|Study of Hebrews|
By E.H. “Jack” Sequeira
Through Christ, man has been exalted above the angels. In fact, when you realize what God is saying here, it will really “blow your mind,” to use a good American expression. In order for Christ to exalt us, He had to become one of us. He was God. He stepped down to be one of us and, of course, by doing that, He elevated us to where He is. This is one of the key passages in the New Testament on Christology. Turn now to 1 Cor. 2:9,10:
But, as it is written, eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love Him.
What is Paul is saying here is, “We have no idea for it is beyond human comprehension, it is beyond the human mind. It is beyond philosophy what God has prepared for us.” While the secular man cannot discover this, ...
But God has revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.
I would like for you to see what God has revealed through His word. May the Holy Spirit give you understanding as to what He has done for this human race through His Son Jesus Christ. Look now at 2 Cor. 8:9:
For we know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ that, though he was rich [How rich was He?...infinitely rich. Keep that in mind], yet for your sakes He became poor, that you, through his poverty, might be rich. [How rich? As rich as He is.]
Now turn again to Hebrews chapter two. In our last study, we covered the thought that Christ is greater than the angels. He has a better name, they worshipped Him, and, as God, He is greater than the angels. Beginning with verse five, the comparison is not primarily with Christ and the angels but with man and angels. Now, by creation man was created a little lower than the angels. But by redemption they are above the angels. So we are better off because of the fall than if we had never fallen. Beginning in Heb. 2:5:
For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak.
God never intended for the angels to be elevated above their original creation. He never intended them to rule the world that is to come in the earth made new.
But [verses six and seven are dealing with man] one in a certain place testified [he is talking about David who testified in Ps. 8:4], what is man that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man [a Hebrew expression which means mankind], that thou visitest him?
Here is man who fell. What did God do? He comes and visits him. To do what? To redeem him. Why should God do that? Because He loves us!
Thou madest him a little lower than the angels. [That’s what we are by creation—a little lower than angels.] Thou crowned him with glory and honor, and did set him over the works of thy hands.
You may be a little lower than the angels by creation but, by redemption, He has elevated us. Exalted us. How did He do it?
Thou has put all things in subjection under his feet.
God will one day give man rulership over His universe. Boy, that’s fantastic!
For in that He put all in subjection under him, He left nothing that is not put under him.
Have you got it? There is nothing that will not be under man. That blows your mind!
But now we see not yet all things put under him.
In other words, that is not yet a reality. That’s future. The writer wants you to keep this in mind because to give up Christ is to give up everything.
Yes, we are living in futility today. We are living under bondage. Turn to Rom. 8:22:
For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain until now and not only they [that is, creation], but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.
We may be groaning today because things are going pretty hard for us. We may be groaning but it is only for a season. We are waiting and, therefore, in verses 24 and 25, Paul says:
We are saved by hope [hope and reality are two different things]; but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? [Do you hope for something that you already have? No.] But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.
So we are waiting for that, but I want you to know what God intends for us. What are His plans for us? It is to exalt us above every other creation. And this is what blows your mind. We don’t have all this in reality, that’s what he’s saying in the last part of verse 8:
But now we see not all things put under him [the “him” is man, and he’s using the word “him” in the corporate sense]. But we see Jesus [who is, of course, the captain of our salvation, Jesus is the one through whom we are going to receive all this], Who was made a little lower than the angels [now, please remember, He was above the angels, but to save us, He was made lower than the angels, He became one of us] for the suffering of death.
Why the suffering of death? Through that death we were redeemed from Satan and we were redeemed from death itself.
So 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 should taste death for every man.
Now the actual Greek text doesn’t say “every man.” It says “every thing.” The word “man” in Greek is “anthropos,” from which we have anthropology. But the word Paul used here is “pantes,” which means everything. Christ did not only die for mankind, but He died for the whole world to redeem it, so that He can restore it.
When God created man, He gave man dominion over the whole earth. When Adam sinned, not only did he bring damnation to us, his family, but he also handed the world over to Satan. That’s why, in the New Testament, Jesus calls Satan the prince of this world. But, on the cross, God bought the world back. It is now legally not Satan’s. It’s legally Christ’s. One day He will restore it. Now look at Heb. 2:10,11:
For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things [Christ is the source of all things], in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren.
What Paul is saying here is that, when Christ became one with us, that we may become one with Him. Do you realize that, through Christ, we become the sons of God? See 1 John 3:1:
Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God.
We were sons of man. Christ became a son of man in order that we may become sons of God. He became poor that we may become rich. Here is what happened. The life that you and I were born with came originally from Adam. It is a life that has sinned. It is a life that has to die because the Law says, “The soul that sins must die.”
When Jesus came to this world, He did not come to change the death sentence. If He changed the death sentence, He would be changing His own law. He did not come to change His law, but to fulfil it. His law not only demands obedience, but it also demands justice. On the cross, the human life of the Adamic race actually died—not for three days, but forever. The wages of sin is not death as we know it, but it is forever. In exchange, God gave us the life of His Son that we may be resurrected. So the life we receive through Christ is His own life.
The life that God gave Adam was conditionally immortal. The life that God gives us through His Son is eternal life. You’re looking at me in horror, but the Bible is clear on this.
God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.
What exactly did He give? What does that mean, “He gave us His Son”? Turn to 1 John 5:11:
And this is the record [these are the facts] that God hath given to us eternal life [not conditional immortality, can you imagine the terrible risk that God is taking?] and this life is in His Son.
Where is the source of this life? It is in His Son. Now notice that John 3:16 does not say, “God so loved the world that He lent His Son.” But He gave His Son. There is a difference between giving and lending. Lending means that He will take Him back but giving means He is giving forever. That’s the gift of God. Why did He give us the life of His Son? Because the life we have which we inherited from Adam is the life that must die. That is called the great exchange.
Let me put it another way. Before the cross, Jesus is always called the Only Begotten. Remember we saw that the word “begotten” means somebody special. Before the cross, God had only one special Son. Like, for instance, at John 1:14:
The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us [and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father], full of grace and truth.
After the cross Jesus is never called “the Only Begotten.” What is Jesus called after the cross? Look at Rev. 1:5:
And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the FIRST BEGOTTEN of the dead.
Now, what’s the difference between the only begotten and first begotten? If I say, “this is my only son,” what does that mean? I have no other son. If I say, “this is my first son,” that means I have other sons. Before the cross God had only one Son, but because He gave His life for us, no longer does God have only one Son. He has many sons and daughters of whom Christ is the first. He is, therefore, our elder brother. That is what Heb.2:11 is saying:
For both he that sanctifieth [that is, Christ] and they who are sanctified [that is us] are all of one: [we share the same life] for which cause [because of this] he is not ashamed to call them brethren. [He is our brother!]
I want to show this on the blackboard. First of all, I’ll draw three circles. These three circles represent the Godhead—the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Okay, let’s put the Father in the middle, the Son here, and the Holy Ghost here. This is God, Who rules over the whole universe. Below these are the angels who were created by God and, below the angels, man was created. This gives the status in heaven at creation.
Satan got hold of all of us and brought us down to the bottom of the pit at the fall. We are at the time of the fall down below all these. Now what did God do? “What is man that thou art mindful of him that thou visitest him?” Christ comes and becomes part of us to save us. Did He restore us back to our lost state? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if He had done that? Yes.
But I want to introduce you to one of Paul’s favourite expressions, “much more.” What does this expression “much more” mean? It means that, when God compares Adam and Christ in Romans five, He is saying that Christ has done for us much more than what we lost. He doesn’t bring us back to where we were but back to where He is. We will sit with Him and reign with Him in the universe. He is the King of kings. Who are the kings of whom He is the King? We are.
That is what is mind-boggling. I know that some of you say, “This is impossible.” Well, here are some texts. Remember, when Christ came to this world, God had one Son. We have seen that. Now look at Rom. 8:16,17:
The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God, and, if children, then heirs—heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ.
Now what does the phrase “joint-heirs” mean? Do you know what a “joint account” means? It means that both people named in the account have access to the money in the account. “Joint-heirs” means that we are with Christ to have the privileges of all that are His. Now we don’t have it in reality today. Christ is already there but one day He is coming to take us where He is. Now we see through a glass darkly but then we shall see Him as He is. The term “joint-heirs” means that we will share with Him all of His privileges. It does not mean that we will become Gods—that’s Mormonism—but we will share the privileges that Christ has. Can you imagine that? Go to Gal. 4:4,5:
But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, and made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law [Who is under the law?...the whole world. Romans 3:19 brings it out, the whole world is guilty and is under the law] to redeem them that were under the law that we might receive the adoption of sons.
Now you know what the laws in this country are concerning the inheritance of adopted children. Does the adopted child have all the legal rights of the natural child? Yes. That’s what he is saying here. And in Hebrew culture, an adopted child would have the legal rights.
For example, according to the prophecies of the Old Testament, Jesus was to sit on the throne of David and had to be a descendant of David. Now you can never get to the throne of David through the mother. It is always through the father. The royal line came through the men, always. But Joseph was not the real father of Jesus.
Have you ever compared the genealogy of Christ given by Matthew and Luke? They don’t agree. Especially from David to Jesus, they totally disagree. I’ll tell you why. One of them gives the royal line and the other gives the blood line. David had two sons. One was Solomon and one was Nathan and the genealogies are of these two. These two families never met until Mary and Joseph. Joseph was of the Solomon line and Mary was of the Nathan line. The two married and through Mary, Jesus got the blood of David. Through Joseph, who was not His real father but was a foster father, He received the legal right (because of the Jewish system) to the throne of David. By the way, this is an excellent study to convince the Jews that He was the Messiah. Genealogies mean nothing to us living in America. Most of us just skim through them. But to the Jews it meant everything. And that’s why it's there. So when the fullness of time came these two families met and Jesus was born.
Let us turn now to the facts that we shall reign with Christ. We are the adopted sons of God. We are the children of God in Christ. Now turn to Revelation twenty and let the Bible speak. Look at Rev. 20:6:
Blessed [happy] and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection...
Remember, there are two resurrections—one at the second coming of Christ and the other at the third coming of Christ. Who has part in the first resurrection? Not those who are good, but those who are in Christ by faith. Paul in Thessalonians says, “The dead in Christ shall rise first.” Continuing in Rev.20:6:
...on such, the second death has no power...
Why not? Not because they are good but because they have already died the second death in Christ. You cannot die the second death twice.
...but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign [rule] with Christ for a thousand years.
What comes after the thousand years? Sustentation? No. In America you can rule only for two terms. This is not true in many of the third world countries. In Africa when a man becomes a ruler, he wants to rule forever. Haillie Salassie, for instance, if he had only stepped down! He was senile, he was eighty-three, so they got rid of him. When men come into power they will do anything, use military power to keep that authority by might until they die. That’s why they have so many countries in Africa that have a coupe. They have a one-party system.
We will reign with Christ for how long? Why only a thousand years? What will we do after that? The throne of God will move from heaven to this earth. Now turn to Revelation chapter twenty-two which discusses the New Earth. Look at verse five:
And there shall be no night there...
Just think of it—“no more night.” In 1961, I canvassed in a town called Killina in Sweden. It was 115 miles north of the Arctic Circle. The sun never went down for six weeks. In fact, I photographed the first Friday I was there. I wondered, “What time does Sabbath begin?” Well, we decided we would keep it from the lowest point of the sun, about 6 o’clock and then it goes up again. Of course, in December the sun never rises for six weeks. But in the New Earth there will be no sunset. We may have the glorious skies, but you kids can play all day long.
There is no night there, and they need no candle, neither light of the sun, for the Lord God giveth them light, and they shall reign forever and ever.
That is the privilege of being a Christian! Anyone who gives his faith in Christ up is crazy. And that is what the book of Hebrews was trying to tell the Jews: “Don’t give up your faith. You may not have received the reality right now. You are still suffering. You are being persecuted. You are being hounded by the people. Life is hard, but hold on to God, because our position is where? In Christ.” Look at Eph. 2:6:
We are sitting in heavenly places in Christ.
We are not there in reality but, in Christ, we are there. One day we will be there. So it doesn’t matter what you are today. You may be poor. You may be on welfare, but I’ll tell you, you are the sons and daughters of God. Why are you discouraged? Don’t you know who you are? We must remind ourselves who we are. The world in their foolish wisdom may laugh at us today, but I tell you, when they see us in the New Jerusalem and they are outside, I know what they will think, “We were fools and they were right.” And we have a wonderful expression which says, “He who laughs last, laughs best.”
God doesn’t want anybody to be outside. So we have a job. There is room for every human being in the New Jerusalem. God gave His Son, not for the elect, not for a few, but for the whole world. And that’s why He has delayed His coming, not because He wants to keep us suffering here. It’s because He doesn’t want anyone to perish.
So we have a job to do while we are waiting. The job is to tell the world the good news that, in Christ, we have been exalted to the throne of God. And that’s the wonderful good news of the gospel.