The Superiority of the New Dispensation.
SUMMARY.--The Danger of Neglecting the Great Salvation;
the Salvation Offered by Christ.
The Superiority of Christ to the Angels Further Shown.
Christ, the Divine Man, Put Over All Things.
Fitted to be Our Savior by Taking upon Himself Humanity; and by Suffering.
Hence, He Took Not the Nature of Angels, But Became the Seed of Abraham.
He, a Tempted and Suffering Savior, Can Succor Us Who Suffer and Are Tempted.
1-4. Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed. Because
the message to us is spoken, not by angels or prophets, but by the Son
To the things which we have heard. To Christ's gospel, and to
his words of instruction.
Lest . . . we should let them slip. Lest we should let
them slip from us because we drift away from them and refuse to heed
2. For if the word spoken by angels. The Jewish law. See notes on
The law was given through the medium of angels, as was confessed by the
Jews. See Josephus, Antiq. XV: 5, section 3.
Was steadfast. Confirmed by a penalty upon transgressors.
Every transgression. Nothing is plainer in all Jewish history
than that obedience to the law was rewarded and disobedience
3. How shall we escape. How then, if this was true of the law,
can we hope to escape if he neglect the message of the Son?
So great salvation. Not a temporal, but an eternal salvation, the
salvation of the gospel.
Begun to be spoken by the Lord. More especially after his death
and resurrection when he bade his disciples go into all the world and
preach the gospel to every creature.
confirmed to us. If Paul was the writer of Hebrews he places
himself in the position of the church, for elsewhere he tells us
plainly that he received the gospel from the Lord himself. The apostles
who had heard and seen the risen Christ first proclaimed his gospel
publicly on Pentecost, an event evidently alluded to in this
4. God bearing them witness. God bore witness to the truth of
their words by the signs and wonders of Pentecost. He also bore witness
afterwards by giving them miraculous powers, and by the extraordinary
gifts of the Holy Spirit. Note that when he Law was given on Sinai God
bore witness by signs and wonders. Also when the gospel, the message of
Christ, was given on Mt. Zion God bore witness with signs and
5-12. The world to come. Literally, "the inhabited earth in the
future." The Jewish dispensation was called by the Jews "the present
world." A dispensation following it would be "the world to come." The
reference is rather to the future gospel ages than to the eternal
world. These are not subjected to the angels.
6. But one in a certain place. David, in
7. Thou madest him a little lower than the angels. Man, for the
time, was made lower than the angels.
Yet he was crowned, as the Psalmist tells us, with glory and honor,
and given dominion.
8. Thou hadst put all things in subjection under his feet. This
introduces the point of the quotation. It declares that all things
1 Cor. 15:27)
have been made subject to man. But we do not see our race in dominion
over the heavens, the powers of nature and eternal world.
9. But we see Jesus. Jesus is the solution of the problem. He
was made while in the flesh on earth apparently
lower than the angels, and suffered death, but he, the Son of
Man, who died as mortals die, the now glorified man, has "all power in
heaven and in earth"
Through him, the Son of Man, all things are subjected to glorified
Taste death for every man. To die. He became man in order that
he might die for every man, and because of the suffering of death was
It was after his suffering that "all power was given unto his hands."
1 Cor. 15:27; Eph. 1:20; Phil. 3:21.
10. For it became him. It became God, was fitting, and God's
For whom are all things. God, who is over all and possesses all.
Paul uses this expression
Rom. 11:36; Col. 1:6; 1 Cor. 8:6.
The captain of their salvation. Christ, a Prince and a Leader.
Perfect. Not perfect in
holiness, for he was sinless, but perfectly fitted to be our Savior. To
this end it was needful that he should also suffer as one of our
11. Both he that sanctifieth. He who makes men holy by purging
them of their sins, and those who are made holy
are all of one. Are made of one nature because he took our
nature and suffered. Hence
he is not ashamed to call all the saved, though they are
mortals, by the name of brethren. This is done in the Hebrew Scriptures
The language quoted from the Psalm is ascribed to Christ, but is
addressed to God. The point is that the speaker calls the worshipers
12. In the midst of the church. In the Psalm "Congregation" is
the term used.
The Revision has so rendered it here.
13-15. And again. A quotation is now given from
in which the Messiah is represented associating himself with the saints
as all children of God. The point is that Christ makes himself the
brother of the saved.
Verses 17 and 18
are quoted in order to give this point clearly.
14. He himself likewise. As these children are all mortal he,
though divine, took on himself our mortality. He did this,
that through death he might bring to nought the power of him who
first brought death on our race. It was needful that he be clothed
with mortality in order to die, and needful to die in order to deliver
men from the power of sin and give them a glorious hope.
15. That he might deliver them. Not only from sin, which gives
death its sting,
but from all fear of death by giving the hope of a blessed life to
16-18. He took not the nature. He did not lay hold of an angel
form in order to save angels, but the human form and nature, in order
to be our Savior. He chose to be
the seed of Abraham, being the Son of Mary, a descendant of
17. It behoved him to be made like his brethren. Hence, for the
reasons given above, it was necessary that he take our nature.
A merciful and faithful high priest. To be our high priest he
must be in full sympathy with us, having experienced our trials and our
To make propitiation. As our high priest he made atonement for
us. Conscious of all our frailties he intercedes for us. In him, the
Divine man, all who are found in him are justified before God.
18. In that he suffered, he is able to sympathize with all who
suffer and to
succor all who have trials and need help.
These two chapters show that Christ is higher than the angels, and
hence that the gospel is superior in its demands to the Law. They show
that to Christ as the Son of Man, subjected to death, and glorified,
all things have been subjected; that he becomes a brother to the
saints, and that he took our nature,
suffered and tasted death, in order that he might become a faithful
and merciful high priest, touched with a feeling of our infirmities,
able to make atonement for us, and to come to us with an Elder
Brother's help in every time of need.