WHAT IS MAN? -A
Hebrews 2:5-10 (NKJV)
5 For He has not put the world to come, of which we speak, in subjection to angels.
6 But one testified in a certain place, saying: “What is man that You are mindful of him, Or the son of man that You take care of him?
7 You have made him a little lower than the angels; You have crowned him with glory and honor, And set him over the works of Your hands.
8 You have 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 do not yet see all things put under him.
9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.
10 For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
Verses 2:1-4 is a parentheses between Chapter 1:14 & Chapter 2:5
This parentheses is a pause to issue the warning: “How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?”
The writer wants his readers, and us today to know there is a danger involved if so precious a salvation through Christ is neglected. The Bible is so very plain that Jesus Christ “is the way and the truth and the life”(Jn. 14:6), and that there “is not other way under heaven whereby a man must be saved.”(Acts 4:12)
It is also a parenthesis to explain to us the connection between 1:14 and 2:5
Now in 2:5, he picks up from verse 1:14 concerning the ministry of angels and he says:
“For He has not put the world to come, of which we speak, in subjection to angels.”
The NIV reads, “It is not to angels that he has subjected the world to come, about which we are speaking.”
This is very important – don’t miss it.
Angels are God’s wonderful and special creation.
a. They love and adore God – they are totally obedient to Him – they are not rebellious, selfish nor self-centered as sinful man is.
Yet, God did not choose them to have dominion over the earth – He chose man!
(Note: The Hebrews believed that angels were next to God – His highest creation)
b. Let us keep in mind that the writer’s aim is to convince the Jewish Christians to remain steadfast in the faith – and to do this he must convince the Jews that Messiah (Jesus) was a man and is far higher than angels.
c. In 1:14 the writer said, “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?” (The angels ministry is to minister to the saved)
The writer points out that the angels are in a position of subjection to those who have been redeemed.
1. Continuing in verse 5 of chapter 2, the writer speaks of “the world to come” which is referring to the millennial kingdom, and it is not angels that is going to occupy the place of dominion.
The NLT reads, “And furthermore, it is not angels who will control the future world we are talking about.
That great English Bible Scholar, A.W. Pink says, “The ‘world to come’ is the renovated earth under the reign of the Messiah.”
And then adds, “The ‘world to come’ is the time when Israel shall dwell in their own land in peace and blessing, when wars shall be made to cease, when oppression and injustice shall end, when all the outward creation shall manifest the presence of the Prince of peace.”
2. The writer is encouraging the Hebrew Christians who are having second thoughts on their relationship with Jesus Christ because of persecution to remain faithful.
He is saying in effect, “Don’t leave now, the best is yet to come.”
3. He is inspiring them to remain steadfast in the faith and allegiance to Christ because the time is coming when the heirs of salvation shall enter into a glory surpassing even that of angels.
4. Angels in the OT are mentioned as messengers of God, and they were also used to execute the judgment of God – but in the world to come they will not have a place of dominance or control.
In the beginning man was God’s highest order: Gen. 1:27-28, “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
But Something Went Wrong! William Barclay says: “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.”
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.”
Man sinned against God – he became a fallen creature
In the world to come is where man, in submission to Christ, will be supreme and dominant.
In God’s unfolding plan of redemption, redeemed man, the heirs of salvation, will have a much grander role than the angels.
a. As wonderful, magnificent, and glorious as angels are, redeemed man has a loftier role because only man can inherit salvation.
b. Angels, since they have never fallen, do not know what it is to be redeemed; they never sinned, therefore can never experience the joy of salvation.
Angels can never enter into the miracle of the new birth.
Charles Swindol says, “At best, they can minister only as midwives.”
Today in our world men fight and make war with one another to extend their territory.
1. They rob and kill each other to gain possessions, but when it’s all over – what do they obtain?
Just a little piece of dirt big enough to be buried in.
Makes no difference if they are kings are paupers – that’s all they get.
2. But in the world to come, those who have been redeemed are not going to get just a small plot of land in which to be buried – they are going to inherit the earth.
They are heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ.
Verse 6 – “For in one place the Scriptures say, “What are people that you should think of them, or a son of man that you should care for him?
1. When reading this text it seems like the writer would continue making a comparison between Christ and the angels.
2. Instead, he cites Psalm 8:4 with a question: “what are people that you should think about them, mere mortals that you should care for them?”
a. To the modern scientist, the intellectual, and the liberal theologian, man is insignificant in this vast universe.
b. The philosopher and the agnostic may surmise, “If there is a god, he certainly does not care much for man.”
To this type of people, life ends at the grave – there is nothing else.
But the writer of Hebrews, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, speaks with conviction that there is a new world coming and insignificant man is going to be in charge.
In the next three verses we see the writer demonstrating this revelation.
Verse 7 – “What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him?”
Here we are given a picture of man as God created him.
a. He is crowned with glory and honor
b. He was created to rule over the created world – God set him over His creation: “Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” (Gen. 1:26).
Man was intended by creation to have dominion over everything in the world.
He was to have control over it.
The earth and all its creatures would respond to man’s touch.
But something happened!
We are all well aware that this present creation isn’t under the dominion of man.
Let me quote G.K. Chesterson once more: “Whatever else is or is not true, this one thing is certain – man is not what he was meant to be.”
a. Man chose to disobey his God and became a sinner and lost his position in the world – the earth stopped being good to him.
b. It now began to bring forth weeds and poisons and other things that would make life miserable.
c. The animals, if they subjected themselves to man it would be out of fear and no longer out of adoration.
d. After man fell his dominion was no longer based on love and devotion – but now on force and power.
Verse 8 – “You have 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 do not yet see all things put under him.”
Man, as we like to say in America, had it made – he had a most glorious future presented to him, but he listened to the evil one over God, and sin killed him!
When Adam and Eve took fruit from the tree they thought they would become like God – but instead of increasing their lot, they became less than what they were.
Instead of gaining and becoming like God they lost in every way – they became more like God’s adversary.
They lost mentally, physically, intellectually, morally, and above all they lost spiritually.
Because man was killed spiritually by sin he ceased to reverence God.
He ceased to fear God.
Now instead of being a fulfilled man he is a frustrated man.
Today, man is not as God created him, but as sin conquered him.
This explains why man is so often irrational and inconsistent.
One moment he is compassionate and kind – the next moment he is hateful and cruel. Since man was conquered by sin his whole nature has been twisted
The Question Is: Can man find his way out of this dilemma? Can man find light while living in this darkness? In his despair can he find hope?
The Apostle Paul experienced the defeats of sin, but he found the victory.
In Romans 7:24, he said, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?”
Paul was a loser until he found the victory in Jesus. In vs. 25, Paul rejoices, “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
The NLT makes it plainer: “ 24 Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?
25 Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord.
For Paul, the answer to the sin question is Jesus, and for you and I today, the answer is still Jesus.
The writer of Hebrews says almost the same thing.
Verse 9 – “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.”
Man is not what he ought to be, but praise God Jesus is all that He claims to be!
Now, in the midst of our darkness our attention is directed to a bright ray of light.
This light pierces the surrounding gloom and despair – but we see Jesus!
This is in the present tense – It is a now experience. “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death,”
Jesus identified Himself with the human race for the express purpose of dying.
Jesus does not deal with our sins as someone who sits in heaven and observes – but He came to earth and experienced every temptation that you and I experience and He defeated it.
He, too, walked through the valley of the shadow of death, and He conquered it.
He is “crowned with glory and honor; He is King of kings and Lord of lords.
He was made a little lower than the angels, but He was “crowned with glory and honor.
His exaltation was obtained through His suffering and humiliation.
“ that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.”
The words “taste death” is a picture of death being a cup of liquid, and our Lord drank the cup dry.
He drank it all – He tasted death for everyone – no one will be turned away.
Now, you and I do not have to suffer the anguish of our sins in hell because Jesus Christ tasted death for all who would call upon Him.
The first Adam went down in defeat and dragged the human race down with him – but the last Adam gained the victory through the Blood of the Cross.
Verse 10 – “For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.”
The reason our Lord suffered for us was because “it was fitting for him.”
It was the natural thing for a God of perfect love to do.
It certainly wasn’t because you and I are lovable because by the greatest stretch of the imagination we are not.
But God loved us and so He did for us what we could never do for ourselves.
It came from His heart – it became Him.
Old Adam plunged us into darkness and a different direction than God intended us to be.
But the New Adam died to liberate us and to bring us back to where God wants us to be,
Jesus has made “the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
The word “captain” means someone who goes first so that others may follow.
Christ walked into the shadow of death – then He walked back out and said “Follow Me and I will lead you to eternity.
The word “perfect” means He fulfilled His purpose on earth.
He did everything that He was supposed to do to give us salvation.
The New Living Translation reads verse 10 this way: “ God, for whom and through whom everything was made, chose to bring many children into glory. And it was only right that he should make Jesus, through his suffering, a perfect leader, fit to bring them into their salvation.