What parent has ever driven down the road with children in the back seat and not heard the immortal question, “Are we there yet?” In this time one can at least look over at the GPS and declare, “It is only 12 more hours.” Before such vital equipment became the norm you could only guess. The writer of Hebrews didn’t have the advantage of the GPS. Look at his answer to such an important question as “Are we there yet?” “It is not to angels that he has subjected the world to come, about which we are speaking. But there is a place where someone has testified: ‘What is mankind that you are mindful of them, or a son of man that you care for him? You made them a little lower than the angels; you crowned them with glory and honor and put everything under their feet.’ In putting everything under them, God left nothing that is not subject to them. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to them. But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.” (Hebrews 2:5-9)
Hebrews was written before the time when books of the Bible would be divided into chapters and verses. But, since the Psalms were submitted as songs one at a time, it was unlike other books that had been written as a narrative. It actually was laid out with numbers of chapters since it was a song book and each chapter served as a separate song that would be sung on different occasions. While he here quotes from the eighth Psalm, he evidently didn’t have a copy of the song book with him to look up which song it was, but he remembered the words of the song completely. While there are a few songs that in certain song books became so immortalized by the number that every time the song is mentioned we remember the number. For example, every time I hear anyone mention the song, “Our God is alive” I immediately remember 728b. But there are hundreds of songs that I know the words to that if you mentioned the song, there wouldn’t be a song number that would come to mind. Most of us know “Amazing Grace” and could sing the words immediately if it was mentioned. But I don’t think of any number that corresponds with the song.
In the same way the writer of Hebrews can remember the words of Psalms eight, but didn’t remember what Psalm it was or even who wrote the Psalm. What he remembered was the message that God is mindful toward humanity. He cares about us as humans. God made us a little lower than the angels and crowned us with glory and honor as people made in the very image of God. In the Hebrew Psalm it is amazing that the word translated “Angels” is the Hebrew word “Elohim” which is normally translated “God”. It is the same word used in Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” But the writer of Hebrews is actually quoting from the Greek translation of the Old Testament where the translators chose the word “Angels” instead of “God” for “Elohim”. It is true that the word can be translated by the word “Angels”. It is the context in which the word was used that determined whether it was “God” or “Angels”. In this particular passage it is extremely difficult to determine which is the correct translation of the word. But, the writer of Hebrews, using the Septuagint, followed the translation and made the point that fit what he wished to say.
As humans made in God’s image and likeness, while we are a little lower than the angels, we are still crowned with glory and honor and everything was made subject to us as humans. Back in Genesis 1:26-27 God created us in his image and likeness. In verses 28-29 he put humans over every other part of creation. Every creature and every part of creation was subject to humans. That place of authority was at least part of what it meant to be made in God’s image and likeness. We were put in the place of care and responsibility for the creation, just as we were given the amazing honor and privilege of being put into the beautiful garden of Eden.
But, the writer declared, while God put everything in the universe under us, it is obvious that “At present we do not see everything subject to us as humans.” As you look around creation, many things are completely out of our control. So, it was obvious that what God initially planned as the place of rule and authority for humans wasn’t yet the case. Something had happened to interfere with what was in God’s plan from the beginning.
Notice, he turned from the point that we aren’t yet in this place of power, control and rule in the creation, to declare what he did see. “But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor, because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.” God’s phenomenal plan for humanity was in Eden, with everything under our control. Nature was at peace. The animals were a joyful, peaceful, loving part of nature and there was total harmony in the environment. The man and woman walked peacefully through the garden without an ounce of fear because there was harmony. This was the situation God planned for humanity and the whole creation. But we don’t see that now. What happened?
Sin invaded the creation. Harmony was lost. The beautiful creation was now filled with weeds, briars, thorns of every kind. The animals were looking for ways to either attack each other or hide to keep from being devoured. Nothing was as God planned it. The sin that entered the world didn’t just affect the humans that sinned but the whole creation. God began to work out a plan by which we might be restored to the plan originally made. Substitute offerings were made. But sin grew worse and all people participated in it. “For all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory.”
The absolutely amazing thing that happened was that God made a means by which that plan could still be fulfilled for eternity. The plan couldn’t have been more costly. It meant the offering of His one and only son to take our sins upon him as the innocent one and pay the price for that sin by tasting death for everyone. Jesus became the innocent, spotless lamb of God, on which the sins of all were placed. By amazing grace he died for all, so that we can be forgiven of our sins and have complete forgiveness and be accepted as God’s children now. The ultimate plan is for those saved by the grace of God through the blood of Christ to have that same relationship with Him that was there in Eden before sin came into the world.
We aren’t there yet. But, praise the Lord, our God has a plan and made the supreme sacrifice through grace for us all.