“The God/Man” – Hebrews 2:5-9

July 29th, 2018

Hebrews 2:5-9

“The God/Man”

Aux. Text:  Gen 1:26-28

Call to Worship:  Psalm 8

 

Service Orientation: There is much man knows.  But, who we are and what we could be is not part of that knowledge.  We need to see Jesus to help us begin to see our potential “in Christ.”

 

Bible Memory Verse for the Week:  Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” —  Genesis 1:26

 

Background Information:

  • If we were to read Heb 1:14, skip 2:1-4, and pick up with 2:5, the connection would be seamless. In 1:14, the author refers to angels as ministering spirits who render service for “those who will inherit salvation.”  Then, in 2:5, he mentions angels again and refers to the future world “concerning which we are speaking,” connecting the readers not to the warning of 2:1-4, but to the argument of 1:1-14.  This suggests that the warning passage in 2:1-4 should be understood as parenthetical, yet eminently important.  It’s as if the author calls a “time-out” in the action to step onto the field, point out actual or potential infractions, and warn players that a wrong move here could lead to disqualification.  (Charles R. Swindoll, Swindoll’s Living Insights: Hebrews, 37)
  • We have noted earlier that some scholars maintain that the first recipients of this letter may well have been a company of believers originally committed to or influenced by the teaching of the Qumran community with its treasured Dead Sea Scrolls. The scrolls had a good deal to say about the role of angels.  This sect awaited the appearance of two Messianic figures, one kingly, the other priestly (the priest being the greater), both of whom would become subordinate to Michael, the archangel.  In their thinking, the world to come would eventually be subjected to the authority of angels.  But our author insists that this world to come is certainly not included within the range of angelic responsibility.  In the new world-order “the place of honor and authority belongs to the glorified Son, not, as . . . the Dead Sea sect imagined, to angels or archangels’ (Hughes).  (Raymond Brown, The Bible Speaks Today:  Hebrews, 54)
  • The author resumes his exposition on Christ, from which he briefly departed following 1:14, by introducing Ps 8:4-6 to his discussion. This OT quotation, interpreted Christologically in 2:8-9, contains both elements of exaltation and incarnation, and, therefore, provides the perfect vehicle for moving to a discussion in 2:10-18 about the Son’s solidarity with humanity.  (George H. Guthrie, The NIV Application Commentary: Hebrews, 96)
  • (v. 5) Many Jews believed that angels ruled this present world–alluding to OT passages such as Dt 32:8 and Dn 10:13; 12:1. The future world will be different, however.  Believers were encouraged to place their allegiance with Christ, not with his angelic servants.  (Bruce Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: Hebrews,19)
  • (v. 5) Angels do not rule God’s universe. They are God’s messengers.  There was an angel who attempted to rebel against God.  He tried to set up his own kingdom.  He attempted to become a ruler.  His name was Lucifer, son of the morning.  We know him today by the name of Satan, or the Devil.  He was an angel of light, but he rebelled and said in his heart, “. . . I will exalt my throne above the stars of God. . . I will be like the most High” (Isa 14:13-14).  God does not intend him or any angel to rule; but He has created man to rule.  (J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible Commentary: Hebrews 1-7, 40)
  • (v. 6) Throughout the book of Hebrews, however, no human author is mentioned by name. The writer is so concerned that his Jewish readers understand who really wrote the OT that he ascribes it to no one but God.  It is the voice of the Holy Spirit that concerns him; the human author is incidental.  (John MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur NT Commentary: Hebrews, 53)
  • (v. 6) He does not reveal ignorance, for as a theologian he knows the Scriptures thoroughly. He wants to call attention not to the place from which the quotation is taken or to David who wrote Psalm 8, but to the content and meaning of the citation.  For the author, the Word of God is central.  (Simon J. Kistemaker, NT Commentary: Hebrews, 63)
  • (v. 6) Neither the person nor the place in the Scriptures are specified. The reason for this is obvious.  Both person and place were sufficiently well known to the people the apostle wrote to.  The Hebrews were not ignorant about who spoke the words in the quotation.  (John Owen, Crossway Classic Commentaries: Hebrews, 35)
  • (v. 6) Seen in His humanity, the Lord does appear to be lower than the angels who gave Israel the Law. So to prove in a different way that Jesus is greater than the angels, our writer reaches into the OT again to show that man, not angels will rule the world to come–and one man in particular, Jesus!  (C. S. Lovett, Lovett’s Lights on Hebrews, 38)
  • (vss. 6-8) The psalm quoted here originally referred to humanity and its role in creation, and the psalm was regarded as messianic. The author may have been thinking about the double meaning included in the words “son of man,” showing that Jesus fulfilled the role and destiny originally commissioned to people.  What humans could not do, Jesus will do.  (Bruce Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: Hebrews,21)
  • (v. 7) The Hebrew term translated as “angels” in this quotation is Elohim, a term which commonly denotes God in the OT. In the Septuagint, however, which our author according to his custom has followed here, the term is rendered “angels,” and it is not without significance that the Targum and Jewish commentators also interpret the plural noun Elohim in Ps 8:5 as signifying angels.  The same word is again rendered “angels” in the Septuagint when it occurs in Ps 97:7 and 138:1, and the two occurrences of Elohim in Ps 82 (vv. 1 and 6) should similarly be understood of angels or exalted beings.  The Septuagint, in fact, gives the right interpretation of these passages in which the translation of Elohim as “God” would be misleading.  (Philip Edgcumbe Hughes, A Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews, 85-6)
  • (v. 8) Our verse says that God has put all things in subjection under man’s feet. This is the verb for lining up troops under command.  And all things renders panta without the definite article, or every single part of the universe.  (Herschel H. Hobbs, Hebrews: Challenges to Bold Discipleship, 22)
  • (v. 8) Man’s qualified mastery over created things indicates that in God’s purpose we have a divinely given responsibility towards creation. Many of our contemporaries are rightly concerned that, far from acting responsibly, man is plundering the limited resources of our beautiful world.  Although some writers on pollution and related subjects may occasionally sound alarmist, few informed people would deny that the problem is fast approaching crisis proportions.  Sinful man ignores the fact that “the earth is the Lord’s,” not ours.  These rich resources belong to our creator and we are meant to serve God in the created order as his responsible stewards. . . . .What can the Christian do to give practical expression to this responsible stewardship?  Like the psalmist, we ought to begin simply by admiring the created world.  Some Christians are far too busy rushing here and there to look at the beautiful things around us that God has made for our enjoyment.  Next, we ought to recognize that creation can become the instrument of God’s revelation to us, a vivid colorful exposition of his power, majesty, beauty, providence, infinite love and care for detail, as well as his sovereignty.  For these reasons we ought to value it and stand alongside all those with whom we can conscientiously identify in the campaign for a responsible attitude to our environment.  It is both sinful and selfish greedily to squander for ourselves the resources which our children and grandchildren also have the right to enjoy.  (Raymond Brown, The Bible Speaks Today:  Hebrews, 57-8)
  • (v. 8) Don’t miss that important three-letter word: YET.  Remember that in 2:5, this section began with a view toward the future:  “He did not subject to angels the world to come, concerning which we are speaking”–the world to come. . . not yet. . .  (Charles R. Swindoll, Swindoll’s Living Insights: Hebrews, 39)
  • (vss. 8-9) Here our text takes a great turn in the transition between verses 8 and 9: “Yet at present we do not see everything subject to him.  But we see Jesus. . .”  “We do not see. . . We see Jesus.”  Not only is God’s original intention achieved, but his ultimate intention is achieved in Christ, the second Adam.  (R. Kent Hughes, Preaching the Word: Hebrews, 58) 
  • (v. 9) If angels are next below God, and Jesus is superior to angels, Jesus is obviously God. (John MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur NT Commentary: Hebrews, 52)
  • (v. 9) “Jesus” was His human name, as Man, here on earth. It was as “Jesus of Nazareth” that His enemies ever referred to Him.  But not so His own people:  to the apostles He said, “Ye call Me Master and Lord:  and ye say well; for so I am” (Jn 13:13).  Only once in the four Gospels do we ever find any of His own speaking of Him as “Jesus of Nazareth” (Lk 24:19), and that was when their faith had completely given way.  It was the language of unbelief!  That He is referred to in the narratival form in the Gospels as “Jesus” is to emphasize His humiliation. . . . Thus, it is either as “Christ” which is a title, or as the Lord Jesus Christ, that He is commonly referred to in the Epistles:  read carefully 1 Cor 1:3-10 for example.  It is thus that His people should delight to own Him.  To address the Lord of glory in prayer simply as “Jesus,” or to speak of Him to others thus, breathes an unholy familiarity, a vulgar cheapness, an irreverence which is highly reprehensible. . . .  After the four Gospels the Lord Christ is never referred to in the NT simply as “Jesus” save for the purpose of historical identification (Acts 1:11, e.g.), or to stress the humiliation through which He passed, or when His enemies are speaking of Him.  Here in Heb 2:9 “Jesus” rather than “the Lord Jesus” is used to emphasize His humiliation:  it was the One who had passed through such unparalleled shame and ignominy that had been “crowned with glory and honor.”  May Divine grace enable both writer and reader to entertain such exalted views of this same Jesus that we may ever heed the exhortation of 1 Pt 3:15:  “But sanctify in your hearts Christ as Lord” (R.V.).  (Arthur W. Pink, An Exposition of Hebrews, 103)
  • (v. 9) Significantly, this is the first use of the name “Jesus” in the Book of Hebrews, and it is emphatic, stressing his humanity and his work of salvation. It is the name given to him by Gabriel at his birth (Mt 1:21), and it means, “The Lord is salvation.”  (R. Kent Hughes, Preaching the Word: Hebrews, 59)
  • (v. 9) The objection may be framed thus: How could supremacy be predicted of One who became Man, and died?  As we have shown in a previous article, the Jews actually regarded the angels with a higher veneration than the greatest of the “fathers”–Abraham, Moses, Joshua, and David.  And rightly so; their own Scriptures declared that they “excel in strength.”  Thus a real difficulty was presented to them, in the fact that He whom the apostle affirmed had, by inheritance, obtained “a more excellent name” than angels, was known to them as “the Son of man,” for man was a creature inferior to angels.  Moreover, angels do not die, Christ had; how, then, could He be their superior?  (Arthur W. Pink, An Exposition of Hebrews, 94)
  • (v. 9) We see Jesus. This word see does not mean a casual look. The word means that we look upon Him with understanding.  We recognize that in Him is something that our little minds do not grasp.  We look upon Him in faith, in trust, in wonder, in awe, and in worship.  All of this is wrapped up in the phrase, “We see Jesus.”  Do you “see” Him today?  Has the Spirit of God taken the veil from your eyes so that you can see Him?  (J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible Commentary: Hebrews 1-7, 41)
  • (v. 9) The specific idea of the suffering of Jesus comes into the epistle here for the first time, although it is indirectly implied in the reference to the purification of sins in 1:3. Suffering is to be a dominant theme throughout the letter.  Indeed, the present combination of suffering and glory supplies the key to the writer’s understanding of the Christian faith.  The suffering of death is a major problem to all men, but is a particular problem for the Son of God unless some explanation of it can be given.  The suffering itself belongs to a less exalted status than that of the angels, hence the statement applied to Jesus, who for a little while was made lower than the angels (which could also be rendered “a little” instead of “a little while”).  This present section of the letter is complementary to the first section.  The glory and honor bestowed on Jesus is the direct result of suffering.  The combination between the two ideas, which is alien to natural thought, is nevertheless central in the NT.  It is not only Jesus himself who gains glory through suffering, but all his followers (cf. Rom 6:8ff.; 2 Tm 2:11-12).  The problem of the passion of Jesus becomes transformed into a path to glory once it is recognized that the God who bestows the glory is the one who permits the suffering.  (Donald Guthrie, Tyndale NT Commentaries: Hebrews, 86-7)
  • (v. 9) It is not simply that this exaltation followed the Mediator’s suffering and death, but, as the “therefore” in Isa 53:12 and the “wherefore” of Phil 2:9 plainly denote, were the meritorious reward thereof. Thus, so far from the Cross needing an apology, it has magnified the Savior.  So far from Christ’s degradation and death being something of which the Christian need be ashamed, they are the very reason why God has so signally rewarded Him.  (Arthur W. Pink, An Exposition of Hebrews, 108)
  • (v. 9) The kind of death Christ died is described as: he might taste death for everyone.  To die in this way is to experience the sorrows, bitterness, and penalties of death.  To taste death is, first, really to die.  No pretense about dying is described here.  It is indicated here that his death involved bitterness.  Christ himself compares it with a cup of suffering that he had to drink (see Mt 26:39).  Christ’s tasting death also implies his conquest over death.  For the phrase taste death, as applied to Christ, indicates that he only had a thorough taste of it and that he neither was nor could be detained by its power (see Acts 2:24).  So through God’s grace Christ tasted death.  (John Owen, Crossway Classic Commentaries: Hebrews, 37-8)
  • (v. 9) The words “tasted death” mean more than “died.” Death is the natural lot of fallen man.  “The wages of sin” cannot be refused by the members of sinful humanity.  The death of Jesus, on the other hand, was very different.  He who was without sin and therefore not under the curse of mortality “tasted” death in order that the sons of men who trust in Him might be spared that ordeal.  (Charles F. Pfeiffer, The Epistle to the Hebrews, 26)
  • (v. 9) “Taste” is a Hebrew metaphor that does not mean “to sample” but “to partake fully.” Jesus’ real death for us procured our reign, as Paul explains in Romans:  “For if, by the trespass of one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ” (Rom 5:17).  (R. Kent Hughes, Preaching the Word: Hebrews, 59)
  • In 1:14 the apostle had affirmed that the angels are in a position of subjection to the redeemed of Christ; now he declares that, in the Millennial era also, not angels, but the “heirs of salvation,” shall occupy the place of governmental dominion. (Arthur W. Pink, An Exposition of Hebrews, 97)

 

The questions to be answered are . . . What does God think of mankind?  Why did God become flesh?   What does that mean for us?

 

Answers:  Mankind is the only creature made in God’s likeness and image.  We are to be the pinnacle and rulers of His creation.  Jesus became flesh to redeem mankind from the curse because of the Fall.  With Jesus everything sad can come untrue.

 

In this passage there are three basic ideas.  (i) God created man, only a little less than himself, to have the mastery over all things.  (ii) Man through his sin entered into defeat instead of mastery.  (iii) Into this state of defeat came Jesus Christ in order that by his life and death and glory he might make man what he was meant to be.  (William Barclay, The Daily Study Bible Series, Hebrews, 24)

 

The writer to the Hebrews shows us three things.  (i) He shows us the ideal of what man should be–kin to God and master of the universe.  (ii) He shows us the actual state of man–the frustration instead of the mastery, the failure instead of the glory.  (iii) He shows us how the actual can be changed into the ideal through Christ.  The writer to the Hebrews sees in Christ the One, who by his sufferings and his glory can make man what he was meant to be and what, without him, he could never be.  (William Barclay, The Daily Study Bible Series, Hebrews, 25)

 

The Word for the Day is . . . Reign

 

What questions should we ask of this text?:

I-  What does God think of mankind?  Mankind alone is made in God’s likeness and image and is ruler over God’s creation.  (Heb 2:6-8; see also: Gn 1:26-28; 2:15-20; Col 1:15-18)

 

Human potential as God created it is staggering.  Nothing has been left outside the control or subjection of humanity.  The primal statement that begins with Gn 1:26 is echoed and enlarged in Psalm 8, which states that not only are things of the earth subject to humanity, but all the works of God’s hands come under this potential dominion.  (Louis H. Evans, Jr., The Communicator’s Commentary: Hebrews, 73)

 

The heavens are so immense, the moon and the stars so awesome, how is it possible that You could care for me?  I am a nothing, a nobody, compared with the cosmic immensity!”

At times when I have been flying above an inhabited city, I am amazed at what low altitudes one loses sight of human beings.  At 10,000 feet you can’t see them!  Imagine a few light years’ distance.  Why, our planet is hardly visible!  “And yet, God, You say that You take note of me.”  I want to cry out, “Absurd, impossible, ridiculous!”  (Louis H. Evans, Jr., The Communicator’s Commentary: Hebrews, 73-4)

 

We humans still have within ourselves a drive to conquer what God once gave us to rule.  Think about it.  Humans try to climb the highest mountain “because it’s there.”  They launch rockets into space to walk on the moon.  They map every bay and peninsula, every island and fjord, every river and wasteland, to satisfy a hard-wired curiosity.  They dive deeper and deeper into the depths of the oceans to find just one more unknown species.  We have a built-in drive that says, “Exercise dominion.”  The desire is still there.  But the ability?  Damaged.  (Charles R. Swindoll, Swindoll’s Living Insights: Hebrews, 40)

 

We must understand that Psalm 8 was not only a celebration of the significance of man in the vast cosmos–it was also a Messianic Psalm that had its ultimate fulfillment in Christ.  We know this because while the term “son of man” originally meant nothing more than men, with the advent of Christ it came to be a Messianic reference to Jesus.  He repeatedly called himself “the son of man.”  He is the son of man par excellence and fulfills everything the Psalm celebrates regarding man.  (R. Kent Hughes, Preaching the Word: Hebrews, 58-9)

 

Psalm 8 expounds the dignity and destiny of man in God’s original purpose.  First, he was intended to be a creature of supreme favor.  God was “mindful of him” and cared for him (2:6).  Next, he was intended to be a creature of special privilege, only “for a little while lower than the angels” (2:7).  Moreover, he was meant to be a creature of unique dignity, the treasured aspect of God’s creation, “crowned. . . with glory and honor” (2:7), the recipient of God’s special favor.  He was, furthermore, marked out initially as a creature of unrivaled dominion, with all the created order under his control, “everything in subjection under his feet” (2:8).  It is all a direct echo of Gn 1:26.  But this is not man as we now see him.  (Raymond Brown, The Bible Speaks Today:  Hebrews, 55-6)

 

The glory of man, incidentally, is even greater than the Authorized Version would lead us to understand.  It has:  “Thou hast made him a little lower than the angels” (Ps 8:5).  That is a correct translation of the Greek but not of the original Hebrew.  In the original Hebrew it is said that man is made a little lower than the Elohim; and Elohim is the regular word for God.  What the psalmist wrote about man really was:  “Thou hast made him little less than God,” which, in fact, is the translation of the Revised Standard Version.  So then this psalm sings of the glory of man, who was made little less than divine and whom God meant to have dominion over everything in the world.  (William Barclay, The Daily Study Bible Series, Hebrews, 24)

 

God crowned people with glory and honor when he created them in his image (Gn 1:27).  God also gave people the responsibility and tremendous authority of taking care of the world (Gn 1:28).  In addition, God has been subjecting all things under their feet.  Angels are not given this authority or responsibility:  God intended this key role for people.  The phrase “you have made them for a little while lower than the angels” shows human superiority over all other creation, except the angels.  Due to their sin, however, people failed to live up to their potential, correctly fulfill this responsibility, or wisely use their authority.  (Bruce Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: Hebrews,20)

 

However else He might manifest Himself in nature, God could not become incarnate in angels because they were not created in the full image of God.  No other created being approaches the capacity of the human being to “contain God.”  Only human beings have a nature in which God can become incarnate.  God tipped His hand, so to speak, in the incarnation.  By this He dignified the human race and elevated redeemed humanity beyond the highest ranking angelic star in the radiant canopy of the firmament.  (Paul E. Billheimer, Destined for the Throne, 34)

 

In view of the magnitude of God’s creation, in contrast from the heavenly bodies, What is man!  This is confirmed by the particular word which the Holy Spirit has here employed.  In the OT He has used four different words, all rendered “man” in our English version.  The one used here is “enosh,” which signifies “frail and fallen man.”  It is the word used in Ps 9:20!  What is man, fallen man, that the great God should be mindful of him?  Still less that He should crown him with “glory and honor?”  Ah, it is this which should move our hearts to deepest wonderment, as it will fill us with ever-increasing amazement and praise in the ages yet to come.  (Arthur W. Pink, An Exposition of Hebrews, 98)

 

Nowhere in Scripture do we read that God has honored angels in the way that he has honored man.  Only man has been crowned with “glory and honor.”  This expression points to man’s exalted position:  king over God’s creation.  (Simon J. Kistemaker, NT Commentary: Hebrews, 65)

 

Of himself, man is nothing.  Physically, if you break down the elements of his body into chemical components and put them on the market, at one time he would only have been worth about ninety-eight cents.  Today due to inflation man’s worth is a little more than that.  (J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible Commentary: Hebrews 1-7, 39)

 

Although Christ ultimately rules over all things (see 1:13), the author of Hebrews probably had mankind rather than Christ in mind at this point.  Four reasons support this interpretation: (1) 2:6-8 tells that people were given dominion over the world, but Satan and sin restricted that dominion–this could not be true of Christ.  (2) The focus here is on humanity’s superiority over creation.  Christ was created “for a little while lower than the angels,” but that theme is not addressed until 2:10, when the writer shows how Christ became the perfect human.  (3) The phrase “son of man” is simply Hebrew parallelism reiterating the theme of the previous line, “What is man?”  The title “son of Man” is not used in the Epistles as a name for Christ.  In Dn 7:13, the “son of man” represents humanity.  (4) The original meaning of the psalm clearly referred to humans.  The writer was focusing on the role of humanity in order to drive home another point about the exalted Christ.  The context in 2:9 makes more sense if 2:6-8 refers primarily to humanity.  (Bruce Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: Hebrews,20-1)

 

In Col 1:15, Paul claims that Christ is not only the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of creation, but also the creator of all things.  Then he says:  “All things were created by Him and for Him.”  Each of us is something–and that includes every person walking the face of this earth–created not only by Christ but for a particular place in His kingdom.  Each of us has a holy design, a magnificent purpose, a kingdom goal.  The term used in the NT for such a goal or purpose is telos.  That is our end, our design.  It is full of potential meaning; it implies some authority to be used for God’s glory and the blessing of other people.  No one else can take our place; without us, the kingdom is less than complete.  (Louis H. Evans, Jr., The Communicator’s Commentary: Hebrews, 74-5)

 

Before the fall (Gn 3), Adam and Eve had been placed on the path toward realizing this high calling.  Though they started out in the Garden of Eden (Gn 2:8), were originally limited in number (Gn 2:25), and had a lot of work ahead of them (Gn 2:15), they had been endowed with purity and intellect, equipped to carry out the labor in perfect submission to God.  Had they remained obedient to God, they would have continued in their role of filling and subduing the earth (Gn 1:28).  They would have continued to cultivate and keep the garden (Gn 2:15), eventually filling and subduing the entire world.  (Charles R. Swindoll, Swindoll’s Living Insights: Hebrews, 38)

 

Puny man is only lower than the angels in that man is in a corporal body and the angels are incorporeal.  Man is therefore limited in a way angels are not and has lesser power.  But man is not lower spiritually or in importance.  What an astounding position for such temporary specks as us!  (R. Kent Hughes, Preaching the Word: Hebrews, 57)

 

Grand and encouraging as God’s original intention was, something has gone wrong, and the writer purposely gives it dramatic expression by using the double negative in his comment on the Psalm in verse 8b–“In putting everything under him, God left nothing that is not subject to him”–thus emphasizing the preceding line that God “put everything under his feet.”  There is nothing, he says, in this world that is not under man’s dominion–nothing–nothing!  (R. Kent Hughes, Preaching the Word: Hebrews, 58)

 

As we have seen, the writer is doing his best in this section to comfort the afflicted in the beleaguered little church.  The illusion of insignificance has wrapped its cold fingers around many of their hearts.  They feel like an unwanted speck among the millions of the Roman Empire.  But that is an illusion.  The reality is, they are indeed submicroscopic spots in a huge, fallen universe, but as God’s children they are objects of astounding attention, for God is minutely mindful of them and cares for them in the greatest detail.  (R. Kent Hughes, Preaching the Word: Hebrews, 59-60)

 

Humanity, having been created in God’s image, and with a sense of deity indelibly written on its heart, is inescapably religious.  However, since the fall, our tendency is to attempt to create God in our own image and thus worship ourselves rather than the one in whose image we were made.  (Philip Graham Ryken, Give Praise to God A Vision for Reforming Worship, 59)

 

The image of God in which man was and is made has been variously explained in detail. Although scholars may differ on the nuances of the phrase, there is general agreement that it has to do with dignity, destiny, and freedom.

The assertion that man is made in God’s image shows each man his true dignity and worth.  As God’s image-bearer, he merits infinite respect. God’s claims on us must be taken with total seriousness.  No human being should ever be thought of as simply a cog in a machine, or mere means to an end.

The assertion points also to each man’s true destiny.  Our Maker so designed us that our nature finds final satisfaction and fulfillment only in a relationship of responsive Godlikeness—which means, precisely, that state of correspondence between our acts and God’s will which we call obedience.  Living that is obedient will thus be teleological—progressively realizing our telos (Greek for “end” or “goal”).

Also the assertion confirms the genuineness of each man’s freedom.  Experience tells us that we are free, in the sense that we make real choices between alternatives and could have chosen differently, and theology agrees.  Self-determining freedom of choice is what sets God and his rational creatures apart from, say, birds and bees, as moral beings.  (James Packer; Your Father Loves You)

 

II-  Why did God become flesh?  Jesus became flesh and died to redeem mankind’s curse because of the Fall. {Now – not yet} (Heb 2:9; see also: Gn 2:15-20; 3:1-19; Rom 5:17; 8:15-25; 1 Jn 5:19)

 

In surrendering to Satan, Adam lost the sovereignty God gave him.  He yielded up the scepter and gave control of all that God had given him over to the devil.  Yet, God’s purpose in man will stand.  Man’s failure does not rescind God’s program.  Man will still rule over ALL THINGS, but that dominion will only be realized through the One Man CHRIST JESUS–as we’re about to see.  (C. S. Lovett, Lovett’s Lights on Hebrews, 39)

 

Into this situation came Jesus Christ.  He suffered and he died, and because he suffered and died, he entered into glory.  And that suffering and death and glory are all for man, because he died to make man what he ought to be.  He died to rid man of his frustration and his bondage and his weakness and to give him the dominion he ought to have.  He died to recreate man until he became what he was originally created to be.  (William Barclay, The Daily Study Bible Series, Hebrews, 24)

 

Nature is not only in decay, but it is no longer “under us” as before the Fall.  The point of the curse is that the “dust,” the earth, will only very reluctantly yield to us some of its riches.  Only with the greatest effort does man learn to get along with the physical world.  And even though we may eke out an existence, the earth itself will eventually win, for to it we will return.  We will fight the dirt all our lives, and in the end we will be six feet under it.  The great preacher George Whitefield, in order to make this point, would ask his audience, “Dost thou know why the wild animals fear and growl and shriek at thee?  Because they know thou hast a quarrel with their Master!”  (Timothy J. Keller, Ministries of Mercy, 51)

 

Only by the Son tasting death could the sons of God be delivered from the ruins of the fall; only thus could the righteousness and mercy of God be reconciled.  This, we take it, indicates the relation of this final clause to the remainder of the verse:  God’s design in making His Son lower than the angels was that He might become the Redeemer of His people.  (Arthur W. Pink, An Exposition of Hebrews, 109)

 

This tension between the “now” and the “not yet,” between what is present reality but not yet seen, expresses what may be referred to as “the inaugurated rule of Christ.”  That is, the reign of Christ and the reality of Christian experience have begun, but will not be fully actualized until a final consummation at the end of the age.  The Son’s rule is already a reality; that reality, however, must be confessed by faith until we see its full impact at the end of the age.  (George H. Guthrie, The NIV Application Commentary: Hebrews, 99)

 

Man was meant to have dominion over everything but he has not.  He is a creature who is frustrated by his circumstances, defeated by his temptations, girt about with his own weakness.  He who should be free is bound; he who should be a king is a slave.  As G. K. Chesterton said, whatever else is or is not true, this one thing is certain–man is not what he was meant to be.  (William Barclay, The Daily Study Bible Series, Hebrews, 24)

 

God commissioned human beings to rule over creation.  Sin halted that plan but did not change it.  The writer used the name “Jesus” (instead of his title, “Christ”) for the first time in this verse, stressing Jesus’ humanity (see also 3:1; 4:14; 6:20; 7:22; 10:19; 12:2; 12:24; 13:12).  The words from the psalm previously applied only to humans are here applied to the Messiah.  Jesus became human, “made lower than the angels.”  He was the only one who lived the human life as intended:  sinless and in perfect fellowship with God.  Before Christ, the words of Psalm 8 had not been fully realized, but the words were completely fulfilled in Christ.  (Bruce Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: Hebrews,22)

 

He who was made for dominion is now often dominated.  He who was to rule has let his scepter slip.  The author needed not explain how man came to abuse his privileges, ignore his destiny, and be limited in his dominion.  The readers would know about the events in the Garden of Eden, how sin had turned man from victor into victim.  Thus it came about that “at present we do not see everything subject to him.”  (Richard E. Lauersdorf, The People’s Bible: Hebrews, 18)

 

He became a man so that He could die.  He came to die because His death, and only His death, could accomplish man’s salvation.  Those tiny hands fashioned by the Holy Spirit in Mary’s womb were made to take two great nails.  Those little feet were made to climb a hill and be nailed to a cross.  That sacred head was made to wear a crown of thorns, and that tender body wrapped in swaddling clothes was made to be pierced by a spear.  For this Christ came to earth.  His death was the furthest thing from an accident.  And, despite the malignant evil that crucified Him, His death was the furthest thing from a tragedy.  It was God’s ultimate plan for His Son and His ultimate gift for mankind.  (John MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur NT Commentary: Hebrews, 63)

 

The animal kingdom was now subservient to man only out of fear, no longer out of affection.  Much of the animal kingdom was no longer able to be tamed at all.  The ground originally produced good things naturally and abundantly for man to have for the taking.  Now it produces thorns, weeds, and other harmful things naturally and abundantly.  Whatever good things man now gets from the earth come only by tiresome effort.  Extremes of heat and cold, poisonous plants and reptiles, earthquakes, tornadoes, floods, hurricanes, disease, war–all these were released upon man after the Fall.  Virtually everything God had given for man’s good and blessing became his enemy, and man has been fighting a losing battle ever since.  For millennia, he himself has been dying.  Now he is finding out that the earth is dying with him.  (John MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur NT Commentary: Hebrews, 56-7)

 

To get the whole issue in perspective, however, we should understand that this present world, our present inhabited earth, is ruled by angels.  The chief fallen angel is Satan, who is also prince of this world (Jn 12:31; 14:30).  We also know from Ephesians that this world is under tremendous demonic influence.  Demons are fallen angels and they are called rulers, powers, world forces of darkness, and spiritual forces of wickedness (Eph 6:12).  Not only do Satan and his fallen angels have some rule in this world, but even the holy angels now have a kind of sovereignty.  Daniel 10 tells of Michael and another holy angel fighting against powerful fallen angels who were influencing the rulers of Persia and Greece.  The rule of this earth, therefore, is now in the hands of both fallen and holy angels.  Needless to say, this “joint” rulership involves extreme conflict.  (John MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur NT Commentary: Hebrews, 52-3)

 

While man has his powers and dignity, there are many limitations.  The full promise of the psalm awaits realization.  It is part of the frustration of life that in every part of it there are the equivalents of the “thorns and thistles” (Gn 3:18) that make life so hard for the tiller of the soil.  Everyone knows what it is to chafe under the limitations under which he must do his work while he glimpses the vision of what would be possible were it not for those cramping limitations.  (Frank E. Gæbelein, Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Vol. 12, 25)

 

Man’s rule over creation has through the centuries become an ecological disaster.  His reign over the animal world is superficial.  He achieves it by intimidation:  “Obey me, or I’ll eat you or wear you!”  And sometimes he himself has been the feast.  The problem is, he cannot rule over himself, let alone others.  (R. Kent Hughes, Preaching the Word: Hebrews, 58)

 

Compared with the vastness of the universe which surrounds him, man seems so puny and insignificant:  hence the note of amazement in the question addressed to God by the Psalmist, “What is man that thou art mindful of him, or the son of man, that thou carest for him?”  Our author, who, as Spicq explains, “interprets the texts of the OT, not according to the understanding of their human author, but in the way in which the Christian revelation elucidates them,” shows that the answer to this question is already implicit in the words of the psalm itself:  the incarnation of the Son of God is the great and ultimate proof of the importance of man.  It is not, however, in egocentric self-approval that the worth of man finds expression, but in his status as God’s creature and his constitution in the divine image.  His true human dignity, destroyed by sin, is restored in Christ.  (Philip Edgcumbe Hughes, A Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews, 84-5)

 

At this point in the argument the writer makes striking use of some verses from Psalm 8.  He has used OT Scripture in chapter 1 to portray Christ’s superiority over the angels as the Son of God.  Here he presents Christ as for a time lower than the angels, the Son of man.  When Jesus assumed our human nature he willingly took upon himself our frustrated, suffering and threatened humanity.  (Raymond Brown, The Bible Speaks Today:  Hebrews, 55)

 

The Jews understood this about their sacrifices, where the life of the animal was accepted in the place of the life of the sinner.  In this way Christ tasted death for everyone.  Christ was, through God’s grace and wisdom, substituted as a mediator, a surety, in their place, to go through the death that they should have undergone, so that they might go free.  (John Owen, Crossway Classic Commentaries: Hebrews, 38)

 

Although God gave humans the authority and responsibility to rule the world (Gn 1:28), sin entered the world and inhibited them from fulfilling this command (Gn 3:17-19).  Since people could not live up to their God-given commission, Jesus fulfilled this commission (see 2:9).  (Bruce Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: Hebrews,21)

 

I can just imagine King David out one night staring up into the limitless depths of space that were illuminated with billions of stars–all works of God’s unfathomable creation, all held together by His inestimable power.  As David was dizzied by the overwhelming magnitude of creation, he began to ponder the truth of Genesis 1:  “We humans were created to rule over all this!”  And he was right!  That’s good theology.  David was rightly astonished by the honor with which humans were crowned.

But soon David’s eyes would have returned to the reality of this present world.  As he looked around at the tattered corners of this domain, he would have been reminded that Paradise had been infested with thorns and thistles.  Something happened after Genesis 1 that turned God’s intended order upside down–the fall of humanity.  (Charles R. Swindoll, Swindoll’s Living Insights: Hebrews, 38-9)

 

Indeed, the Fall was an utter disaster, plunging humanity into chaos, confusion, defeat, and death.  As a result, humanity suffered loss in every way imaginable–intellectually, psychologically, morally, physically, emotionally, spiritually.  In plucking and eating the fruit from the forbidden tree, Adam and Eve had been deceived by one of the lowest of their creaturely subjects–a serpent.  They had been tricked into thinking they would become like God (Gn 3:4-6).  Instead, they fell from their trajectory of triumph and became victims of the creation they were meant to rule over.  (Charles R. Swindoll, Swindoll’s Living Insights: Hebrews, 39)

 

In order of dignity, man stood next to the angels, and a little lower than they; in the Lord Jesus this was accomplished, for He was made a little lower than the angels by the suffering of death.  Man in Eden had the full command of all creatures, and they came before him to receive their names as an act of homage to him as the vice-regent of God to them.  Jesus in His glory, is now Lord, not only of all living, but of all created things, and, with the exception of Him who put all things under Him, Jesus is Lord of all, and His elect, in Him are raised to a dominion wider than that of the first Adam, as shall be more clearly seen at His coming.  (Charles Spurgeon, Spurgeon Commentary: Hebrews, 27)

 

The ox and the horse, with all their strength, must bow their necks to them, and the lion and the tiger, with all their ferocity, must still be cowed in the presence of their master.  Yet this is not a perfect kingdom that we see in the natural world.  But in the spiritual world, people are still to be supreme for the present, and therefore Christ becomes, not an angel, but a man.  He takes upon him that nature which God intends to be dominant in this world and in that which is to come.  (Charles Spurgeon, Spurgeon Commentary: Hebrews, 28)

 

Upon close consideration, Ps 110:1 and 8:4-6 seem to contradict at a crucial point.  Both psalms speak of the subjugation of all things to Christ but appear to address different time frames.  Ps 110:1 looks to the future (“until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet”) while 8:6 speaks of the subjugation as an accomplished fact (“you. . . put everything under his feet”).  Given the potential puzzlement arising from the two passages, our author employs a rabbinic technique called “dispelling confusion,” which involved discussing the conundrum in a way so as to clarify the passages in question.

The author, in effect, answers the question, “Which is it?  Have all things been subjugated to the Son, or does his universal dominance lie in the future?” with “Both!”  He first makes clear that God indeed has placed everything under the Son’s feet already, as suggested by Psalm 8 (having “left nothing that is not subject to him”).  The authority of Christ is already all-encompassing.  Ps 110:1, on the other hand, means “at present we do not see everything subject to him.”  (George H. Guthrie, The NIV Application Commentary: Hebrews, 98-9)

 

In the meantime, man is subject to the earth.  He plants but he is not sure who will reap.  He builds cities and houses and dams and monuments–but they are all subject to destruction by lightning or earthquake or flood or fire or erosion or simply aging.  Man lives in jeopardy every hour.  Just at the height of professional achievement, his brain may develop a tumor, and he becomes an imbecile.  Just at the brink of athletic fame, he may be injured and become a helpless paralytic.  He fights himself, he fights his fellowman, and he fights his earth.  Every day we read and hear of the distress of nations, of the impossibility of agreement between statesmen in a world that languishes in political and social conflict–not to mention economic hardship, health hazards, and military threats.  We hear the whine of pain from dumb animals and even see the struggle of trees and crops against disease and insects.  Our many hospitals, doctors, medicines, pesticides, insurance companies, fire and police departments, funeral homes–all bear testimony to the cursed earth.  (John MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur NT Commentary: Hebrews, 57)

 

Since Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit, the divine nature was present in Him.  Because He was sinless, Satan had no claim upon Him.  But because He was “made of a woman,” He was an authentic human being and could therefore qualify as a bona fide member of the human race to enter the legal fight to reclaim Adam’s lost estate.  (Paul E. Billheimer, Destined for the Throne, 76)

 

“It was in Gethsemane that Messiah toiled in prayer and sweated what appeared to be drops of blood falling to the ground.  Toil, sweat, and ground, all three appear in the curse of Adam.  And where did that curse begin?  In a garden.  And where was Messiah on the night of Adam?  In Gethsemane.  And what is Gethsemane?  A garden.  And what happened to Adam because of the fall?  He was removed from the garden.”

“To the place outside the garden,” I said.  “The place of the curse, and ultimately to his death.  So too on that night Messiah was removed from a garden. . . and taken to the place where the curse of Adam would fall upon Him. . . where He would be judged, cursed, and taken to His death.  And it began on the night of Adam.”

“Yes,” said the teacher, “so that the children of Adam could be redeemed from the toil of their lives. . . and leave the curse. . . and come back to the blessing in the presence of God.”  (Jonathan Cahn, The Book of Mysteries, Day 187)

 

III-  What does that mean for us?  With Jesus (“In Christ”) everything sad will come untrue(Heb 2:9; see also: Isa 2:2-4; 11:6-9; 35:1-2; 65:17; 66:22; Dn 7:18, 27; 1 Cor 2:9; 15:27; Phil 3:21; Col 1:27; 2 Pt 3:13; Rv 21:1)

 

The miracles of Jesus prove His reign and dominion over all of nature (Mt 8:23-27; 14:1-14, 25; 15:33-38; Mk 2:9; 4:35-40; 5:1-13; 6:37-52; 8:1-10; Lk 5:24-26; 7:22; 8:22-25; 9:10-17; Jn 5:8-9; 6:1-21; ch 9).  And yet, he promised us that we could do even more incredible wonders than Himself (Jn 14:12).

 

God created man in innocence and gave him dominion over the earth.  Man sinned and immediately lost his dominion.  Jesus Christ came to die to remove the curse so that man could regain dominion; thus His death was the most purposeful in all history.  He came to restore the crown to man.  But the crown could not be restored until the curse was removed.  If He was to remove the curse on man He had to take the place of man by becoming a man Himself.  And though, for this purpose, He became lower than angels, He accomplished what no angel ever could have accomplished.  (John MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur NT Commentary: Hebrews, 63)

 

Man has received from God a life, a nature, a spirit, capable of partaking of His own life and spirit.  His will and His holiness, capable of likeness to and fellowship with Himself, even to the sitting on His throne, and sharing with Him the dominion over all creation.  What a destiny!

How gloriously we see that destiny fulfilled in Jesus!  It was because man had been created with a nature, capable of such a destiny, that the Son of God could become man, and not count it unworthy of His divine glory Himself to work out that destiny.  He came and proved what the life of man was meant to be–how humility and subjection to God were the sure path to glory and honor.  He came and glorified a life of humiliation as the training-school for the exaltation to the right hand of God; fulfilling man’s destiny in Himself as Son of Man, He, as Son of God, fulfilled it for us too.  (Andrew Murray, The Holiest of All, 72-3)

 

When the Lord Jesus does rule on this earth, there will be no need of a hospital or a jail.  There will be no crime or poverty.  When He rules this earth it will be a millennial paradise.  As the writer quotes Psalm 8, he makes it abundantly clear that the psalmist spoke of Christ, and the prediction is not fulfilled up to the present moment.  (J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible Commentary: Hebrews 1-7, 41)

 

We are not surprised that He is exalted and enthroned in the heavens.  What is difficult for us to comprehend is that we have been exalted with Him.  Yet if “he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit” (1 Cor 6:17), it cannot be otherwise.  We are not surprised that “all things have been put under his feet.”  What we have failed to comprehend is that as part of Him, His Body, all things are also legally beneath our feet.  What we do not realize is that He is “the head over all things to the church” (Eph 1:22).  This means that His headship over all things is assumed and held for the benefit of the Church and is directed toward His purpose for her.  (Paul E. Billheimer, Destined for the Throne, 89)

 

In the last book of the Bible there is a scene where John beholds the One seated upon the throne of the universe while ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands of angels are crying out in unending, undying worship before the throne.  The call goes out to find one who is able to open the little book with seven seals which is the title deed to earth, the right to run the earth.  A search is made through the length and breadth of human history for someone wise enough, strong enough, and compassionate enough to open the seals, but no one can be found.  John says I wept much that no one was found worthy to open the scroll (Rv 5:4).  But the elder said, Weep not; lo, the Lion of the tribe of Judah. . . has conquered, so that he can open the scroll (Rv 5:5).  And when John turned to see the Lion, to his amazement he saw a Lamb, a Lamb with blood staining its neck, a Lamb that had been slain.  As he watched, the Lamb stepped up to the throne and took the little book and all heaven broke into acclaim.  Here at last was found one wise enough, strong enough and compassionate enough to solve the problems of man and to own the title deed of earth.  (Ray C. Stedman, How to Live What You Believe, 23-4)

 

This brings us to such dizzying heights as to merit the charge not only of megalomania (illusions of grandeur), not only of hyperbole, but of blasphemy itself, if these conclusions are invalid.  God has exhausted human language to open our eyes to the immensity of His plan for the redeemed.  Unless the words of inspiration are meaningless, the preceding is no exaggeration.  “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him” (1 Cor 2:9).  (Paul E. Billheimer, Destined for the Throne, 38)

 

It is here in the beginning, in Genesis, that the curse begins.  And it’s here at the end, in Revelation, that it’s written, “There shall be no more curse.”  In Genesis, death begins.  At the end of Revelation there is no more death.  In Genesis, the tree of life is taken from man and disappears.  In Revelation, the tree of life reappears and is given back to man.  In Genesis, the first act of creation is God calling the light into being.  In Revelation, God Himself becomes the light.  And in Genesis God creates the heavens and the earth.  In Revelation, He creates a new heaven and a new earth.  (Jonathan Cahn, The Book of Mysteries, Day 354)

 

Here we learn that “man,” frail and fallen, but redeemed and exalted by the Lord, will have, in the world to come, “all things” put under his feet.  It is the blessed sequel to Gn 1:26–the earthly Paradise regained.  The absoluteness of this “subjection” of the world to come unto redeemed man, is intimated by the figure which is here used, “under his feet;” lower a thing cannot be put.  It is not simply “at his feet,” but “under.”  The scope of the subjection is seen by the “all things.”  This goes beyond the terms of Ps 8:7, 8, for the last Adam has secured for His people more than the first Adam lost.  All creation, even angels, will then be “in subjection” to man. . . . But how can this be? says the objector:  “Now we see not yet all things put under him.”  What you have said is belied by the testimony of our senses; that which is spread before our eyes refutes it.  Why, so far from “all things” being in subjection to man, even the wild beasts will not perform his bidding!  Unanswerable as this difficulty might appear, solution, satisfactory and complete, is promptly furnished.  This is given in our next verse.

“But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels. . . crowned with glory and honor” (v. 9).  It is most blessed to observe how the apostle meets the objector:  he does so by pointing at once and directly to Him who is the Centre of all our hopes and in whose Person all our interests and blessings are bound up.  (Arthur W. Pink, An Exposition of Hebrews, 101-2)

 

As we have seen, if mankind now is “lower than the angels,” the destiny of redeemed mankind is to be exalted in Christ higher than the angels.  (Philip Edgcumbe Hughes, A Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews, 89)

 

Because we have been redeemed, our solidarity with Christ is so close that it is described as being “in” him.  Paul uses that designation some 169 times in his writings.  The term suggests an exchange, in impartation from Christ.  Being “in Christ,” the redeemed are so united with him that they share in the glory and dominion of his reign.  (R. Kent Hughes, Preaching the Word: Hebrews, 59)

 

Man is certainly not as he should be.  But, says our author, in Christ’s person we see him as he can be and through Christ’s work we see him as he will be:  we see Jesus and acknowledge afresh that he came to be our pioneer.  He had to take our nature and become like us, but without those sinful and rebellious characteristics which mar our nature.  (Raymond Brown, The Bible Speaks Today:  Hebrews, 56)

 

Man is certainly not remotely like the ideal humanity portrayed by the psalmist, but Jesus has come into the world to show us what man is like in God’s original purpose and what man can be through Christ’s effective work.  (Raymond Brown, The Bible Speaks Today:  Hebrews, 57)

 

It is true we may yet be sorely tempted, and the battle may go hard with us, but we see Jesus triumphant, and by this sign we grasp the victory.  We shall perhaps be subjected to pain, to poverty, to slander, to persecution, and yet none of these things move us because we see Jesus exalted, and therefore know that these are under His power, and cannot touch us except as He grants them His permission to do so.  Death is at times terrible in prospect, but its terror ceases when we see Jesus, who has passed safely through the shades of the sepulcher, vanquished the tyrant of the tomb, and left an open passage to immorality to all His own.  (Charles Spurgeon, Spurgeon Commentary: Hebrews, 32)

 

At creation man was given dominion over the earth, but ever since the fall that authority to subject has been lacking.  The psalm is only perfectly fulfilled, therefore, in the ideal Man, Jesus Christ, who alone has that authority.  The writer sees a fulfillment of this psalm in a way that the Jews never foresaw.  The same psalm is cited by Jesus (Mt 21:16) and Paul (1 Cor 15:27), both in a way which points to its fulfillment in Jesus himself.  (Donald Guthrie, Tyndale NT Commentaries: Hebrews, 84-5)

 

We see not yet all things subjected to Him–how exactly this expresses the disappointment and failure which is often the experience of the believer when his first joy and hope begin to pass away.  He finds that sin is stronger than he knew; that the power of the world and the flesh and self are not yet made subject to him as he had hoped.  At times it is as if he feels that the promises of God, and the expectations they raised in his heart, are vain.  Or else, if he acknowledge that God is indeed faithful to fulfill them, the way for one who is as weak as he is, and in his circumstances, to obtain these promises is too hard.  The promises of God, to put all things in subjection to us and make us more than conquerors, are indeed most precious, but, alas, ever again the bitter experience comes–man sees not yet all things subjected to him.

Blessed the man who knows, then, in living faith to say:  But we see Jesus crowned with glory and honor.  Blessed the man who knows to look away from all that he finds in himself of imperfection and failure, to look up and behold all the perfection and glory he finds in Jesus!  (Andrew Murray, The Holiest of All, 75-6)

 

The verses quoted from it in Hebrews 2 refer not to Adam, not to mankind as a whole, nor to Christ Himself considered alone, but to His redeemed.  The Holy Spirit, through the Psalmist, was looking forward to a new order of man, of which the Lord Jesus is the Head.  In the Man Christ Jesus, God has brought to light a new order of Man, One in whom is found not merely innocence, but perfection.  It is of this “man” that Eph 2:15 speaks:  “To make in Himself of twain (redeemed from among the Jews and from the Gentiles) one new man”; and also Eph 4:13:   “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”  As God looks at His incarnate Son He sees, for the first time, a perfect Man, and us in Him.  (Arthur W. Pink, An Exposition of Hebrews, 104)

 

“On the day of His death,” said the teacher, “messiah was arrested, beaten, bound, scourged, abused, mocked, humiliated, degraded, stripped naked, nailed to a cross, put on display as a blasphemer and a criminal, cursed, judged guilty, and condemned to death.  It all happened on Friday, the sixth day.  It was on the sixth day that God made man in His own image.  Now it was again the sixth day.  And it all happened in reverse.”

“What do you mean, ‘in reverse’?”

“On the sixth day God made man in His image.  So on the sixth day. . . man made God in his image.”

“How?”

“On the sixth day, the day of man’s creation, God caused man to bear the image of God, an image of glory and perfection.  So one the sixth day, the day of man’s redemption, man caused God to bear the image of fallen man, as one who had fallen, as one found guilty, and as one cast out.  All that was the image of man’s fallen, as one found guilty, and as one cast out.  All that was the image of man’s fall.  So God was judged as a blasphemer because blasphemy was the sin of man.  Man passed judgment on God, because man himself was under judgment.  As God had made man in the image of God’s glory, man now made God in the image of man’s guilt and degradation.  As God had made Adam in His image, it was now Adam making God in the image of Adam, as one who had transgressed, under judgment and condemned to death, cursed, and separated from God.  When you look at the cross, you are beholding God in the image of man.”

“Why did God allow Himself to be so abused and degraded?”

“God allowed Himself to bear the image of man, that man might again be allowed to bear the image of God.”  (Jonathan Cahn, The Book of Mysteries, Day 215)

 

Worship Point:  Contemplate what it meant for the God of the Universe to become flesh and die so as to redeem mankind when He had already invested so much in us.  Then worship!

 

The humanity of Christ needs to be emphasized as well as His deity.  You see, He brought deity down to this earth, and He took humanity back to heaven.  (J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible Commentary: Hebrews 1-7, 37)

 

Gospel Application:  When we “see Jesus”, everything sad comes untrue . . . even death.  (Isa 65:17; 66:22)

 

How can man reach the promised land?  How can he be prepared to live and reign in the world to come?  There is only one way–by seeing Jesus.  Only through Jesus’ saving work can man’s glorious destiny become eternal reality.  (Richard E. Lauersdorf, The People’s Bible: Hebrews, 19)

 

To see Him is to know that we have all we can need.  (Andrew Murray, The Holiest of All, 77)

 

Like Midas in reverse, Adam’s touch on us all has turned the luster of God’s image into tarnish (Rom 5:12).  Each of us, to use C. S. Lewis’ words, is born “a Son of Adam or a Daughter of Eve,” not a child of God.  Sin’s poison passes from generation to generation through the bloodstream of humanity.  As a result, each child’s spirit is brought into the world stillborn.  The only remedy is to be “born again” (Jn 3:3).(Charles R. Swindoll; You and Your Child, 4)

 

Jesus fulfilled the message of Psalm 8:  “Being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death” (Phil 2:8).  Because of his humiliation, especially his death and burial, he was made lower than the angels for a little while.  Jesus, then, is portrayed as man, who in effect has accomplished what the first Adam because of sin failed to do.  Jesus became man, suffered, died, and was buried.  After his humiliation was completed, he was no longer “lower than the angels.”  His state of exaltation came to full realization when he was crowned with glory and honor; that is, when he ascended to heaven to take his seat at the right side of the Majesty in heaven (Heb 1:3).  Jesus rules supreme as king of the universe!  (Simon J. Kistemaker, NT Commentary: Hebrews, 66)

 

The subject of the apostle’s proposition is the world to come, the new heavens and new earth, which God promised to create (Isa 65:17; 66:22).  This world to come is the state and worship of the church under the Messiah.  (John Owen, Crossway Classic Commentaries: Hebrews, 34)

 

Spiritual Challenge:  The Fall of mankind has been so comprehensive, perverse and corrupt that it is only by faith (through the work of the Spirit of God enlightening the Word of God) that we can even begin to “see Jesus”Pray accordingly.

 

Would you, my reader, give more abundant heed to the great salvation?  Would you experience how completely Jesus is able to save?  Do you long for just as much of the love and the presence, the holiness and the joy and the power of God in you as there is in Jesus for you?  Here you have the secret of it all!  Amid all sin and weakness, all darkness and doubt, all failure and perplexity, hold fast this one truth, engage in this one exercise of faith:  We see not yet all things subjected to man, but we see Jesus crowned with honor and glory.  This gives peace, and victory, and joy unspeakable.  (Andrew Murray, The Holiest of All, 77)

 

How do we “see Jesus?”  Not by means of mysterious dreams or ecstatic visions, not by the exercise of our imagination, nor by a process of visualization; but by faith.  Just as Christ declared, in Jn 8:56, “Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it, and was glad.”  Faith is the eye of the spirit, which views and enjoys what the Word of God presents to its vision.  In the Gospels, Acts, Epistles, Revelation, God has told us about the exaltation of His Son; those who receive by faith what He has there declared, “see Jesus crowned with glory and honor,” as truly and vividly as His enemies once saw Him here on earth “crowned with thorns.”  (Arthur W. Pink, An Exposition of Hebrews, 102)

 

The real trouble with man in sin is that he always wants to understand.  The ultimate sin of man is pride of intellect.  That is why it is always true to say that “not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called.”  The wise man after the flesh wants to understand.  He pits his brain against God’s wisdom, and he says, “I don’t see.”  Of course he doesn’t.  And Christ says to him, “Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 18:3).  If you think that with your mind, which is so small when you compare it with the mind of God, and which is not only small but also sinful, and perverted, and polluted, and twisted–if you think that with the mind you have you can comprehend the working of God’s eternal mind and wisdom, obviously you do not know God, you are outside the life of God, and you are lost.  The first thing that must happen to you before you can ever become a Christian is that you must surrender that little mind of yours, and begin to say, “Of course I cannot understand it; my whole nature is against it.  I can see that there is only one thing to do; I submit myself to the revelation that God has been pleased to give.  (D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Romans, Exposition of Chapter 5, 251)

 

We behold the glory of the incarnate Word through the grammar of the written Word.  Sacred study is a way of seeing, especially when combined with prayer.  (John Piper, The Legacy of Sovereign Joy, 147)

 

So What?:  Imagine living a life in which you knew everything sad would come untrue.  When you “see Jesus” your imagination can become reality.

 

Satan wants the believer to forget that he is risen and exalted with Christ, that he is now, in his spirit, united with Christ on the throne with all enemies under his feet.  If we are held in bondage to demons of fear, sickness, disease, or limitation of any kind, it is only through ignorance of what Christ has done for us, or by forgetting who we are in Him.  (Paul E. Billheimer, Destined for the Throne, 91)

 

As disciples we would be more punctual in our obedience, more consistent in our imitation of Jesus, if we had Him always before us.  (Charles Spurgeon, Spurgeon Commentary: Hebrews, 33)

 

The world to come is the totally new world-order which has already begun in Christ.  In other words, it is the new age, the era of salvation.  It is not, therefore, something reserved entirely for the future, even though it has a future dimension of rich and exciting significance.  In Christ we have already entered God’s stupendous future.  (Raymond Brown, The Bible Speaks Today:  Hebrews, 54)

JESUS:

GOD INCARNATE

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