Hebrews 2



1  Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things

which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.”

On this account (i.e. on account of what has been seen of the

SON’S superiority to the angels) we ought (or, we are bound) more

abundantly to give heed to the things that we have heard (i.e. the

gospel that has been preached to us in the Son), lest at any time (or, lest

haply) we let them slip (rather, float past them). The word

παραρυῶµενpararuomen - .we may be drifting by (aorist subjunctive from

παραρρεῶ - pararreoto flow by; to slip from memory) denotes flowing or

floating past anything. The allusion is to the danger, incidental to those to

whom the Epistle was addressed, of failing to recognize the transcendent

character of the gospel revelation, missing it through inadvertence, drifting

away from it.


2 “For if the word spoken by angels was steadfast, and every transgression

and disobedience received a just recompence of reward;  3 How shall we

escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken

by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard Him;”

For if the word that was spoken through angels (i.e. the

Law) was made (or, proved) steadfast (i.e. as explained in the next

clause, ratified by just visitation of every transgression and disobedience),

how shall we (Christians) escape, if we neglect so great salvation? The

danger of neglect must be in proportion to the dignity of the revelation.

The readers are now further reminded of the manner in which the gospel

had been made known to them, and been ratified in their own experience,

by way of enhancing the danger of disregarding it. Which (not the simple

relative pronoun - hae - if, but, ἥτις haetis - which - denotes always,

when so used, some general idea in the antecedent, equivalent to “being such as”),

having at the first begun to be spoken through the Lord (opposed to “the word

spoken through angels” in the preceding verse. Its beginning was through

the Lord Himself, i.e. Christ the SON, not through intermediate agency.  

‘O Kυρίος – Ho KuriosThe Lord -  is a special designation of Christ in the

New Testament; and, though not in itself proving belief in His divinity, is

significant as being constantly used also as a designation of God, and

substituted in the Septuagint for hwhy. It has a special emphasis here as

expressing the majesty of Christ), was confirmed (ἐβεβαιώθη ebebainothae

 was confirmed, answering to ἐγένετο βέβαιος, - egeneto bebaiosbecame

confirmed; was steadfast -  in the former verse) unto us by them that heard

 (i.e. by the apostles and others who knew Christ in the flesh). Here the

writer ranks himself among those who had not heard Christ himself; his

doing which has been considered to afford a presumption against Paul

having been the writer.  For, though not an eyewitness of Christ’s ministry,

he is in the habit elsewhere of insisting strongly on his having received his

knowledge of the mystery,” not from men or through men, but by direct

revelation from the ascended Savior (compare Galatians 1:1, 12). Still, he

does not deny elsewhere that for the facts of Christ’s history he was indebted

to the testimony of others (compare I Corinthians 15:3-8). It was rather the

meaning of the mystery that he had learnt from heaven.


4 “God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and

with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to His

own will?”  God also bearing them witness; rather, God attesting with

them. The word is συνεπιµαρτυροῦντος sunepimarturountos - , a double

compound, meaning to attest jointly with others. The idea is that the hearers

of “the Lord” testified, and God attested their testimony by the signs that

accompanied their ministry. The passage is instructive as expressing the

grounds of acceptance of the gospel. Its truth was already “confirmed” to

believers by the testimony of unimpeachable witnesses to that which, so

attested, carried with it its own evidence. But the signs attending the apostolic

ministry were granted for further attestation. Thus “signs and wonders,”

the craving for which as a condition of belief was so condemned by our

Lord, have their true evidential value assigned them. They did not furnish

the original basis of belief, which rested on Christ Himself, His Person. and

His work, as unimpeachably attested. They came in only as suitable

accompaniments of a Divine dispensation, and as additional confirmations.

The apologists of the last generation were given to rest the evidence of

Christianity too exclusively on miracles. The tendency of the present age is

to dwell rather on its internal evidence, and, so far as it can be done, to

explain away the miracles. They are not to be explained away, having been,

as has been said, fitting accompaniments and confirmations of such a

dispensation as the gospel was. But to us, as well as to those early

believers, they are not the first or main ground of our belief. To us, as re

them, Christ and His gospel, testified to as they are by “them that heard,”

are their own sufficient evidence. Indeed, the cogency of the “signs” in the

way of evidence is less now than formerly, since they too have now passed

into the category of things that rest on testimony. The evidential

counterpart to them in our case is the continued attestation which God

gives to the gospel in its living power on the souls of men, and its results in

the world before our eyes. It is thus that our faith is strengthened in “the

salvation at first spoken through the Lord, and confirmed to us by them

that heard.” Four expressions are used for the miraculous accompaniments

of the first preaching of the gospel, denoting, apparently, not so much

different classes of miracles, as different ways of regarding them. They



(1) signs (σηµεία - saemeia), attesting the truth of what was preached;

(2) wonders (τέρατα - terata), something out of the common course of things,

arresting attention;

(3) diverse powers (ποικίλαι δυνάµεσις) varying manifestations of a

Divine power at work;

(4) distributions of the Holy Ghost (πνεύµατος ἁγίου µερισµοῖ - pneumatos

 hagiou merismoi), gifts of the Spirit to individual Christians apportioned

variously — the last expression having especial reference to the χαρισµάτα

charismatagifts - of the apostolic Church, so often alluded to in Paul’s

Epistles. The phrase, with that which follows, according to His own will,

is peculiarly Pauline, and confirms the conclusion that the writer, though

not necessarily Paul himself, was at any rate one of the circle influenced

by his teaching.



God’s Sure Judgment on Those Who Neglect the Great Salvation (v.3)


  • NOTE THE APPEAL TO HISTORY. In the history of the Hebrew

people God had shown the validity and seriousness of His messages. Those

to whom the message had come had been disposed to slight it, either

because of the improbability of the matter, or the mean appearance of the

messenger. And behind both of these considerations it might also be that

the message was very unpalatable. But however the message might appear

to men, it was God’s message, therefore necessary to be sent. The

steadfast word through the angels we must take with a very wide

significance, as including the prophets, though angels are specially

mentioned because being so reverently regarded by the Hebrews There was

an a fortiori argument as applied to the message that came through the Son.



WE MAY COMMIT. We may be negligent of the great salvation. Our

own personality, with its great powers and with the claims which God has

upon it, we may allow to go to wreck and ruin, instead of submitting to the

process whereby God would save us, and make us capable of glorifying

Him in a perfect way. The man who in any physical peril should steadily

neglect whatever means of escape were put in his way, if he perished,

would be held to have in him the spirit of the suicide. He who takes active

steps against his own life is held to be committing a crime against society;

but he who neglects his physical welfare is also sinning against society,

though society cannot define his offence so as to punish him. But God, we

know, can specify offences, as we cannot; and here is one, that when a man

has spiritual and eternal salvation laid before him he yet neglects it. And the

more we study this state of negligence, the more we shall see how great a

sin it involves.



SUCH NEGLECT. How shall we escape it? It is a question parallel to that

of Paul in Romans 2:3, “How shalt thou escape the judgment of God?”

The question is not of escaping from the danger by some other means than

what God has provided. It is as to how we shall get away from God’s

doom upon us for deliberately and  persistently neglecting His loving

provisions. (See how people will try – Revelation 6:15-17) How often

New Testament exhortations make us face the thought of the great

judgment-seat! We see what a serious thing in the sight of God simple

negligence is. It is in heavenly affairs as in earthly, probably more harm

is done by negligence of the good than by actual commission of the evil.

Let there be strongest emphasis and deepest penitence in the confession,

“We have not done the things we ought to have done.”



earnest heed to the things that have been heard.  How close this exhortation

comes! Things not only spoken but heard. The excuse is not permitted that

we have not heard of these things. It is what we have heard, but have failed

to treat rightly, to cherish and hold fast which constitutes our peculiar

responsibility. Over against actual negligence there is the demand for close,

continual attention. The meaning of salvation and the means of salvation

are not to be discovered by listless hearts. We are attending too much to

the wrong things — things that, in comparison with the so great salvation,

are but as the fables and endless genealogies, attention to which Paul

contemptuously condemned. And those who have to proclaim this

salvation would do well to attend to that other counsel of Paul to Timothy,

“Give heed to reading, exhortation, teaching,” and so all of us need to be

readers, learners, and especially submissive to the παράκλησις

paraklaesiscomforting of the Holy Ghost. —



A Solemn Parenthetical Warning (vs. 1-4)


Out of solicitude for the spiritual well-being of his readers, the writer

pauses here for a moment, to enforce upon them the necessity of’ holding

fast the New Testament salvation. He does so in words which are burning

with urgency.


  • THE DUTY. How prone men are to “neglect the great salvation!” (v.3)

All classes of sinners do so — the blasphemer, the infidel, the self-righteous

man, the respectable worldling, the procrastinator. Thousands of

church-going people ignore the gospel, out of love of the world and secret

repugnance to Christ and His cross. Even believers themselves are very

prone to “drift away from” (v. 1) their anchorage in the gospel verities.

The early Hebrew Christians were strongly tempted to relapse into

Judaism; our besetting danger is that we allow ourselves to glide with the

multitude down the swift current of worldliness and indifference. We need,

therefore, “to give the more earnest heed.” Want of heedfulness on the part

of professing believers is a great evil of our time. “My people doth not

consider.” (Isaiah 1:3)  What a blessing would dawn upon the Church, were

all its members to begin to “search the Scriptures” (John 5:39), and to make

intense application of mind and heart to the spiritual study of saving truth!

Only thus will Christian faith both live and grow. Only thus may one’s life

be a life of real devotion to the Redeemer. Only by discharging this duty of

constant watchfulness will a believer be preserved from apostasy.



i.e. on account of all that has been said in the previous chapter.


Ø      The greatness of the gospel. “So great salvation (v. 3). What an

unfathomable depth of meaning underlies this little word “so”! The new

revelation far transcends the old, inasmuch as in the Son we have

received a visible manifestation of God, an adequate atonement for sin,

an intelligible exhibition of the spirituality of religious service, a perfect

expression of the dignity of man, and a clear revelation of eternal life.

Especially does the new economy excel the old in the distinctness with

which it exhibits “salvation” as its characteristic feature. The gospel:

o       proclaims the love of God.

o       offers pardon.

o       breathes a new life into the soul.

o       rescues from the despotism of sin.

o       It promises a glorious immortality.

And at what an infinite expenditure has this salvation been

provided! It cost the incarnation of Christ, together with his obedience,

suffering and death. It costs still the pleadings and strivings of the Spirit.


Ø      The dignity of its first Preacher. “At the first spoken through the Lord.”

(v. 3). In Hebrews 1., the writer has unfolded and illustrated from

Scripture the glory of Christ. He is greater than the prophets of the Old

Testament, and more eminent than the angels by whose ministrations the

Sinaitic Law had been proclaimed. He is the Son of God — His visible

manifestation and His exact counterpart. He made and sustains and

possesses the universe. He is not only the Prophet of the Church; He is its

atoning Priest and its exalted King. And this first Preacher continues with

the Church as its perennial Prophet. He speaks to us today and always by

His Word and Spirit.


Ø      The attestations which it has received.  (vs. 3-4.) The Church has the

testimony of the apostles and early evangelists to the facts and doctrines of

the gospel. These were even sealed from heaven by the miracles of Christ

and His apostles, as well as by gifts from the fullness of the Spirit

distributed among the early Christians. But we have now far greater

witness than these. The highest evidence of the truth is the truth itself. The

history of the Church has been an ever-cumulating attestation of

Christianity. Myriads of believers have certified the gospel by their

experience of its power within their hearts. It has been attested from

millions of death-beds. “We are compassed about with so great a

cloud of witnesses.”  (ch. 12:1)


Ø      The inevitable doom of those who neglect it. (vs. 2-3.) If the Law,

given by angels, could not be violated with impunity, how much more

certain and dreadful must be the ruin of all who reject the message of

mercy spoken by the lips of the LORD HIMSELF (ch.10:28-31)!

Escape for such is plainly impossible. For did not man’s redemption cost

the tears and groans and blood of the Redeemer? Had these not been

indispensably necessary, they would not have been expended. And what

can any despiser of them propose to put in their place? Let professing

Christians remember that they will miss salvation if they merely neglect it.

As the farmer will lose his harvest by simple neglect, as the business man

will become bankrupt by simple neglect, as the scholar will strip himself of

his attainments by simple neglect, so the surest way by which to

accomplish the irremediable ruin of the soul is just to “neglect so great

salvation.” In conclusion, these four motives to heedfulness are the very

strongest that can be urged. The Three Persons of the Trinity all speak to

us in them. They remind us at once of the unutterable love of God, and of

the power of His anger. They appeal to the most sacred interests of our

souls. If we are not aroused by these motives, even God Himself can do no

more for us.



An Exhortation against Drifting away from the Glorious Son of God (vs. 1-4)


This passage is evidently a parenthesis, no link in the argument. Like the

acknowledged Epistles of Paul, this is characterized by frequent sudden

and brief departures from the general outline of thought. Like a river, the

outline is clear from beginning to end, but here and there are small side

channels into which the stream is swiftly, involuntarily drawn, to rejoin the

main current a little lower down. One of these we have before us. The

interjection of this passage is very natural. The last chapter ended with “the

heirs of salvation;” the writer has brought his hearers to this point — the

grandeur of the salvation they inherit. But, remember, he has one object

before him, the confirmation of the Hebrews wavering under the pressure

of persecution. He doesn’t write merely as a logician, but as an anxious

friend; he cannot, therefore, wait to enforce the application of his argument

when he reaches the end, but drops the thread of his idea for a moment to

break out in an earnest appeal that this great salvation should be cleaved to.


1. Observe that he is not writing to the ungodly, but to a Christian

Church. However suitable these words as an address to the ungodly, they

are here spoken to professing Christians who had taken a bold stand for

Christ and the gospel (ch. 10:32-34).


2. Observe that the literal rendering of the end of the first verse is “lest at

any time we drift away. The words, “from them,” italicized in the Revised

Version, are misleading. The drifting away that is deprecated is, not “from

the things that were heard,” but from Christ. Subject — An exhortation

against drifting away from the glorious Son of God.



It is so:


Ø      Because the soul is not always moored to Christ when it is brought to

Christ. We regard it a doctrine of the New Testament that the true believer

cannot be lost, that the salvation which on faith in Christ he receives is for

ever, the might of Christ to supply all that is necessary to salvation being

the warrant of it. Why, then, are these professing Christians warned against

drifting away from Christ? It is possible to be brought to Christ without

being anchored to Him. A number of influences may lead one close to the

Redeemer, between whom and Christ there is, nevertheless, no vital union,

and as long as the tide runs that way his safety may not be suspected even

by himself, but let the tide turn and his lack of union becomes apparent and

he may drift away and be lost.


Ø      Because powerful adverse currents tend to carry the soul from the

Savior. Sometimes the current leads toward Christ. It had been so with

these professing Hebrews. But it is not always that way; difficulties occur,

winds of temptation blow, the tide of worldly custom runs high, the unseen

force of depraved inclination gathers power; and then, however strong the

cable, however firmly it may bind shore and ship together, it will creak and

strain, and every fiber of it be needed to hold the ship in safety. But what if

there be no cable, no vital faith, in that day? Then the soul will inevitably

part company with Christ, leaving the harbor where it has lain so long, and

be seen (when such a storm shall blow as has never blown on it yet)

drifting away.


Ø      Because the departure of the soul from Christ may be for some time

imperceptible. Drifting away is a departure silent, gradual, unnoticeable. At

sunset the ship is close to shore and all is safe; without a warning it drops

into the tide, and swings round, and with no sound but the ripple of the

water is carried down the stream to the open sea, and the crew may sleep

through it all. So, departure from Christ may be as involuntary and quiet as

that; a silent, ceaseless, unconscious creeping back to old habits. There is

its danger. Drifting away means leaving Christ without knowing it, till we

find ourselves far out at sea, and a tide we cannot resist bearing us still

further away. You have seen men who were once close to Christ, but

whilst they slept they have unconsciously glided away, and by the current

of worldliness been carried into the rapids and whirled along faster and.

faster, only waking to stare wildly at their helplessness, and close hands

and eyes in despair for the final plunge into the eternal gulf.



RUIN. If we drift away “how shall we escape?”


Ø      To drift away from Christ is to leave the only Refuge from our sins

consequences. “For if the word spoken by angels was steadfast, and every

transgression, how shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation?” The

point is, we are condemned already; apart from the great salvation we are

in the position of those whose transgressions and disobediences were

followed by righteous judgment. But under these circumstances A “GREAT


o       A full and Everlasting remission of all sin,

o       the enjoyment of God’s fatherly favor,

o       the transformation of our moral nature,

o       a tranquil conscience,

o        a bright and glorious hope for eternity;

and all this free to whosoever will accept it.  Now, if man is under

condemnation apart from this, what must he be if, this having been

secured and offered to him, he ignores and neglects it? To

suffer ourselves to drift away from Christ is to add to the madness of

leaving the only haven of security, the guilt of refusing that grace

which would have saved us had we let it.


Ø      To drift away frown Christ is to disregard the supreme dignity of Him

who offers the salvation to us. “So great salvation, which at the first began

to be spoken by the Lord.” The point is the dignity of Him who brings the

salvation to us. Angels were employed in the ministrations of the old

dispensation; “The Law was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.”

(Acts 7:53; Galatians 3:19)  But He who has brought the word in these last

days is God the Son. He has spoken it by being it; and then by uttering it —

uttering it to our hearts by His Spirit. The overtures of salvation are not

made by man to God, but by God to man; it is not the condemned rebel

that appeals to the offended Sovereign for salvation, but the offended

Sovereign appealing to the rebel.  What a spectacle — God, as it were,

on His knees before men, beseeching them to be saved! “As though

 God did beseech you, we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled

to God!” (II Corinthians 5:20)  See how that adds to man’s guilt, and

the certainty of his ruin if he drifts away from Christ.


Ø      To drift away from Christ is to close our eyes willfully to the urgency of

His claims. “Which, having at the first been spoken through the Lord, was

confirmed unto,” etc. (vs. 3-4). The abundant proof they had received as

to the divinity of this Word of salvation is the point here. Man has received

the utmost evidence of the truth of the gospel. What he has seen of its

results in the lives and characters of others is, of itself, overwhelming

assurance that it is of God; and when he hears it preached he knows it is

from above, he knows its worth, he knows its claim. Think of what it is to

leave Christ after that; to depart from Him, though you know the right He

has to you, and the blessings He wants to impart; to be lost, not in the

dark, but in the light! The apostle gathers up these arguments against

leaving Christ, in this earnest appeal to reason and conscience: “How shall

we escape, if we neglect so great salvation?” There is no answer to that.

“Friend, how comest thou in hither without a wedding garment? And he

was speechless.”  (Matthew 22:12)



EARNEST HEED TO HIS WORD.We ought to give the more earnest

heed to the things that were heard, lest haply we drift away.” Faith is the

cable which alone can moor us to Christ; but the Word of God has a vital

bearing on faith; therefore, where the Scriptures are neglected, there is the

utmost peril of drifting away.


Ø      Only by earnest heed to Divine truth can you discover whether, in your

soul, faith exists. You think it does, but you may be deceived; then search

here for the fruits and evidences of faith; then see if they exist in your

heart and life. If you would know whether you have faith, you must

bring yourself to the test this Book affords.


Ø      Only by earnest heed to Divine truth can you create faith where it does

not exist. “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.”

(Romans 10:17)  To make light of this Book is to remain faithless.


Ø      Only by earnest heed to Divine truth can faith be maintained where it

does exist. How does Christ; maintain faith in the soul, but by the means He

has appointed? He gives grace through the means of grace. To neglect the

means, therefore, is to lose the grace. Scripture declares the Divine Word

to be the means employed for our sanctification. Faith is the cable that

holds the soul to the Redeemer. The Word creates and maintains the faith.

“Therefore we ought to give,” etc. “Drift away!” Away from Christ, the

only Haven; drift away into the wild, wintry, shoreless sea of doom —

drifted away by the currents of worldliness and care. We drift away silently

and imperceptibly; are you sure you are securely moored to THE ROCK



5 “For unto the angels hath He not put in subjection the world to come,

whereof we speak.”  Here the second division of the first section of the

argument, according to the summary given above (ch.1:2), begins. But it is

also connected logically with the interposed exhortation, the sequence of

thought being as follows: “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great

salvation?”For (as an additional reason) not to angels (but to the Sou,

as will be seen) did He (God) subject the world to come, whereof we

speak, “The world to come (τὴν οἰκουµένην τὴν µέλλουσαν taen oikoumenaen

taen mellousanliterally the inhabited earth the impending)” must be

understood, in accordance with what has been said above in explanation

of “the last of these days” (ch.1:1), as referring to the age of the Messiah’s

kingdom foretold in prophecy. The word µέλλουσαν does not

in itself necessarily imply futurity from the writer’s standpoint though,

according to what was said above, the complete fulfillment of the prophetic

anticipation is to be looked for in the second advent, whatever earnest and

foretaste of it there may be already under the gospel dispensation. The

word οἰκουµένην (sub γῃν) is the same as was used (ch.1:6) in

reference to the Son’s advent, denoting the sphere of created things over

which He should reign. And it is suitably used here with a view to the

coming quotation from Psalm 8., in which the primary idea is man’s

supremacy over the inhabited globe. The whole phrase may be taken to

express the same idea as the “new heavens and a new earth, wherein

dwelleth righteousness” (II Peter 3:13).


6 “But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou

art mindful of him? or the son of man that thou visitest him?”

But one in a certain place (or, somewhere) testified, saying.

The phrase does not imply uncertainty as to the passage cited. It is one

used by Philo when exact reference is not necessary. It is equivalent to “but

we do find the following testimony with regard to man.” We say to man;

for the eighth psalm, from which the citation comes, evidently refers to

man generally; not primarily or distinctively to the Messiah. Nor does it

appear to have been ranked by the Jews among the Messianic psalms. It

would be arbitrary interpretation to assign to it (as some have done) an

original meaning of which it contains no signs. This being the case, how are

we to explain its application to Christ, which is not confined to this

passage, but is found also in I Corinthians 15:27? There is no real

difficulty. True, the psalm speaks of man only; but it is of man regarded

according to the ideal position assigned to him in Genesis 1., as God’s

vicegerent. Man as he now is (says the writer of this Epistle) does not

fulfill this ideal; but Christ, the Son of man, and the Exalter of humanity,

does. Therefore in Him we find the complete fulfillment of the meaning of

the psalm. If it be still objected that the application (in which sovereignty

over all created things is inferred) transcends the meaning of the psalm,

which refers to this earth only —πάντα pantaall - in v. 6. of the psalm

being taken in a wider sense than seems justified by the following verses,

which confine the application to earthly creatures, it may be replied:


(1) that the idea of the psalmist is to be gathered, not only from

Genesis 1:28, which he quotes, but, further, from the whole purport of

Genesis 1., of which the psalm is a lyrical expression, including the

conception of man having been made in God’s image, and invested with a

sovereignty little short of Divine;


(2) that, if the application does transcend the scope of the psalm, it was

open to an inspired writer of the New Testament thus to extend its

meaning, as seen in the new light from Christ. Taking the latter view, we

have but to put the argument thus, in order to see its force and legitimacy:

In Psalm 8. (read in connection with Genesis 1., on which it is founded) a

position is assigned to man which at present he does not realize; but its

whole idea is fulfilled, and more than fulfilled, IN CHRIST! It is to be

observed that the original reference of the psalm to man generally is not

only evident in itself, but also essential to the writer’s argument. For he is

now passing from the view set forth in Hebrews 1., of what the SON is in

Himself, to the further view of his participation in humanity, in order to

exalt humanity to the position forfeited through sin; and thus (as has been

shown in the foregoing summary) to lead up to the idea of His being our

GREAT HIGH PRIEST!   What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the

son of man, that thou visitest him? In the psalm this exclamation comes

after a contemplation of the starry heavens, which had impressed the

psalmist’s mind with a sense of God’s transcendent glory. In contrast with

THIS GLORY,  man’s insignificance and unworthiness occur to him, as they

have similarly occurred to many; but, at the same time, he thought of the

high position assigned to man in the account of the creation, on which

position he next enlarges. He asks how it can be that man, being what he is

now, can be of such high estate. Thus the Epistle carries out truly the idea

of the psalm, which is that man’s appointed position in the scale of things is

beyond what he seems now to realize.  (“But as it is written, 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!”  - I Corinthians 2:9)


7 “Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him

with glory and honor, and didst set him over the works of thy hands:”

Thou madest him a little lower than the angels. Here the

Septuagint takes Elohim (being a plural form) to mean “angels;” as also in

Psalm 97:7 and 138:1. The more correct rendering of the Hebrew may

be, “thou madest him a little short of God,” with reference to his having

been made “in God’s image,” “after God’s likeness” (Genesis 1:26); and

having dominion over creation given him. But, if so, Elohim must be understood

in its abstract sense of “Divinity,” rather than as denoting the Supreme Being.

Otherwise, “thyself” would have been the more appropriate expression, the psalm

being addressed to God. The argument is not affected by the difference of

translation. Indeed, the latter rendering enhances still more the position assigned

to man. Thou crownedst him with glory and worship, and didst set him over the

 works of thy hands. The latter clause of this sentence, which is found in the

Septuagint, but not in the Hebrew, is omitted in several codices. It is not wanted

for the purpose of the argument.


8 “Thou hast 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 see not yet all things put under him.” Here the argument

from the psalm begins. It is to the following effect: For the subjection of

all things, in the Creator’s design, to man leaves nothing exempted from

his sovereignty. But we do not see man, as he is upon earth now,

occupying this implied position of complete sovereignty. Therefore the full

idea of the psalm awaits fulfillment. And we Christians find its complete

fulfillment in Him who, having become a man like us, and is made with us

a little lower than the angels,” is now, as man, and for man, “crowned

with glory and honor,” at the right hand of the Majesty on high. Or we may

put it thus: In the present οἰκουµένην (world) man is not supreme over “all things”

in the sense denoted; but in the οἰκουµένην to come “of which we speak,”

with its far wider bearings, he is, in the Person of Christ, over “all things”

thus supreme. Therefore IN CHRIST ALONE does man attain his appointed

destiny. We may here observe how, even without the enlightenment of

Scripture, man’s own consciousness reveals to him an ideal of his position

in creation which, in his present state, he does not realize. The strange

apparent contradiction between MAN AS HE IS and man as he feels

HE SHOULD BE, between experience and conscience, between the

facts and the ideal of humanity, has long been patent to philosophers as

well as divines.


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 should taste death for every man.”  The phrase βραχύ τι

brachu tibit any - where it occurs in this verse with reference to Christ’s

temporary humiliation, is by many taken to mean “for a little while,” on the

ground that this meaning suits best the application to Christ, though its most

obvious meaning in the psalm (quoted in v. 7) is, as in the Authorized Version,

 “a little.” The Greek in itself will bear either meaning; and if

“a little” be, as it seems to be, the original meaning in the psalm, there is no

necessity for supposing a departure from it. All that the writer need be

supposed to intimate is that Christ, through His incarnation, TOOK

MAN’S POSITION as represented in the psalm. For the suffering of death.

So the Authorized Version renders, connecting the words by punctuation with

the clause preceding; the idea being supposed to be that Christ was “made a little

lower than the angels” with a view to the “suffering of death;” i.e. because

of the “suffering of death” which He had to undergo. But the proper force

of διὰ - diathru; because of; for -  with the accusative is better preserved,

and a better meaning given to the passage, by connecting διὰ τὸ πάθηµα τοῦ

θανάτου dia to pathaema tou thanatouthe suffering of the death - with the

clause that follows, and translating, But we see Him who has been made

a little lower than the angels, Jesus, because of the suffering of death

crowned with glory and honor. His crowning was the consequence of His

suffering; because of His suffering He was crowned; He won, as man, and in

virtue of His human obedience unto death, His position of “glory and

honor.”  Exactly the same idea is found in ch.5:7, etc., where the

purpose and result of Christ’s suffering, here anticipated, are more

explicitly set forth (compare also ch.12:2). This view, too, suits the

drift of the passage before us, which is that human nature has been exalted

in THE PERSON OF CHRIST!   That He, by the grace of God, should taste

death for every man. Two questions arise here:


(1) As to the meaning of the expression, “that He should taste death,” etc.;


(2) as to the true reading, as well as the meaning, of the phrase translated

“by the grace of God.”


As to:

(1), the clause is introduced by ὅπως hoposso that - followed by the subjunctive,

ὅπως γεύσηται hopos geusaetaiso that He should be tasting -  and the construction

of the sentence evidently connects it, not with ἠλαττωµένον aelatiomenonhaving

been made inferior, but with ἐστεφανωµένον estephanomenoncrowned with;

having been wreathed.   It is, “Because of the suffering of death crowned with glory

and honor, in order that for [i.e. in behalf of] all He may taste of death.” Now, the

fact that the actual death was previous to the crowning suggests reference, not so

much to it as to its permanent efficacy: and, further, the emphatic words are

ὑπὲρ παντὸς huper pantosfor the sake of everyone; for all - as

shown by their position in the sentence; and thus the idea seems to be, “In

order that for all his tasting of death may be availing.” And He may even be

regarded as still tasting of death after His crowning, in the sense of knowing

its taste through His human experience, and so perfectly sympathizing with

mortal man (compare vs. 14-15).  It is a further question whether παντὸς  (all)

should be here taken as masculine, as in the Authorized Version, or, like the

preceding πάντα  (v. 6), as neuter, in the sense of “all creation.” The latter

rendering seems in itself more natural, though” all mankind” must be conceived

as the main idea in the writer’s view.  At the same time, it is to be remembered

how the redemption is elsewhere spoken of as availing for creation generally,

for the restitution of universal harmony (compare Romans 8:19-21; Ephesians

1:10, 20, etc.). A further reason for understanding παντὸς in the wider sense

will appear in our examination of the phrase next to be considered.


(2) As to the reading χάριτι θεοῦ - charity Theougrace of God. It is found in all

existing manuscripts except in one uncial of the tenth century (Codex Uffenbach,

cited as M), in a scholium to Codex 67, and in a codex of the Peschito. But, on

the other hand, Origen, an earlier authority than any manuscript, speaks of the

prevalent reading in his time being χωρίς θεοῦ, χάριτι choris Theou, chariti

without; apart from God’s grace -  being found only in some copies. Theodoret,

Theodorus of Mopsuestia, and the Nestorians also read χωρίς: and the Latin

Fathers, Ambrose, Fulgentius, and others, have absque as its equivalent. Jerome

also speaks of the reading absque, but as occurring only “in quibusdam

exemplaribus” — thus reversing in his day what Origen had said two

centuries earlier as to the comparative prevalence of the two readings. The

charge made by Marius Mercator, Theophylact, and OEcumenius against

the Nestorians, that they had introduced the reading χωρίς in support of

their own views, is evidently untenable, since the testimony of Origen

proves its prevalence long before the Nestorian controversy. It is, on the

other hand, very probable that the use made of this reading by the

Nestorians was a cause of the other being clung to by the orthodox, and

being retained almost exclusively in the existing codices. And this

probability greatly weakens the force of the evidence of the manuscripts as

to the original reading. That both were very early ones is evident; but that

χωρίς was the original one is probable for two reasons:


(1) that Origen testifies to its prevalence in his early day, and accepts it as

at least equally probable with the other; and


(2) that transcribers were more likely to change the unusual and somewhat

difficult χωρίς into the familiar and easy χάριτι than vice versa.

Theodorus of Mopsuestia thus accounts for the reading χάριτι, which he

rejects very decidedly. He says that some persons, not observing the

sequence of the passage, had laughably changed the true reading, because

they did not understand it, into one that seemed easy to them. If χάριτι be

the true reading, the meaning is plain enough; it expresses the view, often

reiterated by Paul, of the whole work of redemption being “of grace.”

The objection to it, on internal grounds, is that the introduction of this

view here seems flat and purposeless, as Theodorus of Mopsuestia forcibly

contends in his argument against the reading.  Xωρίς then, being adopted,

the question remains whether to connect χωρίς θεοῦ as Theodorus of

Mopsuestia does, and as the Nestorians must have done) with γεύσηται θανάτου,

(tasting death) or with ὑπὲρ παντὸς (for all). If taken with the former, its purpose

must be to exclude the Godhead in Christ from participation in the taste of

death. Some further explain by reference to the cry from the cross, “My

God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” But such reference does not

suit the view above taken of the intended meaning of ὅπως ….γεύσηται θανάτου

(so that ….He should be tasting death).  Taken with ὑπὲρ παντὸς  (as is rather

suggested by the arrangement of the sentence, in which this is the emphatic phrase),

it gives the meaning, “that for all except God He may taste of death” — this

parenthetical exception of the Divine Being Himself being similar to that

which Paul sees reason for inserting in his application of the same psalm

to Christ: δῆλον ὅτι ἐκτὸς τοῦ ὑποτάξαντος αὐτῷ τὰ πάντα - - daelon hoti ektos tou

hupotaxantos auto tap anta – manifest that He is excepted, which did put all

things under Him - (I Corinthians 15:27).    Theodoret thinks ὑπὲρ παντὸς

must be understood by referring to what Paul says (Romans 8:21)

of creation itself being delivered from the bondage of corruption through

Christ, and to the rejoicing of angels in the salvation of man.



The Royalty of Man (vs. 5-9)


The apostle, in beginning to touch upon the humiliation and death of

Christ, shows that these arrangements brought Him no dishonor. God had

subordinated the new dispensation, not to angels, but to man (v. 5); and

human nature, restored in Christ to its imperial dignity, is destined to

ultimate exaltation above angelic nature.


  • MAN’S NATIVE SOVEREIGNTY. The writer cites, in illustration of

this, the testimony of Psalm 8. (vs. 6-8). Here we have:


Ø      Mans lofty nature. (v. 7.) Humanity had a splendid origin. Though

clothed meanwhile in a mortal body, our nature did not crawl up to its

present position from primeval “sentient slime;” it belonged from the

beginning to the same order of being as GOD ITS MAKER! The first

man was not a savage. He wore the crown of reason and conscience

and moral freedom. In his spiritual and immortal nature he was made

in the image of God. God was “mindful of him,” and “visited him.”

(Psalm 8:4)


Ø      His kingly prerogative. “And didst set him over the works of thy hands”

(v. 7). In bestowing upon man this illustrious kinship with Himself, God

placed in his hand the scepter of authority over all the creatures. The world

was made that he might be its master, and rule over it as God’s viceroy.


Ø      His universal dominion. “Thou didst put all things in subjection under

his feet” (v. 8). Not the inferior animals only, as Psalm 8. might lead us

to conclude; but, as we learn here, as well as from I Corinthians 15:27,

the entire visible and invisible universe. Even the world of angels is

by-and-by through Christ to be subordinated to man. It is only “for a

little while” that man is to remain “lower” than they.



see not yet all things subjected to him” (v. 8).


Ø      His nature is debased. Man’s course in the world has not been one of

continuous upward development. So far from that, it has been a course of

deterioration from the golden age of his original maturity. “The crown is

fallen from our head.”  (Lamentations 5:16)  Man used his freedom to

destroy his innocence. His spiritual nature IS IN RUINS!   He is the

slave of his own evil passions. He feels far away from God, and he

has lost all fellowship with Him.


Ø      His authority is resisted. So soon as Adam rebelled against God, nature

began to renounce allegiance to him. Having lost his purity, he forfeited

the lordship, which had been his birthright. Since the Fall, man has not

been able to master even the material world. Uncivilized nations live in

ignorance of many of the simplest physical laws; and the most advanced

rather wrestle with the forces of nature than command them.


Ø      His power is partial. How impotent man is:

o       in presence of earthquake and tempest,

o       frost and snow are mightier than he,

o       wild beasts defy him,

o       insect hordes destroy his harvests,

o       disease and death triumph over him.

Man cannot rule his own spirit; and as for dominion over the spiritual

world beyond himself, he is unable to see how such a thing can be

possible at all.


  • HIS RECORONATION IN CHRIST. (v. 9.) The apostle’s

comment upon David’s words fills them with new light and glory, by

showing how their fulfillment centers in Jesus. He has become the

focus of man’s destined royalty.


Ø      The life of Jesus exhibits the Divine ideal of man. We understand what

is meant by our creation in God’s image when we “behold;” Him. He has

lifted our crown from the dust, and set it upon His own head. Think of

His life of spotless purity and holy familiarity with God during the years in

which He continued “a little lower than the angels.” He was, while on earth,

the Second Adam — the Son of man — the Type of imperial manhood.

While in the world He exercised dominion over the creatures; and at length

He was exalted to God’s right hand, where our faith now sees Him.


Ø      His death gives man power to reach up to that ideal. Jesus voluntarily

submitted to His humiliation and sufferings and death that He might put

away the sin which has robbed man of crown and scepter. In tasting death

He drank up the curse. His sacrifice has vindicated the righteousness and

justice of God, and His blood has power to RENEW AND SANCTIFY

THE HUMAN SOUL!   So, those who become united to Him in His

death are delivered from the thraldom of sin, and participate with Him

in His kingdom (Revelation 1:5-6).


Ø      His glory is the pledge of mans restored dominion. The last clause of

v. 9 reminds us that seeing Jesus has Himself triumphed over death, the

benefits of His death have become, by virtue of His exaltation, available

for all. His people, being one with Him, shall partake of all the “glory and

honor” with which, as the God-Man, He has been “crowned.” Man’s

restoration to imperial power is already being foreshadowed on earth, in

the increasing triumphs of science and art among Christian nations, and in

the gradual victory of what is moral and spiritual over brute force and evil

passion. And in heaven the saints shall reign with Christ. They shall stand

nearer the throne than the seraphim. They “shall judge angels.” The whole

of Christ’s vast empire shall be theirs (I Corinthians 3:21-23).


  • In conclusion, let us:


Ø      Cherish the scriptural idea of man’s dignity.

Ø      Remember that we can realize our destiny ONLY IN CHRIST.

Ø      Seek a saving interest in His atoning death.

Ø      Consecrate soul and life to His service.

Ø      Imitate Him as the pattern Man.

Ø      Live in a manner befitting the great hope which we have in Him.



The Divine Destiny for Man (vs. 5-9)


“For unto the angels hath He not put in subjection,” etc. The writer now

resumes the subject of the exaltation of the Son of God over the holy

angels. He proceeds to show that in that human nature in which He suffered

death, He is raised to supreme glory and authority, and that man also is

exalted IN and THROUGH HIM.   Notice:



aspects of his being man seems to be an insignificant creature, and to

occupy a comparatively mean position in the universe. The psalmist, who is

quoted in the text, refers to this: “When I consider thy heavens,… what is

man?” etc. The word translated “man” denotes the weakness and frailty of

our nature; and the words translated “son of man” point to man as “formed

of the dust of the ground.” Yet there are aspects in which man is great; and

the destiny for which God created him is a glorious one. That destiny is

briefly indicated in this quotation from Psalm 8:4. It consists in:


Ø      A high place in the Divine regard. As evidence of this we have a

twofold fact.


o       God graciously thinks of man. “Thou art mindful of him;”

(Ibid.)  “I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith

the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

God’s care of man, which is manifested in the provision which

He has made for him, witnesses to His thought of him. What

significance it gives to our life when we reflect that the Infinite

thinks upon us and cares for us! How the fact tends to exalt

our nature! What a consolation and inspiration it should be

to us! “I am poor and needy, yet the Lord thinketh

upon me.”  (Psalm 40:17)


o       God graciously visits man. “Thou visitest him.” The word used

indicates a kindly visitation, as of “a physician visiting the sick.”

His visitation preserveth our spirits. His visits bring light and

refreshment and joy. “His going forth is prepared as the

morning, and he shall come unto us as the rain,” (Hosea

6:3); His visits are redemptive. “Blessed be the Lord God of

Israel; for He hath visited and redeemed His people.”

(Luke 1:68)


Ø      An exalted rank in creation. Thou madest him a little lower than the

angels.” We have already called attention to the distinguished rank of

angels in the universe,  Man is only a little lower than they. “God created

man in His own image, in the image of God created He him.”

(Genesis 1:27)  Man’s nature is:


o       intellectual He can reason, reflect, etc.

o       spiritual.


The body is the vesture of that which comes from God and returns to

Him. “There is a spirit in man,” etc. It is moral. He can understand

and feel the heinousness of the morally wrong, the majesty of the

morally right. Conscience speaks within him. It is religious. He can

love, admire, and adore. It is capable of endless progress. If man

attains unto his Divine destiny he will for ever have to say, “It doth

not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that, when He shall

appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.”

(I John 3:2) Truly, “Thou madest him a little lower than the angels;”

“a little less than Divine.”


Ø      A position of kingly majesty and authority in this world.


o       Here is regal majesty. “Thou crownedst him with glory

and honor.”  The figure of coronation is intended to set

forth the royal majesty which was conferred upon man,

as of a kingly crown. Amongst creatures in this world he

is royal in his faculties and capacities, and in his position.


o       Here is regal authority. “Thou didst put all things in

subjection under his feet,” etc. The psalmist in the original

passage amplifies this “all things:” “All sheep and oxen, yea,

 and the beasts of the field,” etc. There is a reference to

Genesis 1:26-28,”Let them have dominion over the fish

of the sea,” etc. In this world man is God’s vicegerent.

He was made by his Creator to exercise dominion over

all things and all creatures here.



now we see not yet all things put under him.” It is unmistakably clear that

at present man’s sovereignty in the world is not complete. The scepter has

slipped from his grasp. His dominion is contested. He has to contend

against the creatures that were put in subjection unto him. The forces of

nature sometimes scorn his authority and defy his power. Man has not now

complete rule over his own being. His passions are sometimes insurgent

against his principles. His senses are not always subordinate to his spirit.

His appetites war against his aspirations. Sin has discrowned man. He has

lost his purity, therefore has he lost his power. In his present condition he

is far from realizing his glorious destiny.



DESTINY. “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the

angels,” etc.


Ø      The Son of God has taken upon Himself human nature. We

behold Him who hath been made a little lower than the angels,

even Jesus.” “Who being in the form of God, deemed not His

equality with God a thing to grasp at, but emptied Himself, taking

upon him the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men.”

(Philippians 2:6-7)  As man was “made a little lower than the

angels,” so, in becoming man, our Lord also was “made a little

lower than the angels.”


Ø      In His human nature He endured death. That He by the grace of

God should taste death for every man.”  (v.9)


o       The death of Jesus was voluntary. In His case death was not

inevitable.  He was not forced to die. “I lay down my life, that

I may take it again. No one taketh it away from me, but I

lay it down  of myself.” (John 10:17-18)  “The Son of man

came… to give His life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28);

 Christ Jesus gave Himself a ransom for all.” (I Timothy 2:6)

The voluntariness was essential to the influence of His death as

an atonement and as an inspiration.


o       The death of Jesus was for the benefit of man. Taste death

for every man.” In this place “for” (ὑπὲρ huper – for; instead

of) does not mean “instead of,” but “on behalf of.Where this

ordinary meaning ὑπὲρ of suffices, that of vicariousness must

not be introduced. Sometimes, as e.g. II Corinthians 5:15, it is

necessary. But here clearly not, the whole argument

proceeding, not on the vicariousness of Christ’s sacrifice, but on

the benefits which we derive from His personal suffering for us

in humanity; not on His substitution for us, but on His community

with us.  He died for “every man.” The benefits of His death, its

inspiring and redeeming power, are available “for every man”

for the poorest, the obscurest, the wickedest, etc.


o       The death of Jesus for man is to be ascribed to the kindness of God.

That he by the grace of God should taste,” etc. Our salvation is to

be ascribed to the unmerited kindness and love of God towards us.

The grace of God hath appeared, bringing salvation unto all men.”

(Titus 2:11)  When the kindness of God our Savior, and his love

toward man, appeared, not by works done in righteousness which

we have done” (Ibid. ch. 3:4); God commendeth His love

toward us, in that while we were sinners, Christ died for us,

(Romans 5:8).


Ø      On account of His endurance of death He has been raised to supreme

glory and authority. “Because of the suffering of death crowned with

glory and honor.” (v.9)  His exaltation to this might and majesty is in

consequence of His voluntary humiliation and suffering and death.

“He humbled Himself, becoming obedient unto death, even the death

of the cross. Wherefore also God highly exalted him,” (Philippians

2:8-11) This was necessary to the perfection of His redemptive work.

On the triumphant issue of His sufferings their efficacy depends.”


Ø      He has been exalted to this supreme position as the Head of humanity.

Not the angelic but the human nature has God raised to the throne.

“For not unto the angels did He subject the world to come, whereof

we speak.” (v. 5)  This Christian economy, this new world of redemption

by the grace of God in Christ Jesus, in all its developments, is placed

under our Lord. In our humanity, and as our Head and Forerunner,

He is enthroned the King in the new realm of Divine grace. Humanity

is crowned in Him. THROUGH HIM ALONE can we realize our

glorious destiny. We must:


o       Believe in Him. Our text intimates this. “We behold him…

even Jesus.”  This “behold” does not express an indifferent,

uninterested sight of Him; but the earnest look of faith, the

believing contemplation of Him. By faith we become ONE



o       Imitate Him. The sacrifice of the cross leads to the splendor of the

crown. The true sovereignty is reached only by the way of service.

“If so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified

with Him.”  (Romans 8:17)


10 “For it became Him, for whom (διdibecause of, with accusative) are all

things, and by whom (δι di - thru with genitive) are all things (i.e. God), in

bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect

through sufferings.” This refers to what was said in the preceding verse, of

Christ having been crowned with glory on account of His suffering of death,

and of His tasting death for all. That He should attain through human suffering

even unto death to His own perfected state of glory, as being the Leader of

human sons whom the one Father of all would bring to glory, was a design

worthy of Him for whom and through whom are all things — suitable to what

we conceive of Him and of His way of working. The word ἔπρεπεν eprepen

it became; it behooved -  is used in the same sense not infrequently in

the Septuagint. It is probably used here with some view to the offence of the

cross,” which might still linger in the minds of some of the Hebrew

Christians. In the argument that follows, supported still by reference to Old

Testament anticipations, the writer not only meets possible objections

lingering in the Hebrew mind, but also carries on and completes the view

of the SON which it is his purpose to inculcate, leading up (as aforesaid) to

the final position of His being the High Priest of humanity.



The Necessity of Christ’s Sufferings (v. 10)


The Savior’s sufferings, while He was on earth, were:


1. Numerous. They covered his whole life, and culminated in His “tasting



2. Various. He suffered in body and mind and heart, and at the hands of

    earth and hell and heaven. But his severest sorrows were spiritual — “the

    travail of His soul.”  (Isaiah 53:11)


3. Unparalleled. His were the substitutionary sufferings (for you and me) of a

    perfectly holy human nature in most intimate identity with God.


4. Divinely inflicted. It is implied here that “it pleased the Lord to bruise

   Him.”  (Ibid. v. 10)  The humiliation of Christ, so far from being incompatible

   with His headship, was indispensable in order thereto. He required to suffer:



CHARACTER. The glory of God Himself is the ultimate reason, as His

will is the law, of all things. “It became him, for whom are all things, and

through whom are all things;” i.e. the moral character of God rendered it

needful that Jesus should taste death, if sinful man was to be saved. The

necessity of the atonement did not arise only from the exigencies of God’s

moral government. It was not effected merely that its power might soften

the sinner’s heart into repentance. Rather, it was demanded by the

perfections and character of God Himself. The sufferings of Christ

“became” God’s justice, which could not connive at our guilt; His truth,

which necessitated the infliction of the threatened punishment; His holiness,

which could have no pleasure in the friendship of degraded sinners; His

mercy, which yearned for our salvation. Not only so, but the sufferings of

Christ, in rendering the salvation of sinners consistent with God’s

character, have at the same time been the means of gloriously illustrating

the Divine attributes, of revealing them in their beautiful harmony

(Psalm 85:10-11), and thus of covering them with new splendor to the

view of an admiring universe.



Christ, “the Author of our salvation,” (ch. 12:2) was “made perfect through

sufferings;” i.e. it was through His “obedience unto death” that He became

fully qualified for His work as Savior, and was exalted to heaven for its

accomplishment. He must needs suffer for the honor of God and for the

good of man, before He could put on the lustrous robes of His mediatorial

majesty. His glory is the recompense which His Father has given Him for His

sufferings. Only after making satisfaction on the cross for human sin could

Jesus ascend to that immeasurable height of supreme authority upon which,

as the God-Man, He now sits enthroned.



REDEEMED CHILDREN. It was the purpose of God to “bring many

sons unto glory.” He desired to raise our fallen humanity from the dust, and

crown it anew “with glory and honor.” But this could only be effected

through Christ as the Author of salvation.” It is through Him alone that a

sinner, estranged from God, can be made spiritually a “son” of God, and

exchange his career of guilt and enmity for that life of grace which shall at

length be consummated in glory. The sufferings of Christ were necessary in

order to the pacification of the human conscience, the restoration of man’s

sonship, and the recovery of his eternal inheritance. And. they shall be

effectual for these ends. Christ, God’s Servant, “shall justify many;”

(Isaiah 53:11)  He shall bring to glory such multitudes of all nations,

and kindreds, and peoples, and tongues, as to entitle Him to be called with

fullest emphasis THE SAVIOUR OF MEN and THE REDEEMER




Perfection Through Suffering (v. 10)


“For it became Him, for whom are all things…..to make the captain of their

salvation perfect through sufferings.” 



THROUGH SUFFERING. “Perfect through suffering.” The perfection

here spoken of does not refer to His character as Son of God, but as

Mediator — “the Captain of our salvation.” The perfecting of Christ was

the bringing Him to that glory which was His proposed and destined end.

Made “perfect through suffering” is similar in meaning to “because of the

suffering of death crowned with glory and honor.”  (v. 9)  Only through

suffering could He enter upon His mediatorial glory. Two thoughts are



Ø      Before He could attain unto His mediatorial glory Hhis character

and work as Redeemer must be complete.


Ø      Suffering was essential to the completeness of His character and work

as Redeemer. He must suffer in order that He might:


o       sympathize with His suffering people (v. 18);

o       present a perfect example to His suffering people (I Peter 2:21-24);

o       reconcile sinners to God.


The exhibition of infinite love — love that gives up life itself, and that for

enemies — was necessary to remove the alienation of man’s heart from

God, and to enkindle love to Him in its stead. And the exhibition of perfect

obedience — obedience even unto death — was necessary to establish and

honor in this world the Law of God which man had broken. So our Savior

was perfected through suffering; He passed through sharpest trials to





“It became Him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things,”

etc. God the Father is here represented as:


Ø      The great first Cause of all things. “By whom are all things.”

He is THE SOURCE AND ORIGIN of the entire universe.


Ø      The great Final Cause of all things. For whom are all things.” All

things in the universe are for His glory.


o       Creation,

o       providence, and

o       redemption,


are all designed and all tend to promote the glory of the great Father.

The words under consideration are sometimes used of the Savior, and

they are true of Him; but they are even more applicable to God “the

Father, who sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.”   (I John

4:14)  For of Him, and through Him, and unto Him, are all things.

To him be the glory for ever. Amen.”  (Romans 11:36)


Ø      The great Author and Designer of salvation, with its agents, means,

and methods. Our Lord is spoken of in the text as the “Captain

[Revised Version, ‘Author’] of salvation.” But, traced to its source

and origin, salvation takes us up to the eternal Father. And “it became

Him” that He should so order the agencies and methods of salvation

that the Savior should be perfected through suffering. Such an

arrangement was not fatalistic or arbitrary, but suited to the object in

view, the means being adapted to the end, and in thorough harmony

with the character and perfections of God — His wisdom, righteousness,

and love. The Hebrew Christians, whom the writer is addressing, felt

the offence of the cross. There were times when in some measure

“Christ crucified” was still “a stumbling-block” to them, or at least

they were in danger of this. And so the writer argues that the attainment

of the crown by the endurance of the cross was an arrangement worthy

of God, and therefore the fulfillment of this arrangement could not be

unworthy of the Savior. We have said that the means were adapted to

the end; the perfection could not have been attained without the

sufferings. But, more, the sufferings were in complete conformity to

the being and character of God. He is not a cold, impassive

Beholder of human sin and misery. He suffers by reason of man’s sin

and woe (compare Isaiah 63:9; Hosea 11:8). Christ in His sufferings

reveals to our race how God had felt towards us in all preceding ages.





Ø      The exalted relation of true Christians. They are “sons” of God,

not simply because He is “the Father of their spirits,” but also by

adoption (compare Romans 8:14-17; I John 3:1-3).


Ø      The vast number of true Christians. “Many sons unto glory.” There

have been ages when the number of the true and good has been

comparatively small. But, as the result of Christ’s mediation, the

saved will be so many that no human arithmetic can count them,

no human mind grasp the glorious total. Many things encourage this

belief; e.g.


o       the inexhaustible provisions of Divine grace in Jesus Christ;

o       the immense numbers of the race who die in infancy, and

through the Savior are received into glory;

o       the prevalence of true religion throughout the world, which

is being rapidly accomplished, and the triumph of Divine

grace over human sin, which may be continued for many

long ages before the end of this dispensation; — these and

other things encourage the belief that our Lord

will lead to glory an overwhelming majority of our race.


Ø      The inspiring relation which our Lord sustains to true Christians.

He is “the Captain [Revised Version, ‘Author’] of their salvation.”

The word in this place certainly has a deeper significance than

“captain” or leader.  Salvation originated in the heart of God, but

it was accomplished by Christ.  He redeemed us unto God by His

blood; and now He inspires and empowers and leads us onward

to complete victory.


Ø      The illustrious destiny to which he leads true Christians.

“Unto glory.” This is the crowning result of their salvation.

They shall be sharers in the blessedness and majesty of God

to the fullest extent of which they are capable (compare

John 17:22-24; Revelation 3:21).


Ø      The pathway by which He leads them to their destiny.

Like Himself, they also must be made “perfect through

sufferings.” “If we endure, we shall also reign with Him”

(compare I Peter 5:10-11). Wherefore, let us not be

afraid of suffering. Only let us be sure that we suffer with

our Savior and in His spirit; so shall we ultimately share

His bliss and glory.



The Father Bringing the Sons to Glory (v. 10)



Fatherhood is, of course, implied when sonship is spoken of; and THIS

FATHER IS THE BEING “for whom are all things, and by whom are

all things.”  Here is the great unity towards which, consciously or unconsciously,

all things are tending. Here is the cause of all existence, compared with whom

all other causes that men analyze and apportion are but as the merest

instruments. The assertion here is, of course, not a scientific truth; it is the

dictum of the Spirit, the Heaven-inspired feeling with which we look up to

the Father of our Teacher, Jesus. All things, not for me, or you, or for a

class, a nation, a race, an age, or even the total of human beings, but for

God. The consummation is not on earth, but in heaven. In the light of such

a description of God, what wonder is it that increasing science should mean

the increasing knowledge of harmony, the discovery of ever-deepening

connections between things that seem on the surface quite unconnected?


  • A PURPOSE OF HIM WHO IS SO DESCRIBED. All things are for

Him. The question is — Do we obediently recognize that stamp and

superscription on ourselves which indicates that we are for Him?

Everything which in its actual existence is just what God wants it to be is

moving towards its glory. The seed moves to its glory in the flower, the

flower to its glory in the fruit. Unfallen man would have had to be brought

to glory — the glory of the perfect man in Christ Jesus. Society was meant

to develop into a collection of men and women having in them the same

beautiful spirit as was in Jesus. And that is the purpose still, only what

should have come through a natural growth has to begin with a

regeneration. Constantly in the New Testament is this basis-truth starting

up, to remind us of its connection with all a Christian’s efforts, all a

Christian’s hopes. God transforms us from His creatures into His children,

and then leads us onward to glory.  All who are seeking glory save in the

way of sonship are seeking what will prove a mockery when they find it.

“Bringing many sons to glory.” In this word “many” there is cause for

rejoicing and careful reflection. It is not enough to say that men are

brought. They are brought as sons; nor are they as a scattered few, one

here and there in a generation. They are many. How many is not the

question. Here is answered in a measure the query of the disciples, “Are

the saved few?”  (Luke 13:23)  No, they are always many — more than

we suppose, guessing by the mere appearance of things.



FOR HIS WORK. The ἀρχηγὸς archaegosCaptain.   He who starts the

company, giving them the direction. We are the sons of God, and it doth not

yet appear what we shall be (I John 3:2); but we know the way in which we

are going, and who is before us, responsible for that way being right. The

true guide, the true leader, is he who himself has been all the way. This

alone will save him from being a blind leader of the blind. He who would

lead us must have gone in the way in which we have to go. (The guides in

demand in the settlement of the American west were ones who knew

the country and had been there before.  Thus Jesus (v.18) had been there

before us! – CY – 2014)  And because our way is of necessity a way of

suffering, His had to become the same. The way of man in any case is a way

of suffering, and if he has chosen the motto, “For Christ’s sake,” then in

proportion as that motto is written on his heart, in that same proportion

would some sort of special trial be his lot. And so our very attachment to

Christ is in a sense the means of bringing more suffering to Him. The truth

that Christians are persecuted for Christ’s sake has its corresponding truth,

that Christ was persecuted for God’s sake. Jesus was perfected as a Leader

by submitting to everything that in this world could come upon the

outward man. He showed that there was a way, not round danger, but

through danger, to an abiding safety beyond. He did not evade the

darkness of the grave — He went into it; vanished, as most thought, for

ever, and yet to emerge into everlasting light. Well may he ever sound in

our ears those words of duty, promise, and hope, “Follow me.”


11 “For both He that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of

one: for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren,”

For both He that sanctifieth (i.e. Christ, the ἀρχηγὸν archaegon

Captain – v.10) and they that are  sanctified (i.e. the “many sons” who are

brought unto glory) are all of one (ἐξ ἑνὸς – ex henosout of one -  i.e. of God).

The idea expressed here by the verb ἁγιάζω agiazo - to sanctify, may be

determined by comparison with ch.9:13-B14; 10:14, 29; and 13:12 (ἵνα ἁγιάσῃ

διὰ τοῦ ἰδίου αἵµατος τὸν λαόν hina agiasae dia tou idiou haimatos ton laon

 that He might sanctify the people with His own blood); compare John 17:9.

It is not the idea, to us most familiar, of moral sanctification through the

Holy Spirit, but that of the redeemed being brought into a new relation to God,

hallowed for “glory, through redemption; whence all Christians are called

ἁγίοί - hagioisaints; sanctified ones; holy ones.  Aγιάζειν hagiazein - is

the equivalent in the Septuagint of the Hebrew cd"q;, which is applied to the

hallowing of both the sacrifices and the people to God’s service. As an

atoning sacrifice, Christ thus hallowed Himself (John 17:19), that thus

He might hallow the “many sons.”   ἑνὸς (out of one) must certainly be taken

As referring to God, not (as some take it) to Abraham or Adam. For the

necessity of the SON taking part of flesh and blood in order to accomplish

the redemption is not introduced till v. 14. So far the common

fatherhood spoken of has been that of Him “for whom are all things and by

whom are all things,” who, “in bringing many sons to glory,” has perfected

“the Captain of their salvation.”  (v. 10)  The idea is that it was meet that the

Captain should be perfected through human sufferings, since both He and

the “many sons” are of one Divine Father; in their relation of sonship (with

whatever difference of manner and degree) they are associated together.

Be it observed, however, that it is not the original relation to God of the

“Sanctifier” and the “sanctified,” but their relation to Him in the

redemption, that is denoted by ἐξ ἑνὸς. The common sonship does not

consist in this, that He is Son by eternal generation and they by creation. It

has been seen above that the term υἱος huiosSon is not applied to Christ

in this Epistle with reference to His eternal Being, but to His incarnation; and

the human “sons” are not regarded as such till made so by redemption. 

ἁγιάζων – ho hagiazonthe One hallowing and οἱ ἁγιαζόµενοι – hoi

hagiazomenoithe ones being hallowed - rule the sense of ἐξ ἑνὸς. The view

is that the one Father sent the SON into the world to be the Firstborn of many

sons. The expression, frequent in the Pentateuch, “I am He that sanctifieth,”

may be cited in illustration of the meaning of the passage. For which

cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren; i.e. in the Messianic

utterances of the Old Testament, to which, in accordance with the plan and

purpose of the Epistle, reference is again made for proof. The point of the

quotations that follow (vs. 12-13) is that the Messiah, notwithstanding

the position above the angels, shown above to be assigned to Him, is

represented also as associating Himself with men as brethren, in dependence

on one heavenly Father.



Christ and His Brethren (v. 11)


In the eleventh verse there is brought in a new idea. The Author of

salvation is now described in relation to His followers as the Sanctifier, and

these followers as the sanctified. Jesus it is who sets us apart for God, and

sets us apart by making a real difference between us and those who do not

believe in Him. In other words, if there is no real difference between us and

the unbeliever, then we cannot reckon ourselves among the sanctified.

Sanctification cannot consist in taking so many, irrespective of character

or of any change which may be working in them. Jesus and all mankind are

of one so far as a common humanity is concerned, and this is a condition

for the further unity; but something more is needed. He who sanctifies is

first of all sanctified Himself — sanctified by the mystery of His birth, and by

the Divine testimony at His baptism, and so on by everything that lifted Him

to a unique eminence among men. And all human beings who have the

same Spirit of God working in them are thus reckoned for brethren of

Jesus; and “He is not ashamed to call them brethren. Though they be far

below Him in elevation of character and perception of truth, yet the relation

is there, and the very way to make things better is to recognize the relation

and found an appeal upon it. Our sanctifying Brother looks upon us in our

imperfections, and cheers us with the thought that we shall become like

Him. He is not ashamed to call us brethren, but how ashamed we ought to

be that we are so unworthy of Him! Christ is far more intent on working

out the possibilities of our life than we are ourselves.


12 “I will declare thy Name unto my brethren, in the midst of

the Church (or, congregation) will I sing praise unto thee.”  This first

citation is from Psalm 22:22, quoted, it would seem, from memory or

from a text of the Septuagint different from ours, διηγήσοµαι diaegaesomai

tell; recount; show -being changed to Ἀπαγγελῶ - apaggelodeclare; report;

 bring back tidings - but with no difference of meaning. The psalm is attributed

by tradition to David, being entitled “a psalm of David.” Delitzsch and

Ebrard accept it as certainly his, concluding, from its position in the first

book of the psalms (1-72.), that it was included in the collection made by

David himself (compare II Chronicles 23:18 with Psalm 72:20). Others, as

recently Perowne, think that the fact of the suffering and humiliation

described, being beyond any experienced by David himself, points to some

other unknown author. The conclusion, however, does not necessarily

follow. David, writing “in Spirit,” when under persecution by Saul, may be

conceived as drawing a picture, with regard both to present humiliation

and to expected triumph, beyond the facts of his own case, taking his own

experience as typical of a higher fulfillment. And the minute details of the

suffering described, answering so remarkably to the circumstances of the

Crucifixion, certainly suggest the idea of a distinct prophetic vision. Still,

there is no reason for concluding that the psalm was not, like other

Messianic psalms, suggested by and founded on the writer’s own

circumstances and experience. Detitzsch says well, “The way of sorrows by

which David mounted to his earthly throne was a type of that Via Dolorosa

by which Jesus, the Son of David, passed before ascending to the right

hand of the Father.” There is no psalm of which the ultimate Messianic

reference is to Christian believers more undoubted. The first words of it

were uttered by Jesus Himself from the cross (Matthew 27:46); and for

its fulfillment in him, recognized by the evangelists, see Ibid. vs.39, 43;

John 19:23, 28. The general purport of the psalm is as follows: A

persecuted sufferer, under a feeling of being forsaken by God, pours out

his complaint, and prays for succor; suddenly, at the end of v. 21, the

tone of the psalm changes into one of confident anticipation of deliverance

and triumph, when the psalmist shall praise the Lord in the congregation of

his brethren, when all that fear the Lord shall join him in praise, when the

“ends of the earth” shall turn to the Lord, and “all the families of the

nations” shall worship with Israel. The close agreement of the latter part of

the psalm with the Messianic anticipations of prophecy is obvious, and

would in itself determine its Messianic import. The marked difference

between this psalm and those previously quoted is that the typical psalmist

appears here as a human sufferer previously to his triumph, thus

anticipating the similar view of the Messiah in prophecy, as notably in

Isaiah 53.   And hence this psalm is suitably quoted here as a striking and

early anticipation of a Messiah “perfected through sufferings,” and

associated in sympathy with human “brethren,” the verse actually quoted,

in which He is not ashamed to call them brethren, being sufficient to

remind the readers of the whole of this aspect of Messianic prophecy.



The Oneness of the Sanctifier and the Sanctified (vs. 11-12)



sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one.”


Ø      Our Lord is of one nature with man. This is what many take to be the

meaning of the writer in this place. The Savior was truly human. As a


o       He hungered and thirsted,

o       ate and drank,

o       was wearied and slept,

o       sorrowed and wept,

o       suffered and died.

His humanity was a real thing.


o       But unity of spiritual relation seems to be set forth here. The text

certainly points to something higher than the mere physical oneness of

Christ with all men. It is not His relation to all men that is here

expressed, but His relation as Sanctifier to all who are being sanctified

through Him. It is this union of spiritual relationship which is here meant.

The Sanctifier and the sanctified are all of one God and Father. They

“are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus;” they “have

 received the Spirit of adoption,” (Romans 8:15)  Our Lord not only

stooped down to our nature, but He lifts our nature into fellowship

and oneness with God. Thus the Sanctifier and they who are being

sanctified are all of one “God, the spiritual Father as of Christ,

so also of those who are descended from Christ” (compare John



  • THE WORK OF OUR LORD FOR MAN. He is here represented as

the Sanctifier of His people. The word used in the text suggests the ideas



Ø      Expiation. It does not seem to us that we are warranted in making this

interpretation exclusive of others (as M. Stuart does, who translates “both

He who maketh expiation and they for whom expiation is made”). But

ἁγιάζω agiazo - to sanctify - may point to the atoning death of Christ.

“While we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death

of His Son.” (Romans 5:10)  “God reconciled us to Himself through

Christ.”  (II Corinthians 5:19)  Sanctification is impossible apart from

reconciliation to God, and that reconciliation is effected by means OF

THE DEATH OF CHRIST!  “We have been sanctified through the

offering of the body of Jesus Christ” (ch. 10:10).


Ø      Consecration. They who are sanctified have consecrated themselves to

God. They are devoted to Him; they do not live with common aims or

for common ends; but at all times, and even in commonest duties, they

live for God and for His glory. They have presented themselves “a living

sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God,” (Romans 12:1)


Ø      Transformation. “They who are sanctified;” literally, “they who are

being sanctified,” are being made true and right in word and deed, in

thought and feeling. They are not sinless or perfect. Their sanctification is

not yet complete, but it is in progress. They are being transformed into

the image of their Lord and Savior. But how can our Lord be said to be

the Sanctifier? The Holy Spirit is the great Agent in the transforming

process; but the expiation or atonement was made by Christ. And while

consecration, or dedication to God, is the act of the Christian, the mighty

impulse from which that act springs comes from the Christ. And in the

transforming work Christ sends “the sanctifying Spirit; he is the Head

of all sanctifying influences. The Spirit sanctifieth as the Spirit of Christ.”



which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying, I will declare

thy Name unto my brethren,” etc. Though He is “Lord of men as well as

angels,” He calls His people His brethren. Notwithstanding the lowliness of

their condition and the crudeness and imperfection of their character, He

graciously acknowledges them as His brethren (compare Matthew 28:10;

John 20:17).


Since Christ acknowledges us as His brethren, let us humbly and heartily



Shall we refuse to recognize as our spiritual kindred those whom our Lord

calls His brethren?


13 “And again, I will put my trust in Him. And again, Behold I and the

children which God hath given me.”  And again, I will put my trust in Him.

There are two passages of the Old Testament from which this may be a citation

II Samuel 22:3 and Isaiah 8:17. In either case the original is slightly

altered in the citation, probably with a purpose; the emphatic ἐγὼ  - ego – I

being prefixed, and ἔσοµαι esomaiwill put; shall be - being (suitably after

this addition) placed before instead of after πεποιθὼς pepoithoshaving

confidence; trust. The purpose of this change may be to bring into prominence

the thought that the Messiah Himself, in His humanity, puts His trust in God

as well as the “brethren” with whom He associates Himself. The passage in

II Samuel 22:3 is from the psalm of David, written “in the day when the Lord

had delivered him out of the hand of all his enemies, and out of the hand of Saul.”

(See introduction to Psalm 18 – this website – CY – 2014).  It is given also in

the Book of Psalms as Psalm 18., where the Septuagint reads  ἐλπιῶ ἐπ αὐτόν

elpio epautonin whom I take refuge - instead of πεποιθὼς  ἔσοµαι ἐπ. αὐτῷ· -

pepoithos esomai ep auto – I will put my trust in Him - so that, if the quotation

is from the psalm, it is taken from the historical book. But is the quotation

from the psalm or from Isaiah? If from the former, it serves

(if Psalm 22. is also David’s) to complete the type of the same royal sufferer,

showing him reliant on God along with His brethren in the day of success, as

well as during previous trial. Most commentators, however, suppose the quotation

to be from Isaiah, inasmuch as the following one is from him, not only coming

immediately after the first in the original, but also dependent on it for its

meaning. Nor is the introduction of the second quotation by καὶ πάλιν

kai palinand again - conclusive against its being the continuation of the

same original passage, since it introduces a new idea, to which attention may

be thus drawn.  Possibly the writer, familiar as he was with the Old Testament,

had both passages in his view, the phrase common to both serving as a connecting

link between David and Isaiah. And again, Behold I and the children

which God hath given me. The applicability of the whole passage in

Isaiah (Isaiah 8:17-18) to the writer’s argument is not at first sight

obvious. It occurs in connection with the memorable message to Ahaz, on

the occasion of the confederacy of Rezin and Pekah against Judah, in the

course of which the prophet foretells (Ibid. ch. 7:14) the birth of Immanuel. In

Hebrews 8. and 9. he expands this message, rising into a vein of undoubted

Messianic prophecy (see especially Isaiah 9:1-7). In the midst of

general dismay and disbelief the prophet stands firm and undaunted,

presenting himself as a sign as well as a messenger of the salvation which

he foretells: “Behold, I and the children whom the Lord hath given me are

for signs and for wonders in Israel from the Lord of hosts.” The “children”

thus associated with himself as signs appear to have been his two sons,

with their symbolical names, Shear-jashub and Maher-shalal-hash-baz, the

first of whom he had been commanded to take with him (Isaiah 7:3) on

his first visit to Ahaz, and the second of whom (Ibid. ch. 8:3) had been

borne to him by the “prophetess,” and named under a Divine command.

His own name also may be regarded in the “sign” as symbolical, meaning

“Jehovah’s salvation.” If then, the words of vs. 17 and 18 are quoted as

those of the prophet himself (and they are certainly his own in our Hebrew

text), he is viewed as himself a sign, in the sense of type, of the Immanuel

to come. And the point of the quotation is that, to complete such typical

sign, it was required that “the children God had given him” should be

combined with him in the representation. They represent the ἀδελφοῖ -

adelphoibrethren -  the ἁγιαζόµενοι (hallowed ones; saints), as Isaiah

does the υἱος (Son), the ἁγιάζων – One hallowing), all being together

ἐξ ἑνὸς (out of; from God).   If it be objected that the children given to Isaiah

were his own offspring, and not “brethren,” as in the antitype, it may be replied

that it is not the human paternity of the “children,” but their having been given

by God to the prophet to be “signs” along with him, that is the prominent;

idea in the original passage, and that, thus viewed, the words of Isaiah have

their close counterpart in those of our Lord; “The men which thou gavest

me out of the world; thine they were, and thou gavest them me” (John 17:6,

9,11-12). Such, then, may be the ground for assigning the utterance

to Christ, justified by the Messianic character of Old Testament prophecy

in general, according to which the historic sense of the utterance does not

exclude the purpose of prophecy; but leaves typical references open which

declare themselves historically by some corresponding Messianic fact, and

hence are recognized afterwards from the point of view of historic

fulfillment. But when we refer to the Septuagint (which in the passage

before us varies greatly from the Hebrew) we find a further reason. The

Septuagint has (Isaiah 8:16-18) “Then shall be manifest these that seal

the Law that one should not learn it. And he will say (καὶ ἐρεῖ - kai erei

he will say), I will wait upon God, who has turned away his face from the

house of Israel, and I will put my trust in him. Lo I and the children which

God hath given me.” Here, in the absence of any preceding nominative in

the singular to be the subject of ἐρεῖ the writer of the Epistle may have

understood the Messiah to be the speaker; and the Septuagint also may have

so intended the expression. The general drift of the passage, as interpreted

in the Epistle, remains the same, though the Septuagint more distinctly

suggests and justifies its application to Christ. The only difference is that,

according to the Hebrew, the prophet speaks and is regarded as a type;

according to the Septuagint the Antitype himself is introduced as speaking,

and declaring the type of Isaiah to be fulfilled in Himself.


14 “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He

also Himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He

might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;

15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime

subject to bondage.” Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of

(literally, have been, made partakers of; i.e. so made as to share alike),

Flesh and blood  (this is the order of the words, as in Ephesians 6:12,

according to the great preponderance of authority; Delitzsch sees in it a

reference to “the blood-shedding for the sake of which the Savior entered

into the fellowship of bodily life with us”), He also Himself likewise

(rather, iv, like manner; i.e. with “the children”) took part in the same;

that through death he might destroy (καταργήσῃ - katargaesae - , equivalent to

“bring to nought,” “render impotent as though not existing;” the word is

frequent with Paul) him that had (or, has) the power of death, that is, the

devil; and deliver (i.e. from bondage) all those who through fear of

death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. Here the purpose of

the Incarnation is set forth as requiring the complete association of the

SON with human brethren to which prophecy had pointed. But more is

now declared than the prophecies so far quoted have implied; and thus is

introduced (by way of anticipation, as is usual in the Epistle) THE

DOCTRINE OF THE ATONEMENT  which is to be dwelt on afterwards.

For the object of Christ’s becoming one of us is now further said to be that

by DYING He might effect REDEMPTION!   The “children” in v. 14 are

the παιδία paidiachildren; little boys and girls - of the type in Isaiah,

fulfilled in the “many sons” to be “sanctified” and brought to glory. (We

may observe, by the way, the difference between the words used of their

participation in human nature and of Christ’s - κεκοινώνηκεν kenoinonaeken

are partakers; have participated and µετέσχεν meteschenhas partaken;

took part - the aorist in the latter case expresses His sharing what was not His

before, and so distinctly implies His pre-existence.) For understanding’ the

account here given of the purpose of the Incarnation, we must remember that

death, originally announced (Genesis 2:17) as the penalty of transgression,

is regarded in the New Testament (notably by Paul) as the sign of the

continual dominion of sin over the human race. Thus in Romans 5:12, 15

the mere fact that all men “from Adam to Moses” had died is adduced as

sufficient proof that all were under condemnation as sinners. Whatever

further idea is implied in the word “death “ — such as alienation from God

in whom is life eternal, or any “blackness of darkness” (Jude 1:13)

thereupon ensuing in the world beyond the grave — of man’s subjection or

liability to all this his natural death is regarded as the sign. It is to be

remembered, too, that “the devil,” through whom it was that sin first

entered, and death through sin, is revealed to us generally as the

representative of evil (πονηρος – ho ponaerosevil; evil one), and, as such,

the primeval manslayer (ἀνθρωποκτόνος ἦν ἀπ. ἀρχῆς, - anthropoktonos aen

ap archaeswas murderer; human-killer from the beginning – John 8:44),

with power given him over death, the penalty of sin, as long as man remains

in his dominion, unredeemed. Till redemption cast a new light upon the gloom

of death, man was all his life long in fear of it; its shadow was upon him from

his birth; it loomed ever before him as a passing into darkness, unrelieved by

hope. We know well how the hopeless dismalness of death was a commonplace

with the classical poets, and how, even now, the natural man shrinks from it as

the last great evil. But Christ, human, yet sinless, died for all mankind, and, so

dying, wrested from the devil his power over death, and emancipated

believers from their state of “bondage” (as to which, see below). On

particular expressions in this passage we may remark:


(1) That, “having the power of death,” which has been variously

interpreted, may be taken in the usual sense of ἔχειν κράτος τινος  -

echein kratos tinos - having power, or dominion, over.” Satan has had the

dominion over death allowed him because of human sin. And it may be

observed that elsewhere, not only death, but other woes that flesh is heir to —

 its precursors and harbingers — are attributed to Satanic agency (compare

John 1:12; Luke 13:16; I Corinthians 5:5).


(2) Christ is not here said to have as yet abolished death itself; only to have

rendered impotent him that had the power of it; for natural death still

“reigns,” though to believers it has no “sting.” In the end (according to

Isaiah 25:6-9; I Corinthians 15:26; Revelations 20:14; 21:4) DEATH ITSELF

will be destroyed. In one passage, indeed, it is spoken of by Paul as already

abolished (καταργήσαντος µὲν τὸν θάνατον katargaesantos men ton

thanatonwho hath abolished death -, II Timothy 1:10); but this is in the

way of anticipation: death is already vanquished and disarmed to believers.


(3) The bondage (δουλείας. douleiasbondage; slavery) spoken of is the

condition of unredeemed man, often so designated by Paul. See Romans 7.

and 8., where man’s bondage (felt when conscience is awake) to “the law of

sin in the members,” and his emancipation from it through faith, are described;

and especially 8:15-17 (“For ye have not received the spirit of bondage

again to fear,etc.), as elucidating this passage.


(4)The word ἔνοχοι enochoisubject; liable, followed this passage by the

genitive (δουλείας - bondage), expresses here more than “liability to;” it

implies present implication, equivalent to “in hold to.” The Authorized

Version, “subject to,” expresses the idea adequately.



Christ Robbing Death of its Terrors (v. 14)



all the Son of God achieved by the Incarnation, we see what an eminently

reasonable thing it was. This seems to be forgotten by those who stumble

at what they feel sure is a natural impossibility — that Jesus should have

come into the world as He did. But if great ends were achieved by the Son

of God thus stooping from His glory, entering the world as a babe, living a

human life and dying a human death, then, when we remember how God is

love, surely such extraordinary things become credible. If we can help

people, we are bound to do everything that lies in our power to help them.

And may we not reverently say that a similar obligation lies with the Divine

Being? He knows what is most for our help, and does everything in His

own wise time and way; and when it is done it is for us to search and see

how it is just the thing that needed to be done.



HE MIGHT DIE. This strong way of putting the thing is necessary, in

order to bring out THE GREATNESS OF CHRIST’S WORK with respect

to death.  With us death is the end of life, but by no means to be looked on

as a result of life — a thing to be aimed at. But in the case of Jesus it was a

great end to be reached. Jesus might have lived in the world for many years,

teaching men, healing their sicknesses, gladdening their lives in many ways,

and then, Enoch-fashion (ch. 11:5; Genesis 5:24), He might have been

translated that He should not see death. But if this had happened, the

great end would have been missed.



the results, of course; two are mentioned here. Christ died for men — that

is the great general truth; and it is the way of God in the Scriptures to put

one aspect of a truth in one place and another in another.


Ø      Christ in dying brings to nothing him who has the might of death. It is

the devil who gives death its mighty power. Unseen by us, and by us

incomprehensible, he works out his evil pleasure. And so Jesus had to go

into the unseen world and conquer him. We can only know that there has

been a struggle at all by what we see of the results. We know that He died,

we know that He rose again; but all that happened in order to make His

rising practicable is utterly beyond us. This is just one of the passages

which make us feel how little we know, and how humble and diffident and

cautious of speech we should be before the great unknown. The practical

thing is that we should have a firm assurance in our hearts of how Christ

has mastered the power of death, where ever that power may come.


Ø      The deliverance of those enslaved by the fear of death. Christ comes to

bring liberty. The progress of true Christianity is constantly enlarging the

liberty of the individual. And here is one way in which the individual is

bound, self-fettered; and too often the more he allows himself to think, the

more firmly the chains get fastened. He asks himself what is to come after

death. So far is it from being certain that death means utter discontinuance

of life that many are in trouble just because of the uncertainty. Then others

cling to life just because life holds all that is certain to them. All their

treasures are stored up on earth, for they have no notion of any other

storehouse. (But we are told by Christ to Lay not up for yourselves

treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and

where thieves break through and steal.  But lay up for yourselves

treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt,

and where thieves do not break through nor steal.”  - Matthew 6:19-20)

It is, indeed, miserable work to have everything dependent on

so uncertain a tenure as that of natural life. But Jesus comes and opens

the prison-door.  By His death He has made deliverance possible from

the fear of death. But man’s confused heart goes on fearing

even when the objects of its fear are turned into empty phantoms.



The Incarnation of the Son of God (vs. 14-15)



GOD. “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He

also Himself in like manner partook of the same.” These words suggest:


Ø      The reality of our Lords human nature. He partook of our flesh and

blood. His body was real, and not merely phenomenal. His physical

experiences — e.g., weariness, hunger, thirst, pain, death — were real,

notpretended. His human soul also, with its sympathies and antipathies,

was genuine.


Ø      A peculiarity of our Lords human nature. His human nature was

voluntarily assumed. He partook of flesh and blood. We could not

apply these words to Moses or to Paul without manifest absurdity.

We had no choice as to whether we should be or not be, or what

we should be; whether we should exist at all, or, if we were to exist,

what form of existence should be ours. But he had. We were brought

into this world without our will; He “came into the world” of Hs own

will. “He emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant.”

(Philippians 2:7)  This implies:


o       His existence before his incarnation. “His goings forth were

from of old, from everlasting.”  (Micah 5:2)


o       His power over his own existence. He could take upon Himself

what form of existence He pleased. He had power over his life.

He had “power to lay it down, and power to take it again.”

(John 10:18)


o       His deep interest in human existence.He was rich, yet for

our sakes He became poor, that we through His poverty

might be made rich.”  (II Corinthians 2:9)



GOD. That through death He might destroy him that had the power

of death, that is the devil;”  (v. 14)


Ø      Our Lord became man in order that HE MIGHT DIE!  All other

men die because they are human, and their death is unavoidable;

but he assumed our nature for the express purpose of acquiring

the capability of death. His death was of stupendous importance.

He looked forward to it; He pre-announced it to His disciples; He

deliberately advanced to it; He voluntarily endured it.


Ø      Our Lord died in order that He might VANQUISH DEATH!

“That through death he might bring to nought him that had,” etc.

He does this:


o       By the abolition of Satan’s power over death. Satan may

be said to have the power of death, inasmuch as:


§         Death, as we know it, is the result of sin, and he

introduced sin into our world, and is actively engaged

in propagating it. “The sting of death is sin.”

(I Corinthians 15:56)  But for sin, it might have been

“a gentle wafting to immortal life.”


§         He kindles the passions which lead on to death; e.g.

anger and revenge, which often result in murder;

lust of territory, which often causes war, etc.


§         He inspires the mind with terror in the anticipation

of death. The gloomy and dreadful ideas which are

frequently associated with death are probably suggested

by him. Our Lord died to render this power of Satan

ineffective, and in this respect to bring him to nought.

How his death effects this we will inquire shortly.


o       By the emancipation of man from the thraldom of the

dread of death.  Men recoil in alarm from death for

several reasons; e.g.:


§         The supposed anguish of dying. A good Christian

who was drawing near to the river of death said,

“I have no doubt of going to heaven; but oh,

the crossing, the crossing!


§         The painful separations which death causes.

Tennyson truly expresses the feeling of many

in this respect:


“For this alone on Death I wreak

      The wrath that garners in my heart;

      He puts our lives so far apart

We cannot hear each other speak.”


§         The appalling mystery as to what lies beyond death:


“The dread of something after death,

The undiscover’d country, from whose bourn

No traveller returns.”


§         The solemn judgment to which it leads.It is appointed

unto men once to die, and after that, judgment.”

(ch. 9:27)  The dread of death, for these and other

reasons, holds men in bondage, enslaves them; they

cannot shake it off.  Our Lord died to set them free from

this thraldom. But how does His death effect this? He was

“manifested to put away sin by THE SACRIFICE OF

HIMSELF!” (ch. 9:26)  As an atonement for sin, His death

removes the guilt of all who heartily believe on Him. Death

is no longer penal to them. For them “the sting of death” is

taken away. Again, since Christ died and rose again from the

dead, death wears a new aspect to the Christian. It

is no longer the end of our existence, but an onward and

upward step in our existence. It is the passing from death

into life!  (John 5:24)  It means not repression, but

development; not loss, but gain; not the way to

darkness and misery, but TO LIGHT AND JOY!   Death

to the Christian is no longer “the king of terrors,” but the

kind servant of the Lord and Giver of life.


Death is the crown of life:

Were death denied, poor man would live in vain;

Were death denied, to live would not be life;

Were death denied, even fools would wish to die.

Death wounds to cure; we fall, we rise, we reign!

Spring from our fetters; fasten in the skies,

Where blooming Eden withers in our sight.

Death gives us more than was in Eden lost.

This king of terrors is the prince of peace.”



Thus, by His own voluntary death, the Son of God brings to nought Satan’s

power of death, and sets free the captives of the dread of death. Death

itself remains, but its character and aspect to the Christian are completely

changed. The evil of death is vanquished, and transformed into blessing.

“Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus

Christ.”   (I Corinthians 15:57)


16 “For verily He took not on him the nature of angels; but He took on

Him the seed of Abraham.  17 Wherefore in all things it behoved Him to be

made like unto His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful

high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins

of the people.”  For verily, etc. The Authorized Version (following the ancient

interpreters) takes this verse as referring to the Incarnation. But:


(1) ἐπιλαµβάνεται ….σπέρµατος epilambanetai…. stermatostook on; taking

hold…….of see; the seed - and, still more,  ἀγγέλων ἐπιλαµβάνεται angelon

epilambanetai - , seems an awkward way of expressing to assume the nature of.

The usual sense of the verb, followed by a genitive, is “to take hold of,” as

ἐπιλαµβόµενος ….χειρὸς epilambomenoscheirostook by; hold by the

hand (Acts 23:19; Mark 8:23); and especially in the sense of succouring

(compare Matthew 14:31; here ch. 8:9; and Ecclesiasticus. 4:11,

‘H σοφία ……… ἐπιλαμβάνεται τῶν ζητοῦντων αὐτήν Hae Sophia……..

Epilambanetai ton zaetounton autaenwisdom…..layeth hold of them that

seek her.


(2) The present tense of the verb is inappropriate to the past act of the

Incarnation, which has, moreover, been sufficiently declared in v. 14.


(3) The sequence of thought in the following verse is not easily intelligible

if the Incarnation be the subject of this: Whence it behooved Him to be

made like unto His brethren;” — this does not follow from His having

become incarnate; we should rather say that His incarnation was the means

of His being made like them. Translate, therefore, observing the position of

the substantives before the verbs, For not, I ween, angels cloth he lay

hold of (to succor them), but the seed of Abraham He doth lay hold of.

The allusion is to its being the human “children of promise,” and not

angels, that are denoted in prophecy as being, and acknowledged to be, the

object of the Messianic redemption. The expression, “the seed of

Abraham,” is, of course, not intended to exclude the Gentiles: it is

appropriately used in reference to the Messianic promises of the Old

Testament (compare Genesis 23:18; Isaiah 41:8): and the extension of its

meaning to “all them that believe” would be as familiar to the first readers

of the Epistle as to us (compare Matthew 3:9; John 8:39; Romans 4:11, 16).

The conclusion of v. 17 (which repeats virtually what has been

alleged before, after reason given) now naturally follows: Whence it

behooved Hm in all things to be assimilated to His brethren; i.e. to the

race which was the object of His redemptive succor. But, further, why the

need of this entire assimilation, to the extent of participation in suffering

unto death? That He might become a merciful (or, compassionate) high

priest, in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of

the people. It was that he might be fully constituted as the High Priest of

humanity. Here, according to the manner of the Epistle, the view of

priesthood, to be afterwards set forth at length, is briefly hinted. It is taken

up in Hebrews 5., after the conclusion that Christ is man’s High Priest has

been reached by another line of argument (see preceding summary). In

Hebrews 5, one of the essentials of a true high priest (whose office is to

mediate for man in things pertaining to God) is set forth as being that he

should be of the same race and nature with those for whom he mediates,

and able in all respects to sympathize with them: and this view is here



18 “For in that He Himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to

succor them that are tempted.”  Such power of sympathy Christ, by

undergoing human suffering and temptation, acquired. For in that (or, wherein)

He hath suffered Himself being tempted (or having been Himself tempted in

that wherein He hath suffered), He is able to succor them that are tempted.



Jesus our Brother (vs. 11-15)


Here the writer expands the statement of v. 10, and confirms it by

suitable arguments. This closing paragraph of the first section of the Epistle

emphasizes the fact that Jesus, the Son of God and the King of angels

(Hebrews 1.), is also as Mediator our brother Man.


  • THE BROTHERHOOD OF CHRIST. First, stated abstractly (v. 11).

Next, illustrated from Old Testament Scripture (vs. 12-13), the

Messianic passages quoted being Psalm 22:22;18:2; Isaiah 8:18. Then,

verified from the facts and events of the Savior’s earthly life (vs. 14-18).

This endearing brotherhood is:


Ø      A brotherhood of nature. “All of one” (v. 11); of one nature, of one

race, of one Father. He “partook of flesh and blood” (v. 14); i.e. He

became man. He took His place as one of “the children” by being born.

He had a human body, subject, like ours, to pleasure and pain, to

hunger and thirst, to suffering and death. And He had a human soul,

which thought and felt, loved and hated, was joyful and sad, and

which acknowledged its dependence upon the Father of spirits.


Ø      A brotherhood of condition. “In like manner” (v. 14); i.e. in a manner

almost similar. Jesus had no nimbus round his head, such as the painters

give him. God sent Him “in the likeness of sinful flesh;” (Romans 8:3)

for, though His human nature was perfectly pure, it was exposed to those

infirmities and sufferings which in all other sons of Adam result from sin.


Ø      A brotherhood of experience. “It behooved him in all things to be made

like unto His brethren” (v. 17). So He actually passed through a complete

course of pain and trial and temptation, which ended only with His death.

He traveled over the entire range, and fathomed all the depths, of human

suffering. “He himself hath suffered, being tempted” (v. 18). He went

through every human experience of poverty, toil, pain, disappointment,

insult, persecution; through every sorrow which arises in a pure mind from

constant contact with sinners; and through every form of Satanic



Ø      A brotherhood of love. “Not of angels doth he take hold” (v. 16), to

help and save them: then what a wonder of grace it is that He became

the Redeemer of mortal man! It was from love to us that He “partook”

so readily of “flesh and blood,” that by this means He might raise

humanity to a higher pinnacle of glory than any on which the loftiest

angel can set foot.  It is because of this love “beyond a brother’s” that

even now He does not disdain “to call us brethren” (v. 11).



BROTHERHOOD. Some expressions in the passage state these generally.


Ø      “He taketh hold of the seed of Abraham” (v. 16), to pluck them from

sin and Satan.


Ø      “That He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest” (v. 17): here

we meet this famous title of Christ, “High Priest,” for the first time —

a title which strikes the key-note of the Epistle, and which is not given

to Him in any other book of the New Testament.


Ø      “He that sanctifieth (v. 11). Christ became incarnate that He might

consecrate His people by delivering them from sin. Or, more in detail,

He became our brother:


o       To expiate sins. (v. 17.) By His death in our nature He has offered

to God a perfect satisfaction for the sin of the world. The

perfection of His sacrifice is due to the fact that He who suffered

is the same glorious personage who is described in Hebrews 1




o       To deliver from death and Satan. (vs. 14-15.) “The sting of

death is sin;” (I Corinthians 15:56) but death is powerless to

harm the new life of those who are cleansed with the atoning

blood. Sin was introduced at first by the devil, and death

through sin, and so death is associated with the devil’s

usurpation; but Jesus has “bruised the serpent’s head,”

(Genesis 3:15) rendering him impotent in relation

to “the children” who are to be brought to glory. They

are emancipated by their ELDER BROTHER from death’s

power and fear.


o       To enable Him to sympathize with His people. (vs. 17-18.) He

passed, as our Brother-Man, through every variety of trial and

sorrow, that we may learn to have confidence in Him, as being

fully able to sustain and cheer us amid the darkest experiences

of affliction (   ch. 4:15-16).


o       To bring many sons unto glory. (v. 10.) Jesus is our Moses and

Joshua. He became our Brother that He might be our Leader

through the wilderness of this world up to the heavenly Canaan.

Had He not “partaken of flesh and blood,” there would have

been no inheritance for us. “The humanization of God

is the divinization of man.”




Ø      The necessity of union with Christ by faith, if we would have Him

claim us as His brethren.

Ø      The comfort of knowing, in our days of trouble, that the God-Man

cherishes for us the love of a brother.

Ø      The duty of loving our brethren in Christ (ch.13:1).

Ø      How great the madness of the man who REJECTS Christ’s offered




   The Incarnation a Necessity of the Redeeming Work of Christ (vs. 11-16)



“Partook of the same” (v. 14). As usual, the writer appeals to the Jewish

Scriptures; they assert, he says, the humanity of the Messiah.


Ø      The doctrine of the Incarnation is based on the entire revelation of

God. It does not depend on “proof-texts,” but underlies the whole

Book; it is the truth which gives unity to the whole, so that if it be

removed the Scriptures fall to pieces and are inexplicable. How

delicately it is woven into the web of Scripture and pervades the

whole fabric, is seen in the particular texts the apostle quotes here.

They are not the texts we should have chosen — indeed, we should

hardly have applied them to Christ; but he who, like the writer, is

taught by the Spirit, and has deepest spiritual insight into these pages,

discerns Christ where others do not, as Jesus did when “beginning at

Moses and all the prophets, He expounded unto them in all the

Scriptures the things concering Himself.” (Luke 24:27)  The Old

Testament begins with the promise, “The seed of the woman,”

(Genesis 3:15) goes on to state that He should be of the stock of

Abraham, tribe of Judah, family of David, born of a virgin in

Bethlehem, be a Man of sorrows, bear the chastisement of sins,

and pour out His soul unto death; and then it closes with the

declaration that He is about to come, and that His coming should

be preceded by his forerunner.  (Micah 5; Isaiah 53; Malachi 4)

Then the Gospels come in as the counterpart and fulfillment of all that,

and there is not an Epistle which follows which is not based on the fact

with which Paul opens his Epistle to the Romans “Concerning His

Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David

according to the flesh.”  (Romans 1:3). This doctrine is the key to

the Bible; and no wonder, for this is the great mystery of godliness,

God was manifest in the flesh.”  (I Timothy 3:16)


Ø      This doctrine involves that Christ was at the same time possessed of

two distinct natures. That is hinted at here, in “not ashamed to call

[men] brethren,” which intimates an act of condescension which could

not be fulfilled by one who was merely man. You cannot imagine, it

affirmed, e.g. of Moses, or Elijah, or Paul, or John, that they were

“not ashamed,” etc.; the bond of brotherhood in their case existed

of necessity, and there could be no humility in admitting it, as is

implied with regard to Jesus. The words are meaningless, unless He

was by nature far exalted above man, and assumed man’s nature

voluntarily. Thus the writer who declares Christ’s manhood plainly

implies that Christ was more than man. He who walked the earth in

human nature was at the same time THE MOST HIGH GOD!   It is

not that He laid aside His Godhead. He could not do that; God cannot

undeify Himself. Being God before the Incarnation (as He said, “Before

Abraham was, I am” – John 8:58), He was God on earth as He must be

forever. How it could be we know not, but our ignorance of the mode

does not prove impossibility. He who “in the beginning was God…

was made flesh.”  (Ibid. ch. 1:1,14)


Ø      The doctrine of the Incarnation asserts that, notwithstanding

Christs Godhead, He was a real man.  The writer asserts here that

Christ was man in every respect save sin. Are not the particular

texts quoted here chosen to prove this exhaustively? Man is a trinity —

body, soul, and spirit; if Christ was man, He was human in these

respects.  “Behold I and the children which thou hast given me.

Forasmuch as the children are sharers in flesh and blood.” In the

Old Testament the Messiah calls men His children; that points to

likeness in physical nature. Christ was born, grew, needed food and

rest, sweat drops of blood, was nailed to the cross, lay in the tomb,

bore nail and spear marks.


o       Christ had a human body. Again, “I will declare thy Name

unto my brethren.” Does not that — “ brethren” — point to

what we call soul, the seat of affection, emotion, thought,

conscience, etc.? He increased in wisdom, was moved with

compassion.  (Luke 2:52; Matthew 9:36)  “Jesus loved

 Martha and her sister and Lazarus;” (John 11:5 “Jesus wept.”

(Ibid. v.35) 


o       Christ had a human soul.   Again, “In the midst

of the  Congregation will I sing thy praise,” and again, “I will

put my trust  in Him.” Christ worshipping God, and trusting

God! Doesn’t that refer to what we call spirit, that part of our

nature by which we are brought into fellowship with the Most

High? Christ’s spiritual life was wrought by the Holy Ghost as

ours is, tempted by our tempter, cherished by the same Divine

Word, needed communion with the Father, prayed and

worshipped and trusted as ours do.


o       Christ had a  human spirit. Body, soul, and spirit, He was Man

amongst men. Beware of supposing that, because He was God

at the same time, His Godhead in any way lessened the infirmities

and necessities of His humanity; He would not have been true

man had it been so, and could have been no example to men.

As God, there was the hiding of His power in His humanity.

Christ entered on His work, and fulfilled it in the position in

which Adam stood before he fell.



(vs. 14, 15.) A confessedly difficult verse.


Ø      Death is curse. This text is made difficult of comprehension, because

it is read as though it referred to the fear which Christians often have of

dying. We must remove that idea from the text. The writer is dealing

with what is much more fundamental than that. Observe, the text does

not speak of bondage to the fear of death, but of bondage to Satan

through the fear of death. The death here spoken of is death in its main

idea. Death as curse; death as witnessing to man’s sinful condition;

death as the declaration that he is under condemnation. Man’s fear of

death is but another name for his sense of guilt, his knowledge that

he is under the curse of the Almighty.


Ø      The curse being removed, man is set free to holiness. Holiness is the

end of Christ’s work. The passage begins with, “He that sanctifieth

and they that are sanctified.” To sanctify us was His aim. But

holiness is impossible where the “fear of death,” i.e. a sense of being

under the curse, is. There is only one principle from which holiness

can spring — love to God (that is the difference between morality

and holiness). But we can never love Him till we know that He loves

us — know, i.e., that the curse is removed.  Holiness, however, is

possible then; then:

o       obedience is voluntary,

o       service joyous,

o       surrender easy,

o       resemblance to him certain.


Ø      Being set free to holiness, Satans power is gone. He is here said to

have “the power of death” — a remarkable expression, to which we

must not attach the wrong meaning. Satan cannot inflict death, has no

dominion over death. Christ says, “I have the keys,” (Revelation 1:18)

but “fear of death,” i.e. sense of being under the curse, is the power

Satan wields to keep men in bondage. He:

o       blinds them to Divine love,

o       tells them God is angry with them,

o       is a hard Master,

o       has no claim on them, and

the result is that men continue in sin. But when their eyes are open

to see:

o       he is a liar (John 8:44),

o       that the curse is removed,

o       that God is love,

o       that God in Christ is able to extend mercy,

then the soul breaks away from his bonds into that holiness which is

liberty, and Satan’s power ends.


Ø      This could only be accomplished by Christs humanity. Only by

Christ becoming man could the sense of curse be taken away. Its

removal required that the curse should be endured by a substitute;

but no substitute could be accepted in man’s stead who was not

of man’s kind, and the Law must be obeyed by the nature to

which it was given, and its penalty endured by the nature to

which it was due. Moreover, if Christ is to suffer and die, He

must have a nature capable of suffering and death. So the

holiness of men is based on the humanity of Jesus.




Version, owing to the words in italics, greatly mystifies this verse; as it

stands in the Revised Version it is the natural completion of the writer’s

argument. The “taking hold” (or, “laying hold”) is the laying hold to save.

Christ assumed human nature, not angelic, because He is the Savior, not of

angels, but of men.


Ø      Christ passed by the necessities of fallen angels. Here is a great

mystery. Why did not Christ save fallen angels? We cannot tell.

There may be a wide difference between the sins of devils and

the sins of men. It has been suggested that the one love evil for

its own sake, as when the tempter in the garden would wreck the

world; and that the other love it for some fancied good it brings,

as when the woman thought she saw a good, and therefore put

forth her hand and sinned. There may be some such radical

difference which makes salvation possible only in the one case,

but we are not told; all we know is “the angels which kept not

their first estate, He hath reserved in everlasting chains, under

darkness, unto the judgment of the great day.”  (Jude 1:6)

“He took not hold of angels.”


Ø      Christ stretched out His redeeming hand to man. He “laid hold of the

seed of Abraham;’ as a shepherd overtakes a sheep that is running away,

lays hold of it, lays it on his shoulders rejoicing, and declares, “My sheep

shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my

Father’s hand.”  (John 10:28)  Mark the condescension of the Savior,

and the exaltation of the human race. We are lost in astonishment as

we see Christ pass by the myriads of celestial beings that had fallen,

and set His heart on laying hold of us, that He might raise us as much

higher than they, as the children of the king are higher than his servants.

This involved the necessity of the Incarnation. But more — it reveals

an unutterable desire on Christ’s part that man should be saved, and

the fact that man may be saved if he will.



   Our Great High Priest — His Functions and Qualifications (vs. 17-18)




Ø      To make atonement for man as a sinner. “A High Priest… to make

reconciliation for the sins of the people.” Various are the renderings of

this clause. Revised Version, “to make propitiation;” Alford, “to make

expiation;” Ebrard, and Stuart also, “to make atonement.” Ebrard says,

ἱλάσκεσθαι hilaskesthaito make reconciliation; to be propitiating –

comes from ἱλάος hilaospropitious …… ἱλάος denotes, not the internal

disposition of God towards man, but the actual, positive expression and

radiation of that feeling which first becomes again possible towards the

redeemed; and ἱλάσκεσθαι means to make it again possible for God to be

ἱλάος, i.e. to make a real atonement for real guilt.” Whence arises this

need of atonement? Not because God was indisposed to forgive and save

man. It has been well said by Delitzsch, “As the Old Testament nowhere

says that sacrifice propitiated God’s wrath, lest it should be thought that

sacrifice was an act by which, as such, man influenced God to show him

grace; so also the New Testament never says that the sacrifice of Christ

propitiated God’s wrath, lest it may be thought that it was an act

anticipatory of God’s gracious purpose, which obtained, and, so to speak,

forced from God, previously reluctant, without His own concurrence, grace

instead of wrath.” The death of Jesus Christ for us was the expression of

the love of God towards us, and not its procuring cause. Why, then, was

the sacrifice of the cross necessary to the forgiveness of our sin and the

sanctification of our being?


o       To maintain the majestic authority of God’s Law. Obedience

to law is an indispensable condition of moral well-being. Man

cannot be saved except in harmony with it. The perfect

obedience of our Lord, who was “obedient even unto death,

yea, the death of the cross,” (Philippians 2:8) is the most striking

and significant testimony “that the Law is holy, and the

commandment holy, and just, and good.”  (Romans 7:12)


o       To meet the deep needs of man’s spiritual nature. Man needs the

removal of his alienation from God. His sins have separated

between him and his God. He is alienated and an enemy in his

mind by wicked works.  And the death of the Only Begotten

of the Father was necessary to reconcile him to God. That

death was both a response to the imperious claims of the

eternal law of righteousness, and the final appeal of the

Divine love to the conscience and affections of the human

race.  That appeal moves man’s heart, and awakens within it

love to God. Moreover, man needs the satisfaction of the

instinct of right now awakened within him. The truly penitent

soul, knowing that sin is rightly followed by suffering, and if

persisted in leads to death, and, hating sin in itself, would

fain suffer as an atonement for its sins and as a homage to

goodness and truth. Such a penitent soul feels that “without

shedding of blood there is no remission.” (ch. 9:22)  The

awakened conscience cries out for atonement. Our Lord’s

death for sin, the voluntary surrender of His life upon the

cross for us, meets this deep and urgent need of the religious



o       To succor man as a sufferer. Man needs a High Priest who

“is able to succor them that are tempted.”   (v.18)  The word

“tempted” is used in two senses in the Bible.


§         Tested, proved, with a good intent, as in the case of

Abraham (Genesis 22:1). James also writes of temptations

of this kind (James 1:2-3).


§         Tempted with evil intent, or solicitation to sin. In both

these senses man is tempted. He is tried by suffering

and sorrow, by physical pain and spiritual conflict.

He is also assailed by subtle solicitations to sin. He

requires a High Priest who will be able to help him in

these trying experiences; one who will give him sympathy

in his sorrows, inspire him with patience in his trials, and

with spiritual discernment and strength in his temptations

to sin. Such are the functions of our great High Priest.




Ø      He must share our nature in order that he might make atonement for us

as sinners. The perfect obedience which our Lord rendered to the holy will

of God, the painful sufferings which He patiently endured, and the terrible

death which He voluntarily submitted to, could not have constituted an

atonement for us had He not previously taken upon Himself our nature.

“Wherefore it behooved Him in all things to be made like unto His

brethren.”  (v. 17)  It was morally necessary that he should share our

nature if he would efficiently serve us as our High Priest.


Ø      He must share our trials in order that he might succor us in our

sufferings. Our High Priest must be “merciful,” so as to feel compassion

for suffering and tempted men. He must be “faithful,” so as to elicit and

retain the confidence of those whom He represents before God. He must

Himself suffer temptation, that He may efficiently help the tempted. Both

classes of temptation assailed Him. He was tempted by satanic suggestion

and argument and inducement. He was tried by severest physical pains, and

by spiritual sorrows which grew into the great overwhelming agony. “A

Man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.... Surely he hath borne our

griefs, and carried our sorrows.”   (Isaiah 53:3-4)  Hence He is able to

succor them that are tempted. He can not only feel for them, but with

them. By His personal experience of our sufferings He has acquired the

power of sympathy with us in them. “As God, He knows what is in us;

but as man, he feels it also.”  Sympathy may be considered as a sort of

substitution, by which we are put into the place of another man, and

affected in many respects as he is affected.” Thus our great High Priest

sympathizes with His tried people. In all their affliction He is afflicted.”

(Isaiah 63:9)  He succors as well as sympathizes; He inspires with courage

as well as regards with compassion; and in our weakness He makes us

strong in Himself (II Corinthians 12:9) “and in the power of His

might.” (Ephesians 6:10)  Having such a High Priest, LET US TRUST





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