The word “therefore” connects chapter 2 with chapter 1.
The main thrust of chapter 1 is to show the superiority of Christ over angels.
In fact, the epistle is written to show that Christ is better than angels, better than Moses, better than the high priest, His blood is better than the blood of animals.
The New Covenant made by Christ is better than the Old Covenant, it was established upon better promises.
The writer also seeks to establish the superiority of the way of faith over the way of the law.
In conclusion, the writer shows how much better it is to worship God through Christ, rather than through slain animals.
Furthermore, the writer introduces the thought of salvation in chapter 1:14.
In the first 4 verses then we are reminded of:
1. The superiority of Christ
2. The greatness of our salvation
This salvation is procured by the crucified, risen, exalted Lord.
It is therefore important that we should pay close attention to what we have heard, the gospel, which is God’s revelation.
In those days of declension, uncertainty, doubt, and Satanic activity, we need to encourage each other in the fundamentals of our faith, lest we drift away from them.
The word spoken by angels refers to the Law, Ten Commandments.
This Law was unattainable, even in the twentieth century.
Those who transgressed or disobeyed were punished relentlessly.
See Leviticus 10:1-5 Nadab, Abihu Strange fire, they were commanded not to.
Numbers 16 Korah’s rebellion and punishment
Joshua 7 Achan’s sin and judgment
Numbers 15:32 An Israelite lost his life for gathering sticks on the Sabbath.
So then, if the penalties of the Law were enforced without question, how shall any escape eternal damnation if they neglect so great a salvation, v. 3.
This salvation was not introduced by angels, but by the Lord Himself.
Then it was confirmed by those that heard Him.
Then God bore witness and gave His approval by signs, wonders, and miracles.
I believe we should look for results from the preaching of the gospel or the teaching of the Word.
Results or signs are simply, yet profoundly, the approval of God or the message spoken.
Furthermore, God extended these evidences by giving spiritual gifts to believers according to His own will.
The signs, wonders, and miracles are faithfully recorded in the Gospels and in the Acts.
The gifts are mentioned in Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, and Ephesians 4.
Another reinforcing witness to the authority of the Gospel was the oneness of the believers.
Having issued the warning, the writer resumes the theological argument.
The subject now is the humanity and the humiliation of Christ.
This is centered in the phrase, “Thou madest Him a little lower than the angels.” V. 7.
But even in the midst of describing the humiliation of Christ, the writer cannot help from reminding his readers of the superiority of Christ. He is crowned with glory and honor, v. 9.
The future world will not be subject to angels, but will be subject to Christ in its totality.
The redeemed will also share in His reign.
v. 6-8 is a quotation from Psalm 8:4-6. This is a Messianic Psalm.
Christ is depicted in His humanity, v. 6 and 7a.
He was made for a little time lower than the angels, He was made a man. See v. 16.
He is depicted in His exaltation, v. 7b-9.
Thou hast crowned Him with glory and honor and hast appointed Him over the works of Thy hands; there is not one thing that is not in subjection to Him.
These are statements of facts, but in reality, presently, we do not see Him in this capacity, v. 8.
What we do see is Jesus who was made a little lower than the angels, who suffered and died, and is now crowned with glory and honor.
It was fitting that Christ, the creator, upholder, and sustainer of things, should suffer in human form.
By His suffering His human experience was made complete.
He was perfected through sufferings and can identify with every man.
Because He suffered He is now fully qualified to serve as captain, leader, and author of man’s salvation.
The oneness of Christ and the believer.
We are from one Father, therefore He is not ashamed to call them brethren.
These are quotes from Psalm 22:22 and Isaiah 8:17-18.
These affirm that the Lord Jesus Christ and born again believers are brothers. (Explain).
v. 14 In this verse the announcement is made of the defeat of death and the devil.
This draws our attention to the atoning work of Christ.
Not only is there defeat, but there is deliverance, v. 15.
“Since then the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise took part in the same.”
This reminds us of the incarnation.
He made Himself of no reputation, took upon Him the form of a servant and was made in the likeness of men.
“Great is the mystery of godliness, God manifest in flesh.”
As a man He died (God could not die).
In His death He rendered inoperative the power of Satan who had the power of death.
Through the atoning death of Christ, with which God was well pleased, believers are delivered from the fear of death.
They are also delivered from the slavery and consequences of sin.
For assuredly He does not give help to angels, but He gives help to the descendants of Abraham.
When this verse is connected to v. 17-18, this is probably the correct rendering.
“Wherefore” because He was made flesh and blood like His brethren, He understands the afflictions and trials which they pass through.
Because of His experience, He is able to represent them before God as their high priest. See chapter 4:14-15.
Explain Aaron as priest in contrast to Moses.
The priesthood of Christ as introduced here is one of the central themes of the epistle.
Notice the character of His priesthood.
Merciful = compassionate
He is merciful or compassionate to men.
He is faithful to God.
In His high priestly office He makes propitiation for the sins of the believers.
He is qualified to do this because during His humiliation He suffered and was tempted and emerged victorious.
Therefore He is able to come to the aid of those who are being tempted.
So great is His office as our Great High Priest that in v. 1 of Chapter 3, Paul asks us to consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession.
The epistle is really an answer to the question “What do we now have in our new-found faith?”
The answer is Christ in all His superior attributes.
In Christ we have One who is greater than the prophets, greater than the angels, greater than Moses, greater than Joshua.
One whose priesthood is greater than that of Aaron’s. One who serves a better sanctuary. One who has given a better covenant. One whose once-for-all offering of Himself is superior to the repeated sacrifices of bulls and goats.
Some of those Hebrew-Christians were in danger of falling away or going back to Judaism.
In Chapter 1, the writer has just finished his argument that Christ is superior to angels and prophets because He is the Son of God. He is the Creator, Upholder, Purifier.
No angel or man could claim these attributes. He is preeminent, paramount, predominant.
Then before showing that He is also superior as the Son of Man, he digresses to give the first of several solemn warnings that are to be found in the book.
The first warning is against drifting away from the Gospel, Christ, verses 1-4.
Describe the solemn possibility, the little girl and her grandfather.
v. 1 We are urged in verse one to believe the Gospel message.
To grasp it with both hands lest we should slip away from it.
One day we will hear it for the last time. W. Hunter.
Also, every time we hear it and refuse it, we add another degree to the intensity of our eternal punishment, should we die without Christ.
There is always the danger of being so close to believing and enjoying some of the benefits of the Gospel, then to slip into the state of apostasy, the sin for which there is no repentance. Hebrews 6:4-6. Quote verse one at this point.
v. 2 The Jews attached special importance to the ministry of angels.
The law was declared by angels, Acts 7:53, Galatians 3:19.
Those who disobeyed this law were promptly punished, Nadab, Abihu, Korah, gathering sticks.
v. 3 If those who broke the law were punished, what will be the fate of those who neglect the Gospel, which tells of the so great salvation, great gulf fixed.
To neglect such great salvation is more serious than to transgress the law.
The Gospel story was spoken directly by the Lord Himself, not by angels. Then it was confirmed by those that heard Him.
v. 4 This verse authenticates the importance of the message.
God the Father and God the Spirit showed their approval of the Gospel by signs, wonders, miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Signs were miracles performed by the Lord and the apostles which signified spiritual truths. 1) The feeding of five thousand = The Bread of life.
Wonders were miracles which were intended to amaze people. Raising of Lazarus.
Miracles were a display of supernatural power which supersedes the laws of nature. Walking on water, stilling the storm.
Gifts of the Holy Spirit
Gifts of the Holy Spirit were special enablements given to men to speak and act beyond their natural ability.
The purpose of all this was to convince the Jewish people that this work was from God. This is also authentication of the Gospel message to us.
Verses 5-8 give us a glimpse of God’s original purposes for man.
v. 5 clearly states that in the “age to come,” the millennium, that dominion will not be given to angels.
v. 6-8 shows that dominion will be given to man.
v. 6 Man is insignificant and unimportant yet God has great plans for him.
v. 7 In the scale of creation man has been given a lower place than the angels.
He is more limited in knowledge, mobility, and power. He is also subject to death.
Despite these limitations God will crown him with glory and honor and give him power over all creation.
v. 8 All creation will be put under man’s authority in the coming age.
The angelic hosts, the world of animals, birds and fish, Genesis 1:28.
This whole concept was God’s original plan for man.
The reason we do not see this authority today, is, that because of sin man lost control.
Through Adam’s sin docile creatures became ferocious, the ground brought forth thorns and thistles.
In this age man’s authority is limited; in the next it will be complete.
The Superiority of the Son of Man v. 9-18
Our Lord, the Son of Man, was also made lower than the angels.
He came from heaven to Bethlehem, to Gethsemane, Gabbatha, Golgotha, the Grave. They mark the stages of His humiliation.
Now the Lord is crowned with glory and honor.
It was God’s purpose that Christ should taste death for enemy man.
He bore God’s judgment against sin so that all who believe will never bear it.
v. 10 His great purpose in “tasting death for every man” was “to bring many sons to glory.”
In obtaining our salvation our captain had to be “made perfect through suffering.”
Morally our Savior was perfect, but He had to be made perfect as Savior.
To procure eternal redemption for us He had to suffer the punishment that our sins deserved.
Verses 11 through 13 Perfect Man yet very God of very God.
Emphasizing the perfections of Christ’s manhood.
Ecco Hoimo – Ecco Deus
v. 10 “Both He that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are one.”
That is they possess true humanity, the oneness of Christ with believers.
Because He became true man, “He is not ashamed to call them brethren.”
v. 12 This verse pictures the Lord identifying Himself with His people in worship.
“I will declare Thy name unto My brethren.”
“In the midst of the congregation I will praise Thee.”
v. 13 In this verse, two verses from the Old Testament are quoted to show His perfect humanity.
“I will put my trust in Him.” Isaiah 8:17
Putting one’s trust in God is one of the greatest marks of true manhood.
“Behold I and the children whom God has given Me.”
The thought here is that the Lord and His redeemed children are members together in the family of God.
In verses 14 through 18 we are shown four important blessings which are ours through the humanity of the Lord. See Philippians 2, “He made Himself of no reputation.” “Great is the mystery of godliness.”
1. “The destruction of Satan.” V. 14.
“Through death, He destroyed him who had the power of death, that is the devil.”
At Calvary the devil received His death blow.
His head was bruised, he is a defeated foe, his time is limited.
The risen Christ has the keys of Death and Hades. He has complete authority over them.
At the rapture all living believers will go to heaven without dying.
2. v. 15 The second blessing that flows from the Lord’s humiliation is “Emancipation from fear.”
Before the cross, the fear of death held man in life-long servitude.
There were flashes of light and a glimmer of hope concerning the life to come.
But the general attitude was one of uncertainty.
What was hazy before Christ has been made clear after Christ.
He has brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel, 2 Timothy 1:10.
3. v. 16-17 The third blessing is expiation from sin.
v. 16 When our Lord came into the world He did not espouse the cause of angels. He elected to die for the “seed of Abraham,” the believer of every age.
The sin question has been settled forever.
v. 17 In order to achieve this He had “to be made like His brethren.”
He assumed true and perfect manhood.
His perfect humanity fits Him to be a merciful and faithful high priest.
His chief function as High Priest was to take away the sins of the people.
In doing so He did what no priest ever did or could do.
He offered Himself as a sinless sacrifice.
4. v. 18 The fourth blessing is “help for the tempted.”
Because he was tempted and suffered much.
He can help others who are being tempted, because He has been tempted Himself.
The Lord Jesus in His perfect manhood was always tempted from without, never from within. The temptation in the wilderness.
The Savior could not be tempted to sin by lusts within Himself.
There was no sin in Him, and nothing in Him that responded to sin.
Notes on Hebrews 3
The first part of the chapter teaches that Christ is superior to Moses, v. 1-6.
Then in v. 7-19 the writer warns of the danger of hardening the heart.
v. 1 Moses was one of Israel’s greatest national heroes.
The third main step in the writer’s strategy is to demonstrate Christ’s infinite superiority to Moses.
Previously, the writer has shown that Christ the Messiah is better than angels.
That He is superior to all created beings as the Son of Adam.
At this point in his letter the writer makes the incredible claim that Christ is infinitely superior to Moses. Christ Supreme, Superior, Surpassing
To the Jewish mind the thought of our Lord claiming to be God incarnate was blasphemy.
The fact of His humiliation was shameful.
To the Jews, Jesus was a man and only a man.
He belonged to a lower order than the angels.
In their reckoning He did not compare with Moses.
The writer addresses this question by drawing attention to Christ Jesus, v. 1.
He describes Him as “the Apostle and High Priest of our confession.”
We are urged to consider the Lord first as the “Apostle,” in this capacity He represents God to us.
Then to consider Him as the “High Priest” as He represents us before God.
In these sacred offices He has left angels and men far behind, unparalleled, unequaled, unsurpassed.
v. 2 In this verse the writer shows that there was one respect in which Christ and Moses were similar.
The Lord was faithful to Him who appointed Him. The faithful witness, Revelation 1:5, faithful at all times to God.
Jehovah commended Moses for being faithful in God’s house, the nation of Israel.
There the similarity ends. In every other respect Christ’s undisputed superiority is substantiated.
v. 3-4 These verses tell us of several ways in which Christ is better than Moses.
1. He was counted worthy of more glory than Moses.
2. The builder of the house has more honor than the house itself.
3. The builder of the house (the nation of Israel and the household of faith) is God. The Lord Jesus Christ was the active agent in all creation, Colossians 1:14, Hebrews 1:2, 10.
The conclusion here is unavoidable. Jesus Christ is God, Jesus Christ is Lord.
v. 5 Moses was faithful in God’s house as a servant, Numbers 12:7.
He witnessed and pointed men forward to the coming of Christ, Deuteronomy 10:15.
The Lord acknowledged his witness in John 5:46, Luke 24:27.
v. 6 The writer here is showing us that Christ as Son is far superior to Moses who was a servant. Mount of Transfiguration “In all things Christ must have the preeminence.”
In this case sonship means equality with God. God’s house is Christ’s house.
The writer now explains what is meant by God’s house today.
It is composed of all true believers in the Lord Jesus, “whose house we are.”
“If we hold fast,” etc. Endurance is the proof of reality.
The inference here is that those who lose confidence in Christ and return to their former condition show that they were never born again.
In doing this they become apostate.
It is against such apostasy that the following warning is directed.
From v. 7 through v. 19 the writer warns of the danger of hardening the heart.
Israel in the wilderness is taken as an example.
They proved God, saw His works for 40 years, but they hardened their hearts against God.
The admonition here is “Harden not your hearts,” etc. v. 8.
v. 9 They provoked the Lord for forty years with complaint, lust, idolatry, unbelief, and rebellion. Give examples of the above. All this despite the Pillar and Manna.
v. 10-11 God was so angry with the rebellious Israelites that He decreed that they should wander forty years in the wilderness.
Of all those who left Egypt twenty years or older, only Joshua and Caleb entered the land. The others perished in the wilderness.
It is interesting to note that as Israel was forty years in the wilderness, the Holy Spirit dealt with Israel for approximately forty years after the death of Christ.
Israel as a nation was destroyed in AD 70.
v. 11 The Lord was grieved with this erring people and in His wrath determined that they would not enter into the land of rest and promise.
In v. 12-15 we have the application which the Holy Spirit draws for us through Israel’s experience. This is a warning to us.
v. 12 Take heed brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief. Faithlessness-unfaithfulness.
Among the many things that an unbelieving heart will do is to cause us to fall away from God.
v. 13 The antidote for this sin is the constant encouragement of each other, especially in days of spiritual conflict, temptation, distress.
It is the responsibility of each believer to encourage each other with the encouragement they have received from God. 2 Corinthians 1:4.
We continue this ministry while it is called today. “Forsake not the assembling, etc.”
We should encourage each other day after day lest anyone should be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin and fall away. Malachi 3:16.
v. 14 For we are made partakers of Christ, when we believed.
The proof of the genuineness of our conversion is shown in having confidence in Christ to the end.
v. 15 In this verse the writer concludes the personal application of Israel’s sad experience in the wilderness by repeating the words of Psalm 95:7-8, “Today if you will hear His voice,” etc. See also v. 1.
v. 16 The chapter closes with a historical interpretation of Israel’s apostasy.
In a series of three questions and answers the writer teaches Israel’s rebellion, provocation, retribution.
v. 16 shows the extent of their “rebellion.”
All the people rebelled against God. There were only two exceptions, Joshua and Caleb. Moses and Aaron were excluded from the land.
v. 17 shows the extent of their “provocation.”
These rebels provoked the Lord for forty years.
There were about 600,000 of them.
God was angry with them and by the time the forty years were ended the desert was dotted with around 600,000 graves.
v. 18 shoes us the “retribution” for their sin.
It was those who disobeyed God that were excluded from the land of Canaan.
The sin of the hardened heart and of unbelief is serious.
1. It is an attack on God’s truth and made Him a liar.
2. It was questioning His power; it made Him weak.
3. It was an attack on His immutability; they implied that He was a changing God.
4. It was an attack on His fatherly faithfulness; they implied that He no longer cared.
He had made promises that He had no intention of fulfilling.
v. 19 The conclusion
“They could not enter the land because of unbelief.”
It is unbelief that keeps man out of God’s inheritance in every dispensation.
Beware of the evil heart of unbelief.