A Systematic Expository on the book of Hebrews
STUDY 6: CHRIST’S VOLUNTARY HUMILIATION
Hebrews 2:5 - 9
Today’s study speaks about man and then about Christ who came to the world to redeem man. This passage is full and deep with meaning. Applied to man, created in the image of God, we see God’s original plan for man. Here we see man’s destiny revealed by God, restricted by sin and restored by Christ. Redeemed man will still be crowned with glory and honour.
Yet here, we have the revelation concerning Christ - His temporary humiliation, His substitutionary sacrifice and His eternal exaltation. For a little while, he became lower than the angels - became Man to die for our sins. Having paid the penalty for our sins, He is exalted by the Father to have all things in subjection under Him (Hebrews 2:8). He will reign as King over “the world to come” (Hebrews 2:5).
THE ANGELS’ LIMITED AUTHORITY
Hebrews 2:5; 1 Corinthians 6:2,3; 15:23-28; Isaiah 6:5, 5-7; 2 Peter 3:13; Hebrews 6:5; Revelation 11:15.
In this verse, that is Hebrews 2:5, the Apostle returns to the subject which he had been treating in chapter 1 - the superiority of Christ over the angels. He emphasized here that the glory and authority of angels are limited. The honour conferred on the Lord Jesus Christ had never been bestowed on the angels. Only Christ (and none of the angels) is so honoured to have “the world to come” put in subjection under Him.
God never intended to give angels rule over the world to come. Rather, angels are to minister to those who will be heirs of salvation (Hebrews 1:14). In the world to come, even redeemed men will have privileges greater than that of angels. Redeemed men (the overcomers) will sit with Christ on the throne and reign with Him. Angels were created to serve, not to rule. Man, however, was created as king of the earth, and in God’s final destiny for him, redeemed man will one day be crowned with glory and honour.
The Jews thought that Jesus was inferior to the angels because they saw Him as a Man of a humble condition. They did not see on Him any of the apparent honour which belonged to angelic beings. It was proper, since He came to redeem man that He should be a Man, and not take on Himself the nature of angels. Yet God had never put the world to come in subjection to the angels, as he had to the Lord Jesus Christ.
CHRIST’S TEMPORARY HUMILIATION AND FINAL GLORY
Hebrews 2:6-8; Psalm 8:4-6; Philippians 2:7-11; Daniel 7:13,14; Matthew 28:18; John 3:35; 13:3; Ephesians 1:21,22.
The Apostle was writing to those who were supposed to be familiar with the Old Testament. So he said “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? 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” (Hebrews 2:6,7). He was quoting from Psalms 8:4-6. The Psalmist was speaking of the domion which God had given man over his works and the world. God originally gave dominion to man over the creatures on earth. (Genesis 1:26). The original control given to Adam was absolute and entire - all things were made subject to him, but man rebelled and that dominion has been lost in some measure. Such dominion or authority is now found complete and absolute only in “the second man the LORD from heaven” (1 Corinthians 15:47).
For a little while, Jesus Christ became man - lower than the angels. This refers to the incarnation, when Jesus became man and thus became subject to suffering and the limitations of time and space - Christ is now exalted above all angels and the whole creation. And redeemed man, much lower than the angels now, will one day be exalted as king with our Great King the King of kings.
CHRIST’S SUBSTITUTIONARY DEATH FOR EVERYONE
Hebrews 2:9; Isaiah 53:3-10; Galatians 4:4,5; 2 Corinthians 5:15; John 12:32,33; 1 John 2:2; 1 Timothy 2:4-6; Revelation 5:9.
Christ, having pre-eminence over the angels voluntarily took on Him the form of a Servant and came to die for our sins. The time is coming when all things shall be put in complete subjection under Him. This Christ, the King, died a vicarious death. “Vicarious” means “for another”; He “tasted death for every man” (Hebrews 2:9). The atonement made by the Lord Jesus is “for every man”, whether Jew or Gentile, bond or free, high or low. God is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance”(2 Peter 3:9); “he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2). “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13).
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