Christ The Perfect Savior, Hebrews 2:1-18

Now that the authority of Christ has been established over the angels, the Hebrew writer warns us not to drift away from this message delivered by Him. In fact, we must give the most careful attention to Christ’s words due to His superiority.  If that which was spoken by the angels (Old Testament Law, Dt. 33:2 & Ac. 7:53) proved steadfast by God then “how much more” should we revere that which was spoken by Christ? There is absolutely no hope for our salvation if we neglect the teachings of God’s Son.  These teachings were confirmed by those who heard and witnessed them, relaying them on to the writer of this letter we are reading. God’s affirmation of these teachings was confirmed by the use of miracles.

“Therefore we must give the more earnest heed … lest we drift away” (Heb 2:1).  The book of Hebrews stands as a clear rebuttal to the Calvinistic heresy of “once saved, always saved.”  The entire letter is an effort to drag weak brethren back from the brink of apostasy. Not once does the writer suggest that their salvation was a sham or pretense.  In fact, he will expressly affirm their fellowship with God (Heb 6:4-6). If people were not predisposed to believe in eternal security, it would never occur to them when reading passages such as Heb 2:1-4.   The readers are offhandedly reminded of the abundant confirmation which had accompanied the gospel. If they drifted away, they could not blame it on a vague or garbled message from God.God was “mindful” of man, cared for him, made him a little lower than the angels, crowned him with glory and honor, and gave him dominion over this world (Psalm 8:3-8).  In other words, God exalted man and gave him dominion over this world. But “now we do not yet see all things put under him”.  Because of man’s rebellion, he lost this exaltation and dominion.  These are now restricted by his sin. But now “we see Jesus”, who became flesh (lower than the angels), who suffered and died for man, become the complete fulfillment of Psalm 8:4-6. Therefore Jesus was crowned with glory and honor.  Jesus suffered and died so that by God’s grace He could pay the penalty of death required by all sinners (Rom 6:23). Jesus did not exempt Himself from impulses that lead to sin.  Had He done so, men would have had little confidence in approaching Him with their own weaknesses. God demonstrates both wisdom and love in providing a Savior who draws men to Him by shared nature and experience. It is God’s plan, “fitting for Him”, to make “the author of their salvation perfect through sufferings”.  In other words, the sufferings of Christ made His qualifications to bring men “to glory” complete (“perfect”).  Christ is not ashamed to call them brethren now that they have been brought “to glory,” they are now a part of God’s family (Mt. 12:49) they “are all of one”. Christ willingly took on the same nature of man, suffered as a man, and died as a man.  But Christ conquered death therefore destroying him (the devil) who had the power of death. Christ destroyed Satan’s power of death over man and we are no longer in bondage to death, (Heb. 2:15) and the souls of people in Christ do not suffer the consequences of their sin! (1st Cor. 15:55-56) So Jesus is now introduced as their new High Priest.  In order for Christ to be a merciful and faithful High Priest, he had to endure the same sufferings of man so that He could sympathize with man. As the High Priest offered atonement for the sins of humanity, Christ offered himself as our atonement for sin.

Hebrews 1:4-14

When Christ inherited a better name, he was truly better than any angel, v4. His name holds power which no angel employs. This was accomplished, proven and  established by ascending to the Throne of Grace and sitting at the right hand of His Father. Revelation 5:6-9 records the Lamb (Christ) as worthy to open the seal and exercise all power in heaven and on earth! 

The question, asked in verse 5, is there to remind us that the level of intimacy between Christ and God is far superior to any level of fellowship God has with any angel. Even the mere arrival of Christ, before he did any work, was enough to prompt angels to worship Him, as commanded by the Father. Angels are viewed as prominent heavenly beings who served as messengers from God, v7 & 14. Since the readers of this letter knew these qualities of angels, the Hebrew writer begins his discussion of Christ’s authority over these heavenly beings in this section. 

The word “firstborn” is very important for us to understand,v6. Both Luke & Paul used it in reference to Jesus, first by Mary, Lk. 2:7, in a physical sense, but also by Paul in a spiritual sense over all creation, Col. 1:15. This spiritual sense is how the Hebrew writer uses it in the context of an eternal creator over the whole of our physical creation. His sonship is unique and superior over all creation throughout the universe.

Angels are ministering spirits to God, but Christ’s position is different because of the Righteous Scepter of His Kingdom and the Anointment of Rejoicing, v9. This Scepter is in the mind of the Hebrew writer, with an origin in Judah, see Genesis 49:8-10. The anointing of joy is reminiscent of Isaiah’s passage revealing the oil of gladness, Isaiah 61:1-3, from within the Messiah/Christ.

The Hebrew writer does not diminish the importance and role of angels, from this declaration of them serving anyone who is to inherit salvation, 1:13, to the last chapter 13:2, commanding us to never neglect hospitality to strangers, the importance and role of angels is maintained throughout these last days we live in.  The Old Testament is quoted in this chapter at least 5 times. The significance is in the fact that God’s old law is being used to confirm this new message brought to us by His Spirit of Christ and not any angel. The result is comfort, joy & hope, see Romans 16:25-27 (Romans 15:4 & 16:25-27) with emphasis on v27, “Through Jesus Christ”. The comparison in verse 13 between Christ and the angels is about victory over sin, death and Satan himself. God the Father will work through Jesus and no one else, in order to totally defeat all our enemies throughout time as we know it. Angels do represent Christ in the revelation, but it is Christ who actually wins the victory over sin in our life. Is He living and working in our hearts? Or are we depending on a guardian angel to keep us safe?

“Hebrews” – Jesus Christ is The Best!

The character of our Lord Jesus Christ is publically made known in this unique book. He is…

…Better than Angels — 1-2

…Better than Moses — 3-4

…Better than Aaron — 5-7

…Mediator of a Better Covenant — 8

…Minister of a Better Tabernacle — 9-10

…A Better Example — 11-12

…A Better Shepherd — 13

There are at least 5 warnings in the letter.

  1. Warning against drifting (2:1-4) Since Christ is better than the angels, we better seek His salvation.
  2. Warning against unbelief (3:12-4:13) Since Christ’s house is better than Moses’, we had better not find ourselves left outside because of unbelief.
  3. Warning against falling away (5:12-6:8)  Since Christ is a better high priest, we had better not fall away from His righteous example & protection.
  4. Warning against willfully sinning (10:26-31) Since Christ has brought a better sacrifice, we had better not despise it.
  5. Warning against defying the work of God (12:14-29) Since Christ has taught us how to resist sin, we had better follow His teaching, thereby cooperating with his work.

The book is a unique jewel in a collection of jewels. The strongest assurance of the presence of Christ is found in this book (13:5). It contains a powerful view of the Word of God. God’s Word is living, powerful and discerning (4:12), good (6:5), & a refuge (6:17-18).

Date & Penmanship; Most theology scholars agree that during the 2nd century an early church writer named Tertullian seemed to agree with the idea of Barnabas being used by God to write Hebrews, but there is no definitive proof or correlation with other writers, so no one really knows specifically who God used to pen this masterpiece!  Most scholars date it around 60AD just before the Temple is destroyed but some of the grammar leads us to believe it might have been later, after the Temple was destroyed. Hebrews 9:5 is probably the best reason for dating it later. This much is certain, tradition is wrong concerning the Apostle Paul writing Hebrews because Hebrews 2:3-4 is written by someone who was a second generation Christian, that is certainly not Paul. This is actually written to all of Spiritual Israel with a Jewish background, Romans 9:6 & 27.

1:1-3, The Hebrew writer takes us back to the creation of the world, back before the Patriarchs Adam, Noah & Abraham. During the creation, God spoke through the same word, which became flesh in Jesus, Gen. 1:1-26 & John 1:14. In Jesus Christ we have a new beginning in revealing a new covenant, as God gives this faith into the heart of anyone who chooses to trust and obey His Son Jesus, wherein a new creation is begun. Now we have the one true and best delivery in hearing, discerning and growing in God’s will. The mind of Christ. This powerful word sustains the universe and gives all matter the ability to exist, Colossians 1:17. This word will judge us all in the last day, John 12:48-49. Let’s be ready!