After listening to a few lectures and reading a few articles written by Dr. David Allen, I have become more and more convinced that the beloved Physician, Dr. Luke is a strong candidate for the authorship of the book of Hebrews. However more than that, without question one of the most effective and blessed additions to my understanding is the realization that the book of Hebrews is more likely a sermon to be preached rather than only a book to be read.
I have no problem imagining an ancient sage meandering to a pulpit, unrolling his scroll, clearing his throat, gathering his audiences attention, and then launching into his lecture, . . . “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in times past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son . . .” (Of course my imagination is in old English, only because I can’t imagine very well in Greek.) I may be slow to the table, but learning to read the book of Hebrews like a “lecture” rather than a “letter” has helped to open my interest in a book that I used to avoid like broccoli.
In doing so, the preacher/writer/speaker of the book of Hebrews opens our eyes to a fuller understanding that the ocean of salvation theology, and kingdom authority is much deeper and wider than this puny mind of mine can dream of navigating.
Opening the gate of chapter 2 verses 5 onward, the preacher/speaker/writer unlocks and unpacks Psalm 8:5-8 in such a way that we cannot help but be drawn in.
In Hebrews 2:5 the author declares to us that the “unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come.” In other words, in the New creation, and the new order, the angels will not have positions of authority. The world to come will not be under the rule of angelic beings. That’s wonderful to know.
But the reality is that the world to go was not put in subjection to the angels. The world to go was not made to be ruled by them. The world to go was put under the subjection of man. Hebrews 2:7b and 8 – speaking of man, “Thou crownedst him with glory and honor, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: thou hast put all things under his feet, for in that he put all in subjection, he left nothing that is not put under him.” When God made creation, he put man on top and gave him authority over it.
Now someone might say, “wait a minute, you left out part of the verse.” Verse 7 begins, “Thou madest him a little lower than the angels.” Yes it does. But that verse has nothing to do with rank of authority, but everything to do with strength and ability. I am not a scholar, as one man said, “I study the scholars”. However the simplest understanding of a verse is not always the fullest understanding of the verse. When we pull back the King’s English on the phrase “little lower” we unpack the richness of this verse. The word, “little” doesn’t necessarily describe “lower”. It is a word in the Greek language that has a timing designation to it. In other words rather than just meaning “little” it means “a little while”. Further more the word for “Lower” in it’s plainest meaning purely means “diminished”. Without belaboring the point, the phrase can be read, “That madest him for a little while diminished from the angels.”
Diminished in what way? In the way of “ability” not in the way of “authority.” When God made man and angels he made them different. Angels cannot die. (Luke 20:36) Man can. Angels have supernatural abilities that man does not. Angels were intended to be “ministering spirits sent forth to minister for them who shall be the heirs of salvation.” What God gave to angels He did not give to man, and what God gave to man He did not give to angels. Without intending to over simplify, where God gave angels “ability” He gave man “authority.”
In short, Angels had greater ability, but man had greater authority; authority over all of creation. That being the case, Isaiah 14:12-14 begins to take greater shape. Lucifer was not content having “ability” without “authority”. He would find out whether or not Adam could be content having “authority” without “ability” and we all know how that one turned out. Once Adam was willing to give up the authority God gave him, for the ability that the devil offered him, (being as gods), this world became enslaved to the “prince of the power of the air” and the “god of this world.”
Since then, all of creation has been a cosmos in chaos struggling for order, and clarity. The prince of this world has blinded the minds of them which believe not. It has become the proverbial blind man in a dark room looking for a black cat at midnight trying to govern and control itself.
The battle for authority can be seen in every hostile home, work place, church, organization, and social structure imaginable. When man lost his crown he lost his kingdom, and when he lost his kingdom, he lost is authority to rightly control creation.
But praise be to God. Jesus said in Matthew 28:18, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” God gave Adam authority over the works of His hands, but not the fullness of His realm. The word that Matthew used for power has the fullest of meanings combining both “ability” and “authority.” When God gave Adam authority over the work of His Hands, He gave Jesus authority over the fullness of His realm. The power that Jesus had not only had ability, but also authority over both heaven and earth.
To sum this up, God gave Angels abilities, and man authorities, and they both sinned giving up their first estates. But what God divided between men and angels He united in the man Christ Jesus, giving Him both ability and authority over all of heaven and over all of earth. That’s why in Christ Jesus, “he hath . . . put in subjection the world to come.” That’s why the last part of verse 8 in chapter 2 states, “But now we see not yet all things put under him. But we see Jesus who was for a little while diminished from the angels for the suffering of death . . .” I praise God that He chose to take on the Seed of Abraham instead of the nature of Angels. I praise God that He reclaimed the realm given to the man made in the image of his Creator.
Man is either living in a doomed domain, or conquering kingdom. The kingdom of God is found in every heart that lives under the rule of their Redeemer. (Luke 17:21) The real issue in life rests in question of the authority that a man is under. Christ is over all, but not all are under Christ. Only once a man’s heart has been reigned in by the rule of the Lord Jesus can he ever really experience the change worth making. Once Christ rules the heart, rebellion begins to subside and other issues of authority will ultimately begin to take care of themselves.