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Bible Commentaries

Henry Mahan's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament
Hebrews 2

 

 

Verses 1-9

So great salvation

Hebrews 2:1-9

Hebrews 2:1. ‘Therefore’ (since God has spoken to us by the Son himself; since we have a full revelation of his mercy and righteousness in Christ; since Christ, who is infinitely above all angels, prophets, and priests, has preached to us the gospel of redemption), ‘we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard from him.’

Hebrews 2:1-4. Paul gives several reasons why we ought to give the more earnest heed to what Christ has said.

1. Christ is the Messiah, himself, of whom all the others spoke; and he is the last messenger (John 3:36; 1 Peter 1:18-20).

2. (Hebrews 2:1) ‘Lest we let them slip away.’ We can let them slip away by not receiving them when they are preached, by being taken up with other things and neglecting them, by removing ourselves from where they are preached, and by hardness of heart, we lose them through the judgment of God (Israel did).

3. (Hebrews 2:2-3) If the message given through angels (that is, the law spoken by them to Moses) was authentic and disobedience to that law and ceremony received a just penalty, how shall we escape severe penalty if we refuse to receive so great salvation declared by the Lord himself?

a. It is great because of the author of it (Hebrews 5:8-9).

b. It is great because of the wisdom of it (Romans 3:25-26).

c. It is great because of the cost of it (1 Corinthians 6:20).

d. It is great because of the power of it (Romans 1:16).

4. (Hebrews 2:4) This gospel was spoken by our Lord himself. It was confirmed by the apostles. It was established and endorsed by the Father, who gave these apostles great gifts and marvelous manifestations of the Holy Spirit as credentials that they spoke for God and spoke the truth. They spoke in other languages, healed the sick, even raised the dead, and cast out demons (Mark 16:17-18).

In the light of all this, how shall we escape the judgment and wrath of God if we are indifferent to this gospel?

Hebrews 2:5. It is not the angels, but Christ who has been given a name above every name, who is head and King of the new heaven and new earth, and to whom is committed all judgment (Philippians 2:9-11; John 5:22). Angels are powerful, numerous, ministering spirits, about the throne but not on the throne. Christ is the King! All things are delivered unto him of the Father (Matthew 11:27).

Hebrews 2:6-9. This is a quotation from David's Psalms 8:3-8 and may set forth man's position on the earth before he fell. But the Apostle Paul appropriates them to man as represented by the Lord Jesus Christ. One can read these verses along with Genesis 1:26-28 and ascribe this to man in his original creation. But take it along with Hebrews 2:9 and see how that Christ, our Lord, for a while was made flesh and through suffering and death experienced death for every one of his people.

Mr. Spurgeon wrote a beautiful word on this Psalm, emphasizing Hebrews 2:4, ‘What is man that thou art mindful of him?’ ‘The least grain of sand is not so small to the whole earth as man is to heaven. When I think of the heavens –the sun, the moon, and the stars –O God, what is man? Man, in the pride of his heart, sees no wonder in God's being mindful of him; but a humble soul is astonished. Will the Lord have respect to such a vile worm as I? Will the Lord acquaint himself with such a sinful wretch, enough to die for me? Will the Lord open his heart to me? 'What is man that thou are mindful of him' or carest for him?’

Man is but a piece of clay

That's animated by thy heavenly breath;

And when that breath thou takest away,

he is clay again by death.

Baser than clay is he,

For sin hath made him like the beasts that perish;

Tho' next to angels he was in degree,

Yet this beast thou dost cherish.

Worse than a beast is man,

Who after thine own image made at first

Became the devil's servant by sin;

And can a thing be more accurst?

Thou didst thyself abase,

And put off all robes of majesty,

Taking his nature to give him thy grace,

Thou hast made him one with thee.

He is not worthy of the least of all thy mercies –he's a beast!


Verses 10-18

He took on him the seed of Abraham

Hebrews 2:10-18

Hebrews 2:10. The first reference is to the Father: ‘For it became him.’ Salvation was an act worthy of the Father and characteristic of his nature of love (for God is love). He is the first cause of all things in creation and grace, and they are all for his glory and good pleasure.

The second reference is to us: ‘In bringing many sons unto glory.’ These sons are predestinated to the adoption of children, redeemed by Christ, called by his Spirit, and heirs of heavenly glory. There are many of them out of every kindred and nation (Romans 8:28-31; Revelation 5:9).

The third person mentioned is Christ: ‘The captain of their salvation.’ He is called the captain of our salvation because he is the author of it; he is our King and Lord; he is our guide and leader. By the Father's purpose and love (John 3:16) and because of the Father's righteousness and justice, the Saviour must suffer perfectly all that the law and justice of God required of us (Romans 3:19-26). The only way that Christ could redeem us in agreement with the attributes of God was to suffer, and that in a perfect manner (Luke 24:26; Luke 24:46).

Hebrews 2:11. Christ, who sanctifies, and those he sanctifies have one Father and stand in relationship as brethren. Christ is the first-born of many brethren. This relationship Christ acknowledges (Matthew 12:46-50 : John 20:17). In Christ and with Christ we have one Father, we are one family, we are one body, and we are one covenant. Though he is God over all, he is not ashamed to own us as brethren.

Hebrews 2:12-13. These words are quoted from Psalms 22:22 (without doubt a Psalm of Christ) as proof of what Paul said in Hebrews 2:11. The other quotation is from Isaiah 8:17-18. Christ receives his children as a gift from the Father (John 17:2). He receives them as a purchase paid for by his blood (1 Corinthians 6:20). He receives them from the Holy Spirit as those who are called; they come to him in faith!

Hebrews 2:14. Since those whom he redeems are of human nature, Christ also became a man and assumed a human nature like theirs. He took flesh and blood, subject to temptation, infirmities, and death; but Christ took his nature of a virgin and was without sin. We were under sentence of death because of sin. In order to take this Judgment and sentence upon himself to redeem us, Christ had to become a man (1 Corinthians 15:21), a man who could die under the wrath and Judgment of sin. God cannot die, but God in the flesh can experience death. Satan cannot kill and destroy except by permission, but he is said to have the power of death because he introduced sin which brought death. Sin is the sting of death, and sin is the force and power of Satan's kingdom. Christ destroys this power and force over all believers (John 11:25-26).

Hebrews 2:15. This is applicable to all believers; for without hope in Christ, death is certainly a fearful experience. How can any person who has no hope of pardon, forgiveness, and eternal life look upon death without fear? But this scripture is especially spoken concerning the Jews under the Law of Moses, which was a bondage and constantly spoke of death because they were daily transgressing those ceremonies and laws. Without Christ, the Law of God offers no hope, only death (Romans 8:15).

Hebrews 2:16. There was no salvation designed for the fallen angels (Jude 1:6). Christ took human nature as derived from Abraham, for the Messiah was to spring from Abraham and is promised as that seed of his in whom all nations would be blessed (Genesis 22:18; Galatians 3:16). This shows, too, God's sovereignty and his distinguishing grace and mercy to men.

Hebrews 2:17. It was necessary for Christ to become man, for unless he was a man:

1. He could not be a High Priest to offer sacrifice for sin and make intercession, for the High Priest was taken from among men (Hebrews 5:1).

2. He would have no sacrifice to offer, for he had to shed his blood (Hebrews 9:11-12).

3. He could not be a faithful High Priest or Mediator with a perfect righteousness to plead (Romans 5:19).

Hebrews 2:18. He was tempted in all things –he suffered, he hungered, he thirsted, he was despised, he was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. Therefore, he is able to sympathize and aid us in our infirmities.

 


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Bibliography Information
Mahan, Henry. "Commentary on Hebrews 2:4". Henry Mahan's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hms/hebrews-2.html. 2013.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, July 21st, 2019
the Week of Proper 11 / Ordinary 16
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