Hebrews 2:5-9 – This is not how things are supposed to be
If you are reasonably self-aware about the human experience, you know that things are not as they are supposed to be. Yes, we enjoy good things and good times, but deep in our souls, we know life is harder and darker that it was meant to be. Simply, our world was meant for better.
English author, G.K. Chesterton said, “Whatever else is or is not true, this one thing is certain—man is not what he meant to be!”
This morning’s text makes this point, but it doesn’t leave things there! It offers a new way to see yourself and your world.
One of my chief tasks is to build a bridge. Bridging the gap between what God’s Word meant then to them and what God’s Word means to your hearts to you today.
Reaching back to ancient times then, bringing forward God’s Word to your world now.
God’s Word is clear, that’s not the problem. The Holy Spirit works, He’s not the issue!
The human element is the issue. “What comes between receiving the message?”
Time. Language. Circumstances. Satan. Temptations. Sin.
The primary blockade to grasping the Bible’s relevance is unbelief!
God’s Word is believable when you believe it!
The warning leveled in chapter 2 is not to drift! High exposure to Jesus means real potential to harden up, if not careful! The antidote to drifting is both negative and positive.
Warning that hardening up on Jesus is like falling in to quicksand. “How shall we escape” (v. 2).
The positive reason not drifting is what begins in verse 5.
Preaching a warning is easy because we don’t want bad things to happen to us. Like Hell. Or the effects of sin!
Preaching heaven is harder! It takes faith to not settle for a “life-insurance policy!” Satan wants you to settle for a “supposedly” neutral Christian life!
Even when you are not ensnared by gross sin, you still know things should better in your life, in your world! Things are not as they are supposed to be! And, you should desire more. Something better!
Verses 5 and following open up with the vision of how things are supposed to be.
1. The way it is supposed to be (vv. 5-8)
This writer is building his own bridge for these struggling, early church, Christians. He wants them calling them believe in a better world and better life by reaching back to Psalm 8.
This Psalm, reiterates that, “it was not to the angels that God subjected the world to come” (v. 5).
As powerful as angels are, with entry into God’s holiness, messengers for God, who are eternal – it was never God’s original intention for this world to be ruled by them!
Neither the next world “subjected” (which implies) nor this world was supposed to be “subjected” to angels (v. 5).
If you do not “see” relevance here, remember you are living in a world ruled an angel called Satan.
“The ruler of this world [who will be cast out]” – “a roaring lion” – “the god of with world” – “the prince to the power of the air” – “he who is in the world”
The “Deceiver” who offered all the kingdoms of this world to Christ.
This devil blinds the minds of all unbelievers!
Daniel 10 tells us Michael and other holy angels fight powerful fallen angels who influence regions like, Persia and Greece.
Michael contended with the devil over the body of Moses (Jude 1:9).
The rule of this world is between both fallen and holy angels, which is in extreme conflict.
This cosmic influence is not merely keeping people from receiving Christ but is influencing mankind to “steal” “kill” and “destroy.”
In our world, demons fuel murderers who gun down innocent lives like we heard about this week in Thousand Oaks, California.
Within the church, the battleground for attacks is on believer’s minds (Eph. 6:12ff).
I think verse 5 implies that Angels, by design, were meant to mediate! (2:2), and because of the fall, they operate outside of their design and purpose!
Our world that’s in conflict was not supposed to be this way!
Like our present world, “the world to come” (v. 5) will not be an ethereal place, the Greek word is “oikoumevnv” meaning “inhabited earth” or “place where you will physically be.”
Zechariah 14:9 sees a day when, “the LORD will be king over all the earth” – Isaiah 11:6 “The wolf [Lion] shall dwell with the lamb” – Revelation 20 where Satan’s bound and Christ reigns!
What is surprising is who the writer sees in charge of the “inhabited world to come” (v. 5).
By going to Psalm 8, the writer’s emphasis is not Christ but “man” or “mankind.”
Revelation 20:6 speaks of people not angels who are sovereigns, reigning with Christ!
1 Corinthians 6 says, “the saints will judge the world” and “we are to judge angels” (1 Cor. 6:2-3).
Again, the writer is building a bridge between our present experience that says: “Something is terribly wrong with our world” and “You are right in the center of God’s plan for a better one!” Psalm 8 puts man right in the center of this plan to fix it!
Verse 6 leaves the author of Psalm 8 in the background, even though it was David.
The writer of Hebrews is left unknown, emphasizing Holy Spirit’s authorship, so too Psalm 8 was equally inspired!
It’s been titled, “The Majesty of Man!”
It begins with an exalted vision of the LORD, our Lord and his majestic name in all the earth!
His glory that is seen in the heavens and cried forth from the mouths of babies!
He is the ruling LORD over enemies and avengers!
He is the Creator/artist/designer who from the work of his fingers made and set in place, the moon and stars.
Psalm 8:3 leads to verse 4, the same question the writer of Hebrews is asking.
When I see all of this, what You have done, then, “What is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?”
It’s important to read this verse as intended.
This is not a Messianic reference, even with “man” repeated as “the son of man” (Psalm 8:4; Hebrews 2:6).
Though, “son of man” is a repeated gospel title for Christ it is also used throughout the Old Testament for man.
Used this way some 80 times in Ezekiel.
Daniel 7:13-14 says “the son of man” is “The Ancient of Days” referring to a vision of Christ returning, the focus of both Psalm 8 and Hebrews 2 is “man”, asking, “What is man?” or “Why did God give glory to man!”
Barclay says, “If we are ever to understand the passage…the whole reference to Psalm 8 is to man. It sings of the glory that God gave to man!”
Asking: “Why do you ‘remember’ or ‘care for him?’” (v. 6).
From Psalm 8, David was no doubt thinking about Genesis 1:26ff where “God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
Adam and Eve were to be fruitful and multiply, to fill the earth and subdue it, to have dominion over the fish and birds and every living thing that moves on the earth! (Gen. 1:26-28).
The author has up to now has declared, “Jesus is better than the angels!”
Here, he says, “Man is better than the angels!”
Man, not angels were made in God’s image!
Men and women, though marred by sin are image bearers, God’s viceroy on earth.
Admittedly, man is “for a little while lower than the angels” (v. 7) – meaning “man” is confined to the earth!
Whereas angels aren’t! Angels move between heaven and earth as heavenly beings.
Man is at present outranked by angels but this is temporary!
Man is “crowned with glory and honor” as an image bearer but this majesty for Christians will one day be without sin!
Man will again lay claim to full dominion over the earth.
What Adam and Eve once had, will be restored.
Paradise was lost but now it is Paradise re-gained.
This isn’t partial paradise this is comprehensive. A king has “everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control” (v. 8a).
You say, “Isn’t this a reference to Christ and 1 Corinthians 15:25!”
Of course, this alludes to that! This echoes the exaltation of our Great King!
However, this is also the position of a saint, reigning with Christ, seated at God’s right hand!
That is not just pie in the sky language.
Being a Christian is the great leveler within humanity. No one is wealthier and esteemed higher than a saint in heaven!
This might sound like a cosmic killjoy but I suspect for some if not many that this vision and future doesn’t really affect you right now! You say, “I really do not care about ruling in the next world right now! Ask yourself why?
Verse 8 provides the answer!
2. The way things presently are (v. 8b)
“At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him” (v. 8b).
This is because of the fall recorded in Genesis 3.
Sin obfuscates this picture. Fogs up the glass.
As I have said, things are not as they ought to be. Our world is off but we often allow ourselves to be manipulated by it.
We do not all the way see how cold and empty this really is. We also do not see how great the next truly can be!
The sin in this world renders us incapable of seeing what’s coming! To see a world we would want to “rule!”
Practically speaking, the reason you don’t want to rule the next world is you are still in love with what’s wrong with this world.
And, what’s perhaps worse, you don’t yet love what’s right about this world. I know this is where I fall short!
Which I’d make the case it is harder to love what’s right in this world, unless you are suffering greatly for it!
Unless you see someone’s life slipping away, physically or spiritually, it is difficult to value it as it should be!
See, our world is in conflict. Satan’s ideologies and temptations are live!
Satan wanted Eve to believe God was holding out on her! “You won’t die!” “You will be like God, knowing good and evil” “It looks good, tastes good, and will make you wise!”
All of this was the false promise to rule! Which was really the promise to die!
We all want to rule because we are all “image bearers.”
Ruling according to Satan is being ruled by Satan. It means emptiness and death. Cheap substitutes: Lust not love. Hype not joy. Superficiality not transparency. Independence not interdependence. Money not wealth. Winning not success. Enslavement not sacrifice!
Following the god of this world is like being addicted to smoking. You know it leads to death but you allow yourself this addiction.
Like using pornography. You know it leads to guilt, abuse, anger, and destructive relationships but you allow yourself this addiction.
Verse 9 offers another path: Ruling under the Lordship of Christ.
“How do I find this path?” You find Christ!
3. The reason things will not stay the way that they are (v. 9)
The power of verse 9 comes by connecting it back to the end of verse. “At present, we do not yet see…But we see him!”
The writer is a realist! He understands the major dilemma for believers! Sin’s fogginess based in the heart and in the world!
Something is still wrong with this world!
We need light to see through the fog! Like a flashlight!
Why don’t we love the next world? We still love the sin in this one!
But, we need to see sin for what it really is – SIN is what made everything die! It is what makes everything die!
“The wages of sin is death!” “When sin is fully conceived it brings forth death!”
When does this world get exposed for its superficial lies? When someone’s sin kills them! Or, someone else.
When Cain kills Abel!
The very same thing that solves death is the very same thing that makes you want another world! Jesus.
He, being fully God, took on flesh and became fully man! As the ultimate man Jesus, “for a little while was made lower than the angels” meaning he was confined to this earth!
The Prince became a Pauper.
The King became a Slave.
He entered our cursed world and came through it to exaltation!
Jesus was not deterred by sin’s fog!
So, we fix our eyes on Him! (Hebrews 12!).
We “see Jesus” who “through suffering and death was crowned with glory and honor” (v. 9).
Christ is our trailblazer, whom we “see” facing and solving what’s wrong with our world and with our human condition!
Then, we “see” the One who compels us to follow him into the next world!
What compels us? Really, there is only one thing we “see” that makes us want another world. “Grace!” He solved the sin of our world and what condemns us by “tasting death for everyone!”
The concise narrative of Jesus has been called the divine parabola.
ESV Philippians 2:6-9 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name
ESV 2 Corinthians 8:9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.
Does this mean Jesus’ death saves everyone? No. Christ saves everyone without distinction instead of everyone without exception! [Schreiner].
Anyone can believe and be saved by Christ’s death, but only those who do believe will be saved by his death!”
We know this is not how things are supposed to be.
“What is man, that you are mindful of him or the son of man that you care for him?”
Christ remembered you – cared about you – enough to see your condition – and come down and save you from this world – to rule in another one! GRACE is why you want to go there! With him!
See one thing, “grace!” Gratitude for not getting what you deserve! God didn’t save the angels who rebelled, but he saved you! Grace! Is why we would sit on a throne as God’s co-regent! It is for him that we may be strong! He reigns, so we reign!
Author: Maltbie D. Babcock – born in Syracuse in 1858, NY, pastored effectively on the east coast from New York City to Baltimore, but died young in 1901. He was known for this song:
1 This is my Father’s world,
And to my listening ears
All nature sings, and round me rings
The music of the spheres.
This is my Father’s world:
I rest me in the thought
Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas–
His hand the wonders wrought.
3 This is my Father’s world:
O let me ne’er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong,
God is the Ruler yet.
This is my Father’s world:
Why should my heart be sad?
The Lord is King: let the heavens ring!
God reigns; let earth be glad!