Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Hebrews 2:5

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

The world to come - That הבא עולם olam habba, the world to come, meant the days of the Messiah among the Jews, is most evident, and has been often pointed out in the course of these notes; and that the administration of this kingdom has not been intrusted to angels, who were frequently employed under the law, is also evident, for the government is on the shoulder of Jesus Christ; he alone has the keys of death and hell; he alone shuts, and no man opens; opens, and no man shuts; he alone has the residue of the Spirit; he alone is the Governor of the universe, the Spirit, Soul, Heart, and Head of the Church: all is in his authority, and under subjection to him.

But some think that the world to come means future glory, and suppose the words are spoken in reference to the Angel of God's presence, Exodus 23:20, who introduced the Israelites into the promised land, which land is here put in opposition to the heavenly inheritance. And it is certain that in this sense also we have an entrance into the holiest only by the blood of Jesus. Dr. Macknight contends for this latter meaning, but the former appears more consistent with the Jewish phraseology.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection - In this verse the apostle returns to the subject which he had been discussing in Hebrews 1:1-14 - the superiority of the Messiah to the angels. From that subject he had been diverted Hebrews 2:1-4, by showing them what must be the consequences of defection from Christianity, and the danger of neglecting it. Having shown that, he now proceeds with the discussion, and shows that an honor had been conferred on the Lord Jesus which had never been bestowed on the angels - to wit, the “supremacy over this world.” This he does by proving from the Old Testament that such a dominion was given to “man” Hebrews 2:6-8, and that this dominion was in fact exercised by the Lord Jesus; Hebrews 2:9. At the same time, he meets an objection which a Jew would be likely to make. It is, that Jesus appeared to be far inferior to the angels. He was a man of a humble condition. He was poor, and despised. He had none of the external honor which was shown to Moses - the founder of the Jewish economy; none of the apparent honor which belonged to angelic beings. This implied objection he removes by showing the reason why he became so. It was proper, since he came to redeem man, that he should be a man, and not take on himself the nature of angels; and for the same reason it was proper that he should be subjected to sufferings, and be made a man of sorrows; Hebrews 2:10-17. The remark of the apostle in the verse before us is, that God had never put the world in subjection to the angels as he had to the Lord Jesus. They had no jurisdiction over it; they were mere ministering spirits; but the world had been put under the dominion of the Lord Jesus.

The world to come - The word rendered here “world” - οἰκουμένη oikoumenē- means properly the “inhabited,” or “inhabitable” world; see Matthew 24:14; Luke 2:1; Luke 4:5; Luke 21:26 (Greek); Acts 11:28; Acts 17:6, Acts 17:31; Acts 19:27; Acts 24:5; Romans 10:18; Hebrews 1:6; Revelation 3:10; Revelation 12:9; Revelation 16:14 - in all which places, but one, it is rendered “world.” It occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. The proper meaning is the world or earth considered as inhabitable - and here the jurisdiction refers to the control over man, or the dwellers on the earth. The phrase “the world to come,” occurs not unfrequently in the New Testament; compare Ephesians 2:7; 1 Corinthians 10:11; Hebrews 6:5. The same phrase “the world to come,” צולם ‛owlaamהבּא habaa'- occurs often in the Jewish writings. According to Buxtorf (Lexicon Ch. Talm. Rab.) it means, as some suppose, “the world which is to exist after this world is destroyed, and after the resurrection of the dead, when souls shall be again united to their bodies.” By others it is supposed to mean “the days of the Messiah, when he shall reign on the earth.” To me it seems to be clear that the phrase here means, “the world under the Messiah” - the world, age, or dispensation which was to succeed the Jewish, and which was familiarly known to them as “the world to come;” and the idea is, that that world, or age, was placed under the jurisdiction of the Christ, and not of the angels. This point the apostle proceeds to make out; compare notes on Isaiah 2:2.

Whereof we speak - . “Of which I am writing;” that is, of the Christian religion, or the reign of the Messiah.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Neither the state in which the church is at present, nor its more completely restored state, when the prince of this world shall be cast out, and the kingdoms of the earth become the kingdom of Christ, is left to the government of the angels: Christ will take to him his great power, and will reign. And what is the moving cause of all the kindness God shows to men in giving Christ for them and to them? it is the grace of God. As a reward of Christ's humiliation in suffering death, he has unlimited dominion over all things; thus this ancient scripture was fulfilled in him. Thus God has done wonderful things for us in creation and providence, but for these we have made the basest returns.
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