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Bible Commentaries

Matthew Poole's English Annotations
on the Holy Bible
Hebrews 2

 

 

Verse 1

HEBREWS CHAPTER 2

Hebrews 2:1-4 The obligation we are under to give more earnest heed

to the gospel doctrine.

Hebrews 2:5-18 The dominion of the world to come was not granted to

angels, but to the Son of man, whom it behoved to

undergo a previous course of humiliation and suffering.

In this and the three following verses the apostle applieth the doctrine of the great gospel Prophet’s being more excellent for nature and person than any of the angels in respect of his Deity; and from thence inferreth the dnty, that since God speaking by the prophets is to be heard by those to whom he sends them; how much more when speaking to them by his Son-prophet, who so infinitely excelleth not only all prophets, but angels too!

We ought to give the more earnest heed; we believers, who know the things spoken to be good for us, whether apostles, ministers, or Christian members, by the indispensable necessity laid on us by God’s precept, are obliged more abundantly, exceeding abundantly, than formerly they had; more than they gave to Moses and the legal ministry, excessively beyond that, 2 Corinthians 11:23 Ephesians 3:20; to give heed with an attentive and intent mind, so as to have hearts fastened to what was diligently considered of before, received, believed; heeding them so as to retain and practise them; so to believe, profess, be, keep, and do what he speaks from the Father to them, having souls knit and cleaving to them, James 1:22,25.

To the things which we have heard; all that mind and will of God which his Son revealeth to us fully, the whole gospel doctrine which by himself, and by his Spirit in the apostles, he had preached and written to them, Romans 10:14-16.

Lest at any time we should let them slip; an act opposite to the former giving heed, which is by them to be denied, viz. their being like leaking vessels, or having chinks open in their souls, letting by them slide out the most precious gospel of Christ, as water out of a cracked, leaky, broken vessel, or split on the ground. All forgetfulness of memory, all apostacy in heart or profession, is that which the Spirit forbiddeth in this metaphor, pararruwmen. Their danger as to their persons is made a motive to this duty, Hebrews 2:3, and is not therefore so immediately concerned in this, though it may be implied, for none will let the gospel of Christ slide from them who will not, as to their persons, slide from him at last.


Verse 2

This and the following verse is a rational motive used by the Spirit to enforce the foregoing duty, and shows the danger of their persons by the neglect of it.

For if the word spoken by angels; for if the law of God delivered by the ministry of angels to these Hebrews’ forefathers at Mount Sinai, Deuteronomy 33:2, as ministers, and servants of Christ there, Acts 7:38,53, compare Galatians 3:19, and all other revelations of God’s will to Moses and the prophets by angels, consisting of precepts, prohibitions, promises, and comminations, the whole body of God’s laws contained in the Old Testament. The term by which law is expressed, logov, signifies in most of the Eastern languages a command as well as a word; and legein, to command, as well as to speak. The force or obligation of this law or word was from God the Redeemer, whose word it was, though published and promulgated to the church by angels.

Was stedfast; made firm by the solemn sanction of God, with a penalty, if any durst use it arbitrarily, or despise it; there was no violating it by commission or omission without being punished for it; God establishing it by fulfilling promises and executing judgments, Hebrews 10:28. Not a contumacious transgressor of it could escape his punishment; which made the law firm and valid; see Deuteronomy 17:10, &c.; and this not only as the law of a Creator, but of a Redeemer, stablashing of it by entering into a covenant with them by it, and they confirming it, Joshua 24:22,24.

And every transgression and disobedience; every contumacious going beside the law, or casting it aside by commission of evil, or rejecting prohibitions, or disobedience to positive laws by omission of what they required. And by a metonymy is understood transgressors by either of these ways.

Received a just recompence of reward; a just retribution, a righteous proportionable rendering of punishment to them for their sin; evil for evil, and death for sin, executed either immediately by God, or mediately by his instruments of government, according to the exact grains of justice, Romans 2:5-13. This punishment was either inflicted on, or received certainly by, the offender in his own person if capital, or in his representative sacrifice for lesser crimes, Hebrews 10:28 Romans 1:32 1 Corinthians 10:5-11.


Verse 3

How shall we escape? This consequent answereth the antecedent in Hebrews 2:2, but in one part of it, that which concerns the punishment of the transgressors of the law, thus: If the word by angels, much more the word by the Son; and if sins against that were punished, much more sins against this: the Spirit including the sanction of the gospel’s power in the judgment which it pronounceth upon its despisers, which it could not do if it were not established. The interrogative how, introducing the consequent, is vehemently negative; by no means, or there is no possibility of our escaping in the case proposed: compare the close of Isaiah 20:6. There is no avoiding the righteous punishment which the just God doth threaten gospel sinners with, such as is recorded in Matthew 10:15 11:22,24 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9 Hebrews 10:28,29; none can escape it, neither I nor you, if such transgressors; external offices, or church privileges, will not excuse any one from the just punishment and retribution of God.

If we neglect so great salvation; if being careless, so as to despise and make light of the gospel, or to reject it, Hebrews 8:9 Matthew 22:5. Opposed this is to the sins of commission and omission about the law; any denial of receiving it, or of a progress into the necessary duties it requires, so to neglect them as to end in apostacy. For the gospel law of Christ revealing and promising salvation to believers, opposed here to the law given by angels, will make safe all spiritual good both for time and eternity to the sincere believers and obeyers of it. The gospel is called salvation metonymically, because the subject matter of it is salvation, Ephesians 1:13, and it hath a causal power and virtue to save, Acts 13:26 Romans 1:16; opposed to the law, which was the ministration of death and condemnation, 2 Corinthians 3:7,9, being revealed by angels under carnal types and temporal promises, and, by reason of the veil on their hearts, became killing to them. The word by the Son is salvation, because a full and clear discovery to it. This salvation is transcendent, being not a terrene or temporary, but a heavenly, eternal salvation, delivering those who truly obey it from the worst of enemies, the sorest and most lasting punishment, and instating them in eternal happiness and blessedness in heaven. This was great for clearness of light, 2 Corinthians 4:4, and diffusive efficacy and success.

Which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord; an aggravation of the neglect of this salvation from the Lord publishing it. It had its rise and beginning from the Fountain of all truth, and was first by voice and preaching made known to the Hebrews, and such Gentiles as came to hear the promulgation of it, Matthew 4:17, at Christ’s solemn entering on his ministry, above three years before his death and resurrection. And it may refer higher; for as it was most clearly, plainly, sweetly, and eminently preached by himself, beyond what was taught by the prophets in the Old Testament, or John; yet he first preached it himself in the beginning to our apostate parents in Paradise, Genesis 3:15, and he preached it in all the prophets publishing of it since: yet this priority may be in respect of the ministry which he ordained to follow him, and not of that which went before. It was so preached by the Lord himself, the Mediator, Lord of life and death, Head of angels and all principalities and powers, the great Prophet, swaying all things by the word of his power. The law was preached by angels, the gospel by God the Son himself, Hebrews 1:2; and so is preferred before the law, in respect of its ministration by the Head, not of its authority.

And was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; settled it was, made firm and authentical, by himself. The Trinity bear witness to it in heaven, confirm it on earth by miracles, signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds, by Christ, John 5:36, by his apostles, 2 Corinthians 12:12, and by the gifts of the Holy Ghost in great variety distributed to his apostles and publishers of this gospel, which made their ministration of it effectual, Acts 2:1-3; compare 1 Corinthians 12:9-11; even to the apostles and Hebrews, and to all who believe, it is so confirmed. Nor is Paul less the writer of this Epistle for that he joins himself with them, since he did hear both the Lord and the apostles, and was confirming those of them with whom he had fellowship, and was confirmed by them, Acts 9:17,19 Ga 2:9. Christ’s disciples and apostles heard this gospel from him, and did witness it by preaching, writing, and sealing it with their blood, Philippians 1:12 2 Peter 1:16,17; which confirmation by their sufferings was instrumental, mediate, and subservient to the miracles and gifts of the Holy Ghost enjoyed of them and wrought by them.


Verse 4

God also bearing them witness: here is a further aggravation of the neglect of the gospel of salvation, from God’s testifying to it by the works and gifts of his Holy Spirit: such sin grievously, and will receive a proportionable punishment; for God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, cotestify with all those instruments confirming the gospel of salvation, with a testimony peculiarly fitted to it; yet in this joint witnessing God is the highest, and autov pistov, only to be believed for himself.

Both with signs and wonders; by works above nature’s reach, signifying God’s being in and approving the gospel law, which they attend, Mark 16:17. More numerous and glorious were these than they which confirmed the law, Acts 2:22,43 4:30; such strange works as raised admiration in all that saw them, and are prodigious to those that hear of them, or read them, Romans 15:19.

And with divers miracles; miraculous works, such as are compassed only by a Divine, supernatural power; and variety of these, as healing all diseases, raising the dead, ejecting devils, Mark 16:17,18; works of as great mercy, as wisdom or power.

And gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will; as gifts of tongues, prophecies, &c., Romans 12:6-8; compare 1 Corinthians 12:7-10; such as nature could not furnish any with, but the Redeemer did by his Spirit, commmunicating them to various persons of divers kinds and indifferent degrees. From, by, and for himself he giveth out these wonderful works; his will the only rule for time, persons, manner, and measure of their distribution, allotting all their portion, Romans 12:3 1 Corinthians 7:17 12:4,7,11,18 Eph 4:7.


Verse 5

For unto the angels: the Spirit having applied the doctrine of the great gospel Minister, exceeding the prophets of old, and having a more excellent name and office than angels, in respect of his Deity, pursues to show these Hebrews, that he is so likewise in respect of his humanity, the other nature in his person. This he proves negatively in this verse. The rational particle introducing, shows it to be a demonstration of his excelling angels, having a world to come subjected to him, which they have not; for so none of these incorporeal, intellectual, spiritual substances, so often diminished before, have; because those Hebrews were more addicted to esteem of them, and the law ministered by them, than of God the Son incarnate and his gospel.

Hath he not put in subjection; this God the Father, Son, and Spirit, the Creator who formed all things, and had right of disposing all things under their proper Lord, hath not put under their ordering or government; he never decreed, foretold, or promised that it should be under their authority.

The world to come, must be interpreted by that scripture, where it is asserted and proved that it was subjected to the great gospel Minister, and that is in Psalms 8:5-8. It is a world that must consist of heaven and earth; compare Hebrews 2:3,6,7. It was a world not come when Paul wrote this Epistle to the Hebrews, see Hebrews 2:8. It is a world distinct from this present world, Ephesians 1:21, in which God-man must eminently reign; a world between this world and a heavenly one which is to come, in respect of us, Luke 18:30 1 Timothy 4:8. A world to come, which the angels have nothing to do with, as they have with this, which is greatly under their administration; such as consists of a new heaven and a new earth, in which dwelleth righteousness, 2 Peter 3:13; for Peter asserts, that Paul, according to the revelation given him of it, had written to these Hebrews, and eminently in this text. And unto this do the prophets give witness, Isaiah 65:17,18 66:22: and of his day of rest and sabbath in it, as Hebrews 4:7,9,10; so Isaiah 66:23. And for their restitution in this world to come do the creatures groan, Romans 8:19-23, that they may be therein under the happy administration of the Second Adam, the Lord from heaven. And of this the 8th Psalm {Psalms 8:1-9} doth assure us; for it is not, as some have imagined, a representation of the state of the first Adam, but of God-man, the Second Adam, and his world; for Christ applieth it to himself, and testifieth it was written of him, and it is not compatible in itself to any other, Matthew 21:16. This world to come is a heavenly world, begun by Christ to be created when he commenced to preach the gospel covenant, which angels were not to meddle with, as they did the law, but was only to be ministered by men, Psalms 8:2; through whose ministry of the word by the Spirit, is ingrafted into the sinful nature of the elect a new creature, whereby they are delivered from this present evil world, Galatians 1:4, and fitted for being inhabitants of this new one, 2 Corinthians 4:6 5:17; compare Ephesians 4:22-24; which hath been preparing by Christ’s casting down heathenism and Judaism by the gospel, Luke 10:18 Hebrews 12:26, and bringing them into a new world of ordinances and church privileges, fitted for them, and called by the Spirit, the kingdom of heaven, it surpassing the Sinai church state as much as heaven doth earth. And he is now proceeding to cast down papism, or Roman Christian paganism, and Mahometism, Revelation 19:19-21, and to subdue the generality of men, both Jews and Gentiles, to himself, Zechariah 14:9 Romans 11:25,26; when this Christian heavenly frame shall be advanced to a higher degree by the descent of the new Jerusalem from God out of heaven, Revelation 21:1,2 22:1-5; in the which the kingdom of Christ shall be most peaceable, glorious, and prosperous. And to the rendering of it eminently so, Scripture seems to intimate, that the bodies of the martyrs of Jesus shall be raised, and their souls united to them, and so be made conformable to Christ’s glorified person, Philippians 3:21; compare Revelation 20:4-6. These will their Lord send down into this new world, and to have the same state in it, and to perform the same offices to the saints, as the angels had and did in the world past, Mark 12:25; there to be kings, and reign as the angelical thrones and principalities did before, Revelation 5:10 20:4. As priests, help on the saints’ duties, and instruct them in the matters of the kingdom of God, and so answer in conformity to their Head, as he was forty days after his resurrection; during whose reign in this new world the devil shall be chained up, so as they shall not be infested, nor the nations deceived, as formerly they were by him, Revelation 20:1-3, so as there shall be no need of good angels to oppose or restrain him. At the close of which thousand years the devil will be loosed for a little while, as Hebrews 2:3,7,8, and infest the world, when the great Lord and King of it shall in the greatest solemnity descend into the air with all his hosts of angels; and by the trumpet of God sounded by the arch-angel, the dead in Christ shall first be raised, and the living changed in the twinkling of an eye; and being openly owned and acknowledged by the Supreme Judge, shall be assessors with him; when the judgment shall proceed by the angels bringing devils and all impenitent mankind to the bar of Christ, where the vast accounts of them shall be cast up and audited, and on the charge against them they shall be found speechless and convict, so as the great Judge shall solemnly sentence them, and it be assented to and applauded by all the saints, Revelation 20:2,11,12,15, compare 1 Corinthians 6:2,3, and be as gloriously executed by the ministering angels, Matthew 13:41-43. And so this great King and Lord, having thus shut up the scene of this world, shall return in triumph into the heaven of heavens, and there in the height of his glory deliver up his kingdom to the Father, that God may be all in all, 1 Corinthians 15:22-28.

Whereof we speak; we describe it further in the following testimony, and in this Epistle, as to some part of it.


Verse 6

But one in a certain place testified: the Spirit proves affirmatively out of one of the prophets, that with these Hebrews it might have the more weight and authority, by an elliptical speech, that this world to come was subject to the great gospel Minister: But to Jesus he put in subjection the world to come, as one testifieth. This one was the king and prophet David, a Lord and Son to whom was this Jesus; the title of the 8th Psalm {Psalms 8:1-9} ascribes it to him: he is not particularly named, because these Hebrews well knew it, yet he diemarturato, thoroughly testified, or most expressly, giving a full confirmation of what is asserted, that Jesus is the Lord of the world to come: and this certain place was a well known place, and very ready with those, even Psalms 8:1-9.

Saying; making it known by word and writing there beyond any contradiction.

What is man? the subject of David’s admiration is not the first Adam, nor any mere man, but the gospel Prophet, God-man, a most eminent One, the Messiah of these Hebrews, the man Christ Jesus, 1 Timothy 2:5; and to him only are the privileges vouchsafed agreeable, and by him only enjoyed. For Adam had now lost his dominion when this Psalm was penned, and was never so honoured as to have all things under his feet, even principalities and powers, which Christ had, Hebrews 2:8 Ephesians 1:20-22; and Christ interprets it of himself, Matthew 21:16. The expostulation is resolvable: Man is nothing in himself, that such royalty should be assigned to him.

That thou art mindful of him; that God should respect him, should remember and design such a worm as man for so great preferment, as union to the Deity and universal dominion.

Or the Son of man: this is the peculiar title of the Second Adam. Adam was a man, but not the son of man, but of God by creation, Luke 3:38; but the Spirit testifieth this of Christ, Daniel 7:13; Lord of the sabbath, Luke 6:5; God-man, John 3:13 5:27.

That thou visitest him; episkepth, to be peculiarly inspected; and with a special care concerned for him, so industriously and with so great a providence to afford him suitable succour. The form of it is an expostulation with admiration: it is an amazement at the discovery of so stupendous love to man. How emptied he himself for sinners! This work of Christ is the greatest wonder and astonishment to angels.


Verse 7

Thou madest him: ’ Hlattwsav, so diminished, as it supposed the subject to be in a higher condition before: this no man ever was, but the man Christ Jesus: see Philippians 2:7,8.

A little lower than the angels: bpacu ti, may refer to his condition, and to the duration of it. He was lower a little in his nature, being a man and servant; in his condition, suffering and dying; yet this was but for a little while, being about thirty-three years in the form of a servant, and three days in the grave, Ephesians 4:9: so he was lesser than the angels, in the Psalm styled Myh la God’s sons, Psalms 97:7, to whom he is here compared; though it be a truth he is lesser than God in the human nature.

Thou crownedst him with glory and honour; an allusion to the crowning of kings at their inauguration; so God visibly took him up to heaven, set him down on his right hand on his throne, and conferred on him the highest royal dignity, honour, and glory, though the Hebrews disesteemed him, Ephesians 1:20,21 4:9,10 Php 2:9.

And didst set him over the works of thy hands; his institution to his mediatory sovereignty and dominion, as the supreme Lord of all that God made in heaven and in earth, to order, rule, command, and dispose of them as he will, Psalms 8:6: compare Philippians 2:10,11.


Verse 8

Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet; the impartial, righteous Jehovah the Father, is the relation in the Trinity, spoken of in the relative Thou, throughout these verses. He is God’s King; for his personal worth and excellencies, preferred before principalities and powers, and every name; before all persons, things, and places, the world to come as well as this: all angels, as well as men; all creatures wherever, in heaven, earth, sea, or hell; are under his sovereign dominion, they all lie at his feet, to dispose of as he pleaseth; they are all set in subjection to him by the ordination of his Father: see Psalms 8:6-8 1 Corinthians 15:24-29 Ephesians 1:20-22 Philippians 2:9,10 Col 2:10. According to the Eastern custom, as subjects lie prostrate at the feet of their sovereign, so do all creatures to him who is Lord of lords, and King of kings, as Exodus 11:8, see the margin; Isaiah 49:23. They bow down and worship him as their own Lord; but as being under his feet signifies the utmost subjection of them to him, and his triumph over them, it especially refers to his enemies, sin, devils, sinners, and death; as Joshua, a type of him, did, Joshua 10:23,24; showing thereby what God would do with all the rest. Allusive to this is Isaiah 51:23, especially to all the enemies of his Son, as Psalms 110:1 1 Corinthians 15:25,27. As to his church, it is his body, and though distant from him as creatures, and so worshipping and honouring of him as elect angels, yet being his queen too, she loves and honoureth him as a wife, Psalms 45:9,11 Eph 1:22,23 Eph 5:23,24: she hath her subjection as well as her dignity; she is not a peer to him before marriage: but as Eastern emperors marry slaves born or captivated, because they acknowledge no king greater than they, or equal to them; so Christ takes sinners and makes them his body, his church, his queen, who though for condition are under his feet, yet he so dearly loves them, that he takes them thence, and sets them at his right hand.

For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him: if nothing is left unsubjected, then angels and the world to come are subjected to him; and it is evident they are so, by their ministering to him at his conception, birth, danger from Herod, temptations by the devil, at his entrance on his ministry, at his passion, at his resurrection, ascension, and since his session on his throne, obeying his commands, and performing his errands, Psalms 8:8.

But now we see not yet all things put under him; it is evident to our sense and experience, that though he hath obtained this sovereign dominion over all on his ascension, yet he hath not exerted his power in utterly subjecting and triumphing over his enemies at present, nor in reducing all his own people to subjection to him; yet this shall be gradually done in every age, and completely when he shall come to be glorified in his saints, to punish his enemies with everlasting destruction, 1 Corinthians 15:24,26 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10 Revelation 20:11-15.


Verse 9

But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels: this second application of the psalmist’s words demonstrates Jesus, the gospel Prophet, to be the man or Adam intended by the Spirit there; and his humiliation and exaltation to be the matter asserted of him: see Hebrews 2:7.

For the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour: the reason or end of his diminution, in respect of angels, for a little while, and of the necessity of his being man, was, that he might be crucified and die, Philippians 2:7-11, and thereby merit for himself a crown of honour and glory. This was given him for his giving himself to be a sacrifice for sin, and by his own blood to expiate it.

That he by the grace of God; the principle determining, which was God’s good pleasure; he alone, out of his free love and favour to sinners, ordered this, as John 3:16 1 John 4:9. Therefore the Hebrews had no reason of being offended with him as they were, 1 Corinthians 1:23.

Should taste death; a metaphor to express to die as a sacrifice, making satisfaction to Divine justice, and expiating sins, Isaiah 53:10. All his sufferings in body and soul, which were many and bitter, are here intended, and their completion by death, Matthew 26:39,42, intimating by his taste of this deadly cup, his sipping of it, but not having swallowed it: and it is a metaphor allusive to the Grecian customs, who put men to death by giving them a cup of poison, as the Athenians executed Socrates.

For every man; to render sin remissible to all persons, and them salvable, God punishing man’s sin in him, and laying on him the iniquities of us all, Isaiah 53:4-6 1 John 2:2; and so God became propitious and pleasable to all; and if all are not saved by it, it is because they do not repent and believe in him, 2 Corinthians 5:19-21: compare John 10:15. This was evident to and well known by these Hebrews, as if they saw it, the work, concomitants, and effects of it demonstrating it. And this now in the gospel is evident to faith: it was so certainly visible and evidently true, as not to be denied but by infidels.


Verse 10

For it became him: a further reason of Christ’s humiliation and sufferings is added, to show the necessity of his being lower than the angels for a while; in which the Spirit prevents what these Hebrews were apt to question, why God would have Christ thus to die, &c., by adding: Therefore it became him so to do; it was agreeable to him, and had a meetness in it to his excellent perfection; by it displaying together his Divine wisdom, justice, mercy, and power. Amongst all his methods, he pitched upon this as the best, and did by it what was befitting and becoming a God to do. He likewise revealed this so becoming decree of his by the prophets to the church, and it was meet to and becoming his truth to fulfil it, Isaiah 53:1-12 Luke 24:25-27.

For whom are all things, and by whom, are all things; for the manifestation of God the Father’s glory, whose grace gave Christ to die for us, are all things which have a being; and by him are all things, as the Efficient and Creator of them, by his powerful word they are: this being likewise attributed to the gospel Prophet, God-man, John 1:3 Colossians 1:16.

By whom; it shows he is no more an instrument in this work than the Father, and equally efficient with him, Romans 3:26.

In bringing many sons unto glory: agagonta cannot agree with autw, him, for that is the dative case, but with what follows, ’ Archgon, the Leader of their salvation bringing many sons to glory: so that though the Father indeed glorify, yet it is most properly spoken of the Leader, to lead or bring his company thither; and so it is written, Ephesians 2:18 3:12. He showed and led them the way wherein they were to reach it, 1 Peter 3:18, who though for state were sinners, yet made fit by regeneration and adoption, and have their title from their Leader, John 1:12,13. He merited by his sufferings both the relation and inheritance for them, Romans 8:14-18 1 Peter 1:2-5; and so as to bring them to that glorious state and condition, for persons and enjoyments, in the heavenly Canaan prepared for them, Matthew 25:34 1 Peter 5:10 1 John 3:1,2.

To make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings: so their ’ Archgov, a prime Leader of many, a person eminent for priority and dignity, directing and ordering all under his power, who is the prime of the creation of God, Colossians 1:18, having the pre-eminency of all angels and men: he was perfected; teleiwsai signifieth the consecrating or accomplishing of a person for office by sacrifice; so Christ useth it, Luke 13:32, I shall be perfected, i.e. sacrificed and completed in my office by death: so John 19:30. By his sufferings of all sorts accomplished in death, and by the blood of that sacrifice, was this great gospel Prophet made a perfect Mediator, and fitted for his officiating and ministering in heaven for ever, herein fulfilling his types, Hebrews 9:11,12,14,15,22-24: compare Exodus 29:1-46. He, in respect of saving his, is the author, purchaser, and perfecter of it to them: he by his sufferings and death merited salvation for them, by his word and Spirit fits them for it, by his intercession increaseth and applieth it; he vanquishes all opposers of it, and puts them finally into the actual possession of it in glory in heaven.


Verse 11

For both he that sanctifieth: for shows the reason of the Son’s incarnation, viz. the necessity of union in nature between the sanctifying Mediator and the sanctified sinner. The great gospel Minister was to bring many sons to glory by suffering, which he was not capable of, but by being united to one and the same nature with them to whom the penalty was due, and so he must be Head of them. This God-man is separating and consecrating of penitent believing sinners from the common mass to God, meriting by his death for them remission of their sins, and sanctifying their persons by his Spirit from their pollutions by them, 1 Corinthians 6:11 Titus 3:4-7 Hebrews 9:14 10:10,14.

And they who are sanctified; penitent believing sinners, justified by his blood, and sanctified by his Spirit, Ephesians 5:25-27.

Are all of one: this is an attribute of the unity of the principle of both these; such an one as is proper to man with himself, whom he sanctifieth, and not competent to angels; it must therefore be the principle of humanity. He took a human soul and body united to his person, and so became of one nature with us, {compare Hebrews 2:14} of one human mass, alluding to the first-fruits offered at the Passover, or the loaves at Pentecost, whereby all the rest were sanctified: so Christ assumed the same human nature, that he might be the Head and leading Representative of a body of mankind, differenced from them by his being holy, and they sinful, and personally united to the Word.

For which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren; the unity of him and them in the human nature, is the cause why he calls them brethren, therefore they must be one: considering him in the holiness of his Deity, and them in the filthiness of sin, he might have been ashamed of such a brotherhood; but by his effectual word he adopted them into a state of childship and heirship to God with himself; and in the flesh to give them that glory, that they might be one with God, as he and the Father are one, John 17:22.


Verse 12

Saying; this brings in the proof, that the great gospel Minister, Christ, God-man, did call his sanctified ones

brethren; and was by the same nature so related to them. The proof is in Psalms 22:22, where the apostle asserts, Christ spoke what was said by the prophet there; and that this Psalm concerneth him, is evident by the application of other passages in it to him, both by himself and the Spirit; and who reads it, may see him crucified afresh there.

I will declare thy name unto my brethren; I, as the gospel Prophet, who have seen thee, and am of thee. John 1:18, and who only understand

thy name, will teach, and make it to be known and admired, as that whereby thou art described, distinguished, and set above all other beings and relations to them; a name suitable to their state and relation unto thee and me. Thee in all thy glorious attributes, related to them as to Moses, Exodus 34:5-7, especially thy name of Father, whereby thou standest related to me and them as brethren, fulfilled, John 20:17:

My Father, and your Father; my God, and your God; when he sent this message by Mary Magdalene to his apostles and disciples, to whom he was related as a brother in his humanity, sonship and heirship, family and household and amongst whom he is the First-begotten and elder Brother. Brethren are one, and as one; and so is he and his sanctified ones, Hebrews 2:14 Luke 1:31,35 Joh 17:22,23 Ro 8:14; so Romans 8:17,29 Ga 4:5-7 Ephesians 3:14,15.

In the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee; in the respective parts and congregations of his mystical body, implicitly his brethren. Christ and they are from one Father divine, he by nature, they by grace; and from one human parent, Luke 3:23,38, and both of one flesh: he solemnly sung and praised his Father with them at his supper, in that representative church, Matthew 26:30 Mark 14:26.


Verse 13

And again, I will put my trust in him: this is a further proof that Christ’s sanctified ones are his brethren, his exercising himself in a necessary work proper to that brotherhood only. They are all of the household of faith, Galatians 6:10; their business is to believe in God. All who do so, are brethren; Christ doth so, and so is a Brother to them; he and they rely on one and the same God and Father to both: he did believe, confide, and rest on God, that he would help his humanity to go through all his works and sufferings to the perfecting of that of redemption. Some say he spake this in the person of David in Psalms 18:2, because Psalms 18:49 is applied to Christ by the Spirit in Romans 15:9. But others think that Psalm is not so properly understood of Christ, and that these words are not found in the Septuagint, which the apostle frequently useth, as being most familiar with these Hebrews; but that these words of his trusting in God, and of his children, are to be found near together in Isaiah 8:17,18, which chapter is a clear prophecy of this God-man the Redeemer, and punctually fulfilled by him on earth. This seems most rationally to be the place the apostle refers as to both these texts.

And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me: this is the third proof, which, though it be literally Isaiah’s words, who complained how himself and the children of God in his days were scorned by the world for cleaving to him, yet herein was he a type of Christ, and in him was it eminently fulfilled. This the word

Behold intimates, it being a matter of great weight and importance, to be attended, to be considered and unstood, by the church.

I and the children which God hath given me; I and my brethren, children of the same heavenly Father, John 11:52 20:17 1 John 3:1; which my Father of free grace chose and delivered on my purchase, and whom he had fitted and wrought by his Spirit, to be brought home by him unto glory, though they were the wonder and contempt of this world, John 17:2,6,8,9,11,19,22,24.


Verse 14

Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood: the Spirit having proved the children and brethren sanctified by Christ to be men, proceeds to prove, that the Sanctifier of them was of the same nature with themselves; and so confirms what he asserted, Hebrews 2:11, that they were of one: forasmuch as those were chosen, born of God, and given to him, adopted into his sonship and heirship, and by this, as well as by their humanity, derived jointly with his own from Adam, his brethren, kekoinwnhke, these having it in common. The word imports the reality, integrity, unity, and community they all have of the human nature; they are all truly, only, and fully men, and every individual person hath this humanity. These

flesh and blood metonymically set out the whole human nature, though the body only be literally expressed by it, a body subject to many infirmities.

He also himself likewise took part of the same; God the Son himself paraplhsiwv, had the next and nearest correspondent condition with theirs, even the same as to the kind of it, as like as blood is to blood, properly and truly, only freed from our sinful infirmities, as Hebrews 2:17 4:15; this word diminisheth him not, but showeth his identity: metesce,

took part, he became a partner with the children, and took their nature. It is not the same word as before, kekoinwneke, as the Marcionites and Manichees corrupt it, as if he had this nature only in common with them, making him only man. But being God, besides his Divine nature, &c., to it he took the human, even their true and full nature, consisting of a body and a soul, and so united them, that in him they became one person; so that hence results a double union of Christ with man. By his incarnation he is of one nature with all the human race, and so is the Head of them: and by his dying for them all the human race are made salvable, which angels are not; and those who repent and believe on him, are actually sanctified and united to him, as his elect and chosen body, and shall be saved by him.

That through death he might destroy him that had the power of death: by his dying on the cross as testator of God’s covenant, and not by his power as a God, (which was most glorious to himself, but most ignominious to the devil, according to the promise, Genesis 3:15), did he abolish, or bring to nought, and render powerless without any recovery, not by taking away the immortal life and being, but the kratov, the strength and power to kill. For the ezousia, the authority, right, and command, the keys of death, are in Christ’s hand only, and he useth the strength of this execution in it, as to his enemies; when sinners become penitent believers, then his death satisfying God’s justice for their sin, hath executed the power as to death, which the devil had by law against them: 1 Corinthians 15:56,57: The sting of death is sin, that gives him power; and the strength of sin is the law, that, unless satisfied for, takes part with sin; but Christ by dying takes away the law’s enmity, removes sin, as to guilt, stain, and power, and so brings to nought this power.

That is, the devil; the prince himself, set here collectively for all the rest of his evil spirits, Matthew 25:41, who by his lies drew man into sin, and by sin stings him to death; having therefore such power to seduce to sin, he powerfully renders men obnoxious to death: and then, as executioner, having them by the law delivered into his hands, putteth forth his strength to torment and destroy them. Christ by his death doth with price and power redeem them out of his hand, and destroys all his works, takes possession of them, and brings them through death to eternal life.


Verse 15

The effect of the former destruction of the devil is laid down in this verse, viz. the children’s freedom from the fear of death, to which, being slaves to the devil, they were once in bondage.

And deliver them; he, by breaking and disannulling the devil’s power, doth really, fully, and justly exempt them from the concomitant evil.

Who through fear of death; a painful and wasting horror, working the saddest apprehensions and tumultuous workings of soul, from its apprehended danger of death spiritual, temporal, and eternal, when the wrath of God doth not only dissolve the natural frame, but makes an everlasting separation from himself, shutting them up with the worst company, in the worst place and state that is possible for the human mind to imagine, and that for ever, Job 18:11,14 24:17 Psalms 55:4,5 Psa 73:19 88:14-18.

Were all their lifetime subject to bondage: when they come to the exercise of the reasonable life of man, and under convictions of sin, then these terrors arise, and never leave affrighting or tormenting them, but make them pass as many deaths as moments, as is evident in Cain and Judas; for they are enslaved, and in such a state of drudgery and vassalage to the devil, the most cruel tyrant, by their own guilt, and so are justly, invincibly, and miserably held in it. Christ by his death rescueth them from this woeful, intolerable vassalage to the devil and hell, and brings them into the glorious liberty of the children of God, Romans 8:21 Colossians 1:12,13.


Verse 16

For verily he took not on him the nature of angels: the Spirit having asserted the deliverance of the children from their slavery to the devil, shows here the means by which it was effected, even by the gospel Prophet, being a man, and not an angel; he took their nature to himself, that by death he might deliver them: ou dhpou may signify no where, or in no wise; epilambanetai is read by some, to take hold of, and so make this work denied of God the Son, that he did not take hold of the falling angels, to save or recover them: but the Spirit speaks not one word of lapsed angels in either this or the foregoing chapter, and so it cannot refer to them; and for good angels, they never departed or fell, that he should stretch out his hand to save them. And it cannot be understood otherwise than affirmatively here, which must needs have another sense, because the same act is denied and affirmed. The word therefore signifieth to assume, or to take to one, to assume or take into union. He united not to his person the angelical nature, the individual substance of an angel, so as to redeem those sinning lapsed spirits.

But he took on him the seed of Abraham; but he assumed into union with his person the seed of Abraham; which seed is not to be understood here collectively, for either his carnal or believing seed; but it is the one singular, eminent Seed of Abraham, in and by whom, himself, his seed, and all nations were to be blessed, Genesis 22:18, compare Galatians 3:16, the man Christ Jesus. This man, God the Son took of the virgin Mary, the offspring of Abraham, and united him to his person, and of God and this Seed united into one person, became our Lord Jesus Christ, so as he might bring the blessing of salvation to the chosen of God in all nations. The assumption of this eminent Seed into the unity of his own person, is here asserted by the Spirit, and denied concerning any angel, there being no promise ever made to them for it, Zechariah 13:7 Luke 1:31,35 Ga 4:4 1 Timothy 2:5. If the verb signify no such assumption in human authors, as some cavil, it is because the matter to which it is here applied was never treated on among them; and it is common with the Spirit to make words which are ordinary with men, transcendent, when he applieth them to the great mysteries of God, as Trinity, Son, adoption, &c.


Verse 17

It behoved him: the last reason why God the Son assumed and united the human nature in the seed of Abraham to his person, and was by it made like his brethren, and for a little while lower than the angels, was, that he might be capable to receive and execute the office of priesthood, by which reconciliation of sinners to God was to be effected: for he could neither be a sacrifice nor priest without it. ’ Wfeile signifies not only its being necessary, but becoming, meet, convenient, and right, both on the account of his mediatorship, suretiship, priesthood, and of his very work, considering the two parties whose cause he was to manage. It was fit this Person should be God, that he might be just to God, and satisfy him; Adam had betrayed God’s interest before, he would not therefore rely on a mere man: and man, that he might feelingly understand the state of that nature, and be a complete Saviour of it, Zechariah 13:7. By this Person God had no unfitness nor disparagement in treating with sinners, which in a mere creature he would. For what creature could have mediated with him? Who durst undertake it, but this Son of his in their nature, whose heart he engaged to it? Jeremiah 30:21. And fittest for man, he being near in nature to us, and coming out of the midst of us, and by it communicating the benefit of his mediation to us. The intention of Christ’s merits arise from his sufficiency, but the extension of them from his proper personal fitness, and so reneweth men of the same nature with him, and not angels.

To be made like unto his brethren; a man having a true body and soul like them in every thing, which was necessary to make him a complete Redeemer; agreeable to them in all things necessary to their nature, qualities, conditions, and affections; like them in sorrows, griefs, pains, death.

Merciful; knowing and sensible of the misery of sinners on the account of sin, pain, and loss, and so inwardly touched with them, as compassionately and effectually to relieve them. How transcendent are his bowels of mercy, pity, and compassion to them! Alas, man and angels cannot reach it! Isaiah 53:3,4 63:9. If he should be otherwise the least moved, and desert their cause, or accuse or plead against them, what a world of them must perish for ever! He tells the Jews so much, Hebrews 8:12; compare John 5:45. A Moses may miscarry in his mediatorship, and did so, Exodus 32:19; but he can never, he is always merciful.

And faithful; he is faithful also to penitent believers, as well as to God. They may safely trust themselves and their cause with him, and depend on him, he will never deceive them. He will satisfy God fully, and give him his due, and discharge that trust reposed on him. And to souls relying on him, he will go through his work, performing all, till they reach that for which they trusted him, Isaiah 11:5 1 Corinthians 10:13 1 Thessalonians 5:23,24.

High Priest; an officer that was to order sacrifice, and all matters wherein God was concerned, according to his written law and rule. This priest must be a man; and a partnership in our conditions, both of temptations and miseries, must qualify him for it. Of this office he treats largely in Hebrews 7:1-10:39. Amongst the officers of this kind he is the prime, chief, and head of all that ever God had, and hath in his person performed and fullfilled what all of them in theirs did but weakly shadow forth. He was actually in the flesh installed in it, of which hereafter.

In things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people: the compass of his business lieth in all Divine matters, all those wherein sinners are concerned with God, Hebrews 5:1; satisfaction, intercession, and blessing, are his great concerns. His principal work is to bring God and sinners together; ilaskesyai properly signifieth to make one propitious or gracious to another by sacrifice. This High Priest, by the sacrifice of himself, satisfied God’s justice, removed his wrath, procured his pardon as to all sins of omission or commission, however aggravated, for penitent, believing sinners; and so makes God and them friends, and fits them for communion with him here, and for the enjoyment of him for ever, 2 Corinthians 5:19,21.


Verse 18

For in that he himself hath suffered: the reason foregoing the Spirit illustrates in this verse; he is such a merciful and faithful High Priest, by being a sufferer himself, which he could not have been feelingly, but by his being incarnate. So many, great, and afflictive sufferings never any endured but himself; he felt what sin deserved, and would fasten on sinners without his interposing; though he were sinless, what terrors from God within, what pains in his body without, did he suffer and undergo! Such as are unparalleled, Hebrews 12:3.

Being tempted; not from any corruption or sin within him, Hebrews 4:15 John 14:30; but from an inveterate enemy, the devil, without him, and all the instruments he used of his associated spirits and men. How early on the entrance on his office did the devil begin with him, and thought to have foiled him as he did the first Adam! And how did his children tempt him, with the which the gospel is filled in so many pages! By these he felt what temptations were, how difficult to avoid sin under them, how fearful it was to be exercised by them, Hebrews 5:7, how much such as miscarry under them are to be pitied; what sore evils sin brings on the committers of it; what succour, strength, stablishing, settlement his brethren need under it, Luke 22:43,44; and how easily without his assistance his tempted ones may be foiled by it.

He is able to succour them that are tempted: now sensibly made fit by his own sorrows, temptations, and sufferings, he is powerfully inclined to help his; subjected he was to all of them, to make him feelingly, tenderly pitying of us. He had the mercies of God before, and as if that were not enough, the tempted nature of a man, to soften his heart to pity his brethren in their sufferings and temptations. These sufferings of his had a purchasing power and ability in them for us, he thereby buying help and succour for us as to all ours, that should be correspondent unto his; so as by his bloody death under temptation he bought off ours, either not to overtake us, or if under them, he is habitually and meritoriously thereby to succour his; most compassionately and readily giving forth all reasonable, suitable, and sufficient support under and remedy against all these temptations, which for sin, or from it, his brethren are afflicted with, and come to him for help. This is the most powerful preservative against despair, and the firmest ground of hope and comfort, that ever believing, penitent sinners could desire or have. From all which these Hebrews might have been convinced what little reason they had to be offended with his humiliation or death, who was their Messiah; and though for state and time a little lower than the angels, yet in the human nature was thereby exalted to be the Lord and Head above them all.

 


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Bibliography Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Hebrews 2:4". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/hebrews-2.html. 1685.

Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, June 27th, 2019
the Week of Proper 7 / Ordinary 12
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