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Hebrews Chapter Two


Hebrews 2

This is the reason why it is so much the more needful to hearken t the word spoken, in order that they should not let it pass away form life and memory.

God had maintained the authority of the word that was communicated by means of angels, punishing disobedience to it, for it was a law. How then shall we escape if we neglect a salvation which the Lord Himself has announced? Thus the service of the Lord among the Jews was a word of salvation, which the apostles confirmed, and which the mighty testimony of the Holy Ghost established.

Such is the exhortation addressed to the believing Jews, founded on the glory of the Messiah, whether with regard to His position of His Person, calling them away from what was Jewish to higher thoughts of Christ.

We have already remarked that the testimony, of which this epistle treats, is attributed to the Lord Himself. Therefore we must not expect to find in it the assembly (as such), of which the Lord had only spoken prophetically; but His testimony in relation to Israel, among whom He sojourned on the earth, to whatever extent that testimony reached. That which was spoken by the apostles is only treated here as a confirmation of the Lord's own word, God having added His testimony to it by the miraculous manifestations of the Spirit, who distributed His gifts to each according to His will.

The glory of which we have been speaking is the personal glory of the Messiah, the Son of David; and His glory in the time present, during which God has called Him to sit at His right hand. He is the Son of God, He is even the Creator; but there is also His glory in connection with the world to come, as Son of man. Of this chapter 2 speaks, comparing Him still with the angels; but here to exclude them altogether. In the previous chapter they had their place; the law was given by angels; they are servants, on God's part, of the heirs of salvation. In chapter w they have no place, they do not reign; the world to come is not made subject to them-that is, this habitable earth, directed and governed as it will be when God shall have accomplished that which He has spoken of by the prophets.

The order of the world, placed in relationship with Jehovah under the law, or "lying in darkness," has been interrupted by the rejection of the Messiah, who has taken His place at the right hand of God on high, His enemies being not yet given into His hand for judgment; because God is carrying on His work of grace, and gathering out the assembly. But He will yet establish a new order of things on the earth; this will be "the world to come." Now that world is not made subject to angels. The testimony given in the Old Testament with regard to this is as follows: "What is man, that thou art mindful of him; or the son of man that thou visitest him? Thou hast made him a little lower than the angels; thou hast crowned him with glory and honour; thou hast set him over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet." Thus all things without exception (save He who has made them subject to Him), are, according to the purpose of God, put under the feet of man, and in particular of the Son of man.

When studying the Book of Psalms, we saw that which I recall here, namely, that this testimony in Psalm 8 is, with regard to the position and dominion of Christ as man, an advance upon Psalm 2. Psalm 1 sets before us the righteous man, accepted of God, the godly remnant with which Christ connected Himself; Psalm 2, the counsels of God respecting His Messiah, in spite of the efforts made by the kings and governors of the earth. God establishes Him as King in Zion, and summons all the kings to do homage to Him whom He proclaimed to be His Son on the earth. Afterwards we see that being rejected the remnant suffer, and this Psalm 2 is what Peter quotes to prove the rising up of the powers of the earth, Jewish and Gentile, against Messiah. (Acts 4:26) But Psalm 8 shews that all this only served to enlarge the sphere of His glory. Christ takes the position of man and the title of Son of man, and enjoys His rights according to the counsels of God; and, made lower than the angels, He is crowned with glory and honour. And not only are the kings of the earth made subject to Him, but all things, without exception, are put under His feet. [1] It is this which the apostle quotes here. The Christ had already been rejected, and His being established as King in Zion put off to be accomplished at a later period. He had been exalted to the right hand of God, as we have seen; and the wider title had accrued to Him, although the result was not yet accomplished.

To this the epistle here calls our attention. We see not yet the accomplishment of all that this Psalm announces, namely, that all things should be put under His feet; but a part is already fulfilled, a guarantee to the heart of the fulfillment of the whole. Made a little lower than the angels in order to suffer death, He is crowned with glory and honour. He has suffered death, and He is crowned in reward for His work, by which He perfectly glorified God in the place where He had been dishonoured, and saved man (those who believe in Him) where man was lost. For He was made lower than the angels, in order that, by the grace of God, He should taste death for all things. It appears to me that the words "for the suffering of death," and "a little lower than the angels" go together; and "so that by the grace of God" is a general phrase connected with the whole truth stated.

This passage then, which is thus applied to the Lord, presents Him as exalted to heaven when He had undergone the death which gave Him a right to all in a new way while waiting till all is put under His feet. But there is another truth connected with this. He had undertaken the cause of the sons whom God is bringing to glory, and therefore He must enter into the circumstances in which they were found, suffer the consequences thereof, and be treated according to the work He had undertaken. It was a reality; and it was fitting that God should vindicate the rights of His glory, and should maintain it with reference to those who had dishonoured Him, and that He should treat the one who had taken their cause in hand, and who stood before Him in their name, as representing them in that respect. God would bring the captain of their salvation to perfection through sufferings. He was to undergo the consequences of the situation into which He had come. His work was to be a reality, according to the measure of the responsibility which He had taken upon Himself, and it involved the glory of God where sin was. He must therefore suffer; He must taste death. It is by the grace of God that He did so-we, because of sin; He because of grace for sin.

This shews us the Christ standing in the midst of those who are saved, whom God brings to glory, although at their head. It is this which our epistle sets before us-He who sanctifies (the Christ), and they who are sanctified (the remnant set apart for God by the Spirit) are all of one: an expression, the force of which is easily apprehended, but difficult to express, when one abandons the abstract nature of the phrase itself. Observe that it is only of sanctified persons that this is said. Christ and the sanctified ones are all one company, men together in the same position before God. But the idea goes a little farther.

It is not of one and the same Father; had it been so, it could not have been said, "He is not ashamed to call them brethren." He could not then do otherwise than call them brethren.

If we say "of the same mass" the expression may be pushed too far, as though He and the others were of the same nature as children of Adam, sinners together. In this case He would have to call every man His brother; whereas it is only the children whom God has given Him, "sanctified" ones, that He calls so. But He and the sanctified ones are all as men in the same nature and position together before God. When I say "the same," it is not in the same state of sin, but the contrary, for they are the Sanctifier and the sanctified, but in the same truth of human position as it is before God as sanctified to Him; the same as far forth as man when He, as the sanctified one, is before God. On this account He is not ashamed to call the sanctified His brethren.

This position is entirely gained by resurrection; for although in principle, the children were given to Him before, yet He only called them His brethren when He had finished the work which enabled Him to present them with Himself before God. He said indeed "mother, sister, brother;" but He did not use the term "my brethren," until He said to Mary of Magdala, "Go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend to my Father and your Father, and to my God an your God." Also in Psalm 22 it is when He had been heard from the horns of the unicorn, that He declared the name of a Deliverer-God to His brethren, and that He praised God in the midst of the assembly.

He spoke to them of the Father's name while on earth, but the link itself could not be formed; He could not introduce them to the Father, until the grain of wheat, falling into the ground, had died; until then He remained alone, whatever might be the revelations that He made to them and in fact, He declared the name of His Father to those whom He had given Him. Still He had actually taken the human position, and He Himself was in this relation ship with God. He kept them in the Father's name, they were not yet united to Him in this position; but He was as man in the relationship with God in which they also should be, when brought in by redemption into association with Himself. That which He does in the latter part of the Gospel by John is to place His disciples-in the explanations He gave of the condition in which He left them-in the position which He in fact had held in relationship with His Father on earth, and in testimony to the world, the glory of His Person as representing and revealing His Father being necessarily distinct. And, in seeking t associate with them, He associated them with Himself and Himself with them when He ascended to heaven, although no longer corporeally subject to the trials of their position. [2] He was not ashamed to call them brethren, saying, though risen, yea, only when risen, "I will declare thy name unto my brethren, I will praise thee in the midst of the assembly." And speaking of the remnant separated from Israel, He says, "Behold I and the children whom God hath given me are for signs unto the two houses of Israel;" and again, "I will put my trust in him"-another quotation from Isaiah 8. So in the Psalms, especially in Psalm 16, He declares that He does not take His place as God-"my goodness extendeth not to thee," but that He identifies Himself with the excellent of the earth-that all His delight is in them. This is again the remnant of Israel called by grace.

Christ associates these sanctified men, godly men on earth, with Himself. In the passage quoted it is still His place on earth: His sufferings, His exaltation, future glory, divinity are, as we have seen added here.

Having taken this place as of, but at the head of, the chosen band-their servant in all things, He must conform Himself to their position. And this He did: the children being partakers of flesh and blood, He took part in the same; and this, in order that by death He might put an end to the dominion of him who had the power of death, and deliver those who, through fear of death, had been subjected all their life to the yoke of bondage.

Here also (the apostle seeking always to display the glorious and efficacious side, even of that which was most humbling, in order to accustom the weak heart of the Jews to that portion of the gospel) we find that the Lord's work goes far beyond the limits of a presentation of the Messiah to His people. Not only is He glorious in heaven, but He has conquered Satan in the very place where he exercised his sad dominion over man, and where the judgment of God lay heavily upon man.

Moved by a profound love for man, the Son-become the Son of man-enters in heart and in fact into all the need, and submits to all the circumstances, of man in order to deliver him. He takes (for He was not in it before) flesh and blood, in order to die, because man was subjected to death; and (in order to destroy him who exercised his dominion over man through death, and made him tremble all his lifetime in the expectation of that terrible moment, which testified of the judgment of God, and the inability of man to escape the consequences of sin) and the condition into which disobedience to God had plunged him. For verily the Lord did not undertake the cause of angels, but that of the seed of Abraham, and in order to proclaim the work that was necessary for them, and to represent them efficaciously and really before God, He must needs put Himself into the position and the circumstances into which that seed were found, thought not the state they were personally in.

It will be remarked here, that it is still a family owned of God, which is before our eyes, as the object of the Saviour's affection and care-the children whom God had given Him, children of Abraham after the flesh, if in that condition they answered to the designation of "seed of Abraham" (this is the question of John 8:37-39), or his children according to the Spirit, if grace gives it them.

These truths introduce priesthood, As Son of man, He had been made a little less than the angels, and, crowned already with glory and honour, was hereafter to have all things put under His feet. This we do not yet see. But He took this place of humiliation in order to taste death for the whole system that was afar from God, and to gain the full rights of the second Man, by glorifying God there, where the creature had failed through weakness, and where also the enemy, having deceived man by his subtlety, had dominion over him (according to the righteous judgment of God) in power and malice. At the same time he tasted death for the special purpose of delivering the children whom God would bring to glory, taking their nature and gathering them together as sanctified ones around Himself, He not being ashamed to call them brethren. But it was thus that He was to present them now before God, according to the efficacy of the work which He had accomplished for them; He would become a priest, being able through His life of humiliation and trial here below, to sympathize with His own in all their conflicts and difficulties.

He suffered-never yielded. We do not suffer when we yield to temptation: the flesh takes pleasure in the things by which it is tempted. Jesus suffered, being tempted, and He is able to succour them that are tempted. It is important to observe that the flesh, when acted upon by its desires, does not suffer. Being tempted, it, alas! enjoys. But when, according to the light of the Holy Ghost and the fidelity of obedience, the Spirit resists the attacks of the enemy, whether subtle or persecuting, then one suffers. This the Lord did, and this we have to do. That which needs succour is the new man, the faithful heart, and not the flesh. I need succour against the flesh, and in order to mortify all the members of the old man.

Here the needed help refers to the difficulties of the faithful saint in fulfilling all the will of God. This is where he suffers, this is where the Lord-who has suffered-can succor him. He trod this path, He learn in it what which can be suffered there form the enemy, and from men. A human heart feels it, and Jesus had a human heart. Besides, the more faithful the heart is, the more full of love to God, and the less it has of that hardness which is the result of intercourse with the world, the more will it suffer. Now there was no hardness in Jesus. His faithfulness and His love were equally perfect. He was a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief and weariness. He suffered being tempted. [3]


[1] Compare the answer of Christ to Nathanael at the end of John 1; also Matthew 17 and Luke 9, where the disciples are forbidden to announce Him as the Christ, and He declares He is about to suffer as Son of man, but shews them the coming glory.

[2] This however in relationship with God. They did not represent nor make known the Father as He did. Also, while we are brought into the same glory with Christ and the same relationship with the Father, the personal glory of Christ as Son is always carefully secured. It has been justly remarked to the same purpose by another, that He never says "our" Father with the disciples. He tells them to say "our" but says "my and your," and it is much more precious.

[3] Four distinct grounds may be noticed in the chapter for the humiliation of Jesus: it became God-there was His glory; the destruction of Satan's power; reconciliation or really propitiation by His death; and capacity for sympathy in priesthood.

── John DarbySynopsis of Hebrews


Hebrews 2

Chapter Contents

The duty of stedfastly adhering to Christ and his gospel. (1-4) His sufferings are no objection against his pre-eminence. (5-9) The reason of his sufferings, and the fitness of them. (10-13) Christ's taking the nature of man, and not his taking the nature of angels, was necessary to his priestly office. (14-18)

Commentary on Hebrews 2:1-4

(Read Hebrews 2:1-4)

Christ being proved to be superior to the angels, this doctrine is applied. Our minds and memories are like a leaky vessel, they do not, without much care, retain what is poured into them. This proceeds from the corruption of our nature, temptations, worldly cares, and pleasures. Sinning against the gospel is neglect of this great salvation; it is a contempt of the saving grace of God in Christ, making light of it, not caring for it, not regarding either the worth of gospel grace, or the want of it, and our undone state without it. The Lord's judgments under the gospel dispensation are chiefly spiritual, but are on that account the more to be dreaded. Here is an appeal to the consciences of sinners. Even partial neglects will not escape rebukes; they often bring darkness on the souls they do not finally ruin. The setting forth the gospel was continued and confirmed by those who heard Christ, by the evangelists and apostles, who were witnesses of what Jesus Christ began both to do and to teach; and by the gifts of the Holy Ghost, qualified for the work to which they were called. And all this according to God's own will. It was the will of God that we should have sure ground for our faith, and a strong foundation for our hope in receiving the gospel. Let us mind this one thing needful, and attend to the Holy Scriptures, written by those who heard the words of our gracious Lord, and were inspired by his Spirit; then we shall be blessed with the good part that cannot be taken away.

Commentary on Hebrews 2:5-9

(Read Hebrews 2:5-9)

Neither the state in which the church is at present, nor its more completely restored state, when the prince of this world shall be cast out, and the kingdoms of the earth become the kingdom of Christ, is left to the government of the angels: Christ will take to him his great power, and will reign. And what is the moving cause of all the kindness God shows to men in giving Christ for them and to them? it is the grace of God. As a reward of Christ's humiliation in suffering death, he has unlimited dominion over all things; thus this ancient scripture was fulfilled in him. Thus God has done wonderful things for us in creation and providence, but for these we have made the basest returns.

Commentary on Hebrews 2:10-13

(Read Hebrews 2:10-13)

Whatever the proud, carnal, and unbelieving may imagine or object, the spiritual mind will see peculiar glory in the cross of Christ, and be satisfied that it became Him, who in all things displays his own perfections in bringing many sons to glory, to make the Author of their salvation perfect through sufferings. His way to the crown was by the cross, and so must that of his people be. Christ sanctifies; he has purchased and sent the sanctifying Spirit: the Spirit sanctifies as the Spirit of Christ. True believers are sanctified, endowed with holy principles and powers, set apart to high and holy uses and purposes. Christ and believers are all of one heavenly Father, who is God. They are brought into relation with Christ. But the words, his not being ashamed to call them brethren, express the high superiority of Christ to the human nature. This is shown from three texts of Scripture. See Psalm 22:22; 18:2; Isaiah 8:18.

Commentary on Hebrews 2:14-18

(Read Hebrews 2:14-18)

The angels fell, and remained without hope or help. Christ never designed to be the Saviour of the fallen angels, therefore he did not take their nature; and the nature of angels could not be an atoning sacrifice for the sin of man. Here is a price paid, enough for all, and suitable to all, for it was in our nature. Here the wonderful love of God appeared, that, when Christ knew what he must suffer in our nature, and how he must die in it, yet he readily took it upon him. And this atonement made way for his people's deliverance from Satan's bondage, and for the pardon of their sins through faith. Let those who dread death, and strive to get the better of their terrors, no longer attempt to outbrave or to stifle them, no longer grow careless or wicked through despair. Let them not expect help from the world, or human devices; but let them seek pardon, peace, grace, and a lively hope of heaven, by faith in Him who died and rose again, that thus they may rise above the fear of death. The remembrance of his own sorrows and temptations, makes Christ mindful of the trials of his people, and ready to help them. He is ready and willing to succour those who are tempted, and seek him. He became man, and was tempted, that he might be every way qualified to succour his people, seeing that he had passed through the same temptations himself, but continued perfectly free from sin. Then let not the afflicted and tempted despond, or give place to Satan, as if temptations made it wrong for them to come to the Lord in prayer. Not soul ever perished under temptation, that cried unto the Lord from real alarm at its danger, with faith and expectation of relief. This is our duty upon our first being surprised by temptations, and would stop their progress, which is our wisdom.

── Matthew HenryConcise Commentary on Hebrews


Hebrews 2

Verse 1

[1] Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.

Lest we should let them slip — As water out of a leaky vessel. So the Greek word properly signifies.

Verse 2

[2] For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward;

In giving the law, God spoke by angels; but in proclaiming the gospel, by his Son.

Steadfast — Firm and valid.

Every transgression — Commission of sin.

Every disobedience — Omission of duty.

Verse 3

[3] How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;

So great a salvation — A deliverance from so great wickedness and misery, into so great holiness and happiness. This was first spoken of (before he came it was not known) by Him who is the Lord - of angels as well as men.

And was confirmed to us — Of this age, even every article of it.

By them that had heard him — And had been themselves also both eye-witnesses and ministers of the word.

Verse 4

[4] God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?

By signs and wonders — While he lived.

And various miracles and distributions of the Holy Ghost — Miraculous gifts, distributed after his exaltation.

According to his will — Not theirs who received them.

Verse 5

[5] For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak.

This verse contains a proof of the third; the greater the salvation is, and the more glorious the Lord whom we despise, the greater will be our punishment.

God hath not subjected the world to come — That is, the dispensation of the Messiah; which being to succeed the Mosaic was usually styled by the Jews, the world to come, although it is still in great measure to come Whereof we now speak - Of which I am now speaking. In this last great dispensation the Son alone presides.

Verse 6

[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?

What is man — To the vast expanse of heaven, to the moon and the stars which thou hast ordained! This psalm seems to have been composed by David, in a clear, moonshiny, and starlight night, while he was contemplating the wonderful fabric of heaven; because in his magnificent description of its luminaries, he takes no notice of the sun, the most glorious of them all. The words here cited concerning dominion were doubtless in some sense applicable to Adam; although in their complete and highest sense, they belong to none but the second Adam.

Or the son of man, that thou visitest him — The sense rises: we are mindful of him that is absent; but to visit, denotes the care of a present God. Psalms 8:4.

Verse 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 hast made him — Adam.

A little lower than the angels — The Hebrew is, a little lower than (that is, next to) God. Such was man as he came out of the hands of his Creator: it seems, the highest of all created beings. But these words are also in a farther sense, as the apostle here shows, applicable to the Son of God. It should be remembered that the apostles constantly cited the Septuagint translation, very frequently without any variation. It was not their business, in writing to the Jews, who at that time had it in high esteem, to amend or alter this, which would of consequence have occasioned disputes without end.

Verse 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.

Now this putting all things under him, implies that there is nothing that is not put under him. But it is plain, this is not done now, with regard to man in general.

Verse 9

[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.

It is done only with regard to Jesus, God-Man, who is now crowned with glory and honour - As a reward for his having suffered death.

He was made a little lower than the angels — Who cannot either suffer or die.

That by the grace of God, he might taste death — An expression denoting both the reality of his death, and the shortness of its continuance.

For every man — That ever was or will be born into the world.

Verse 10

[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.

In this verse the apostle expresses, in his own words, what he expressed before in those of the Psalmist.

It became him — It was suitable to all his attributes, both to his justice, goodness, and wisdom.

For whom — As their ultimate end.

And by whom — As their first cause. Are all things, in bringing many adopted sons to glory - To this very thing, that they are sons, and are treated as such To perfect the captain - Prince, leader, and author of their salvation, by his atoning sufferings for them. To perfect or consummate implies the bringing him to a full and glorious end of all his troubles, Hebrews 5:9. This consummation by sufferings intimates, 1. the glory of Christ, to whom, being consummated, all things are made subject. 2. The preceding sufferings. Of these he treats expressly, Hebrews 2:11-18; having before spoken of his glory, both to give an edge to his exhortation, and to remove the scandal of sufferings and death. A fuller consideration of both these points he interweaves with the following discourse on his priesthood. But what is here said of our Lord's being made perfect through sufferings, has no relation to our being saved or sanctified by sufferings. Even he himself was perfect, as God and as man, before ever be suffered. By his sufferings, in his life and death, he was made a perfect or complete sin-offering. But unless we were to be made the same sacrifice, and to atone for sin, what is said of him in this respect is as much out of our sphere as his ascension into heaven. It is his atonement, and his Spirit carrying on "the work of faith with power" in our hearts, that alone can sanctify us. Various afflictions indeed may be made subservient to this; and so far as they are blessed to the weaning us from sin, and causing our affections to be set on things above, so far they do indirectly help on our sanctification.

Verse 11

[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 — They are nearly related to each other.

He that sanctifieth — Christ, Hebrews 13:12.

And all they that are sanctified — That are brought to God; that draw near or come to him, which are synonymous terms.

Are all of one — Partakers of one nature, from one parent, Adam.

Verse 12

[12] Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee.

I will declare thy name to my brethren — Christ declares the name of God, gracious and merciful, plenteous in goodness and truth, to all who believe, that they also may praise him.

In the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee — As the precentor of the choir. This he did literally, in the midst of his apostles, on the night before his passion. And as it means, in a more general sense, setting forth the praise of God, he has done it in the church by his word and his Spirit; he still does, and will do it throughout all generations. Psalms 22:22.

Verse 13

[13] And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me.

And again — As one that has communion with his brethren in sufferings, as well as in nature, he says, I will put my trust in him - To carry me through them all.

And again — With a like acknowledgment of his near relation to them, as younger brethren, who were yet but in their childhood, he presents all believers to God, saying, Behold I and the children whom thou hast given me. Isaiah 8:17,18

Verse 14

[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;

Since then these children partake of flesh and blood — Of human nature with all its infirmities. He also in like manner took part of the same; that through his own death he might destroy the tyranny of him that had, by God's permission, the power of death with regard to the ungodly. Death is the devil's servant and serjeant, delivering to him those whom he seizes in sin.

That is, the devil — The power was manifest to all; but who exerted it, they saw not.

Verse 15

[15] And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

And deliver them, as many as through fear of death were all their lifetime, till then, subject to bondage - Every man who fears death is subject to bondage; is in a slavish, uncomfortable state. And every man fears death, more or less, who knows not Christ: death is unwelcome to him, if he knows what death is. But he delivers all true believers from this bondage.

Verse 16

[16] For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.

For verily he taketh not hold of angels — He does not take their nature upon him.

But he taketh hold of the seed of Abraham — He takes human nature upon him. St. Paul says the seed of Abraham, rather than the seed of Adam, because to Abraham was the promise made.

Verse 17

[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 it behoved him — It was highly fit and proper, yea, necessary, in order to his design of redeeming them.

To be made in all things — That essentially pertain to human nature, and in all sufferings and temptations.

Like his brethren — This is a recapitulation of all that goes before: the sum of all that follows is added immediately. That he might be a merciful and faithful High Priest-Merciful toward sinners; faithful toward God. A priest or high priest is one who has a right of approaching God, and of bringing others to him. Faithful is treated of, Hebrews 3:2, etc., with its use; merciful, Hebrews 4:14, etc., with the use also; High Priest, Hebrews 5:4, etc., Hebrews 7:1, etc. The use is added from Heb 10:19.

In things pertaining to God, to expiate the sins of the people — Offering up their sacrifices and prayers to God; deriving God's grace, peace, and blessings upon them.

Verse 18

[18] For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.

For in that he hath suffered being tempted himself he is able to succour them that are tempted — That is, he has given a manifest, demonstrative proof that he is able so to do.

── John WesleyExplanatory Notes on Hebrews


Chapter 2. Perfect Salvation

What Is Man
You Care of Him

I. The Danger of Neglecting Salvation

  1. The First Warning
  2. Pay Careful Attention
  3. Confirm the Salvation

II. The Son Superior to Angels

  1. Bring to Glory
  2. Being One in the Lord
  3. Destroy the Power of Death

III. Help Those Who Are Being Tempted

  1. Not to Help Angels
  2. Make Like in Every Way
  3. Make Atonement for Sins

── Chih-Hsin ChangAn Outline of The New Testament

Lest We Drift Away (2:1-4)
1. The author of "The Epistle To The Hebrews" was concerned about the
   spiritual well-being of his initial recipients...
   a. They were fellow Jews who had become Christians
   b. His concern is that they not drift back into Judaism
   c. He deals with this problem in two ways:
      1) By emphasizing the superiority of Christ and the New Covenant
      2) By a series of exhortations for them to remain steadfast
2. In chapter one we saw...
   a. The superiority of Christ to the prophets - He 1:1-3
   b. The superiority of Christ to the angels - He 1:4-14
3. Now we come to the first of several exhortations - cf. He 2:1-4
   a. In which we find a warning about the danger of "drifting"
   b. The figure suggested is that of a boat...
      1) Drifting along at an almost imperceptible pace
      2) Carried along in the wrong direction by a subtle current
4. In this lesson, I want us to examine...
   a. The reasons behind such an exhortation
   b. Various "currents" that can cause us to "drift away"
   c. The key to avoiding "drifting away"
[Let's begin, then, with some...]
      1. It is possible for us to "drift away" from our salvation!
         a. We can certainly "neglect" our salvation - He 2:3
         b. Later, we will learn that we can "depart" from God - He 3:
         c. Also, that one can so "fall away" that it becomes 
            impossible to renew them to repentance! - He 6:4-6
         d. One can reach a point where the sacrifice of Christ is no 
            longer available for their sins! - He 10:26-27
      2. The danger of "drifting" is very real!
         a. It is possible for a child of God to so sin as to be lost!
         b. Otherwise, such an exhortation as this is meaningless!
      1. As noted in He 1:1-2, God now speaks to us through His Son
         a. We have seen that this Son is:
            1) Superior to the prophets - He 1:1-3
            2) Superior to the angels - He 1:4-14
         b. We have seen that this Son is:
            1) The appointed Heir of all things!
            2) The brightness of God's glory, the express image of His
            3) Our Sustainer and Redeemer!
            4) The "Firstborn" who receives worship
            5) "God" enthroned and anointed
            6) The "LORD" (Yahweh) who is the eternal creator
            7) The "Sovereign", reigning at God's right hand
      2. When God spoke through angels...
         a. His word proved steadfast
         b. Every transgression and disobedience received a just reward
            - He 2:2
      3. How much more, then, when He speaks through His Son!
         a. Will not His word prove just as steadfast?
         b. Will not every unrepented transgression and disobedience
            receive a just reward?
         -- Dare we neglect the Word of God spoken through His Son?
      1. The word spoken by the Son was confirmed by His apostles 
         - He 2:3
         a. Individuals who were eyewitnesses - Ac 10:39-41; 2 Pe 1:16
         b. Men who endured much to serve Him - cf. 1 Co 4:9-13
      2. The word spoken by the Son was confirmed even more! - He 2:4
         a. By God Himself, through signs, wonders, and miracles 
            - cf. Jn 10:37-38
         b. By the Holy Spirit, with gifts according to His will 
            - cf. 1 Co 12:7-11
      -- Shall we neglect that Word to which such have born witness?
      1. We lose "so great a salvation"! - He 2:3
      2. It is a "great salvation", because it offers such things as:
         a. The forgiveness of sin
         b. Transformation of character by providing power over sin
         c. Assurance of God's fatherly presence
         d. A clear and peaceful conscience
         e. A glorious hope for eternity
      -- Dare we lose all this through "neglect"?
[Just as those who neglected the word spoken through angels (i.e., the
Law of Moses) lost their "promised land", so there are grave
consequences for those who neglect the salvation spoken of by the Son
of God!  Such "neglect" is possible when we "drift away".
Following the metaphor of drifting, what "currents" might cause one to
      1. In which we grow weary of doing good, a concern expressed in
         Ga 6:9
      2. As time passes by...
         a. We can gradually lose some of the fervor of our devotion 
            - e.g., Re 2:4
         b. We may begin to rest on past accomplishments, and cease 
            pressing forward - cf. Ph 3:13-14
      1. As we become familiar with the truth, it may seem common place
         to us
         a. We may lose its sense of novelty
         b. We may take it for granted
      2. Like the Ephesians we may lose our "first love" - Re 2:4
      1. The tides of modern opinion can easily induce us - 1 Co 15:33
      2. Bombarded by the secular humanism, false religions, and even 
         plastic "Christianity" offered as "truth", it is hard to 
         maintain the course!
      3. Such things can move us away from the simplicity and wisdom of
         our Lord! - e.g., 2 Co 11:2-3
      1. Our warfare is not only without, but also within - 1 Pe 2:11
      2. Our flesh is constantly waging war against our souls, and 
         against the Spirit who desires that we follow Him - Ga 5:16-17
      1. The constant pressure of daily cares, anxieties, duties, etc.,
         can distract us
      2. Jesus warned against this on several occasions - Lk 8:14; 
[Any and all these things can slowly move us away from the Lord and His
great salvation if we are not careful!  However, as we return to our 
text, we can learn...]
      1. Imagine yourself in a canoe, in a river with a slow moving 
         a. Failure to pay constant attention leads to drifting
         b. The drifting may be subtle, but often by the time you 
            realize it, it is too late!
         c. Last minute corrections may be made, but even then one may
            still run into the brush, crash into the rocks, or go over
            the falls!
         -- Only by giving earnest heed can that be avoided
      2. So it is with our salvation!
         a. We must be "diligent" to the task at hand - cf. 2 Pe 1:5,10
         b. There is no place to be half-hearted about this! - e.g., 
            Ph 3:12-15
      3. Note that we must give the "more" earnest heed
         a. We are to be more earnest than those who heard the word of
            God spoken through angels (i.e., the Israelites)
            1) Because we have the word of God spoken through the Son
            2) Which pertains to a salvation greater than that enjoyed
               by them
            3) To whom more is given, more is required! - cf. Lk 12:48
         b. Are you more earnest in giving heed to what you have heard,
            than those saints in the Old Testament?
      1. The "things we have heard" refer to:
         a. The Word of God spoken through His Son
         b. The great salvation
         -- I.e., the gospel of Christ in all aspects!
      2. How can we do this?
         a. The Bereans provide a good example - Ac 17:11
            1) In the way in which they initially listened ("received
               the word with all readiness")
            2) In the way in which they followed up ("searched the 
               Scriptures daily...")
         b. Certainly through:
            1) Earnest attention whenever God's word is proclaimed
            2) Earnest study of God's Word on our own
            3) Earnest study in preparation for our Bible classes
         c. With the sort of study of God's Word...
            1) Entered into with a prayerful devotion to God - Ps 119:
            2) Concluded with a prayerful desire to please God - Ps 
      3. Are you giving "the more earnest heed to the things we have 
         a. Another year has past; how did you do?
         b. Another year is already started; how will you do?
1. We have been blessed to receive "so great a salvation"...
   a. A salvation spoken to us first through God's own Son!
   b. A salvation then confirmed by God Himself, the Holy Spirit, and 
      those who heard Him!
   c. A salvation much greater than any offered before!
2. But please note carefully...
   a. One need not "reject" or "actively fight" against this great
      salvation to "receive a just reward"
   b. Those who simply "drift away" through "neglect" will also not 
      1) Escape what?
      2) From what we learn later, it will be "much worse punishment"!
         - cf. He 10:28-29
Have you neglected this great salvation Jesus offers?  If so, may this
first exhortation found in "The Epistle To The Hebrews" move you to
repent, and cause you to give "the more earnest heed" to the gospel of


Advantages Of Jesus' Humanity (2:5-18)
1. Following his warning against drifting (He 2:1-4), the writer of
   Hebrews continues to illustrate Jesus' superiority to angels...
   a. In the first chapter the emphasis was on Jesus' deity
   b. Now the focus is on Jesus' humanity
2. One can imagine the sort of objections that could be raised about 
   Jesus' humanity...
   a. When Jesus became flesh, didn't that make Him lower than the 
   b. How then can it be said that He is superior to angels?
3. The response is that Jesus' humanity provided several advantages...
   a. In regaining man's lost dominion
   b. In bringing many sons to glory
   c. In disarming Satan, and delivering us from the fear of death
   d. In becoming a sympathetic high priest
[Yes, becoming flesh did not prove to be a handicap or a mark of
inferiority; rather, it served to make Him "perfect"!  To see how, 
let's note how Jesus' humanity first...]
      1. At the beginning, man was given dominion over God's creation 
         - Gen 1:26-28
      2. David marveled that God set man over His works - Psa 8:4-6
         a. Even though man was made "a little lower than the angels"
         b. Yet God "crowned him with glory and honor"!
      1. As is rather evident:  "But now we do not yet see all things
         put under him." - He 2:8
      2. As a result of The Fall, man lost his dominion
      1. Jesus was "made a little lower than the angels"; i.e., He 
         became a man!
      2. Because of His suffering of death, He was "crowned with glory
         and honor"!
         a. What man once had and lost...Jesus has regained!
         b. Those who are in Him share in that rule, both now and in
            the future!
            1) Seated at the right hand of God, Christ rules over all 
               - cf. Ep 1:20-22
            2) Those in Christ sit together with Him - cf. Ep 2:4-6
            3) Especially so, when we pass from this life to the 
               next... - cf. Re 2:26-27; 3:21
[Such dominion, both now and in "the world to come", was never given
to angels (He 2:5). Man had it and lost it. Becoming a man and 
suffering death enabled Jesus to regain that dominion for man!
By the same suffering and death, Jesus was able to "taste death for
everyone" (He 2:9). By the grace of God, then, His humanity also...]
      1. God gave Jesus the task...
         a. To bring many sons to glory (to restore man to his position
            of glory and honor)
         b. To be the "author" (captain, pioneer, leader) of man's 
      2. His sufferings in the flesh made Jesus "perfect" for the task!
         a. This is not to imply that Jesus was imperfect when He was
            on the earth
         b. The word "perfect" means to be "complete, effective,
         c. To be complete and effective as our Savior and High Priest,
            Jesus' sufferings were necessary - cf. He 2:18
      1. Even though He is the One who "sanctifies", and they are
         "being sanctified"
      2. His humanity (and suffering) makes them "all of one"
      3. Such identity with man makes Jesus proud to call us 
         "brethren"! - He 2:12-13
[The idea of Jesus as the One whose suffering in the flesh makes Him 
the perfect author of our salvation, and not ashamed to call us 
brethren, is expanded even further in the remaining verses of the 
chapter.  Here we see that the humanity of Jesus...]
     DEATH (2:14-16)
      1. Through His own death and resurrection, Jesus "destroyed" the
         a. The devil is still very active - cf. 1 Pe 5:8-9
         b. But though he once "had" (past tense) the power of death, 
            no more! - cf. Re 2:18
      2. His power greatly weakened by Jesus' victory over death, Satan
         will be destroyed for all time at the time of our own 
         resurrection! - cf. Re 20:10-12
      1. A fear that keeps many in bondage throughout their lifetime
      2. But the faithful Christian need not fear death!- cf. Ro 8:
         37-39; 1 Co 3:21-23; Ph 2:21
      3. Thus it is to the "seed of Abraham" (faithful Christians, cf.
         Ga 3:29), and not to "angels" that Jesus has given such aid!
         - He 2:16
[Finally, partaking of flesh and blood, suffering and dying on the
      1. In coming to this world, Jesus was "made like His brethren"
      2. He became like man "in all things"
      3. This equipped Him for the role of a merciful and faithful high
         a. "In things pertaining to God"
         b. "To make propitiation for the sins of the people"
         c. We read later that the role of high priest involved 
            offering gifts and sacrifices for sin - He 5:1
      1. He too has suffered, and been tempted, though we learn later
         He remained without sin - He 4:15
      2. Such suffering makes Him compassionate - cf. He 5:2
      3. Therefore those who come to Him can expect to receive mercy 
         and grace in time of need! - cf. He 4:16
1. What angel has accomplished such things as...
   a. Regain man's lost dominion?
   b. Bring many sons to glory?
   c. Disarm Satan, and deliver us from the fear of death?
   d. Become a sympathetic high priest?
2. All these things (and certainly much more) Jesus has done by virtue
   of becoming man...
   a. Yes, He became "a little lower than the angels"
   b. But in so doing, even His humanity makes Him far superior to
3. With the first two chapters we see the superiority of Jesus...
   a. Over the prophets, as God's perfect spokesman
   b. Over the angels, by virtue of His deity and His humanity
   -- Why should we ever want to turn our back on such a Savior?
We have also seen that Jesus, who was tempted, who has suffered and
tasted death for everyone, is not ashamed to call us "brethren".  Are
we ashamed to call Him "Lord"?  Are we willing to serve Him as Lord?


--《Executable Outlines


Perfect salvation

What is man

You care for him


I.  The danger of neglecting salvation

1.    The first warning

2.    Pay careful attention

3.    Confirm the salvation

II.The Son superior to angels

1.    Bring to glory

2.    Being one in the Lord

3.    Destroy the power of death

III.       Help those who are being tempted

1.    Not to help angels

2.    Make like in every way

3.    Make atonement for sins

-- Chih-Hsin ChangAn Outline of The New Testament