1 Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.
CHAPTER 2 begins with a warning.
This characteristic appears throughout, as the apostle again and again pauses to try to impress his readers with the seriousness of their position as related to these holy and divine things. He constantly labours to awaken them to an active realization of the comforts of God's love to the faithful, and the terrors of His severity upon the careless, worldly and self-willed.
Lest they be fatally lulled by a wishful presumption on His mercy, he calls attention to the terrible reality of God's judgments in the past on those who blindly felt secure. And he points out that the law of Christ-rather than lessening the danger-INCREASES it to the careless, being such a more personal and intimate approach by God to man. *
8 Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him.
"as I also vanquish and sit with my Father in his throne." (Rev 3:21)
But Paul settles the question whether Jesus has overcome or not, very distinctly. He tells us plainly and positively that he has not. In laying this conclusion before the reader, he quotes the eighth psalm, to show that the Son of Man was to be made a little lower than the angels: that he was to suffer death; that he was to be crowned with glory and honour; and that all things were to be put in subjection under him. He then argues that the phrase "all things" is so comprehensive as to leave no exception.
9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.
The term "lower" can only be understood in reference to body; for the character of Jesus was quite equal to that of the angels, inasmuch as
"he did no sin, and in his mouth no guile was found."
And it is also evident that this is the intended sense, from the connection in which it stands to suffering death. Had Jesus been made equal to, instead of
"lower than the angels,"
it would have been impossible for him to suffer death. For Jesus himself teaches that the angels are immortal, and cannot die any more."-(Luke 20:35, 36.)
He was, however, made only a "little lower," and that little pertains to his nature only. The necessity for the mortality of the Messiah is apparent. Could he not have died in the real and true sense of the word, sin could not have been overcome by him, and hence, as touching man's redemption, he would have been of no avail.
...No other than the mortal nature could have tasted death. To "lay down his life" would have been an impossibility under any other arrangement. And if no death, no resurrection; and if no resurrection of Jesus, the dead in hope of life would have been dead for ever.
"I am the resurrection and the life."-(John 11:25.)
Where then lay the strength to unlock the gates of the grave? Where was concealed the power on earth to forgive sins and to raise the dead? For it is this that must be known before there can be intelligent and saving faith and hope in Christ.
The answer is that the power lay in the character which was
"without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing."
...He was cut off, but not for himself." "For he had nothing in him." As a matter of law and justice, therefore, he could not remain in the grave. "It was not possible, " says Peter, "that he should be holden of it."
Ambassador of the coming age, Jan 1869
Without doubt Jesus was
"crowned with glory and honour"
after his ascension, in the sense of being
"exalted to the right hand of God, and made both Lord and Christ,"
for Paul and Peter so declare; but it is also true, as testified by Paul, that
"all things are not yet put under him."
The Twelve Tribes are some of these things; and we see them at this day as rebellious as they were, or even more so, than when he wrote his letter to the Hebrews. But David says of them,
"they shall be willing in the day of his Son and Lord's power."
This then, is not the day of his power, for his people Israel is not willing to submit to him: therefore the kingdom was not set up on Pentecost, nor since; but remains to be established: for when his kingdom exists, where that is, there will his power be.
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, Feb 1856
10 For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
...God made Jesus what he was by the Spirit in his begettal. On the seed of the woman was engraved the Father's moral likeness, but this was latent in the babe of Bethlehem, and had to be developed in the man by those circumstances of suffering and trial to which he was subjected.
Hence the statement of Paul, that in bringing many sons to glory,
"it became him to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through suffering."
... Does suffering engender physical perfection? Rather the contrary: suffering deteriorates physical nature. Adam was more perfect physically before he suffered than after. Not suffering, but the healing influence of the Spirit of God in the change to immortality makes the physical man perfect.
But the moral man, the character, can only be perfected through suffering. Called upon to perform painful acts of obedience, our character of submission to God is more perfected, strengthened, settled, than it could ever be if the path of obedience was a path of pleasure. The character latent in the man Christ Jesus when a babe, and gradually ripened as he advanced in years and stature, was perfected by the sufferings he was called on to go through in the end of his career.
TC 1876 p123
The completeness of that accomplished by Christ is emphasized by the use of the word teleios (and related words) rendered "perfect," but signifying completeness. Thus, the Captain of our salvation is perfect (ch, 2: 10) through suffering (ch. 5 :9), and his followers similarly should be "mature" (as the Greek word signifies; ch. 5: 14), striving to attain it (ch, 6: 1).
Such perfection did not come through the Levitical priesthood (ch. 7: 11), nor by the Law (ch. 7: 19), but through Christ (ch, 7:28). The gifts and sacrifices of the Law made nothing perfect (ch. 9:9), whereas Christ manifested the perfect tabernacle (ch. 9: 11). The sacrifices ofthe Law made nothing perfect (ch. 10:1), but his offering did (ch.10:14). Thus perfection is possible for us (ch. 11:40), for he is the finisher of faith (ch. 12:2), and to his perfection believers are called (ch. 12:23).
14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;
-the serpent principle, the death-power in us.
Now Christ took part of the flesh and blood of the children, that he might extirpate in it that which was destroying them.
Christ took on him the nature of Abraham and David, which was sinful nature. How, then, some say, was he, with sinful flesh, to be sinless? ...
God did it.
THE WEAK FLESH COULD NOT DO IT. JESUS WAS GOD MANIFEST IN THE FLESH, THAT THE GLORY MIGHT BE TO GOD.
The light in his face is the light of the Father's glory. If you ask me how the Father could be manifest in a man with an independent volition, you ask a question not truly founded on reason. Do I know how the Almighty causes substance organized as brain to evolve thought? No; do you? No. But do we doubt the fact the less because we are unable to comprehend it? By no means.
Do we know how the Father performs any of the myriad wonders of His power? Know we so small a matter as the modus operandi of the germination of grain in the field, to its multiplication twentyfold? Nay verily; though we know a thousand things as facts, you will find, on a close scrutiny, that we are utterly ignorant of the mode of invisible working by which these facts have their existence.
If it be so with things in nature, why must our inability to define the process be a difficulty to our receiving a heavenly fact, not only commended to us on the best of all testimony, but self-manifest before us? For who can contemplate the superhuman personage exhibited in the gospel narrative without seeing, with his own eyes, so to speak, that the Father is manifest in him?
When did ever man deport himself like this man? When spoke the most gifted of men like this? Is he not manifestly revealed the moral and intellectual image of the invisible God? Is he not, last Adam though he be-is he not "the Lord from heaven?" But what are we to say to the plain declaration emanant from the mouth of the Lord himself, that the beholder looking on him, saw the Father, and that the Father within him by the Spirit-(for as he said on the subject of eating his flesh, it is the Spirit that maketh alive: the flesh profiteth nothing)-was the doer and the speaker? The answer of wisdom is, that we must simply believe; and true wisdom will gladly believe in so glorious a fact.
Bro Roberts - The Slain Lamb.
16 For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.
He kept his body under, triumphing over its lusts; and, though sorely tried, he yielded not, but evolved a character that was holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners...Having established his worthiness in this moral conflict with the world and the flesh, God accepted him as the most excellent of all the intelligences of his universe.
Paul shows by Scripture (1) that it is not the angels (as under the Mosaic Law) but the pre-appointed Man of God who is to rule supreme in the future eternal order and (2) that it was essential to his mission as the overcomer and destroyer of sin that he pass through a phase of weakness, struggle and death.
The Jews looked only for a Messiah of vengeance, majesty and power. How sad and short-sighted! Paul points out that their first and greatest need (as ours) was not to be saved from outside enemies, but being saved from themselves-from their own sins, their own evil natures-from their helpless condition of alienation from God and their inevitable destiny of final death and oblivion. How insignificant a thing was their servitude to Rome, when compared to their servitude to Sin! *
Bro Growcott - Without the Camp