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Hebrews 2:9

But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.

John Owen     Death of Death

Ans. That "for every one," is here used for "for all," by an enallage of the number, is by all acknowledged. The whole question is, who these all are, whether all men universally, or only all those of whom the apostle there treateth. That this expression, every man, is commonly in the Scripture used to signify men under some restriction, cannot be denied. So in that of the apostle, "Warning every man, and reaching every man," Col 1:28; that is, all those to whom he preached the gospel, of whom he is there speaking. "The manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal," 1Co 12:7; namely, to all and every one of those who were endued with the gifts there mentioned, whether in the church at Corinth or elsewhere. The present place I have frequently met withal produced in the behalf of universal redemption, but never once had the happiness to find any endeavour to prove from the text, or any other way, that all here is to be taken for all and every one, although they cannot but know that the usual acceptation of the word is against their purpose. Mr More spends a whole chapter about this place; which I seriously considered, to see if I could pick out any thing which might seem in the least measure to tend that way,--namely, to the proving that all and every one are in that place by the apostle intended,--but concerning any such endeavour you have deep silence. So that, with abundance of smooth words, he doth nothing in that chapter but humbly and heartily beg the thing in question; unto which his petition, though he be exceeding earnest, we cannot consent, and that because of these following reasons:--

First, To taste death, being to drink up the cup due to sinners, certainly for whomsoever our Saviour did taste of it, he left not one drop for them to drink after him; he tasted or underwent death in their stead, that the cup might pass from them which passed not from him. Now, the cup of death passeth only from the elect, from believers; for whomsoever our Saviour tasted death, be swallowed it up into victory.

Secondly, We see an evident appearing cause that should move the apostle here to call those for whom Christ died all,--namely, because he wrote to the Hebrews, who were deeply tainted with an erroneous persuasion that all the benefits purchased by Messiah belonged alone to men of their nation, excluding all others; to root out which pernicious opinion, it behoved the apostle to mention the extent of free grace under the gospel, and to hold out a universality of God's elect throughout the world.

Thirdly, The present description of the all for whom Christ tasted death by the grace of God will not suit to all and every one, or any but only the elect of God. For, verse 10, they are called, "many sons to be brought to glory;" verse 11, those that are "sanctified," his "brethren;" verse 13, the "children that God gave him;" verse 15, those that are "delivered from the of death;"--none of which can be affirmed of them who are born, live, and die the "children of the wicked one." Christ is not a captain of salvation, as he is here styled, to any but those that "obey him," Heb 5:9; righteousness coming by him "unto all and upon all them that believe," Rom 3:22. For these and the like reasons we cannot be induced to hearken to our adversaries' petition, being fully persuaded that by every one here is meant all and only God's elect, in whose stead Christ, by the grace of God, tasted death.


John Gill     Expositor

But we see Jesus, Not with bodily eyes, but with the eyes of the mind, and understanding; that he is Jesus, as the Syriac version reads; and that he is designed in the above words; and that he has all things made subject unto him; and that he was humbled, and now exalted, as follows:

who was made a little lower than the angels; in his state of humiliation; see Gill on "Heb 2:7"

for the suffering of death: this clause may be considered either as connected with the preceding; and then the sense is, that Jesus became lower than the angels, by, or through suffering death; in that respect he was lower than they, who die not; this proved him to be in a condition below them, and showed how pertinent the above words were to him, and how they were fulfilled in him: or with the following; and then the meaning is, that because Jesus suffered death in the room and stead of his people; humbled himself, and became obedient to death, even the death of the cross, when he was very low indeed, therefore he is

crowned with glory and honour; see Phi 2:8,9 and see Gill on "Heb 2:7".

that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man; that is, Christ was made a little lower than the angels by becoming man, and assuming a body frail and mortal, that he might die for his church and people: to "taste death", is a Jewish phrase, often to be met with in Rabbinical writings; see Gill on "Mat 16:28" and signifies the truth and reality of his death, and the experience he had of the bitterness of it, it being attended with the wrath of God, and curse of the law; though he continued under it but for a little while, it was but a taste; and it includes all kinds of death, he tasted of the death of afflictions, being a man of sorrows all his days, and a corporeal death, and what was equivalent to an eternal one; and so some think the words will bear to be rendered, "that he by the grace of God might taste of every death"; which rendering of the words, if it could be established, as it is agreeable to the context, and to the analogy of faith, would remove all pretence of an argument from this place, in favour of the universal scheme: what moved God to make him lower than the angels, and deliver him up to death, was not any anger towards him, any disregard to him, or because he deserved it, but his "grace", free favour, and love to men; this moved him to provide him as a ransom; to preordain him to be the Lamb slain; to send him in the fullness of time, and give him up to justice and death: the Syriac version reads, "for God himself through his own grace tasted death for all"; Christ died, not merely as an example, or barely for the good of men, but as a surety, in their room and stead, and that not for every individual of mankind; for there are some he knows not; for some he does not pray; and there are some who will not be saved: the word "man" is not in the original text, it is only uper pantov, which may be taken either collectively, and be rendered "for the whole"; that is, the whole body, the church for whom Christ gave himself, and is the Saviour of; or distributively, and be translated, "for everyone"; for everyone of the sons God brings to glory, Heb 2:10 for everyone of the "brethren", whom Christ sanctifies, and he is not ashamed to own, and to whom he declares the name of God, Heb 2:11,12 for everyone of the members of the "church", in the midst of which he sung praise, Heb 2:12 for every one of the "children" God has given him, and for whose sake he took part of flesh and blood, Heb 2:13,14 and for everyone of the "seed" of Abraham, in a spiritual sense, whose nature he assumed, Heb 2:16.


A W Pink      Sovereignty of God
This passage need not detain us long. A false doctrine has been erected here on a false translation. There is no word whatever in the Greek corresponding to "man" in our English version. In the Greek it is left in the abstract--"he tasted death for every". The Revised Version has correctly omitted "man" from the text, but has wrongly inserted it in italics. Others suppose the word "thing" should be supplied--"he tasted death for every thing"--but this, too, we deem a mistake. It seems to us that the words which immediately follow explain our text: "For it became him, for whom are all things, and whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. " It is of "sons" the apostle is here writing, and suggest an ellipsis of "son"--thus: "he tasted death for every"--and supply son in italics. Thus instead of teaching the unlimited design of Christ's death, Heb 2:9,10 is in perfect accord with the other scriptures we have quoted which set forth the restricted purpose in the Atonement: was for the "sons" and not the human race our Lord "tasted death".

Matthew J Slick
This verse can be interpreted in both the Arminian and Calvinistic camps. The Arminian and the Calvinist say that Christ tasted death for everyone. To the Calvinist, the death of Christ actually removes the wrath of God upon the ungodly (the elect). To the Arminian the death of Christ was for all and doesn't actually remove the wrath; it makes it possible for the wrath to be removed based upon a human condition: belief. Therefore, for them, the choice of God depends upon the choice of the person man.