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Hebrews 2:1-9

Sunday Morning Bible Study

June 3, 2018



Caleb & Kim

They’re back!
Pray for the Bellers
The elders are going to allow donations to the Beller Fund through the end of June if you’d like to help with getting settled back in the U.S.


We don’t know for sure who wrote the book of Hebrews, but we do have a pretty good idea of who it was written to.

Hebrews was written to Jewish believers.

The author expects the readers to be well acquainted with Levitical worship and sacrifice.
He will constantly quote the Old Testament in a way that expects that the reader understands what he’s talking about.

We also know that these believers were encountering very strong persecution.

Times were so bad that some were beginning to wonder if they shouldn’t quit following Jesus.

We will see three elements woven throughout this letter to the Hebrews.

1.  Both Testaments

Even though the Old Testament has become “obsolete” (Heb. 8:13), the entire book of Hebrews is built upon the clear foundation of the Old Testament.
(Hebrews 8:13 NKJV) In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.
You aren’t going to understand Hebrews, or even the New Testament correctly unless you learn the Old Testament.

2. Jesus is superior

He’s superior to angels.
He’s superior to Moses and the Torah.
He’s superior to the Levitical priests and their sacrifices.

3. Don’t quit

The ultimate goal of the book is to encourage those who are struggling with difficult times, and help them to endure.
There’s much to find strength from and not quit.

The writer has just started building his arguments about the superiority of Jesus.

Last week it was all about how Jesus is superior to the angels.

The reason for starting with the angels is that the Law of Moses didn’t just come through Moses, but through the help of the angels. (Deut. 33:2)
(Deuteronomy 33:2 NKJV) And he said: “The Lord came from Sinai, And dawned on them from Seir; He shone forth from Mount Paran, And He came with ten thousands of saints; From His right hand Came a fiery law for them.

We’re going to look at the first of the “warning” passages in Hebrews.  Let me caution you, this might get uncomfortable…

2:1-4 First Warning

:1 Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away.

:1 give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard

more earnestperissoteros – more abundantly; more in a greater degree; more earnestly, more exceedingly; especially, above others

give … heedprosecho – to bring to; to turn the mind to, be attentive

The word was used as a nautical term to either hold a ship on course in a certain direction, or to bring a ship to land.
Bringing a ship to land is a little like parking a car.
Video: Ultimate Parking Skill Compilation
The writer doesn’t want us to just “give heed” to what we’ve heard, but to give “more earnest” – to really dial it up a notch.

For these Jewish readers, the “things we have heard” are the things of Jesus the Messiah – that Jesus is indeed the Savior.

“Giving heed” is like parking the truth about Jesus in your heart – nice and secure.

:1 lest we drift away

Again, a bit nautical in theme here.

driftpararrhueo (“alongside” + “to flow”) – to glide by; float by, drift past as a ship, flow past as a river.

“Parking” a boat isn’t quite like parking a car.  I wonder if it might be a bit more difficult. If you’re trying to dock your boat like those guys in the car video, and you aren’t “taking heed”, you just might “drift” right past your dock … like this…

Video: Whale Watching Boat Crashing into dock
It sounds like things could get serious if we don’t pay attention!

(Hebrews 2:2–3 NKJV) —2 For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward, 3 how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him,

:2 For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward,

:2 the word spoken through angels proved steadfast

provedginomai – to become, be made

This is the Law of Moses, given to Moses through the help of angels (Deut. 33:2).

steadfastbebaios (from basis, “a stepping”, “something you step on”) – stable, firm; standing firm on your feet

Yesterday at the painting day, Scotty wanted me to try and use one of his rolling scaffolds. To me it looked like this…
Anything shakier than concrete is not “stable” enough for me.  I’ll fall every time.

The Law of Moses was solid stuff.

It was shown over time to be something amazing and true, as difficult and hard as it was.
It was truly the word of God.

:2 and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward

transgressionparabasis – a going over, stepping over; metaph. a disregarding, violating; of the Mosaic Law; the breach of a definite, promulgated, ratified law

disobedienceparakoe – a hearing amiss; disobedience

justendikos – according to right, righteous, just

rewardmisthapodosia – payment of wages due, reward for work

This word is about being paid what is owed you for your day’s work.

The Law of Moses is filled with “do’s” and “don’ts”, which are also accompanied by blessings and consequences.

The consequences of a sin involved an immediate earthly punishment.
You break the Law and you go to jail, or lose an ox, or lose an eye, or are beaten, or are put to death.
(Exodus 22:1 NLT) “If someone steals an ox or sheep and then kills or sells it, the thief must pay back five oxen for each ox stolen, and four sheep for each sheep stolen.
The consequences of continuing sin had more far-reaching effects.
The nation of Israel was warned by God that if they strayed from God and continued down a path of disobedience, they would be removed from their land.
(Leviticus 26:14–16 NLT) —14 “However, if you do not listen to me or obey all these commands, 15 and if you break my covenant by rejecting my decrees, treating my regulations with contempt, and refusing to obey my commands, 16 I will punish you. I will bring sudden terrors upon you—wasting diseases and burning fevers that will cause your eyes to fail and your life to ebb away. You will plant your crops in vain because your enemies will eat them.
(Leviticus 26:25 NLT) I will send armies against you to carry out the curse of the covenant you have broken. When you run to your towns for safety, I will send a plague to destroy you there, and you will be handed over to your enemies.
The Jewish believers reading this letter knew full well that their nation had actually been through this, handed over to the Babylonians for seventy years – as a “reward” for their breaking of God’s covenant.
Even in the New Testament, there is a proper “wage” that is paid when you go to work for “Sin, Inc.”
(Romans 6:23 NKJV) For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

So if the Old Testament Law had consequences for breaking the law…

:3 how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him,

escapeekpheugo – to flee out of, flee away; to seek safety in flight; to escape

:3 so great a salvation

so greattelikoutos – so great, so vast, so mighty, so important.

James gives us a taste of this word,
(James 3:4 NKJV) Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires.

James gives a great contrast in sizes – a huge ship being controlled by an itty-bitty rudder.

James’ point is to talk about how our little teeny tongue can affect great things.

Paul used the word “so great” to describe how God had delivered him from great troubles in Ephesus…
(2 Corinthians 1:9–10 NKJV) —9 Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead, 10 who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver us,

Though Paul is talking about being delivered from a horrible physical death, it gives us a perfect contrast.

Jesus has also delivered us from “so great a death”, from an even greater death than Paul was facing.

Jesus delivers us from an eternal death, an eternal separation from God in hell, to an eternity in heaven.

Do I truly grasp just how “great” a salvation we have?
I see the greatness of my salvation when I see the greatness of what He has saved me from.

:3 at the first began to be spoken by the Lord

Jesus shared the message that man could become right with God.

:3 confirmed to us by those who heard Him

Those who heard Jesus were the “apostles”.

Though we don’t know exactly who the author of Hebrews is, we get the idea here that he’s someone who was close to the apostles.

The word “confirmed” is the verb form of the word translated “steadfast” in vs. 2.  You could draw circles around the two words in your Bible and connect them with a line to show they’re the same word.

Just as the word spoken by angels proved to be “steadfast” (bebaios, vs. 2), this word of salvation was “made firm” (bebaioo) by the apostles.  They are both “solid” – you can stand on them.
For the Jewish believers, the Old Testament wasn’t the only thing “firm” or reliable.  So was the gospel of the New Testament.
How was the New Testament “confirmed” through the apostles?  Keep reading…

confirmedbebaioo – to make firm, establish, confirm, make sure

steadfastbebaios (from basis, “a stepping”, “something you step on”) – stable, firm; standing firm on your feet

:4 God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will?

:4 God also bearing witness

bearing witnesssunepimartureo – at attest together with; to join in bearing witness, to unite in adding testimony

The apostles weren’t the only ones that confirmed the truth of the gospel with their words, but God confirmed it also, joining alongside the apostles by the demonstration of …

:4 signs and wonders … miracles … gifts

signssemeion – a sign, mark, token; that by which a person or a thing is distinguished from others and is known; a sign, prodigy, portent, i.e. an unusual occurrence, transcending the common course of nature; of miracles and wonders by which God authenticates the men sent by him, or by which men prove that the cause they are pleading is God’s

wondersteras – a prodigy, portent; miracle: performed by any one

variouspoikilos – a various colours, variegated; of various sorts

miraclesdunamis – strength, power, ability

giftsmerismos – a division, partition; distribution (of various kinds); a separation; so far as to cleave asunder or separate

This is not the usual word for “gifts”, it’s more of an interpretation.
The Holy Spirit “gives” or distributes the gifts as He wants (1Co. 12:7)
(1 Corinthians 12:7 NKJV) But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all:

willthelesis – a willing will


God’s witness

Throughout the book of Acts, we see supernatural things taking place as a way of “confirming” or imparting God’s “witness” to the message that was being preached.
It happened in Jerusalem.
(Acts 5:12 NKJV) And through the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were done among the people. And they were all with one accord in Solomon’s Porch.
It happened through Paul at Iconium.
(Acts 14:3 NKJV) Therefore they stayed there a long time, speaking boldly in the Lord, who was bearing witness to the word of His grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands.
It is not necessary that miracles be present to “confirm” the message of the gospel.
The message that Jesus can save you from hell is powerful enough all on its own.

(Romans 1:16 NKJV) For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.

Yet God still works today, and God will at times work in a way of adding His “witness” to the message that is being preached.
I have some friends who have received the gift of healing, and they are not setting up a tent with TV cameras to draw crowds, they are going out into the community, talking with complete strangers, talking to people at work, and praying over them.  They are seeing many get healed, and many are coming to Christ.
God does miracles, even today.


Duane Miller was a pastor in Texas.  He caught a flu virus that affected his vocal cords.  He lost his voice. He only had a very faint squeak left. For three years he went to 63 specialists, over 200 doctors, and they were unable treat him.

He had to step down from his church.

He eventually moved, got involved in a large Baptist church. He was reluctant when they asked him to help out in the adult Sunday School because of his voice.  They hooked him up with a special microphone so people could hear him.  One Sunday he was asked to teach on Psalm 103, the passage about God healing all our diseases … in a Baptist Church …

You’re going to hear him give this message, and in the middle of it, God heals him.  You’ll clearly hear it.

 Video – Duane Miller - Pastor is healed while preaching

God can touch you today.

:3 how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation

neglectameleo – to be careless of, to neglect

That sounds like “not taking heed”, or “drifting”.


Warning: Carelessness

When we don’t “take heed” (vs.1), we run the risk of sailing the boat right past our intended port.
I think it’s possible some of you are asleep at the wheel of your life.
You’ve been distracted by so many things in this world that you really don’t take Jesus seriously.
I wonder if sometimes we have this notion that we’re going to get a “free pass” from God.
As if some people will be judged by God, but God will look at me, wink, and let me into heaven.
Some people think that since they’ve been able to get away with living their life on their terms, that somehow God is okay with that.
If God has not brought judgment on your sin, it’s because He’s being merciful and giving you time to turn around.
Paul wrote,

(Romans 2:4 NKJV) Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?

Some have even talked themselves into thinking that there is no such place as “hell”, and they’re betting their eternal destiny on it.
If the ancient nation of Israel didn’t escape the consequences of their disobedience to God’s ways, do you think that you will escape the consequences if you reject God’s salvation?
Jesus said,
(Matthew 13:49–50 NKJV) —49 So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come forth, separate the wicked from among the just, 50 and cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.”

Does this make you uncomfortable?  There’s something you can do about it.

Jesus also said,
(John 3:16 NKJV) For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
Are you taking Jesus seriously?
Have you committed your life to Jesus?
Don’t ignore the warnings.

2:5-9 Lower than the angels

:5 For He has not put the world to come, of which we speak, in subjection to angels.

:5 the world to come

the worldoikoumene – the inhabited earth; the universe, the world

to comemello – to be about; to be on the point of doing or suffering something

The writer is talking about the kingdom of God coming to the earth.

It’s not the world as we know it, but the world after God fixes all that is broken.
We would call this the “Millennial Kingdom” (NOT the Millennium Falcon)

:5 in subjection to angels

in subjectionhupotasso – to arrange under, to subordinate; put in subjection

This is a military word, talking about a chain of command.

In the coming Millennial Kingdom, the angels will not be in control.

By the way, that means that Satan will NOT win.

:6 But one testified in a certain place, saying: “What is man that You are mindful of him, Or the son of man that You take care of him?

mindfulmimnesko – to remind; to be recalled or to return to one’s mind, to remind one’s self of, to remember; to remember a thing; be mindful of

take careepiskeptomai – to look upon or after, to inspect, examine with the eyes; in order to see how he is, i.e. to visit, go to see one; to look upon in order to help or to benefit; to look after, have care for, provide for: of God

testifieddiamarturomai – to testify earnestly; solemnly affirm

:7 You have made him a little lower than the angels; You have crowned him with glory and honor, And set him over the works of Your hands.

made … lowerelattoo – to make less or inferior: in dignity; to be made less or inferior: in dignity; to decrease in authority or popularity

littlebrachus – short, small, little

glorydoxa – opinion, judgment, view; in the NT always a good opinion concerning one, resulting in praise, honour, and glory; splendour, brightness

honortime – a valuing by which the price is fixed; honour which belongs or is shown to one; of the honour which one has by reason of rank and state of office which he holds; deference, reverence

thou crownedstephanoo – to encircle with a crown, to crown: the victor in a contest; to adorn, to honour

set him overkathistemi – to set, place, put; to set one over a thing (in charge of it); to appoint one to administer an office

:8 You have put all things in subjection under his feet.”

put … in subjectionhupotasso – to arrange under, to subordinate; to subject, put in subjection.  Aorist tense here.

:6 But one testified in a certain place

It’s an odd way to say it, but the writer is going to quote from Scripture, almost as if he can’t remember where it’s from, yet he quotes it word for word.

He’s quoting from Psalm 8:4-6.

(Psalm 8:4–6 NKJV) —4 What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him? 5 For You have made him a little lower than the angels, And You have crowned him with glory and honor. 6 You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet,

Turn to Psalm 8 for a minute.  It’s written by David.  Look at the verse just prior to our section.

(Psalm 8:3–4 NKJV) —3 When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained, 4 What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him?
David has been musing on the awesome greatness of God.
He’s been gazing at the night sky and been amazed at the hugeness of God’s creation.
And then his thoughts turn to earth and he finds himself amazed that God would even take time to think about us small, puny humans.

:6 What is man …Or the son of man

I do not like the New Living Translation in how it handles this passage.

(Hebrews 2:6–8 NLT) —6 For in one place the Scriptures say, “What are mere mortals that you should think about them, or a son of man that you should care for him? 7 Yet for a little while you made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor. 8 You gave them authority over all things.”
It’s true you can translate these phrases in this way, as if it’s simply talking about mankind in a generic way.

And yes, we are lower than the angels, and yes we will be given glory.

But this translation removes the whole point of the passage.

The point of Hebrews (and this passage) is to show that Jesus is superior to the angels, not us.

So instead of saying “a son of man”, it is more properly translated “THE Son of man”, or, Jesus.

David was speaking prophetically about the Messiah.

:7 little lower than the angels…crowned him with glory and honor

There is a great contrast here.

The state of being “lower than the angels” is NOT the same as being “crowned with glory and honor”.

This “Son of man” has been made “lower than the angels”, yet there would be a time when that changes, and the Son of man would be “crowned with glory and honor”.

:8 For in that He put all in subjection under him, He left nothing that is not put under him. But now we do not yet see all things put under him.

he leftaphiemi – to send away; to bid going away or depart; to let go, let alone, let be; to leave, go way from one

not put underanupotaktos – not made subject, unsubjected; that cannot be subjected to control, disobedient, unruly, refractory

put underhupotasso – to arrange under, to subordinate; to subject, put in subjection.  Here the verb is a perfect participle, all things are not yet to the state where they’ve been put in subjection and have stayed in subjection.

:8 He put all in subjection under him

God the Father will one day put Jesus in charge of all things.

We will also rule the world with Jesus, and we will even be judging the angels.

But keep in mind this passage is all about Jesus, not us.

:8 we do not yet see all things put under him

Jesus hasn’t come back, He’s not ruling the world, and the world hasn’t been fixed yet.

:9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.

:9 who was made a little lower than the angels

a littlebrachus – short, small, little

made … lowerelattoo – to make less or inferior: in dignity

This phrase could also be translated:

(Hebrews 2:9 ESV) But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels

When was Jesus made lower than the angels?

Since eternity past, Jesus has existed with the Father in glory.
He became lower than the angels when He took on human flesh and was born in a Bethlehem manger.

:9 for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor

sufferingpathema – that which one suffers or has suffered; an enduring, undergoing, suffering

Because Jesus died for us, He was given glory and honor.

:9 by the grace of God

gracecharis – grace; that which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, loveliness: grace of speech; good will, loving-kindness, favor

Jesus came to be a sacrifice for our sins.

It was God’s grace for us that Jesus died, so He could pay for our sins.
We didn’t deserve it, but God did it anyway.

(Ephesians 2:8–9 NKJV) —8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.

:9 might taste death for everyone

For you scholars: When we get to the very difficult passage in Hebrews 6 about the fate of those who “fall away”, the same word for “taste” is used twice.  How you choose to understand the “taste” in one passage should probably affect the way you take it in the other passage. (for you non-scholars – we’ll deal with this when we get to Hebrews 6)

tastegeuomai – to taste, to try the flavor of; experience; eat

This is a word that will come back into play in another of the “warning” passages:
(Hebrews 6:4–6 NKJV) —4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.
How much of a “bite” makes up a “taste”?

Some folks will resolve the difficulty of this passage by saying those mentioned here were not true believers, but they only “tasted” the heavenly gift, not truly partaking.

But you’ll have a problem in our passage.  Did Jesus only “taste” of death in that He didn’t truly die?  No.  He truly died.

Did Jesus just take a little “taste” of death and spit it out?
No.  He died for us.
(2 Corinthians 5:15a NKJV) and He died for all…
(Romans 14:9 NKJV) For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again
(1 Thessalonians 5:10 NKJV) who died for us…

forhuper – in behalf of, for the sake of

He died for our sake.


For me

This was the great sacrifice.
We’ll see this unfold throughout the book of Hebrews.
He died for our sins, so we wouldn’t have to.
Dying is how the debt of sin is paid for.

We could each die to pay for our own sins.

That death would mean a total separation from God.

And God doesn’t want that for you.

He paid a debt He didn’t owe, because we owed a debt we couldn’t pay.
(Isaiah 53:5–6 NKJV) —5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
Jesus died so we could be forgiven and made right with God.
Some of you have never experienced forgiveness like this.
Some of you have heard about His forgiveness, but you may still be holding on to guilt and condemnation.
Video:  OneTimeBlind - Trash
Beloved, He died “for” us.