that its action is complete and that its result is being emphasized. It is the same term used in verse 5.

 

Whereas God did not put the world to come in subjection to the angels, He has put all things, including the world to come, in subjection to redeemed mankind through their leader, the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

All things is all-inclusive and means everything without exception.

 

Under his feet refers to the feet of man, and under is below. It speaks of man’s authority over all things in the creation.

 

For indicates that an explanation is about to follow and is used in the sense of now.

 

In that he put all in subjection under him refers to God’s act of placing all things under man’s authority and suggests when He subjected all things to man.

 

He left nothing that is not put under him indicates that there was no exception to this.

 

However, as one looks at the creation, it does not appear that this has taken effect yet; and this is the import of the last statement but now (at the time of the writing of Hebrews) we see not yet all things put under him.

 

We see is we notice, and we includes the writer as well as his readers.

 

Not yet suggests that it has not yet taken place.

 

Again, all is literally the all things and refers specifically to the all things at the beginning of this verse.

 

Put under him is made subject to him. God has subjected all things to man, but this has not yet taken effect. It will definitely take place in the future, but it has not taken place yet. Adam enjoyed dominion over the earth after he was created, but he lost this dominion when he sinned. When God sets all things right, all things will once again be put in subjection under man as a result of what Christ has done.

 

Next we see that –

            II. CHRIST HAS BEEN TEMPORARILY MADE LOWER THAN THE ANGELS - 2:9-18

 

Because of its length, we will not be able to finish this section in one message; so, we will consider it in this service and again in next week’s service. We will consider verses 9-11 in this message and verses 12-18 in next week’s message.

 

Hebrews 2:9-11 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. 10 For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. 11 For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren.

 

            A.  Jesus was temporarily made lower than the angels for the suffering of death for every human being - 2:9A

 

Hebrews 2:9 a – But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death . . . that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.

 

But introduces a contrast between what the writer and his readers do not yet see in verse 8 and what they see now.

 

In verse 9 what we see is Jesus Who is described by who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death.

 

We refers to the writer and his readers.

 

Was made . . . lower is was made inferior.

 

As in verse 7, little describes lower and implies lower in degree even though it is possible to understand the Greek word in the sense of for a little while or for a short time. In either case it was a temporary situation; yet, all the time that He was lower than the angels, He was still their God.

 

The reason Jesus was made lower than angels is for (i.e. because of or on account of) the suffering of death.

 

The appears before death in the Greek text, indicating that the writer is referring to the particular death which He died on the cross on behalf of sinners. Jesus died as their representative before God.

 

That he by the grace of God should taste death for every man shows purpose.

 

That should, therefore, be understood in the sense of in order that or for the purpose that.

 

He is Jesus.

 

By the grace of God is best understood as indicating cause or means and is understood in the sense of because of the grace of God or by means of the grace of God.

 

Grace is undeserved or unmerited favor.

 

God is God the Father.

 

Should taste literally means should partake of. When used figuratively as it is in this verse, it is used in the sense of should come to know.

 

What Jesus came to know was death.

 

For every man indicates that Jesus died for the sins of every person.

 

For is on behalf of and indicates that He took the place of sinners when He died on the cross, thus becoming their substitute.

 

For every man is for all, for each, or for every. Thus, Jesus did not die just for adult males. He died for everyone who has ever lived, female as well as male, young as well as old.

 

This statement clearly contradicts the concept some have of a limited atonement, i.e. that Christ died only for the elect. Jesus is presently seen crowned with glory and honor, but He had been temporarily made a little lower than the angels in order that He, by the grace of God, should die for every man.

 

            B.  Jesus was crowned with glory and honor – 2:9b

 

Hebrews 2:9 b – But we see Jesus . . . crowned with glory and honour.

 

Crowned literally means wreathed as if He were the victor in an athletic contest. When used figuratively as it is in this verse, it means honored or rewarded. It was God the Father Who crowned, honored, or rewarded the Lord Jesus Christ; and this took place when Christ returned to heaven following the ascension.

 

With glory refers to the glory which was once His in eternity past which He gave up or laid aside when He became a man. It is seen here as having been restored to Him.

 

Honour is used in the sense of the respect which either should be paid to Him or is being paid to Him.

 

            C.  It was fitting for God the Father to make Christ perfect through sufferings – 2:10

 

Hebrews 2:10 For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.

 

For likely indicates an explanation in the sense of now. It might instead be emphatic and understood in the sense of indeed or certainly.

 

It became him is it was fitting for Him (i.e. it was fitting for God the Father), it was seemly for Him, it was appropriate for Him, or it was suitable for Him.

 

It is God the Father Who made the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.

 

For whom are all things is because of Whom are all things or for the sake of Whom are all things.

 

Whom refers to God the Father.

 

All things is literally the all things previously referred to in verse 9 and suggests the entire creation. Thus, everything revolves around God the Father.

 

And by whom are all things is and through Whom are all things.

 

Again, whom refers to God the Father, and the all things spoken of is another reference to the entire creation. Nothing is excluded. It is through Him in that He did not actually do the creating. He planned it.

 

In bringing is understood in the sense of while bringing, when bringing, or when He brought. It may instead be understood in the sense of because He was bringing or because He brought.

 

What God the Father was doing was bringing many sons to glory, which suggests that He was saving many people whom He made His sons and that He will one day complete their salvation with their glorification.

 

What was fitting for God the Father was to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.

 

To make . . . perfect means to bring to an end or to bring to its goal or accomplishment in the sense of overcoming or supplanting an imperfect state of things by one that is free from objection.

 

Jesus was completed and perfected in the sense that He overcame earthly limitations. He had to experience suffering and death. Of course, He was always sinless and perfectly God; but He was now complete, restored to His position, and in an exalted state.

 

Jesus is described as the captain of their salvation.

 

Captain means originator or founder. The same word is translated author in Hebrews 12:2 .

 

Hebrews 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

 

Jesus is the leader or the pioneer Who has taken the lead and provided the first occasion of their salvation. He will also lead them every step of the way to their eternal inheritance in heaven.

 

Through sufferings is by means of sufferings and refers to Christ’s time of humiliation as a man and in particular to His humiliation in dying for sin on the cross.

 

            D.  Jesus is a brother of believers – 2:11

 

Hebrews 2:11 For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren.

 

For is explanatory and understood in the sense of now.

 

Both implies that there are two groups involved.

 

He that sanctifieth is the first group, even though it is a group of only one, and means the One Who is making holy, the One Who is consecrating, or the One Who is setting apart and refers to the Lord Jesus Christ. He sanctifies believers.

 

And introduces the second group, which is they who are sanctified, which refers to saved people who are made holy, consecrated, or set apart (for God’s use).

 

Are all of one indicates that the One Who sanctifies and the ones who are sanctified have one common source. This one source is God the Father. Hence, they are all brothers. Both Christ and believers have the same heavenly Father.

 

For which cause is because of which cause.

 

He is the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Is not ashamed indicates a constant state, an abiding condition. He is continuously unashamed.

 

He is never ashamed to call them brethren.

 

Brethren is brothers and refers to believers as brothers of Christ.

 

The fact that Jesus is not ashamed to call believers brothers implies that He is pleased to call them brothers, and its tense indicates that He does so continuously.

 

Jesus thus refers to saved people as His brothers because God is the Father not only of Jesus but also of every saved person.

CONCLUSION:

 

Is Christ superior to angels? He certainly is.