The Father’s Crowning Achievement
But one has testified somewhere, saying, “What is man, that Thou rememberest him? Or the son of man, that Thou art concerned about him? Thou hast made him for a little while lower than the angels; Thou hast crowned him with glory and honor, and hast appointed him over the works of Thy hands; Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet.” Hebrews 2:6-8 (NAS)
After demonstrating that Jesus occupies the power position at the right hand of the father in the eternal domain of heaven exercising authority, the inspired penman in the opening verses of Hebrews chapter two, issues the first warning to believers not to neglect the message of God spoken to them through the Son. Those who had heard it, consequently passed the message on and confirmed its legitimacy by performing signs, wonders, and various miracles. The warning supplemented with the reminder that the words spoken through angels were unalterable, then certainly the words of He who brought salvation and sits at the right hand of the majesty on high are deserving of “closer attention”!
The writer is still working on Christ’s superiority over the angels and His dominion over heaven and earth by quoting from Psalm 8, a reference to dominion of the earth first entrusted to man. Here is the NASB translation of the verses cited by the writer, Ps 8:4-6: “What is man, that Thou dost take thought of him? And the son of man, that Thou dost care for him? Yet Thou hast made him a little lower than God (Heb. elohiym), and dost crown him with glory and majesty! Thou dost make him to rule over the works of Thy hands; Thou hast put all things under his feet”
The Hebrew word Elohiym when used with the article usually speaks of the supreme God, otherwise it’s referencing anyone or anything considered worthy of deference. Thus we see this term used to speak about judges (magistrates, Ex. 21:6, 22:8, 9) and rulers (Ps. 82:1, 6) while calling them “gods”. In the context of Hebrews two and guided by the principle that the words spoken by angels are unalterable (Heb. 2:2), that would make them judges in the service of the word of God, and therefore lend a correct translation of Psalm 8:5 (as in the KJV, NKJV, NIV & Rotherham’s) as “lower than the angels”, thus matching the Septuagint translation from which the inspired writer quotes.
In the garden, Adam was given complete dominion over the earth, the work of the LORD’s hands. All things were subject to him. When sin entered in, Adam’s dominion of the earth was no longer complete, he now was subject to the frustrations and vagaries of the animal and plant kingdom. By the sweat of His brow he would till the land, attempting to beat back the weeds long enough to bring forth a harvest. Still, man was created by God to exercise dominion over His creation, being given reasoning abilities and thus appointed steward. What an incredible privilege! The psalmist, against the backdrop of the awesome creation, is rightly humbled by the LORD’s confidence in man (the crown of His creation) by crowning him with dominion of the earth, granting him the throne of majesty as His terrestrial caretaker. Bolstered by God’s continuing care, concern and provision for man, he is able to execute that purpose to God’s glory. The earth was never designed to be subjugated to angels, they were ministering servants sent out to render service (Heb. 1:14). Rather, dominion of the earth was to man, and “the son of man”.
The Son of Man’s dominion
The psalmist’s utterances, moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God (2 Pet. 1:21), was used in God’s grand plan set forth before the foundation of the world as a foreshadow of the true “Son of man” to be spoken of by the penman of the Hebrew letter.
The greatest demonstration of the LORD’s concern for man was the incarnation in the flesh of the true Son of man, Jesus Christ. The LORD remembered His promise and brought the Redeemer into the world. In his earthly ministry, He had been made “for a little while lower than the angels” and it all was for the purpose of confirming His concern for man.
During His ministry, Jesus demonstrated His dominion over the creation by His many miracles. This was the first step in God’s plan to rivet man’s attention upon the Son of man, Him who God had appointed “over the works of Thy hands.”
The lasting means to capture man’s attention and manifest God’s concern for him, was by putting Jesus on the cross that “by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.” (Heb. 2:9b) Because of Jesus’ willingness to endure “the suffering of death” and having finished His mission while “a little lower than the angels”, the Father raised Him from the dead and “crowned Him with glory and honor” (Heb. 2:9), seating Him on the throne and appointing Him over all the works of His hands, both in heaven and on earth, and has “put all things in subjection under His feet”. This was the Father’s crowning achievement in His eternal plan.
A critical component of the plan in Christ was to bring many sons to glory (Heb. 2:10). Just as the Son was raised to reign in glory and the Father put all things in subjection to Him, we, as part of His crowning achievement, have been raised and seated in glory by faith, where we now reign with Him. His universal dominion is executed and all things put under His feet through the church, the work of His hands, preaching the gospel, crushing Satan and his allies under our feet!