Hebrews 2:8
You have put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(8) Thou hast put . . .—There is in the Greek a studious repetition of the leading word, which should not be lost in translation: “Thou didst subject all things under his feet. For in subjecting all things to him, He left nothing unsubjected to him. But now we see not yet all things subjected to him.”

For in that . . .—The assertion of Hebrews 2:5 is established by this Scripture; for if God has thus declared all things subject to man, there is nothing that did not fall under his rule. “Did not,” in the divine purpose; but this purpose is not yet fulfilled in regard to the race of man.

Hebrews

MANHOOD CROWNED IN JESUS

Hebrews 2:8-9ONE of our celebrated astronomers is said to have taught himself the rudiments of his starry science when lying on the hill-side, keeping his father’s sheep. Perhaps the grand psalm to which these words refer had a similar origin, and may have come from the early days of the shepherd king, when, like those others of a later day, he abode in the field of Bethlehem, keeping watch over his flock by night. The magnificence of the Eastern heavens, with their ‘larger constellations burning,’ filled his soul with two opposite thoughts - man’s smallness and man’s greatness. I suppose that in a mind apt to pensive reflections, alive to moral truths, and responsive to the impressions of God’s great universe, the unscientific contemplation of any of the grander forms of nature produces that double effect. And certainly the grandest of them all, which is spread over our heads, little as we dwellers in cities can see the heavens for daily smoke and nightly lamps, forces both these thoughts upon us. They seem so far above us, they swim into their stations night after night, and look down with cold, unchanging beauty on sorrow, and hot strife, and shrieks, and groans, and death. They are so calm, so pure, so remote, so eternal. Thus David felt man’s littleness. And yet - and yet, bigness is not greatness, and duration is not life, and the creature that knows God is highest. So the consciousness of man’s separation from, and superiority to these silent stars, springs up strong and victorious over the other thought. Remember that, in David’s time, the nations near, who were believed to be the very centre of wisdom, had not got beyond the power of these impressions, but on Chaldean plains worshipped the host of heaven. The psalm then is a protest against the most fascinating, and to David’s age the most familiar form of idolatry. These great lights are not rulers, but servants; we are more than they, because we have spirits which link us with God.

Then, kindling as he contemplates man as God meant him to be, the poet bursts into rapturous celebration of man’s greatness in these respects - that he is visited by God, capable of divine communion, and a special object of divine care; that he is only lower than the loftiest. and that but in small degree and in one specific respect. because they, in their immortal strength, are not entangled in flesh as we; that over all others of God’s creatures on earth he is king.

‘Very fine words,’ may be fairly said; ‘but do they correspond to facts? What manhood are you talking about? Where is this being, so close to God, so lowly before Him, so firmly lord of all besides?’ That is the question which the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews deals with in our text. He has quoted the psalm as an illustration of his thesis that Christ, and we in Christ, are exalted above angels, and then he proceeds to admit that, as a matter of fact, men are not what David describes them as being. But the psalm is not, therefore, an exaggeration, nor a dream, nor a mere ideal of the imagination. True, as a matter of fact, men are not all this. But as a matter of fact Jesus Christ is, and in His possession of all that the psalm painted our possession is commenced and certified. It is an ideal picture, but it is realised in Jesus, and having been so in Him, we have ground to believe that it will be so in us. We see not yet all things put under man - alas no, but-we see Jesus crowned with glory and honour; and as He tasted death for every man, so in His exaltation He is prophecy and pledge that the grand old words shall one day be fulfilled in all their height and depth. The text, then, brings before us a threefold sight. It bids us look around, and if that sadden us, it bids us look up, and thence it bids us draw confidence to look forward. There is an estimate of present facts, there is a perception by faith of the unseen fact of Christ’s glory, and there follows from that the calm prospect for the future for ourselves and for our brethren. Let us deal with these considerations in order.

I. Look at the sight around us.

‘We see not yet all things put under man.’ Where are the men of whom any portion of the psalmist’s words is true? Look at them - are these the men of whom he sings? Visited by God I crowned with glory and honour! having dominion over the works of His hands! Is this irony or fact?

Let consciousness speak. Look at ourselves. If that psalm be God’s thought of man, the plan that He hangs up for us His workmen to build by, what a wretched thing my copy of it has turned out to be! Is this a picture of me? How seldom I am conscious of the visits of God; how full I am of weaknesses and imperfections - the solemn voice within me tells me at intervals when I listen to its tones. On my brow there gleams no diadem; from my life, alas! there shines at the best but a fitful splendour of purity, all striped with solid masses of blackness. And as for dominion over creatures, how superficial my rule over them, how real their rule over me! I can tame animals or slay them; I can use the forces of nature for my purposes; I can make machinery, and bid the lightning do my errands and carry messages, the burden of which is mostly money, or power, or sorrow. But all these, and the whole set of things like them, are not ruling over God’s creation. That consists in using all for God, and for our own growth in wisdom, strength, and goodness; and he only is master of all things who is servant of God. ‘All are yours, and ye are Christ’s.’ If so, what are most of us but servants, not lords, of earth and its goods? We fasten our very lives on them, we tremble at the bare thought of losing them, we give our best efforts to get them - we say to the fine gold, ‘Thou art my confidence.’ We do not possess them, they possess us: and so, though materially we may have conquered the earth {and wonderfully proud of it we are now}, spiritually, which is the same as to say really, the earth has conquered us.

The same impression of human incompleteness is made by all the records of human lives which we possess. Go into a library, and take down volume after volume-the biographies and autobiographies of the foremost men, the saints and sages whom we all reverence. Is there one on whose monument the old psalm could truthfully be written? Are not the honest autobiographies what one of the noblest of them is called, ‘Confessions’? Are not the memoirs the stories of flawed excellence, stained purity, limited wisdom? There are no perfect men in them - no men after the pattern of David’s words. Or if some enthusiastic admirer has drawn a picture without shadows, we feel that it is without life or likeness; and we look for faults and limitations that we may be sure of brotherhood.

And if we take a wider range, and listen to the sad voice of history chronicling the past, where in all her tragic story of bright hopes brought to nothing, of powers built up by force and rotted down by pride and selfishness, of war and wrong, of good painfully sought, and partially possessed, and churlishly treasured, and quickly lost - where on all her blotted pages, stained with tears, and sweat, and blood, do we find a record that verifies the singer’s rapture, and shows us men like this of the Psalm?

Or let observation speak. Bring Before your minds, by an exercise of imagination vivifying and uniting into one impression, the facts which we all know of the social and moral condition - to say nothing now of the religious state - of any country upon earth. Think of the men in all lands who are helpless, hopeless, full of animal sins and lusts, full of stupid ignorance. Take our psalm and read it in some gaol, or in a lunatic asylum, or at the door of some gin-palace, or at the mouth of a court in the back streets of any city in England, and ask yourselves, ‘Are these people, with narrow foreheads and villainous scowls, with sodden cheeks and foul hands, the fulfilment or the contradiction of its rapturous words?’ Or think of naked savages, who look up to bears and lions as their masters, who are stunted by cold or enervated by heat, out of whose souls have died all memories beyond yesterday’s hunger, and all hopes greater than a full meal to-morrow - and say if these are God’s men. So little are they like it that some of us are ready to say that they are not men at all.

What then? Are we to abandon in despair our hopes for our fellows, and to smile with quiet incredulity at the rhapsodies of sanguine theorists like David? If we are to confine our view to earth - yes. But there is more to see than the sad sights around us. All these men - these imperfect, degraded, half-brutified men - have their share in our psalm. They have gone out and wasted their substance in riotous living; but from the swine- trough and the rags they may come to the best robe and the feast in the father’s house. The veriest barbarian, with scarcely a spark of reason or a flickering beam of conscience, sunken in animal delights, and vibrating between animal hopes and animal fears rote him may belong the wondrous attributes: to be visited by God, crowned with glory and honour, higher than all stars, and lord of all creatures.

It sounds like a wild contradiction, I know: and I do not in the least wonder that people pressed by a sense of all the misery that is done under the sun, and faintly realising for themselves Christ’s power to heal their own misery and cleanse their own sins, should fling away their Bibles, and refuse to believe that ‘God hath made of one blood all nations of men,’ and that Christ has a message for the world. I venture to believe both the one and the other. I believe that though angels weep, and we should be smitten with shame, at the sight of what man has made of man, and we of ourselves, yet that God will be true though every man fail Him, and will fulfil unto the children the mercy which He has promised to the fathers.

‘All the promises of God in Christ are yea,’ And so against all the theories of the desperate school, and against all our own despondent thoughts, we have to oppose the sunny hopes which come from such words as those of our text. Looking around us, we have indeed to acknowledge with plaintive emphasis, ‘we see not yet all things put under Him’ - but, looking up, we have to add with triumphant confidence that we speak of a fact which has a real bearing on our hopes for men - ‘we see Jesus.’

II. So, secondly, look upwards to Jesus.

Christ in glory appears to the author of this epistle to be the full realisation of the psalmist’s ideal Our text deals only with the exalted dignity and present majesty of the ascended Lord; but before touching upon that, we may venture, for a moment, to dwell upon the past of Christ’s life as being also the carrying out of David’s vision of true manhood. We have to look backward as well as upward if we would have a firm hope for men. The ascended Christ upon the throne, and the historical Christ upon the earth, teach us what man may be, the one in regard to dignity, the other in regard to goodness.

Here is a fact. Such a life was verily once lived on earth; a life of true manhood, whatever more it was. In it we may see two things: first, we may see from His perfect purity what it is possible for man to become; and second, we may see from His experience who said, ‘The Father hath not left Me alone, because I do always the things which please Him,’ how close a fellowship is possible between the human spirit that lives for and by obedience, and the Father of us all. The man Christ Jesus was visited by God, yea, God dwelt with Him ever; whatever more He was - and He was infinitely more - He was also our example of communion, as He was our example of righteousness.

And that life is to be our standard. I refuse to take other men, the highest, as specimens of what we may become. I refuse to take other men, the lowest, as instances of what we are condemned to be. Here in Jesus Christ is the type; and, albeit it is alone in its beauty, yet it is more truly a specimen of manhood than the fragmentary, distorted, incomplete men are who are found everywhere besides. Christ is the power to conform us to Himself, as well as the pattern of what we may be. He and none lower, He and none beside, is the pattern man. Not the great conqueror, nor the great statesman, nor the great thinker, but the great Lover, the perfectly good - is the man as God meant him to be. As it has been said, with pardonable extravagance, ‘Aristotle was but the rubbish of an Adam,’ so in sober truth we may affirm that the noblest and fairest characters, approximating as they may to the picture in the psalm, and giving us some reason to hope that more is possible for us than we sometimes think, are after all but fragments of precious stones as compared with that one entire and perfect chrysolite, whose unflawed beauty and completeness drinks in, and flashes forth, the whole light of God. He is not ashamed to call us brethren. Therefore, if we would know what a man is, and what a man may become, let us not only look inward to our own faults, nor around us at these broken bits of goodness, but let us look back to Christ, and be of good cheer. We hear and see more than enough of men’s folly, stupidity, godlessness, and sin. Nevertheless - we see Jesus. Let us have hope.

But turn now to the consideration of what is more directly intended by our text, namely, the contemplation of Christ in the heavens, ‘crowned with glory and honour,’ as the true type of man. What does Scripture teach us to see in the exalted Lord?

It sets before us, first, a perpetual manhood. The whole force of the words before us depends on the assumption that, in all His glory and dominion, Jesus Christ remains what He was on earth, truly and properly man. There is a strong tendency in many minds to think of Christ’s incarnation and humanity as transitory. I do not mean that such a conception is thrown into articulate form as a conscious article of belief, but it haunts people none the less, and gives a feeling of unreality and remoteness to what the Scripture says of our Lord’s present life. Many believers in the eternal existence and divinity of our Lord think of His incarnation much after the fashion in which heathendom conceived that the gods came down in the likeness of men - as if it were a mere transitory appearance, the wearing of a garb of human nature but for a moment. Whereas the Biblical representation is that for evermore, by an indissoluble union, the human is assumed into the divine, and that ‘to-day and for ever’ He remains the man Christ Jesus. Nor is a firm grasp of that truth of small importance, nor is the truth itself a theological subtlety, without bearing upon human interests and practical life. Rather it is the very hinge on which turn our loftiest hopes. Without it, that mighty work which He ever carries on, of succouring them that are tempted, and having compassion with us, were impossible. Without that permanent manhood, His mighty work of preparing a place for us, and making heaven a home for men because a Man is its Lord, were at an end. Without it, He in His glory would be no prophecy of man’s dominion, nor would He have entered for us into the holy place. Grasp firmly the essential, perpetual manhood of Jesus Christ, and then to see Him crowned with glory and honour gives the triumphant answer to the despairing question that rises often to the lips of every one who knows the facts of life, ‘Wherefore hast Thou made all men in vain?’ Again, we see in Jesus, exalted in the heavens, a corporeal manhood. That thought touches upon very dark subjects, concerning which Scripture says little, and no other voice says anything at all. The resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ are our great reasons for believing that man, in his perfect condition, has body as well as spirit. And that belief is one chief means of giving definiteness and reality to our anticipations of a future life. Without the belief of a corporeal manhood, the unseen world becomes vague and shapeless, is taken out of the range of our faculties altogether, and soon becomes powerless to hold its own against the pressure of palpable, present realities. But we see Jesus - ascended up on high in man’s body. Therefore He is somewhere now. Heaven is a place as well as a state; and however, for the present, the souls that sleep in Jesus may have to ‘wait for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of the body,’ and, being unclothed, may be wrapped about with Him and rest in His bosom, yet the perfect men who shall one day stand before the Lord, shall have body and soul and spirit - like Him Who is a man for ever, and for ever wears a human frame.

Further, we see in Jesus transfigured manhood. Once when He was on earth, as some hidden light breaks through all veils, the pent-up glory of the great ‘God with us’ seemed to stream through His flesh, and tinge with splendour even the skirts of His garments. ‘He was transfigured before them,’ not as it would appear by light reflected from above, hut by radiance up-bursting from within. And besides all its other lessons, that solemn hour on the Mount of Transfiguration gave some small hint and prelude of the possibilities of glory that lay hidden in Christ’s material body, which possibilities become realities after {though not, in His case, be} death; when He ascended up on high, beautiful and changed, being clothed with ‘the body of His glory.’ For Him, as for us, flesh here means weakness and dishonour. For us, though not for Him, flesh means corruption and death. For Him, as for us, that natural body, which was adequate to the needs and adapted to the material constitution of this earth, must be changed into the spiritual body correspondent to the conditions of that kingdom of God which flesh and blood cannot enter. For us, through Him, the body of humiliation shall be changed into likeness of the body of His glory. We see Jesus, and in Him manhood transfigured and perfected.

Finally, we see in Jesus sovereign manhood. The psalmist thought of man as crowned with glory and honour, as having dominion over the works of God’s hands. And here is his thought embodied in far higher manner than ever he imagined possible. Here is a man exalted to absolute, universal dominion. The sovereignty of Jesus Christ is not a metaphor, nor a rhetorical hyperbole. It is, it we believe the New Testament writers, a literal, prose fact. He directs the history of the world, and presides among the nations. He is the prince of all the kings of the earth. He wields the forces of nature, He directs the march of providence, He is Lord of the unseen worlds, and holds the keys of death and the grave. ‘ The government is upon His shoulders,’ and upon Him hangs ‘all the glory of His Father’s house.’ Angels served Him in His lowliness, and strengthened Him in His agony they watched His grave, and when He ascended on high, the multitudes of the heavenly hosts, even thousands of angels, were the chariot of the conquering Lord. Angels are His servants now, and all do worship Him. He holdeth the stars in His right hand, and all creatures gather obedient round His throne. His voice is law, His will is power. He says to this one ‘Go,’ and he goeth; He rebukes winds and seas, diseases and devils, and they obey; to all He says, ‘Do this,’ and they do it. He speaks, and it is done. ‘On His head are many crowns.’ Thou art the King of Glory, O Christ - and, seeing Jesus, we see man crowned with glory and honour.

III. Finally, then, look forward.

Though it be only too true that the vision seems to tarry, and that weary centuries roll on, and bring us but so little nearer its accomplishment; though the fair promise, at which the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy, seems to have faded away; though the hope of the psalmist is yet unfulfilled; though the strain of a yet higher mood, proclaiming peace on earth, which later shepherds of Bethlehem heard from amid the silent stars, has died away, and the war shout lives on; still, in the strength which flows from seeing Jesus exalted, we can look for a certain future, wherein men. shall be all that God proposed, and all that their Saviour is. Rolling clouds hide the full view, but through them gleams the lustrous walls of the city which hath the foundations. We look forward, and we see men sharing in Christ’s glory, and gathered together round His throne.

Christ is the measure of man’s capacities. He is the true pattern of human nature. Christ is the prophecy and pledge of man’s dominion. From Christ comes the power by which the prophecy is fulfilled, and the pattern reproduced in all who love Him. Whosoever is joined to Him receives into his soul that spirit of life in Christ which unfolds and grows according to its own law, and has for its issue and last result the entire conformity between the believing soul and the Saviour by whom it lives. It were a poor consolation to point to Christ and say, ‘Look what man has become and may become,’ unless we could also say, ‘A real and living oneness exists between Him and all who cleave to Him, so that their characters are changed, their natures cleansed, their future altered, their immortal beauty secured.’ He is more than pattern, He is power; more than specimen, He is source; more than example, He is redeemer. He has been made in the likeness of sinful flesh, that we may be in the likeness of His body of glory. He has been made ‘sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.’ His exaltation, if it were ever so much a fact, and ever so firmly believed, yields no basis for hope as to any beyond Himself, but on one supposition. To see man exalted and his glory ensured in Christ’s, the glory of Christ must be connected, as is done in our text, with His tasting death for every man. When I know that He has died for me, and for all my brethren who sit in darkness, and hear each other groan as the poison shoots through their veins, then I can feel that, as He has been in the likeness of our death, we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection. Brethren, the Cross, and the Cross alone, certifies our participation in the Crown. Unless Jesus Christ have and exercise that wondrous power of delivering from sin and self, and of quickening to a new life, which He exercises only as Sacrifice .and Saviour, there were nothing which were more irrelevant to the hopes of man’s future than the story of His purity and of His dominion. What were all that to men writhing with evil? What hope for single souls or for the world in the knowledge that He was good, or in the belief that He had gone up on high? If that were all, what would it all matter? The lack-lustre eyes that have grown wan with waiting will have no light of hope kindled in them by such a gospel as that. But bid them look, languid and weary as they are, to Him who is lifted up, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish - that vision will give to the still loftier sight of Christ on the throne its true meaning, as not a barren triumph for Himself alone, but as victory for us - yea, our victory in Him. If we can say, ‘God, who is rich in mercy for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together,’ then we can add, ‘and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Jesus Christ,’ And what wonderful hopes, dimly discerned indeed, but firmly founded, we have a right to cherish, if what we see in Jesus we may predict for His brethren! We shall be like Him in all these points to which we have already referred. We, too, shall have a corporeal manhood transfigured and glorified. We, too, shall have perfect union and communion with the Father. We, too, shall be invested with all the unknown prerogatives which are summed up in that last promise of His, beyond which nothing more glorious can be conceived, ‘To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me on My throne.’ Then the ancient word will be fulfilled in manner beyond our dreams, ‘Thou hast put all things under his feet.’ Who can tell what accessions of power, what new faculties, what new relations to an external universe, what new capacity of impressing a holy will upon all things, what new capability of receiving from all things their -most secret messages concerning God their Maker, may be involved in such words? We see darkly. The hopes for the future lie around us as flowers in some fair garden where we walk in the night, their petals closed and their leaves asleep, but here and there a whiter bloom gleams out, and sweet, faint odours from unseen sources steal through the dewy darkness. We can understand but little of what this majestic promise of sovereign manhood may mean. But the fragrance, if not the sight, of that gorgeous blossom is wafted to us. We know that ‘the upright shall have dominion in the morning.’ We know that to His servants authority over ten cities will be given. We know that we shall be ‘kings and priests to God.’ The fact we know, the contents of the fact we wait to prove. ‘It doth not yet appear what we shall be.’ Enough that we shall reign with Him, and that in the kingdom of the heavens dominion means service, and the least is the greatest.

We, too, shall be exalted above all creatures-far above all principality and power, even as Christ is Lord of angels. What that may include, we can but dimly surmise. Nearness to God, knowledge of His heart and will, likeness to Christ, determine superiority among pure and spiritual beings. And Scripture, in many a hint and half-veiled promise, bids us believe that men who have been redeemed from their sins by the blood of Christ, and have made experience of departure and restoration, are set to be the exponents of a deeper knowledge of God to powers in heavenly places, and, standing nearest the throne, become the chorus leaders of new praises from lofty beings who have ever praised Him on immortal harps. They who know sin, who remember sorrow, who learned God by the Cross of Christ, and have proved His forgiving and sanctifying grace, must needs have a more wondrous knowledge, and be knit to Him by a tenderer bond than the elder brethren who never transgressed His commandments. The youngest brother of the king is nearer to him than the oldest servant who stands before his face. Our brother is Lord of all, and His dominion is ours.

But we can speak little, definitely, about such matters. It is enough for the servant that he be as his Lord. This confidence, which can be certain, though it be not accurate, should satisfy our minds without curious detail, and should quiet our hearts however they be tempted to cast it away. Many enemies whisper to us doubts. The devil tempted first to sin by insinuating the question, ‘Shall ye surely die?’ The devil often tempts now to sin by insinuating exactly the opposite doubt, ‘Can it be that you will live?’ It seems to us often incredible that such hopes of immortal life should be true about such poor creatures, such wretched failures, as we feel ourselves to be. It seems often incredible that they should have any connection with men such as we see them on the average to be. We are tempted, too, in these days, to think that our psalm belongs to an exploded school of thought, to a simple astronomy which made the earth the centre of the universe, and conceived of moon and stars as tiny spangles on the hem of light’s garment. We are told that science lights us to other conclusions as to man’s place in creation than such as David cherished. No doubt it does as to man physically considered. But the answer to my own evil conscience, to the sad inferences from man’s past and present, to the conclusions which are illegitimately sought to be extended from man’s material place in a material universe to man’s spiritual place as an immortal and moral being, lies in that twofold sight which we have been regarding - Christ on the cross the measure of man’s worth in the eyes of God, and of man’s place in the creation; Christ on the throne the prophecy of man’s dignity, and of his most sure dominion.

When bordering on despair at the sight of so much going wrong, so much ignorance, sorrow, and vice, so many darkened understandings and broken hearts, such wide tracts of savagery and godlessness, I can look up to Jesus, and can see far, far away - the furthest thing on the horizon - like some nebula, faint, it is true, and low down, but flickering with true starry light - the wondrous vision of many souls brought into glory, even a world redeemed.

When conscious of personal imperfection and much sin, no thought will bring peace nor kindle hope but this, that Christ has died to bring me to God, and lives to bring me to glory. Then, dear brethren, ‘behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.’

Behold Jesus entered within the veil for us. Look away from the imperfect men, the partial teachers, the incomplete saints, the powerless helpers around you, to Him, the righteous, the wise, the strong. Look at no man any more, as the hope for yourself, as the pattern for your life, save Jesus only. The gaze will feed your triumphant hope, and will make that hope a partial reality. Here you will be visited by God, here you will in some degree have all things for yours, if you are Christ’s. Here, from far beneath, look up through the heavens to Him who is ‘made higher than’ them all. And hereafter, from the supreme height and pinnacle of the throne of Christ, we shall look down on sun, moon, and stars that once shone so far above us; and conscious that His grace has raised us up on high, and put all things under our feet, shall exclaim with yet deeper thankfulness and more reverent wonder: ‘What is man, that Thou art mindful of him, and the son of man, that Thou visitest him?’Hebrews 2:8-9. Thou hast put all things All things without exception; in subjection Υποκατω των ποδων αυτου, under his very feet — Such are the psalmist’s words, expressive of a dominion every way unlimited and absolute. For in that it is said, he put all things under him, he left nothing — That is, nothing is excepted; that is not put under him — But the whole universe and every creature in it is included. But now we see not yet all things put under him — That is, under man, concerning whom the words were spoken, being connected with Hebrews 2:4 of the Psalm, What is man? As if the apostle had said, A long space of time hath elapsed since the giving out this testimony, and much longer since the creation of man; and yet, during all these years, or rather, all these ages, we see that all things are very far from being put under man’s feet, from being subjected to the human race in general, or to any individual mere man. Hence, (as if the apostle had added,) we ourselves, by our own observation, may easily discern that these words of the psalmist respect not only, or principally, either the first man or his posterity, under whom certainly all things are not, and never were, put in subjection. But we see Jesus — That is, it is only in Jesus that the psalmist’s testimony is verified; he was made lower than the angels — And he hath had all things put in subjection to him. These things, says the apostle, we see. Yet it was not on his own account that he was made lower than the angels, in being clothed with our frail and mortal nature, but in order that he might suffer death, which is further explained by the addition of the next clause. For the words δια το παθημα του θανατου, for the suffering of death, are evidently intended to express the final cause of the humiliation of Christ, (he was made lower than the angels, who cannot die, that he might suffer death,) and not the meritorious cause of his exaltation. This, therefore, is the import and natural order of the words: we see Jesus crowned with glory and honour, who was for a little while made lower than the angels, for the suffering of death; that he by the grace of God — By his gracious, free, sovereign purpose, suited to, and arising from, his natural goodness and benignity, mercy and compassion; might taste death — Tasting death, (like seeing death,) is a Hebrew form of expression, signifying really dying, not dying in appearance or pretence, as some of old foolishly taught respecting the death of Christ, which shadow of dying could only have produced a shadow of redemption. The expression may also imply, finding by experience what is in death; Christ knew by experience what bitterness was in that cup of death which is threatened to sinners. He understood and felt it fully. The expression might also be intended to intimate, (as Chrysostom and the ancients thought,) our Lord’s continuing only a short time in the state of the dead, and, of consequence, his conquest over death; for though the phrase be used concerning other persons also, yet as applied to him, the event shows that it was only a thorough taste of it that he had. He neither was nor could be detained under the power of it. For every man — That ever was or will be born into the world, without the exception of any. To die for another, according to the constant use of the expression, imports to die in his room and stead; and this the Jews understood in the use of their sacrifices, where the life of the beast was accepted instead of the life of the sinner. Thus Christ tasted death; he was, by the grace and wisdom of God, substituted as a mediator and surety in the stead of others, of all others; for he gave himself a ransom for all, 1 Timothy 2:6; when all were dead, he died for all, 2 Corinthians 5:15.2:5-9 Neither the state in which the church is at present, nor its more completely restored state, when the prince of this world shall be cast out, and the kingdoms of the earth become the kingdom of Christ, is left to the government of the angels: Christ will take to him his great power, and will reign. And what is the moving cause of all the kindness God shows to men in giving Christ for them and to them? it is the grace of God. As a reward of Christ's humiliation in suffering death, he has unlimited dominion over all things; thus this ancient scripture was fulfilled in him. Thus God has done wonderful things for us in creation and providence, but for these we have made the basest returns.Thou hast put all things in subjection ... - Psalm 8:6. That is, all things are put under the control of man, or thou hast given him dominion over all things.

For in that he put all in subjection - The meaning of this is, that the "fair interpretation" of the passage in the Psalm is, that the dominion of "man," or of human nature over the earth, was to be absolute and total. Nothing was to be excepted. But this is not now the fact in regard to man in general, and can be true only of human nature in the person of the Lord Jesus. There the dominion is absolute and universal." The point of the argument of the apostle may be this. It was the original appointment Genesis 1:26 that man should have dominion over this lower world, and be its absolute lord and sovereign. Had he continued in innocence, this dominion would have been entire and perpetual. But he fell, and we do not now see him exerting this dominion. What is said of the dominion of man can be true only of human nature in the person of the Lord Jesus, and there it is completely fulfilled.

But now we see not yet all things put under him - That is, "It is not now true that all things are subject to the control of man. There is indeed a general dominion over the works of God, and over the inferior creation. But the control is not universal. A large part of the animal creation rebels, and is brought into subjection only with difficulty. The elements are not entirely under his control; the tempest and the ocean rage; the pestilence conveys death through city and hamlet; the dominion of man is a broken dominion. His government is an imperfect government. The world is not yet put wholly under his dominion, but enough has been done to constitute a pledge that it will yet be done. It will be fully accomplished only in him who sustains our nature, and to whom dominion is given over the worlds."

8. (1Co 15:27.)

For in that—that is, "For in that" God saith in the eighth Psalm, "He put the all things (so the Greek, the all things just mentioned) in subjection under him (man), He left nothing … As no limitation occurs in the sacred writing, the "all things" must include heavenly, as well as earthly things (compare 1Co 3:21, 22).

But now—As things now are, we see not yet the all things put under man.

Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet; the impartial, righteous Jehovah the Father, is the relation in the Trinity, spoken of in the relative Thou, throughout these verses. He is God’s King; for his personal worth and excellencies, preferred before principalities and powers, and every name; before all persons, things, and places, the world to come as well as this: all angels, as well as men; all creatures wherever, in heaven, earth, sea, or hell; are under his sovereign dominion, they all lie at his feet, to dispose of as he pleaseth; they are all set in subjection to him by the ordination of his Father: see Psalm 8:6-8 1 Corinthians 15:24-29 Ephesians 1:20-22 Philippians 2:9,10 Col 2:10. According to the Eastern custom, as subjects lie prostrate at the feet of their sovereign, so do all creatures to him who is Lord of lords, and King of kings, as Exodus 11:8, see the margin; Isaiah 49:23. They bow down and worship him as their own Lord; but as being under his feet signifies the utmost subjection of them to him, and his triumph over them, it especially refers to his enemies, sin, devils, sinners, and death; as Joshua, a type of him, did, Joshua 10:23,24; showing thereby what God would do with all the rest. Allusive to this is Isaiah 51:23, especially to all the enemies of his Son, as Psalm 110:1 1 Corinthians 15:25,27. As to his church, it is his body, and though distant from him as creatures, and so worshipping and honouring of him as elect angels, yet being his queen too, she loves and honoureth him as a wife, Psalm 45:9,11 Eph 1:22,23 Eph 5:23,24: she hath her subjection as well as her dignity; she is not a peer to him before marriage: but as Eastern emperors marry slaves born or captivated, because they acknowledge no king greater than they, or equal to them; so Christ takes sinners and makes them his body, his church, his queen, who though for condition are under his feet, yet he so dearly loves them, that he takes them thence, and sets them at his right hand.

For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him: if nothing is left unsubjected, then angels and the world to come are subjected to him; and it is evident they are so, by their ministering to him at his conception, birth, danger from Herod, temptations by the devil, at his entrance on his ministry, at his passion, at his resurrection, ascension, and since his session on his throne, obeying his commands, and performing his errands, Psalm 8:8.

But now we see not yet all things put under him; it is evident to our sense and experience, that though he hath obtained this sovereign dominion over all on his ascension, yet he hath not exerted his power in utterly subjecting and triumphing over his enemies at present, nor in reducing all his own people to subjection to him; yet this shall be gradually done in every age, and completely when he shall come to be glorified in his saints, to punish his enemies with everlasting destruction, 1 Corinthians 15:24,26 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10 Revelation 20:11-15. Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet,.... Good angels, men and devils, all things in heaven, earth, and sea; see 1 Peter 3:22

for in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him; there is no one person or thing that is not subject to Christ; the subjection is the most universal, either voluntary or involuntary; whether they will or not, they are, and must be subject; God has left nothing but what he has put under his power:

but now we see not yet all things put under him; this seems to be an objection, and even a contradiction to what is before said; which may be removed by observing, that though this general subjection is not seen by us, it does not follow that it is not; and though it is not as yet visible, yet it will be: and besides, the apostle's sense may be, that no such general subjection to any mere man has ever been seen and known; as not to Solomon, nor Ahasuerus, nor Cyrus, nor Alexander the great, nor Julius, nor Augustus Caesar, nor any other; and this he may observe, to show the non-application of this passage to any but to Jesus Christ; and this sense is confirmed by what follows.

Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. {5} But now we see not yet all things put under him.

(5) An objection: But where is this great rule and dominion?

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Hebrews 2:8. Πάντα ὑπέταξας ὑποκάτω τῶν ποδῶν αὐτοῦ] All things didst Thou put in subjection under His feet. In the psalm these words refer to the dominion which God has conferred upon man over the earth, and indeed specially (comp. Psalm 8:8-9 [7, 8]) over the whole animal world. The author of the epistle, on the other hand, taking πάντα in the absolute sense, understands them of the dominion over the universe which has been conferred upon Christ, the Son of man. Comp. Matthew 28:18.

With ἐν γὰρ τῷ ὑποτάξαιἀνυπόακτον the author still dwells on the closing words of the citation: πάντα ὑπέταξας κ.τ.λ., in order by way of elucidation to unfold its contents, and thus to place in clearer light the truth of the main thought expressed Hebrews 2:5-8. γάρ consequently refers back to that which immediately precedes, and the supposition of Tholuck—that ἐν γὰρ τῷ ὑποτάξαι κ.τ.λ., as the clause which affords the proof, is parenthetically preposed to the νῦν δὲ κ.τ.λ., as the clause which is to be proved, so that the connection would be: “but now we see not yet all things made subject to Him; for, according to the declaration of the psalm, all things without exception are subject to Him”—is to be rejected as entirely unnecessary; quite apart from the fact that no instance of such parenthetical preposing of an elucidatory clause with γάρ is to be found anywhere in the N. T. (not in John 4:44-45 either), although not rare with classical writers (comp. Hartung, Partikell. I. p. 467; Kühner, Gramm. II. p. 454). Nor does γάρ stand for οὖν (Heinrichs, Stengel), but is the explicative namely. The subject in ὑποτάξαι, further, is not David, the singer of the psalm (Heinrichs), but God; and the emphasis rests upon the opposition between τὰ πάντα and οὐδέν. The threefold αὐτᾷ, finally, relates not to man in general (Beza [Piscator: the believers], Schlichting, Grotius, Owen, Whitby, Storr, Kuinoel, Ebrard, Delitzsch, Alford, Moll, Hofmann, Woerner, and others), but to the Song of Solomon of man, and that not merely as regards its signification (Masch, Bleek, de Wette), but—as is shown by the Ἰησοῦν, only incidentally added, Hebrews 2:9—to the Son of man as He appeared in Christ as an historical person (Calvin, Gerhard, Calov, Seb. Schmidt, Wittich, Peirce, Schulz, Tholuck, Klee, Stuart, Conybeare, Riehm, Lehrbegr. des Hebräerbr. p. 364; Kurtz, Ewald, al.). The sense is accordingly: by the fact, namely, that God made all things subject to Christ, the Son of man, He left nothing that is not subjected unto Him; it is thus also—this natural inference the author leaves to the readers themselves to make—to Him, the Son of man, and not to the angels, that ἡ οἰκουμένη ἡ μέλλουσα (Hebrews 2:5), which is only a part of that τὰ πάντα, is subjected; nay, the angels themselves, seeing that all things have been put in subjection under Him, are themselves subject to Him.

With νῦν δὲ οὔπω ὁρῶμεν αὐτῷ τὰ πάντα ὑποτεταγμένα the author limits the immediately preceding declaration by an admission, by which, however, as is then further shown, Hebrews 2:9, the correctness of the former assertion as to the actual state of the matter suffers no infringement: now, however,—that must be conceded,—we see not yet all things subjected unto Him. For we are as yet in the condition of the earthly body; as yet the kingdom of God is only partially established; as yet it has to wage warfare with many enemies (comp. Hebrews 10:12-13; 1 Corinthians 15:24-27). We shall see that all things have been made subject to Christ by God the Father only when Christ shall have returned for the consummation of the kingdom of God.Hebrews 2:8. πάντα ὑπέταξας.… “Thou didst put all things under his feet.” In the psalm “all things” are defined as “all sheep and oxen, yea and the beasts of the field, the fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passes through the paths of the sea”. But to our author the scope of the “all” has been enlarged by the event. His argument requires an absolutely universal subjection, so that everything obstructive of man’s “glory” may be subdued. And having seen this achieved by Christ, he is emboldened to give to “all” this fullest content. The one point he seeks to make good is that “in subjecting all things to him, he has left nothing, and therefore not the οἰκουμένη μέλλουσα, unsubjected to him”. The “world to come” is under human dominion and administration. The angels are left behind; there is no room for angelic government. But this very sovereignty of man is precisely that which we do not see visibly fulfilled: “for the present (νῦν) we do not yet see all things subjected to him”. True, says the author, but we do see Jesus who for the suffering of death (or that He might suffer death) has been made a little lower than angels, crowned with glory and honour that by God’s grace He might taste death for every man. In other words, we see the first two items of man’s supremacy, as given in the psalm, fulfilled, and the third guaranteed. Jesus was (1) made a little lower than angels; (2) was crowned with glory and honour; and (3) by dying for every man has removed that last obstacle, the fear of death which kept men in δουλεία and hindered them from supreme dominion over all things. The construction of the sentence is much debated. But it must be admitted that any construction which makes the coronation subsequent to the tasting death for every man, is unnatural; the ὅπως depends upon ἐστεφανωμένον. And the difficulty which has been felt in giving its natural sense to this clause has been introduced by supposing that δόξῃ καὶ τιμῇ ἐστεφ. refers to the heavenly state of Jesus. On this understanding it is of course difficult to see how it could be said that Jesus was crowned in order to taste death. But as undoubtedly the first clause, ἠλαττουμένον βλέπομεν, refers to the earthly life of Jesus, it is natural to suppose that the second clause, which speaks of his being crowned, also refers to that life. The tenses are the same. But if so, what was the crowning here referred to? It was His recognition as Messiah, as the true Head and King of men. He was thus recognised by God at His baptism and at the Transfiguration [in connection with which the same words δόξῃ κ. τιμῇ are used, 2 Peter 1:16-18] as well as by His disciples at Caesarea Philippi. It was this crowning alone which enabled Him to die a representative death, the King or Head for His people; it was this which fitted Him to taste death for every man. He was made a little lower than the angels that He might suffer death; but He was crowned with glory and honour that this very death might bring all men to the glory of supremacy which was theirs when the fear of death was removed; see Hebrews 2:14-15. For a fuller exposition of this view of the verse, see Expository Times, April, 1896. χάριτι θεοῦ, “by God’s grace,” to men, not directly to Jesus. It is remarkable that Weiss, an expert in textual criticism, should adopt the reading χωρὶς θεοῦ “apart from God” finding in these words a reference to the cry on the cross “My God, My God, etc.”. The other meaning put upon the words, “except God,” needs no comment. The Nestorians used the reading to prove that Christ suffered apart from His Divinity (“divinitate tantisper deposita οὐ συνῆν ἡ θεότης”) but such a meaning can hardly be found in the words. ὑπὲρ πάντος, these are the emphatic words, bringing out the writer’s point that Christ’s victory and supremacy were not for Himself alone, but for men. [Chrysostom strikingly says: οὐχὶ τῶν πιστῶν μόνον, ἀλλὰ καὶ τῆς οἰκουμένης ἁπάσης· αὐτὸς μὲν γὰρ ὑπὲρ πάντων ἀπέθανεν· τί δὲ, εἰ μὴ πάντες ἐπίστευσαν; αὐτὸς τὸ ἑαυτοῦ πεπλήρωκε.] γεύσηται θανάτον “he might taste death,” i.e., actually experience death’s bitterness. The Greek commentators suppose the word is chosen to bring out the shortness of our Lord’s experience of death, μικρὸν ἐν αὐτῷ ποιήσας διάστημα. This seems incorrect. [The rule, sometimes laid down., that γεύεσθαι followed by an accusative means to partake freely, and by a genitive sparingly, cannot be universally applied. The ordinary distinction observed in the use of verbs of sense that they take the accusative of the nearer, the genitive of the remoter source of the sensation is much safer.] The expression γεύεσθαι θανάτου does not occur in the classics, although we find γευ. μόχθον in Soph., Trachin., 1103, where the Scholiast renders by ἐπειράθην, in Antig., 1005, where Jebb renders “proceeded to make trial of,” in Eurip., Hecuba, 375, with κακῶν and in Plato, Rep., 475 with πάντος μαθήματος.8. thou hast put …] Rather, “Thou didst put …” by one eternal decree. This clause should be added to the last verse. The clause applies not to Christ (as in 1 Corinthians 15:25) but to man in his redeemed glory.

all things] This is defined in the Psalm (Hebrews 8:8-9) to mean specially the animal world, but is here applied to the universe in accordance with its Messianic application (Matthew 28:18).

For] The “for” continues the reasoning of Hebrews 2:5. The writer with deep insight seizes upon the juxtaposition of “humiliation” and “dominion” as a paradox which only found in Christ its full solution.

he left nothing that is not put under him] The inference intended to be drawn is not “and therefore even angels will be subject to man,” but “and therefore the control of angels will come to an end.” When however we read such a passage as 1 Corinthians 6:3 (“Know ye not that we shall judge angels?”) it is uncertain whether the author would not have admitted even the other inference.

But now] i.e. but, in this present earthly condition of things man is not as yet supreme. We see as a fact (ὁρῶμεν) man’s humiliation; we perceive by faith the glorification of Jesus, and of all humanity in Him.

under him] i.e. under man.Hebrews 2:8. [13] Πάντα ὑπέταξας) See 1 Corinthians 15:27, and what goes before with the annot.—γὰρ, for) The apostle shows the reason why he quoted this passage, namely, because we are taught in it that it was Jesus to whom all things were subjected, and therefore the world to come, Hebrews 2:5. Often γὰρ, for, is useful for the Ætiology of [assigning a reason for] what is said; ch. Hebrews 7:14, Hebrews 9:24; and so Paul, Romans 3:28.—αὐτῷ, αὐτῷ) under Him, under Him, the man of whom he is speaking, the Son of Man. This is explained in the middle of Hebrews 2:9, concerning Jesus, the application to Him having been most suitably put off till that place.—τὰ πάντα) τὰ in the second and third place has the force of a relative to the πάντα, all things, which precedes. The same force of the article may be found at John 19:5; John 19:7; Galatians 5:13; Galatians 6:14.—οὐδὲν, nothing) not even angels; Hebrews 2:5, ch. Hebrews 1:6.—ἀφῆκεν, left) in the language of the psalm, to which the events partly correspond, partly will correspond.—νῦν δὲ οὔπω, but now not yet) Νῦν, now, serves the purpose of an Anthypophora;[14] for the time is denoted in οὒπω, not yet, and the latter is construed with ὁρῶμεν, we see, in antithesis to the present βλέπομεν, we perceive.[15] More things are already subjected to Christ than we see; and all things will be entirely subjected to Him at the proper time, and we shall behold it; Ephesians 1:22; 1 Corinthians 15:27-28. But why not yet all things? Because both His body, the Church, is in distress, and He Himself is not acknowledged, at least is not seen. The verb βλέπω, I look, I perceive, denotes something more definite; ὁράω, I see, something more extensive and more august.

[13] Τὰ ἔργα τῶν χειρῶν σου, the works of Thy hands) The sun, moon, stars, etc., Psalm 8:4.—V. g.

[14] Part of a refutation of an objection that might be made by anticipation. Append.

[15] Βλέπειν, to look, to use the eyes, whether seeing something or not. Ὁρᾷν, to see something; and is never used absolutely. Thus the Greeks never used ὁρᾷν, but always βλέπειν, of the situation of a region. Tittm. Syn.—ED.Verse 8. - Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all things in subjection under him, etc. Here the argument from the psalm begins. It is to the following effect: For the subjection of all things, in the Creator's design, to man leaves nothing exempted from his sovereignty. But we do not see man, as he is upon earth now, occupying this implied position of complete sovereignty. Therefore the full idea of the psalm awaits fulfillment. And we Christians find its complete fulfillment in him who, having become a man like us, and is made with us "a little lower than the angels," is now, as man, and for man, "crowned with glory and honor," at the right hand of the Majesty on high. Or we may put it thus: In the present οἰκουμένη man is not supreme over "all things" in the sense denoted; but in the οἰκουμένη to come "of which we speak," with its far wider bearings, he is, in the Person of Christ, over "all things" thus supreme. Therefore in Christ alone does man attain his appointed destiny. We may here observe how, even without the enlightenment of Scripture, man's own consciousness reveals to him an ideal of his position in creation which, in his present state, he does not realize. The strange apparent contradiction between man as he is and man as he feels he should be, between experience and conscience, between the facts and the ideal of humanity, has long been patent to philosophers as well as divines. For (γὰρ)

Explanatory. Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet, that is to say, nothing is excepted.

That is not put under him (αὐτῷ ἀνυπότακτον)

Lit. "unsubjected to him." The adjective only here and 1 Timothy 1:9; Titus 1:6. But this ideal is not yet a reality. We see not yet all things subjected to him, but we do see the germinal fulfillment of the prophecy in Jesus' life, suffering, and death.

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