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The King-Son as the Perfected Captain

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Hebrews 2:5-18

The writer now returns to his theme of the destiny of Jesus in the world to come – and Jesus’ intimate involvement [through His incarnation] with those who will share this destiny with Him.

The Destiny of the Captain (verses 5-9)

It is clear from the writer’s opening remarks that the angels will NOT rule in the age to come.[1] Instead, the Son of Man [Messiah] will reign during this time[2] – along with the “many sons” who will share His joy.[3] Here the writer quotes Psalm 8[4] to demonstrate the fact that Jesus became man[5] for the purpose of dying for the sins of mankind and that - though not presently ruling over the earth – He has been “crowned with glory and honor”[6]

The Captain’s Link with His Followers (verses 10-18)

While the Greek word used here is variously translated[7], its best translation here might be “Pioneer”. The Lord Jesus is the Captain, Pioneer of that loyal band of people whom God is preparing for glory. In these verses, the writer is continuing to think of Psalm 8[8] and of the glory referred to in this Psalm.[9] Even the expression “many sons suggests that, for the writer of Hebrews, the messianic title “Son of Man”[10] had a corporate aspect. That is, Jesus is “the Son of Man”[11] – but His brothers and sisters are the many people who are linked with Him in both suffering[12] and future glory.[13] Thus there is a deep unity between the Son and the many sons. By His death He makes them holy.[14] Thus they are all one family and Jesus is not ashamed to call them brethren.[15] Furthermore, He can speak to them of His own trust in God[16] and can speak of them as “the children God has given Me”.[17] These children, however, were once held in servitude by their enemy, the devil. Since they were human, He also had to become human – to die for them and rescue them.[18] In other words, the readers were reminded that they were no longer subject to such slavery and could face death with the same confidence in God that their Captain [Pioneer] had.[19] Whatever their needs or trials, their Captain is adequate to help them – since He ministers to Abraham’s seed.[20] The help which the Captain can give is again predicated on the fact that He was in every way made like His brethren.[21] That is, because of His identification with His brothers and sisters, a priesthood is possible - characterized by mercy and fidelity in service to God.[22] This involved, as its basis, propitiation [atonement] for the sins of the people.[23] Thus it is certain that this Captain can help[24] all those who are being tempted[25] in all of their trials because of His own experience of temptation and suffering.[26]


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[1] Verse 5. Apparently, the Qumran community [a Jewish sect of the first century among which the Dead Sea Scrolls were found] believed that Michael and his angels would have dominion over the age to come.

[2] Verses 7c, 8a.

[3] Heb. 1:9.

[4] Actually Ps. 8:4-6.

[5] “was made a little lower than the angels” (vs. 9a)

[6] Because of His death on the cross (Vs. 9)

[7] This is the word ἀρχηγός archegos which suggests leader, originator, founder.

[8] As the reference to “all things” indicates (Cf. 2:8).

[9] That is, the glory of dominion over the created order (verses 7-8). “Man was created in the image of God. But the God in whose image he was created is a God of might and dominion. He is the King of glory to whom belong the earth and ‘all its fullness’ (Ps. 24). Thus, as a true reflection of his Maker, man was designed to exercise dominion over the creation. But he lost this dominion by his fall! And his former position can only be recovered in and through our Lord Jesus Christ Himself. For this reason the writer of Hebrews applies Psalm 8 to the ‘world to come’ (Heb. 2:5), to the destiny of Jesus (Heb. 2:8-9), and to the destiny of the ‘many sons’ (Heb. 2:10).” [from Grace in Eclipse].

[10] Mentioned in Psalm 8 (cf. Heb. 2:6).

[11] Used 84 times in the Gospels [e.g. Matt. 8:20, 9:26, 10:23 etc].

[12] That is, Jesus must suffer in order to be made perfect [complete] for the role of bringing many sons to glory [who also must suffer]. By having done so, He can provide the consolation they need in their sufferings (2:18).

[13] Vs. 10. Of course, these are His “companions” mentioned in Heb. 1:9.

[14] Vs. 11. This is also mentioned in Heb. 10:10, 14.

[15] Vs. 11-12.

[16] Vs. 13.

[17] Vs. 13b. Like an older brother in the midst of his younger siblings, He [as the Pioneer of their salvation] can teach them the lessons of faith and suffering.

[18] Vs. 14. In speaking of Satan as wielding the power of death the writer meant that Satan uses people’s fear of death to enslave them to do his will. [Often people will make wrong moral choices out of their intense desire for self-preservation.] The word destroy here {Greek: καταργέω katargeo] does NOT mean that Satan ceased to exist or to be active but rather that his power over those whom Christ has redeemed is annulled.

[19] Vs. 15.

[20] Vs. 16. This, of course, includes ALL believers in the Assembly – both Jews and Gentiles (Gal. 3:29).

[21] Vs. 17a. That is, both by becoming incarnate and by virtue of suffering. Also, here – for the first time – the concept of Priesthood is introduced. This will be elaborated upon later.

[22] Vs. 17b.

[23] Vs. 17c. Of this the author will speak more later.

[24] Aid, assist.

[25] The readers of this epistle – and all others in the body of Christ.

[26] Vs. 18.

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