“It has been solemnly and earnestly asked, ‘What is man that You should think of him, or the son of man that You are concerned about him?’ You have made him only a little lower than angels for awhile, but have crowned him with glory and honor and set him in authority over Your creation. You have put him in complete charge over everything. This implies nothing is outside of his authority, although everything is not currently under his control. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than angels in order to suffer death. He is now crowned with glory and honor, because by God’s grace He experienced death for every human being” (paraphrased)
In chapter one the writer emphasizes Christ’s divinity. In chapter two he stresses His humanity. On earth, He had no status or education. He was poor, despised, dishonored, and finally died like a criminal. But in order to redeem humankind, Christ had to become a man and die in their stead.
God created man to enjoy complete supremacy over everything on earth. All things were originally in subjection to him. He was given control and destined to rule over the natural order (Gen. 2:28). Because of man’s rebellion against God, his mastery over creation was hindered. “The world to come” anticipates the new world order during Christ’s millennial reign. Considering the plight of the human race, the writer shows the connection between man’s current condition and his status in the future millennial age.
God sent His Son to die for human beings, not celestial beings. He never planned for angels to rule the earth, therefore He did not entrust His creation to them.
The writer quotes several times from Psalm 8. Jesus makes references to this Psalm when he hears children shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David” (Mt. 21:15-16). Paul also quotes Psalm 8 when referring to Jesus’ superiority (Eph. 1:22 & I Cor. 15:25-28).
“What is man that God is mindful of him?” In this rhetorical question, David ponders the insignificance of human beings in contrast to the rest of creation. What is there about lowly mankind that motivates our exalted God to stoop and help him? Man is mortal, sinful, rebellious, unworthy, and has abused his dominion over the earth. To “visit” means “to look upon with the intention of helping.” Assistance arrives in the person of Jesus Christ. Why did God bother to visit and offer salvation to the human race? Our true value can only be determined by God Himself. Why did He seek to redeem human beings through the sacrifice of His Son? It is a plan so wondrous, even angels seek to comprehend it (I Pet. 1:12).
The writer states three things about the human race:
1. Our position: Humans currently have less status than angels.
2. Our status: Humans are crowned with glory and honor.
3. Our work: Humans are appointed as caretakers of the world.
The phrase “a little lower” is better translated “for a little time.” From creation to the return of Christ, men will be inferior to angels. In the Millennial Age, angels will be subject to the saints. The human race has been gloriously honored, but this is never said regarding angels.
The elevated status God has bestowed upon mankind will one day be universally recognized. Any honor and glory man inherits is dependent upon the Messiah, for His everlasting kingdom is reserved for those who serve Him (Dan. 7:18). Christ promises overcomers will be awarded power over the nations and will inherit all things (Rev. 2:26 & 21:7).
This passage reiterates the promise that the human race will enjoy perpetual global dominion over God’s creation (Gen.1:28). Because the writer refers to the future millennial age, he points out all things are “not yet” under their control.
In these verses, the real is contrasted with the ideal:
1. What should be: What was God’s original intention for the human race?
2. What could be: What happens as a result of man’s disobedience?
3. What would be: What is promised to those who remain faithful to Christ?
Although God intended for man to have mastery over everything, the fulfillment of this is only made possible by the sacrifice and death of Christ. Because of His obedience, the redeemed can look forward to “a new heaven and a new earth, wherein dwells righteousness” (II Pet. 3:13). When Jesus returns to reign, this promise will be fully realized. The earth is restored to its sinless glory in the Millennial era, when “the kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms of our Lord” and “the earth is filled with the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea” (Rev. 11:15 & Hab. 2:14).
“As yet” we cannot see everything under God’s control, for His original intent is not our current reality. What we “behold” at this time is only perceived through the eyes of faith (11:1).
Jesus makes possible the future age of man’s supremacy over this depraved world. Our destiny will be fulfilled, for what is lost through Adam is regained through Christ. After His incarnation, passion, resurrection, and ascension, He returned to His exalted position. Jesus is “crowned with glory and honor” because of His expiatory sacrifice on Calvary.
Although the Son is superior to angels, His exaltation over them is further clarified by His work of redemption. Christ “tasted death” for every man. The verb means to “to have full experiential knowledge.” The Son of God took on the nature of man to experience death for those who accept Him as Savior. He is subsequently crowned with the highest honor the Father can bestow. All who continue to obey Christ will share His victory eternally..
The writer sees God’s grace as the primary incentive to send His Son to die for us. His aim is to show the era Christ inaugurates fulfills God’s original purpose for creation. Only in the millennial age can earth’s inhabitants finally acknowledge all authority in heaven and in earth belongs to Jesus alone (Mt. 28:18).
QUESTIONS: CHRIST GREATER THAN ANGELS
1. Who is described in I Peter 3:22 and where is this person?
2. What does John see in Revelation 21:1?
3. Those who refuse to take the Mark of the Beast will do what with Christ? (Rev. 20:4)
4. What does Job say regarding mankind in Job 7:17?
5. What is promised to those who are faithful until they die? (Rev. 2:10)
6. If we are faithful, what type of crown will we receive? (I Cor. 9:25)
7. What was God’s original intention for the human race?
8. What happened as a result of man’s disobedience?
9. What is promised to those who remain faithful to Christ?
10. What is said to Zion in Isaiah 52:7?
11. What is said regarding Jesus in Isaiah 12:13?
12. Who seeks to comprehend God’s wonderful plan of salvation? (I Peter 1:12)
13. As a couple, describe to each how your relationship with Jesus has affected how you relate and converse with each other about this.
14. Describe how your relationship with Jesus has specifically impacted your relationship with another person.