Chapter 2:1–18

2:1 - 2 Peter 3:17 - it is a call to faithfulness. We had just learned that Christ is greater than the angels. So, we should hold on to our faith in Christ. There is always a danger of straying away, thus we should be diligent in listening to what God had spoken to us in Christ.

2:2–3 - The law of Moses and the Grace of salvation. The first was given through the angles (Gal 3:19), the second is given to us through Jesus Christ and His close disciples. Any transgression of the Law was punishable. Now, the law pales in comparison to the salvation given through Jesus. Then, if we take it lightly we can expect also a punishment (Hebr 10:28–29; 12:25).

2:4 - the preaching of the Gospel either through Jesus himself or through His disciples, God confirmed their preaching through signs and wonders (Mark 16:17–18; Gal 3:5; 1 Thess 1:5).

Verses 5–18 present eight reasons for the incarnation of the Son: to fulfill God’s purpose for man (vv. 5–9a), to taste death for all (v. 9b), and to bring many sons to glory (vv. 10–13). He also came to destroy the devil (v. 14), to deliver those in bondage (v. 15), to become a priest for men (vv. 16–17a), to make propitiation for sins (v. 17b), and to provide help for those tested (v. 18).[87]

Some of the original Jewish readers of Hebrews felt inclined to abandon the Christian faith because of Jesus’ humanity. The writer stressed His deity in chapter one because some Jews failed to appreciate that. In this chapter he showed why Jesus was not inferior because He was a man. Jesus’ humanity enabled Him to regain man’s lost dominion (vv. 5–9) and to bring many sons to glory (vv. 10–13). It also equipped Him to disarm Satan and deliver us from death (vv. 14–16) and to be a sympathetic high priest to His people (vv. 17–18).

2:5 - there is a tradition that the present world was given to the angels to administer it, and apparently they failed, unable to prevent the spreading of sin (Deut 32:8 LXX; Daniel 10:13.20; Gal 4:3). “The coming inhabited world” - refers to the establishment of God’s kingdom when Christ will come in glory. The word used here is “oikumenev” that stands for household; from here we have the word - economy.

2:6–8a - Ps 8:5–7 LXX. The title the “son of man” is considered to be a messianic title (Dan 7:13–14). There is the pattern of humility - Jesus’ earthly ministry - followed by the exaltation - resurrection and ascension (see Phil 2:5–11 - for the similar pattern).

2:8b - All was submitted to Jesus by God - on a spiritual level (see Rev 5:6–13; Ef 1:20–23). But, on the earthly plain we still do not see it that way (1 Cor 15:25–26). Thus, 2:8a would be a sort of prophecy of the incoming future.

The author includes himself and the readers among those, who do not see yet the fulfillment of the spiritual level on the earthly level.

2:9 - Christ’s exhalation is due to his death on the cross for every human person. This death is considered to be God’s grace. This is an interesting look at Jesus’ death on the cross - it was by God’s grace.

What we can notice here that the words of Ps 8:6a - making little less than the angels - was realized in Christ’s ministry and death; Ps 8:6b - adoring Christ with glory and majesty - was also realized in Christ’s resurrection and ascension. Thus, we should not doubt that Ps 8:7b - all things were subjected under his feet - is also going to be realized.

Now, some commentators, go even further in their understating of this fragment. The “son of man” is a messianic title applicable to Jesus Christ. But, the “son of man” also means human being - man - and Christians are also messianic people. Thus, not only Christ but the Church - the messianic people with Christ - shall experience the realization of this psalm - all shall be put under the feet of the believers.

The Son’s Solidarity with Humanity 2:10–18

2:10 - God the Father is presented as the One (1) for who all things and (2) by whom all things. The plan of God the Father was to bring “many sons” (read as all) to glory - to experience the same exaltation like Jesus, the Son. This plan is done through Jesus, the Son of Man.

The unusual title “author” (Gr. archegos) describes Jesus as a file leader, pioneer, pathfinder, and captain of a company of followers (cf. 12:2; Acts 3:15; 5:31).

God perfected Jesus by charting His path to glory through suffering. There seems to be something about the suffering as the cause of sin. God cannot suffer. Yet, Jesus embracing our humanity - although without sin - underwent the way of suffering. By having experienced suffering Jesus can more perfectly help us as we suffer (v. 18). He was “perfected” in this sense. “To perfect” (Gr. teleioo) is another favorite word of this writer, who used it nine times, more frequently than it occurs in any other New Testament book.

2:11 - “He” is probably Jesus Christ. There is great solidarity between Jesus Christ and believers. The Old Testament taught this solidarity in Psalm 22:23 (v. 12), Isaiah 8:17 (v. 13a), and Isaiah 8:18 (v. 13b). Jesus will not feel ashamed to call sanctified believers His brethren when He returns and leads us to glory (vv. 5, 10).

2:12–13 - These quotations illustrate that Jesus will not blush to identify with the people of God. The emphasis in the first quotation is on the character that Jesus Christ and believers share. His death has made us holy (set us apart; cf. 10:10, 14). Consequently we can have intimate fellowship with Jesus who dwells among us (by His Spirit; cf. Exod 25:8; 29:46).

The point of the second quotation is that Jesus, as well as His followers, trusted God. This is the basis for intimate fellowship. The point of the third quotation is that believers are Jesus Christ’s spiritual children. As such He will provide for us and prepare us for the future as a loving parent who has had greater experience travelling the same path (cf. John 14:1–3).

2:14 - We children share in flesh and blood with one another; we share the limitations of humanity. To free us from these limitations the Son had to assume the same limitations, which He did at the Incarnation. Jesus Christ broke Satan’s power over believers by His death.

2:15 - The fear of death enslaves unbelievers in that fear of death leads them to behave in ways that please Satan (e.g., selfishly, living for the present, etc.). A believer need not have the same fear of death as an unbeliever (cf. Luke 11:21–22). Consequently we need not feel compelled to live for the present (e.g., put self first, do anything to save our lives, etc.) as unbelievers do. The fear of death tyrannizes many people both consciously and subconsciously.

“It is ironical that human beings, destined to rule over the creation (Ps 8:5–7 LXX, cited in vv 6–8), should find themselves in the posture of a slave, paralyzed through the fear of death (Kögel, Sohn, 80). Hopeless subjection to death characterizes earthly existence apart from the intervention of God …”[101]

2:16 - Here “the seed of Abraham” probably refers primarily to believers, the spiritual descendants of Abraham (Gal. 3:29), rather than to Jews, the physical descendants of Abraham (cf. Isa. 41:8–10). The original readers, saved Jews, were both the physical and spiritual descendants of Abraham. The contrast is between angelic and human believers in the context. Jesus Christ does not give help to angels in the same way He does to Christians. He helps us uniquely as an elder brother and parent (vv. 11–15).

2:17 - “All things” means in every way, specifically by experiencing human life and by suffering. Jesus Christ’s identification with us made possible His ministry as high priest in which He would be merciful to us and faithful to God.

2:18 - As our priest, Jesus Christ can help us because He has undergone the same trials we experience (in body, mind, and emotions) and has emerged victorious. The testing in view is temptation to depart from God’s will, specifically apostasy. The picture is of an older brother helping his younger brothers navigate the pitfalls of growing up successfully. That is the role a priest plays.

The emphasis in 2:5–18 has been on Jesus Christ’s present ministry whereas that of 1:5–14 was on His future ministry. In both sections, however, there is a looking forward to the time when all things will be subject to Him. The writer focused on the future to encourage his readers to persevere faithfully in the present rather than apostatizing.

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