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Exaltation through Abasement

5 Now God did not subject the coming world, about which we are speaking, to angels. 6But someone has testified somewhere,

“What are human beings that you are mindful of them,

or mortals, that you care for them?

7

You have made them for a little while lower than the angels;

you have crowned them with glory and honor,

8

subjecting all things under their feet.”

Now in subjecting all things to them, God left nothing outside their control. As it is, we do not yet see everything in subjection to them, 9but we do see Jesus, who for a little while was made lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

10 It was fitting that God, for whom and through whom all things exist, in bringing many children to glory, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through sufferings. 11For the one who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one Father. For this reason Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters, 12saying,

“I will proclaim your name to my brothers and sisters,

in the midst of the congregation I will praise you.”


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5. For—confirming the assertion, Heb 2:2, 3, that the new covenant was spoken by One higher than the mediators of the old covenant, namely, angels. Translate in the Greek order, to bring out the proper emphasis, "Not the angels hath He," &c.

the world to come—implying, He has subjected to angels the existing world, the Old Testament dispensation (then still partly existing as to its framework), Heb 2:2, the political kingdom of the earth (Da 4:13; 10:13, 20, 21; 12:1), and the natural elements (Re 9:11; 16:4). and even individuals (Mt 18:10). "The world to come" is the new dispensation brought in by Christ, beginning in grace here, to be completed in glory hereafter. It is called "to come," or "about to be," as at the time of its being subjected to Christ by the divine decree, it was as yet a thing of the future, and is still so to us, in respect to its full consummation. In respect to the subjecting of all things to Christ in fulfilment of Ps 8:1-9, the realization is still "to come." Regarded from the Old Testament standpoint, which looks prophetically forward to the New Testament (and the Jewish priesthood and Old Testament ritual were in force then when Paul wrote, and continued till their forcible abrogation by the destruction of Jerusalem), it is "the world to come"; Paul, as addressing Jews, appropriately calls it so, according to their conventional way of viewing it. We, like them, still pray, "Thy kingdom come"; for its manifestation in glory is yet future. "This world" is used in contrast to express the present fallen condition of the world (Eph 2:2). Believers belong not to this present world course, but by faith rise in spirit to "the world to come," making it a present, though internal. reality. Still, in the present world, natural and social, angels are mediately rulers under God in some sense: not so in the coming world: man in it, and the Son of man, man's Head, are to be supreme. Hence greater reverence was paid to angels by men in the Old Testament than is permitted in the New Testament. For man's nature is exalted in Christ now, so that angels are our "fellow servants" (Re 22:9). In their ministrations they stand on a different footing from that on which they stood towards us in the Old Testament. We are "brethren" of Christ in a nearness not enjoyed even by angels (Heb 2:10-12, 16).

6. But—It is not to angels the Gospel kingdom is subject, BUT

one … testified—the usual way of quoting Scripture to readers familiar with it. Ps 8:5-7 praises Jehovah for exalting MAN, so as to subject all the works of God on earth to him: this dignity having been lost by the first Adam, is realized only in Christ the Son of man, the Representative Man and Head of our redeemed race. Thus Paul proves that it is to MAN, not to angels, that God has subjected the "world to come." In Heb 2:6-8, MAN is spoken of in general ("him … him … his); then at Heb 2:9, first Jesus is introduced as fulfilling, as man, all the conditions of the prophecy, and passing through death Himself; and so consequently bringing us men, His "brethren," to "glory and honor."

What, &c.—How insignificant in himself, yet how exalted by God's grace! (Compare Ps 144:3). The Hebrew, "Enosh" and "Ben-Adam," express "man" and "Son of man" in his weakness: "Son of man" is here used of any and every child of man: unlike, seemingly, the lord of creation, such as he was originally (Ge 1:1-2:25), and such as he is designed to be (Ps 8:1-9), and such as he actually is by title and shall hereafter more fully be in the person of, and in union with, Jesus, pre-eminently the Son of man (Heb 2:9).

art mindful—as of one absent.

visitestlookest after him, as one present.

7. a little—not as Bengel, "a little time."

than the angelsHebrew, "than God," "Elohim," that is, the abstract qualities of God, such as angels possess in an inferior form; namely, heavenly, spiritual, incorporeal natures. Man, in his original creation, was set next beneath them. So the man Jesus, though Lord of angels, when He emptied Himself of the externals of His Divinity (see on Php 2:6, 7), was in His human nature "a little lower than the angels"; though this is not the primary reference here, but man in general.

crownedst him with glory and honour—as the appointed kingly vicegerent of God over this earth (Ge 1:1-2:25).

and didst set him over the works of thy hands—omitted in some of the oldest manuscripts; but read by others and by oldest versions: so Ps 8:6, "Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands."

8. (1Co 15:27.)

For in that—that is, "For in that" God saith in the eighth Psalm, "He put the all things (so the Greek, the all things just mentioned) in subjection under him (man), He left nothing … As no limitation occurs in the sacred writing, the "all things" must include heavenly, as well as earthly things (compare 1Co 3:21, 22).

But now—As things now are, we see not yet the all things put under man.

9. But—We see not man as yet exercising lordship over all things, "but rather, Him who was made a little lower than the angels (compare Lu 22:43), we behold (by faith: a different Greek verb from that for 'we see,' Heb 2:8, which expresses the impression which our eyes passively receive from objects around us; whereas, 'we behold,' or 'look at,' implies the direction and intention of one deliberately regarding something which he tries to see: so Heb 3:19; 10:25, Greek), namely, Jesus, on account of His suffering of death, crowned," &c. He is already crowned, though unseen by us, save by faith; hereafter all things shall be subjected to Him visibly and fully. The ground of His exaltation is "on accoumt of His having suffered death" (Heb 2:10; Php 2:8, 9).

that he by the grace of God—(Tit 2:11; 3:4). The reading of Origen, "That He without God" (laying aside His Divinity; or, for every being save God: or perhaps alluding to His having been temporarily "forsaken," as the Sin-bearer, by the Father on the cross), is not supported by the manuscripts. The "that," &c., is connected with "crowned with glory," &c., thus: His exaltation after sufferings is the perfecting or consummation of His work (Heb 2:10) for us: without it His death would have been ineffectual; with it, and from it, flows the result that His tasting of death is available for (in behalf of, for the good of) every man. He is crowned as the Head in heaven of our common humanity, presenting His blood as the all-prevailing plea for us. This coronation above makes His death applicable for every individual man (observe the singular; not merely "for all men"), Heb 4:14; 9:24; 1Jo 2:2. "Taste death" implies His personal experimental undergoing of death: death of the body, and death (spiritually) of the soul, in His being forsaken of the Father. "As a physician first tastes his medicines to encourage his sick patient to take them, so Christ, when all men feared death, in order to persuade them to be bold in meeting it, tasted it Himself, though He had no need" [Chrysostom]. (Heb 2:14, 15).

10. For—giving a reason why "the grace of God" required that Jesus "should taste death."

it became him—The whole plan was (not only not derogatory to, but) highly becoming God, though unbelief considers it a disgrace [Bengel]. An answer to the Jews, and Hebrew Christians, whosoever, through impatience at the delay in the promised advent of Christ's glory, were in danger of apostasy, stumbling at Christ crucified. The Jerusalem Christians especially were liable to this danger. This scheme of redemption was altogether such a one as harmonizes with the love, justice, and wisdom of God.

for whom—God the Father (Ro 11:36; 1Co 8:6; Re 4:11). In Col 1:16 the same is said of Christ.

all thingsGreek, "the universe of things," "the all things." He uses for "God," the periphrasis, "Him for whom … by whom are all things," to mark the becomingness of Christ's suffering as the way to His being "perfected" as "Captain of our salvation," seeing that His is the way that pleased Him whose will and whose glory are the end of all things, and by whose operation all things exist.

in bringing—The Greek is past, "having brought as He did," namely, in His electing purpose (compare "ye are sons," namely, in His purpose, Ga 4:6; Eph 1:4), a purpose which is accomplished in Jesus being "perfected through sufferings."

many—(Mt 20:28). "The Church" (Heb 2:12), "the general assembly" (Heb 12:23).

sons—no longer children as under the Old Testament law, but sons by adoption.

unto glory—to share Christ's "glory" (Heb 2:9; compare Heb 2:7; Joh 17:10, 22, 24; Ro 8:21). Sonship, holiness (Heb 2:11), and glory, are inseparably joined. "Suffering," "salvation," and "glory," in Paul's writings, often go together (2Ti 2:10). Salvation presupposes destruction, deliverance from which for us required Christ's "sufferings."

to make … perfect—"to consummate"; to bring to consummated glory through sufferings, as the appointed avenue to it. "He who suffers for another, not only benefits him, but becomes himself the brighter and more perfect" [Chrysostom]. Bringing to the end of troubles, and to the goal full of glory: a metaphor from the contests in the public games. Compare "It is finished," Lu 24:26; Joh 19:30. I prefer, with Calvin, understanding, "to make perfect as a completed sacrifice": legal and official, not moral, perfection is meant: "to consecrate" (so the same Greek is translated Heb 7:28; compare Margin) by the finished expiation of His death, as our perfect High Priest, and so our "Captain of salvation" (Lu 13:32). This agrees with Heb 2:11, "He that sanctifieth," that is, consecrates them by Himself being made a consecrated offering for them. So Heb 10:14, 29; Joh 17:19: by the perfecting of His consecration for them in His death, He perfects their consecration, and so throws open access to glory (Heb 10:19-21; Heb 5:9; 9:9 accord with this sense).

captain of, &c.—literally, Prince-leader: as Joshua, not Moses, led the people into the Holy Land, so will our Joshua, or Jesus, lead us into the heavenly inheritance (Ac 13:39). The same Greek is in Heb 12:2, "Author of our faith." Ac 3:15, "Prince of life" (Ac 5:31). Preceding others by His example, as well as the originator of our salvation.

11. he that sanctifieth—Christ who once for all consecrates His people to God (Jude 1, bringing them nigh to Him as the consequence) and everlasting glory, by having consecrated Himself for them in His being made "perfect (as their expiatory sacrifice) through sufferings" (Heb 2:10; Heb 10:10, 14, 29; Joh 17:17, 19). God in His electing love, by Christ's finished work, perfectly sanctifies them to God's service and to heaven once for all: then they are progressively sanctified by the transforming Spirit "Sanctification is glory working in embryo; glory is sanctification come to the birth, and manifested" [Alford].

they who are sanctifiedGreek, "they that are being sanctified" (compare the use of "sanctified," 1Co 7:14).

of one—Father, God: not in the sense wherein He is Father of all beings, as angels; for these are excluded by the argument (Heb 2:16); but as He is Father of His spiritual human sons, Christ the Head and elder Brother, and His believing people, the members of the body and family. Thus, this and the following verses are meant to justify his having said, "many sons" (Heb 2:10). "Of one" is not "of one father Adam," or "Abraham," as Bengel and others suppose. For the Saviour's participation in the lowness of our humanity is not mentioned till Heb 2:14, and then as a consequence of what precedes. Moreover, "Sons of God" is, in Scripture usage, the dignity obtained by our union with Christ; and our brotherhood with Him flows from God being His and our Father. Christ's Sonship (by generation) in relation to God is reflected in the sonship (by adoption) of His brethren.

he is not ashamed—though being the Son of God, since they have now by adoption obtained a like dignity, so that His majesty is not compromised by brotherhood with them (compare Heb 11:16). It is a striking feature in Christianity that it unites such amazing contrasts as "our brother and our God" [Tholuck]. "God makes of sons of men sons of God, because God hath made of the Son of God the Son of man" [St. Augustine on Psalm 2].

12. (Ps 22:22.) Messiah declares the name of the Father, not known fully as Christ's Father, and therefore their Father, till after His crucifixion (Joh 20:17), among His brethren ("the Church," that is, the congregation), that they in turn may praise Him (Ps 22:23). At Ps 22:22, which begins with Christ's cry, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" and details minutely His sorrows, passes from Christ's sufferings to His triumph, prefigured by the same in the experience of David.

will I sing—as leader of the choir (Ps 8:2).




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