What Is Man?

January 12, 2014
Hebrews 2:5-9


  1. We continue on our theme of Christ's superiority to the angels (For it was not to angels).

"The World to Come"

  1. What is meant by the world to come?
    1. This was a common phrase to the Jews. "Last days" KJV "Days to come" ESV
    2. Can be thought of as: days of fulfilment, days of the end, days of judgment, days of the Messiah
  2. Genesis 49:1, 10 1Then Jacob called his sons and said, “Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you what shall happen to you in days to come. 10The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until tribute Shiloh comes to him; and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples. ESV
    1. The last days are the days when God's promise to Abraham and Abraham's prophecies to his sons are fulfilled.
    2. The last days are when Shiloh comes
      1. Extra The promise of him of old unto Abraham was, that “in him all the nations of the earth should be blessed.” Until his coming they were generally to be left to walk in their own ways, and in the issue everlastingly to perish. By him were they to be relieved; and so he is rightly called their “desire,” or he that, [he, by law], ought to be desirable above all things unto them. “The desire of all nations Haggai,” and he “to whom the gathering of the people should be,” that is, “the Shiloh Gen 49,” are one and the same.
  3. Numbers 24:14, 17a 14And now, behold, I am going to my people. Come, I will let you know what this people will do to your people in the latter days.” 17I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near: a star shall come out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel ESV
    1. The last days are when a star shall come from out of Jacob and a scepter from Israel.
    2. Revelation 22:16 16“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.” ESV
  4. Micah 4:1–3 1It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and it shall be lifted up above the hills; and peoples shall flow to it, 2and many nations shall come, and say: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
    1. The last days are when God's mountain is established. The days of Zion, the gathering of the nations, and to the days of the feast.
    2. Hebrews 12:22 22But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, ESV
      1. This is the great fundamental privilege of the gospel, that believers, in all their holy worship, have liberty, boldness, and confidence, to enter with it and by it into the gracious presence of God.
      2. God set bounds unto mount Sinai, that none should pass or break through into his presence in the giving of the law. He hath set none to mount Zion, but all believers have right, title, and liberty to approach unto him, even unto his throne. There is no such order now, that he who draws nigh shall be cut off; but on the contrary, that he that doth not so do shall be destroyed.
      3. My interpretation of this: the last days are characterized by being days of believers approaching the presence of God on his holy mountain.
  5. Daniel 2:28 but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and he has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days. ...
    1. Daniel 2:34–35 34As you looked, a stone was cut out by no human hand, and it struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces. 35... But the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth. ESV
    2. Daniel 2:44 44... the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever, ESV
    3. The last days are when the eternal kingdom of God is established.
    4. Daniel 7:13–14 13“I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. 14And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed. ESV
    5. When does this kingdom begin? Jesus said; Luke 11:20 20But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. ESV
  6. Joel 2:28–29 28“And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. 29Even on the male and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit. ESV
    1. The last days are when God pours out his Spirit (note word difference)
    2. Acts 2:17 “‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams;
  7. Deuteronomy 31:29 29For I know that after my death you will surely act corruptly and turn aside from the way that I have commanded you. And in the days to come evil will befall you, because you will do what is evil in the sight of the LORD, provoking him to anger through the work of your hands.” ESV
    1. The last days are days of great evil, when God's own people will abandon the way
    2. Jeremiah 30:24 24The fierce anger of the LORD will not turn back until he has executed and accomplished the intentions of his mind. In the latter days you will understand this. ESV
  8. Deuteronomy 4:30 30When you are in tribulation, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, you will return to the LORD your God and obey his voice. ESV
    1. The last days are days when God's people return to him
  9. The last days were inaugurated with Christ.
    1. 1 John 2:18 Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour.
    2. Hebrews 1:2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.
    3. They can be considered the last days as this is the last stage of history, the end before the very end. Or it can be seen, as Owen sees it, that they are the days wherein the sun is setting on the Old Covenant, the worship - law - and state of things under the Old Covenant were passing away. This would have been a day of great sadness and a day of great rejoicing for any who realized what was being left behind, the glory and beauty of it, and what was coming in the place of it, the surpassing glory and beauty of it. The superiority of the New Covenant above the old is captured in this phrase, "the last days."
    4. >It is the last days of the Judaical church and state, which were then drawing to their period and abolition Owen
  10. This is "The world to come," in Hebrews 2, which is proved in the next words, "of which we are speaking," referring to not only Hebrews 1:2, but also the fulfilments of prophesy seen in the book of Hebrews thus far.
    1. Already subjected to Jesus vs 5, 8 (subjected, left nothing outside his control, at present)
  11. The Jews knew from the scriptures, which they were intimately acquainted with, what the last days were and what they represented, together with the penalties of those last days. This is the warning to the Hebrews, all that is meant in the scriptures of the great fulfilment of the prophesies of the last days you are in danger of missing. The morning star, Shiloh, the desire of the nations, Mount Zion, the Kingdom of God, the great return of God's people, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. All of this is what the Jews were in danger of missing and all of it is contained in this phrase, "the world to come of which we are speaking."

The great privilege of the gospel state

  1. The concepts in these passages sometimes seem too grand and too spectacular to be about anything other than heaven or at must least be reserved for a future millennial reign of Christ.
  2. Proved better
    1. The angels and prophets longed to look into the gospel
      1. 1 Peter 1:10–12 10Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, 11inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. 12It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look. ESV
      2. Matthew 13:17 17For truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it. ESV
      3. The 1st coming of Christ is emphasised as the longing to see forward into, from the Old Testament.
      4. In fact, in heaven it is what will be looked backward at and celebrated. The life and death of Christ is the centerpiece of all of history, we should therefore expect it to be the centerpiece of old testament prophecies, as indeed we have seen today it is.
    2. The least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than John the Baptist
      1. Matthew 11:11 11Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. ESV
    3. Every Christian has an access to the glory of God that is superior to the experience of Moses
      1. 2 Corinthians 3:7–9 7Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses’ face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end, 8will not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory? 9For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation, the ministry of righteousness must far exceed it in glory. ESV
      2. Hebrews 12:18–25 18For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest 19and the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them. 20For they could not endure the order that was given, “If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.” 21Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear.” 22But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, 23and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. 25See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven. ESV
  3. Lastly, the great privilege of the gospel state, Christ our head (What is the glory, why is the New Covenant so much better than the old?)
    1. Micah 2:13 13He who opens the breach goes up before them; they break through and pass the gate, going out by it. Their king passes on before them, the LORD at their head. ESV
    2. Turn Ephesians 1:10 10as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. ESV
    3. Ephesians 1:20–23 20that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, 23which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all. ESV
    4. > The whole sovereignty over all the whole creation, that is committed unto him, is only for this end, that he may be the more perfect and glorious head to the church Owen
    5. John 3:29 29The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete. ESV
    6. > We have our immediate dependence upon him, and our immediate access unto him.
      1. There is no mediator between Jesus and us! We are Christ's and Christ is ours.
    7. 1 Corinthians 3:21–23 21So let no one boast in men. For all things are yours, 22whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, 23and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s. ESV
    8. > God is pleased by Jesus Christ to take us into a holy communion with himself, without any other medium or means of communication but only that of our nature, personally and inseparably united unto his own nature in his Son
    9. This union and communion between God and man is the advantage of the new covenant. We have ready access through Christ's work to God directly.
  4. Jesus the friend of sinners another way of looking at the same concept
    1. The one who met with Joshua and helped him did not meet with the whole nation,
    2. The one who manifested his glory to Moses did not appear to all
    3. In the Old Testament, sometimes it seems like knowing God was reserved for a special privileged few
    4. But now, a shift has been made, the veil has been torn and the presence of God all glorious is available to any who would come.
    5. Now it is the right, title, and liberty of all God's people to run up the mountain and meet with God.
    6. Can you see? The least in the kingdom is greater than the greatest of the old, the glory revealed to us makes the glory Moses saw pale in comparison.
That this is the great privilege of the church of the gospel, that, in the things of the worship of God, it is made subject unto and immediately depends upon the Lord Jesus Christ, and not on any other, angels or men
The most glorious effect of the wisdom, power, and grace of God, and that wherein all our spiritual concernments here are enwrapped, consists in that blessed church-state, with the eternal consequences of it, which, having been promised from the foundation of the world, was now to be erected in the days of the Messiah. ‘That you may,’ saith he, ‘no more cleave unto your old institutions

What Is Man

  1. Does not all of this make you ask, "why O Lord am I so privileged so as to live in these times?" or "who am I that you have set your heart on me?" or "what is man that you are mindful of him?"

Jesus Lower than the Angels

  1. How many people in the Old Testament had ready access to God? Not many. Whether it's Solomon, Joshua, Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob, most of the heroes of the Old Testament only got to enter into the sensible presence of God a couple of times. And these were not the average person. By in large the Old Testament saint seemed to know God as a scary, wonderful yet terrifying God who was a God far off.
  2. Anyone can be God's friend now.
  3. This line of reasoning leads many to a wrong conclusion about Jesus: he is a teddy bear, he is a friendly God.
    1. In other words, Jesus has so lowered himself, he has bent down so far in his offering himself for us, that many have confused his offer of friendship with friendliness and have forgotten the wonderful awe-full majesty of the one who sits on the throne, whose garments are dipped in blood, who treads the wine press of the fury of the wrath of his Father.
  4. Part of the problem here is that he has condescended so far that people have come to believe that what he condescended to is what he really is. What he became for our sake is not who he is. He became for a little while lower than the angels. But don't mistake him for being lower than the angels.
  5. This seems to be parallel to the thoughts of the Jews addressed by the book of Hebrews. The death of Christ had lead some to believe that Christ was in fact, lower than the angels who do not die.
  6. This the apostle corrects, pointing out that the very thing that makes some doubt Jesus' greatness, is the very thing the Father takes note of and says, "therefore I will bestow on him the name that is above every name."
    1. The Father "crowned [Jesus] with glory and honor because of the suffering of death"

Psalm 8

God's Creation

  1. David at night.
  2. > And this is, or should be, the great use of all our contemplations of the works of God, namely, that considering his wisdom and power in them, we should learn to admire his love and grace in setting his heart upon us, who are every way so unworthy, seeing he might for ever satisfy himself in those other appearingly more glorious products of his power and Godhead.

What is man that you are mindful of him

  1. Options (should we read man as mankind, or as Jesus, or switch, or keep both in mind?):
    1. Mindful of man to save him, to set his heart on him
      1. God is so high, and we are so low. Why does he spare a thought for us. David seems to intend this Think of the vastness of creation.
    2. That man has the exalted position of chief glorifier of God
      1. Given man's low state, given all of his rebellions and waywardness, why are we so honored so as that we might be the crown jewel of all creation. Angels obey God without exception without shifting, yet man which is lower than the angels is set above them in that we glorify him more than they do.
        1. Yet it is not mankind in general that the psalmist is focusing on, but one representative man of mankind, namely Jesus.
    3. That Christ would take the same nature as sinful man
      1. Why is mankind so honored so as to be picked for this privilege of having God take our form and to represent us by becoming one of us?
      2. Jesus became lower than the angels by becoming subject to all the infirmities of mankind. He was subject to getting sick, and tired, mocked and humiliated, and most humbling of all, subject to die.
    4. Mindful of man in Christ
      1. an interplay between God's care for manA, Christ becoming and representing manC, and God's care for Christ, and thus God's care for mankind in Christ who is our federal or representative head.
      2. > God having exalted our nature the nature of man, in the person of his Son, into a condition of honour and glory, so as to be worshipped and adored by all the angels of heaven Owen
      3. > This is that which the admiration of the psalmist tends unto and rests in, that God should so regard the nature of man as to take it into union with himself in the person of his Son, and in that nature, humbled and exalted, to work out the salvation of all them that believe on him

Said another way

  1. God created man to have dominion over the earth, in this man has failed but in Christ man has succeeded and fulfilled God's vision. Jesus is the perfect fulfilment of his Father's ideal for man as mankind.
  2. > That this privilege that we see in the Psalm being given to mankind was never absolutely or universally made good in or unto the nature of man, but in or with respect unto the person of Jesus Christ, the Messiah.
  3. Jesus becoming fully man and living perfectly realized God’s expectation of man in perfect obedience and holiness, and has now taken the place at the head of mankind to fulfill God's expectation of mankind to take dominion over the earth. Therefore all things are made subject to him. Jesus is made into man's eschatological hope because of his soteriological accomplishment.
  4. > Two things are expressed concerning man in the words:—[1.] That he was made lower than the angels; [2.] That he had all things put in subjection unto him. ‘Both these,’ says the apostle, ‘we see accomplished in Jesus;’ for that is the meaning of that expression, “We see Jesus,” vs 9
  5. Jesus as King leading mankind and creation itself to its glorious fulfilment and Jesus as sacrifice, made lower than the angels. And these two linked in relationship, his kingship flows from his humiliation. So that he is our perfect king, not a king only but a servant-king.

Jesus the Superior King of a Superior Kingdom

  1. Mark 10:45 45For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” ESV
  2. Matthew 20:25–27 25But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 26It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, 27and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, ESV
  3. We see this kingship language throughout our verses
    1. "Subjected" -- "Crowned"

The Gospel

  1. We have seen Jesus as suffering servant, Jesus as king, Jesus as king of a kingdom that is of a "world to come" which is a spiritual kingdom not an earthly one as the Jews expected, God's care to mankind in Jesus, and that salvation is unto restored fellowship and communion with God. Indeed, we have a summation of the gospel in these words. Here is how Owen puts it:
  2. > And, indeed, we have here the sum of the gospel and the doctrine of it, concerning the person and office of the Messiah, asserted and vindicated
    1. [1.] That the salvation and deliverance that God had promised and intended to accomplish by the Messiah was spiritual and eternal, from sin, death, Satan, and hell, ending in everlasting glory; not temporal and carnal, with respect unto the world and the concomitants of it in this life, as they vainly imagined.
    2. [2.] That this salvation could be no otherwise wrought nor brought about but by the incarnation, suffering, and death of the Messiah; not in especial by arms, war, and mighty power, as the people were of old led into Canaan under the conduct of Joshua, the captain of that salvation, and as some of them expected yet to be saved and delivered by the Messiah.
  3. All of this should cause us to see and admire God's care, God's love, God's grace unto mankind in the person and mediation of Jesus.
  4. The whole counsel and purpose of God concerning the salvation of mankind, in and by the humiliation, exaltation, and whole mediation of Jesus Christ should lead us into astonished admiration like David, who, looking into the heavens exclaimed, “What is man, that you are mindful of him, or the son of man, that you care for him? 7You made him for a little while lower than the angels; you have crowned him with glory and honor, 8putting everything in subjection under his feet.”