Hebrews 2: Why was Jesus “made lower than the angels”?

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Hebrews 2: Revisited.

The message of the Angels is the Law

“We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. 2 For since the message spoken through angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, 3 how shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him.4 God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.”

So often we have look at these verses and read judgment into them. It must be pertinent for us to recognize the period in which Hebrews is actually written. It was written about AD 63 about 7 years before the Temple was burned down. Therefore we must be mindful that the audience is writing to are Jews and they are either new Jewish Christians or Jewish folks which he is trying to evangelize to. Hence the book is written for them and not for us. However, this does not mean while it is written to them but there is nothing for us to learn.

However, in order for us to understand these words “do not drift away”, we must understand 3 things:

a)      This drifting away is NOT backsliding. It is going back to the Law;

b)     It is not going back to the world but a return to Judaism; and

c)      The message of the angels is the Law of Moses.

We have covered this in our last note on Hebrews 1: https://hischarisisenough.wordpress.com/2013/05/27/the-real-message-of-hebrews-1/

For clarity sake let me repeat myself.

Paul taught more on the role of angels in the giving of the Law of Moses than has been imagined by many students of the Bible. Entire sections of Paul’s teachings concern the role of angelic mediation (both in the early history of the world and the giving of the Law to Moses) concerning the conduct of individual peoples and nations in the 1st century. This included angelic roles in future events destined to affect the lives of people at the end of the age. This subject is most important for biblical students to understand, and attention should be directed to these essential teachings of Paul.

Yes, angels gave the earlier Law for Israel at Mount Sinai. It was common knowledge among the Jewish people in the 1st century that the Law of God was presented to Moses by angels — and not directly by God himself. Josephus, the Jewish priest/historian of the 1st century and an expert in Jewish beliefs at the time, said: “We have learned the noblest of our doctrines and the holiest of our laws from the ANGELS sent by God.” 1 When the evangelist Stephen rebuked the Jewish authorities in Jerusalem for going against the Law, he said they were those: “Who have received the Law by the disposition of ANGELS, and have not kept it” (Acts 7:53).

Speaking about the Law of God, the apostle Paul in the Book of Hebrews said,

“The word spoken by ANGELS was steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward.” Hebrews 2:2

And Paul had further to say,

“Wherefore then serves the Law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by ANGELS in the hand of a mediator” Galatians 3:19

But wait! In spite of what the Jewish priest/historian Josephus, the evangelist Stephen and the apostle Paul had to say, are we not informed in the Book of Exodus that it was God (Elohim in Hebrew) who gave the Law to Moses? Yes, indeed. But what is not recognized by many people is that the word “Elohim” can refer also to ANGELS.

In Psalm 97:7 the word “gods” is Elohim and in Hebrews 1:6 Paul said it referred to angels. 2 There is not the slightest doubt from the New Testament, and even from common Jewish usage in the 1st century, that the “God” (Elohim) who gave the Ten Commandments and the other laws to Moses was a powerful angel who was God’s agent (or mediator) to give the divine laws to Moses. Later we will discover from the Scripture just who this powerful angel really was. It will surprise many students of the Bible.

Hence what the writer is now trying to say is this. The message of the Law is inferior of that to the message of Christ. One must understand that every Jew holds the Law in awe. Hence most of them is fearful of “the just punishments”. Hence what the writer is now saying is this, the consequences of rejecting the Son is much far reaching as compared to that of the Law; especially when it was supported by signs and wonders from the Holy Spirit.

Jesus was placed under Law

It is not to angels that he has subjected the world to come, about which we are speaking. 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?
You made them a little[a] lower than the angels;
    you crowned them with glory and honor
    and put everything under their feet.”[b][c]

In putting everything under them,[d] God left nothing that is not subject to them.[e] Yet at present we do not see everything subject to them.[f] 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.”

It is here again many have made the mistake that “made lower than the angels” to mean JUST the incarnation. Jesus was “made lower than the angels” a purpose. To taste death for everyone.  Why is this significant? Jesus “was made lower than the angels” by being placed under their administration. In other words, Jesus was placed under Law.

Do you realize the first time Jesus shed his blood was at his circumcision. It was here that Samuel said ‘I finally can die’. Why?

Let’s look at this;

Luke 2: 21-29

New International Version (NIV)

21 On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived.

22 When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”[a]), 24 and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.”[b]

25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:

29 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
you may now dismiss[c] your servant in peace.
30 For my eyes have seen your salvation,
31     which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and the glory of your people Israel.”

33 The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”

36 There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37 and then was a widow until she was eighty-four.[d] She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. 38 Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.

39 When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth.”

Notice the name Jesus or Yeshua (God our salvation) was given when he was circumcised. When he placed under the Law. Except this time it was not God the Father who will save his people, the angel said “HE (Jesus) will save His people from their sins”. The “Yeh” here is Jesus not “Yah-Weh”. He would be their salvation by redeeming them from the Law. By redeeming them from the Law. By fulfilling the Law.

So why does he need to taste death for everyone?

The answer lies in Romans 7.

It is crucial for us to read Romans 7 together with Romans 6 and Romans 8. Romans 7 begins with “Do you not know, brethren—for I am speaking to men who are acquainted with the Law”. Hence you note those who know the Law are the Jews. Paul thereafter speaks about the adultery. If one reads Romans 6 you would note that Paul is extending his thoughts on Romans 6 and now introduces an illustration to make his point. So he is not speaking about adultery but using adultery as an illustration.

Romans 6 is about our death with Jesus. When Christ died, we died. When he was buried we were buried with him. What Paul is trying to say is that, when one party dies his obligation to the law also ends. Hence when the husband dies, the woman is free to remarry. If she marries another man when the husband is alive, she is bound by the law still and hence commits adultery. As such her obligation towards her husband by way of the law of marriage ends when he died. Paul in Romans 6 tells us that we died. In Christ.

“3 Are you ignorant of the fact that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? We were buried therefore with Him by the baptism into death, so that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious [power] of the Father, so we too might [habitually] live and behave in newness of life.

For if we have become one with Him by sharing a death like His, we shall also be [one with Him in sharing] His resurrection [by a new life lived for God].”

We were “married to the Law”. Then we died. That is why Paul says “that legal claims have power over a person only for as long as he is alive?” Romans 7:1. Key word “Only”. Hence we are no longer bound by the Law. Look at Romans 8 now in particular verse 4:

So that the righteous and just requirement of the Law might be fully met in us who live and move not in the ways of the flesh but in the ways of the Spirit [our lives governed not by the standards and according to the dictates of the flesh, but controlled by the Holy Spirit].”

Do you see it? Jesus’ death ensured the righteous and just requirement of the Law is met. Apologies. FULLY MET in US. It is already fully met. 100% met.

See Romans 7:4 “Likewise, my brethren, you have undergone death as to the Law through the [crucified] body of Christ, so that now you may belong to Another, to Him Who was raised from the dead in order that we may bear fruit for God.” Tenses are crucial in the Bible. We have undergone death. We are not going to undergo death. We have! Through the body of Jesus and we died to the Law.

Let’s look at verse 6: “But now we are discharged from the Law and have terminated all intercourse with it, having died to what once restrained and held us captive. So now we serve not under [obedience to] the old code of written regulations, but [under obedience to the promptings] of the Spirit in newness [of life]. Is Paul not clear enough? DischargED. TerminatED. DiED. ALL intercourse. We are totally severed from the Law.

Since he tasted death for you, you are all free from the Law. He tasted death for everyone. So that all be free from the Law.

Look at what Peter says:

1 Peter 1:3

Amplified Bible (AMP)

Praised (honored, blessed) be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah)! By His boundless mercy we have been born again to an ever-living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…

Through the death of Jesus we have not only been set free from the dead but born again to the family of God through his resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Which bring us to our next point:

Jesus saves us by making us family

“10 In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered11 Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters.[g] 12 He says,

“I will declare your name to my brothers and sisters;
    in the assembly I will sing your praises.”[h]

13 And again,

“I will put my trust in him.”[i]

And again he says,

“Here am I, and the children God has given me.”

 

14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. 16 For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. 17 For this reason he had to be made like them,[k] fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. 18 Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.”

Jesus is the pioneer of over salvation, he saves you not by just dying for your sins. He saves you by making you family. This is crucial, the writer of Hebrews quotes: Ps 22:22 and Isa 8:17-18. One must understand at the material time, God had only one Son. The Messiah. In quoting prophecy, the writer is saying that there will come a day when the Messiah will have brothers and sisters.

It is pertinent to note here before the cross God only has one Son, after his resurrection there are many brothers and sisters.

Romans 8:29

For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.

Hence Jesus does not just save you. He makes you family. He makes you his brothers and sisters. He makes God loves you exactly the way He loves Jesus

John 17:23

New International Version (NIV)

23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”

He did this so that humanity breaks the power of the Satan. Listen to me, breaks the power of the Devil. Breaks the power of Satan. I want to hear this. There are many who says that Satan will cause us to lose our salvation and preach the Gospel as if the Devil is more powerful than the Gospel. Dear friends, let the thought sink in. Jesus does not save you from your sins by taking the penalty only. He saves you by making you family.

No one touches God’s family. This family is built on the finished work. This family was built by Jesus’s suffering. Rich Mullins once said ““Look at us all — we are all of us lost and in all of our different ways of pretending, we all fool ourselves into the very same hell. Look at the cross — we are all of us loved and one God meets us all at the point of our common need and brings to all of us — all who will let Him — salvation.”

So let him!

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