LIVING CORAM DEO
Thursday, 23 November, 2017

Through Christ’s Death We Were Rescued From Satan

Hebrews 2: 14 – 18

everyone-fighting-battleThese children, however, were once held in servitude by their enemy, Satan. Since they were human, their Captain had to become human and die for them, in order to rescue them. But by doing so He was able to destroy … the devil. The author did not mean that Satan ceased to exist or to be active. Rather the word he used for “destroy” (katargēsē) indicates the annulment of his power over those whom Christ redeems. In speaking of the devil as wielding the power of death, the writer meant that Satan uses people’s fear of death to enslave them to his will. Often people make wrong moral choices out of their intense desire for self-preservation. The readers were reminded that they were no longer subject to such slavery and that they could face death with the same confidence in God their Captain had.

Hebrews-1-2Whatever their needs or trials, their Captain is adequate to help them since He ministers to Abraham’s descendants, not angels. The expression “Abraham’s descendants” (lit., “Abraham’s seed”) may point to the Jewishness of the writer’s audience, but even Gentile Christians could claim to be the “seed of Abraham” in a spiritual sense (Gal. 3:29). The help which the Captain gives to these His followers is again predicated on the fact that He was made like His brothers in every way (Heb. 2:17), that is, both in terms of becoming incarnate and by virtue of suffering. Here for the first time the writer introduced the thought of His priesthood, which he elaborated on later. For now he was content to affirm that this identification with “His brothers” had made possible a priesthood characterized both by mercy and fidelity in service to God. This involved, as its basis, atonement for the sins of the people. Of this too the author said more later, but he chose to conclude the section on the profoundly hopeful thought that the Captain, in His role as Priest, is able to aid his readers who are being tempted (v. 18) out of the experience of temptation which His own sufferings entailed. Though the discussion of these themes is far from over, the author has already suggested that the Captain has indeed been made perfect for His role in leading them into participation in His future glory.

Hodges, Z. C. (1985). Hebrews. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 785). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

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