Friday, November 2, 2012

Hebrews 2

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Warning Against Neglecting Salvation (v. 1-4)

We must pay close attention to the message of salvation by resurrection or we will fall away from it. This is very dangerous, because we have heard from angels in the past that every transgression will receive a "just retribution", and these messages proved to be true. Clearly avoiding this great salvation would be a transgression. Also, via signs, wonders and miracles, the holy spirit has distributed gifts according to his will.

This was a lot of stuff in just 4 verses. I'm not really sure what to make of the idea that if we don't pay enough attention to this message we will fall away from it. That seems to be true of everything right? Stop paying attention to something and it will become less important to you and fall away. I wonder if there is something more here than what I see.

The idea that the messages from the angels have proved to be reliable is laughable. I wish I knew exactly what they are talking about, what what they consider to be proof. Could they be claiming that in the scripture God claims something will happen, and then later in that very scripture it does happen? I'm not impressed.

I have less time today than normal to dig through commentaries, but it seems that yes, the proof is word of mouth and scripture.

The message about the salvation is pretty interesting, they simultaneously use carrot and stick. If you accept the salvation then you get paradise, but if you don't you will be punished harshly. Christians claim this is proof of God's love, but that doesn't make sense when you consider the punishment part of it. Imagine if someone pulled a gun on you and said if you follow them they'll give you a million dollars but otherwise they'd shoot you in the face, would you consider this generosity? I think we'd all call that person insane, and yet when Jesus pulls this same trick it is considered love.

The Founder of Salvation (v. 5-18)

Jesus was temporarily made less than angels, but now he has now been put in charge of everything. The tasted death for the sake of humans (or is it just for Abraham's family?) and beat the devil.

This seems to be the overall point of this section, that Jesus was put on our level for a short period of time, below the angels, but now he is at the top. There were a few specific verses I wanted to address in more detail.

v8 "Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him."

Wait, so is everything under his control or not? What is the message here? I'm assuming that everything will be under his control at some point, this doesn't sound like an omnipotent God to me.

Guzik doesn't quite answer my question, but he brings up an interesting point here. He says that everything is put under control of man, I guess that is something else that is in the bible, that man is in charge of everything? This sounds familiar to me. So Jesus had to become a man for this to still be true. Jesus is in control of everything, but Jesus is a man so everything works together. This sounds like a pretty shady loophole to me. For an analogy, suppose a billionaire said he would let a small very poor village have control over a large portion of his assets, but then he sent his son to marry one of their women, then put his son in control of it all. Would he be keeping his word? What if further, the son didn't live in the village, but instead came home and controlled them from a distance. Do we think the billionaire kept his word? Maybe technically, but certainly not the spirit of it.

Gill on the other hand, does address my observation head on. He points out that everything is under control of Jesus, but we don't see it. This is a very good point, just because we can't see it, doesn't mean it isn't so. I consider this a good answer.

v9 "...Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death..."
v10 "For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all  things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering"

Suffering if a fact of life, and sometimes it is necessary, sometimes it can even be noble. But the suffering itself should not be celebrated. The thing gained by the suffering should be the focus, here the focus is clearly on the actual suffering itself.

Also, Jesus is made perfect through suffering? Wasn't he perfect before? He was the image of God wasn't he?

Guzik says "It isn’t that there was anything lacking in His Deity, but only in His experience: how does God in heaven know suffering by experience". Interesting argument, but what about every other possible thing we can experience. Does Jesus have to experience it to understand it? Why is suffering so special here? Does God have to kill someone before he understands it and knows it is wrong? Actually, now that I think about it that might explain the old testament.

v14 "...that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil"

If I'm reading this right, God sent Jesus to die so that he could beat the devil, who had the power of death. Does this sound like the actions of an all powerful God to you? It sounds to me like the actions of a God who is part of a pantheon. If God is all powerful, shouldn't he have had the power of death? Why did the devil have it? Why did Jesus have to die to take this power from the devil?

Guzik tries to get out of this by saying the devil had rule over death because of the sins committed in the garden of Eden. His taking of Jesus was unlawful so Jesus took away his right to rule over death. He then points out that this approach is problematic because Jesus laid down his life, however, Satan clearly wanted to kill him, so he committed "attempted unlawful murder". This is pure nonsense as far as I'm concerned. Even in his own narrative, it wasn't murder, although I guess Satan committed the desire for murder, so it is a thought-crime at best.

v16 "For surely it is not the angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham"

I'm guessing people try to spin this as Jesus was here to help all humans, but then shouldn't it say the offspring of Adam? The offspring of Abraham is the Jews right? One group of people, not everyone. This seems to conflict with the idea that Jesus was here to save everyone.

As expected, Guzik interpreted "seeds of Abraham" to be "people of the faith". Is this a legitimate interpretation? I don't know, it doesn't seem right to me, but I am a bit out of my element here. But weren't these people very interested in genealogies?

For the overview post (If you think I should add or remove stuff from this list please let me know, I think it would make good conversation)


Once again, I found nothing of value in this book. I was thinking about how a Christian might respond to that, they would object I'm sure, saying that the whole book is good. God sent his own son Jesus to die for us. Jesus was willing to die for our benefit. This is a story we hear often, but the entire idea is bankrupt. Not only does it make no sense for Jesus to die on our behalf in this way, but he shouldn't need to? What did I do that needs redemption? Oh Adam ate an apple? Seriously? And if I did need redemption, how does Jesus' death help me out? This whole idea is terrible and it glorifies suffering, and the fact that so many Christians find this a positive thing is just another strike against it in my book.


2:9-10 glorification of suffering

"But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering."


  1. The "seeds of Abraham" probably does represent the Jews here. This letter being specifically written for them, I wouldn't be surprised to find custom-tailored content. But with that in mind, I don't think it's quite fair to say that the reference only to the Jews necessarily means that Jesus' Salvation-through-suffering was exclusively for the Jews.

    Yet Guzik isn't necessarily wrong in his more-broad definition either. Some of Jesus' words from the Gospel seem to suggest that family lineage isn't necessary to be a child of Abraham (Matthew 3:9, Luke 3:8). Also according to Jesus, just because you had the right lineage, didn't necessarily mean you qualified as a child of Abraham (John 8:39). This is one of the many "spiritual" twists Christianity brought to Judaism, where we are supposed to be more concerned with the essence of a title, not necessarily its literal meaning.

    1. That is actually a really good point. I hadn't really considered that custom tailored content to one group. It's like if a politician went to a small town and said he cares about them. It doesn't mean he doesn't care about people outside of the town. He's not going to also mention that he cares about people in another town across the state, but it doesn't mean it isn't so.

      I suppose it also makes sense that they could be interested in lineage, but lineage is neither necessary nor sufficient for salvation.


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