Hebrews 2:8b-9

Hebrews 2:8b-9 “In this putting everything in subjection to him, nothing was left that was not subjected. However, right now we do not see all things subjected to him. Rather, we see Jesus (who was for a little while made lower than angels) crowned with glory and honor on account of his suffering death, in order that, by the grace of God, He might taste death for everyone.”

After Paul quotes Psalm 8 and applies the Psalm to Christ, he talks about Christ’s reign over all things. Jesus Christ started to reign over all things when He was resurrected from the dead. All things are subjected to Him.

However, we do not see that right now, do we? We see many people who do not bow their knee to Jesus. We see many nations running pell-mell after idols of wealth and power. In fact, to say that Jesus reigns now seems like a very foolish thing to say! Paul realizes this and helps us by giving us a distinction: we can see with our physical eyes that not all things are subject to Jesus. However, we can see with our spiritual eyes that Jesus reigns in heaven. Paul is saying then, that our spiritual vision is more true to reality than our physical eyes, which often deceive us.

A second question that Paul addresses is whether Jesus is qualified to reign, given His humiliation on earth. Paul says that it was only for a little while, and that the exaltation of Christ completely wipes out the status of humiliation. He is now crowned as king.

Notice that Christ is crowned king because of His humiliation. Christ’s humiliation is His obedience even to the point of death, as Paul says in Philippians 2. God honored that obedience with resurrection. As one writer puts it, “The resurrection is God’s ‘Amen’ to Christ’s saying ‘It is finished.’”

Another point of interest: “tasting death” does not mean that Christ tasted death “just a little,” but rather that He tasted the full bitterness of the cup. The phrase does not belittle Christ’s experience of death, but rather heightens it.

One last point: “for everyone” does not mean everyone on the planet. Plainly, Christ’s death is a substitution. Since not everyone on the planet is saved, then the “everyone” is plainly limited. The following verses tell us who the “everyone” is: “many sons” in verse 10, and “His brothers” in verse 11. That is the “everyone” of verse 9. Jesus tasted death for all who believe, that we might not have to suffer a spiritual death, and might therefore have a bodily resurrection to which we can look forward, even as we experience spiritual resurrection when we come to faith in Christ.

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20 Comments

  1. Glenn said,

    February 22, 2007 at 2:20 pm

    I must ask a question or two in friendly disagreement…

    Where do you get the idea that Paul is clarifying this Psalm as only Christological? Or have I misunderstood your position?

    I’ve come to understand the Psalm to be Ademic (or moreover, regarding all mankind) and that it is about man who the author of Hebrews is stating “However, right now we do not see all things subjected to him [MAN].” But we do see Jesus! And he, Jesus [the new head of humanity], is now currently crowned with glory and honor.

    This passage of Hebrews seem to be very clear and affirming of the New Heavens and the New Earth where the New Humanity in Jesus will finally have all thing subjected to them as Adam once did when God first made him a little lower than the angels and crowned him with glory and honor. This is the only way the direct context of the passage makes sense… “Now it was not to angels that God subjected the world to come, of which we are speaking.” Heb. 2:5

    Because of the fall, Adam lost that visible and full dominion, but one day [because of the second Adam, Jesus] mankind will once again have that full and visible dominion and the New Humanity in Christ will finally be greater than angels as God intended all along. Else, why would Paul say in 1 Cor. 6:3, “Do you not know that we are to judge angels?”

    I would like to hear your thoughts. Thanks for the post!

  2. greenbaggins said,

    February 22, 2007 at 2:33 pm

    Glenn, of course, your interpretation is quite viable. I’m not actually going to say that I disagree with it, since Christ and mankind merge in the representative Headship of Christ. That is perhaps why it is difficult to make a decision (as the commentators all note) as to the referrent of “him” in the verses in question. The Psalmist obviously refers to mankind; that much is clear. However, given the heavy attention to the reign of Christ in chapters 1-2 of Hebrews, it is by no means so certain what the precise referrent is. On the other hand, given Weiss’s commentary on the passage, the decision may not be all that important: Christ is True Humanity; Humanity as Humanity was meant to be. I therefore see no reason to dispute your interpretation, but rather to say that the two interpretations can be merged. What would you say?

    By the way, given the number of readers that this blog has, would you mind introducing yourself a bit for us? Thanks

  3. Glenn said,

    February 22, 2007 at 3:35 pm

    Thanks for the reply! I guess I will give an introduction first. =)

    My name is Glenn Jones. I’m from Chattanooga, TN, and I am a member of Concord Baptist Church. I have an awesome wife and a wonderful 5 month old baby boy. I am currently working as a Structural Engineer (Engineer Intern status) with a local engineering company. I am also attending, as time and finances allow, Reformed Theological Seminary (Atlanta Campus). I hope to one day complete the M. Div. degree once they get it set up at the Atlanta location.

    I was in a Bible study once when the passage all of a sudden hit me as the teacher started talking about the Psalm referring to Mankind. He also said that his own understanding of the passage was strictly Christological until he started teaching on Hebrews, but that it changed after he started studying the various viewpoints and looked back at the Psalm.

    I can fully agree that what you have said can be merged given my statements as clarifications. :-)

    I agreed with much of what you said, but I think you see where I was weary of being too restrictive in understanding the passage to be only about Christ. I also appreciate your mention of Phil. 2. That is a great passage to connect with this one and it’s very important for our understanding of New Testament Adam Christology.

    Have a good evening!

  4. greenbaggins said,

    February 22, 2007 at 3:44 pm

    Thanks for the reply and the intro, Glenn! It’s a small world, I know, but I was born in Chattanooga. My father used to teach math and physics at Covenant College. Lived there until I was six.

  5. Glenn said,

    February 22, 2007 at 3:59 pm

    Wow! It is a small world! I have been born and raised here in Chattanooga. My wife went to Covenant College for her degree. I went to UT Chattanooga for my Engineering degree. Thanks for the welcome!

  6. Josh said,

    February 24, 2007 at 10:48 pm

    Lane,

    I read this post when it first “aired” but in rereading it, I appreciated it more in light of the most recent post on blog. I really love the phrase “nothing was left that was not subjected” I hope to post on the current kingship of Christ soon.

    The second issue of tasting death for everyone, I sympathize with the “everyone” being described by the following verse, and see it as a valid theological exegesis. To me its a natural reading. But, I can also see it as a funnel effect, or a greater to less effect. In line with Flynn’s posts and reasoning.

    Not knowing Greek, is there any grammatical reasons that would negate the greater to lesser effect idea?

    P.S. If you jjust happened to post a Hebrew translation on Danial 9 and the 70 weeks, here or at theologyonline, I would have nooooo objections :-) :-) :-)

  7. February 26, 2007 at 4:33 pm

    Rev. Lane Keister,

    You have been deceived by the false teacher John Calvin, and thus, by the traditions of men (Colossians 2:8). Although four of his points are mostly correct, your understanding of the Scriptures is limited due to the false doctrine of Limited Atonement.

    You wrote:

    One last point: “for everyone” does not mean everyone on the planet. Plainly, Christ’s death is a substitution. Since not everyone on the planet is saved, then the “everyone” is plainly limited. The following verses tell us who the “everyone” is: “many sons” in verse 10, and “His brothers” in verse 11. That is the “everyone” of verse 9.

    Your lies are boldfaced in that quote. You must accept the fact that the writer of Hebrews never made a plain connection between the “everyone” of verse 9 and the “many sons” of verse 10 or “His brothers” of verse 11. If the Hebrews writer had meant that “everyone” only refers to the select few who would find the narrow road to life (Matthew 7:14), he would most certainly have used a different word. Everyone means everyone.

    Then why isn’t everyone saved? Because even though Jesus died for every single individual (as it is written, everyone), they made His death a vain sacrifice by refusing to believe in it.

    If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself. (I Timothy 6:3-5)

    By this I know that if you do not “consent to wholesome words,” you are “proud, knowing nothing,” and I should withdraw myself from you.

    However, if you are truly in the faith, you will hear my words: “He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.” I John 4:6.

    If you do not take heed, you are a ravenous wolf (Matthew 7:15), a well without water “for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever” (II Peter 2:17).

    I have rebuked you “in the presence of all” (I Timothy 5:20) so that all may fear. I hope you get this message so that you may be saved, for “He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world” (I John 2:2).

    For the Crown Rights of Jesus Christ,
    The Crown Rights Patriot

  8. greenbaggins said,

    February 26, 2007 at 4:37 pm

    What do you think, folks? Should I answer this?

  9. February 26, 2007 at 4:37 pm

    It appears boldfacing with doesn’t work… let me try .

    I said in my above comment that “Your lies are boldfaced in that quote.” Clearly that didn’t work, so let me try again with italicizing and boldfacing with .

    One last point: “for everyone” does not mean everyone on the planet. Plainly, Christ’s death is a substitution. Since not everyone on the planet is saved, then the “everyone” is plainly limited. The following verses tell us who the “everyone” is: “many sons” in verse 10, and “His brothers” in verse 11. That is the “everyone” of verse 9.

    Delete this comment if you don’t want it to cramp up the page; I just needed a sandbox.

  10. February 26, 2007 at 4:40 pm

    greenbaggins,

    If you do not answer my comment (Scripturally), I will know for sure that you are “proud, knowing nothing” (I Timothy 6:4).

  11. greenbaggins said,

    February 26, 2007 at 4:48 pm

    crownrightspatriot, let me tell you something about blog etiquette. One does not charge onto someone else’s blog, call them an idiot, liar, deceived person, and then demand an answer. This is my blog. I can do what I like. I can answer whom I like. Furthermore, I am an extremely busy pastor of two churches. Furthermore, I am not inclined to give an answer to someone who posts an off-the-cuff remark full of invective, without any introduction of yourself. It is exceedingly rude. There are plenty of biblical answers to your position. But you have not earned the privilege of my answer just yet.

  12. February 26, 2007 at 5:00 pm

    Not a problem. I can be patient; I am not requiring that you answer now. However, regardless of any rules of etiquette, you must provide proof that you are saved and are leading others to salvation; otherwise, how is anybody to know whether I was lying or truthful in my comment? If you truly fear for my soul, and for the souls of others, you will eventually find time to respond.

    You said, “One does not charge onto someone else’s blog, call them an idiot, liar, deceived person, and then demand an answer.” I never called you an idiot. The whore who runs the “Sex in the Public Square” blog is an idiot. I’m just warning you and others that you could be a false prophet, a dire warning indeed.

    You said, “I am not inclined to give an answer to someone who posts an off-the-cuff remark full of invective.” So Scriptural exhortations and rebukes are invective? Are you really taking God seriously?

  13. greenbaggins said,

    February 26, 2007 at 5:14 pm

    The word “all” is not in itself required to mean absolutely everyone. For instance, if I am among a group of children, and one of them says to me, “I want a piece of candy,” and I say, “Okay, but I want all the children to have a piece of candy,” have I just committed myself to giving candy to every child in the universe? Or would they (and myself, mercifully!) understand that to mean that I am going to give a piece of candy to everyone in that group? I would hope the latter. The problem with Arminian exegesis of “all” passages in the Scripture is that they assume that “all” automatically means everyone in the entire world in every context in which it appears. This is the fallacy of assuming some basic kind of meaning to the word “all.” The word has to be defined by its context. As I have already argued, the context of Heb 2:8b-9 does not indicate that the “all” means everyone in the entire universe. Verse 10 is clearly speaking about the same salvation as verse 9 is: the “made perfect through suffering” is equivalent in meaning to “tasting death.” Furthermore the salvation is limited to “their,” implying, of course, that there are those who are not part of that group. Therefore, the “all” of verse 9 is limited by the context. Verse 11 confirms this when it says that the Savior and the Saved are all One. On your interpretation, the Savior and the saved have to be Christ and the entire world. Plainly, the “all” in verse 9 have to be the same group of people as the “many sons” of verse 10, and the “sanctified” of verse 11, since there is zero indication that the group has changed in number. To say it is changed is to import into the text a distinction based on a preconceived notion of “all,” which, as I have already demonstrated, is not valid.

  14. February 26, 2007 at 5:47 pm

    You have only responded to this paragraph of mine:

    You must accept the fact that the writer of Hebrews never made a plain connection between the “everyone” of verse 9 and the “many sons” of verse 10 or “His brothers” of verse 11. If the Hebrews writer had meant that “everyone” only refers to the select few who would find the narrow road to life (Matthew 7:14), he would most certainly have used a different word. Everyone means everyone.

    You wrote,

    As I have already argued, the context of Heb 2:8b-9 does not indicate that the “all” means everyone in the entire universe.

    Actually, it doesn’t even use the word all. It uses the word everyone. “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” (Hebrews 2:9).

    Verses 10 and 11 never indicate that the word everyone is only talking about many sons or His brethren. Indeed, His sufferings sanctify the many sons who are brought to glory (Hebrews 2:10), but Scripture never says that His sufferings didn’t atone for the sins of the world. On the contrary, He died for the world, as I will now demonstrate.

    Consider I Timothy 2:5-6. “[T]here is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all [...].” To what else could the words all be referring? All people who are saved? That’s not what Scripture says. It says all men (I Timothy 2:4).

    It couldn’t get any plainer than I John 2:2. “He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.” Here, Scripture is directly contradicting Limited Atonement, teaching that Christ is not the atonement just for the saved, but for everyone. Who is the whole world spoken of in I John 2:2? That’s revealed in I John 5:19: “We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.” So Jesus is the atonement for the whole world, the whole world that lies under the sway of the wicked men. All men.

    Finally, you said, “On your interpretation, the Savior and the saved have to be Christ and the entire world.” Indeed, the Savior and the saved are one, but you assume that I believe the world is saved. But just because Christ died for the world doesn’t mean the world is saved. The world has to believe it in order to attain salvation (John 3:16).

  15. greenbaggins said,

    February 26, 2007 at 5:55 pm

    Actually, my response answered both your arguments with regard to “everyone” and your arguments with regard to all the other passages you cited.

    1 Tim 2:4 is limited by the *classes* in verse 1: salvation is not limited to any one class.

    1 John 2:2 must be understood against the backdrop of the historical context: the gnostics were fighting for an “in” group of knowledge. John takes their thunder by saying that salvation does *not* belong to a particular group of people, but rather it belongs to the whole world. 1 John 5:19 proves my point even better: Christians are *not* under the sway of the evil one. Therefore, the “whole world” *cannot* be everyone in the world, since John also says “do not love the world” in 2:15. You need to differentiate among the different senses of “world,” and even “whole world.” You are not displaying very careful exegesis.

  16. February 26, 2007 at 6:16 pm

    You are displaying the deceit of someone who looks at Scripture through the blurry lens of five-point Calvinism.

    You wrote:

    1 Tim 2:4 is limited by the *classes* in verse 1: salvation is not limited to any one class.

    Yes, salvation is not limited to any one class. So what? How does this fact “limit” the expression all men?

    You wrote:

    John takes their thunder by saying that salvation does *not* belong to a particular group of people, but rather it belongs to the whole world.

    Amen, the whole world.

    You wrote:

    Christians are *not* under the sway of the evil one. Therefore, the “whole world” *cannot* be everyone in the world, since John also says “do not love the world” in 2:15. You need to differentiate among the different senses of “world,” and even “whole world.”

    The most consistent meaning of “world” or “whole world” is everyone else, i.e., everyone who is not a Christian. Sometimes “world” refers to everyone (John 3:16), sometimes not (John 5:19). But the fact remains, and you have since not disproved, that Christ died for the elect (Matthew 1:21) and for everyone else as well (I Timothy 2:4, 4:10; I John 2:2; John 1:29; Hebrews 2:9; the list goes on).

    You specifically said, “Therefore, the “whole world” *cannot* be everyone in the world [...].” Indeed, in I John 5:19, “whole world” refers to those who are not of God. Yet, I John 2:2 reveals that Christ still died for them.

    Again, you might ask, if Christ died for the world, then why do people still go to Hell? Because they didn’t access that grace by faith (Romans 5:2). That you still are under the sway of the wicked one reveals that you are not of God. May God have mercy on you, so that you may come to the love of the truth.

  17. greenbaggins said,

    February 26, 2007 at 6:31 pm

    In Hebrews 2:8b-9 the salvation that means that Jesus is our substitute is an *efficacious* salvation. In other words, it was a fully substitutionary sacrifice for sins. If Christ’s death actually *accomplished* our salvation, then it could not be for everyone, or else everyone would be saved.

    The implication from 1 Tim is that Paul is *not* making a head count of the entire world. Rather, he is saying that salvation is not limited to any one class of people. But saying the latter is by no means the same as saying that Christ died for every single person in the world. Warfield used this illustration: if Christ’s death is butter, and people are bread, then you have one of two things that must be true: either the bread covers the bread thickly enough, or it covers the whole bread, but too thinly. This is not a reflection on the power of Christ’s atonement, mind you. This is merely trying to explain why it is that some people are not saved. Either the butter actually covers the bread adequately (but not the whole loaf), or it covers all the bread, but does not adequately cover the bread.

    On 1 John 2:2, the point is that John is not making a head-count of the entire world in that statement. Rather, he is saying that it is not limited to a Gnostic group of people.

    John 1:29 proves nothing for your case, since He *actually takes away* the sins of the people in view. Since He does not take away the sins of those who do not trust in Christ, then the group of people known as “the world” in that passage *cannot* refer to a head-count of the entire world.

    I suggest that you read Berkhof’s Systematic Theology, pp. 393-399. It is not long, and answers *all* of the exegetical issues you have raised.

  18. February 26, 2007 at 6:51 pm

    You wrote:

    In Hebrews 2:8b-9 the salvation that means that Jesus is our substitute is an *efficacious* salvation. In other words, it was a fully substitutionary sacrifice for sins. If Christ’s death actually *accomplished* our salvation, then it could not be for everyone, or else everyone would be saved.

    Christ’s death was for all, but that death clearly did not accomplish salvation. It was merely the sacrifice for our sins. Salvation itself is attained by our faith through God’s grace.

    Rather, he is saying that salvation is not limited to any one class of people. But saying the latter is by no means the same as saying that Christ died for every single person in the world.

    Salvation is not limited to any one class, yes, but Christ’s death is not the same as salvation. Christ’s death was for the world. Why can’t you accept that?

    You wrote:

    Warfield used this illustration: if Christ’s death is butter, and people are bread, then you have one of two things that must be true: either the bread covers the bread thickly enough, or it covers the whole bread, but too thinly. This is not a reflection on the power of Christ’s atonement, mind you. This is merely trying to explain why it is that some people are not saved. Either the butter actually covers the bread adequately (but not the whole loaf), or it covers all the bread, but does not adequately cover the bread.

    So says the wisdom of this world (I Corinthians 3:19).

    You said:

    On 1 John 2:2, the point is that John is not making a head-count of the entire world in that statement. Rather, he is saying that it is not limited to a Gnostic group of people.

    So, it’s not limited to a group of people, but it is limited because it’s not a head count. I don’t even understand your deceit in order to counter it.

    You wrote:

    John 1:29 proves nothing for your case, since He *actually takes away* the sins of the people in view. Since He does not take away the sins of those who do not trust in Christ, then the group of people known as “the world” in that passage *cannot* refer to a head-count of the entire world.

    What’s your obsession with head-counts? John 1:29 says the Lamb of God takes away the sin of the world. Whether the world chooses to allow Christ to free them from sin is another story. It’s the story of Hell.

    You recommend I read some liar’s testimony. I recommend you forget every lie you ever learned about the Bible and just take the text for what it says.

  19. greenbaggins said,

    February 26, 2007 at 6:57 pm

    This thread is closed. If you cannot be civil, then you have no right to post comments.

  20. February 28, 2007 at 1:25 pm

    [...] 28th, 2007 at 1:25 pm (Uncategorized) As this blog post interchange sadly indicates, some Arminians think that if you hold to Limited Atonement, you are going to hell, [...]


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