CONSIDER JESUS OUR GREAT HIGH PRIEST
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Charts from Jensen's Survey of the NT - used by permission
Hebrews - Charles Swindoll - Chart on right
Hebrews 2:14 Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil (NASB: Lockman)
Greek: epei oun ta paidia kekoinoneken (3SRAI) aimatos kai sarkos, kai autos paraplesios metesxen (3SAAI) ton auton, hina dia tou thanatou katargese (3SAAS) ton to kratos echonta (PAPMSA) tou thanatou, tout' estin (3SPAI) ton diabolon,
BGT Ἐπεὶ οὖν τὰ παιδία κεκοινώνηκεν αἵματος καὶ σαρκός, καὶ αὐτὸς παραπλησίως μετέσχεν τῶν αὐτῶν, ἵνα διὰ τοῦ θανάτου καταργήσῃ τὸν τὸ κράτος ἔχοντα τοῦ θανάτου, τοῦτ᾽ ἔστιν τὸν διάβολον,
Amplified: Since, therefore, [these His] children share in flesh and blood [in the physical nature of human beings], He [Himself] in a similar manner partook of the same [nature], that by [going through] death He might bring to nought and make of no effect him who had the power of death--that is, the devil-- (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
Barclay: The children then have a common flesh and blood and he completely shared in them, so that, by that death of his, he might bring to nothing him who has the power of death, (Westminster Press)
BBE And because the children are flesh and blood, he took a body himself and became like them; so that by his death he might put an end to him who had the power of death, that is to say, the Evil One;
CSB Now since the children have flesh and blood in common, Jesus also shared in these, so that through His death He might destroy the one holding the power of death-- that is, the Devil--
ESV Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil
KJV Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;
NET Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, he likewise shared in their humanity, so that through death he could destroy the one who holds the power of death (that is, the devil),
NLT: Because God's children are human beings--made of flesh and blood--Jesus also became flesh and blood by being born in human form. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the Devil, who had the power of death. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: Since, then, "the children" have a common physical nature as human beings, he also became a human being, so that by going through death as a man he might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: Therefore, since the children share in common with one another blood and flesh, He Himself also partook with them in the same, in order that through the aforementioned death He might bring to naught the one having the dominion of death, that is, the Devil.
Young's Literal: Seeing, then, the children have partaken of flesh and blood, he himself also in like manner did take part of the same, that through death he might destroy him having the power of death -- that is, the devil--
THEREFORE SINCE THE CHILDREN SHARE IN FLESH AND BLOOD: epei oun ta paidia kekoinoneken (3SRAI) haimatos kai sarkos:
- flesh: 1Co 15:50
- Hebrews 2 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries
THE CHILDREN OF GOD
ARE FLESH AND BLOOD
Therefore - term of conclusion. In Heb 2:13 he has just described the "children whom God has given" to Jesus, which therefore must refer to believers, and so "children of God" (cp Jn 1:12-13+, 1Jn 3:1+, 1Jn 3:9-10+). The idea of the therefore is that since His children are human, Jesus had to become human in order to be their Redeemer and to accomplish the cutting of the New Covenant in His blood (1Pe 1:18, 19+)"
Since the children (paidion) share (koinoneo) in flesh (sarx) and blood (haima) - The children refers to the children of God, not to all humanity, for only believers are truly children of God by grace through faith. Share is in the perfect tense which describes this as the constant human condition. Flesh and blood in the Greek text is in reverse order “blood and flesh.” In the rabbinical writers, this term was a technical phrase speaking of human nature in contrast with God. Since sinners are flesh and flood, Jesus had to become flesh and blood in order to be our substitutionary sacrifice. Jesus set aside the outward display of His deity and veiled His Godhead in a “robe of clay.” (cf Php 2:6-7+). But He did not stop at Bethlehem. “All the way to Calvary He went for me because He loved me so.”
Oh, how He loves you and me,
Oh how He loves you and me.
He gave his life, what more could he give?
Oh, how He loves you;
Oh, how he loves me;
Oh, how he loves you and me.
As Paul reminds us "Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable." (1Co 15:50+) Sinful men must put off the old grave clothes of Adam and put on the new grace clothes of Christ, for only this apparel is allowed in the Kingdom of God!
As Spurgeon says "I cannot help drawing your attention to those two words: “the children.” Hear that sweet expression again, for it is one of the choicest descriptions of the saints: “the children.” “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus” (Gal 3:26). What a wonderful influence the children have in the house! How many of the arrangements are made especially with a view to them! How much of the wear and tear of life to their parents is for their sakes! And we may truly say concerning our Father in heaven that His plans, His arrangements, His actions, His gifts are very emphatically for the children." (From his sermon Fear of Death)
J. Vernon McGee writes "Because we were made of flesh and blood, He took upon Himself flesh and blood. And He came into this world by human birth just like you and I came into the world. "That through death he might destroy him." Christ Jesus came not only through birth--His birth didn't save anyone--but through death. It is by His death He saves us, not by His birth or by His life. His death brought to us salvation and deliverance from spiritual and eternal death." (See context in Thru the Bible)
Spurgeon - As you know to your cost, for perhaps you have aches and pains about you at this very moment. Verily, you are “partakers of flesh and blood.” Perhaps you are suffering from despondency and depression of spirit. If so, that reminds you that, however much you may, in spirit, sometimes soar to heaven, yet you are still “partakers of flesh and blood.” As you know to your cost, for perhaps you have aches and pains about you at this very moment. We know what it is to be partakers of flesh and blood; we often wish that we did not. It is the flesh that drags us down; it is the flesh that brings us a thousand sorrows. I have a converted soul, but an unconverted body. Christ has healed my soul, but He has left my body still to a large extent in bondage, and therefore it has still to suffer; but the Lord will redeem even that. The redemption of the body is the adoption, and that is to come at the day of the resurrection. (Spurgeon's Expositional Commentary on Hebrews)
Matthew Henry - The angels fell, and remained without hope or help. Christ never designed to be the Saviour of the fallen angels. Therefore He did not take their nature; and the nature of angels could not be an atoning sacrifice for the sin of man. Here is a price paid, enough for all, and suitable to all, for it was in our nature. Here the wonderful love of God appeared, that, when Christ knew what he must suffer in our nature, and how he must die in it, yet he readily took it upon Himself. This atonement made way for God's people's to be delivered from Satan's bondage, and to provide the ransom payment for the pardon of their sins which became effective through personal belief in these truths. In light of the truth in this passage, believers who dread death, and strive to get the better of their terrors, need no longer attempt to outbrave or to stifle them. (Hebrews 2 Commentary)
Children (3813) (paidion from diminutive of pais = child) refers literally to a child or children recently born. In Hebrews 2:14 it is a figurative endearing appellation for the followers of Christ, human beings who are the subjects of the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.
Share (2841) (koinoneo from koinos = common, shared by all) means to have a share in common with someone else. The idea is to share one's possessions with the implication of some kind of joint participation and mutual interest. The human race has in common flesh and blood.
Koinoneo - 8x in 8v in NAS = Ro 12:13; 15:27; Gal 6:6; Phil 4:15; 1 Tim 5:22; Heb 2:14; 1 Pet 4:13; 2 John 1:11
Flesh (4561) (sarx) in this context refers to the covering of a living creature and thus describes physical human beings. Note that "flesh" is one of those words that one must be careful to interpret because it has a wide range of meanings depending on the context (See word study)
Blood (129) (haima) is the fluid with its constituents (red blood cells, etc) that forms the basis for life by transporting oxygen from the lungs to all the body parts. Without blood there is no life. Regarding the spiritual significance of the blood Moses records that "the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood by reason of the life that makes atonement… as for the life of all flesh, its blood is identified with its life. Therefore I said to the sons of Israel, 'You are not to eat the blood of any flesh, for the life of all flesh is its blood; whoever eats it shall be cut off.' (Leviticus 17:11, 14+)
HE HIMSELF LIKEWISE ALSO PARTOOK OF THE SAME: kai autos paraplesios meteschen (3SAAI) ton auton:
- He Himself likewise He 2:18 4:15 Ge 3:15 Isa 7:14 Jn 1:14 Ro 8:3 Ga 4:4 Php 2:7,8 1Ti 3:16,
- Hebrews 2 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries
Isaiah 9:6+ For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
Luke 1:31+ “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus.
John 1:14+ And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Romans 8:3+ For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh,
Philippians 2:7+ but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.
1 Timothy 3:16 By common confession, great is the mystery of godliness: He who was revealed in the flesh, Was vindicated in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Proclaimed among the nations, Believed on in the world, Taken up in glory.
JESUS PARTOOK OF
FLESH AND BLOOD
He Himself likewise (paraplesios) also partook (metecho) of the same - Clearly this speaks of Jesus the Son of God taking on human flesh ("flesh and blood"). It is notable that the writer did not use the same word used for men sharing life with men, the word koinoneo which marks the characteristic sharing of the common fleshly nature (including the sin of Adam) as it pertains to the human race at large. On the other hand metecho (took part of) speaks of the unique fact of the incarnation as a voluntary acceptance of humanity. Thus, our Lord took hold of human nature without its sin in the incarnation, and held it to Himself as an additional nature (the perfect God-Man, fully God, fully Man, a truth not fully comprehensible to finite man - see page 456 in Grudem's Systematic Theology), thus associating Himself with the human race in its possession of flesh and blood. He took to Himself, something with which by nature He had nothing in common (metecho), flesh and blood. Human beings possess human nature in common with one another (koinoneo). The Son of God united with Himself, something that was not natural to Him.
POSB - Jesus Christ delivered man by willingly becoming a man: Christ "took part" of human flesh; He "took part" of the very same flesh and blood that human beings partake of. But there is a significant difference between a newborn baby who became a "partaker of flesh and blood" at birth and Christ who took part of the same. Christ willingly "took part" of flesh and blood, whereas a child had no say-so in the matter. Everyone of us has been born by an act of some other man and woman; not one of us had anything whatsoever to do with the matter. But Jesus Christ chose—He deliberately determined and purposed—to take part of human flesh and blood. He voluntarily took part of human nature—of a nature that was not a natural part of His being. This is seen in the Greek words used to describe what He did.
⇒ "Children are partakers (koinoneo) of flesh and blood." The word means to share, to be partners of a common human nature.
⇒ The word used of Christ is entirely different: Christ took part (metecho) of human nature. The word means to hold with. The idea is that Christ took hold of human nature and held human nature with man. He added human nature to His divine nature. His human nature was an addition to His divine nature. As God the Son, Jesus Christ had absolutely no part of flesh and blood, but as the Son of Man, He took hold of man's nature. The point is this: Jesus Christ became man, and as Man He took part of flesh and blood, willingly and voluntarily. Jesus Christ loves us so much that He would pay the ultimate price to deliver us. He would humble Himself to such a degree that He would leave heaven above in order to come to earth and live as a Man. (See context in Preacher's Outline & Sermon Bible)
Note how John describes the divine Word of God becoming the human Word of God in his prologue writing "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God....And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth." (John 1:1,14+) I recall a story about how a young man was saved as the teacher read and simply explained these two passages. The Spirit convinced Him that Jesus fully God had become Jesus fully Man for Him and he gave his life to Christ. Note that partook or "had a part in" is the aorist tense (past completed action) which points to the historical event of His incarnation, when He became Man and accordingly one with mankind! Here is a stanza in the famous hymn Hark the Herald Angels Sing...
Christ, by highest heav’n adored,
Christ, the everlasting Lord:
Late in time behold Him come,
Offspring of a virgin’s womb.
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see,
Hail th’ incarnate Deity!
Pleased as man with man to dwell,
Jesus our Immanuel.
Note the line "veiled in flesh the Godhead see," which means “Look and see God, hidden in human flesh,” see God in the Person of Jesus.
Spurgeon writes "Christ’s great mission was not to save angels, but to save men. Therefore he came not in the nature of angels, but in the nature of men. He so took upon his flesh and blood as to die in our nature, that thus he might slay death, and might set us free from all fear of death. Do you not see that, if the representative Man, Christ Jesus, died, he also rose again, and that so also will all who are in him rise, too? If you are in him, you shall rise again. Therefore, fear not to lie down in your last sleep, for the trumpet shall awaken you, and your bodies shall be molded afresh like unto his glorious body, and your soul and body together shall dwell in infinite bliss for ever. “Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” We know what it is to be partakers of flesh and blood; we often wish that we did not. It is the flesh that drags us down; it is the flesh that brings us a thousand sorrows. I have a converted soul, but an unconverted body. Christ has healed my soul, but He has left my body still to a large extent in bondage, and therefore it has still to suffer; but the Lord will redeem even that. The redemption of the body is the adoption, and that is to come at the day of the resurrection. But think of Christ, Who was a partaker of the Eternal Godhead, condescending to make Himself a partaker of flesh and blood; — the Godhead linked with materialism; the Infinite, an infant; the Eternal prepared to die, and actually dying! Oh, wondrous mystery, this union of Deity with humanity in the person of Christ Jesus our Lord! (Spurgeon's Expositional Commentary on Hebrews)
Warren Wiersbe - Jesus Christ did not take on Himself the nature of angels in order to save the fallen angels (2 Peter 2:4; Rev. 12:7–9). Instead, He stooped lower than the angels to become Man! And not just “man” in general; but He became a Jew, a part of the “seed of Abraham” (Heb. 2:16). The Jews were a despised and hated race, and yet our Lord became a Jew. (See context in Be Confident (Hebrews):)
Christ was not in His natural existence flesh and blood. And yet He willingly "took hold" of something which did not naturally belong to Him. One of the requirements of a kinsman-redeemer (see discussion of Goel = Kinsman Redeemer) in the Old Testament was to be related to the one for which the redemption was undertaken. Jesus our Goel, our nearest Kinsman-Redeemer took on Himself our nature in order that He might die in our place, paying the price of redemption, which in turn would liberate us to take hold of the divine nature that did not belong to us. As Peter writes "For by these (His own glory and excellence) He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, in order that by them you might become partakers (koinonos) of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust." (2Pe 1:4+)
Adam sinned and forfeited his right of dominion over this earth. The forfeited inheritance (according to Jewish law) was ransomed by the nearest of kin and so Jesus became our nearest of kin by taking on humanity, in order to become our Goel or Kinsman-Redeemer.
What light this throws upon the Bible’s attitude towards the dual nature of our Lord, Very God and Very Man! And He did this all for us! His birth didn’t save anyone but by His death He saves us. It was not His birth or His life but His death which brought to us salvation and deliverance from spiritual and eternal death. He could not have undergone death as God but only by becoming man. Not by Almighty power but by His death He overcame death.
Likewise (3898) (paraplesios from para = close to or alongside + plesios --nearby, near - Greek word for neighbor derived from plesios!) means in a manner nearby, similarly, likewise, coming near, nearly, resembling, in like manner. Expressing general similarity. It means "in a very close manner but not exactly.
Hebrews 2:14 is the only Biblical use of paraplesios. Here is the picture portrayed by this word -- The Lord Jesus, in His incarnation, took His place alongside and nearby the human race in a somewhat similar manner. It was not altogether in a like manner because Jesus, unlike men, was conceived by the Spirit and born not in sin (Heb 4:15). Jesus was not a mere semblance of a body, as the heresy of Docetism taught (they say He was a "phantom" and it just looked like He had a body but it wasn't a real body - this is overt heresy for it could never secure redemption through His blood).
Partook (3348) (metecho from metá = with, denoting association + écho = have) means literally to hold with and so share in the possession of something or have a share of. It has to do with taking hold of something that is not naturally one's own kind. Metecho means to share in the possession of something, to partake of or to consume food, whether solid or liquid eat, to eat food, to drink (1Co 10:30; figuratively in Heb 5:13), to be included in the membership of a group belong to (Heb 7:13) Another sense is when it has to do with taking hold of something that is not naturally one's own kind. So in Heb 2:14 humans by nature are flesh and blood but Christ was not but "He partook (metecho) of the same." He willingly took hold of something which did not naturally belong to Him, partaking of our nature in order that He might die in our place, and that we might "become partakers (koinonos) of the divine nature"(2 Pe 1:4+)
Metecho - 8x in 8v - belongs(1), partake(3), partakes(1), partook(1), share(1), sharing(1). 1 Co. 9:10 = "sharing crops"; 1 Co. 9:12 = " If others share the right over you"; 1 Co. 10:17; 1 Co. 10:21 = "you cannot partake of the table"; 1 Co. 10:30 = " If I partake with thankfulness"; Heb. 2:14 = "He Himself likewise also partook of the same,"; Heb. 5:13 = "everyone who partakes only of milk"; Heb. 7:13 = "belongs to another tribe" Occurs twice in the Septuagint - Prov. 1:18; Prov. 5:17;
ANSWER - Incarnation is a term used by theologians to indicate that Jesus, the Son of God, took on human flesh. This is similar to the hypostatic union. The difference is that the hypostatic union explains how Jesus’ two natures are joined, and the Incarnation more specifically affirms His humanity.
The word incarnation means “the act of being made flesh.” It comes from the Latin version of John 1:14, which in English reads, “The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us.” Because of the near-exclusive use of the Latin Vulgate in the church through the Middle Ages, the Latin term became standard.
Biblical support for Jesus’ humanity is extensive. The Gospels report Jesus’ human needs including sleep (Luke 8:23), food (Matthew 4:2; 21:18), and physical protection (Matthew 2:13-15; John 10:39). Other indications of His humanity are that He perspired (Luke 22:43-44) and bled (John 19:34). Jesus also expressed emotions including joy (John 15:11), sorrow (Matthew 26:37), and anger (Mark 3:5). During His life, Jesus referred to Himself as a man (John 8:40), and after His resurrection His humanity was still recognized (Acts 2:22).
But the purpose of the Incarnation was not to taste food or to feel sorrow. The Son of God came in the flesh in order to be the Savior of mankind. First, it was necessary to be born “under the law” (Galatians 4:4). All of us have failed to fulfill God’s Law. Christ came in the flesh, under the Law, to fulfill the Law on our behalf (Matthew 5:17; Galatians 4:5).
Second, it was necessary for the Savior to shed His blood for the forgiveness of sins (Hebrews 9:22). A blood sacrifice, of course, requires a body of flesh and blood. And this was God’s plan for the Incarnation: “When Christ came into the world, he said: ‘Sacrifice and offering [under the Old Covenant] you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me’” (Hebrews 10:5). Without the Incarnation, Christ could not really die, and the cross is meaningless.
God did an incredible work in sending His only begotten Son into the world and providing us with a salvation we do not deserve. Praise the Lord for that moment in which “the Word became flesh.” We are now redeemed “with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect” (1 Peter 1:19).
ANSWER - The humanity of Jesus is as equally important as the deity of Jesus. Jesus was born as a human being while still being totally divine. The concept of the humanity of Jesus co-existing with His deity is difficult for the finite mind of man to comprehend. Nevertheless, Jesus’ nature—wholly man and wholly God—is a biblical fact. There are those who reject these biblical truths and declare that Jesus was a man, but not God (Ebionism). Docetism is the view that Jesus was God, but not human. Both viewpoints are unbiblical and false.
Jesus had to be born as a human being for several reasons. One is outlined in Galatians 4:4–5: “But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.” Only a man could be “born under the law.” No animal or angelic being is “under the law.” Only humans are born under the law, and only a human being could redeem other human beings born under the same law. Born under the law of God, all humans are guilty of transgressing that law. Only a perfect human—Jesus Christ—could perfectly keep the law and perfectly fulfill the law, thereby redeeming us from that guilt. Jesus accomplished our redemption on the cross, exchanging our sin for His perfect righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Another reason Jesus had to be fully human is that God established the necessity of the shedding of blood for the remission of sins (Leviticus 17:11; Hebrews 9:22). The blood of animals, although acceptable on a temporary basis as a foreshadowing of the blood of the perfect God-Man, was insufficient for the permanent remission of sin because “it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins” (Hebrews 10:4). Jesus Christ, the perfect Lamb of God, sacrificed His human life and shed His human blood to cover the sins of all who would ever believe in Him. If He were not human, this would have been impossible.
Furthermore, the humanity of Jesus enables Him to relate to us in a way the angels or animals never can. “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). Only a human could sympathize with our weaknesses and temptations. In His humanity, Jesus was subjected to all the same kinds of trials that we are, and He is, therefore, able to sympathize with us and to aid us. He was tempted; He was persecuted; He was poor; He was despised; He suffered physical pain; and He endured the sorrows of a lingering and most cruel death. Only a human being could experience these things, and only a human being could fully understand them through experience.
Declaring that Jesus has come in the flesh is the mark of a spirit from God, while the Antichrist and all who follow him will deny it (1 John 4:2–3). Jesus has come in the flesh; He is able to sympathize with our human frailties; His human blood was shed for our sins; and He was fully God and fully Man. These are biblical truths that cannot be denied. GotQuestions.org
Related Resources: (from gotquestions.org)
- What does it mean that Jesus came in the likeness of sinful flesh?
- What does it mean that Jesus learned obedience by the things He suffered (Hebrews 5:8)?
- How can the Incarnation be reconciled with God’s immutability?
- How can Jesus be both God and man at the same time?
THAT THROUGH DEATH HE MIGHT RENDER POWERLESS HIM WHO HAD THE POWER OF DEATH THAT IS THE DEVIL: hina dia tou thanatou katargese (3SAAS) ton to kratos echonta (PAPMSA) tou thanatou tout estin (3SPAI) ton diabolon:
- That through death - He 9:15 Isa 53:12 Jn 12:24,31, 32, 33 Ro 14:9 Col 2:15 Rev 1:18
- Render powerless - Isa 25:8 Ho 13:14 1Co 15:54,55 2Ti 1:10
- The devil: Mt 25:41 1Jn 3:8, 9, 10 Rev 2:10 12:9 20:2
- Hebrews 2 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries
Hebrews 9:15+ For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.
Isaiah 53:12 Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great, And He will divide the booty with the strong; Because He poured out Himself to death, And was numbered with the transgressors; Yet He Himself bore the sin of many, And interceded for the transgressors.
John 12:24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
Colossians 2:15+ When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him.
Revelation 1:18+ and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.
That (hina) introduces a purpose clause (see term of purpose or result) and to inquisitive inductive students should always prompt the question of "what purpose?" In this context it describes the purpose of the incarnation as it applies to neutralizing the power of the devil over fallen men.
Through (dia) death (thanatos) He might render powerless (katargeo) him who had the power (kratos) of death (thanatos) , that is, the devil (diabolos) - Through (dia) expresses instrumentality (fact of serving as an instrument or means to an end), i.e., the means by which something is accomplished in this case the death of Christ accomplished the disarming or de-fanging (fang) of the serpent's deadly power over those who have been rescued from the kingdom of darkness and transferred to the kingdom of light (Col 1:13+), the kingdom of God's Beloved Son. Of course the "instrument" was the Cross which brought about His death. It rendered powerless, idle, inoperative or ineffective the devil's power of death. The divine paradox which the blind (2Cor 4:4+) unbelieving world cannot see or receive is that Christ's death brought life to dead men and deliverance from devil's power.
Satan is not destroyed, but he is disarmed.
-- Warren Wiersbe
Ray Stedman "The devil has not been eliminated, but the devil has been rendered impotent. Not to everyone! Not to everyone! Only under certain conditions is this true, but those conditions are available to all men in Jesus Christ. That is what he is saying. When we enter into the conditions we discover that what he says is thrillingly true: there is a freeing from lifelong bondage. The devil does not have the power of death in the sense of determining who dies and when life shall end. Only God has that power. But the phrase, "the power of death" means the grip of death, its fearsomeness, its terrible quality. Bondage therefore is that of the reign of sin, the flesh. This is what Paul means in Romans 8 when he says, To set the mind on the flesh is death (v. 6). Death is the absence of life. Death is not something in itself, it is simply the absence of something. (The True Man | Heb 2:5-18)
Spurgeon - That, through dying, he might overthrow Satan’s power for all who trust him. By his own death, Christ broke that evil power which brought death into the world with its long trail of woe. He did this, not by his example, not even by his life, but by his death. Therefore let those who speak slightingly of his atoning sacrifice see their folly, for it is through death that Christ destroys “him that had the power of death, that is, the devil“ (Spurgeon's Expositional Commentary on Hebrews)
John MacArthur explains that "We by nature are flesh and blood; Christ was not. Yet He willingly took hold of something which did not naturally belong to Him. He added to Himself our nature in order that He might die in our place, and that we might take hold of the divine nature that did not belong to us (cf. 2 Pet. 1:4). The only way to destroy Satan was to rob him of his weapon, death--physical death, spiritual death, eternal death. Satan knew that God required death for us because of sin. Death had become the most certain fact of life. Satan knew that man, if they remained as they were, would die and go out of God's presence into hell forever. Satan wants to hold onto men until they die, because once they are dead the opportunity for salvation is gone forever. Men cannot escape after death. So God had to wrest from Satan the power of death. And for just that purpose Jesus came. If you have a more powerful weapon than your enemy, his weapon becomes useless. You cannot fight against a machine gun with a bow and arrow. Satan's weapon is extremely powerful. But God has a weapon even more powerful--eternal life--and with it Jesus destroyed death. The way to eternal life is through resurrection, but the way to resurrection is through death. So Jesus had to experience death before He could be resurrected and thereby give us life. Jesus' dying destroyed death. How? He went into death, through death, and came out on the other side, thereby conquering it. Then He could say, "Because I live, you shall live also" (John 14:19). The resurrection of Jesus Christ provides the believer with eternal life. It is the only thing that could ever have done it. Death is the power of Satan's dominion, and when Jesus shattered Satan's power He also shattered his dominion. (See context in Hebrews Commentary)
Barnes - "The word “destroy” here is not used in the sense of “closing life,” or of “killing,” but in the sense of bringing into subjection, or crushing his power. This is the work which the Lord Jesus came to perform - to destroy the kingdom of Satan in the world, and to set up another kingdom in its place." (Hebrews 2 Commentary)
Spurgeon - Those persons who always interpret the word “destroy” (katargeo) as meaning “annihilate” would do me a very great favor if they could really prove to me that Jesus Christ annihilated the devil. I have very mournful proof in my own experience that he is not annihilated, and many of you also know that “your adversary the devil walks around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour” (1 Pet 5:8). The devil is still alive, but his power in this world has received its death blow. Jesus Christ has trodden on the old serpent’s head, and, to the Christian, in the matter of death, the devil is completely destroyed, for he that believes in Christ shall never die. Death seemed to be all black and evil, like Satan himself, something into which he had put his most venomous sting. But now, to believers in Jesus, death is a messenger from our Father in heaven calling us home to Him—not a black angel, striking terror to our hearts, but one who is exceeding bright and fair, coming to bid us fly away to realms of light and love. Remember, Christian, “the sting of death is sin” (1 Cor 15:56), but that has been destroyed for you, and “the power of sin is the law,” but that has been fulfilled for you. Rejoice, therefore, that both are gone so far as you are concerned, and thus your greatest causes for fear are entirely removed. (From semon Fear of Death)
MacDonald explains the devil's "power of death" as follows - In what sense does the devil have the power of death? Probably the chief sense in which he has this power is in demanding death. It was through Satan that sin first entered the world. God’s holiness decreed the death of all who sinned. So in his role as adversary, the devil can demand that the penalty be paid. In heathen lands his power is also seen in the ability of his agents, the witch doctors, to pronounce a curse on a person and for that person to die without any natural cause. There is no suggestion in Scripture that the devil can inflict death on a believer without the permission of God (Job 2:6), and therefore he cannot set the time of a believer’s death. Through wicked men, he is sometimes permitted to kill the believer. But Jesus warned His disciples not to fear those who could destroy the body, but rather to fear God who can destroy both soul and body in hell (Matt. 10:28). In the OT, Enoch and Elijah went to heaven without dying. No doubt this was because, as believers, they were reckoned to have died in the still-future death of Christ. When Christ comes at the Rapture, all living believers will go to heaven without dying. But they too escape death because God’s holiness was satisfied for them in the death of Christ. The risen Christ now has “the keys of Hades and of Death” (Rev. 1:18), that is, He has complete authority over them. (See context in Believer's Bible Commentary)
"Had not death by death borne to death the death of Death, the gate of eternal life would have been closed”.
-- Latin epigram
Kenneth Wuest explains that "Satan was not annihilated at the Cross. His power was broken. Spiritual death cannot hold the person who puts his faith in the Saviour. Physical death cannot keep his body in the grave. The resurrection of the Lord Jesus provides the believer with eternal life, and his body with glorification at the Rapture. Thus, Jesus conquered death, and brought to naught the Devil. Satan had the power of death, not in the sense that he had power over death, but that he had the sovereignty or dominion of death. He had a sovereignty of which death is the realm. The word for “power” in the Greek text here is kratos, which means “power in the sense of dominion.” His dominion over the human race was in the form of death. That dominion is now broken. (Ibid)
By virtue of faith in Christ's death and His blood, and His burial and His resurrection the devil's grip on men was broken.
(Jesus told Paul that He delivered him) from the Jewish people and from the Gentiles, to whom I am sending you, to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, in order that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.' (Acts 26:17-18+)
In a parallel passage we read that Jesus "delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in Whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Col 1:13-14+)
Spiritual death cannot hold the person who puts his faith in the Saviour. Physical death cannot keep his body in the grave. The resurrection of the Lord Jesus provides the believer with eternal life the moment of salvation, and provides him with his glorified imperishable, immortal body at the Rapture. Thus, Jesus conquered death, and brought to naught the Devil.
Though Satan would seek to impose physical death on the whole human race if he could, he can only bring about a particular death when God allows it for some greater purpose (Job 2:4-6; 1 Co 5:5). Satan had the power of death not in the sense that he had power over death but that he had the sovereignty (kratos) of this present world which death is the realm. Kratos means “power in the sense of dominion.” His dominion over the human race is now broken for those who receive Messiah's sacrifice as atonement for their sins.
Paul in discussing the believer's future glorified body says that "when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, "DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP in victory. "O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?" The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1Co 15:54-57+)
Jesus took away the "sting of death" which is "sin" because it is by sin that death gains authority over man, and the power of sin is the law because the law stirs up sin (Ro 5:12; 7:8-11).
Paul explains this relationship to sin and death writing "Therefore just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned (Ro 5:12+)
Writing to Timothy Paul explained that Jesus "now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, Who abolished (katargeo = made it ineffective for believers) death, and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel (2Ti 1:10+) Christ abolished death by bearing the sins of men on the cross. As a result, death has now lost its sting for the believer [see above 1 Cor. 15:55+]. In the resurrection, Christ conquered death for all believers [1Co 15:20, 48+]. For them, to die is gain because to die is to be with Christ [Php 1:21, 23+]. The believer whose body is in the grave will rise bodily when Christ returns for His own [1Th 4:14-17+]. As with Christ, so for the believer, there will be no more death [Rev. 20:6+; Rev 21:4+])
Just to make sure we understand - how did Jesus render powerless the devil who had the power of sin? First, note that implication is that death itself is a power which, though originally foreign to human nature, now reigns over it (Ro 5:12+). The devil wields the power of death only insofar as he induces people to sin and to come under sin's penalty, which is death. Ezekiel 18:4 says ""Behold, all souls are Mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is Mine. The soul who sins will die."
Paul adds that "the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Ro 6:23+).
Satan has acquired over man (by God’s law, Genesis 2:17+; Ro 6:23+) the power of death by man’s sin, death being the executioner of sin, and man being Satan’s “lawful captive.” (2Ti 2:26+). Jesus, by dying, has made the dying His own, and has taken the prey from the mighty. There is no more death for believers. Christ plants in them an undying seed, the germ of heavenly immortality, though believers have to pass through natural death.
John Piper adds that "Now how does that render powerless the one who had the power of death, the devil? It doesn't mean Christians don't die a physical death -- sometimes very painful ones. Nor does it mean that Satan can't kill us (Rev 2:10+). What it means is that the only weapon the devil can use to destroy us in death is our sin. Nobody goes to hell because they are oppressed by the devil or even possessed by the devil. Nobody goes to hell because they are harassed by the devil or get shot at by the devil or given hallucinations by the devil. These are all smoke screens to hide the one deadly power in Satan's artillery, namely, unforgiven sin. The only reason anybody goes to hell is because of their own sin. And all Satan can do is fight to keep you sinning and to keep you away from the one who forgives sin. Because if your sin is forgiven, and the wrath of God Almighty is turned away from you, then the devil is disarmed. The one deadly, lethal tactic he has is to accuse you of sin and keep you sinning and to keep you away from Christ who forgives sin and removes the wrath of God. If your sins are forgiven and the wrath of God is removed from you, and you stand righteous before God in Jesus Christ by faith, and God is for you and not against you, then the devil is rendered powerless: he cannot destroy you. So in sum, the connection between Hebrews 2:14 and Hebrews 2:17 shows that the way Christ renders powerless the devil is by making propitiation for our sins. Which shows that the only lethal weapon in the artillery of Satan is our own sin. If that is covered by the blood of Jesus, if that is forgiven, and if the anger of God against is gone and in its place is omnipotent grace working for our good, then we can cry out to any human or demonic manslayer: "Death is swallowed up in victory. O death where is your victory? Death, where is your sting?" (1Cor 15:54,55+). The body they may kill, but that is all. Instantly we are at home with the Lord (2 Cor 5:8+)." (Jesus Is Able to Help Those Who Are Tempted - Desiring God)
Spurgeon - The devil’s power over death lies in three places, and we must look at it in three aspects. Sometimes the devil has power in death over the Christian by tempting him to doubt his resurrection, and leading him to look into the black future with the dread of annihilation. Christ, by being a witness to the fact of the resurrection, has broken the power of the devil in death. In this respect He has prevented him from tempting us to fear annihilation; because, as Christians, we believe that because Christ rose again from the dead, even so they that sleep in Jesus will the Lord bring with Him. A more common temptation—another phase of the devil’s power in death—is that the devil comes to us in our lifetime, and he tempts us by telling us that our guilt will certainly prevail against us, that the sins of our youth and our former transgressions are still in our bones, and that when we sleep in the grave our sins shall rise up against us. The death of Christ has destroyed the power that the devil has over us to tempt us on account of our guilt. “The sting of death is sin” (1 Cor 15:56). Our Jesus took the sting away, and now death is harmless to us, because it is not succeeded by damnation. The evil one has another temptation: “It may be very true,” says he, “that you are to live forever and that your sins have been pardoned; but you have until now found it very hard work to persevere, and now you are about to die you will be sure to fail.” We turn to answer the devil, and we say to him, “Fiend, you tempt us to think that you will conquer us. Remember, Satan, that the strength that has preserved us against you has not been our own. The arm that has delivered us has not been this arm of flesh and blood, else we had long since been overcome. Look there, fiend, at Him that is omnipotent. His almightiness is the power that preserves us to the end. Therefore, be we never so weak, when we are weak then we are strong, and in our last hour of peril we shall yet overcome you.” Christ’s death has taken away from Satan the advantage that he has over the saint in the hour of death. We may joyfully descend the shelving banks of Jordan, or may even, if God calls us to a sudden death, glide from its abrupt cliffs, for Christ is with us, and to die is gain. (See full sermon The Destroyer Destroyed)
Death (2288) (thanatos) is literally a physical separation of the soul from the body. Every form of death in the NT is treated not as a natural process but always as a destroying power related to sin and its consequences. This is certainly true in the case of the sinless God Man for "He (God the Father) made Him (Jesus the Son) Who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." (2 Cor 5:21)
Render powerless (2673) (katargeo from kata = intensifies meaning + argeo = be idle from argos = ineffective, idle, inactive from a = without + érgon = work) literally means to reduce to inactivity. The idea is to make the power or force of something ineffective and so to render powerless, reduce to inactivity. To do away with. To put out of use. To cause to be idle or useless. To render entirely idle, inoperative or ineffective. Cause something to come to an end or cause it to cease to happen. To abolish or cause not to function. To free or release from an earlier obligation or relationship. To no longer take place. Katargeo always denotes a nonphysical destruction by means of a superior force coming in to replace the force previously in effect, as e.g. light destroys darkness.
Katargeo in his verse means to nullify or to bring to nothing. Satan is still actively opposing the purposes of God in the world, but he received a death wound at the cross. His time is short and his doom is sure. He is a defeated foe.
Vine explains that katargeo "never means “to annihilate.” (= to destroy utterly and completely and thus cause to cease to exist) The general idea in the word is that of depriving a thing of the use for which it is intended. Thus it implies, not loss of being, but loss of well-being (Ed note: although this latter idea cannot be easily applied to many the NT occurrences which refer to inanimate things such as the Law, death, the power of sin, etc). Collected writings of W. E. Vine.)
Power (2904) (kratos) means strength or might, especially manifested power, the power to rule or control or dominion (power to rule, supreme authority, sovereignty, the right to govern or rule or determine). Krátos denotes the presence and significance of force or strength rather than its exercise. It is the ability to exhibit or express resident strength.
Devil (1228) (diabolos from diá = through, between + ballo = to cast, throw) means a false accuser, slanderer (one who utters false charges or misrepresentations which defame and damage another’s reputation), backbiting (malicious comment about one not present), one given to malicious gossip or a calumniator (one who utters maliciously false statements, charges, or imputations about, this term imputes malice to the speaker and falsity to the assertions). Diabolos is the noun form of the verb diaballō which describes not only those who bring a false charge against one, but also those who disseminate the truth concerning a man, and do so maliciously, insidiously and with hostility. Notice how the root words (diá = through + ballo = throw) picture what the devil does. He constantly throws between seeking to divide whether it be between a husband and wife, a child and parent, a church, etc. Resist his divisive, condemnatory accusations firm in your faith. Wuest has an interesting comment that the literal meaning of "to throw through" means “to riddle one with accusations.” (Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament:: Eerdmans)
Diabolos is applied some 34 times to Satan, the god of this world, and in each case has the definite article in the Greek ("the" = defining a specific entity) and is never in the plural (the three uses below in the pastoral epistles are all plural) as when applied to men. (See discussion of the prince of the power of the air under whose authority we all "walked" or lived when we were still spiritually dead in our transgressions and sins - Ephesians 2:2)
Steven Cole on the power of death - Satan is described as the one who had the power of death. This does not mean that he has the power to kill people at will. The risen Christ holds the keys of death and Hades (Rev. 1:17, 18+). God determines the length of each person’s life (Ps. 139:16) and He alone has final authority in this matter (Job 2:6; Luke 12:5+). But Satan tempted Adam and Eve to sin, and through sin, death entered this world. Satan was a murderer from the beginning (John 8:44). He delights in seeing people die outside of Christ, because they then join him in hell throughout eternity, which is the second death (Rev. 20:14, 15+).
Through His death and resurrection, Jesus paid the penalty of spiritual death that we had incurred through sin. Thus He delivers us from Satan’s domain (Col 1:13+, Acts 26:18+). Though believers still die physically, spiritually they are delivered from the second death. Thus Satan’s power is broken. In Christ, we do not need to fear death any longer. As Jesus told Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die” (John 11:25, 26).
Thus, the main doctrine of our text is that Jesus became man in order to save us. He took our humanity in order to bear the penalty for our sins. But this is only true for those who are His children through the new birth, to those who believe on His name (John 1:12, 13+).
The application: The fact that Jesus became man to save us should cause us to draw near to Him in times of trial and to proclaim His name, even in the face of persecution.
Remember, the Book of Hebrews was written to a suffering church that was facing persecution. They were tempted to give up their profession of Christ and retreat to their old, more comfortable ways. But the author is showing them the excellency and supremacy of Jesus Christ so as to say, “You can’t go back!” If Jesus is eternal God who took on human flesh to die for our salvation, you can’t turn back to any other system of belief. He is God’s final word to us (He 1:2+). He entered glory only after suffering; you must be prepared to follow the same path.
The doctrines of Jesus’ deity and humanity are not just nice theological points for intellectual debate. They are precious truths to sustain our souls in the trials of life! Whenever we face trials or are fearful of death, we have a personal refuge in our Brother who is our Savior! Jesus suffered in the flesh and was triumphant through His trust in God. “Since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted” (Heb 2:18+).
ILLUSTRATION - The king puts political prisoners in jail. If the king is overthrown, the right of the jailer to hold that political prisoner ceases. If he continues to hold him, he does it without a right. When Satan held us, it was by his authority. But Satan's right to hold us in jail was broken when his power was broken at the cross. So we have a right to be set free. This is the picture, not that we are released from jail, but our right to be held in jail was broken when Satan was defeated at the cross.
Norman Geisler - HEBREWS 2:14—Does the devil have the power of death or does God?
PROBLEM: The writer of Hebrews speaks here about Christ’s coming so “that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil.” But in other places the Bible asserts that only God has the power over life and death: “I kill and I make alive” (Deut. 32:39; cf. Job 1:21).
SOLUTION: God is sovereign over all life. Only He can create it, and only He has determined the number of our days (Ps. 90:10–12) and has “appointed” the day of our death (Heb. 9:27). But by tempting Adam and Eve, the devil succeeded in bringing on the human race God’s pronounced judgment of death for disobedience (Gen. 2:17; Rom. 5:12). So, in this sense, the devil may be said to have had the power of death (Heb. 2:14). However, by tasting death for every man (Heb. 2:9) and rising triumphantly from the grave (Rom. 4:25), Christ now holds “the keys of Hades and of Death” (Rev. 1:18), having “abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel” (2 Tim. 1:10).
Spurgeon in Morning and Evening - O child of God, death hath lost its sting, because the devil's power over it is destroyed. Then cease to fear dying. Ask grace from God the Holy Ghost, that by an intimate knowledge and a firm belief of thy Redeemer's death, thou mayst be strengthened for that dread hour. Living near the cross of Calvary thou mayst think of death with pleasure, and welcome it when it comes with intense delight. It is sweet to die in the Lord: it is a covenant-blessing to sleep in Jesus. Death is no longer banishment, it is a return from exile, a going home to the many mansions where the loved ones already dwell. The distance between glorified spirits in heaven and militant saints on earth seems great; but it is not so. We are not far from home-a moment will bring us there. The sail is spread; the soul is launched upon the deep. How long will be its voyage? How many wearying winds must beat upon the sail ere it shall be reefed in the port of peace? How long shall that soul be tossed upon the waves before it comes to that sea which knows no storm? Listen to the answer, "Absent from the body, present with the Lord." Yon ship has just departed, but it is already at its haven. It did but spread its sail and it was there. Like that ship of old, upon the Lake of Galilee, a storm had tossed it, but Jesus said, "Peace, be still," and immediately it came to land. Think not that a long period intervenes between the instant of death and the eternity of glory. When the eyes close on earth they open in heaven. The horses of fire are not an instant on the road. Then, O child of God, what is there for thee to fear in death, seeing that through the death of thy Lord its curse and sting are destroyed? and now it is but a Jacob's ladder whose foot is in the dark grave, but its top reaches to glory everlasting.
Dwight Pentecost lists several reasons for the incarnation of Christ in Hebrews 2:5-18. The following list is extracted from his commentary Faith That Endures: A Practical Commentary on the Book of Hebrews
(1) To fulfill God’s purpose for man Hebrews 2:5-9 - The first reason for the Incarnation is so that God’s purpose for man might be finally realized by the One who would take the title, “The Son of Man.”
(2) To taste death for all Hebrews 2:9 The second reason for the Incarnation is given in the latter part of verse 9. Jesus Christ became incarnate that He “might taste death for everyone.”
(3) To bring many sons to glory Hebrews 2:10-13 The third reason for the Incarnation is stated in verses 10–13. He came that He might bring many sons to glory.
(4) To destroy the devil Hebrews 2:14 The fourth reason for the Incarnation is given in verse 14. Jesus Christ partook of flesh and blood; that is, He took to Himself a true and complete humanity so that on man’s behalf “He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil.”
(5) To deliver those in bondage Hebrews 2:15 The fifth reason for the Incarnation is found in verse 15. Through the Incarnation, which included the death of Christ, people could be delivered from bondage to the fear of death.
(6) To become a priest for men Hebrews 2:16-17a - The sixth reason for the Incarnation is found in verses 16–17a, namely, that He might become a merciful and faithful High Priest on man’s behalf.
(7) To make propitiation for sins Hebrews 2:17b The seventh reason for the Incarnation is stated at the end of verse 17. The Son became man “to make propitiation for the sins of the people.”
(8) To provide help for those tested Hebrews 2:18 The eighth reason for the Incarnation is given in verse 18. Since God Himself cannot be tempted with evil (James 1:13), nor can He be put to a test (Deut. 6:16; Matt. 4:7), it was necessary for Jesus Christ by incarnation to identify Himself with people to faithfully represent those who are tempted and tested.
Octavius Winslow's devotional…
Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; - Hebrews 2:14
The Divine compassion and sympathy could only be revealed by the incarnation of Deity. In order to the just exhibition of sympathy of one individual with another, there must be a similarity of circumstances. The like body must be inhabited, the same path must be trod, and the same, or a similar, sorrow must be felt. There can be no true sympathy apart from this. A similarity of circumstances is indispensably necessary. See, then, the fitness of Christ to this very purpose. God took upon Him our nature, in order to bear our griefs, and carry our sorrows. Here we enter into the blessedness that flows from the human nature of Christ. As God merely, He could not endure suffering, nor weep, nor die; as man only, He could not have sustained the weight of our sin, grief, nor sorrow. There must be a union of the two natures to accomplish the two objects in one person. The Godhead must be united to the manhood; the one to obey, the other to die; the one to satisfy Divine justice, the other to sympathize with the people in whose behalf the satisfaction was made. Let not the Christian reader shrink from a full and distinct recognition of the doctrine of our Lord's humanity; let it be an important article of his creed, as it is an essential pillar of his hope. If the Deity of Jesus is precious, so is His humanity; the one is of no avail in the work of redemption apart from the other. It is the blending of the two in mysterious union that constitutes the "great mystery of godliness."
Approach, then, the humanity of your adorable Lord: turn not from it. It was pure humanity-it was not the form of an angel He assumed; nor did He pause in His descent to our world to attach Himself to an order of intelligent being, if such there be, existing between the angelic and the human. It was pure humanity, bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh, which He took up into intimate and indissoluble union with His Deity. It was humanity, too, in its suffering form. Our Lord attached Himself to the woes of our nature; He identified Himself with sorrow in its every aspect. This was no small evidence of the love and condescension of Jesus. To have assumed our nature, this had been a mighty stoop; but to have assumed its most humiliating, abject form, this surpasses all our thoughts of His love to man.
It was necessary that our Lord, in order to sympathize fully with His people, should not only identify Himself with their nature, but in some degree with their peculiar circumstances. This He did. It is the consolation of the believer to know, that the Shepherd has gone before the flock. He bids them not walk in a path which His own feet have not first trod and left their impress. As the dear, tender, ever-watchful Shepherd of His sheep, "He goes before them;" and it is the characteristic of His sheep, that they "follow Him." If there were a case among His dear family, of trial, affliction, or temptation, into which Jesus could not enter, then He could not be "in all points" the merciful and sympathetic High Priest. View the subject in any aspect, and ascertain if Jesus is not fitted for the peculiarity of that case. Beloved reader, you know not how accurately and delicately the heart of Jesus is attuned to yours, whether the chord vibrates in a joyous or a sorrowful note. You are perhaps walking in a solitary path; there is a peculiarity in your trial - it is of a nature so delicate, that you shrink from disclosing it even to your dearest earthly friend; and though surrounded by human sympathy, yet there is a friend you still want, to whom you can disclose the feelings of your bosom-that friend is Jesus. Go to Him-open all your heart; do not be afraid-He invites, He bids you come. "For in that He Himself has suffered being tempted, He is able to support those who are tempted."
J C Philpot has the following devotional thoughts on Hebrews 2:14…
By his sufferings, blood shedding and death, our gracious Lord not only made a complete atonement for sin, fulfilled every demand of the law, washed his people from all their iniquities in the fountain of his precious blood, and wrought out and brought in a perfect and everlasting righteousness for their justification, but "through death destroyed him that had the power of death, that is, the devil." It was by the death of the cross that the gracious Lord "spoiled principalities and powers, and made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it." It is a point little considered, though one of much importance, that the Lord Jesus had, as if personally, to grapple with and overcome the prince of the power of the air, to hurl Satan from his usurped throne, to destroy his works, and overthrow his kingdom; and this not by an act of omnipotent power, but by an act of the lowest weakness, for "he was crucified through weakness."
According to our simple views, we might think that all that was needed to overthrow Satan was an act of omnipotent power. But this was not God's way. The king over all the children of pride, in the depths of infinite wisdom, was to be dethroned by an act of the deepest humility, of the most meek and submissive obedience, of the intensest suffering of God's own beloved Son, as standing in the place of those over whom Satan and death had triumphed through sin. We read that "the Son of God was manifested that he might destroy (literally, 'loosen' or 'untie') the works of the devil." Thus he came, not only to untie and undo all that Satan had fastened and done by traversing, as it were, the whole ground, from the first entrance of sin and death, and, by a course of holy and meritorious obedience, repair the wreck and ruin produced by the primary author of all disobedience, but, as the final stroke, to destroy and put down the disobedient and rebellious prince of darkness himself. (J. C. Philpot. Daily Words for Zion's Wayfarers)
BGT καὶ ἀπαλλάξῃ τούτους, ὅσοι φόβῳ θανάτου διὰ παντὸς τοῦ ζῆν ἔνοχοι ἦσαν δουλείας.
Amplified: And also that He might deliver and completely set free all those who through the [haunting] fear of death were held in bondage throughout the whole course of their lives. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
Barclay: and might set free all those who, for fear of death, were all their lives liable to a slave’s existence. (Westminster Press)
KJV And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
NET and set free those who were held in slavery all their lives by their fear of death.
BBE And let those who all their lives were in chains because of their fear of death, go free.
CSB and free those who were held in slavery all their lives by the fear of death.
ERV and might deliver all them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
ESV and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.
GWN In this way he would free those who were slaves all their lives because they were afraid of dying.
NKJ and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
NLT: Only in this way could he deliver those who have lived all their lives as slaves to the fear of dying. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: and might also set free those who lived their whole lives a prey to the fear of death. (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: And effect the release of those who by reason of fear of death through the entire course of their lives were held in bondage.
Young's Literal: and might deliver those, whoever, with fear of death, throughout all their life, were subjects of bondage,
AND MIGHT FREE (deliver) THOSE WHO THRU FEAR OF DEATH: kai apallaxo (3SAAS) toutous hosoi phobo thanatou dia pantos:
- Might free - Job 33:21-28 Ps 33:19 Ps 56:13 Ps 89:48 Lk 1:74,75 2Co 1:10
- Through fear: Job 18:11,14 24:17 Ps 55:4 73:19 1Co 15:50-57
- Hebrews 2 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries
FEAR OF DEATH
And might free (apallasso) those who through fear (phobos) of death (thanatos) - This is the second effect of Jesus taking on flesh and blood, one component of the believer's emancipation proclamation. In the present context the verb might free (apallasso) pictures the incarnation of Jesus and His crucifixion taking believers from one state to another, specifically conveying the idea of separating believers from the domain of darkness (and fear of death) to the kingdom of His beloved Son (cf Col 1:13+, Acts 26:18+) There is a good fear, fear of God, but this is a fearful fear, the fear of every soul outside of Christ!
Those who have welcomed Christ may welcome death.
Jesus' satisfactory sacrifice on the Cross released sinners from their former condition in Adam (remember his fear in the garden in Genesis 3:10 because of his nakedness in turn because of his knowledge of good and evil which equated with sin having entered into him) in which we were subject to the right and the might (Eph 2:2+) of Satan (who had the power of death, because sin brings death). When we believed the debt (Ro 6:23+) we owed (Col 2:14-15+) was counted as paid in full (see John 19:30+), we were immediately made complete in Christ (Col 2:10+) and set free (John 8:32,36, Luke 4:18+, Ro 6:14+) from the penalty of sin (Gal 3:13+) and power of Sin (Ro 6:11-13+), so that the devil no longer was our father and no longer had dominion over us.
With Christ men have an endless hope.
Without Christ men have a hopeless end!
MacDonald notes that "Though there are occasional flashes of light in the OT concerning life after death, the general impression is one of uncertainty, horror, and gloom. What was hazy then is clear now because Christ brought life and immortality to light by the gospel (2Ti 1:10+). (See context in Believer's Bible Commentary)
We owed a debt we could not pay.
Jesus paid a debt He did not owe!
Spurgeon - It is a very natural thing that man should fear to die, for man was not originally created to die. When Adam and Eve were first placed in the garden of Eden, they were in such a condition that they might have remained there for a myriad years if they had kept their integrity. There was no reason why unfallen man should die; but now that we have sinned, the seeds of corruption are in this flesh of ours, and it is appointed unto men once to die. Yet, as if the body knew that it was not according to the first decree of heaven that it should go to the earth and to the worm, it has a natural reluctance to return to its last bed. And this fear of death, so far as it is natural, is not wrong. But it can very readily go beyond the point where it is right into the region wherein it becomes evil; and I do not doubt that many godly persons have a fear of death about them which is very evil, and which produces very evil effects. Let us never try to get rid of it, as some do, by forgetting all about death. That would be to live as the brutes that perish; they live their little day here without any thought beyond the present. The ox and the sheep go to the slaughterhouse without the power to look beyond the present life. I would not like to obtain peace of mind by descending to the level of those “dumb, driven cattle.” Yet there are many men whose only peace arises from thoughtlessness; yet that is a sorry peace which cannot endure contemplation and consideration. He so took upon Himself flesh and blood as to die in our nature, that thus He might slay death, and might set us free from all fear of death. Do you not see that, if the representative Man, Christ Jesus, died, He also rose again, and that so also will all who are in Him rise, too? If you are in Him, you shall rise again. Therefore, fear not to lie down in your last sleep, for the trumpet shall awaken you, and your bodies shall be molded afresh like unto His glorious body, and your soul and body together shall dwell in infinite bliss forever. “Therefore comfort one another with these words” (1Th 4:18+). (From semon Fear of Death)
Chrysostom speaks of the fear of death as being so intense that many have anticipated it, and that tyrants constantly live in this fear.
Epictetus asks, “Where can I go to escape death?” and answers by saying, “I cannot avoid death” (Epictetus, Discourses, 24, 28:9).
Seneca says, “When death is feared, the fear is always there” (Ita si timenda mors est, semper timenda est)
John Calvin - Although we must still meet death, let us nevertheless be calm and serene in living and dying, when we have Christ going before us. If anyone cannot set his mind at rest by disregarding death, that man should know that he has not yet gone far enough in the faith of Christ....If we remember that by death we are called back from exile to home, to our heavenly fatherland, shall we then not be filled with comfort?....We may positively state that nobody has made any progress in the school of Christ, unless he cheerfully looks forward towards the day of his death, and towards the day of the final resurrection.
Owen Feltham - He who always waits upon God is ready whensoever he calls. He is a happy man who so lives that death at all times may find him at leisure to die
Thomas Fuller - A good life fears not life nor death.
Unsaved men and women fear death and if they do not, they are utterly deceived and completely foolish. Only those who run to take refuge in the Ark of Christ will find refuge forever from the jaws and pangs of death. Given this striking contrast, you might want to read some of the Last Words of Saints and Sinners, a fascinating book compiled by Herbert Lockyer, which can be borrowed online. There are some fascinating quotations from rich and powerful and the poor and humble. Below are a few quotes to whet your appetite to read this book...
VOLTAIRE, the noted French infidel and one of the most fertile and talented writers of his time, used his pen to retard and demolish Christianity. Of Christ, Voltaire said: "Curse the wretch!" He once boasted, "In twenty years Christianity will be no more. My single hand shall destroy the edifice it took twelve apostles to rear."
Shortly ,after his death the very house in which he printed his foul literature became the depot of the Geneva Bible Society. The nurse who attended Voltaire said: "For all the wealth in Europe I would not see another infidel die." "
The physician, Trochim, waiting up with Voltaire at his death said that he cried out most desperately: "I am abandoned by God and man! I will give you half of what I am worth if you will give me six months' life. Then I shall go to hell; and you will go with me. O Christ! O Jesus Christ!"
ROBERT GREEN INGERSOLL (1833-1899) , famous American lawyer and prominent agnostic, lectured on Biblical inaccuracies and contradictions. His famed lecture The Mistakes Of Moses led one defender of the Bible to say that he would like to hear Moses speak for five minutes on The Mistakes Of Ingersoll. Standing by his graveside, his brother exclaimed:
"Life is a narrow vale between the narrow peaks of two eternities. We strive in vain to look beyond the heights. We cry aloud, and the only answer is the echo of our wailings."
CASANOVA, renowned for his self-indulgence, ended his life in self-deception. On his death bed at the age of 73, he said: "I have lived as a philosopher and die as a Christian."
WILLIAM POPE, who died in 1797, is said to have been the leader of a company of infidels who ridiculed everything religious. One of their exercises was to kick the Bible about the floor or tear it up. Friends who were present in his death-chamber spoke of it as a scene of terror as he died crying:
"I have no contrition. I cannot repent. God will damn me. I know the day of grace is past . . . You see one who is damned forever . . . Oh, Eternity! Eternity! . . . Nothing for me but hell. Come, eternal torments . . . I hate everything God has made, only I have no hatred for the devil — I wish to be with him. I long to be in hell. Do you not see? Do you not see him? He is coming for me."
THOMAS PAINE, the renowned American author and infidel, exerted considerable influence against belief in God and in the Scriptures. He came to his last hour in 1809, a most disillusioned and unhappy man. During his final moments on earth he said:
"I would give worlds, if I had them, that Age of Reason had not been published. 0 Lord, help me! Christ, help me! 0 God what have I done to suffer so much? But there is no God! But if there should be, what will become of me hereafter? Stay with me, for God's sake! Send even a child to stay with me, for it is hell to be alone. If ever the devil had an agent, I have been that one."
CAPTAIN JOHN LEE, who was executed for forgery, was an-other who sought to do away with God, yet in death longed for the assurance and hope of faith:
"I leave to the world this mournful memento, that however much a man may be favored by personal qualifications or distinguished mental endowments, genius will be useless, and abilities avail little, unless accompanied by religion and at-tended by virtue. Oh, that I had possession of the meanest place in heaven, and could but creep into one corner of it."
OLIVER, a doctor of philosophy, lived the life of an infidel but shortly before his death repented and turned to the Saviour. His final word was one of deep regret:
"Would that I could undo the mischief I have done! I was more ardent to poison men with infidel principles than any Christian is to spread the doctrines of Christ."
THOMAS HOBBES (1588-1674), was a noted English political philosopher whose most famous work was Leviathan. This cultured, clever skeptic corrupted many of the great men of his time. But what regret was his at the end of the road! What hopelessness permeated his last word:
"If I had the whole world, I would give it to live one day. I shall be glad to find a hole to creep out of the world at. About to take a leap in the dark!"
EDWARD GIBBON (1737-1794), the noted English historian whose Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire remains the greatest history of all times, was unfortunately another infidel who died without the consolations of the Gospel. What a bleak end was his as he said to those at his bedside:
"This day may be my last. I will agree that the immortality of the soul is at times a very comfortable doctrine. All this is now lost, finally, irrevocably lost. All is dark and doubtful."
CHRYSOSTOM, being led out to exile and death, could triumphantly say:
"Glory to God for all events."
IGNATIUS, in the arena, before the lions had reached him, said:
"I am the wheat of Christ; I am going to be ground with the teeth of wild beasts, that I may be found pure bread."
JEROME, who was burned, said while the fire was being kindled:
"Bring hither thy torch; bring thy torch before my face. Had I feared death, I might have avoided it."
ANDRONICUS, thrown into prison because of his unwillingness to deny the Christian faith, was cruelly scourged and then had his bleeding wounds rubbed with salt. Brought out from prison he was tortured again, thrown to the wild beasts, then finally killed with a sword. This brave martyr, who perished in 303 A.D., was dauntless as he died:
"Do your worst. I am a Christian. Christ is my help and supporter, and thus armed I will never serve your gods, nor do I fear your authority or that of your master, the Emperor. Commence your torments as soon as you please, and make use of every means that your malignity can invent, and you shall find in the end that I am not to be shaken from my resolution."
JOHN ARDLEY was one of those martyred by Bonner, the cruel Bishop of London, who was the means of sending hundreds of Protestants to the stake. Brutal in the extreme, Bonner tried to describe to Ardley the terrible pain of burning and how it must be to endure it. Ardley was not of the recanting kind and said:
"If I had as many lives as I have hairs on my head, I would lose them all before I would lose Christ."
ROBERT BARNES was the faithful minister of the Gospel who was burned at Smithfield, England, in 1540, and who, as he was committed to the flames, addressed the onlookers with these farewell words:
"I trust in no good works that ever I did, but only in the death of Christ. I do not doubt but through Him to inherit the kingdom of heaven. But imagine not that I speak against good works, for they are to be done, and verily they that do them not shall never enter into the kingdom of God."
ROBERT GLOVER, who died in 1555, was dragged from a sick-bed, thrown into a dismal prison and finally burned at the stake. On his way to the stake he saw a friend and clapping his hands, cried out:
"Austin, He comes! He comes!"
Might free (525) (apallasso from apó = from, any separation of one thing from another by which the union or fellowship of the two is destroyed + allásso = change form or nature of a thing, to make otherwise) means to change from, and so to release, deliver, set free or liberate. It meant to transfer from one state to another, to remove from. Strictly speaking apallasso spoke of a change by separating or by break up an existing connection, setting the one part into a different state or relation. In a word apallasso meant to give absolute freedom. In Greek secular writings apallasso was used for release from the place of responsibility -- of wife who desired release from marriage contract; of a superintendence of land under lease release from a municipal office. It was used of a judicial settlement = get oneself delivered from, to come to an agreement with regard to some dispute or issue, to settle with or to come to terms with. Thus it was a technical term with pictured satisfaction of a plaintiff by the defendant, especially of the creditor (plaintiff) by the debtor (defendant). The word was used in the papyri for the release from a position of responsibility; e.g., a marriage contract, the superintendence of land under lease, the release from a municipal office, or the release of a slave
Apallasso - 11v in the non-apocryphal Septuagint - Ex. 19:22; 1Sa 14:29; Job 3:10; 7:15; 9:12, 34; 10:19; 27:5; 34:5; Isa. 10:7; Jer. 32:31
Luke used apallasso in describing the supernatural effect of cloths that had touched Paul and then touched sick and demon possessed individuals writing…
that handkerchiefs or aprons were even carried from his body to the sick, and the diseases left (apallasso) them and the evil spirits went out. (Luke 19:2)
In a legal sense apallasso pictures the satisfaction (Heb 2:17, Ro 3:25; 1Jn 2:2) of the plaintiff (God the Father) by the defendant (Ro 3:23) or using another scenario of the creditor by the debtor as illustrated by Luke's use of apallasso in Lu 12:58
For while you are going with your opponent to appear before the magistrate, on your way there make an effort to settle with (KJV = "be delivered from") (apallasso) him, in order that he may not drag you before the judge, and the judge turn you over to the constable, and the constable throw you into prison. (Luke 12:58)
Fear (5401) (phobos from phébomai = flee from) means alarm, terror, or fright. Salvation includes freedom from human anxiety and promise of life and meaning beyond physical death. The redeemed child of God no longer need fear death, for to him "to die is gain" (Php 1:21+, Php 1:23+)
Paul records that now we know beyond a shadow of a doubt "that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. (Ro 6:9+)
In the context of extolling the Lord God of Israel for visiting His people (inherent in the OT promises of the Messiah) and accomplishing redemption (the liberation upon payment of a price) Luke records that God would "grant us (Mary and other Jews living at that time) that we, being delivered (see rhuomai) from the hand of our enemies, might serve Him without fear (aphobos)" (Luke 1:74+)
Death is personified as if it were a harsh, malevolent taskmaster that knew it had us cornered on death row (see Jn 3:18+) as long as we were in Adam (Ro 5:12+) and under the dominion of Satan (Acts 26:18+)
Death (2288) (thanatos) is literally a physical separation of the soul from the body. The basic idea of death is separation from something. This is a fearful thought if we don't know what the future life holds. But if we know the One Who holds the future in His hands, we can rest in peace in life and in death!
At Calvary Jesus "crushed the head" of the old Serpent, Satan, because it is our sins which give the devil power over us. When our sins are forgiven and taken out of the way Satan has no authority and power of us. Rev 12:11+ says they "they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even to death." They had no fear of death because for a believer to be absent from the body is to be with the Lord (2Cor 5:8+).
Jesus declared "And do not fear those who kill the body, but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him (GOD) Who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matthew 10:28+)
Illustration - F B Meyer - By DEATH CHRIST DELIVERS FROM THE FEAR OF DEATH. A child was in the habit of playing in a large and beautiful garden, with sunny lawns; but there was one part of it, a long and winding path, down which he never ventured; indeed, he dreaded to go near it, because some silly nurse had told him that ogres and goblins dwelt within its darksome gloom. At last his eldest brother heard of his fear, and, after playing one day with him, took him to the embowered entrance of the grove, and, leaving him there terror-stricken, went singing through its length, and returned, and reasoned with the child, proving that his fears were groundless. At last he took the lad’s hand, and they went through it together, and from that moment the fear which had haunted the place fled. And the memory of that brother’s presence took its place. So has Jesus done for us!
DELIVERED FROM FEARS A large old Bible, frequently used by Abraham Lincoln during the critical years of the Civil War, falls open easily to the 34th Psalm. If you examine that page, you will note that it is smudged at one spot. It seems obvious that the long, tapering fingers of the great emancipator often rested heavily on the fourth verse, which reads: "I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears." Lincoln had obviously come to realize that God is a mighty refuge. The awareness of His presence had undoubtedly garrisoned the President's heart during his most severe difficulties and trials.
THE LAST ENEMY One Christian greatly feared dying. But the terrible death struggle he had anticipated never came. He died in his sleep so peacefully that those with him did not even realize he had left them. His sister remarked, "I believe that the Savior, knowing how much George dreaded dying, said to him, 'Come on home, George, there is nothing to fear. I will go with you through the valley.' So I believe he walked calmly, hand-in-hand with Jesus, into the Father's many mansions!"
D L Moody - The grave has lost its terror. As I go on toward heaven I can shout--"O death! Where is thy sting?" and I hear the answer rolling down from Calvary-- "buried in the bosom of the Son of God." He took the sting right out of death for me and received it into His own bosom. Take a hornet and pluck the sting out; you are not afraid of it after that any more than of a fly. So death has lost its sting. That last enemy has been overcome, and I can look on death as a crushed victim. All that death can get now is this old Adam, and I do not care how quickly I get rid of it. I shall get a glorified body, a resurrection body, a body much better than this.
Final Call by Steven J. Lawson) A little boy was to appear in his school's play. His one line was, "It is I; be not afraid." But he became so full of stage fright that when he came out on stage, all he blurted out was, "It's me and I'm scared to death!"
Dr. Vance Havner was a traveling preacher for forty years. He didn't marry until he was forty--said he wanted to think about it first. He never learned to drive a car. But his wife, Sara, drove them to his meetings in the Buick when they didn't fly or ride the train. The two of them were inseparable. Until 1973, when Sara died. Occasionally someone would say to Dr. Havner afterward, "I hear you lost your wife." "No," Dr. Havner would say, "I didn't lose her. I know right where she is. You haven't lost someone if you know where they are." And then he would quote this poem:
Death can hide but not divide;
She is but on Christ's other side.
She with Christ and Christ with me,
United still in Christ are we.
J. C. Ryle - He looks downward to the grave and he does it without fear. Hear what he says: 'I am ready to be offered.' I am like an animal brought to the place of sacrifice and bound with cords to the very horns of the altar. The drink offering, which generally accompanies the oblation, is already being poured out. The last ceremonies have been gone through. Every preparation has been made. It only remains to receive the death-blow, and then all is over. 'The time of my departure is at hand.' I am like a ship about to unmoor and put to sea. All on board is ready. I only wait to have the moorings cast off that fasten me to the shore, and I shall then set sail, and begin my voyage. These are remarkable words to come from the lips of a child of Adam like ourselves! Death is a solemn thing, and never so much so as when we see it close at hand. The grave is a chilling, heart-sickening place, and it is vain to pretend it has no terrors. Yet here is a mortal man, who can look calmly into the narrow 'house appointed for all living', and say, while he stands upon the brink, 'I see it all, and am not afraid.' (Assurance)
NO LONGER FEARFUL - Several years ago, I directed a parish renewal in Clearwater, Florida. The morning after it ended, the pastor invited me to his home for breakfast. Sitting on my plate was an envelope containing a brief note from a member of the church. It brought tears to my eyes: "Dear Brennan, In all my eightythree years, I have never had an experience like this. During your week of renewal here at Saint Cecelia's, you promised that if we attended each night, our lives would be changed. Mine has. Last week I was terrified at the prospect of dying; tonight I am homesick for the house of my Abba."
Charles Swindoll in his book Improving Your Serve, speaking on the subject of death, says: It was a well-known author and pastor Charles Allen who first told the story of a little lad named John Todd, born in Rutland, Vermont, in the autumn of 1800. Shortly after the boy's birth, the Todd family moved to the little village of Killingsworth. It was there, when John was only six, that both his parents died. All the children had to be parceled out among relatives--and a kind-hearted aunt who lived ten miles away agreed to take John, to love him, to care for him, and to give him a home. The boy lived there for some fifteen years and finally left as he went on to school to study for the ministry. Time passed gently as he began and later excelled in his work as a pastor. While he was in middle life, his elderly aunt fell desperately ill. Realizing death was not far off, in great distress she wrote her nephew. The pitiful letter included some of the same questions all of us must one day ask: "What will death be like? Will it mean the end of everything?" Fear and uncertainty were easily traced in the quivering lines of her letter. Moved with compassion and swamped with the memories of yesteryear, he wrote her words of reassurance:
It is now thirty-five years since I, a little boy of six, was left quite alone in the world. You sent me word you would give me a home and be a kind mother to me. I have never forgotten the day when I made the long journey of ten miles to your house in North Killingsworth. I can still recall my disappointment when, instead of coming for me yourself, you sent your colored man, Caesar, to fetch me. I well remember my tears and my anxiety as, perched high on your horse and clinging tight to Caesar, I rode off to my new home. Night fell before we finished the journey and as it grew dark, I became lonely and afraid. "Do you think she'll go to bed before I get there?" I asked Caesar anxiously. "O no," he said reassuringly. "She'll sure stay up FOR YOU. When we get out of these here woods you'll see her candle shining in the window." Presently we did ride out in the clearing and there, sure enough, was your candle. I remember you were waiting at the door, that you put your arms close about me and that you lifted me--a tired and bewildered little boy--down from the horse. You had a big fire burning on the hearth, a hot supper waiting for me on the stove. After supper, you took me to my new room, you heard me say my prayers and then you sat beside me until I fell asleep. You probably realize why I am recalling all this to your memory. Some day, soon God will send for you, to take you to a new home. Don't fear the summons--the strange journey--or the dark messenger of death. God can be trusted to do as much for you as you were kind enough to do for me so many years ago. At the end of the road you will find love and a welcome waiting, and you will be safe in God's care. I shall watch you and pray for you until you are out of sight, and then wait for the day when I shall make the journey myself and find you waiting at the end of the road to greet me.
PLAY THIS OLD SONG AND WATCH THE VIDEO
Jesus, Savior, Pilot Me
By Frost Arts
Jesus, Saviour, pilot me
Over life's tempestuous sea;
Unknown waves before me roll,
Hiding rock and treach'rous shoal.
Chart and compass come from Thee.
Saviour, pilot me.
Though the sea be smooth and bright
Sparkling with the stars of night
And my ship's path be ablaze
With the light of halcyon days
Still I know my need of Thee;
Savior, pilot me
As a mother stills her child,
Thou canst hush the ocean wild;
Boist'rous waves obey Thy will
When Thou sayest to them, "Be still!"
Wondrous Sovereign of the sea,
Saviour, pilot me.
AFRAID - A missionary in China, J. W. Vinson, one of the noble army of martyrs, was asked by his captors if he were afraid. He replied, "No! If you shoot, I go straight to heaven." His heroic testimony inspired the pen of a fellow missionary, a Mr. Hamilton. Two verses of the poem which he wrote express our thought here:
Afraid? Of what?
To feel the spirit's glad release?
To pass from pain to perfect peace,
The strife and strain of life to cease?
Afraid?--of that? Afraid? Of what?
Afraid to see the Saviour's face,
To hear His welcome, and to trace
The glory gleam from wounds of grace?
WERE SUBJECT TO SLAVERY ALL THEIR LIVES: tou zon (PAN) enochoi esan (3PIAI) douleias:
- Subject to slavery - Ro 8:15,21 Ga 4:21 2Ti 1:7
- Hebrews 2 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries
Galatians 5:1 It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.
OUR INDENTURED STATE BEFORE
WE BELIEVED IN CHRIST
Were subject (enochos) to slavery (douleia) all their lives - Wuest = "through the entire course of their lives!" Because we all "inherited" Adam's "sin virus" (Ro 5:12), we were all born slaves, slaves to sin, to Satan, and to fear of death. On the Cross, Christ "signed" our "Emancipation Proclamation," setting us free from bondage forever! Paul affirms this truth in Romans 8, writing "you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” (Ro 8:15) Note that were subject is in the present tense which identifies our indentured state this condition as continuous! What a contrast is this state of oppression, ensnarement and bondage with the picture in Hebrews 2:10, of our Kinsman-Redeemer "bringing many sons to glory"!
THOUGHT - Do we really comprehend how wonderful and how great our salvation really is (Heb 2:3)? I fear that far too often I do not!
We couldn't have gotten free of the ''fear of death'' by any manner or any amount of money all of our lives! Such a life can hardly be called life! In fact Paul says in such a state we "were dead (spiritually) in our trespasses and sins"! (Eph 2:1+) On the other hand, for the believer, “death is swallowed up in victory” (1Cor 15:54+).
Aristotle was correct defining bondage and liberty - “Bondage, the living not as one chooses; liberty, the living as one chooses.”
Freedom is the ability to live as one chooses. Liberty in Christ is the ability to live as one ought.. Christ by delivering us from the curse of God against our sin, has taken from death all that made it formidable. Death, viewed apart from Christ, can only fill with horror, if the sinner even dares to think of it. Why? Hebrews says
Heb 10:31 It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
Heb 12:29 for our God is a consuming fire.
Were subject (1777) (enochos from enecho = hold in or to be ensnared) means to hold in and so to be be entangled in, subject to, ensnared. It means being subject to control of someone or of some institution - controlled by, under the control of, subject to. Enochos is used 8x in the NT - deserves(1), deserving(1), guilty(6), liable(1), subject(1). - Matt. 5:21; Matt. 5:22; Matt. 26:66; Mk. 3:29; Mk. 14:64; 1 Co. 11:27; Heb. 2:15; Jas. 2:10
Slavery (1397) (douleia) is bondage, servitude, state of a doulos or slave. It is that state of a man in which he is prevented from freely possessing and enjoying his life, a state opposed to liberty. The slave's will is completed subsumed by the master, in the case of non-believers that harsh taskmaster being Sin! It is a state of servitude to our flesh and to the devil! Before Christ delivered us! But He has set the captives free! (Isa 61:1 Lk 4:18). Douleia - 5x in NT - Rom. 8:15; Rom. 8:21; Gal. 4:24; Gal. 5:1; Heb. 2:15
From Global Prayer Digest 1/23/01 re the Muslim Maldives Islands: "Even Christian radio broadcasts have been squelched there. To fill the spiritual void, the Maldivians have blended Islam and animism. Fear of evil spirits rules their lives, so they put no windows in their coral or thatched houses and they burn lamps all night. Currently, no Christian resources are available in their Divehi language except a possible short wave program." (Comment: For these who set in darkness and fear of death, a great Light has shone forth. Are you bearing the Light of Christ in you the hope of glory to the dark places of this world which is passing away? If not, why not? We are called to be His witnesses wherever He has placed us.)
THE CAPE OF GOOD HOPE - At the southern tip of Africa, a cape jutting out into the ocean once caused sailors great anxiety. Many who attempted to sail around it were lost in the swirling seas. Because adverse weather conditions so often prevailed there, the region was named the Cape of Storms. A Portuguese captain determined to find a safe route through those treacherous waters so his countrymen could reach Cathay and the riches of the East Indies in safety. He succeeded, and the area was renamed the Cape of Good Hope.
We all face a great storm called death. But our Lord has already traveled through it safely and has provided a way for us to do the same. By His crucifixion and resurrection, Christ abolished eternal death for every believer and has permanently established our fellowship with Him in heaven. Although this "last enemy," physical death, can touch us temporarily, its brief control over our earthly body will end at the resurrection. The sting of death has been removed!
Now all who know Christ as Savior can face life's final voyage with confidence. Even though the sea may be rough, we will experience no terror as we pass through the "cape of good hope" and into heaven's harbor. The Master Helmsman Himself has assured our safe passage. -- Henry G. Bosch (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Think of just crossing a river,
Stepping out safe on that shore,
Sadness and suffering over,
Dwelling with Christ evermore!
Christ has charted a safe course
through the dark waters of death.
J C Philpot has the following devotional thoughts on Hebrews 2:14…
It is no evidence against you if you are subject to bondage; it is no mark against you if you cannot look death in the face without doubt or fear. Is it not "the children" who feel the bondage? And did not the Lord come to deliver them from it? Are you then not a child because you fear death? If you had no sense of sin, no tenderness of conscience, you would be as careless about death as most other people are. Thus your very bondage, your very fears, if they make you sigh and cry for deliverance, are marks of life. And the day will surely come when the Lord will remove these chilling fears and put an end to these killing doubts. As you draw near to the brink of Jordan, the Lord will be with you to deliver you, who, through fear of death, are now subject to bondage; he will extract its sting, and rob the grave of its victory, enabling you to shout "Salvation!" through his blood, even at the moment when nature sinks lowest and the last enemy appears nearest in view.
Oh, what a blessed Jesus we have; what a heavenly Friend; what a divine Mediator between a holy God and our guilty souls! What love he displayed in taking our flesh and blood; what kind condescension, what wondrous depths of unspeakable grace! He loved us sufficiently to lay down his life for us. Did he not for our sakes endure the agony of the cross, the hidings of God's face, the burden of sin, the pangs of hell? And if he has done all this for us on earth, will he leave his work undone in heaven? Has he quickened you into life, made you feel your sin, taught you to seek for mercy, raised up a good hope in your heart, applied a promise to your soul, given you a testimony? He may have done all this, and yet at times your conscience may be held down in bondage and imprisonment. But it is only to make further way for his grace; to open up more and more of his willingness and ability to save to the uttermost all that come unto God by him. It is only to make himself in the end more precious to you; to show you more of his finished work, more of his dying love and atoning blood, and more of what he is able to do in delivering you from all your fears.
Thus, as the Adam fall was overruled by the wisdom of God to make manifest the riches of his eternal love, mercy, and grace, so your very doubts, fears, and bondage will be blessedly overruled to give you further discoveries of Christ, to wean you more from an arm of flesh, and to make you know more experimentally what the Lord Jesus Christ is to those who seek his face and hang upon and trust him and him alone.
A man who believes that he may live and die, and that safely, without an experimental knowledge of Christ, will never seek his face, never call upon his name, never long for the manifestations of his love. But he who feels that he can neither live nor die without him, who knows that he has a soul that only Christ can save, who has sins which only Christ's blood can pardon, iniquities that only Christ's righteousness can cover, will be often crying to the Lord to visit his soul with his salvation, and will find no rest till Christ appears; but when Christ appears to the joy of his soul, will bless and praise him with joyful lips. And oh, what a glorious trophy will that man be of Christ's eternal victory over sin and Satan, when he will reign with him and with his assembled saints in one immortal day! (J. C. Philpot. Daily Words for Zion's Wayfarers)
THE DEATH OF DEATH
"Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them, who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage." Hebrews 2:14-15.
WE fear death with a double fear. There is, first, the instinctive fear shared also by the animal creation; for the very brutes tremble as the moment of death draws near. Surely this fear is not wrong. It is often congenital and involuntary, and afflicts some of God's noblest saints: though doubtless these will some day confess that it was most unwarrantable, and that the moment of dissolution was calm and sweet and blessed. It is a growing opinion among thoughtful men that the moment of death, when the spirit passes from its earthly tabernacle, is probably the most painless and the happiest moment of its whole earthly story. And if this be so generally, how much more must it be the case with those on whose sight are breaking the glories of Paradise! The child whose eyes feast upon a glowing vista of flower and fruit, beckoning it through the garden-gate, hardly notices the rough woodwork of the gate itself as it bounds through; and probably the soul, becoming aware of the beauty of the King and the glories of its home, is too absorbed to notice the act of death, till it suddenly finds itself free to mount and soar and revel in the dawning light. But there is another fear of death, which is spiritual. dread its mystery. What is it? Whither does it lead? Why does it come just now? What is the nature of the life beyond? We see the movements on the other side of the thick curtain which sways to and fro; but we can distinguish no form. The dying ones are conscious of sights and sounds for which we strain eye and ear in vain. We dread its leave-taking. The heathen poet sang sadly of leaving earth and home and family. Long habit endears the homeliest lot and the roughest comrades: how much more the true-hearted and congenial-it is hard to part from them. If only we could all go together, there would be nothing in it. But this separate dropping-off, this departing one by one, this drift from the anchorage alone! Who can deny that it is a lonesome thing? Men dread the after-death. " The sting of death is sin." The sinner dreads to die, because he knows that, on the other side of death, he must meet the God against whom he has sinned, and stand at his bar to give an account and receive the due reward of his deeds. How can he face that burning glory? How can he answer for one of a thousand? How can mortal man be just with God? How can he escape hell, and find his place amid the happy festal throngs of the Golden City? Many of man's fears were known to Christ. And he knew that they would be felt by many who were to be closely related to him as brethren. If, then, he was prompted by ordinary feelings of compassion to the great masses of mankind, he would be especially moved to relieve those with whom he had so close an affinity, as these marvelous verses unfold. He and they are all of one (see note Hebrews 2:11). He calls them brethren through the lips of psalmist and prophet (see note Hebrews 2:12). He takes his stand in the assembled Church, and sings his Father's praise in its company (Hebrews 2:12). He even associates himself with them in their humble childlike trust (see note Hebrews 2:13). He dares to accost the gaze of all worlds, as he comes forward leading them by the hand (Hebrews 2:13). Oh, marvelous identification! Oh, rapturous association! More wondrous far than if a seraph should cherish friendship with a worm! But the preciousness of this relationship lies in the fact that Jesus will do all he can to alleviate that fear of death, which is more or less common to us all.
But in order to do it, he must die. He could not be the death of death unless he had personally tasted death. He needed to fulfill the law of death by dying, before he could abolish death. Our David must go into the valley of Elah, and grapple with our giant foe, and wrest from him his power, and slay him with his own sword. As in the old fable Prometheus could not slay the Minotaur unless he accompanied the yearly freight of victims, so must Jesus go with the myriads of our race into the dark confines of the tomb, that death might do its worst in vain; that the grave might lose its victory; and that the grim gaoler might be shown powerless to hold the Resurrection and the Life. Had Christ not died, it might have been affirmed that, in one place at least, death and sin, chaos and darkness, were supreme. "It behooved him, therefore, to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day." And, like another Samson, carrying the gates of his prison-house, he came forth, demonstrating forever that light is stronger than darkness, salvation than sin, life than death. Hear his triumphant cry, as thrice the risen and ascended Master exclaims, "I died, and lo, I am alive forevermore, and have the keys of Hades and of death." Death and hell chose their own battleground, their strongest; and there, in the hour of his weakness, our King defeated them, and now carries the trophy of victory at his girdle forevermore. Hallelujah!
But he could only have died by becoming man. Perhaps there is no race in the universe that can die but our own. So there may be no other spot in the wide universe of God seamed with graves, shadowed by the outspread wings of the angel of death, or marked by the plague-spot of sin. "Sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all." In order then to die, Christ must take on himself our human nature. Others die because they are born; Christ was born that he might die. It is as if he said: "Of thee, O human mother, must I be born; and I must suffer the aches and pains and sorrows of mortal life; and I must hasten quickly to the destined goal of human life; I have come into the world to die." "Forasmuch as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same, in order that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil: and deliver them, who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage."
I. BY DEATH CHRIST DESTROYED HIM THAT HAD THE POWER OF DEATH
Scripture has no doubt as to the existence of the devil. And those who know much of their own inner life, and of the sudden assaults of evil to which we are liable, cannot but realize his terrible power. And from this passage we infer that that power was even greater before Jesus died. "He had the power of death." It was a chief weapon in his infernal armory. The dread of it was so great as to drive men to yield to any demands made by the priests of false religions, with their dark impurities and hideous rites. Thus timid sheep are scared by horrid shouts and blows into the butcher's shambles. But since Jesus died, the devil and his power are destroyed. Brought to naught, not made extinct. Still he assails the Christian warrior, though armed from head to foot; and goes about seeking whom he may devour, and deceives men to ruin. Satan is not impotent though chained. He has received the wound which annuls his power, but it has not yet been effectual to destroy him. His power was broken at the cross and grave of Jesus. The hour of Gethsemane was the hour and power of darkness. And Satan must have seen the Resurrection in despair. It was the knell of his destiny. It sealed his doom. The prince of this world was judged and cast out from the seat of power (John 12:31, 16:11). The serpent's head was bruised beyond remedy. Fear not the devil, O child of God; nor death! These make much noise, but they have no power. The Breaker has gone before thee, clearing thy way. Only keep close behind him. Hark! He gives thee power over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt thee (Luke 10:9). No robber shall pluck thee from thy Shepherd's hand.
II. BY DEATH CHRIST DELIVERS FROM THE FEAR OF DEATH
A child was in the habit of playing in a large and beautiful garden, with sunny lawns; but there was one part of it, a long and winding path, down which he never ventured; indeed, he dreaded to go near it, because some silly nurse had told him that ogres and goblins dwelt within its darksome gloom. At last his eldest brother heard of his fear, and, after playing one day with him, took him to the embowered entrance of the grove, and, leaving him there terror-stricken, went singing through its length, and returned, and reasoned with the child, proving that his fears were groundless. At last he took the lad's hand, and they went through it together, and from that moment the fear which had haunted the place fled. And the memory of that brother's presence took its place. So has Jesus done for us! Fear not the mystery Of death! Jesus has died, and has shown us that it is the gateway into another life, more fair and blessed than this-a life in which human words are understood, and human faces smile, and human affections linger still. The forty days of his resurrection life have solved many of the problems, and illumined most of the mystery. To die is to go at once to be with him. No chasm, no interval, no weary delay in purgatory. Absent from the body, present with the Lord, One moment here in conditions of mortality; the next beyond the stars. Fear not the loneliness of death! The soul in the dark valley becomes aware of another at its side, "Thou art with me." Death cannot separate us, even for a moment, from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. In the hour of death Jesus fulfills his own promise, "I will come again and take you unto myself." And on the other side we step into a vast circle of loving spirits, who welcome the new-comer with festal songs (see note 2 Peter 1:11) Fear not the after-death! The curse and penalty of sin have been borne by him. Death, the supreme sentence on sinners, has been suffered for us by our Substitute. In him we have indeed passed on to the other side of the doom, which is justly ours, as members of a sinful race. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea, rather, that is risen again." Death! How shall they die who have already died in Christ? That which others call death, we call sleep. We dread it no more than sleep. Our bodies lie down exhausted with the long working-day, to awake in the fresh energy of the eternal morning; but in the meanwhile the spirit is presented faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy.
The Way Into the Holiest.