Hebrews 2:12-18

Sunday, October 30th, 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 that 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Judaism, i.e. that God’s revelation in Christ is superior to the revelation that came through the Old Testament and has superseded it.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 –

    I.     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 –

 III.     CHRIST IS GOD - 1:8-13

In addition, by contrast we have seen that –

 IV.     ANGELS ARE only MINISTERING SPIRITS - 1:7, 14

Moreover, we have seen that –

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

Finally, we have begun seeing that –

 VI.     THE COMING INHABITED WORLD HAS BEEN SUBJECTED TO CHRIST - 2:5-18

 

We have already seen that –

            1.   All things have been put in subjection under man’s feet - 2:5-8

 

We are in the process of seeing that –

            2.   Christ was temporarily made lower than the angels - 2:9-18

 

Hebrews 2:9-18 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, 12 Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee. 13 And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me. 14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; 15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. 16 For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. 17 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. 18 For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.

 

We have already seen in verses 9-11 that –

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

We continue in this message with verse 12 where we see that –

            E.  Jesus will proclaim God the Father to believers – 2:12a

 

Hebrews 2:12 a – Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren. . . .

 

That Jesus is the brother of believers is supported by Scripture as is indicated by saying.

 

What Jesus said in verse 12 is quoted from Psalms 22:22 , I will declare thy name unto my brethren. In the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee.

 

I refers to the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Will declare is will proclaim and is predictive of something which will definitely occur in the future. This will apparently take place in heaven when Christ and believers will jointly worship God the Father.

 

Thy name is Your name and refers to God the Father. It indicates that this statement is being made to Him.

 

To my brethren is to my brothers and refers to believers; whereas, my refers to Christ.

 

            F.  Jesus will sing hymns of praise to God the Father in the midst of the assembly – 2:12b

 

Hebrews 2:12 b – . . . In the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee.

 

In the midst of the church is in the middle of the assembly or in the middle of the congregation.

 

Will I sing praise unto thee is I will sing hymns of praise to You and is predictive of something which will definitely occur in the future.

 

I is Christ, and thee is You and refers to God the Father. It is to God the Father that Jesus will be singing these hymns of praise. This will apparently take place in heaven when Christ and believers will jointly worship God the Father.

 

            G. Jesus is the Son of God Who trusts His Father just as believers are sons of God who trust their heavenly Father – 2:13a

 

Hebrews 2:13 a – And again, I will put my trust in him. . . .

 

And again indicates that another quotation is being introduced. It means and once more.

 

This quotation is taken from Isaiah 8:17 and is, I will put my trust in him.

 

I is emphatic and refers to Christ.

 

I will put my trust in him is literally I shall have believed Him, I shall have depended on Him, I shall have trusted in Him, or I shall have put my confidence in Him. It is predictive of something which will definitely occur in the future.

 

My refers to Christ, and him refers to God the Father.

 

A person’s trust or confidence is only as good as the one in whom it is placed. In this case, it is placed in God the Father Who is absolutely perfect in every way.

 

By this statement Jesus is affirmed to be the Son of God Who trusts His Father just as believers are sons of God who trust their heavenly Father.

 

Jesus as Messiah is dependent upon God just as believers are.

 

            H. Jesus is closely associated with believers – 2:13b

 

Hebrews 2:13 b – . . . And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me.

 

And again indicates that another quotation is being made, this one from Isaiah 8:18 : Behold I and the children which God hath given me.

 

Behold is look.

 

I again refers to Christ and is emphatic.

 

And the children is and the little children. It is the same term translated little children in I John and refers to saved people and includes the entire group which God hath given me.

 

God is God the Father.

 

Hath given is gave. It has been translated in a way which emphasizes the result of its action.

 

Me refers to Christ.

 

I and the children which God hath given me demonstrates the close association of Christ with believers. It also demonstrates that in some way God gave them to Christ.

 

 

            I.         Jesus became a human being so that through His death He might destroy the devil – 2:14

 

Hebrews 2:14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.

 

Verse 14 indicates why Jesus became a man.

 

Forasmuch as is understood in the sense of because, since, for, or inasmuch as.

 

Then draws an inference and is the term ordinarily translated therefore. It is also used in the sense of consequently, so, or accordingly.

 

The children is the same term used in verse 13 in reference to saved people. Again, it is the term translated little children in I John.

 

Are partakers of is literally have shared in. Its tense denotes an existing condition, the result of an action completed in the past whose result has continued on.

 

What they have partaken of is flesh and blood. Now there is no hint in this verse of cannibalism. They did not eat flesh and blood; rather, they were made flesh and blood. In other words, they were real human beings.

 

This is the reason he also himself likewise took part of the same.

 

He is Christ.

 

Also suggests in addition to and is used to join together the two phrases, the children are partakers of flesh and blood with he also himself likewise took part of the same.

 

Himself is combined with he and serves to intensify its meaning.

 

Likewise is similarly.

 

Took part of is similar in meaning to the term translated are partakers of. It means to have a share in or participate in.

 

What He took part of is the same, by which the writer means the same things, i.e. the flesh and blood. In other words, Jesus became a human being in the same sense that all people are human beings.

 

Christ identified Himself with humanity by becoming human; and by becoming human, Christ subjected Himself to the same things to which humanity is subject, including all the temptations and death itself. One difference is that He did not have a sin nature and never committed sin.

 

That through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil indicates the reason Jesus shared in flesh and blood.

 

That suggests in order that or for the purpose that. This stated purpose of Jesus’ death continues through the rest of verse 14 and all of verse 15.

 

Through death is by means of death. The appears before death in the Greek text, indicating that the writer is referring to the particular death on the cross which Jesus died when He shed His blood to atone for the sins of all mankind.

 

He is Christ.

 

Might destroy is might abolish, might bring to an end, might put an end to, or might render harmless.

 

Him that had the power of death is identified as being the devil.

 

The power of death is the rule over death or the sovereignty over death.

 

That is is used very specifically to introduce the one who had the power of death as being the devil.

 

The devil is literally the slanderer and is used specifically of Satan.

 

Christ died in order to destroy the devil. Although Satan has been destroyed at the cross, he did not cease to exist or stop his efforts to establish his own kingdom and to overthrow God’s kingdom. He remains, however, a defeated foe waiting for his sentence to be carried out. His power has been broken. Jesus thus became a human being in order that He might die as a substitute for human beings.

 

Verse 14 directly contradicts the gnostic thinking of docetism dealt with in John’s writings, which taught that Jesus was only a phantom, that He was not really a man, but that He only appeared (or seemed) to be a man.

 

            J.   Jesus became a human being so that through His death He might deliver unsaved humanity from slavery to Satan – 2:15

 

Hebrews 2:15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

 

Verse 15 continues the reason Jesus shared in flesh and blood.

 

Because of sin, all unsaved people were in slavery to Satan and did not even know it; and it is because they feared death. Satan employed people’s fear of death to enslave them. For this reason Jesus became a human being in order that He might die on the cross and deliver them from their slavery to Satan. Those who receive Him as Savior are no longer slaves of Satan and no longer need to fear death. Instead, death is seen as merely being a passageway into heaven itself.

 

Might deliver is might free or might release.

 

Them refers to the ones who were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

 

Who is not the ordinary word for who but means all those who. Thus, Christ died for all. This is another direct contradiction of the false idea of a limited atonement.

 

Through fear is because of fear, because of alarm, or because of fright.

 

Fear of death indicates that what they fear is death.

 

Were subject to bondage is were subject to slavery.

 

All their lifetime is through all their lives.

 

One is reminded that nothing, including death and a whole host of other things, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-39 ).

 

One is also reminded of I Corinthians 15:54-58 ,

 

I Corinthians 15:54-58 – (54) So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. (55) O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? (56) The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. (57) But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (58) Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

 

            K. Jesus became a man rather than an angel – 2:16

 

Hebrews 2:16 For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.

 

For is emphatic and used in the sense of indeed or certainly.

 

Verily is of course or surely.

 

He refers to Christ.

 

Took not on him the nature of angels suggests He did not assume a portion of angels or He did not assume the nature of angels in order to save mankind. It means that He did not become an angel.

 

But introduces a strong contrast.

 

He took on him is the same term used in the previous phrase.

 

Here, it means He did assume a portion of or He assumed the nature of.

 

What He took on Him was the seed of Abraham.

 

In other words, He became a man Who was descended from Abraham. Thus, He was not only a human being; but He was also a Jew, a descendant of Abraham through Isaac and Jacob.

 

            L.  Jesus was obligated to become like His brothers in order to become a merciful and faithful high priest to make reconciliation for the sins of the people – 2:17

 

Hebrews 2:17 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.

 

Wherefore is used in the sense of therefore or for this reason.

 

In verse 17 in all things suggests in all ways or in all respects. There is a limit here; although Christ was without sin, His brethren were not.

 

It behoved him is He was indebted or He was obligated.

 

To be made like unto is to become like or to be like. It indicates what Christ was obligated to do and, when combined with unto his brethren, means that Christ was obligated to become like His brothers.

 

This refers back to the fact that saved people are called brothers in verses 11 and 12.

 

His has been supplied by the translators and refers to Christ, and brethren refers to believers.

 

That he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God shows purpose and is to be connected with behoved or with be made like.

 

That is understood in the sense of in order that or for the purpose that.

 

He is Jesus.

 

Might be suggests might come to be or might become.

 

A merciful is a sympathetic or a compassionate. Merciful may modify he and be understood in the sense of he might be sympathetic or he might be compassionate. It may instead modify high priest as the translators have understood it, i.e. a sympathetic high priest or a compassionate high priest.

 

Faithful may imply that Christ was true, loyal, or genuine to God to the end; or it may imply that as the believers’ high priest Christ is trustworthy, dependable, or reliable. Both are true. In either case, Christ’s faithfulness is directed primarily to God Who appointed Him.

 

High priest is what Jesus would become. As high priest He would eventually offer Himself as a sacrifice for the sins of all mankind.

 

In things pertaining to God indicates that Jesus is a high priest in reference to the things, matters, or affairs of God.

 

To make reconciliation for the sins of the people is the reason Jesus became a high priest.

 

To make suggests in order that He might make.

 

What He made is reconciliation for the sins of the people.

 

Reconciliation is used in the sense of make an atonement for or propitiate. The noun form of this word is translated propitiation in I John 2:2 and 4:10.

 

I John 2:2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

 

I John 4:10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

 

Another form of this word meaning that which brings about propitiation is translated propitiation in Romans 3:25 .

 

Romans 3:25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God.

 

The same term is translated be merciful to in Luke 18:13 .

 

Luke 18:13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.

 

It means treat me as one for whom the blood has been sprinkled on the mercy seat.

 

Thus, that Christ became the propitiation for us means that by His death on the cross for our sins, Jesus removed the wrath of God which had been directed against us because of our sins.

 

Back to Hebrews 2:17

What He made an atonement for was the sins of the people.

 

Sins is the term meaning to miss the mark.

 

The before sins treats these sins of the people as a whole and without exception. Christ died for the sum total of all the sins of all humanity. Of course, what Jesus offered on behalf of the sins of the people was His own blood.

 

            M. Jesus is able to help people to be victorious over temptation – 2:18

 

Hebrews 2:18 For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.

 

Verse 18 explains verse 17 as is suggested by for.

 

In that is because of what.

 

He refers to Christ, and himself is used to intensify he.

 

Hath suffered is has endured.

 

Being tempted means when He was tried, when He was put to the test, because He was tried, or because He was put to the test and refers to His crucifixion.

 

Christ was tempted throughout His earthly ministry, and His final temptation or testing was on the cross.

 

The time of His being tempted occurred before the time of he is able which refers to Christ and suggests that He can do something.

 

What He is able to do is to succour them that are tempted which means that He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.

 

Them that are tempted suggests those who are tried or those who are put to the test and includes all of them. Hence, it refers to all believers.

 

In that Jesus was victorious over each and every temptation He experienced or endured, He is able to help those who are tempted or tried to be victorious over each and every temptation they experience.

CONCLUSION:

 

Is Christ superior to angels? He certainly is.

 

He is the Savior of all humanity. He died on the cross to save humanity from their sins and the consequences of their sins. Have you trusted Him as your personal Savior?