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Bible Commentaries

Chuck Smith Bible Commentary
Hebrews 2

 

 

Verses 1-18

Chapter2

Therefore we ought to take the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip ( Hebrews 2:1).

More literally, "we should drift away from them."

God has spoken unto us by His Son, the complete revelation. We had better give the more earnest heed to what God has said through the Son than what He said through angels or through prophets or through others. We better give more earnest heed to these things which we"ve heard, lest at any time we should drift away from them. And that was the danger with the Hebrew believers, of drifting away from this position of salvation through the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ. Going back again to the law to seek to be justified before the Lord. That was the danger of their position. You better take the more earnest heed to these things which we have heard that you not drift away from them.

For if the word spoken by angels [who are an inferior medium of revelation] was steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward; How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and then was confirmed unto us by those that heard him ( Hebrews 2:2-3);

So, let"s take the more earnest heed at the things which we have heard, the things which Jesus has taught us concerning salvation, concerning God"s plan of salvation for man through faith in Jesus Christ. For it was Jesus who said, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved" ( John 3:16-17). "And this is the condemnation, that light came into the world, but they would not come to the light, for men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil" ( John 3:19). So the finish of that chapter, "For he that hath the Son hath life, and he that hath not the Son hath not life, but the wrath of God abides on him" ( John 3:36). We"d better take the more earnest heed to the things which Jesus has spoken to us. For if the words that the angels spoke was steadfast, if what they said was true and it held, their word held, the things are true, and they hold true, then how much more the things that were taught us by Jesus Christ.

How are we going to escape if we neglect this great salvation? How are you going to be saved? You can"t go back to the law. For under the law every transgression received a just recompense of reward. Under the law you get what"s coming to you. That"s what the law is all about. Jesus taught us the grace of God and the forgiveness of our sins through our faith and trust in Him. So we better take the more earnest heed. We better not drift away from this, as some of the Jewish Christians were prone to do, drifting away from the truth in Christ and seeking again to be justified by the works and the deeds of the law.

So Jesus, first of all, proclaimed this glorious message of salvation, and then those who heard Him, the disciples, confirmed the things to us that Jesus said.

God also bore them witness, both with signs and wonders, and divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to his own will? ( Hebrews 2:4)

The word was first spoken by Jesus, the word of faith, salvation through faith. It was confirmed by the disciples who had heard Jesus. Then God Himself confirms the witness with the signs and the wonders, and the miracles, and the gifts of the Holy Spirit that were operated by those apostles who had heard the message from Jesus and declared the message. God proving it now to be true. Yes, they are of God and here"s the proof--the signs, the wonders, the different miracles and the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Notice, "the gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His will." Again, as Paul talks about the gifts of the Holy Spirit in I Corinthians, chapter12 , he says, "The Holy Spirit dividing to each man severally as He wills." I cannot buy this that you have all the gifts of the Spirit and all you have to do is exercise them whenever the need arises. The gifts of the Spirit are operated only as God wills. The Spirit divides them severally as He wills. I don"t control the gifts of the Spirit in my life. That is, I can"t say, "Well, this is the gift I am going to exercise now." It"s a work of the Holy Spirit, and it remains in the sovereign work of God"s Spirit within my life.

For unto the angels has he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak ( Hebrews 2:5).

The angels aren"t going to be ruling the world that is to come. They will still be serving.

But one in a certain place testified, saying, [and of course we know who that one was. It was David the psalmist.] What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him? ( Hebrews 2:6)

David was an outdoorsman. If any of you fellows are outdoorsmen, then you"ll love David. He was a man"s man; loved the outdoors, a great hunter, a great sportsman. He spent a lot of nights sleeping under the stars in a time when there was no smog nor powerful city lights that dimmed your vision of the heavens. But under those black Judean skies lit by the brilliance of the stars and planets and galaxies, he often would look up. And as he would look up at the vast universe above his head, he would think, "How nothing I am." And so in Psalm 8:1-9, "When I consider the heavens, the work of your fingers. The moon and the stars which you have ordained, what is man, that you are mindful of him?" "God, who am I that You should even think about me?"

Have you ever had that overwhelming experience of sleeping out up in the mountains or by a stream or out in the desert where you can see the Milky Way and you can see what looks like jillions of stars, and as you begin to contemplate the heavens above your head, this Psalm really speaks to me. I"ve had this experience. I"ve considered the heavens, the work of God"s fingers and these stars and all that God has ordained, and I"ve thought, "Wow! What am I?" This planet Earth is like a little speck of dust revolving around the sun, rotating on its axis out here in a little corner of the Milky Way Galaxy. Our sun being one of the billions of stars within the galaxy. Here am I just a little speck of dust on this little speck of dust. I"m so insignificant in the whole world, especially when you get out there in the desert and you hear a coyotes over the hill and you think you hear rattlers nearby. You"re lying there in the cot, and all you hear are the sounds of the desert and the quietness in the sky above your head, and it seems like there is no one within a thousand miles, and you think, "Who am I that God would even think about me? What is man that you are mindful of him or the son of man that you should visit him? Who am I that God should visit me? That He should come to me. That I should have the privilege of just having God come to me? That I might worship Him and talk to Him and fellowship with Him and feel His presence? Who am I, God, that You should even be mindful of me or that You should come and visit me? And I feel your presence and your closeness and your nearness."

Speaking of man:

You made him a little lower than the angels; you crowned him with glory and honor, and you did set him over the works of thy hands ( Hebrews 2:7):

So man was created a little lower than the angels.

Angels are ministering spirits. They can take on a bodily form, but they are not restricted by a body as we are restricted by our bodies. You see, our body, made up of atoms, experience the repelling force of atoms when we walk into a wall. You want to know the repelling force of positive charges? Run into the wall.

Now, theoretically you should be able to run right through that wall, because there is much more space in that wall than solid matter. There is much more space in your body than solid matter. If you would reduce the solid matter of your body to just plain solid matter, you"d be the size of a microscopic speck of dust. You"d weigh the same. You"d just collapse the atoms in your body. And you"d be the size of a speck of dust. You"re just a bunch of blown-up atoms.

You see, there is very little matter to the electrons. Two and one half quintillion of them could be lined up, single file, and only be one inch long. If you would count them, it would take you19 ,000 ,000 years, counting day and night, at the rate of250 per minute. Very little mass to an electron. There is a little more mass to a proton.

The distance at which the electrons revolve around the nucleus of the atom are such that if the nucleus of the atom was the size of a basketball, if you would blow it up and expand it to the size of a basketball, the electron that is spinning around it would be3 ,000 miles away. That"s how much space there is between the nucleus of the atom and the electrons that revolve around it. So there"s more space than there is solid matter, but we have this other problem of the repellency of positive charges that keep us from passing through the wall.

However, it would be possible if you were made up of a different molecular structure to walk right on through that wall and leave it unimpaired. Now the resurrected body of Jesus evidently was of a different molecular structure, because the disciples were all in the room and the doors were shut, yet Jesus suddenly appeared right in the room with them.

Now, according to scientists, it would be possible for two worlds to coexist at the same time and in the same place; both of them passing through each other, both of them unconscious of the other"s existence, but just made up of different molecular structures. So there could be another whole world right here. Some super jet could be flying through here right now with a lot of passengers on board heading for some continent far away. And there they went and you weren"t even aware of it.

Now, interesting concept. I like it because I believe that it is true that there are two worlds that coexist side by side, passing through each other. On our part we are unconscious of the other"s existence, but it is real. There is the world of the spirit, and these spirits are all around us. Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister to those who are heirs of salvation? For the most part we are totally unaware of their presence, and yet, they are here passing through, passing by, helping, strengthening, ministering, reaching out and giving the helping hand. They"re conscious of our existence, but we"re unconscious of theirs.

Heaven isn"t that far away. I think it"s right here only in a different molecular structure. We think, "Oh, the throne of God, it must be way . . . " You get there in the desert at night and you see with the sky above and you think, "Whooee! How many million light years out there and how far do my prayers have to travel to get to God?" If God dwells at the other end of His universe and I could speed my prayers on a ray of light, it would take them twelve billion years to get there, and by the time I got my answer it would be too late.

Paul said concerning God, "For in Him we live, and we move and we have our being." He"s all around us. We often are unconscious of His existence because we don"t see. But nevertheless, He is here and in Him we live, we move, we have our being. We"re surrounded by Him. He"s just in a different molecular structure. Passing through, passing by. It"s all perfectly scientific.

And so God made man a little lower than the angels and He crowned him with glory and honor, and He did set him over the works of His hands. God said to Adam, "I give you dominion over the fish of the sea, the fowl of the air, every moving and creeping thing. Have dominion over them." So God placed man over the works of His hands.

He 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 ( Hebrews 2:8).

But what do we see?

We see Jesus, [who also became a man,] who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death ( Hebrews 2:9),

He had to become a man in order to redeem man. He had to become next of kin in order to redeem that which man had forfeited to Satan--the world itself. We see Jesus made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death. As God, He could not die. He had to become a man and take on the limitations. So we see Him now,

crowned with glory and honor; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man ( Hebrews 2:9).

There you have what redemption is all about. "The wages of sin is death" ( Romans 6:23). For God laid upon Him the iniquities of us all and He tasted death for every man.

This is talking about spiritual death. And as we told you the difference between the earthly understanding of death and the spiritual definition of death, is that from an earthly standpoint, death is the separation of a man"s consciousness from his body. When you are in a terminal state and they connect the EEG probes to your shaved head and they watch the monitor. And when the little line reads flat they say, "There is no brain activity." They watch the flat line for twenty-four hours, and then they pull the plug and pronounce the man dead. There is no brain activity for twenty-four hours. When they pull the plug they will watch the line. Because if there is any life at all, even in that state your brain will start searching for oxygen, and if there is any flutter at all then they plug the oxygen back in. They say, "Well, not quite gone yet. The brain started searching for oxygen." When the consciousness has been separated from the body, they say you are dead. But from a biblical standpoint, when your consciousness is separated from God, you are dead. The man who lives without the consciousness of God is spiritually dead.

Jesus tasted of death for every man. You remember on the cross He cried, "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" At that point, when our sins were placed upon Him, He suffered the consequence of our sins. Being forsaken of God, He suffered death for us. And so, 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."

Because He tasted death for me, I don"t have to taste death. I will not taste death. Jesus said, "If you live and believe in Me, you will never die." I will never die. I"m talking of it in a biblical sense. I will never be separated from God. I don"t have to be. Jesus took my sin and He tasted death for me, that I don"t have to taste that spiritual death. Oh, I"m going to move. My spirit is going to move out of this old tent one of these days. It"s going to move into the new building of God, not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. That will be a day of rejoicing and blessing. But I won"t die, because I"ll never be separated from God. Oh, the papers might read, "Chuck Smith died," but that"s because those reporters don"t know enough about it. Poor reporting again. They"ve reported poorly on me many times in the past. I hope that some reporter has enough sense when my spirit moves out of this tent to write in the paper, "Chuck Smith moved out of an old worn-out tent, a raggedy old tent full of holes, into a beautiful new mansion." "A building of God, not made with hands, eternal in the heavens" ( 2 Corinthians 5:1).

So Jesus tasted of death for every man, which means that you don"t have to taste death. He was forsaken of God so that you won"t have to be forsaken of God, because He took upon Himself your sins and the consequence of your sins, that separation from God. For as the prophet said, "Behold the Lord"s hand is not shortened that it cannot save, neither His ear heavy that it cannot hear. But your sins have separated you from God" ( Isaiah 59:1). That is the effect of sin, but Jesus tasted of death for every man.

For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things ( Hebrews 2:10),

Notice the place of Jesus. All things are for Him. This is told us in Colossians 1:1-29, all things were made by Him and for Him. He is before all things and by Him all things are held together. Here again, the same declaration concerning Jesus. All things are by Him, and all things, here it declares, are for Him. And by whom are all things. He is the Creator, but He is more than that. He is the object of creation.

As in the book of Revelation, the twenty-four elders announced the worthiness of God to receive the glory offered by the cherubim, "for thou hast created all things, and for thy good pleasure they are and were created." Created by Him, yes, but more than that, I was created for Him. Your life will never be complete or never be satisfied until you start living for Him. As long as you live for yourself, you"ll find your life will be empty, meaningless, frustrating. But the minute you start living for Him, your life becomes rich and fulfilling.

"It became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things,"

in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation complete through sufferings ( Hebrews 2:10).

And so there was a work of God being wrought through the sufferings of Christ. In Isaiah the fifty-third chapter, as he prophesies the sufferings of Jesus, "For it pleased the Father to bruise Him." Now, here is "the captain of our salvation made complete," and we"ll understand this as we get to the end of the chapter, how He has become complete through His suffering. Because it is through His sufferings that He can understand what it is to experience suffering.

How can anyone ever really comfort you at the loss of your dearest friend if they"ve never lost anybody they know? If they don"t know what the grief is of having a child die, how can they comfort you in your death if they don"t know what it is to experience it themselves? Those who have been through the experience are those who know what you are feeling. They are able to empathize with you and really minister to you because they have been there. They know what it is about. They know what it is to have such grief that your stomach aches. They know what it is to have such grief that you feel like you can"t swallow, you"re going to choke to death because of the ache that is there and just hangs there in your throat.

Jesus, because He suffered, made complete our captain of our salvation, because now He is able to understand, and thus, to help us when we are in need and trouble.

For both he that sanctifieth and they that are sanctified are all of one ( Hebrews 2:11):

In other words, we have been made one together with Jesus Christ. That"s what the word fellowship means. Coming into fellowship with our Lord.

for which cause he is not ashamed to call them his brothers ( Hebrews 2:11),

If we only realized what Jesus has done for us. Suffered, tasted death for us, and now He calls us His brothers. We are one together with Him.

Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brothers, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee. And again, I will put my trust in him. And, Behold I and the children which God hath given me ( Hebrews 2:12-13).

So here, "I and the children which God hath given me." Jesus made the way for each of us to come into the presence of God and to become a part of the kingdom of God by tasting death for us, by bearing our sin and our iniquity, by purging us Himself from our sin. And now to present us as brothers, joint heirs with Him, unto the Father to share together with Him the glories of God"s eternal kingdom.

No wonder David said, "What shall I render unto God for all of His benefits unto me?" When I think of what Jesus has done for me, what can I do for Him to show my thanksgiving, my appreciation for tasting of death for me, by bearing the guilt of my sin and by taking the penalty that belonged to me? By granting me this glorious privilege of being an heir with Him of God"s eternal kingdom. What in the world can I render unto God to show my love and appreciation for such things? I feel such a beggar sometimes. I have nothing to offer Him. He has done all for me and I have so little to give to Him. But all He wants is that I just give Him my heart and my life. That means more to Him than any bucks that I could ever drop in the plate. Just give Him yourself, give Me your love, spend some time with Me. Turn off your T.V. and spend some time with Me. That is all He is asking, fellowship with you. Give me some time. And we even fail there.

Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood ( Hebrews 2:14),

You see, I"m made up of flesh and blood. This body, made a little lower than the angels.

"Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood,"

he also himself likewise took part of the same ( Hebrews 2:14);

He came in a body of flesh. He shed His blood for my sins. He took on the limitations of a body of flesh. He experienced the same pain of weariness that you experience in a body of flesh, knew what it was to be tired, knew what it was to stub His toe, knew what it was to hit His finger with a hammer, knew what it was to experience the restrictions and the limitations and the pain and the sufferings that we have in a body of flesh and blood. He partook of the same.

that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil ( Hebrews 2:14);

So Jesus through His death . . . the word destroyed, katargeo, or put out of business, he who had the power of death, that is, the devil. He who brought death to mankind by tempting Eve and Adam. Satan no longer has a hold over me because of sin. I"ve been made righteous through Jesus Christ. Satan, then, has no more claim upon me as far as death because of my sin, because Jesus has cleansed me from my unrighteousness and has made me righteous before God. And so through His death He put out of business the one who had the power of death, the claim of death upon me, that is, the devil.

And he delivered them, who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage ( Hebrews 2:15).

That is, the bondage of sin and the slavery to sin.

For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took upon himself the seed of Abraham ( Hebrews 2:16).

He became as a man.

Wherefore in all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brothers, 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 in that he himself has suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted ( Hebrews 2:17-18).

Our great high priest, Jesus Christ, understands us, and that"s important. He understands us because He came in a body of flesh and He experienced the limitations and all of this body of flesh. He was made like us in order that He might be merciful. He has mercy upon me. He knows what it is to go through the hassles of life. He knows what it is to be hungry. He knows what it is not to have money for taxes. He knows what it is to be pressed unjustly for taxes by the government. He knows these things that we"ve experienced, these things that we chafe under. He knows what it"s about, and thus, He is merciful. In that He Himself has suffered, He is able to also minister to us and to help us when we"re tempted. He knows what it is. He has experienced it.

The Bible says that God knows our frame. He understands we"re but dust. God help us to understand that. So many times we see ourselves with our cape and the "S" on our chest, "Super Saint," able to leap over the buildings with a single bound, faster than a speeding bullet. Here I am, the Super Saint. The Bible warns us about that kind of a feeling or attitude, "Let a man take heed when he thinks he stands, lest he falls." The only way I stand is by Him holding me up, but when He is holding me up, I can"t fall.

"When I consider the heavens, the work of your fingers" ( Psalm 8:3). Now, if you get up tomorrow morning about four o"clock, providing this cloud cover is gone, and you go outside, over here in the southwestern sky you will see the constellation Orion. If you look at the left shoulder of Orion you"ll see that great star Betelgeuse. It is465 ,000 ,000 miles in diameter. That means if the sun was in the middle of Betelgeuse and the earth was rotating around it, you"d have200 ,000 ,000 miles to spare inside the thing to get to the edge of it. That star Betelgeuse is estimated to be traveling at the speed of nineteen miles per second. What force do you suppose it took to get Betelgeuse into orbit? That large a body, that large a mass, 465 ,000 ,000 miles in diameter, what kind of a force or thrust got it going that fast, nineteen miles a second? David said, "When I consider the heavens, the work of Your fingers," so I see God just sort of flicking Betelgeuse out there.

The Bible says underneath of us are the everlasting arms. If God can flick out Betelgeuse with His finger, surely He can hold me up with His arms. I don"t have to worry about falling; the eternal God, the Creator of the heaven and the earth holds me. He loves me. I"m His child. He sent His son in order to redeem me from my sin that He might make me an heir of His eternal kingdom. Oh, that God would grant to us a more complete comprehension of the depth of the riches of love that God extended towards us and continues to extend to us in and through Jesus Christ our Lord. All that I need is found in Him and He is more than sufficient for the task of preserving me and presenting me faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy. What does He want from me in return? Just some time to spend in communion, fellowshipping together. How little to ask when He has given so much.

Shall we pray.

Father, we feel much like David as we stand here on our tiptoes and try to catch a glimpse over the fence of the vastness of the riches of the grace of God and the love of God towards us. God, we feel so unworthy, so undeserving of all that You"ve done for us. What is man that You are mindful of him? Who am I, Lord, that You should visit me? And yet, You died for me. You rose again. You live for me as You make intercession for me there at the right hand of the Father. You uphold me with the right hand of Your power. You keep me day by day. Oh God, my God, how excellent is Thy name in all the earth, and how I love You tonight. Teach us Your ways, Lord, that we might walk in Your truth and bring glory unto the praise of Thy grace. In Jesus" name. Amen.

Just a little throw-in here. It"s an article out of the paper. The scientists are puzzled by a galaxy with the energy of2 ,000 ,000 ,000 suns. I like these little things. A galaxy that is only faintly visible from Earth by telescope has been found to emit as much energy as2 ,000 ,000 ,000 suns, but the source of the energy remains a mystery, astronomers said Monday. The galaxy known as ARP220,300 ,000 ,000 light years from the earth was discovered in1966 , dated from an orbiting infrared telescope launched in1983 , has revealed that the galaxy is a rare formation, because ninety-nine percent of its energy is emitted in the form of heat rather than visible light, said Dr B. Thomas Sophur for the California Institute of Technology. Most of ARP220"s energy is in the infrared part of the spectrum and the amount of energy it emits makes it the most luminous infrared galaxy ever discovered. Sophur also told the Annual Convention of American Astronomical Society an infrared galaxy is one that emits more energy in the form of heat than light. The Milky Way emits amounts equal in heat and light so it is not an infrared galaxy. But that is interesting, 2 ,000 ,000 ,000 more energy than the sun.

We"ll take a visit to ARP220 one of these days, check that thing out. You know that vast universe out there just holds a lot of interesting things that we"ll be able to explore and discover. Oh, I don"t want to go to heaven and sit on a cloud, twiddle my thumbs and play the harp. Well, I"ll tell you what, there is going to be a lot more excitement than that as we discover the vastness of God"s love and grace through Jesus Christ our Lord. God bless you. Spend some time with Him. Take time to just sit and commune, worship and fellowship, and thus, may you have a very profitable week as you grow in your walk and relationship with Him.

 


Copyright Statement
Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.

Bibliography Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Hebrews 2:4". "Chuck Smith Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/csc/hebrews-2.html. 2014.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, September 23rd, 2019
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25
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