For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come1, whereof we speak. But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him? Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet2. 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. But we see Jesus3, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.
- 1 Matt 12:32
- 2 Ps 8:4-6, Rev 20:6, 22:5
- 3 John 14:19-21
For unto the angels…
- Verse 5 picks up where chapter 1 ended – proving the superiority of Christ over the angels
- Verses 1-4 was a parenthesis in this argument. It argues that if Christ is so superior to angels, we should give all the more earnest heed to His gospel
- Verses 5-9 explain why it is that this One who was so much superior to the angels was made to be less than the angels – it was so that He “by the grace of God should taste death for every man”.
- Therefore, the suffering endured by Christ did not tarnish His glory, rather it is the cause of His great exaltation “in the world to come” when we see “all things put under Him”.
For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak.
- “world to come”: GR: “οἰκουμένην τὴν μέλλουσαν”; lit. ‘the inhabited world which is coming’
- οἰκουμένη is used 15 times in NT: means simply ‘world’ in Heb. 1:6 and other uses; represents ‘inhabited Greek lands’ in ancient Greek literature (LSJ)
- Represents the Glorious Kingdom of Christ either in a millennial reign (Pink) or eternal state (Older authors)
What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him? Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet
- Ps 8:4-6
- Quoted word for word from LXX Ps 8:5-7
- “Made Him lower” refers to Christ in His incarnation and time of humiliation
- ἐλαττόω; GR to lessen (in rank or influence)
- “Made lower” doesn’t mean “created lower”; rather it means He was lowered from His prior glory
- Used in Jn 3:30 – “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John the Baptist)
- Christ, in His office as mediator, was voluntarily brought to the low state of man. In His exaltation, He reigns, as man, with glory and honor over ‘all things’.
- Even though man, in his original estate, was made ‘lower’ than angels, a man will rule over all things (Christ) and his people will rule with him (Rom 8:17, Rev 20:6, 22:5)
For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him.
- This is an apostolic commentary on Psalm 8
- The writer emphasizes that Christ is so highly exalted, there is nothing that is not under him
But now we see not yet all things put under him. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.
- One might object that we do not see everything put under subjection to Christ and His saints.
- The Scriptures teach us of Christ’s time of incarnation (“made [demoted] a little lower than the angels…”) so that he might endure “the suffering of death” and “taste death for every man”.
- In the resurrection of Christ we have the beginning of His exaltation that shall be complete at His return
- we see Jesus… How do ‘we’ see Jesus? We see Him with the eyes of faith (Jn 8:56)
- The world sees Jesus in his suffering and humiliation, “But we see Jesus…crowned with glory and honour“
- To the Jews Peter says, “let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.” (Acts 2:36)
- “God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord…” (Phil 2:9-11)
Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. At that day ye shall know that I [am] in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him…
Ah, brethren in Christ, when you go out at night and view the wondrous heavens, and then think of your own utter insignificance; when you meditate upon the glory of God’s majesty and holiness. and then think of your own exceeding sinfulness, and are bowed into the dust; remember that up there is a Man in the glory, and that that Man is the measure of God’s thoughts concerning you. Remember, that by wondrous and sovereign grace, you have been not only predestined to be conformed to His image, but that you should, as a joint-heir with Him, share His inheritance. May the Lord grant each Christian reader that faith which will enable him to grasp that wonderful and blissful prospect which the Word of God sets before him.