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Man's Destiny - 5

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman
The Truth Network Radio
July 23, 2023 7:00 pm

Man's Destiny - 5

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman

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July 23, 2023 7:00 pm

Man's original destiny to rule the world was forfeited because of sin, but is restored by Jesus Christ. Pastor Greg Barkman continues his expositional teaching series in the book of Hebrews.

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Well, no doubt you remember that the book of Hebrews is very Jewish and its flavor is originally written, though very appropriate to us today, whether we come from a Jewish or Gentile background. But it is written to Jewish Christians who are being tempted to turn back to their old covenant Judaism. The book is written, therefore, to persuade them not to do that, but to finish the course in following the Lord Jesus Christ all the way to glory. Because Jesus, this book tells us, is superior to everything that is contained in the old covenant, as good as that was in its time and place.

But this is better. The new covenant supersedes the old covenant, and Christ supersedes everything that was found in the old covenant. He is superior to old covenant prophets and to Moses and to Aaron and to Levi, and yes, even to angels, as majestic and glorious as they truly are. Chapter one talks about the comparison of Christ to angels and then pauses in chapter two, verses one through four, the portion we looked at last Sunday, to issue a strong exhortation and warning to those who will not hold on to Christ. But then, beginning in verse five, where we are coming to today, it continues the comparison of Christ to angels, and that is still very much in view throughout the remainder of chapter two. And this morning in Hebrews two, five through nine, we are going to learn something about angels' destiny and man's destiny and Christ's superiority. For those who take notes, number one, angels' destiny, verse five. Number two, man's destiny, verses six through eight.

Number three, man's champion, Jesus Christ, in verse nine. Angels' destiny, verse five. For he, that is God, has not put the world to come of which we speak in subjection to angels. Angels are not appointed to rule.

He has not put the world to come of which we speak in subjection to angels. Which statement, in my mind, raises at least two questions? Number one, what is the world to come?

And number two, do angels have a ruling responsibility in the present world, even if they don't, in the world to come? So first of all, what is the world to come? He says it is a world of which we speak, so we can find our clue in the preceding context. The world to come is the world that is referred to in chapter one as the eternal kingdom. Look particularly at verse eight of chapter one. For to the son he says, your throne, O God, is forever and ever. A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of your kingdom. Did you pick up the kingdom language there?

Did you pick up the eternal nature of this kingdom in that text? And so the world to come, we might call the new world order, the real new world order. We hear that phrase from time to time from politicians. This is the coming of the new world order. This is the coming of the new world order. And no matter what new world order they point to, when it gets here, it looks an awful lot like the old world disappointment.

It doesn't seem to change much, but there is a new world order, and we hear it referred to here in our text for today. This is the redeemed creation of which Paul speaks in the book of Romans when he tells us that creation is even now groaning and longing for its redemption, and that redemption is coming and will change the old world into the new world, the old order into a new order, the present sinful world into a new righteous world. That's the world of which we speak, the world to come, that the writer of Hebrews is talking about. It is what we sometimes refer to as the new heaven and the new earth because that's what the Bible talks about, that God is going to wrap up this old world.

He's going to roll it up like a garment. He's going to put it aside and usher in a new world in its place, a new heaven and a new earth. And what this text tells us is that angels, as glorious and majestic as they are, will have no ruling function in that new order, that new world, that new kingdom, that eternal kingdom to come.

But what about the present world? Do angels have a ruling function in the present world? And does verse 5 in our text imply that by its silence, but when it says he has not put the world to come of which we speak in subjection to angels, is he saying that in contrast to the present world, which in some respects may have indeed been put under the subjection of angels? Does scripture indicate anything like that?

And my answer to that is yes, though there's an awful lot about it that we do not understand. The book of Daniel is very helpful in this regard and let me refer to several verses. First of all, in chapter 10, the angel comes to Daniel to bring an answer for his prayer that had been raised sometime before the angel shows up with the answer and he explains why he was delayed. And here's what he says, but the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me 21 days. And behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me for I had been left alone there with the king of Persia. Do you hear this ruling terminology? The prince of Persia, the chief prince which came referring to, in this case, to fallen angels as well as holy angels.

They're both involved in a contest that's going on here. Now look at verses 20 and 21 in Daniel 10. Then he said, do you know why I have come to you? And now I must return to fight with the prince of Persia. And when I have gone forth, indeed, the prince of Greece will come, but I will tell you what is noted in the scripture of truth. No one upholds me against these except Michael, your prince, speaking to Daniel, apparently in a reference to the nation of Israel, your prince, which would also be borne out by Daniel 12. At that time, Michael shall stand up, the great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation even to that time. And when we add to that statements from the New Testament, and I'll just refer to the one in Ephesians 6-12, we remember the apostle Paul saying, for we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, human beings, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness and heavenly places. Do angels have a ruling function in this present world order? Yes.

They have an administrative arrangement. This one is prince over Persia. This one is prince over Greece. This one is prince over Israel, in our day, no doubt. This one is prince over England. This one is prince over Germany. This one is prince over France.

This one is prince over the United States. And of course, princes always have people under them who are serving them. So undoubtedly, many other angels are doing the bidding of those who have been assigned this responsibility of being over particular nations. And these assignments seem to apply both to the fallen angels as well as to the holy angels. Apparently, there actually are two whole orders of angelic beings who have ruling responsibilities in the world today.

One group that owes its ultimate allegiance to Satan, the archenemy of God, and the other group who owe their ultimate allegiance to God Almighty and to the Lord Jesus Christ. And they are all ranked in administrative roles, and they are carrying out a ruling function in the world today. But, says our text, and this is what is clear, even though there are a lot of things about this ruling function that we don't understand today, one thing is clear. These angels who now have been assigned some ruling function will have no ruling function in the world to come. Who's going to take their place? We are.

Amazing as that is. That's what this is telling us. We are. Angels, evidently, will continue on serving God and serving God's people in the world to come. We were told in chapter 1 verse 14, are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?

The children of God destined to inherit salvation and who are, as we learn in our passage here and elsewhere, also destined to rule in the world to come. These holy angels will be serving us in our ruling, our administrative responsibility in this new world order to come. Now they're serving us to keep us from falling, to keep us from destroying ourselves, to keep us contained until we get safely home and are beyond the reach of sin and destruction. But then they are going to help us in our ruling function as we rule over this created order in its redeemed form, its redeemed new reality. And so angels are primarily servants, not rulers.

They serve if called upon to serve, but they always understand themselves to be servants, not rulers. But man's destiny, though always to serve God, nevertheless man's destiny was originally appointed to rule in this world and is appointed to rule in the world to come. And so leaving behind for the moment what we learn about angels' destiny in verse 5, we come to several verses that speak to us of man's destiny in verses 6 through 8.

But one testified in a certain place, saying, What is man? That you are mindful of him, or the son of man, that you take care of him. For you have made him a little lower than the angels. You have crowned him with glory and honor and set him over the works of your hands. You have put all things in subjection under his feet. And now another quotation from the Old Testament.

We keep tripping over these. We can't get hardly a verse or two in Hebrews without tripping over another Old Testament quotation that keeps driving us back. To what we call the Old Testament, the word of God that was written before the coming of Christ. And these verses are all quoted from Psalm 8, a wonderful Psalm, a wonderful Psalm. You probably are familiar with it, perhaps have even memorized it.

I'll read a little bit of it. When I get into it, you'll hear the same language almost word for word that I just read from Hebrews chapter 2. But it says, O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is your name in all the earth, who have set your glory above the heavens. Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants you have ordained strength because of your enemies that you may silence the enemy and the avenger. When I consider your heavens, David the psalmist, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars which you have ordained. What is man that you are mindful of him and the son of man that you visit him? You have made him a little lower than the angels and you have crowned him with glory and honor. You have made him to have dominion over the works of your hands.

You have put all things under his feet. And then it goes on to give some things that are not quoted in Hebrews chapter 2 that help understand what is meant by putting all things in dominion under his feet. We read in verse 7 of Psalm 8, all sheep and oxen, even the beasts of the field, the birds of the air and the fish of the sea that pass through the paths of the seas.

Oh Lord, how excellent is your name in all the earth. Wonderful Psalm. The bulk of it is quoted before us here in Hebrews chapter 2. So let's look at what these verses are designed to teach us about man's destiny.

As far as angels' destiny, wonderful, glorious, majestic, powerful creatures who are not destined to rule in the world to come. But man's destiny, interestingly with that first little phrase, but one testified in a certain place saying, you say, what's the matter? Did the author of Hebrews have a slip in memory and couldn't remember who was the human author of this Psalm? He forgot it was David.

No, I don't think so. His memory is pretty sharp. He's writing this from memory word for word, guided of course by the Holy Spirit of God. But he's pointing out something that's important to us and that is even though the human authorship is helpful, it's not essential.

What's essential? The divine authorship. The important thing is not that David penned this Psalm. The important thing is that God Almighty penned this Psalm using David. That's especially helpful for the book of Hebrews because we don't know who the human author is, but there's no question that it was authored by God Almighty. And so God's word is what is important, not man's word.

God's inspired word, God's infallible word, God's holy word, the Bible is what is important. But then this Psalm is quoted beginning with this thought-provoking question. What is man that you are mindful of him or the son of man that you take care for him? In other words, considering the grandeur of the universe, when I consider the heavens, the moon and the stars which you have made, this great universe and all of its grandness and glory, the Psalmist goes on to say, what is man that you are mindful of him and the son of man that you visit him? Considering the grandeur of the universe, why does God consider man even significant in any way?

What's so special about mankind? Why is God concerned about man? Why doesn't God cast mankind aside in our sinful, rebellious condition and just pass us by completely and ignore us and not rescue us like God has done with the fallen angels?

There is no help for them, no salvation for them. He makes reference to this in the latter portion of this chapter that we read earlier. Yes, it is a thought-provoking question. Why is God so interested in man, so involved with man, so active in the affairs of men?

What is all of this about? Why is man considered significant by God? And there is at least a partial, informative answer in the next two verses. You have made him a little lower than the angels. You have crowned him with glory and honor and sent him over the work of your hands. You have put all things in subjection under his feet.

Here's the answer. Man was created a little lower than the angels. The question is, was he created lower in rank or lower in nature?

Well, probably both are true. From what we read, it appears that man does in some respects rank below the angels, and he certainly has a nature that is not as majestic, not as powerful, not as capable as the spirit nature of angels that never die as man does in his physical aspect of his being, and that are not respected by time and space and can travel faster than the speed of light and can destroy whole armies single-handedly and so forth. The nature of angels is far greater than the nature of man as God created him even in the garden before the fall.

Yes, you created him a little lower than the angels. There's also a question about what is meant by a little lower. Is that a comparison of degree or a comparison of time because both are allowed by the language in the original Hebrew?

And the answer is that in the contest, it probably is referring to time. When it says a little lower than the angels, it's not so much talking about lower in degree as it is lower in time. You have made man for a little while lower than the angels.

That's going to change. He tells us about the change in this passage. But for a while, you've made him lower than the angels.

This is helping to answer that question. Why are you so interested in man? And so, man was created lower than the angels, but he was created for dominion, we read here. Because the last part of verse 7 says, you have crowned him. Crown upon his head.

That's the sign of authority, the sign of rulership. You have crowned him with glory and honor and set him over the works of your hands. You have put all things in subjection under his feet. You created him for a little while lower than the angels, but you invested him with incredible honor and glory and authority in your creation.

You placed him over the created world. Here's what we read going back to the beginning in Genesis chapter 1 verse 26. Then God said, let us make man in our image. What is the God who is only one God doing saying, using the plural pronoun, let us make man in our image. Mystery of the Trinity, the triune God had three in one, three persons in one God will never understand it, but we see the evidence of it all through Scripture. Let us, said the Father, let us you son joining me in this, let us you Holy Spirit joining me in this, let us make man in our image according to our likeness.

Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, over the cattle, over all the earth and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. So God created man in his own image. In the image of God he created him. Male and female he created them.

People are trying to erase that demarcation vigorously in our day. That's an attack upon Almighty God in the order that he created. Male and female he created them. You don't choose your gender. God chose it for you.

You're either a male or female. God made that choice for you. Then God blessed them and God said to them, be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth and subdue it, have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves on the earth. And God said, see, I've given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of the earth and every tree whose fruit yields seed. To you it shall be for food and also to the beast of the earth, to every bird of the air and to everything that creeps on the earth in which there is life.

I've given every green herb for food and it was so. God created man in his image. We don't know fully even what that phrase means but obviously it is something that is to identify man very close to God Almighty himself.

Maybe created a little lower than the angels but destined for something more than that. Crowned with glory and honor, the creation placed under his dominion. But as we observe things in the world today, we readily recognize that man is not exercising in this world today the degree of dominion that is referred to at creation in the garden. Man doesn't seem to be capable of ruling this world. Man doesn't seem to be wise enough to rule this world. This man doesn't seem to be righteous enough to rule this world as a co-regent under the authority of God. Man has done something to change this authority and glory and honor and dominion that was given to him. So what happened is the question.

And though the answer is not stated in our text, it's so clearly assumed it's almost shouted from between the lines of the text. Why is man not ruling as he was created to? Answer, because of Adam's fall in the garden and the sinfulness that that plunged the whole human race into. Which rendered man incapable of this ruling function. He forfeited it because of sin.

What a pity. Ruined, spoiled. Man's destiny to rule. Man's present condition in ruin. Thankfully, we don't put a period there and say amen and go home.

There's more. We have the destiny of angels. We have the destiny of man.

And then we have in our text the champion of man. Verse 9. But we don't see things in subjection under him. Verse 8. But we do not now yet see all things put under him.

But, verse 9, I'm getting to it. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor that he, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone. Man's champion, Jesus Christ, who came to restore to him the destiny that God originally created for him.

Notice his condescension. Up until this time, the second person of the Trinity, as we might refer to him, has been referred to consistently and constantly as the Son. The Son. The Son.

The Son. But now we get to this aspect of who he is and what he did, and the writer of Hebrews changes and calls him Jesus. But we see Jesus. That refers to his manhood, his incarnation. That became his name when he was born of a virgin.

You shall call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins. And so this speaks to us, first of all, of the condescension of the Son. The very fact that the eternal Son of God became a man named Jesus was a tremendous stepping down. You have made him, we read, a little lower than the angels.

Well, that means he was a man, right? Men were made a little lower than the angels. Now Jesus is made a little lower than the angels because he has to be made a little lower than the angels if he is made a man.

If he acquires a human nature, that's what men are. They are made a little lower than the angels. So here's the one who created the angels. Here is the sovereign ruler of the universe, the creator of all things, and he steps into a human nature. And as such, now he's a little lower than the angels because that's the human condition.

But it's a temporary humiliation. You have made him for a little while lower than the angels. And in that human condition, he came to earth and he triumphed over sin where Adam fell. Adam was tempted by sin and he succumbed and fell and what a ruin he brought in the wake of his sinfulness. But Jesus was tempted unbelievably in more ways than any of us ever have been, with more strength, more power of temptation than any of us, including Adam, have ever faced. And he did not sin.

He triumphed. I've mentioned this several times, but it still just amazes me that a recent poll shows that more than half of people who identify as evangelical Christians do not correctly answer the question, did Jesus Christ ever sin? Most of them say yes. Well, if he did, there's no salvation. But if you think that, you don't know the Bible, do you?

I mean, you don't know it hardly even a little bit. You don't know who Jesus was. He was a sinless son of God. He came to live a life of perfect obedience that no one since Adam has achieved. He came to fulfill the perfect obedience that Adam did not accomplish.

That's his condescension. But note, the text also speaks about his exaltation. He is crowned with glory and honor, as man was in the beginning. Adam at creation was crowned with glory and honor.

We read that in verse seven. But now we find that Jesus is crowned with glory and honor, and he is crowned with glory and honor as the second Adam. You pick that up in 1 Corinthians 15, verse 45, and so it is written, the first man, Adam, became a living being. The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. You'll find many references in the book of Romans to this as well.

Everything hangs on understanding the two Adams. The first Adam sinned and plunged all of his race, all of his progeny into sin and ruin and damnation. But God sent a second Adam to achieve what the first Adam failed in achieving. And all who are his, who are his progeny, who are his children, shall triumph over sin because of what there, our Adam, has done. And so he is crowned with glory and honor like Adam was at creation before he sinned. He is the second Adam to take the place of the first Adam to fulfill the righteousness required of man in his life upon the earth, a life of obedience to God. He, therefore, qualified himself to rule as a man. Sometimes we're puzzled by the fact that there's this language in the Bible about Jesus being installed upon the throne of the universe as a result of his crucifixion and resurrection and ascension back to God.

And somehow this is something new. This is a this is a reward for what he did upon the earth. And we scratch our heads and say, wait a minute, hasn't he always been ruler? Hasn't he always been God? Hasn't he always been eternal God?

Yes, but not as man, the son. Now he qualified himself to rule as the perfect man. And therefore, when he ascended back and was placed upon the throne of God, he's placed there in his dual nature. He's returned to the glory he had with the father before the incarnation. But he is now exalted in the glory that he earned as the second Adam as the perfect man and has therefore earned the right to rule that Adam flubbed.

And all of us have flubbed ever since then. He qualified himself to rule as a man, the glorified man, and he triumphed precisely where Adam failed. And we learn a little bit more about how this occurred in the last part of verse nine. He was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death. In other words, he became a man in order to be able to die, crowned with glory and honor that he, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.

Here's the atoning rescue. He tasted death in the place of those who deserved to die. He did not deserve to die because he did not sin. He's the only one who ever lived as a human being upon the earth who did not sin and therefore does not deserve to die. But he lived a sinless life to fulfill the obedience required of God by man. He succeeded in a perfect righteousness where man, Adam, and every man and woman since then has failed. He tasted death in the place of others as a substitute to taste the judgment for sin that is due unto all of us. He did that for everyone we read, that is, all who are rescued from the penalty of death and restored to the glory and dominion that Adam had before the fall. He did this for all those who inherit salvation, chapter 1 verse 14, all those who are the sons of God.

I could go through the context and show you many phrases that describe who these are. And that's the atoning rescue. Jesus Christ is man's champion. The angel's destiny? Not to rule. Man's destiny?

To rule. But he ruined it all. But then man's champion, Christ, came and restored to mankind what Adam ruined and what we have ruined following Adam. Now let me give you a detailed summary of what I see in this text.

Please bear with me. I'm going to read this point by point. Number one, God created mankind for high honor and special privilege. Number two, man sinned and thereby rendered himself both unqualified and incapable of ruling God's creation. Number three, man's sin, however, cannot destroy God's purpose.

God destined man to rule and therefore man shall rule. However, sin placed a huge roadblock across the path of man's ability to rule. Was God's plan thwarted? No. Was God forced into an emergency mode?

No. Adam's fall, it turns out, was all part of God's eternal plan, as amazing as that is. God incorporated man's sin into his plan. Redemption of fallen man was always at the center of God's plan because God glorifies and magnifies himself in this amazing display of grace and this ingenious wisdom in how he rescues man out of his sinful condition. But Adam's sin did render him incapable of fulfilling God's plan without redemption. And man's incapable of redeeming himself. So how is man going to rule?

Ah, man has a champion. God sent his son to become a man and to fulfill man's destiny for him. God's son qualified himself to fulfill man's created destiny as a man. God's son redeemed fallen sinners to qualify them to fulfill God's appointed destiny for them. Jesus, as the representative head of a redeemed people, has rescued them from destruction and restored them to their original glory. Man will rule over a future redeemed world in triumph over his forfeited rule of the world he ruined. Do you know the Bible tells us that we, who are the redeemed people of God, will someday judge angels?

That's an astounding thought. 1 Corinthians 6, 3, Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more things that pertain to this life.

Amazing. But man could not restore himself to his original destiny, but his champion, Jesus Christ, has restored him to that destiny. So in this passage we see, A, man's destiny revealed by God, B, man's destiny restricted by sin, but C, man's destiny recovered by Christ. All who trust in Christ are destined to reign with him forever. All praise to the lamb who was slain, for he is worthy to receive honor and glory and power and blessing.

You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals. For you are slain and have redeemed us to God by your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation and have made us kings and priests to our God. And we shall reign on the earth.

Revelation 5, 9 and 10. We give you thanks, O Lord God Almighty, the one who is and who was and who is to come, because you have taken your great power and reigned. The nations were angry and your wrath has come. And the time of the dead that they should be judged and that you should reward your servants, the prophets and the saints and those who fear you, or rather fear your name, small and great, and should destroy those who destroy the earth. Revelation 11, verse 7.

Great and marvelous are your works, Lord God Almighty. Just and true are your ways, O King of the Saints. Who shall not fear you, O Lord, and glorify your name? For you are holy, for all nations shall come and worship before you, for your judgments have been manifested.

Revelation 15, and on it goes. And so we learn in this passage that God's purposes cannot be thwarted. That should be a great encouragement to the people of God. That should be a great and solemn warning to those who have not yet bowed the knee to Jesus Christ.

You are not going to dodge God's pronounced judgment upon those who refuse to bow. God's purposes cannot be thwarted by you or by anybody else. We also learn that man's destiny is astonishingly glorious, more than we could ever have imagined. We see that sin's ruin is astonishingly destructive, but Christ's salvation is astonishingly great. I never get over the wonder of the Gospel. The Gospel is simple, but the Gospel is so many-faceted. It has so many perspectives. Here's a whole new perspective on the Gospel.

Things that I haven't thought of for a long time, and maybe some that I've never thought of before. And here they are. It's all part of the Gospel, all part of what God is doing in redeeming fallen sinners. All who trust in Christ will share in His triumphant reign. All who fail to trust Him will endure eternal ruin.

In other words, when we're talking about the destiny of man, not all humanity will be restored to God's glorious original purpose. But a great host shall be. I want to be in that host, don't you? I thank God that I have reason to believe I am in that host by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

How about you? Let me ask you, are you a sinner, a fallen sinner? If so, have you acknowledged your sin? Repented of it.

Cast yourself upon the mercy of Christ. Are you willing to follow Christ, whatever the cost? Not like the Hebrews, two steps forward and then start hesitating.

No, are you willing to follow Christ at all costs? When you realize what that results in, the sacrifice, whatever suffering may be involved is nothing, is nothing compared to the glory that awaits us. The rewards of trusting Christ are beyond comprehension, but the penalties of failing to trust Christ are also beyond comprehension.

May God teach us. Shall we bow in prayer? Father, this portion of your word is a glorious portion. It lifts our spirits higher than perhaps they have been lifted in a long time. But it shows us the desperation and ruin that awaits those who refuse to bow the knee to Jesus Christ. O come, powerful and gracious Holy Spirit of God, come and invade the hearts of all those who are holding out and cause them to feel the great weight of their sin, cause them to cry out for help because of their sin, cause them to cast themselves upon the mercy of Christ alone because of their sin, bring them into the glorious triumph and future destiny of those who trust in Christ. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-24 12:50:35 / 2023-07-24 13:04:16 / 14

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