A Little Lower than the Angels: Hebrews 2:5-8
“5) For He did not subject to angels the world to come, concerning which we are speaking. 6) But one has testified somewhere, saying, “What is man, that You remember him? Or the son of man, that You are concerned about him? 7) You have made him for a little while lower than the angels; You have crowned him with glory and honor, And have appointed him over the works of Your hands; 8) You have put all things in subjection under his feet.” For in subjecting all things to him, He left nothing that is not subject to him. But now we do not yet see all things subjected to him.” Hebrews‬ ‭2:5-8‬ ‭
We now have an important truth to understand about Jesus Christ and the incarnation. When He stepped out of eternity into time and took on human form, He suddenly took on an existence that was lower than the angels. As the Creator, He was the One who created the angels and the whole spiritual realm, but after His birth into humanity He was restricted to time and space. He was lower than the angels.
Philippians 2:5-11 explains this concept in detail. In the Greek, the word used for His voluntary self emptying means that he temporarily set aside the full benefits of Deity to put on humanity. He was suddenly subjected to things like hunger, thirst, weariness, sorrow, pain, suffering and death. He lived with the full array of human emotions and limitations.
The fuller list of what Jesus set aside to be made “lower than the angels” is astounding. God became a man. Eternity stepped into time. Heaven came to earth. Omnipresence was suddenly restricted to time and space. Omniscience was born into a manger and had to learn all things like ordinary people. The Creator became part of the creation. The Righteous Judge became the victim of unrighteousness human judgement. The self emptying extended to the point of death, even death on a cross.
But there is another side to the coin of the comparison between angels and humans. Angels are individually created beings, but people are created in the image of God. People have huge redemptive value. Notice Hebrews 2:5 says that angels were not created to enjoy the world to come.
To add to this mystery, in 1 Corinthians 6:3 Paul mentions that the saints will judge the angels in the age to come. God is preparing something for His people in eternity that is beyond human comprehension.
But during this present time, Satan is the renegade “god of this world.” (See Ephesians 2:1-4; 6:10-12 and 2 Corinthians 4:3-4) So here is the great mystery, when Jesus took on humanity, He was suddenly vulnerable to the schemes, deception, temptations and attacks of the evil one, yet He did not yield for even a moment. As the second Adam, He won back what the firsts Adam forfeited at the fall.
Stay tuned as the writer of Hebrews develops this theme over the next few chapters. The love of Jesus for lost humanity compelled Him to go to extraordinary measures to reach and to save that which was lost. Never question the love Jesus has for you.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global