Hebrews 2:14 MEANING

Hebrews 2:14
(14) Forasmuch then . . .--The two members of this verse directly recall the thoughts of Hebrews 2:10; Hebrews 2:9. (1) It was the will of God that salvation should be won by the Son for sons; (2) this salvation could only be won by means of death.

The children.--Said with reference to Hebrews 2:13.

Flesh and blood.--Literally, blood and flesh, the familiar order of the words being departed from here and in Ephesians 6:12. This designation of human nature on its material side is found four times in the New Testament, and is extremely common in Jewish writers.

The emphasis of the following statement is note. worthy: "He Himself also in like manner took part of the same things." His assumption of our nature had for its object suffering and death.

Destroy him.--Rather, bring him to nought; annul his power. The comment on these words will be found in Hebrews 9:15; Hebrews 9:26; for it was as the lord of sin, which was the cause (Romans 5:12) and the sting (1 Corinthians 15:56) of death, that the devil held dominion over death (or, as the words might mean, wielded the power possessed by death). (Comp. 2 Timothy 1:10; 1 John 3:8; also Revelation 1:18.) Combined with this is the thought which runs through this chapter--the assimilation of the Redeemer to the redeemed in the conditions of His earthly life. By meeting death Himself, He vanquishes and destroys death for them.

Verses 14, 15. - Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of (literally, have been, made partakers of; i.e. so made as to share alike), blood and flesh (this is the order of the words, as in Ephesians 6:12, according to the great preponderance of authority; Delitzsch sees in it a reference to "the blood-shedding for the sake of which the Savior entered into the fellowship of bodily life with us"), he also himself likewise (rather, iv, like manner; i.e. with "the children") took part in the same; that through death he might destroy (καταργήσῃ, equivalent to "bring to nought," "render impotent as though not existing;" the word is frequent with St. Paul) him that had (or, has) the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver (i.e. from bondage) all those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. Here the purpose of the Incarnation is set forth as requiring the complete association of the SON with human brethren to which prophecy had pointed. But more is now declared than the prophecies so far quoted have implied; and thus is introduced (by way of anticipation, as is usual in the Epistle) the doctrine of atonement, which is to be dwelt on afterwards. For the object of Christ's becoming one of us is now further said to be that by dying he might effect redemption. The "children" in ver. 14 are the παιδία of the type in Isaiah, fulfilled in the "many sons" to be "sanctified" and brought to glory. (We may observe, by the way, the difference between the words used of their participation in human nature and of Christ's - κεκοίνωκε and μετέσχε: the aorist in the latter case expresses his sharing what was not his before, and so distinctly implies his pre-existence.) For understanding' the account here given of the purpose of the Incarnation, we must remember that death, originally announced (Genesis 2:17) as the penalty of transgression, is regarded in the New Testament (notably by St. Paul) as the sign of the continual dominion of sin over the human race. Thus in Romans 5:12, 15 the mere fact that all men "from Adam to Moses" had died is adduced as sufficient proof that all were under condemnation as sinners. Whatever further idea is implied in the word "death " - such as alienation from God in whom is life eternal, or any "blackness of darkness" thereupon ensuing in the world beyond the grave - of man's subjection or liability to all this his natural death is regarded as the sign. It is to be remembered, too, that "the devil," through whom it was that sin first entered, and death through sin, is revealed to us generally as the representative of evil (ὁ πονηρός), and, as such, the primeval manslayer (ἀνθρωποκτόνος ἀπ ἀρχῆς), with power given him over death, the penalty of sin, as long as man remains in his dominion, unredeemed. Till redemption cast a new light upon the gloom of death, man was all his life long in fear of it; its shadow was upon him from his birth; it loomed ever before him as a passing into darkness, unrelieved by hope. We know well how the hopeless dismalness of death was a commonplace with the classical poets, and how, even now, the natural man shrinks from it as the last great evil. But Christ, human, yet sinless, died for all mankind, and, so dying, wrested from the devil his power over death, and emancipated believers from their state of "bondage" (as to which, see below). On particular expressions in this passage we may remark:

(1) That, "having the power of death," which has been variously interpreted, may be taken in the usual sense of ἔχειν κράτος τινος, viz. "having power, or dominion, over." Satan has had the dominion over death allowed him because of human sin. And it may be observed that elsewhere, not only death, but other woes that flesh is heir to - its precursors and harbingers - are attributed to Satanic agency (cf. John 1:12; John 2:6; Luke 13:16; 1 Corinthians 5:5).

(2) Christ is not here said to have as yet abolished death itself; only to have rendered impotent him that had the power of it; for natural death still "reigns," though to believers it has no "sting." In the end (according to 1 Corinthians 15:26; Revelation 20:14; Revelation 21:4) death itself will be destroyed. In one passage, indeed, it is spoken of by St. Paul as already abolished (καταργήσαντος μὲν τὸν θάνατον, 2 Timothy 1:10); but this is in the way of anticipation: death is already vanquished and disarmed to believers.

(3) The bondage (δουλεία) spoken of is the condition of unredeemed man, often so designated by St. Paul. See Romans 7. and 8, where man's bondage (felt when conscience is awake) to "the law of sin in the members," and his emancipation from it through faith, are described; and especially Romans 8:15, 16, 17 ("For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear," etc.), as elucidating

(4)The word ἔνοχος, followed this passage by the genitive (δουλείας), expresses here more than "liability to;" it implies present implication, equivalent to "in hold to." The A.V., "subject to," expresses the idea adequately.

2:14-18 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 him. And this atonement made way for his people's deliverance from Satan's bondage, and for the pardon of their sins through faith. Let those who dread death, and strive to get the better of their terrors, no longer attempt to outbrave or to stifle them, no longer grow careless or wicked through despair. Let them not expect help from the world, or human devices; but let them seek pardon, peace, grace, and a lively hope of heaven, by faith in Him who died and rose again, that thus they may rise above the fear of death. The remembrance of his own sorrows and temptations, makes Christ mindful of the trials of his people, and ready to help them. He is ready and willing to succour those who are tempted, and seek him. He became man, and was tempted, that he might be every way qualified to succour his people, seeing that he had passed through the same temptations himself, but continued perfectly free from sin. Then let not the afflicted and tempted despond, or give place to Satan, as if temptations made it wrong for them to come to the Lord in prayer. Not soul ever perished under temptation, that cried unto the Lord from real alarm at its danger, with faith and expectation of relief. This is our duty upon our first being surprised by temptations, and would stop their progress, which is our wisdom.Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood,.... By the children are meant, not the children of this world, or the men of it; nor the children of the flesh, or Abraham's natural seed; nor visible professors of religion; nor the apostles of Christ only; but all the children of God, the children given to Christ; all the sons that are brought to glory: these "are partakers of flesh and blood"; of human nature, which is common to them all, and which is subject to infirmity and mortality; and the sense is, that they are frail mortal men: and this being their state and case,

he also himself took part of the same; Christ became man also, or assumed an human nature like theirs; this shows that he existed before his incarnation, who of himself, and by his own voluntary act, assumed an individual of human nature into union with his divine person, which is expressive of wondrous grace and condescension: Christ's participation of human nature, and the children's, in some things agree, in others they differ; they agree in this, that it is real flesh and blood they both partake of; that Christ's body is not spiritual and heavenly, but natural as theirs is; and that it is a complete, perfect, human nature, and subject to mortality and infirmity like theirs: but then Christ took his nature of a virgin, and is without sin; nor has it any distinct personality, but from the moment of its being subsisted in his divine person: and now the true reason of Christ's assuming such a nature was on account of the children, which discovers great love to them, and shows that it was with a peculiar view to them that he became man; hence they only share the special advantages of his incarnation, sufferings, and death: and his end in doing this was,

that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; the devil is said to have the power of death, not because he can kill and destroy men at pleasure, but because he was the first introducer of sin, which brought death into the world, and so he was a murderer from the beginning; and he still tempts men to sin, and then accuses them of it, and terrifies and affrights them with death; and by divine permission has inflicted it, and will be the executioner of the second death. The apostle here speaks in the language of the Jews, who often call Samael, or Satan, , "the angel of death", in their Targums (k), Talmud (l), and other writings (m); and say, he was the cause of death to all the world; and ascribe much the same things to him, for which the apostle here so styles him: and they moreover say (n), that he will cease in the time to come; that is, in the days of the Messiah: and who being come, has destroyed him, not as to his being, but as to his power; he has bruised his head, destroyed his works, disarmed his principalities and powers, and took the captives out of his hands, and saved those he would have devoured: and this he has done by death; "by his own death", as the Syriac and Arabic versions read; whereby he has abolished death itself, and sin the cause of it, and so Satan, whose empire is supported by it.

(k) Targum Jon. in Genesis 3.6. & in Habakkuk 3.5. (l) T. Bab. Succa, fol. 53. 1. & Avoda Zara, fol. 5. 1. & 20. 2.((m) Zohar in Gen. fol. 27. 1, 2. Tzeror Hammor, fol. 6. 2. & 22. 4. Caphtor, fol 26. 2. & alibi. (n) Baal Hatturim in Numb. iv. 19.

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