Summary: Sermon 5 in a study in HEBREWS
“For He did not subject to angels the world to come, concerning which we are speaking. But one has testified somewhere, saying, “WHAT IS MAN, THAT YOU REMEMBER HIM? OR THE SON OF MAN, THAT YOU ARE CONCERNED ABOUT HIM? 7 “YOU HAVE MADE HIM FOR A LITTLE WHILE LOWER THAN THE ANGELS; YOU HAVE CROWNED HIM WITH GLORY AND HONOR, AND HAVE APPOINTED HIM OVER THE WORKS OF YOUR HANDS; 8 YOU HAVE PUT ALL THINGS IN SUBJECTION UNDER HIS FEET.” For in subjecting all things to him, He left nothing that is not subject to him. But now we do not yet see all things subjected to him.” NASB
“It is not to angels that he has subjected the world to come, about which we are speaking. But there is a place where someone has testified: “What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? 7 You made him a little lower than the angels; you crowned him with glory and honor 8 and put everything under his feet.” In putting everything under him, God left nothing that is not subject to him. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to him.” NIV
Every once in a while we hear the question put, ‘What is the meaning of life?’ The question takes various forms, of course. ‘Why am I here?’ ‘What is my purpose in existence?’
Sometimes it is said in jest. I saw a T-shirt that asked, “What if the Hokey Pokey really is what it’s all about?”
More often though, the asker really is confused and would like to know if there is really any meaningful reason for any of us to be here. It is usually asked in a time of depression, and it is a depressing question if there is no thoughtful and confident response forthcoming.
The only truthful answer though, is that when mankind sinned against God he nullified his very reason for existence. The truth is that every person in the world in history who does not have the life that comes through faith in the death and resurrection of Christ has no purpose beyond whatever they can accomplish in this world, and nothing they accomplish will last longer than this world.
The good news however, is that God has come down to man and has provided the way for man to be lifted back up into a place of usefulness and purpose and right standing with God. He has made the way for anyone who believes in Him to have an eternal value, to accomplish works of an eternal value, and to be counted happily among the ‘all things subjected to Him’.
Let’s talk about Him.
ANGELS AND THE WORLD TO COME
The author makes another reference to the angels here. This letter is about the world to come, looking forward to the Millennial reign of Christ. In that world Christ will reign supreme. There will be no other world or national leaders, and the angels will not fill the same role that they have in this world.
In history angels have guarded the entrance to the Garden of Eden to keep expelled mankind out. Angels under God’s command brought messages to men and in some cases carried out God’s judgment against men. Angels went to Sodom to drag Lot and his family out of the city in honor of Abraham’s request.
Angels ministered to Jesus during His earthly life and attended His tomb until His resurrection was discovered. One of them even told the women who came there where to find Him and instructed them to tell His hiding Apostles. Angels were on the Mount with the disciples who watched His ascension and assured them that He would return in the same way they watched Him go.
Angels opened the prison doors, first for Paul and later for Peter. In all of these places we see angels exercising power over men, proving more intelligent than men, exercising a measure of authority over men – kind of like heavenly babysitters. In the world to come, they will not. The author is going on now to explain why.
LOWER FOR A LITTLE WHILE
By employing Psalm 8 in this context he reveals the Psalm to be Messianic. When David wrote it he referenced mankind in general.
First let’s talk about a wording difference between the Psalm and the HEBREWS application that could cause some confusion.
In the numerous translations available there seems to be a pretty even split between three ways to word verse 5 of Psalm 8. Some say “a little lower than God”, some “a little lower than the angels” and some say “a little lower than heavenly beings”.
The word is ‘elohim’, and depending on the context it can be used for all three of those designations.