Dominion Restored- Hebrews 2:5-10
In this passage, the writer of Hebrews tells us of the effects which the resurrection of Jesus has both in general and in the lives of believers. We begin our examination in Hebrews 2:5, in which the author begins by speaking of a “world to come”, which is “not subject to angels”. He then, in verse 6-8, quotes a portion of Psalm 8, a Messianic Psalm which speaks of man’s rule (or dominion) over the created order and of how Messiah would restore that dominion. This is the dominion which man lost at the fall of Adam and Eve. Prior to the fall, God had “put everything under his (man’s) feet”, there was “nothing that was not subject to him” (verse 8). Everything in the created order was subject to man’s dominion, and when Messiah came He would restore that dominion. The writer then addresses a common objection to the assertion that Jesus was the Messiah. We find this is verse 8, in which the writer tells us that “at present we do not see everything subject to him (man)”. Jews saw Psalm 8 as showing that the true destiny of man was to be restored by Messiah, man’s dominion over the created order was to be restored when Messiah came. This dominion was lost at the fall, and what man was supposed to have dominion over had since become a source of fear, what he was to have dominion over had, through fear, somehow taken dominion over him. What we find the writer doing here, then, is addressing a common objection to the assertion that Jesus was the promised Messiah. Psalm 8 had promised that when Messiah came he would restore to man the dominion which he had lost at the fall, and it seemed rather clear to the objectors that Jesus had come and gone and this dominion had not been restored, so Jesus could therefore not have been the promised Messiah. The writer deals with this objection by asserting two things; first that Jesus was God in the flesh and second that Jesus had restored to man his “dominion” in a way they did not presently understand. The remainder of this post will focus upon the first assertion, while our next post will focus upon the second. In verse 9, then, the writer tells us that “we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels”. The phrase used here is exactly the same as the phrase used of Adam in Psalm 8 (quoted in verse 7), and serves here as a direct assertion of the fact of the incarnation, of the fact that Jesus was God incarnate, God come in human flesh. This quote is merely an assertion of the fact of Jesus’ humanity, that Jesus was indeed fully human and this humanity did not diminish the fact that he remained fully God. The writer then provides further evidence in support of the fact of Jesus’ Messiahship in relating the reality of His resurrection. This is the meaning of the phrase “now crowned with glory and honor”, and is a direct assertion of not only the fact of His resurrection but also of His ascension and exaltation to the right hand of God the Father in heaven. We then discover why He was crowned with glory and honor, and it is because He “suffered death”. The word suffer here means to “undergo or endure”. In order to restore man to his dominion, God Himself took on flesh and came as fully human. He came as one of us and took the curse of death upon Himself for us, because it is this curse which has brought about man’s loss of dominion. It was “by the grace of God that he tasted death for everyone” (verse 9). Jesus came and defeated what defeats us, He took death into Himself (“tasted” it) and conquered it, He ate death up and spit it out, He brought victory over death for everyone. He also “brought many sons to glory” (verse 10), the sons (and daughters) of Adam and Eve were restored to the estate they inhabited before the fall, restored to the place of dominion over the created order. With this, the writer concludes his demonstration of the fact that Jesus was in fact the promised Messiah, for He had in fact tasted death and been raised out of it, as foretold of Messiah in Isaiah 53:1-12. He also had in fact restored to man his dominion over the created order as foretold in Psalm 8, but this dominion took on a quite different form than they had expected (the writer’s next topic and the focus of our next post). What we must take from what we have seen thus far is that Jesus was in fact the promised Messiah, that He was God incarnate who came and tasted death for everyone so that those who trust in Him may be restored to the state which God intended for all humanity from the very beginning, crowned with glory and honor just as Jesus was.2 Comments
Thank you and God bless.