Lecture 4 Exposition of Hebrew 2

“Exposition of Hebrew 2”

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#1 Warning: “Lest you drift away, pay attention to and do not neglect the clearly-attested salvation offered by the Lord!” (2:1-4)

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Read Hebrews 2

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Remember this…

(1) the subjects (addressees) who are either committing or in danger of committing

(2) the sin. This leads to…

(3) the exhortation. If this is not followed, it leads to…

(4) the consequences of that sin

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Subjects

“We” 2:1 (3x); 2:3 (1x). The subjects are closely identified with the preacher. Is the preacher excluding himself? Therefore, could he possibly “neglect” this great salvation (2:3)?

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Sin

“Drift away” (“to flow from alongside”, as if food slipped into windpipe), 2:1.

“Neglect” (“failure to respond appropriately”), 2:3.

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Exhortations

“Pay closer attention” (“ready to learn and respond”)…to what? To “things which we have heard.” Things in ch.1 and, more likely, the gospel message.

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Consequence

  • “how shall we escape?” (2:2; cf. 12:25) (the answer is, “There is no way of escape!”). No escape from a just retribution (v.2, not “reward”), which is eternal damnation.

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Notes

2:2, “message declared by angels”=the Mosaic Law God gave Israel. See Deuteronomy 33:2 (saints=holy ones, which could be angels); Psalm 68:17 (angels at Sinai at giving of Law). See also Acts 7:53 and Galatians 3:19.

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Point: if Jesus, Son of God, is superior to the angels, and their message was reliable (every transgression resulted in retribution), how much more will the message of Jesus prove to be reliable (every transgression resulting in retribution)?

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2:3b-4 serve as proofs that the message of Jesus is reliable

  1. It was declared to us by the Lord Jesus himself
  2. It was declared by the apostles
  3. God also bore witness to that message with miracles (e.g., miracles in Acts)

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Where we’ve been…

B. He is Superior to All Angelic Messengers (1:4-2:18)

1. Because of His Superior Person and Work (divine) to Angels (1:4-14)

Don’t neglect this salvation…

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Where we’re going…He is superior to all angelic messengers…

  1. Because of His Superior Person and Work (human) to Angels (2:5-18)

(really, b/c He’s human?) Yes…

  1. God’s word declares human exaltation over angels (2:5-9).
  2. God’s word declares His human suffering helps His brothers (human), not angels (2:10-18)

Read 2:5-18

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God’s word declares human exaltation over angels (2:5-9)

This is the first of four major passages in the book of Hebrews in which the preacher uses a Psalm. The preacher uses Psalm 8 (here), 95, 40, 110.

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The preacher’s burden is to show that Jesus Christ is superior to all angelic messengers because he is a human.

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The preacher’s argument rests on one concept: what the Bible says about who rules in the world to come. Is it man or angels? Read 2:5. It is not angels, it is man.

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The quotation from Psalm 8 in verse 6 is important because it shows that “man” and “son of man” are synonymous for human beings.

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Now, 2:7, God has made man “for a little while” lower than the angels. The phrase “a little while” is important to the argument. Compare versions. The rest of verse seven indicates that God gave man dominion over the earth.

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In 2:8, the preacher argues from “all things.” God put all things in the subjection under humanity. And so there is not one thing that is not subject to him. This includes unseen things and future realities (the “world to come,” v.5). But, as the preacher argues at the end of verse eight, we do not yet see all of those things put into subjection to humanity.

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Summary 2:5-8

So the preacher is saying, “Jesus is superior to angels because Psalm 8 teaches that all things, particularly future things (like the world to come), are put ‘in subjection under his feet.’ Only for a “little while” will angels be superior to man (during this age). There is coming a day when we will see all things subjected to man, including angels.”

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Now, v. 9, even though we do not see all things subjected to mankind right now, we do see something. We see the full “son of man,” the “Son of Man!”[1]  

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When Jesus took on human flesh, Jesus too was “made for a little while lower than the angels.”

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And so we “see Jesus” … (have to get the sentence structure)… “We see Jesus…crowned with glory and honour.” Why did that crowning happen? Because of (“for”) his “suffering of death.” Jesus was crowned because he died. (btw, Let that be an encouragement to you Hebrews who are presently suffering. It’s the way to being crowned!).

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To elaborate, God had a reason for making Jesus for a little while lower than the

angels. It was “so that by God’s grace Jesus would taste death for everyone.”

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Jesus tasted death for every single human being, regardless of their moral state, or anything at all…right, Dr. John MacArthur? Que MacArthur study Bible on Heb. 2:14

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taste death for everyone. Everyone who believes, that is. The death of Christ can only be applied in its efficacy to those who come to God repentantly in faith, asking for saving grace and forgiveness of sins. [2]

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The Greek word “everyone” (pantos) is singular and so could be translated “each one.” The singular emphasizes that Christ’s death was for each person, “every one.”

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taste death for everyone. Everyone who believes, that is [not true]. The death of Christ can only be applied in its efficacy to those who come to God repentantly in faith, asking for saving grace and forgiveness of sins [true]. [3]

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Jesus died for all, not just those who believe, according to Heb. 2:9.

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Christ fully accomplished a real propitiatory sacrifice for every person, believers and unbelievers alike (John 1:29; Is. 53:6; Jn. 3:16-17). But all are not actually saved because not all appropriate the benefits of the sacrifice to themselves through faith. Even the elect, before they believe, are truly “judged already” (Jn. 3:18) because of their unbelief since faith is the only means by which a sinner can appropriate Christ’s saving benefit to himself (Eph. 2:8-9). Christ actually is the propitiation for the sins of the world (1 Jn. 2:2) and He actually takes away the sin of the world (Jn. 1:29), He actually tasted death for every person (Heb. 2:9, 17), and He actually is the Savior of all men, especially of believers (1 Ti. 4:10). Christ’s death paid the penalty for the sins of false teachers and prophets, but that payment is not effective unless they appropriate the benefits (2 Pet. 2:1-2). Just as all (i.e., “every human being”) have “gone astray” as a lost sheep so also has He “caused the iniquity of us all (i.e., “every human being”) to fall on Him” (Is. 53:6). Therefore, I do not believe that the intent of the atonement was that Christ would die for the elect only.

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If the preacher wanted to use just ‘us’ he could have; he uses it often. But instead he extends it out.

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ⓑ as subst. without the art.

α. πᾶς everyone without exception Lk 16:16. BDAG, 783.

This would be the classification. Pantos is a singular substantive without the article. It occurs with a preposition…

β. πᾶν, w. prep.: διὰ παντός s. διά A 2a. ἐν παντί in every respect or way, in everything (Pla., Symp. 194a; X., Hell. 5, 4, 29; SIG 1169, 27; Sir 18:27; 4 Macc 8:3; GrBar 9:8) πλουτίζεσθαι 1 Cor 1:5; 2 Cor 9:11. Cp. 2 Cor 4:8; 7:5, 11, 16; 8:7; 9:8b; 11:6a, 9; Eph 5:24; Phil 4:6; 1 Th 5:18.

…but “in every respect’ doesn’t work since we’re talking about people.

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Thayer says “masculine and feminine every one, any one: in the singular, without any addition” … Mark 9:49; Luke 16:16; Heb. 2:9

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Mark 9:49 refers to “everyone” will be salted with fire. Everyone in hell, is the context. Is Heb. 2:9 restricted by the context? Well, the Mark passage is discussing as it’s main point, those in hell. So the reference is super clear. Hebrews passage doesn’t have as it’s point the implied reference of ‘sons of glory’ etc., like the Mark passage does. Mark 9 has as it’s main point those people in hell. Hebrews has as it’s point the nature and character of Jesus.

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Layton Talbert, “search on the words not one, not even one, no one, none, etc. Why do these negative clauses appear in these statements? (1) To clarify in order to avoid misunderstanding and (2) to emphasize its universality without exception (as opposed to universality without distinction). That is why when God wanted to emphasize that every single human who has ever lived is sinful, He uses absolute negatives to express it (Psa 53:3; Rom 3:10, 12). This language is indisputably unambiguous, and God could have used this type of language with reference to the extent of the atonement—but He didn’t.  God has not stressed a universal nature of the extent of the atonement like He has the issue of sin. Scripture could say, “There is not one person for whom Jesus did not taste death.” Or “Christ died for all men / the whole world; there is not one person for whom Jesus did not die.” ”

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[MacArthur would disagree, because human logic can’t make sense of how Christ’s sacrifice can actually “take away the sin of the world” and be “accomplished for everyone” and yet everyone is not saved. Solution 1: Hold to human understanding, reinterpret Bible passages {MacArthur}. Solution 2: Forsake human understanding, hold to Bible passages. Clear example of MacArthur reinterpreting a Bible passage to fit human logic.]

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So the preacher is saying in verse nine, “Jesus was made for a little while lower than the angels when he became a man. He became a man so that he would taste death for everyone. And now we see Jesus crowned with glory and honour because he suffered death.”

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But why did Jesus have to become man, die, and be exalted?

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2. Because of His Superior Person and Work (human) to Angels (2:5-18)

(really, b/c He’s human?) Yes…

a. God’s word declares human exaltation over angels (2:5-9).

b. God’s word declares His human suffering helps His brothers (human), not angels (2:10-18)

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The key verse is 2:16-17.

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So, why did Jesus have to become man, die, and be exalted? Because, vv.10-18 teaches, to help man, Jesus had to become a man.

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Hebrews 2:10

Hebrews 2:10, it is appropriate that God (all things are His and he created all things), made the Captain of believers’ salvation “perfect through sufferings.” God did this as he “was bringing many sons to glory.”

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Was Jesus not perfect before the cross? What does “perfect” mean?

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Exodus 29 and in Leviticus, the occurrences of this Greek word (in the LXX) always refers to a priest who has gone through the ordination process. The references indicate that a priest has been officially consecrated as priest.

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Look at those references.

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Ex. 29:29,33

Lev 4:5; 8:33; 16:32; 21:10

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When Jesus is the object of this Greek word, the word means “to consecrate [him] as priest” (2:10; 5:9; 7:28).

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That in mind, then, 2:10, “it is appropriate that God consecrated [as a priest is the idea] the Captain through sufferings.” This means that God installed Jesus as a priest. That installation could only happen through His suffering. Jesus’ suffering was His God-ordained path to being installed as a priest.

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“God consecrated the captain (pioneer, ‘trailblazer’) of salvation through sufferings.” [APP?]

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And now, verse 11, the preacher deepens the argument. Remember what he is arguing: Jesus had to become a man, suffer, and be exalted at the right hand of God first…

verse 10: because that’s the path through which Jesus was installed as a priest (his priesthood had to happen)

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and now…

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Hebrews 2:11

verse 11, secondly, Jesus had to become a man, suffer, and be exalted at the right hand of God because that’s how Jesus is able to identify with those whom he serves (“those who are being sanctified”) as a priest (“he who sanctifies” -that’s what a priest does.).

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Jesus had to become a man, suffer, and be exalted at the right hand of God (“for”) because, verse 10, that’s how Jesus came to be installed as a priest, and also, verse 11, (“for”) because that’s how Jesus is able to identify with those he serves as a priest. He identifies with them as with a sibling (“brethren”), on that level.

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The preacher is quoting Psalm 22:22 as if spoken by Jesus. Is it really? This Psalm begins, Psalm 22:1, “my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Jesus said this on the cross. The rest of the psalm applies, too, according to the preacher.

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And now, verse 22, Jesus shifts from pain to praise. From the pain of the cross (forsaken) to the praise of the restored relationship. Jesus is installed as high priest and He calls them who are being sanctified, verse 12, “brethren.”

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To further argue that Jesus identifies with those he serves as a priest as “brother,” v. 13-14, he quotes Isaiah 8:17-18. Here, the Lord Jesus puts his trust in God and verse 14 it’s Jesus and the children whom God has given to Jesus. This expresses solidarity with the people of God, “BEHOLD, I AND THE CHILDREN WHOM GOD HAS GIVEN ME.”

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Isa. 8:17-18, is sandwiched between 2 clear Messianic passages (Isa. 8:14; 9:1-7).

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The point is that not only will Jesus put his trust in God (v. 13), but also “the children whom God gave to Jesus” will trust in God. Therefore, both are stated to trust in God and Jesus is identifying himself as a “child.” Therefore, Jesus strongly identifies with those he serves as a priest. He is their “brother.”

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Ps. 22, “in the midst of the assembly” and Isa. 8:14 “I and the children” argue for the preacher’s point in v. 14 which involves the necessity of the Son’s incarnation.

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Having established that Jesus identifies with those whom he serves as “brothers” he now shows, v. 14, since that is the case, he similarly took on the same human nature as his siblings did. Since they are his brothers/sisters, it is very fitting that he would have the same nature as they.

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And his taking on humanity had a purpose: Death.

Just as his brothers and sisters die, so also did He.

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Jesus death accomplished two things in this passage.

  1. He destroyed the devil, who had the power of death[4].
  2. He released people from the bondage that is caused by fearing death.

cf. Ge. 3 devil having power of death.

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Death is no longer a terror to the Christian.

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So you see how closely identified Jesus is with humanity. Surely then, verse 16, Jesus does not give aid to the angels but to humans. He hasn’t identified with the angels. Jesus, Son of God, has identified with us, not the angels. Therefore since he identified with us, and not them, humans are superior to angels. Therefore, Jesus is superior to angels.

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And so he was incarnated so that he could become a high priest and come to their aid…

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  • by making propitiation for their sins and also …
  • when they are tempted. He does this for human beings, not for angels.

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This is why he had to become a man and die, rise, and be exalted to God’s right hand: to help humans. [not in the text, but he could have said…“If he wanted to help angels, he would have become an angel”]. So, Jesus is not inferior to angels because he became a man, but superior because he became a man.

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Recap: Jesus became a man, died, and was exalted to God’s right hand so that he could help man. Jesus is proven to be superior to the angels in this passage because Jesus clearly identifies himself with man, not angels (vv.10-18) as well as because it’s man who will one day rule the world, not angels (vv.5-9).

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  1. “Son of Man” is Jesus favourite title for himself. He was using Daniel 7 to refer to Himself. In Daniel 7, Jesus is given dominion and rule (7:15). But also God’s people rule (7:13-14, 18, 22, 27). Therefore, there is a close connection between the “Son of Man” and “son of man.” Both rule. This explains the preacher’s transition to Jesus in v.9.

  2. MacArthur, J. J. (1997). The MacArthur Study Bible (electronic ed.) (Heb 2:9). Nashville: Word Pub.

  3. MacArthur, J. J. (1997). The MacArthur Study Bible (electronic ed.) (Heb 2:9). Nashville: Word Pub.

  4. Jesus landed the knockout punch and Satan is on his way to the canvas for the 10-count. See Luke 10:18; Jn. 8:51; 1 Corinthians 15:26,55.

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