Hebrews 2:1-5 Paul Paraphrased
"If the message of an angel is important and the law of Moses is just, how much more should we pay attention to the gospel delivered to us by the Savior who is greater than both the angels and the law of Moses? Christ is greater than the angels for he will be in charge in the world to come, not the angels. His greatness has also been confirmed to us by the miracles which he wrought and the teachings we have received through his apostles. Hence, we must give more diligent heed to his teachings."
Bruce R. McConkie
"Now, if our fathers were condemned for transgressing and disobeying the law which came from angels through Moses, how much greater shall he our condemnation if we fail to live that gospel which came from the Lord himself through apostles and prophets." (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965-1973], 3: 143.)
Hebrews 2:3 so great salvation...was confirmed unto us by them that heard him
Spencer W. Kimball
"Oh, I hope, as we find our way in this great program that we will never let these glorious things slip.
'How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him.' (Heb. 2:3.)
"Peter, James, and John, Paul, others of the brethren-we heard this great plan of salvation from them, after they had heard it from the Lord who established it." ("The Privilege of Holding the Priesthood," Ensign, Nov. 1975, 80)
Hebrews 2:6 What is man, that thou art mindful of him?
Boyd K. Packer
"There is a question in both the Old and the New Testaments: 'What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?' (Psalm 8:4; see also Hebrews 2:5-7.) The answer is taught most simply in the song we sang together at the intermission of the meeting:
I am a child of God,
And he has sent me here,
Has given me an earthly home
With parents kind and dear.
And he has sent me here,
Has given me an earthly home
With parents kind and dear.
I am a child of God,
Rich blessings are in store;
If I but learn to do his will
I'll live with him once more.
Rich blessings are in store;
If I but learn to do his will
I'll live with him once more.
-Hymns, no. 301
"Those lyrics teach a basic doctrine of the Church. We are the children of God. That doctrine is not hidden away in an obscure verse. It is taught over and over again in scripture. These clear examples are from the Bible: 'All of you are children of the most High' (Psalm 82:6), and 'We are the offspring of God' (Acts 17:29)." (Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1991], 288.)
Hebrews 2:8 But now we see not yet all things put under him
Paul understands the meaning of the psalm. He understands that Adam was made lord over all the earth, that man was given dominion over the animals and all earthly things. Hence, God 'hast put all things in subjection under his feet.'
But Paul sees a deeper meaning. He understands that the psalmists' question 'what is...the son of man, that thou visitest him?' has reference to the Son of Man, another name for the Son of God. He understands that while man may have dominion over earthly things, it is Christ who has dominion over heavenly things. Hence, 'we see not yet all things put under [man's feet],' for man has no dominion over death or sin, but lives in fear and bondage to both (v. 15). But the Son of Man hath been made a little lower than the angels being born as a mortal and suffering death that he may put all things-both earthly and heavenly-under his feet.
Hebrews 2:10 the captain of their salvation
We don't usually think of the Savior as "our Captain," but the title makes perfect sense. Jesus Christ is the Captain of our salvation; he is in charge. He is the Captain of the ship, the Navigator of the storm tossed sea, the Pilot of the plane to paradise, and the Chief Engineer on the salvation train. Our job is to merely stay aboard. The tragedy is when we prematurely disembark before reaching the final destination. Hence, enduring to the end really means following our Captain until his ship has brought us all the way to God's safe harbor.
Harold B. Lee
"'Stick with the old ship,' as the person who was about to apostatize was told by an unseen speaker. Stick with the old ship. It will see you safely through. You may think it is out of date. It is out of date, thank goodness, as compared with some of these modern trends of permissiveness. But before you depart from those plain, simple doctrines of the gospel of Jesus Christ, be sure that you know in which direction you are going, and will listen to those who preside in authority over you. I bear you that witness and leave you my testimony." (Ye Are the Light of the World: Selected Sermons and Writings of Harold B. Lee [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1974], chap. 41)
Glenn L. Pace
"Many of us take the blessings of the gospel for granted. It is as if we are passengers on the train of the Church, which has been moving forward gradually and methodically. Sometimes we have looked out the window and thought, 'That looks kind of fun out there. This train is so restrictive.' So we have jumped off and gone and played in the woods for a while. Sooner or later we find it isn't as much fun as Lucifer makes it appear or we get critically injured, so we work our way back to the tracks and see the train ahead. With a determined sprint we catch up to it, breathlessly wipe the perspiration from our forehead, and thank the Lord for repentance.
"While on the train we can see the world and some of our own members outside laughing and having a great time. They taunt us and coax us to get off. Some throw logs and rocks on the tracks to try and derail it. Other members run alongside the tracks, and while they may never go play in the woods, they just can't seem to get on the train. Others try to run ahead and too often take the wrong turn.
"I would propose that the luxury of getting on and off the train as we please is fading. The speed of the train is increasing. The woods are getting much too dangerous, and the fog and darkness are moving in." ("Spiritual Revival," Ensign, Nov. 1992, 11-12)
Hebrews 2:10 perfect through sufferings
Spencer W. Kimball
"Perfection is a long, hard journey with many pitfalls. It's not attainable overnight. Eternal vigilance is the price of victory. Eternal vigilance is required in the subduing of enemies and in becoming the master of our lives. It cannot be accomplished in little spurts and disconnected efforts. There must be constant and valiant, purposeful living-righteous living.
"Do we have the power to attain this kind of abundance? The psalmist was inspired to write:
'What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?
For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.
Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet.' (Ps. 8:4-6.)
"There are those today who say that man is the result of his environment and cannot rise above it. Those who justify mediocrity, failure, immorality of all kinds, and even weakness and criminality are certainly misguided. Surely the environmental conditions found in childhood and youth are an influence of power. But the fact remains that every normal soul has its free agency and the power to row against the current and to lift itself to new planes of activity and thought and development. Man can transform himself. Man must transform himself." ("The Abundant Life," Ensign, Oct. 1985, 5)
Hebrews 2:11 both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one...he is not ashamed to call them brethren
"Paul cited Old Testament texts to sustain his argument that we and Christ are children of the same Father. It was prophesied, Paul noted, that the Christ would not be ashamed to declare the name of God unto his 'brethren' of the 'church' (Heb. 2:12; Ps. 22:22), and that Christ would be called upon to 'trust' as with all of God's 'children' (Heb. 2:13; Ps. 18:2; Isa. 8:18). Though he is God's son, Christ did not take upon himself the 'nature of angels.' (Heb. 2:16.) It was for him to work out his salvation with fear and trembling like the rest of God's children, 'in all things.' Paul said, 'it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren.' (Heb. 2:17.) Were this not the case, Christ's life would be of little value to us as an example. We could not be expected to pattern our lives after someone whose nature was so very different from our own that following in his footsteps would be impossible.
"It is our kinship with Christ, our descent from the same Father, that gives meaning to the divine plan for the salvation of men. We too are in the image and likeness of God (Gen. 1:26; Mosiah 7:27; D&C 20:18); we too are heirs, even joint-heirs with Christ; we too may receive of his fullness (D&C 93:19), sit upon thrones (D&C 132:19), and become equal with him 'in power, and in might, and in dominion' (D&C 76:95). Thus, salvation comes to us as it did to Christ, by becoming one with the Father. The whole system of salvation centers in the doctrine of oneness and unity. As Christ is the revelation and manifestation of the Father, so we too are to be manifestations of the Father. As Christ was a living, moving, breathing revelation of his Father, so all who would be saved must be the same. This principle of similitude, or oneness, is the key that unlocks the book of Hebrews." (Joseph F. McConkie, Studies in Scripture, Vol. 6: Acts to Revelation, ed. by Robert L. Millet [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1987], 195.)
Hebrews 2:11 for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren
The First Presidency
"Among the spirit children of Elohim the firstborn was and is Jehovah or Jesus Christ to whom all others are juniors...There is no impropriety, therefore, in speaking of Jesus Christ as the Elder Brother of the rest of human kind. That He is by spiritual birth Brother to the rest of us is indicated in Hebrews: 'Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people' (Hebrews 2:17). Let it not be forgotten, however, that He is essentially greater than any and all others, by reason (1) of His seniority as the oldest or firstborn; (2) of His unique status in the flesh as the offspring of a mortal mother and of an immortal, or resurrected and glorified, Father; (3) of His selection and foreordination as the one and only Redeemer and Savior of the race; and (4) of His transcendent sinlessness.
"Jesus Christ is not the Father of the spirits who have taken or yet shall take bodies upon this earth, for He is one of them. He is The Son, as they are sons or daughters of Elohim." (James R. Clark, comp., Messages of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 6 vols. (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965-75), 5: 25, 34.)
Hebrews 2:14 that...he might destroy him that had the power of death
"'Jesus descended below all things, that he might be raised above all things.' He took upon him a body, that he might die as a man, and 'that through death, he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the Devil.' Hebrews 2:14. Having conquered Death, then, in his own dominions, burst the barriers of the tomb, and ascended with his body triumphant to the right hand of God, he has accomplished a purpose which God had decreed from before the foundation of the world, 'and opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers.' Hence man, through obedience to the Gospel, is placed in a position to be an adopted son of God, and have a legitimate right to his Father's blessings, and to possess the gift of the Holy Ghost. And the Apostle says, that 'If the spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead, dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.' Romans 8:11 Thus, as Jesus vanquished death, so may we; as he overcame, so may we; and, if faithful, sit with him upon his throne, as he has overcome, and sat down upon his Father's throne. Revelation 3:21 Thus, man will not only be raised from degradation, but will also be exalted to a seat among the intelligences which surround the throne of God. This is one great object of our coming here and taking bodies." (The Government of God [Liverpool: S. W. Richards, 1852], 33 - 34.)
Hebrews 2:16 he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham
What if Christ had come in the form of an angel instead of the form of a man? What kind of faith would it take to believe in him? Not much! And how could Christ be truly tempted in the flesh if he came to earth in angelic form? Could he, as an angel, suffer 'both body and spirit'? (DC 19:18) How could he bring to pass the atonement without coming to earth as a mortal man?
"Note Paul's words: 'For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.' That means that he did not come into this world with a wall around him that would shield him from pain and sorrow and temptation; rather, he came with the feeling, warmth, concern, and sensitivity common to other human beings. 'Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.' (Heb. 2:16-18.) Paul also wrote that Jesus 'was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.' (Heb. 4:15-16.)
"...The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that Jesus 'descended in suffering below that which man can suffer; or, in other words, suffered greater sufferings, and was exposed to more powerful contradictions than any man can be' (Lectures on Faith 5:2). Because Jesus knew more he felt more; he understood more; he suffered more; and he could be tempted more than any other person. It seems that the number and severity of the temptations that one experiences are in proportion to one's knowledge and perception. A person with greater capacity may be called on to endure greater temptations. On the other hand, the joys and the rewards for that same person are also greater... The foregoing passages of scripture show that Jesus denied himself of things that his mortal nature may have desired and yet were wrong for him; and he became spiritually strong as a result of that denial." (Robert J. Matthews, Behold the Messiah [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1994], 254-255.)
Hebrews 2:17 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren
"One of the reasons Christ descended from his divine throne to become as we are was to establish a pattern for us to follow. He demonstrated that we can indeed keep the commandments and overcome the trials and temptations of life. It is of immeasurable worth to millions who have suffered trials and temptations or have experienced sorrow in their mortal existence to know that there is One who has suffered and sorrowed more. He not only has overcome adversity, but he empathizes with those who are still struggling to learn how." (Kent P. Jackson, "The Eternal Ministry of Christ," Ensign, Jan. 1991, 8)
"A remarkable doctrine is taught here. The same Jesus Christ who is God the Son is also one of us. He was human in every respect ('in all things')-right down to being tempted like other human beings. And because he personally has been tempted, Christ can understand what temptation is. From his own personal experience of the human condition, he understands what we are dealing with here, and he can empathize with us and help us overcome temptation just as he overcame it.
"But can Jesus Christ, the divine son of God, really have been tempted? Let me put the question more pointedly: Did Jesus Christ have a carnal nature and suffer carnal urges? Did he ever feel his flesh say 'yes!' and have to say 'no!' to it? Did he ever experience the enticement, the carnal appeal, of sin?
"Many Christians want to answer, 'No, Christ was too holy to experience real temptations,' but I believe the correct answer, the scriptural answer, is yes. Jesus was human like the rest of us. Part of what the Book of Mormon calls the great condescension of God was Christ's willingness to come into a mortal body that would subject him to physical temptations. (See 1 Ne. 11:13-32.) Jesus' holiness and perfect obedience were the result of consistently ignoring, rather than of never encountering, the enticements of a carnal nature. The righteousness of Jesus is that he experienced the same temptations, the same carnal urges, the same distractions and opposition of the flesh and of the mind that we do in mortality, yet he instantly rejected them in every case: 'He suffered temptations but gave no heed unto them.' (D&C 20:22.)
"Think about it. If Christ were not like us in being subject to temptation, if he were some different kind of being with qualitatively different experiences, how could he possibly set an example that we could follow?" (Stephen E. Robinson, Believing Christ: The Parable of the Bicycle and Other Good News [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1992], 112-113.)
Neal A. Maxwell
"No one has been or will be tempted as was Jesus. He never yielded, and He thus grew in His effective empathy: 'For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.' (Heb. 2:18; see also Alma 7:11-12.)
"His methodology for dealing with temptation is that which we should emulate, if we would escape: 'He suffered temptations but gave no heed unto them.' (D&C 20:22.)" ("The New Testament-A Matchless Portrait of the Savior," Ensign, Dec. 1986, 25)
Hebrews 2:17 The faithful high priest...to make reconciliation for the sins of the people
Bruce R. McConkie
"Paul's epistle to the Hebrews takes on a whole new meaning when it is read and studied with an understanding of the sacrificial system and the temple rites that prevailed in the day of Jesus. Our apostolic friend begins his epistle-as it is the nature and disposition of a true apostle to do-by announcing that the Great Elohim, the God to whom the Hebrews prayed in times past, sent his Son into the world; that the Son was in the express image of the Father's person; and that he came as promised in the holy scriptures. The Son is identified by name as the Man Jesus-the Captain of their salvation, who came to destroy death-who 'took on him the seed of Abraham,' so that 'in all things' being 'made like unto his brethren, . . . he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.' (Heb. 2:16-18.) As we have seen, the high priests in Israel, on the Day of Atonement and at other times, through their sacrificial offerings made 'reconciliation for the sins of the people.' That is, by the shedding and sprinkling of the blood of bullocks and goats an atonement was wrought and the sins of the people were forgiven. It is this same prerogative that Paul is now claiming for another of Abraham's seed." (The Mortal Messiah: From Bethlehem to Calvary, 4 vols. [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1979-1981], 1: 142.)
Hebrews 2:18 he is able to succor them that are tempted
"Stated simply, Jesus Christ's empathy for us in our suffering does not come only through revelation ('the Spirit knoweth all things') but from actual experience ('according to the flesh'). Because of his own experience with pain and sorrow-his descent 'below all things' (D&C 88:6)-he knows 'how to succor his people in their infirmities.' To succor is to bring help or relief to someone in distress. Truly, the Savior does understand our pain and undoubtedly weeps with us in our extremities. He will bring peace, the healing of the soul, to those who trust in him." (Larry E. Dahl, "The Morning Breaks, the Shadows Flee," Ensign, Apr. 1997, 18-19)
"While the Savior knew all things in the Spirit (Alma 7:13), he also knew the pains, infirmities, and temptations of man as experienced in the flesh. He never allowed godly power to insulate pain and affliction and weakness of man traverse and engulf his physical frame. Paul observed that he became 'like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest' (Hebrews 2:17). The refiner's fire of human experience confirmed in his godly nature the tenderness of heart, the softness of soul, that made the Savior not only just but merciful, not only omnipotent but compassionate.
"Elder Neal A. Maxwell gave this insight into the relationship between the Atonement and the Savior's succoring powers: 'His empathy and capacity to succor us-in our own sickness, temptations, or sins-were demonstrated and perfected in the process of the great atonement.' He also said, 'The marvelous atonement brought about not only immortality but also the final perfection of Jesus' empathetic and helping capacity.'"
"...No mortal can cry out, 'he does not understand my plight for my trials are unique.' There is nothing outside the scope of the Savior's experience. As Elder Maxwell observed, 'None of us can tell Christ anything about depression.' As a result of his mortal experience, culminating in the Atonement, the Savior knows understands, and feels every human condition, every human woe, and every human loss. He can comfort as no other. He can lift burdens as no other. He can listen as no other." (Tad Callister, Infinite Atonement, pp. 207-9)
Marion D. Hanks
"There is one who understands, who sympathizes. He was misunderstood, rejected, knew supreme loneliness, was poor and had not a place to lay his head, suffered anguish and conflict of mind.
"He can give pardon and bring peace." ("My Specialty Is Mercy," Ensign, Nov. 1981, 74)