Online Bible Commentary
The Superiority of Christ Over Man
Hebrews 2:5 It is not to angels that he has subjected the world to come, about which we are speaking. 6 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. 9But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. (NIV)
The first part of the book of Hebrews, through 10:18, is concerned with proclaiming the superiority of Christ. Prior to this passage the writer wrote of the superiority of Christ over the prophets and the angels. In this passage he writes of the superiority of Christ over man.
This passage begins by proclaiming that angels will not be the rulers of “the world to come” (v. 5a). “The world to come” is a reference to the second coming of Christ when He will set up His kingdom on earth. This is the thousand year period that we call the Millennium. The phrase “about which we are speaking” (v. 5b) refers to the previous passage and the age of Salvation. The Millennium is when the Salvation of Christians comes full circle as their spirits are reunited with their bodies and they return to earth to rule with the Lord.
Verses 6-8a quote Psalm 8: 4-6, a Psalm of David, the one who “testified” (v. 6a). The word translated “man” (v. 6b) is the Hebrew word “enos” which means the mortal, frail, or weak condition of mankind. In contrast, the word translated “man” in the context of “son of man” (v. 6c) is the Hebrew word “adam” which refers to mankind in general. The Lord is “mindful” of frail man, meaning that He remembers the sin of mankind. Also, the Lord cares for “the son of man”, mankind itself. Jesus also is referred to as the Son of man, a reference to Him being the second Adam. However, that is not the usage in this verse.
The “son of man”, mankind, was made “a little lower than the angels” (v. 7a), meaning that they are lower in rank to angels. This is a reference to the fact that mankind must face death. In verse nine, reference is also made to Jesus being made “a little lower”, meaning the incarnate Jesus also faced death. Incarnation was the act of Jesus becoming flesh, making Him wholly man and wholly God. Jesus, however, unlike mankind, was never lower in rank to angels because of His divinity. Even though mankind was made lower than the angels, God crowned them “with glory and honor” and “put everything” under their feet (vv. 7b-8a). In other words, mankind was given dominion over all the earth by God in the beginning (Gen. 1:28-30).
Even though mankind was given dominion over all the earth, and all that it contained, they presently do not have that dominion (v. 8b). But rather “we see Jesus” (v. 9a), the second Adam, having dominion over all the earth. He was also “made a little lower than the angels” (v. 9b), because of having to face death, like mankind. However, He is the one “crowned with glory and honor” (v. 9c), instead of mankind, because he “suffered death” (v. 9d) to pay for the sin of mankind. Mankind lost their dominion because of sin. And, for Jesus, the cross led to the crown.
By the grace of God, Jesus tasted death for everyone (v. 9e). The meaning of the Greek word translated “taste” is “to experience everything to the full.” Jesus experienced death to the full. His death was the ultimate death, not only in terms of physical suffering, but also emotional death because he took the weight of the sin of the world upon himself. His death was so excruciating that He thought God the Father had forsaken Him. He died for the sin of “everyone”, yours and mine. He died to pay the penalty for our sin, so that we do not have to. The penalty for sin is eternal separation from God, in Hell. When we accept His sin sacrifice, we are seen as righteous in His eyes and are eligible to enter His Holy Heaven. Christ has made the path for us, but it is up to us to walk down that path.