Confraternity Bible: New Testament and Supplemental Commentary

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HEBREWS - Chapter 2

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Hebrews 2

Supplemental Commentary:

I.  SUPERIORITY OF THE NEW DISPENSATION OVER THE OLD  1, 1 -- 10, 18 (continued)

1.  A Superior Mediator  1, 1 -- 4, 13 (continued)

2, 1-4:  Warning and Exhortation.  Practical exhortation and warning based on the preceding chapter.  It is the first indication of the dangers which threaten the readers.  See 4, 1-10; 6, 1-8; 10, 26-31.    2.  Words spoken by angels: the Old Law had been given to Moses on Sinai through the ministrations of angles (Acts 7, 53; Gal. 3, 19).    3.  Confirmed unto us by those who heard him: i.e., by the Apostles.  The Jerusalem church had been organized on the first Pentecost by Peter and the other Apostles.    4.  By signs and wonders, and by manifold powers: i.e., by various kinds of miracles.  By impartings of the Holy Spirit: i.e., by an outpouring of many charismatic gifts such as prophecies, speaking in tongues, etc. (Rom. 12, 6; 1 Cor. 7, 17; 12, 4-11).

2, 5-18:  Christ suffered for His Brethren.    5-9.  The argument broken off at 1, 14 is here taken up, and additional proof is given to show that Christ is superior to the angels.  He is the Lord of the Messianic kingdom.

5.  He has not subjected: not to the angels, but to the Son as man, has God the Father subjected the world to come, i.e., the Messianic kingdom.  The Messianic kingdom inaugurated by Christ will not have its consummation until the Last Judgment, when He will be acknowledged as Lord by all.    6-8.  A quotation from Ps. 8, 5-8 describing the perfect man, which is here applied to Christ.    6.  Man and Son of man by Hebrew parallelism have the same meaning.    7.  A little lower: i.e., in degree.  Some translate "for a little while lower."    8.  For in subjecting all things to man, he (God) left nothing that is not subject to him (man).  All things will be subject to this ideal man, leaving nothing for the angels to rule over.  But now we do not see: i.e., all things do not as yet acknowledge the sovereignty of Christ, the ideal man to whom the Psalm is here applied.    9.  Crowned with glory and honor, etc.: cf. Luke 24, 26; Phil. 2, 8-11.  By the grace of God: probably, God's mercy towards us.  Taste death: i.e., experience death, to die.  For all: Christ died for all mankind.

10-18:  A digression to explain Christ's humiliation in being for a time lower than the angels.  In God's providence, the way to glory for mankind in its fallen state is through suffering.  Since this is God's plan, it was fitting that the Savior of men should share man's nature and tread the path of suffering to glory.

10.  For whom are all things, etc.: namely, God as the final and efficient cause of creation.  Who had brought, etc.: the time of the verb in the Greek text is rather present, meaning "in bringing many sons into glory."  This fits the context better.  The past tense, as in the Vulgate, would refer rather to God's eternal decree, to His predestinating many to glory.  For the same idea cf. Eph. 2, 5-7.  To perfect: to lead to a goal, to complete a process.  It refers here to the "crowned with glory and honor" of 2, 9.    11.  All from one: from one family, with God as the father of all.  Not ashamed to call them brethren: Christ and men have the same human nature, but there is here an implication that Christ is more.

12 f.  Three quotations from the Old Testament are given to prove that the Messias, since He was to have a human nature, would consider men as His brethren.  The first is from Ps. 21, 23 where the Messias is represented as giving thanks to God for His exaltation after the humiliation of the Passion.  The quotation is introduced here to show that the Messias called other men His brothers.  Christ from the cross applied the first verse of this Psalm to Himself ("My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me"; Matt. 27, 46).  The other quotations are from Isa. 8, 17 f where they are continuous.  Here they are introduced separately.  In Isaias they refer literally to the prophet himself, and typically to the Messias.  Our author takes them as Messianic.  In the first of these, the Messias is represented as trusting in God, and hence as being human.  In the second He is shown as closely associated with God's children (men), really as constituting one family with them.

14 f.  Christ is to suffer and die like other men in order to free men from the fear of death.  Blood and flesh in common: having a human nature.  Destroy: "render impotent," according to the Greek.  By dying Christ proved that death was the entrance to eternal life.    16.  Christ took a human and not an angelic nature, since He came to redeem mankind and not angels.    17 f.  These verses give another reason for Christ's humiliation and sufferings, namely, that He might have a sympathetic understanding of our needs, and be our mediator with God.  The Jewish High Priest on the Day of Atonement offered a sacrifice for the sins of the people.  Christ offered up His sacrifice on the cross for the sins of all mankind.


Confraternity Bible:

Warning and Exhortation  1 Therefore ought we the more earnestly to observe the things that we have heard, lest perhaps we drift away.  2* For if the word spoken by angels proved to be valid, and every transgression and disobedience received a just punishment, 3 how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?  For it was first announced by the Lord and was confirmed unto us by those who heard him; 4 God also, according to his own will, bearing them witness by signs and wonders, and by manifold powers, and by impartings of the Holy Spirit.

Christ Suffered for His Brethren  5* For he has not subjected to angels the world to come, whereof we speak.  6* Rather someone has testified somewhere, saying,
"What is man that thou art mindful of him, or the son of man that thou visitest him? 

7* Thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, thou hast crowned him with glory and honor,

And hast set him over the works of thy hands; 8* thou hast put all things under his feet."
For in subjecting all things to man, he left nothing that is not subject to him.  But now we do not see as yet all things subject to him.  9 But we do see him who was made "a little lower than the angels," namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of his having suffered death, that by the grace of God he might taste death for all.  10 For it became him for whom are all things and through whom are all things, who had brought many sons into glory, to perfect through sufferings the author of their salvation.  11* For both he who sanctifies and they who are sanctified are all from one.  For which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying,
12* "I will declare thy name to my brethren; in the midst of the church I will praise thee." 
13* And again,
"I will put my trust in him." 
And again,
"Behold, I and my children whom God has given me." 
14 Therefore because children have blood and flesh in common, so he in like manner has shared in these; that through death he might destroy him who had the empire of death, that is, the devil; 15 and might deliver them, who throughout their life were kept in servitude by the fear of death.  16 For, of course, it is not angels that he is succoring; but he is succoring the offspring of Abraham.  17 Wherefore it was right that he should in all things be made like unto his brethren, that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest before God to expiate the sins of the people.  18 For in that he himself suffered and has been tempted, he is able to help those who are tempted.
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*

2: Word spoken by angels: the Mosaic Law.  Proved to be valid: or, "held good," "had the force of law."  Just punishment: literally, "just recompense of reward"

5: World to come: here means the Christian dispensation, not the future life.

6-8: Ps. 8, 5-8.

11: All from one: probably, from one family, with God as the Father of all.

12: Ps. 21, 23.

13: Ps. 17, 3; Isa. 8, 18.