Tonight’s message is going to be less like preaching perhaps, and more like teaching, and it’s going to demand your concentration as you’re going to find out throughout our study of the Book of Hebrews, it’s a very, very deep and a very, very difficult book, unless you’re really concentrating, and unless you’re really putting yourself under the control of the Holy Spirit so that you might really understand. But I can promise you the blessing of God if you do understand and really grasp these tremendous and profound truths.
Now coming to chapter 2, just to review a moment, let me just say that the Book of Hebrews is dedicated to the majesty and the absolute superiority of Jesus Christ over anybody and anything else. We’ve said that each time, but you must keep that in focus or you lose your perspective.
The Book of Hebrews is set aside for the very purpose of exalting Jesus Christ, particularly above everything related to Judaism prior to the coming of Christ, whether it’s the angels who brought the law, whether it’s Moses who brought it down from the mountain, whether it’s Aaron who was the priest, whether it’s the prophets, whether it’s Melchizedek, a very unique priest. Whatever it is, whoever it is, Jesus Christ is superior. And the point is, that he is writing that is the Holy Spirit – we do not know the human author – is writing to Hebrews, showing them that they must recognize that Jesus Christ is superior to everything connected with the old covenant, and that it is totally incongruous. It is a contradiction in terms to accept the old covenant and reject Jesus Christ who fulfills entirely the old covenant. It doesn’t make any sense.
Now in the Book of Hebrews then, we find that the Holy Spirit presents Christ as the center of deity, the center of the universe, the center of humanity, the center of authority, the center of love, the center of service, and the center of worship.
In the Book of Hebrews, all things converse on Christ and all things radiate from Christ. He is the key to every page in every chapter. He is seen as the holiest among the mighty, and the mightiest among the holy. He is seen as the king crowned with many crowns; the king of kings and lord of lords.
He is the lord of two worlds, one in accord, and the other in revolt. But nonetheless, He is lord. And Hebrews tells us that He will come and He will one day put all enemies under His feet, and he will reign supreme, because He is supreme.
We get the message in the Book of Hebrews that the whole universe exists by and for Jesus Christ. And the entire history of the universe is hastening to the coronation of Jesus Christ. The day when the world for which He shed His blood, the world for which He paid the purchase price shall belong to Him.
So the message from beginning to end of Hebrews is the superiority of Jesus Christ. And you see, it is so important because when Christ came as the messiah of Israel, the one who fulfilled all the Old Testament promises, the Jews had rejected Him. Consequently, they had made the unbelievable mistake of accepting all of the pictures, and types, and symbols, and rituals of the Old Testament, and then rejected the reality when it came.
And so here, the writer is attempting to show the folly, the total ridiculous nature of rejecting the reality, while accepting and performing all of the ritual. And so, we see then that what his point is, is to see how the Old Testament points to Christ.
Now if you’re going to prove your point to the Jewish people, you’re going to use the Old Testament. So all the way through the Book of Hebrews, the Holy Spirit takes Old Testament passages and uses them to prove the superiority of Jesus Christ, and it’s a dynamic presentation. They must understand that Jesus Christ was the redeemer that God promised. He was the redeemer that all true saints hoped for. He was the redeemer, and the only redeemer that men would ever know.
And the Old Testament salvation, how were you saved in the Old Testament? You were saved by believing the promise of God that was given. How are you saved in the New Testament? You’re saved by believing the promise of God received. That’s the only difference. Same promise, just on both ends of it. People in the Old Testament weren’t saved by keeping the law, they were saved by believing the promise of God.
Now I want to spend a moment just to show you how redemptive history focuses itself in the Old Testament on Christ. The whole Old Testament and the whole old covenant, and by that we simply mean God’s dealing with men in the Old Testament, was a sort of a kindergarten in which God’s people were trained in basic divine things, but they were told to look for better things to come.
And so all through the Book of Hebrews you have the word better, better this, and better that, and better this, and better that, all revolving around Christ. The better things finally have come in Jesus Christ. It’s as if God in the Old Testament was teaching His children the alphabet, and in the New Testament, He taught them to put the letters together. And when they put the letters together, they spelled Christ, Christ, nobody else but Christ. And so that Christ fulfills all the significance of the Old Testament.
Now let me illustrate. We could take prophecy, for example. We could take the prophecy that talks about in Isaiah 53 about the death of Jesus Christ, and we could show how Jesus in His death fulfilled it to the absolute letter. Or would could take Psalm 22, which describes the crucifixion of Christ. It gives a detail, even says what He’ll say on the cross, even gives His vocabulary as He spoke it thousands of years later, and that’s a startling fact.
Or we could perhaps go to Isaiah, and we could see how the Jesus Christ was to be born of a virgin, and we know that He fulfilled that. We could go to Micah, and we could find that it was predicted that He would be born in Bethlehem, and we could see that He fulfilled that.
We could take every basic characteristic of the Old Testament and show that how it all resolves itself in Jesus Christ. And that’s why Jesus made the statement in Matthew that, “I am not come to destroy the law, but to” – do what – “to fulfill the law.” That’s the whole point.
But let me just take one little area of the Old Testament that finds itself resolved in Christ, and that’s the area of types. Now most people don’t understand what types are. Types are merely Old Testament pictures of Christ. And an Old Testament, be there pictures Christ person or Christ work It’s a man, an event, an animal, a situation, whatever it may be, that pictures Christ, for example.
In the Old Testament you have sacrifices. And a sacrifice was taken, and the blood of the sacrifice was sprinkled on the arc of the covenant, which symbolized the presence of God. And by that, men were acknowledging that God would be appeased in His dealing with sin by the sprinkling of blood. And what were they doing? They were only prefiguring or picturing a more noble and perfect blood, which should be shed at some future time, and shed only once for all.
And the very picture of sacrifice, and the picture of the sprinkling of blood was nothing but a type of what Jesus would do, and He was the anti-type, the fulfillment.
Another Old Testament type, for example, the dwelling in Tabernacles or booths. The children of Israel wandered, and they dwelled in tents or booths. And it typically prophesied the appearance of one great person whose residence in human flesh was but a temporary humble dwelling below His dignity, and Jesus himself made the statement that He had come to Tabernacle among men. So the children of Israel dwelling in tents were types of Jesus who had come in human flesh for a temporary time.
Another one, for example, the Passover lamb speaks of another lamb who would come and shed his blood and bring eternal deliverance, and we could go on, and on, on about types.
But there are so many types in the Old Testament of the death of Christ that the apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15, “that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures.” Now when Paul says that, has the New Testament been completed? No. So what scripture is he referring to? The Old Testament.
Paul says, “Christ died for our sins according to the Old Testament.” All throughout the Old Testament there are numerous pictures of Jesus’ death for us, in prophecy, both verbal and prophecy in type. Now that’s just one small area.
So you see, to accept the Old Testament, and this is the Jewish dilemma, and to accept the old covenant, and to reject Christ, becomes an absurdity, you see. It becomes a ridiculous position because you are rejecting everything that the New Testament pointed to.
Jesus said to the Jews, “You study the Old Testament,” and he says, “don’t you realize that those things are spoken of me?”
Later on, on the road to Emmaus, He said, “If you’d really known the Scriptures, you’d have known all about this.” What was He referring to? The Old Testament. And then it tells us that He began, Moses and all the prophets, and went to the Old Testament and taught them the things concerning whom? Himself.
And so to reject Jesus Christ is the most unbelievable absurdity in the world if you accept the Old Testament. And this is historically since the time of Christ, the unbelievable dilemma of the Jew who is totally unable to resolve all of the conflicts left by an unfulfilled old covenant.
And so you know what you have? You have born out of that problem liberal Judaism and “conservative” Judaism, and a moving away from orthodoxy, because Orthodox Judaism makes no sense. It’s totally unfulfilled. It’s a ritual that never finds it’s reality. It’s a symbol that never finds its fact. And so consequently, you find Jews just wandering away from the character of scripture altogether, and turns really into a social club. And most Jewish synagogues are nothing but that.
And this is the tragedy of it, that if there is no fulfillment, that all of those things mean nothing.
So the Holy Spirit, then, in the Book of Hebrews is attempting to show the Jew that Jesus does fulfill all the Old Covenant, that He is of necessity to fulfillment, and must be received as such, or everything is meaningless.
Now to begin with in the Book of Hebrews, if he’s going to present that Jesus is superior, he just does it step by step, and he begins by showing that Jesus is superior to what? To angels. And we saw that in the first chapter, and we’ll see it again as we continue in the second chapter for he deals with it as well. He must show that Jesus is superior to angels, because the old covenant was brought by angels, wasn’t it? And if the new covenant is better, and if Jesus is the final and the fullest meaning and significance of what God is doing, He must be superior to angels.
And so he is very careful to prove that Jesus is, in fact, superior to angels. And that we saw as we began chapter 1. And then as we came into chapter 2 last time, we saw in the first four verses that if Jesus is superior to angels, you ought to do something about Him, right? If Jesus is, in fact, God, as the writer has said He is, then people ought to react.
And so in the four verses that begin chapter 2, he gives a little exhortation and a little warning, and invitation. And he says, “I have shown you that Jesus is greater than angels, in fact that He’s God. Now you need to act on that, or how shall you escape if you neglect so great salvation.”
Now in chapter 2, verse 5, where we start tonight, he returns to superiority of Christ over angels, and he presents a fantastic point to prove that Jesus is superior to angels. He’s still in this same argument, and here is a tremendous point. And the point that he makes is in verse 5. And then he elucidates it in verses 6 to 9. “For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, of which we speak.” Now there is a tremendous point there. What is he saying?
He is saying, God did not give subjection of the world to come to angels. Who is the sovereign of the world to come? Jesus Christ. Don’t you see the point? He is again saying that Jesus is superior to angels. Now if angels are next to God, and Jesus is superior to angels, what does that make Him? God. That’s the point.
And so the whole thing is keyed in verse 5, which says he didn’t give angels the subjection of the world to come. Not angels.
Now let me just give you a little thought here, and then we’re going to get into this. This passage accomplishes several things, and it will probably accomplish these in your mind without me saying it, but let me say it anyway so you’ll kind of follow along. Number one, it shows another tremendous proof that Jesus is better than angels. That’s initial. That’s really the key to the argument. But number two, it answers an objection. For the objection could be this, well if Jesus was only a man, how could He be superior to angels? I mean if He was a man and He died, how could He possibly be superior to angels? Well he answers that is this passage, and you’re going to see how he answers that objection, that potential objection.
Thirdly, and this is kind of what we want to major in, although it maybe isn’t as key a major point as would be the first point, the fact that this is another proof for his superiority. But lying close to that truth is the fact that these verses reveal the only hope for a man’s recovery of his lost destiny. You see, man has lost his destiny. Man today is a lost man. Man today has lost the meaning of his existence; totally lost it. And this passage is going to teach us how it is that man can recover his destiny and, in fact, what his destiny is.
We’ll look at it just in three simple points. Man’s destiny revealed by God, man’s destiny restricted by sin, man’s destiny recovered by Christ. Pretty simple.
All right, now first of all we see man’s destiny revealed by God. That begins in verse 5. “For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, of which we speak.” Now what we’re saying here is this, God never promised to subject the world to come to angels. In fact, if you go back to 1:14, you’ll find that angels are sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation.
Now in the world to come, angels will be ministers, not rulers. Do you see? So that God has not designed that they are sovereign in the world to come. Now it's an interesting use of the term put in subjection. That’s hupotassō, which is a military term and it's the term used for arranging your soldiers in order under a commanding general. The word speaks of a system of administration. And God has not turned over the system of administration of the world to come to angels. No.
God is the one who gives out the administrations. God ordains every power that is, doesn’t he? The powers that be are what? Ordained of God. Romans 13. God is the one who dishes out rule rights and administrations. He chooses the various sovereigns.
And in the world to come, angels will not be the sovereigns. And may I hasten to add that the world to come is the world of perfection. The world to come is the greatest that’s been. The world to come is the great and glorious world. And whoever reigns in that world must be glorious beyond glory, and it isn’t angels. It isn’t angels.
Now this indicates some interesting things to us, and I want you to hang on for a minute. It indicates, first of all, that angels’ rule or angels’ superiority over men is only temporary. And I say that, because you’re going to find in the next two verses who it is that’s going to rule in the age to come. You know who it is? Men. Men. Very important. Men.
So that what we’re saying is that even the authority or the superiority of angels over men now is only temporary. Now I want you to just stick with me for a minute, because I want to carefully give you this. It’s going to be a tremendous help to you in understanding the flow of God’s history, and I want you to get it.
Now you’ll notice in verse 5 the term world. This is not the common Greek world kosmos, which means the system. It is not just a general term. For example, sometimes the word aiōn is translated world, and it means the ages. It is a very specific word. It is the word oikoumenēn. Oikos means house. It means inhabitance. The word means the inhabited earth.
Did you know that that says there, there is an inhabited earth to come? Did you know that? Whoo whoo, that’s, that’s a heavy thought. That would blow the minds of the amillennialsts. You say, “What are they?” Don’t worry about them. The amillennialsts are the ones who say there is no kingdom. They say there is no inhabited earth to come. That’s funny. It says right there there is.
There is an inhabited, an oikoumenēn, an inhabited earth to come. Now that can’t be this earth, because this inhabited earth isn’t to come, it’s to what? It’s to go. I mean let’s face it, it’s almost over now, isn’t it? There’s got to be another inhabited earth to come. Say what is it? I’ll tell you what it is. It’s a great millennial kingdom. It’s going to be fantastic. A new inhabited earth, and all the creatures that go into that new inhabited earth are going to be totally different. The animals will be different, and even the people will all be redeemed people that go in at the beginning of that new inhabited earth.
So the point he’s making here is that there is a coming, another inhabited earth, and that there’s going to be sovereignty in that inhabited earth, but it won’t belong to angels. Now that’s all he’s said yet.
Now let me hang onto this thought. The world to come will not be put in subjection of angels. Now listen to this, the world to go, which is this one, is right now in subjection to angels. Did you get that? Very important distinction.
Did you know that angels really have the rule over this world? Let me illustrate that to you. Who is number one fallen angel? Satan. Who is prince of this world? Satan. Who is the sovereign of this world? Satan. Not only does Satan and his fallen angels rule in a sense in this world – now watch this – but even the holy angels have a kind of sovereignty, don’t they?
For example, in Daniel, just so that you understand this, because this is really going to come together in your mind and give you some tremendous things. In Daniel, chapter 10, just looking at the holy angels and seeing if they are really ruling now. In Daniel 10, verse 20, “Then said he, Knowest thou why I come unto thee? And now will I return to fight with the prince of Persia: and when I am gone forth, lo, the prince of Greece shall come.” Do you know that the rule of this earth is now in the hands of fallen angels and holy angels, and that’s the conflict? You see?
I think also there’s another verse that comes to my mind. I think it’s the 12th chapter, verse 1. “And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince who standeth for the children of thy people.” You see there, Michael is defined as a ruler over the people of the earth, at least the redeemed ones. So right now the earth technically is subject to angels. The earth to go is the earth to come won’t be. Do you see the distinction?
Now the only reason – here it is, this is worth a nickel – the only reason the earth to go is subject to angels is because men lost the sovereignty that God gave them in the beginning. Did you get that? But in the kingdom, that sovereignty will be restored to men. This is important. Because you see, the argument is so easy to come. It’s the argument that says, well if Jesus is a man, how can he be better than angels?
Ho, ho, ho, that’s no argument at all, because when God made this deal, He made it to be subject to men, not angels. Angels are only filling in the gap. And you know what Satan did? He stole it from men, didn’t he? Satan is called the Usurper. Do you know what that means? It means he moved in and took what wasn’t his.
So you see, to argue and say that Jesus can’t be better than angels because He’s a man is all wrong. Because man was originally created to rule, not to be subject. He was created as the king of the earth. And in God’s final destiny for man, He was to be the sovereign that God designed Him to be in the full sense.
Now we’re going to get into this a little bit more. You know from Ephesians, chapter 6, don’t you, that this world is ruled by demons too? That they are sovereigns in the world. They’re called principalities powers and rules of the darkness of this world. Spiritual wickedness in what? In high offices. And this the ranks of demons. They are the ones that are ruling the world.
So the inhabited earth now is under the sovereignty of angels, holy and unholy, battling about it. The earth to come will be under the control of men. Now that’s revealed in the next verse. And the next verse, really the next verses are direct quotes from Psalm 8. This is so beautiful, because he makes all of his points by using the Old Testament.
And these verses reveal God’s planned destiny for man. They refer to man. Not to messiah. This is not primarily a messianic passage. It’s a passage talking about men. Verse 6, listen to it – and here’s a beautiful thing that the writer does. I just love this. “But one in a certain place testified” - and he means David in Psalm 8. You say, “Well, what’s the matter? Doesn’t he have a very good memory?” “One in a certain place” - I mean that’s not too hot for David.
Why did you do that? That’s beautiful. The reason he does that is because it’s not that he’s ignorant. It’s just that all throughout the Book of Hebrews he does a masterful thing. All throughout the Book of Hebrews he never really names any Old Testament author. He just eliminates the human instrument and makes it all the voice of God. Do you see? He is so concerned that his Hebrew readers understand who really wrote the Old Testament, he never ascribes it to anybody but God. And he just kind of passes over David very lightly, “One in a certain place testified.”
It’s the voice of the Holy Spirit that concerns him, and the human author is purely incidental. And so he quotes Psalm 8 and he says, “One in a certain place testified” – saying, “What is man, that thou art mindful of him?” This is David talking to God – “or the son of man, that thou visitest him?” See.
I mean the point is simply this, God, what is man that you would be so good to him, that you would give him so much bounty and so much blessing?
Then it says in verse 7, “But thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him.” Did you hear that? Stop right there. Did you hear that? Did you know that God’s original design destiny for man was that man is to be the king of the earth? Did you know that? And that everything in existence was to be in subjection to man?
And that’s what David was saying, “God you’ve done this, but what is man that you would do this?” I mean when you look at the whole universe and you see this little insignificant kind of dot in the middle of infinity, you say, “What is man?”
I mean we talked a few weeks ago about the vastness of space, and here we are one little tiny spec in a universe. And on top of that little spec are a whole lot of other little specs. I mean what right do we have to be so much in the mind of God? What is man that thou aren’t mindful of him? And yet the psalmist says, “But you made him just a little lower than the angels” – and I’ll explain what that means – “You crowned him with glory and honor and you set him over the works of your hands. You put all things in subjection under his feet.” Man is king. God made him that way. That’s man’s destiny revealed by God.
God made a race of kings. And you see, this is just taken David undoubtedly taking his thoughts, and so is the writer of Hebrews, secondarily, from Genesis, chapter 1. In Genesis, chapter 1, we read this in verse 26, “And God said, Let us” – let us, who is he talking to? There’s a trinity, remember? - “Let us make man in our image,” – and that’s a spiritual image since God is a spirit – “after our likeness: and let them have” – watch this word – “dominion” – did you get that? Man was made a king. Dominion over what? – “over the fish of the sea, fowl of the air, the cattle over all the earth, over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.”
Verse 28, and God blessed them and “God said unto them, be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it:” – here it comes again – “and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moves upon the earth. And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for food. And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for food: and it was so. And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.”
That’s the creation of man. And God created man to be king of the earth. That’s very important. Now I want to look at these verses and take them apart for a moment.
Going back to verse 6, what is man? What is frail man that God should crown him with dominion? Now let me give you a little picture of what God’s design was. This is basically the design of God in terms of phase one of the chain of command. God originally intended that man in innocence was king over the undefiled earth.
It also tells us here that he was created a little lower than the angels. So the chain of command is God, angels, man, and earth.
You’ll notice in verse 6, and we’ll come back to this, and we’ll just leave it there so you can focus on it for a few minutes, he also says, “The son of man.” Now the term son of man, some have interpreted it to be a reference to Christ. I think not. I think what he’s saying here is he’s talking about men. Son of man is simply a Hebrew term referring to mankind.
For example, Ezekiel is called very frequently the son of man, simply referring to the fact that he was born of man; mankind.
So what David is saying is what’s the big deal about men that you’ve made him king of the earth? What’s the deal? Why is it, for example, in verse 6 that you have visited him, and the word visited in the Greek means that you have look toward him with a view to benefit him; that you have desired for his good; that you have looked upon him in order to care for him or to help him. Why is it that you had such a desire for men? Of what importance is frail humanity?
And the answer is, it must be of great importance to God to be made king.
Now notice in verse 7, “Thou madest him a little lower than the angels.” Now God, first, when He created man made them in a sense lower than angels. It was not that they were lower than angels spiritually. It was not that they were lower than angels in the sense of love; God loved man with only the infinite capacity that He has with which He loves angels and men equally. It was not that man was lower than angels in the sense of importance to God. It was only that man was lower than angels in the sense that he was physical and angels were spiritual.
Now what do you mean by that? Just this, they are heavenly, and he is earthly. And that implies a difference. But I want you to hang onto a thought. Oh, this is good. “Thou madest him” – and notice a little lower there? You see it there? That word in the Greek has a time designation. It should be translated like this, thou madest him for a little time lower than the angels.
You see, God in the very beginning knew that the ultimate destiny of man would not be something lower than angels. This is a temporary chain of command. God has a destiny for man that rates him as a king at least on an equal basis with angels. And it was for a little time at the beginning that God made him lower than angels.
God, you see, was looking past into the future that redeemed man, that would come in Christ and would rise in redemption to God’s presence and be anything less than anything other than less than angels.
Now you say, in what was man made a little lower than the angels? Well, for example, man was confined by a physical body, and angels are able to move freely as spirits. And as I said, man was confined strictly to the earth. He could not ascend into the supernatural. Angels were not confined to the supernatural. They could move down to the earth any time they wanted; so they had options that man didn’t have.
Not only that, man’s only communion with God or in God’s presence was when God came to his world. Angels had access to the throne of God whenever they desired. Angels are supernatural, man, though sinless, was still natural. Angels, spirit beings; man was made out of the dust of the earth.
Angels were, after Satan’s rebellion, secured in holiness forever. Man was not. He was only innocent, but he had the choice to sin. And so angels were perfect and man was only innocent; in that sense, he was lower.
Angels have supernatural power and strength even sinless men didn’t have. But the key is this, with angels there was no possibility to die. With men, there was. For God said, “In the day that you eat of the fruit of the tree, of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall surely” – what – “die.”
So man in that sense, only in his physical sense, and in the sense that he could die, was lower than angels. Not in the love of God, not in the ultimate end of God’s design, but only for this little time man was made lower than the angels. Now stay with me on this. This is only temporary, for God has designed a destiny for man that will make his existence lower than angels only a temporary thing. And God, here, is looking past to the full plan of redemption when redeemed men are gathered to Him, and redeemed men gathered to Him will no longer be lower than angels.
Now back in Daniel, and I want you to stay with me now. I know this is a heavy deal, but we’re going to get somewhere, and if you don’t get there with us, you’re not going to know we got there. Love this. Listen to Daniel 7, verse 18. “But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom forever, even for ever and ever.” You get the idea he wants us to get that it’s a forever kingdom. Who will take the kingdom? The saints of the most High. Who is going to rule in the kingdom, not angels, men; redeemed men. And thus, does he say in the Book of Hebrews that he was made for a little time lower than the angels.
Now in the same chapter, chapter 7 of Daniel, verse 27, says, “And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.” Isn’t it fantastic that God has promised the ultimate kingdom to men, redeemed men? No wonder David said, “What is man that you should be so good to him?” The kingdom is for men, redeemed saints.
Let me show you a verse that’s really a tremendous verse that gives us a great indication of this truth, and that’s Luke – you don’t have to turn to it; just write it down – Luke 20:36. Listen to this. Well let’s back up. This is good. And this is the time that the Pharisees, the Sadducees came to Jesus and they kept asking him about this guy he married, this person was married, and the brother died, and so the wife went and married the next brother and he died, and married the next brother and he died, the next brother and he died. I’d say by the time the fourth or fifth brother came around, the guy that would marry her would be nuts, you know. But anyway, they kept dying off, and dying off, and dying off, and they said to him, “Whose wife is she going to be in heaven?”
And Jesus said in verse 34, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage,” but they who shall be accounted worthy to obtain that age, and the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage – she’s not going to be in marriage in heaven. Listen to this, “Neither can they die any more” - when, when? Well go back to verse 35; after the resurrection. Those are counted worthy to obtain that age. What age? The kingdom. Those who go into the kingdom, those who go into eternal life, ultimately resurrected individuals, will neither marry nor be given in marriage – Verse 36, “Neither can they die anymore” – watch this – “for they are equal unto the angels.”
You want to know something? I’ll give you a little preview of the kingdom. Ready for this? In the kingdom age, it’s going to be a whole different setup. The setup in the kingdom age is completely different. Man and angels are equal, and man is again crowned in Christ. The earth is redeemed. That’s the promise for the future. And we’ll get back to that - that was only a preview – in a minute.
So we shall be equal to the angels. For example, Ephesians 1:20-21 says, “Christ will reign.” Revelation 3:21 says, “We will sit with him on his thrown and rule.” In Ephesians 1:20 when it says, “He will reign in the kingdom,” it says, “He will reign over principalities and powers.” Who are they? Angels. If Christ reigns over angels in the kingdom and we sit on His thrown with Him, who reigns in the kingdom? We do, over angels.
And in God’s ultimate design, we will reign over angels in the kingdom. Throughout all eternity we will be at least equal to angels.
So then it is only for a little time, and I took all that so that you’ll understand what he means when he says, “Thou madest him for a little time lower than the angels.” And notice it says in verse 7, “That thou crownest him with glory and honor.” When God mad Adam pure and innocent, He gave him honor. He gave him glory. The crown here is the Stephanous crown, which is the crown of rank. He exalted man. He was created and he was crowned king of the earth.
Verse 8 says he put all things under his feet. I’ve told you many times that that’s a very obvious statement, because kings in those days were always elevated above the people, and the people they ruled were always below them, and it was stated as such that the people were under their feet. The king was way up here, and you were always under their feet.
Then when anybody would come in just to bow before the king, the king would be highly elevated and the person would bow down before the feet of the king, sometimes even kissed his feet. So his subjects were spoken of as being under his feet.
So man has been given the right to rule, and all of the things that God has made have been put under the feet of man. All things. Look at it in verse 7, “that has set him over the works of thy hands.” Verse 8, “Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet.” And there’s nothing that isn’t subject to man in the original creation.
Now do you see God’s revealed destiny for man? Do you see it, what it was in the beginning? There it is. That man, lower than angels for a little while, in innocence was king over the undefiled earth. And you know, don’t you, that the earth served man, right? That the earth fed him, provided everything he needed. But then something drastic happened.
And that’s point 2. Man’s destiny was restricted by sin. Verse 8, the last part of the verse. A tragedy happened. Adam sinned. Look for a moment at verse 14 of Genesis 3 before we look at Hebrews. Genesis 3:14, “And the Lord God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:” - you want to know why snakes crawl? That’s why - “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” Prophecy concerning Christ’s conflict with Satan.
“Unto the woman” – here’s one of the results of Adam’s sin. “Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”
And in verse 22, the Lord God said, “And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever: Therefore, the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from where he was taken. So he drove out the man.”
Now what happened when Adam sinned? Immediately he lost his crown. Immediately. You see, man had been designed by God to have dominion over the earth. And the earth was subjected to man, and the earth supplied all of man’s needs without man doing anything. All man had to do was just to accept the earth as it provided his needs. And then man sinned. And Satan usurped the crown, and there you see the change in the chain of command. Man fell clear to the bottom.
And the earth rules man. Did you know that? Boy, if you’ve been reading anything about anything ecological, you must know that. We don’t rule this world; it rules us. Man fights constantly against the earth for his existence.
And you remember what happened to Adam immediately after he had sinned? First there was murder among his own family. Then there was polygamy. In the next few chapters, there was death. And by the time you come to chapter 6 of Genesis, God destroys the whole world because it’s gotten so debouched, and it’s only taken about two chapters.
Indeed, man lost his crown. There is no question about it. And as I told you earlier, the earth now is ruled in the conflict between the holy and the unholy angels, and the king over the unholy angels who is called the prince of the earth, Michael, being called the prince of the people of God, but the prince of the earth, or the system of the world is Satan. He rules the cursed earth, which, in turn, rules man in sin.
You see what happened when man lost his crown was that he was no longer a master of himself. He was totally sinful, and became a slave to sin. He wasn’t a king. He was a slave. Not only that, the animal kingdom was then subservient only in the sense of fear, not affection and service. And much of the animal kingdom was unable to be tamed.
Not only that, but the ground, instead of yielding good things and things easy to take and easy to eat, produced thorns, weeds, and other harmful things. Not only that, extremes of heat and cold, poisonous plants, and reptiles, earthquakes, typhoons, floods, hurricanes, disease, an army of billions of bacteria were released upon man at the fall. War, everything broke loose to make man no king, but a slave fighting all his lifetime to exist. And man has been fighting a losing battle ever since. He’s been dying, and dying, and dying, and dying, and now he’s found that his earth is dying with him.
And who is the king now? The king is none other than the usurper who stole the crown, Satan himself. And the Bible tells us in 1 John 5 that the whole world lieth in the arms of” – what? – “the wicked one.” Man’s destiny then is in restriction. It’s been restricted by sin, and the earth is ruled by Satan and his evil angels, as well as the holy angels who minister in some ways for God, and the earth is cursed.
And you know something, even the earth knows it. A very mysterious, and yet a very important chapter, or passage, is in Romans 8, because it shows us the pain that the earth goes through groaning for its redemption. Romans 8:18, “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.” That’s so good.
Do you know that the whole earth groans waiting for the day that we are manifested in God’s glorious kingdom, because once the kingdom starts, not only do we get manifest, but the earth gets liberated from the curse?
Verse 20, “For the creation was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope.” That’s God. God literally subjected the earth to this vain curse in order that man might have trouble all his days and know that God was aware of his sin, that he had to pay for his sin by fighting against his own earth, which was designed to be his subject.
Verse 21, “Because the creation itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.” Fantastic verses. The earth aware of its curse that came with Adam’s fall is groaning for the day that the sons of God are manifest in the kingdom, for the earth knows that it shall also be liberated from the bondage of corruption.
I mean you just look about – when you think about the kingdom that’s coming when Jesus comes back to reign on the earth, just no weeds in the kingdom. My whole backyard, you know. And I let it go, because it’s theological. Not really. There’s no smog in the kingdom. You say, “You’re kidding.” That’s what the Bible says. The bondage of corruption is released in the kingdom.
Well man and his kingdom waits for that, and in the meantime, man is subject to the earth. What does he do? Man sows and he knows not who will reap. Man heaps up and he knows not who will gather. Man builds his cities and palaces, and the lightning, and the earthquake, and the flood destroys his city, and shatters his palace. Man lives in jeopardy every hour, just at the height of great thought his brain snaps and he’s an imbecile.
Just at the brink of triumph he falls and is a jibbering paralytic. He fights himself and he fights his earth. My friends, we are in a groaning creation. The distress of nations, the impossibility of agreement between statesman and a world that languishes in political and social conflict. The whine of pain that comes from dumb animals, the struggle of trees to combat disease and insects, the presence of great hospitals to house the sick and the dying victims of the cursed earth. No wonder the creation groans.
But God never designed it that way. For a little while only, but some day in the world to come when the kingdom comes, hospitals will be closed, doctors will be out of business, the ravenous nature of wild animals will be changed, the green herb and the tree no longer stricken, the game of politics will be over. Man will reign. Redeemed man.
Wars will cease, for the Bible says, “Men will beat their swords into plows and their spears into pruning hooks, and each man will sit under his own vine and invite his neighbors to share in his abundance.”
There is coming a day when in the wonderful plan of God, the dominion that man lost, man will receive again. And he will be as Jesus said in Luke 20, equal to angels in a permanent sense. In the kingdom he will even reign over them.
And that brings us to the third point, just quickly to mention it in verse 9, man’s destiny recovered by Christ. Man’s destiny revealed by God, restricted by sin, and here recovered by Christ. The ultimate curse of man’s lost destiny is death, all right. God said to Adam, “In the day that you eat thereof, you shall” – what – “you shall surely die.” That’s the ultimate curse. Notice verse 9. But we see Jesus, who has made for a little time lower than the angels. In other words, He became a man. Why? For the suffering of death. And He also is crowned with glory and honor. Jesus, that He, by the grace of God, should taste death – what – for every man.
Listen to this one now. Hang onto this thought. Here’s the restored kingdom, and here we are elevated to the crown again over a redeemed earth. You say, how it’s it going to happen? How’s it going to happen? I mean if we’re all sinners, how are we ever going to get lofty again? All right, the only payment for sin is what? Bible says the wages of sin is what? Death.
The only payment for sin is death. So men must die to remove the curse. Do you understand that? The only way man can ever be a king again is to have the curse removed. The only way you can remove the curse is to pay the penalty, right? So if man is to be restored or reign as a king, he must die, and he must be resurrected a new man with sovereign possibilities. But how? How?
I can’t say to myself, all right, I’ll go die. I can go die, but it’s not going to work, because I can’t do it on my own. How is it going to happen? I’ll show you how it’s going to happen from a passage of scripture that you need to be familiar with. Quickly, Romans, chapter 6. Fantastic passage. Romans 6:10. Talking about Christ. Just listen to these words if you’re not there. Just grab these fantastic words. “For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.” Who’s he? Who’s he? Who is this? Jesus Christ.
Christ died, and then you go back, and this great. Verse 3 of the same chapter. “Know ye not, that as many of us as were baptized,” – that’s spiritually – “into Christ Jesus were baptized into his” – what – “death?” You want to know something, I died. Did you know that? I died years ago. You say, “You look pretty healthy.” Well I am. I died a long time ago. You say, “When did you die?” Well I died just like Paul died in Galatians 2:20. I am crucified with Christ.
The moment that I put my faith in Jesus Christ, at that moment I was identified with Christ. I died on the cross. I resurrected, and I walk in newness of life. You know what? In the case of John McArthur. The curse is removed. You are looking at a king. Now I have not inherited my dominion yet, but I am patient. The crown has been restored. And for every one of you that knows and loves Jesus Christ, the moment you receive Him, you were identified with Him, you were crucified with Christ. Right? You were buried with Him, and you rise to walk in newness of life. What is newness of life? It’s life with the curse removed. You’re a king. You haven’t gotten your kingdom yet, but be patient.
The saints of the most High, to them belongs a kingdom, and God will get around to giving it to you. It’s a fantastic realization. Don’t you see that a man has died? I’ve died. Now my old body’s going to fall off some day, but I’m going to die. Just my body is just going to kind of roll over some day and I’m just going to be liberated to go into the presence of Jesus, or maybe I’ll just be around until he comes and gets me, and we’ll just kind of go together into the kingdom.
But you see, the whole point is that now go back to Hebrews 2:9 and you’ll see the meaning here. We see Jesus, a man, He had to be a man, right, to gain man’s dominion, who was also for a little time made lower than the angels for the suffering of death. Why? Because He had to taste death for every man. If a man was to die for his own sin, he would doom himself to hell and the crown could never be restored. And so Jesus came and died. And the reason He could die for us is because He could not only die, but He could conquer death. Right?
And so it I is you and I identify ourselves with Jesus Christ in His death as we receive Him as savior, that the curse is removed, and that we are kings, and we are again restored to dominion.
And then you go back to chapter 1, verse 14, and it says this, “Are they not all ministering spirits” - that is angels – “sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?” Do you know something? I’m no longer in subjection angels. Do you know that? Did you hear that?
As king, angels minister to me. If you’re a Christian, they minister to you. You’re at least equal at this point, and in the kingdom you’re even going to be sovereign as you sit on Christ’s thrown and reign with him. Fantastic.
And there’s another thought, there’s so many thoughts jumping into my head at this time as I think about this. Kind of exciting to realize your identity as a king, isn’t it? Listen to this, Revelation 5, verse 9, “And they sang a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the scroll, and open its seals: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and hast made us unto our God kings and priests or a kingdom of priests and we shall reign on the earth.”
Did you hear that? Now my friends, if we’re going to reign on the earth as kings, there’s got to be a kingdom. There’s going to be a kingdom, and it’s described over there in the 20th chapter of Revelation, verse 1, “And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, who is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years” – that’s how long the kingdom lasts. “And cast him into the bottomless pit, shut him up,” – you got to depose the old king, right – “that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.”
Verse 4, “And I saw thrones,” – ho ho, here they come. You ready for this? – “and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.”
I’ll tell you who’s going to be on those throne. We, who are the kings. And the one who made it all possible is the king of kings. What does it mean the king of kings? It means that we’re the kings, and He’s the king of us. The substitutionary death of Jesus Christ, He died for us. And look at the earth. You see it’s a redeemed earth. The curse is going to be removed. Oh, what a fantastic earth it’s going to be with no curse.
In Isaiah, chapter 2, listen to this. “And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow into it.” -That’s in the kingdom, see. – “And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among the nations, and rebuke many peoples: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.”
Men are going to be changed in the kingdom. Not only are men going to be changed, but if you go to the 11th chapter, animals are going to be changed. Eleventh chapter of Isaiah says in verse 6, “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb,” – can you imagine that – “the leopard shall lie down with the kid” – that’s a little goat for you that are nonresidents of the farm – “the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child leading them all.” Isn’t that beautiful. A whole menagerie of animals; a little kid leading them around.
“And the nursing child shall play in the whole of the snake, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den.” - It’s going to be a different world. – “They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” See, the animals are going to be different in the kingdom.
And not only that, the plants are going to be different. That’s in chapter 35. And he says, “The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom like a rose.” – Can you imagine that? “It shall blossom abundantly.” And so we see there’s going to be a different world. And man is going to be restored to the place of a king.
Did you notice in verse 9 that it’s all by the grace of God? Did you notice that? That’s the key, friends. God’s grace. God’s love for you. And I say this in conclusion, and I’ve already taken too long, but this is so important. I hope you’ve got a sweep of history now that you never had before.
Christ tasted death for you and for me, and He did it to recover your lost destiny. And if you’ve been groping around trying to figure out why you exist, I hope you know it now. And there’s no reason for you to be a slave, and there’s no reason for you to be a pauper. There’s only reason for you to be a king.
Men come along today and they say, what is man? And the idolater and the animist says, “Well man is inferior to birds and animals, creeping things, stones, and sticks.” And the animist bows down, like Romans 1, and he worships a snake. And the materialist says, “No man is a chance product.” And the pseudoscientist say, “Man is a glorified gorilla.” And most people believe it all. And God says, “Man is the king of the earth, only for a little time, even made lower than angels. Some day to be equal with them to sit on the thrown of Jesus Christ and reign with Him in His kingdom.” I trust that you will be there reigning with Christ.
Father, thank you tonight for showing us these truths. Thank you for helping us to understand. As we close our time together, guide us to really think about what we’ve learned, to make some real application in our hearts. Pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
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