Lesson #5: Positive Exaltation above the Angels - part 1 (series: Lessons on Hebrews

by John Lowe
(Woodruff, S.C.)

You made them (mankind) a little lower than the angels; you crowned them with glory and honor

You made them (mankind) a little lower than the angels; you crowned them with glory and honor

4/8/19

Tom Lowe

Lesson #5: Positive: Exaltation above the Angels (Hebrews 2:5-9)

Scripture: Hebrews 2:5-9 (NIV)
5 It is not to angels that he has subjected the world to come, about which we are speaking.
6 But there is a place where someone has testified: “What is mankind that you are mindful of them, a son of man that you care for him?
7 You made them a little lower than the angels; you crowned them with glory and honor
8 and put everything under their feet.” In putting everything under them, God left nothing that is not subject to them. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to them.
9 But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.


Introduction:

These verses speak of what God intended for man.

I want to give special attention to the fact that this world is not our final home. One of the themes of Hebrews is the idea that Jesus has come to bring us home. In Hebrews 2:11, the Bible speaks of the complete identification of the Holy One with a people He is making Holy; (Heb. 3:6; 11:11; 13:22).

In this passage, Paul points out the divine arrangements concerning the angels, who as mentioned before, had a definite part in the dispensation of the law. But the Mosaic age has been replaced by the Dispensation of Grace, in which angels are sent out to do service and to minister for those who shall inherit salvation.

This is by no means an easy passage of which to grasp the meaning; but when we do it is a tremendous thing. The writer begins with a quotation from Psalm 8:4-6. If we are to ever understand this passage correctly we must understand one thing ― the whole reference of Psalm 8 is to man. There is no reference to the Messiah.



Lesson #5

(2:5) It is not to angels that he has subjected the world to come, about which we are speaking {2].

Verses 5-8a speaks of what God “INTENDED” for man.

The apostle John when describing his heavenly vision said, “I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years” (Rev. 20:4).

Man was created “a little lower than angels (v. 7),” but was given privileges far higher than angels. God never promised the angels that they would reign in “the world to come (v. 5).” One day in the future, man will again be above angels and will, in fact, even judge the angels who are fallen. “Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life!” (1 Cor. 6:3).


The “world to come” will not be subjected (entrusted) to angels, but to the Son of God. As Son of man {5], Jesus fulfilled the law and the prophets and satisfied God completely; and as the Son of God, He will have absolute dominion over all the works of God’s hands. In the end, when all things are made new, He will occupy the position forfeited by Adam through transgression.

The fact that Christ came not as an angel, but “of the seed of Abraham,” is the heart, soul, and essence of redemption ― not only redemption of the soul of man, but redemption of the whole creation: “We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies” (Rom. 8:22-23).

It was never in God’s program and design that angels should rule on the earth at any time ― either in the eternity behind us nor in the ages to come.


(2:6) But there is a place where someone has testified: “What is mankind that you are mindful of them, a son of man {3] that you care for him?

The writer asks an appropriate question, “What is mankind?” We could respond with this, “Wonder of wonders; man is insignificant in the universe, yet God is interested in him.” The God Who created the vastness of the universe is mindful of finite man―He remembers us.

It is an unbelievable fact that God has visited {1] man. Throughout the Old Testament era, God visited man. He visited Abraham, Hagar, Jacob, Moses, Joshua, Gideon, Samson’s

parents, Elijah, Daniel, and the three young Hebrews in the Fiery Furnace. Best of all, He visited man in the person of the Lord Jesus. It is a fact of eternal astonishment that God’s delight should be with the sons of man. It is a fact of even greater surprise that God visits men, loves them, delights in their company, desires their love and friendship, and wishes to abide permanently in their hearts.

When writing Hebrews 1:6-8, the writer quoted Psalm 8:4-6: “What is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor. You made them rulers over the works of your hands; you put everything under their feet” (Ps. 8:4-6).

Man has a unique honor: “You have made them a little lower than the angels.” Evolution says that man is a little higher than the animals. The Bible says that man is a little lower than the angels.


(2:7) You made them a little lower than the angels; you crowned them with glory and honor

“You made them mankind a little lower than the angels.”
That is a correct translation of the Greek but not of the original Hebrew. In the original Hebrew, it is said that man is made a little lower than the Elohim, and Elohim is the regular word for God. What the psalmist wrote about man and the writer of Hebrews quoted really was: “Thou hast made Him a little less than God,” which, in fact, is the translation of the Revised Standard Version. So then this psalm declares the glory of man, who was made a little less than divine and whom God meant to have dominion over everything in the world.

But the writer to the Hebrews goes on; the situation with which we are confronted is very different. Man was meant to have dominion over everything but he does not. He is a creature that is frustrated by his circumstances, defeated by his temptations, girt about with his own weakness. He who should be free is bound; he who should be a king is a slave. One Christian writer wrote this, whatever else is or is not true, this one thing is certain ― man is not what he was meant to be.

You have crowned them mankind with glory and honor, and have appointed them over the works of your hands, and put everything under their mankind feet.” In putting everything under them, God left nothing that is not subject to them. Yet at present, we do not see everything subject to them mankind.


(2:8a) and put everything under their feet.” In putting everything under them, God left nothing that is not subject to them.

“And put everything under their mankind feet.” In putting everything under them, God left nothing that is not subject to them. Yet at present, we do not see everything subject to them” (Heb.2:8).

Man was placed in a perfect environment, given a specific task and a specific trust, with all things put under His feet. The fall has marred and misdirected much of man’s dominion. Man basically has had his dominion revoked because of rebellion against God. God gave man dominion over the creative works of His hands ― beasts, every creeping thing, fouls of the air and fishes of the sea.

Hebrew Christians who were the first to read this epistle did not see all things; even today, all things are not seen to be under Him. They saw enmity, hatred, and rebellion against God. Even you and I, centuries this side of those early Christians, still see enmity, hatred, and rebellion against God. Even yet all things are not seen to be under Him ― but they are under Him, for God says so! Even though we cannot see it from finite eyes, it is an accomplished fact.


(2:8b) Yet at present we do not see everything subject to them mankind.

The writer to the Hebrews goes further on. Into this situation came Jesus Christ. He suffered and He died, and because He suffered and died, He entered into glory. And that suffering and death and glory are all for man because He died to make man what he ought to be. He died to rid man of his frustration and his bondage and his weakness and to give him the dominium he ought to have. He died to recreate man until he became what he was originally created to be.

This clause reveals that mankind is not yet what it should be. Because all mankind fell when Adam fell, because he lost his kingdom and his crown, we do not currently see the earth subject to man. When man lost his crown, he also lost mastery of himself as well as the earth. He is totally sinful and became a slave to sin.




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