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Book of Hebrews: Chapter 2

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Verse 1 notes

We're still in the context of Jesus being superior to angels. The author is concluding thoughts from the previous chapter.
Does this sound familiar? The apostle Paul said this in Galatians 1:8-10: "But even if we (the Apostles) or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preach to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed."
We see this attitude of service here just as was mentioned in Hebrews 1:14, "Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?" The author urges its readers to pay "much closer attention" or pay "careful attention" to what exactly was heard.

Verse 2 notes

The author is talking about the Old Law (Old Testament or Law of Moses) here. He says it was transmitted by angels and no violation of that law went unpunished-idol worshippers were sentenced to death, etc. If those people did not escape punishment, how will Christians escape punishment if we disobey a much greater Law? This point is, if angels were not to be obeyed what will our punishment be for ignoring the Son?

Verse 3 and 4 notes

The author begins to describe this salvation:
1.) It was declared by the Lord, while the Old Law given by angels.
2.) It was confirmed by the Apostles who actually heard Him (Jesus) and authenticated His teachings.
3.) And God testified to it by signs, wonders and miracles. And God, through various supernatural works, provided full confirmation of His apostolic witness to Christ. There were no excuse that these Jewish Christians could give if they chose to forsake Christ for Judaism. They knew the Old Law and the punishment for being disobedient to that Law when it was in effect. They heard the message of Christ and knew that there would be retribution if they neglected their salvation.

Let's go back to Acts 2 for a moment.

The Apostle Peter gave a sermon to all this Jewish men when they were still practicing Judaism because it is here in this chapter that we see the establishment of Christianity and the Lord's church. In verse 22 of Acts 2, Peter said that Jesus was attested to them by God with works and wonders and signs. Then he says, which you yourselves know. Peter goes on to tell them, whom you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. Peter quotes Psalm 16:8-11 and Psalm 110 and Joel 2. These Jewish men knew where the quotes came from. These men were so dedicated to the Old Law that there is a possibility that Peter didn’t have to say what Psalm he was quoting.

He was not speaking to foreign ears. But what was foreign to the Jewish men was hearing that they were the ones who crucified the Messiah. In Matthew 27:22-23 the crowd shouted and demanded that Pilate release Christ to be crucified. While it is true that the Romans had part in Jesus' death, the Jews could not crucify Jesus without the Roman governments consent. In Jesus' first trial, Jesus was before Caiaphas which only the Jews took part in. In Jesus' second trial He stood before Pilate. Pilate said to the Jews, "I find no fault in this man," but the Jews pushed it.

Now, In Acts 2:22, it is important to note two words: Lawless men. This doesn’t mean immoral. This means men without God's Law. What Peter is conveying to these men is that they allowed Jesus to be crucified at the hands of men who did not reverence or acknowledge God. The Romans were not without law because they had their own laws that governed them. The Jews had to get permission from the Roman government to crucify their own Messiah. Later in Acts 2:38, we read about 3000 souls that day whom were saved by being baptized for the remission of their sins.

I believe we have the answer to what the age of accountability was in the Old Testament. *Read Numbers 14:26-30. If this is the case, the age of accountability 20 years and upward. This is to make the point that there was no excuse these Jewish Christians could give that would justify them forsaking everything they have been taught about Christ. Today the age of accountability varies, but if these men were not in the wrong, the author of Hebrews would not be having this conversation with them through this epistle. Jews allowed Christ to be crucified, and these Jewish Christians were no different if they turned from Christianity and went back to Judaism. To leave Christianity is like crucifying Jesus all over again.

A few passages in the Bible speak of one who turns away from the Truth:
• 2 Peter 2:20-22
• Hebrews 6:4-6
• Hebrews 10:26

Verse 5 notes

The author continues to reason with the Jewish Christians about Christ's superiority over angels. The angels are neither the cause nor the motivation for Christianity. Angels are not the foundation for Christianity. The foundation for Christianity is found in Matthew 16:18 where Jesus tells Peter that on the foundation that He is the son of God.
"The world to come"-this is not referring to another world that would come later. In verse 5, the author is speaking in past tense. So in other words, the author is saying that in the Judaism age which was the Law at the time, would pass away and this new age, The Messianic age (Christian age), that they were presently in, would be founded upon the Law of Christ. The author continues to say that Christ's coming was testified a long time ago, and he quotes Psalm 8:4-6

Verse 6 notes

"What is man"-This is first mentioned in Job 7:17. There should be a footnote in your Bible for Psalm 8:4-8. The Psalmist must have read Genesis 1:26. Man is a creation of God, like all other creations. The thing that sets man apart is a major factor found in Genesis 1:27: God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Perhaps it amazed the psalmist that God should take notice of sinful man. God is so mindful of us that He knows how many hairs are on each of our heads. So the answer to the question "what is man that God is mindful of him?" is found in verse 7 and 8.

Verse 7, 8 notes

God made man a little lower than the angels, put everything in subjection under feet. This is proof positive that we are not the descendents of any living thing of the air, land or sea. At the latter part of verse 8 where it says at present we do not yet see everything in subjection to him, a couple commentaries suggested that because sin took place in the Garden of Eden, we fight against weakness and disease, therefore not much of man's glory is left. Therefore at present, we do not see everything put under man.

Verse 9 notes

Begins with the word "but." This indicates a contrast of what was stated in previous verses. We, humans, do not yet see everything in subjection to man, but we do see Him, that is, Jesus, who for a little while was made lower than the angels.
1.) Jesus is the realization and the fulfillment of Psalm 8. This is the contrast in verses 8 and 9. Though we, man, do not see everything under our control, what we do see is Jesus at God's right hand (1:3) with everything under or soon to be under Him.
2.) Jesus is named here, not just called 'Son' or 'Lord'
3.) Jesus' position on earth, like man's was in the beginning, was that of one who was made a little lower than the angels. The expression "a little" can also be translated as "a little while." Jesus had to become man, but His earthly humiliation was only for a short while. Now He is crowned with glory and honor.
4.) Why was Jesus crowned with honor and glory? Because of his suffering and death at Calvary. The idea of suffering is prominent in Hebrews. The recipients of the epistle suffered, which is one of the reasons this letter was written. The author wanted these Christians to understand that suffering is the way to glory. Jesus was crowned with glory not in sprite of his suffering, but because of it. The cross was not a mistake; Christ had to suffer.
5.) Jesus was made "lower than the angels" for a specific purpose. By God's grace, Jesus tasted death for everyone.

Verse 10 notes

Verses 10-18 is one thought and the thought is 'suffering.' In verse 10, to say that Jesus' suffering was "fitting", the author is conveying to the recipients of this letter that in God's wisdom it was appropriate that the Son suffer. It was not a mistake. God does not make mistakes. Premillinialists suggest that Christ came to earth to establish an earthly kingdom but was rejected by the Jews and so He was crucified. Therefore the Church was a plan B. Because plan A, Him coming in the form of a man, did not work with the Jews, Christ would return again later. This is wrong. This teaching would suggest that God didn’t know that Christ was going to suffer and that it was not part of God's plan for Him to suffer.

God created man for glory, but man became slaves to sin; however, the thought here is that God still intends to bring "many sons to glory." 'Sons' is reference to God's children. In order to bring man back to glory, man is to have a relationship with God and that is only possible if man had a mediator. It is no longer the case that God speaks directly to man. We discussed this in chapter 1. Therefore Christ had to suffer and become our mediator. In John 14:6, Jesus Himself said, I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. Timothy said in 1 Timothy 2:5, For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus. So in order to bring about their salvation, God's plan for Jesus' suffering is central.

Depending on your version of the Bible, verse 10 many refer to Jesus as the "founder," "captain," or "pioneer." This title refers to someone who blazes a trail for others to follow. Jesus came to open up a new path for man to glory.
What does it mean to be made perfect through suffering? Jesus did not lack perfection. In the moral sense, He lacked nothing (4:15; 7:26). What perfecting of Jesus does this verse refer to?

Verse 11-13 notes

In this verse we learn of one who 'sanctifies,' or 'makes holy.' This is the priestly language that we talked about in the introduction class. The Septuagint, or the Greek translation of the OT, often uses "perfect" in the sense of "consecrate" or "ordain" a priest to his office (Ex. 29:29, 33, 35). So the thought for verse 10 is that God, in bringing mankind to the goal for which we have been created, decided to "perfectly qualify" Jesus as High Priest by means of suffering. In verse 17 the author calls Jesus the High Priest.

We learn from verse 11 that Jesus is a "sanctifier." In verse 10, remember He's called a 'Captain' or 'Pioneer.' What does "sanctify mean? It does not mean to simply set apart, but "set apart as especially belonging to God" --this means to be made holy. In the OT, holiness was the necessary condition for entering the presence of God (Num. 16:5). Christ Jesus is the sanctifier and those who are sanctified are Christians. Because of His sacrifice He has cleansed us from all defilement.

Verse 11-13- we have the relationship of Christians to Christ. At the end of verse 11, it says that we are His brethren. It says that Jesus is not ashamed to call them, the sanctified, the Christians, His brethren.
Notice what He declares in verses 12 and 13. We learn from verses 11, 12 and 13 that we are all one. This 1st quotation comes from Psalm 22. The second and third quote comes from Isaiah 8:17, 18. The prophet Isaiah affirmed his faith in God and saw his own children as "signs" in Israel given by God. But the author of Hebrews sees these words as having their full meaning in the Messiah.

Verses 14-16 notes

Christ the Liberator-"Children" are flesh and blood, and Jesus, too, partook of the same human nature. He became man in order to destroy the power of the devil (1 John 3:8). It is also important to note that, according to Bible writers, the devil is real and is here described as the one who "holds the power of death," or at least he did. Jesus came to "destroy" his power, to nullify it and render it ineffective. Jesus destroyed the devils power once and for all; He abolished death. How did Jesus abolish death? By His resurrection. *read Acts 2:24-28. Verse 24 means that death could not hold Jesus because He did not deserve to be there. This is why it was impossible for Him to be holden of it. Jesus abolished death (2 Timothy 1:10). With that being said, Jesus is the one who has the "keys of death and Hades." The purpose of His incarnation was that "through death He might overthrow Satan" and set free all those who were slaves sin and death.

Verse 16 notes

We're still in the context of Christ being superior to angels. In verse 16 it reads that it was not angels that Christ came to help, but came to the descendents of Abraham. This is not saying that Jesus, who was a Jew, came to save just the Jews. He came to save those of flesh and blood. Verse 17 is the conclusion of the previous verses. That’s what why verse 17 beings with "therefore."

Verse 17 and 18 notes

Jesus the High Priest-Hebrews is the only book that refers to Jesus as the High Priest. In the OT, it was the duty of the priest to represent men to God (5:1). In order to carry out this duty, Christ had to be made one with those whom He represents. One commentary says that when the author of Hebrews speaks of Jesus performing His priestly service to God, he is thinking of the great Day of Atonement. But the description of this isn’t given until CH 9, 10.

This chapter concludes with a further reference to the suffering of Jesus. Keep in mind that the word "suffer" is the key word all through this section. Verse 18 is saying that Jesus was tested by what He suffered. This is why He is able to help those who are being tempted. Although He was tempted in all kinds of ways, the author is speaking here of His "suffering of death." In death, and all that went with it, He was tempted in particular (5:7-10). He prayed in Gethsemane, If it be Your will let this cup pass from me. Nevertheless, not My will but Thine be done (Luke 22:42). His temptation was to escape the agony of the cross but He endured. He then is able to help us.

This is why He is crowned with glory and honor. He suffered death and is thoroughly equipped to be the High Priest.

References used: Everyone's Guide to Hebrews, Neil R. Lightfood

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