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The Lord's Deity And Humanity (Part 2)

It was said in Israel that "when Ephraim spake there was trembling". So mighty was Ephraim that when it made a tribal pronouncement the other tribes trembled. But the speakings of Ephraim were basically of no consequence and vapourized as the ten tribes trooped away into captivity.

When God spoke to Israel from Sinai it was altogether different. He spoke through angels and the word was received by Moses for the people. That word proved steadfast for some 1,500 years, powerful in its application in judgement to the disobedient nation. Yet the law of Sinai had to give place to the speakings of the Son of God when He came in Manhood.

So the writer came quickly to the point of his plea. How final and immutable must be the word of the eternal Son, the Lord, in the great salvation which He came to proclaim! By the power of the Holy Spirit His disciples carried far and near their testimony to the things which He taught them. And in approving witness to the new teaching it was God's good pleasure to grant signs and wonders and manifold powers, the Holy Spirit distributing His gifts as it pleased Him. Thus there were tremendous demonstrations of the supernatural in confirmation of the seal of the living God on the teachings of the New Covenant as they began to spread abroad.

Yes, great indeed was the word of the Son, and costly, for that word was also the word of the cross. In the face of the false teachers, only a more whole-hearted attention and adherence to this Word would save the early Jewish Christians from the current drift back to the superseded law of Moses, to the Old Covenant which was vanishing away. Already the drift was in evidence for some were forsaking the assembly gatherings (10:25). A careless neglect of the salvation which had transformed them could only bring upon them very definite divine displeasure.

But who was the Originator of this great salvation? The writer moved on to contemplate its accomplishment, involving the incarnation of the Son of God, His sinless humanity in "the days of His flesh". He became the great representative Man who restored what He had not taken away.

No matter at which period of its existence the inhabited earth is viewed, it never was and never will be under the dominion of angels. Although man is of a lower order than that of angels in the creation of God, it was nevertheless to man that God subjected all things on the earth. Everything was placed

under his dominion, all animals, birds and fish; nothing was exempt. The writer quotes as his authority the words of David in Psa. 8. When David wrote the psalm he had doubtless the words of Gen. 1:28 in mind, in the days before the Fall.

But the Fall changed everything. Man lost his dominion over earth's created things, hence the author's point that now things are not only not seen to be subject to man but the plain fact is that they simply are not subject to him. But there is One we do see, the mighty representative Son of Man, the One to whom all creation will be universally subject in the day of His millennial reign. Where the first man failed, God's second Man will restore all. They said in the days of the shadows, "David brought back all". So will it be with the Son of man in His day.

Meantime the author continued, "We behold Jesus", that is Jehovah the Saviour. For a little time He had allowed Himself to be made lower than the angels. That Was during His earthly stay. By the grace of God He had completed His Father's assignment, then tasted death, in all its suffering and bitterness, for every man. As a consequence His Father had crowned Him in resurrection with glory and honour and seated Him at His own right hand. Thus enabled, God was now bringing many sons to glory, as the great salvation was being received in simple faith throughout the lands of the nations. (It should be pointed out that although the writer favours the view of the post-resurrection crowning with glory and honour there is another widely held view which is well expressed by J. Miller in his Notes on Hebrews, dealing with 2:9 - "The usual interpretation is that He was crowned with glory and honour after death. This is true of the Lord's glorification in another sense, but here as the Son of Man He was crowned with glory and honour to suffer. His crowning was because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God, He, and He only, of all the sons of men, should taste death for every man").

The Son of God had become Jesus, Jehovah the Saviour; the originator of so great salvation had come in manhood so that He would become perfected for priestly work in relation to these sons who were being begotten through the gospel. Thus, marvel of marvels, the eternal Son was sanctifying sinners. Thus sanctified they became by divine grace children of God; so that the eternal Son and those who were privileged to become children through faith in Him, had all the same Father, God. And, grace upon grace, the eternal Son was not ashamed to call them His brethren, as evidenced early on the resurrection morning, "Go tell My brethren" (Matt. 28:10).

The writer was surely providing a profound reason why any thought of neglecting so marvellous a Saviour or so great salvation should never be

given a place in the Hebrew Christians' minds. The Son of God had not gone to the help of angels when they sinned. But for the sake of the seed of Abraham He had come sinless into the human stream to lay hold on them for their help. It had a faint foreshadowing in Isa. 63:9, "In all their afflictions He was afflicted". They shared in blood and flesh; so He would do the same, but without sin. In the body of His flesh He would be able to experience the trials to and through which His Father would bring Him; the temptations which Satan would cunningly lay in His way; the hard things that sinners would do and say to Him. He would be undergoing what Aaron had foreshadowed as he shared the rigour and sorrow of the people in the brick fields of Egypt - training for priestly service.

But more - by reason of His humanity He would be capable of death. And by means of that death He would destroy the Devil who had the power of death, an event so faintly prefigured in David slaying Goliath by means of the giant's own sword. That death would be retrospective in its benefits as well as prospective in its blessings. By means of it the Old Covenant saints, who had lived in constant bondage by reason of their fear of death, would be delivered from Upper Sheol at His resurrection. And provision would be made at Calvary of the propitiation for the sins of the people of God, and indeed for the whole world.

Yet it was matchless grace on the part of the Son of Man that "it behoved Him... to be made like unto His brethren". Those experiences in the days of His flesh were perfect training for a priestly ministry in the heavenly sanctuary, a service beautifully balanced in its faithfulness to God and mercy to His failing people; a constant ministry of succour for those weary in the battle with the tempter.

Thus the author developed his theme, as a choice corrective for any waning joy in the New Covenant, for any dimming love for the Lord Jesus on the part of those dear early Hebrew Christians. It was a concentration of thought on the excellency of the Person of the Lord Jesus, whether glorious in holiness as the Son of God from all eternity, or glorious in lowliness as the Son of Man in the years of His earthly ministry. Infinitely greater than the fathers, the prophets, the angels, the entire human race - the Lord Jesus Christ stands supreme.

And we ask ourselves, in this our day, the question - is that same beloved Lord Jesus pre-eminent in our lives? Has what He requires of us in communion and service pride of place over our business interests and spare time pursuits? That is a question for each of us to answer in the secret of His presence - alone with Him.