Hebrews Chapter 2 - How Shall We Ignore so Great a Salvation?
Hebrews Chapter 2 – How Shall We Ignore so Great a Salvation?
How shall escape if we ignore so great a salvation? God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit.
We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. For since the message spoken through angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, how shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation? Hebrews 2:1-3a
In this chapter, the author is exhorting the reader to play close attention to and to heed two critical issues that were presented in the first chapter of the Book of Hebrews. First, is that in these last days God has spoken to us through His Son. Secondly, the writer presented scriptural evidence that the Son of God is far superior to the angels whom He had created and who worship and minister to Him. Therefore His message is far superior to theirs.
This is the blessing that Moses the man of God pronounced on the Israelites before his death. He said: "The LORD came from Sinai and dawned over them from Seir; he shone forth from Mount Paran. He came with myriads of holy ones from the south, from his mountain slopes. Deuteronomy 33:2
The message spoken through the angels was God’s word, but angels were the means through which it was given to men. The binding message they presented was the Mosaic Law with its commandments, rules, and regulations. Every act of disobedience and violation of the law was met with its just punishment.
The superior message of the Messiah was the gospel. If the violation of the written code was met with just punishment, how much more so should we regard the gospel of our salvation? If we ignore so great a plan of salvation we will not escape eternal punishment.
This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will. Hebrews 2:3b-4
A miracle is a supernatural act that takes place in the natural realm. A miracle is a divine activity in which God provokes people to marvel at His power and bears witness to Himself. A sign is a visible phenomenon witnessed in the natural that attests to its divine origin and may confirm God’s will or portend a coming event. A wonder is a type of miraculous event that evokes awe and amazement.
Jesus performed miracles over nature. An example of His sovereignty over nature is found in the eighth chapter of the Gospel of Luke:
One day Jesus said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side of the lake.” So they got into a boat and set out. As they sailed, he fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger.
The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!”
He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. “Where is your faith?” he asked his disciples.
In fear and amazement they asked one another, “Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him.” Luke 8:22-25
Yeshua the Messiah performed miracles of provision. He miraculously fed thousands of people on two occasions:
Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked, “You of little faith, why are you talking among yourselves about having no bread? Do you still not understand? Don’t you remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? Matthew 16:8-10
He also performed many healing miracles:
Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. Matthew 4:23
The Lord also demonstrated his power over the demonic realm:
That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed. The whole town gathered at the door, and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was. Mark 1:32-34
The Messiah also was able to miraculously raise the dead:
Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. “Take away the stone,” he said.
“But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”
Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”
So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”
When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.
Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.” John 11:38-44
The purpose of the signs, wonders, and miracles performed by Jesus was to affirm that He was the prophesied Messiah and the Son of God who would proclaim the good news and provide salvation through His own shed blood.
“Fellow Israelites, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know.” Acts 2:22
God performed many supernatural acts through Jesus to publically attest to the fact that Jesus was indeed who he proclaimed to be, “The Messiah, the Son of the Living God.”
God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will. Hebrews 2:4
In addition to signs and wonders, God also affirmed the message of the gospel of salvation announced by Jesus by the supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.1 Corinthians 12:7-11
These gifts serve to demonstrate the workings of God’s power and affirm that the message of the gospel is true and of divine origin.
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 lower than the angels; you crowned them with glory and honor and put everything under their feet.” Hebrews 2:5-8a
Man and woman were created with natural bodies and therefore were made a little lower than the angels who possess heavenly, spiritual, incorporeal natures. Even so, the angels will not be ruling during the Millennium. Instead, it will be the resurrected and translated saints who rule and reign with Christ.
See, a king will reign in righteousness and rulers will rule with justice. Isaiah 32:1
As I watched, this horn was waging war against the holy people and defeating them, until the Ancient of Days came and pronounced judgment in favor of the holy people of the Most High, and the time came when they possessed the kingdom. Daniel 7:21-22
I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. Revelation 20:4
Man was created in the image of God. Adam and Eve were to have dominion over the earth and they and their offspring were to increase in number and fill the earth. Prior to the fall of Adam, God expressly gave Adam (and therefore mankind) charge to rule over all the creation.
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” Genesis 1:26-28
In putting everything under them, God left nothing that is not subject to them. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to them. Hebrews 2:8b
When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Genesis 3:6
The reason that presently we do not see everything subjected to mankind is because of the fall. Adam’s act of rebellion brought a curse on both mankind and upon the earth. Adam had listened to his wife who has disobeyed God and instead they both had obeyed Satan. The authority and dominion over the earth and its creatures that had been given to man was now transferred to Satan. He is the god of this world and the prince of the power of the air.
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. Hebrews 2:9
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23
Christ was made a little lower than the angels for a little while by becoming man and taking on a frail mortal body so that that He could suffer an atoning death which would satisfy the wages of sin.
And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:8-11
Because the Messiah was obedient unto death, He is now crowned with glory and honor.
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 suffered. Hebrews 2:10
That the Messiah should die was ordained by God for whose glory and through whose power all things exist. The Son of God, the source of the salvation of many sons and daughters, was perfected (His goal completed) through the suffering He endured.
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. He says, “I will declare your name to my brothers and sisters; in the assembly I will sing your praises.”
And again, “I will put my trust in him.”
And again he says, “Here am I, and the children God has given me.” Hebrews 2:11-13
Jesus is the one who sanctifies. The children God has given Him are set apart for holy purposes. The Son of God is in unity with those who are His by grace through faith in the New Covenant. Jesus and His brothers and sisters are both of one God and Father, Christ's God is their God, and his Father is their Father. They are of one body, Christ is the head, and they are members. They are of one covenant. Christ is the Mediator, and the messenger of it, and they share in all its blessings and promises. They are all of one nature, of one blood because Christ has taken part of the same flesh and blood with them.
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—and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. Hebrews 2:14-15
The pre-existent, eternal Son of God, manifested in the flesh to destroy the works of the devil.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. John 1:1-3
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14
The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's work. 1 John 3:8
If you have the assurance of eternal life you no longer fear death. Yeshua shared in our humanity so that He could serve as a kinsman redeemer and free us from the fear of death. The Book of Ruth illustrates the role of a kinsman redeemer. Boaz married the poor Moabite Ruth. He acted as a kinsman redeemer. The law of the kinsman redeemer was given in Leviticus 25:25: “If one of your countrymen becomes poor and sells some of his property, his nearest relative is to come and redeem what his countryman has sold.
The kinsman-redeemer is a prophetic picture of our Lord Messiah Yeshua. The account of Ruth is a picture of our redemption. There were several requirements a man had to meet in order to qualify as a kinsman-redeemer. First of all, he must be a near kinsman. Second, he must be willing to redeem. Third, he must be able to redeem. Yeshua, the Son of the living God, became like us so that He could be a near kinsman. He was willing to lay down his life and redeem us with his own blood. Because He led a sinless life, He was able to redeem.
For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. For this reason he had to be made like them, 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. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. Hebrews 2:16-18
The writer of the Book of Hebrews wrote to Jewish believers in Messiah Yeshua to express Yeshua’s superiority to the angels. The writer also presents the evidence of His superiority as a High Priest in the order of Melchezidek to those who served as High Priest from the Tribe of Levi. The Son of God being fully human as well as fully God experienced humanity and temptation. This experience enabled Him to empathize with us in our weaknesses. Being a sinless man qualified Him to be an acceptable sacrifice for sinful man. Having experienced suffering, rejection, and shame, Yeshua became a merciful and faithful High Priest. Being 100% man and 100% God made Yeshua the perfect mediator between man and God.