Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes


Hebrews 2:1-8
Pastor Steve Schell
Sunday: Hebrews 2:1
Verse 1: Having used scripture after scripture to support the divinity of Jesus Christ as God’s begotten Son, and having shown Him to be the Father’s heir destined to rule the universe, the author of Hebrews calls on his readers to recognize the spiritual danger into which they would place themselves were they to reject Him as their Savior. He says, “For this reason we must pay closer attention to what we have heard so that we do not drift away from it.” Over the course of this letter, the author will speak of rejecting Christ using different terminology in order to distinguish between the different attitudes and ways a person might do this. In this first warning he uses the term “drift away” which speaks of passively neglecting our faith as opposed to someone who aggressively abandons Christ. The Greek word he chose was sometimes used to describe things which slip out of our memory and are forgotten, and at other times of a boat which has slipped its moorings and drifted away on the tide (Thomas Hewitt, The Epistle to the Hebrews, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries, Erdmans, 1975, p. 61).

Monday: Hebrews 2:1
Verse 1 (continued): The Greek word translated “drift away” pictures a gradual, subtle process of leaving, hardly noticeable except over the passing of time. This idea is reinforced in verse three where he speaks of “neglecting” (lit: being careless of) the salvation Christ has given us. This is the first and softest means of abandoning Christ mentioned in Hebrews. It doesn’t involve open renunciation of Him, instead it consists of a pattern of internal decisions which reprioritize Jesus by investing less and less time in seeking or serving Him. In the case of Jewish Christians to whom this letter was first written, it’s easy to imagine that such “drifting” and “neglect” need involve nothing more than ceasing to do things that might cause friction with hostile members of their family or synagogue. They might find themselves too busy for one reason or another to gather with other Christians for worship (He 10:25) or pubic forms of ministry in Jesus’ name (He 10:24).

Tuesday: Hebrews 2:1-3
Verse 1 (continued): Or far more dangerous than “drifting away,” they might take the first step away from Jesus theologically by accepting the notion that He is merely the highest created angel rather than God’s divine Son (He 1:4-14). Such moves would certainly lessen persecution while at the same time still permit them to think of themselves as Christians. By gradual compromise and spiritual inactivity they hoped to please their human critics while keeping God happy at the same time. Verses 2, 3: Though the process of gradually drifting away from Jesus Christ is far less direct than blatant renunciation, it is nonetheless deadly, because those Christians are drifting away from the truth that saves them. They are playing with fire. By loosening the ropes that hold them to Christ, they will find themselves pulled farther and farther away until at some point, if this drifting isn‘t halted, they will cross a threshold where they are no longer tied to Him at all.

Wednesday: Hebrews 2:2-4
Verses 2, 3 (continued): In these verses the author of Hebrews issues a severe warning: If Old Testament believers were punished by God for disobeying divine commands issued by means of angels, how much more severe will be the punishment for disobeying the gospel which God spoke to us by means of His Son? If angels ought to be obeyed when they speak, how much more God’s Son? And it was He who first preached the gospel to His disciples, and then those disciples carried that gospel to Jews and Gentiles all over the world. It’s interesting to note that in verse three (2:3) the author does not include himself among that original group of disciples who heard Jesus speak firsthand, but rather among the second generation of believers who received the gospel as a result of their preaching. Verse 4: The author reports to us that when he heard Jesus’ disciples preach, God confirmed the truth of their message by performing signs and wonders (Ac 2:43; 4:30; 5:12; 6:8; 14:3; 15:12) and various miracles through them, and by distributing gifts of the Holy Spirit to those who received Christ (Ga 3:2, 5; He 6:4, 5). Very likely these were the same gifts as those listed by Paul in 1 Corinthians 12:7-11. Undoubtedly, speaking in tongues and prophecy were prominent among those gifts just as occurred on Pentecost (Ac 2:4-13), in Caesarea at the home of Cornelius (Ac 10:44-48) and in Ephesus when Paul ministered to 12 disciples (Ac 19:1-7). He concludes by adding that all these miracles and manifestations took place “according to His own will,” meaning that it was quite apparent that it was God, not humans, who directed the events.

Thursday: Hebrews 2:5-7
Verses 5-7: Here the author of Hebrews moves back to the comparison he made earlier between angels and the Son of God. He considers Psalm 8 to be a prophetic psalm looking forward to the day when the Father will put the world under the control of His Son, not angels. In other words, he sees Psalm 8 to be describing the moment when Christ returns in power (Rev 19:11-16) to inaugurate His 1000-year reign, which we call the Millennium (Rev 20:1-8). David originally wrote the psalm to marvel at the high position God gave humans in His created order. By making us “in His image” (Ge 1:26, 27) He positioned us just a little lower in rank and nature than Himself. Though we are created and mortal and do not share His divine nature, we are nonetheless rational spiritual beings like Him with intellect, will and emotion. David’s statement, “a little lower than God…” (lit: lack a little) when translated from Hebrew to Greek in the Septuagint can be interpreted to mean lower in rank or lower for a brief period of time. Different English translations have rendered these words differently, some focusing on the human element of being lower in rank than God and others in the prophetic implication when applied to Jesus because He was lower than angles only for a little while.

Friday: Hebrews 2:5-7
Verses 5-7 (continued): As we study verse seven we should be aware that the Septuagint changes the Hebrew statement “a little lower than God” which is what David originally wrote into “a little lower than angels” as a way of showing humility toward God. Since the author of Hebrews is trying to show the superiority of the Son of God to angels, the text of the Septuagint fits his purpose quite well. Whichever reading you choose, the point of the psalm is clear: God’s plan was to govern the earth through humans, not angels. Yet, all humans from Adam and Eve onward have sinned and thus failed to realize God’s plan. In fact, apart from Jesus, there is not one human being to whom this psalm can accurately be addressed, so it must look forward in time, not backward. It speaks of Jesus, not Adam; and when it says He was made for a “little while” lower than the angels, that “little while” were the years He spent on the earth as a mortal human between His incarnation and ascension.

Saturday: Hebrews 2:8
Verse 8: God’s original intention for the human race, before sin ruined everything, was for us to govern the earth on His behalf. This, of course, could be done only by people who refused to decide “good and evil” for themselves and trusted God completely. However, once humans rebelled, all claims on God’s plan for us were lost. Yet, when Jesus became a man and refused every temptation to rebel against His Father’s will (He 4:15), as the Perfect Man He inherited the promise of Psalm 8. He became the “Son of man” who is “crowned with glory and honor” and appointed over the works of the Father’s hands (He 2:7). Therefore, He is the One under whose feet the Father will put all things in subjection (He 2:8). Verse 8 (continued): When he finishes quoting from Psalm 8, the author emphasizes that there is absolutely nothing in this world which the Father has not subjected to His Son. But then he notes that this goal has not yet been realized, saying, “But now we do not yet see all things subjected to Him.” We need only to look at the sin, sickness, sorrow and death in the world around us to recognize the truth of this statement. It is evident that God continues to allow humans and evil spirits to rebel during this season. Even though Jesus is now seated at the Father’s right hand (He 1:13; Ps 110:1) and has already been given all authority (Mt 28:18), the spiritual battle continues and will continue until a future moment when His enemies will be made “a footstool” for His feet (He 1:13; Ps 110:1). That moment is His second coming.
 


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