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Bible Commentaries

E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament

Hebrews 2

Verse 1

Heb 2:1. Therefore means in view of the things set forth in the preceding chapter, the following conclusions should be observed. More earnest heed signifies that we should be all the more concerned about it, since we have heard our duty taught by the Son of God and his spokesmen. Slip is from PARARREO, which Thayer defines, "To flow past, to glide by; lest we be carried past, pass by." He then explains his definition to mean, "Lest the salvation which the things heard show us how to obtain slip away from us." Thayer also quotes from Greek literature to show the word to mean, "A thing escapes me, slips away from my mind." Even if Christians do not deliberately discard the sayings of Christ, they may forget about them unless they give earnest heed to them.

Verse 2

Heb 2:2. Spoken by angels. There were times when God delivered some special messages to individuals through the services of angels (Gen 16:9 Gen 19:17, and others). But the main thing Paul has in mind is the use God made of the angels in delivering the Mosaic law to the people (Act 7:53; Gal 3:19). Was stedfast means it was fairly established on the authority of Christ. Transgression denotes a going over and beyond an established law; not only the doing what it expressly says must not be done, but also the doing of what it does not give any authority to do. Disobedience means the simple failure to do what the law requires, regardless of the cause or motive for such failure. Rec-ompence of reward is all from one Greek word that means the treatment one receives on account of his conduct. Just signifies that what was done to those who transgressed or disobeyed the law of Moses, given through the services of angels, was proper and what they deserved.

Verse 3

Heb 2:3. How shall we escape our just fate? If we neglect is fully as dangerous as to be guilty of active wrongdoing. So great salvation is said because of the greatness of the means by which it was made known to us, which means will now be described. Began to be spoken by the Lord. Jesus spent more than three years in the personal work of preparing the foundation or fundamentals of His kingdom among men. Was confirmed unto us by them that heard him. This refers to the apostles who were chosen by Christ to be with him all of the time between His baptism and ascension (Act 1:21-22). The apostles had first-hand information from Christ when he was on earth, and they afterward received "all truth" pertaining to the Gospel as the plan of Christ for salvation (Joh 16:13). This word was confirmed by the miracles which they and their converts were enabled to perform (Mar 16:20).

Verse 4

Heb 2:4. These miracles are to be attributed to God also, because He bestowed the Holy Ghost (or Spirit) on the apostles in answer to the prayer of Christ (Joh 14:16). Gifts according to Ms own will. The miraculous gifts which the disciples were enabled to perform in the early years of the church were regulated by the Lord in the best way for the good of the work of salvation (1Co 12:7).

Verse 5

Heb 2:5. Paul is still considering the superiority of Christ over the angels, and of His law over that which was "spoken by angels." Those beings were inferior even to all men that they were not to have dominion over the earth at the time of creation, while it was given to man. (See Gen 1:26-28.) The world means the inhabited part of the universe, and to come is said because when the dominion was given to man, the population of the earth was still in the future.

Verse 6

Heb 2:6. One in a certain place means David in Psa 8:4-6. Testified is a strong word in the original, and denotes a solemn and earnest declaration, as if the speaker felt surprise and admiration over something. What is man is not meant to lower the importance of man, except as a contrast with so great a Being as the creator of all things. That God would be mindful of such a creature to the extent of the facts referred to, caused David to express himself as it is in this passage. Son of man is virtually the same as the simple term man above, except that it indicates a being that is reproduced by another like himself, and hence that he is inferior to his Creator. Visitest is from EPISKEPTOMAI which Thayer defines, "To look upon in order to help or to benefit, equivalent to look after, have a care for, provide for."

Verse 7

Heb 2:7. Little lower than the angels This same thing is said of Jesus in verse 9, and the sense in which it is said is explained, namely, for the suffering of death. Hence we understand that this inferiority of man to the angels in the present verse refers to the nature of his body, that it is possible for him to die which the angels cannot do (Luk 20:36). Notwithstanding this humble status of man, God did crown him with the glory and honor of being placed over the works of His hands.

Verse 8

Heb 2:8. Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. This is said in reference to what is declared in Gen 1:26-28. From here on the apostle extends his remarks to Include Jesus, which is not considered in the original passage in the Psalms. This is not the only instance where a New Testament writer makes a second or extended use of an Old Testament passage. Hos 11:1 is said regarding the departure of ancient Israel from Egypt, but Mat 2:14-15 quotes it and applies it to Christ. Likewise Mat 1:23 cites Isa 7:14 and applies is to Christ, yet the passage in Isaiah first referred to an infant born to the prophet and his young wife. See not yet all things put under him is said of Jesus, and the next two verses will indicate what it is that is not yet put under or been conquered by Jesus, and what he must first suffer before His final victory over all except his Father.

Verse 9

Heb 2:9. Jesus was made lower than the angels in regard to his body only, as explained in verse 7; it is further explained in the present verse. In order to be able to taste death for every man, He must himself be able to die, which required such a body. It was by the grace or favor of God for mankind, that Jesus was enabled to die (and live again) for humanity. It was a glory and honor for Jesus to be crowned with such an exalted privilege as that of dying for the salvation of man.

Verse 10

Heb 2:10. The pronoun him refers to God, and it became him or was befitting that He should do the things mentioned in the verse. Whom also is a pronoun standing for God, because all things were originally for and by Him. He planned to bring many (as many as would) persons unto the glory of spiritual service in this life, and eternal glory in the life to come. For such a grand accomplishment it was necessary to have a captain who could lead them in the manner. Such a captain was to be Jesus, and he was made perfect (completely qualified) by suffering. Such an experience was all that Jesus lacked before he came to the earth, and hence He was given a fleshly body that was capable of suffering and death.

Verse 11

Heb 2:11. This verse and on through the chapter, carries the main subject of the oneness and fellowship that was designed to exist between Jesus and those whom he planned to save. To be sanctified means to be devoted to the service of God. Such a state of devotion is accomplished through Jesus who is he that sanctifieth. They are all of one in that both Jesus and his disciples are united in reverence for God who makes all. good things possible that exist. In this sense they are all brethren and Jesus is not ashamed in the happy relationship.

Verse 12

Heb 2:12. Paul verifies his statement of the preceding verse by a quotation from the Psa 22:22, which is a part of a chapter composed of predictions about Christ. In the midst of the church. In Mat 18:20 Jesus promises to be present in every scriptural assembly, and in such a meeting He will be joining in the praises.

Verse 13

Heb 2:13. This verse is a quotation from some Old Testament sayings, parts of them from David, pertaining to the close fellowship between the Lord and his disciples.

Verse 14

Heb 2:14. The fellowship is continued in this verse. The motive for sharing in a nature of flesh and blood is the same as indicated in verse 9. Destroy is used in the sense of counteract, for the devil will never be literally destroyed. But lie had the power of causing death to come upon mankind. and Jesus died and rose again in order to bring all men to life again.

Verse 15

Heb 2:15. Bondage is from DOULEIA which is literally defined by Thayer as follows: "Slavery, bondage, the condition of a slave." He then explains it to mean, "The slavish sense of fear." With no prospect of living again, mankind would have a feeling of dread for death that would be like the terror caused by a harsh master over his slaves. Such a fear of death would indeed be a cruel bondage, but the resurrection of Christ dispelled that fear in the minds of all who believe in Him.

Verse 16

Heb 2:16. Nature is not in the original text because angels are not natural beings. The thought is that Jesus did not come into the world with a body like those of the angels, for then He could not have died (Luk 20:36). He came instead as a fleshly descendant of Abraham.

Verse 17

Heb 2:17. It was necessary for Jesus to be like his brethren with regard to His body, in order to have a sympathetic interest in their trials and other tests. Being so formed, He could have a feeling of mercy toward them in their transgressions. One meaning of faithful is to be "worthy of trust; that can be relied on." Christ became such a high priest by partaking of the nature of fleshly man, while not surrendering His divine character and likeness to God. This qualified him to make reconciliation (satisfaction with God) for the sins of the people.

Verse 18

Heb 2:18. Jesus was clothed with the flesh and was actually tempted (yet never yielded; Heb 4:15) as we are. This made Him able to succour (support) others who were taken in their sins, or who are in danger of being so taken.
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Bibliographical Information
Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Hebrews 2". E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/znt/hebrews-2.html. 1952.