Hebrews 2:9 - “taste death for EVERY MAN”
Does this verse teach that the Lord Jesus Christ died for every individual man, woman and child? Those who hold to the Arminian, free will theology believe it does and they use this verse to try to overthrow the teaching that Christ died only for His elect people.
There are many verses that clearly teach that the Son of God did in fact redeem His elect people at the cross of Calvary, where He bore our sins and reconciled us to God by His substitutionary death.
Matthew 1:21 “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS; for HE SHALL SAVE HIS PEOPLE from their sins.”
Matthew 20:28 “Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life A RANSOM FOR MANY.”
Isaiah 53:8 “...he was cut off out of the land of the living; for the transgression OF MY PEOPLE was he stricken.”
Psalm 111:9 “He sent redemption unto HIS PEOPLE; he hath commanded his covenant for ever; holy and reverend is his name.”
John 10:11,15 “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep....and I lay down my life FOR THE SHEEP.”
Acts 20:28 “...feed THE CHURCH OF GOD, WHICH HE HATH PURCHASED WITH HIS OWN BLOOD."
Ephesians 5:25 “...Christ loved THE CHURCH, AND GAVE HIMSELF FOR IT."
Revelation 1:5-6 “Unto him that loved US, and washed US from OUR sins in his own blood...to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”
However, many Christians absolutely hate the doctrines of God’s sovereign electing grace and latch onto to any verse or phrase they think can be used to teach that God “loves everybody and has provided a potential salvation for every individual because Christ died for them as well”. Such a verse is Hebrews 2:9.
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."
In this study we will examine the context of the verse to see if it in fact teaches what the Arminian position thinks it does or not.
It is my contention that the Arminian “Christ died for everybody” theology always proves TOO MUCH and it ends up creating LOTS of direct contradictions with the rest of Scripture.
If the Lord Jesus Christ tasted death for “every man”, as they understand the meaning of the phrase, then we have to ask ourselves if this idea holds up under further examination.
Did the Lord Jesus Christ give His life and suffer for the sins of all those multiplied millions of people who perished in the flood of judgment during the days of Noah, and have now been in hell for hundreds if not thousands of years?
What about the Canaanites, Hitites and Hivites and Jebusite nations whom God told the children of Israel to utterly destroy every man, woman and child and “save alive nothing that breatheth”? Did Christ die for those people too?
Is it possible that Christ died for millions of people who had already perished and were already in hell? I think not.
The Lord Jesus Christ did not just provide a POTENTIAL salvation through His death, burial and resurrection. No, He really and in fact DID save His people and ONLY His people. There are children of God and children of the devil; there are sheep and there are goats, and there is wheat and there is tare, and the one is never turned into the other.
“For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou did not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?” 1 Corinthians 4:7
When we read about what the death of Christ actually accomplished we find in Scripture that God’s elect people were IN Christ when He died and IN Him when He rose from the dead, and were in fact reconciled to God by the death of His Son. It is not and never was a “POTENTIAL” salvation, but an accomplished redemption from our sins.
“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, HATH QUICKENED US TOGETHER WITH CHRIST, (by grace ye are saved;), And HATH RAISED US UP TOGETHER, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:4-6.
This is wonderful positional truth of what God DID (NOT "hopes to do" or "made possible") for His people in the substitutionary death of our amazing Saviour. It is so real and so true that God speaks of it as an already accomplished fact. That is who we are in Christ Jesus our Lord and Saviour.
The same positional truths are taught in Colossians 2:10-15. This is what God actually DID to us who are in Christ.
"10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:
11 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:
12 BURIED WITH HIM IN BAPTISM, WHEREIN ALSO YE ARE RISEN WITH HIM through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.
13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, HATH HE QUICKENED TOGETHER WITH HIM, having forgiven you all trespasses;
14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;
15 And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it."
Colossians 1:21-22 teaches the glorious truth that by the death of Christ we (the elect of God) were IN FACT reconciled to God - not just potentially. “And you that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet NOW HATH HE RECONCILED in the body of his flesh THROUGH DEATH, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight.”
He “loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood.” Revelation 1:5
If the Arminian doctrine is right by teaching that Christ died for every individual man, woman and child, then to be consistent they would also have to affirm that every man, woman and child who ever lived, is living now or will live in the future is already reconciled to God, quickened together with Christ, raised with Him, seated in the heavenlies and washed from their sins.
This is obviously what is known as universal salvation - everybody will be saved and nobody will be lost in hell or condemned with the righteous judgment we all deserve - and that, my friend, is a false doctrine.
So, how can we properly understand the phrase found in Hebrews 2:9 where God’s word teaches that Jesus “tasted death for every man”?
I really do not think it is that difficult a truth to see once you start looking at the whole CONTEXT of where the verse is found. There are numerous verses in God’s Holy Bible that use the phrase “every man” and we can see by simply looking at the context that it does not refer to every individual man, woman and child who ever lived or is alive at the time.
I have provided a rather lengthly list of just some of these verses at the end of this study, but a few examples may suffice for the moment to give you an idea of how the phrase “every man” is used.
Mark 8:25 - After that he put his hands again upon his eyes, and made him look up: and he was restored, and saw EVERY MAN clearly.
(It should be obvious that this once blind man did not see every individual that ever existed or would exist. He saw those in his immediate context, and they are referred to as “every man”.)
Mark 15:24 - And when they had crucified him, they parted his garments, casting lots upon them, what EVERY MAN should take.
Luke 16:16 - The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and EVERY MAN presseth into it.
John 7:53 - And EVERY MAN went unto his own house.
Hebrews 8:11 - And they shall not teach EVERY MAN his neighbour, and EVERY MAN his brother, saying, Know the Lord: FOR ALL SHALL KNOW ME, from the least to the greatest.
(Notice that the “all” who know God are the “every man” in the immediate context of the verse. Not every individual who was or will ever be born will know God, have His laws written in their minds and hearts and be His people; it all has to do with the context.)
In Hebrews chapter 2 the immediate context of the “every man” for whom Christ tasted death is referring to “the world to come whereof we speak” (verse 5) when man is crowned with glory and honour and all things are in subjection under his feet.
“But now we see not yet all things put under him. 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.”
Christ is our Forerunner, our representative Head, the Captain of our salvation and the Author and Finisher of our faith. He has conquered death, redeemed His people and now is seated at the right hand of the Majesty in the heavens.
God then continues to take about these same people He calls “every man” by referring to them in the context as “in bringing MANY SONS unto to glory” (verse 10)
“For both he that sanctifieth and THEY WHO ARE SANCTIFIED are all of one; for which cause he is not ashamed TO CALL THEM BRETHREN, Saying, I will declare thy name unto MY BRETHREN, in the midst of the church will I sing unto thee. And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold, I and THE CHILDREN WHICH GOD HATH GIVEN ME....He took on him THE SEED OF ABRAHAM. 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 2:11-17.
I believe it is obvious from the context of Hebrews chapter 2 and the clear teachings of the Scriptures that Christ did in fact redeem His people from our sins and reconciled us to God through His death. God then refers to the people who will inherit “the world to come whereof we speak” as “every man”, (which includes all of God’s elect, both Jews and Gentiles, rich and poor, free and bond, male and female) “many sons”, “they who are sanctified”, “my brethren” (three times), “the seed of Abraham” and “the children which God hath given me”.
If you or I are among these most blessed of people, it is all by the sovereign, unmerited and free grace of God given to us in Christ Jesus according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things according to the counsel of His own will.
“According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love, Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.” Ephesians 1:4-6.
May God our Father be pleased to reveal these precious truths to you and give you peace.
Scriptures from the Old Testament that use the phrase “every man”.
Genesis 7:21 - And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and EVERY MAN: (Not every man without distinction was destroyed. Noah and his entire family were saved.)
Genesis16:12 - And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against EVERY MAN, and EVERY MAN'S hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.
Genesis 44:11 - Then they speedily took down every man his sack to the ground, and opened EVERY MAN his sack.
Genesis 44:13 - Then they rent their clothes, and laded EVERY MAN his ass, and returned to the city.
Genesis 45:1 - Then Joseph could not refrain himself before all them that stood by him; and he cried, Cause EVERY MAN to go out from me. And there stood no man with him, while Joseph made himself known unto his brethren.
Exodus 7:12 - For they cast down EVERY MAN his rod, and they became serpents: but Aaron's rod swallowed up their rods.
Exodus 11:2 - Speak now in the ears of the people, and let EVERY MAN borrow of his neighbour, and every woman of her neighbour, jewels of silver, and jewels of gold.
Exodus 16:16 - This is the thing which the LORD hath commanded, Gather of it EVERY MAN according to his eating, an omer for EVERY MAN, according to the number of your persons; take ye EVERY MAN for them which are in his tents.
Exodus 16:21 - And they gathered it every morning, EVERY MAN according to his eating: and when the sun waxed hot, it melted.
Levitucus 19:3 - Ye shall fear EVERY MAN his mother, and his father, and keep my sabbaths: I am the LORD your God.
Leviticus 25:10, 13 - And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubile unto you; and ye shall return EVERY MAN unto his possession, and ye shall return EVERY MAN unto his family..... In the year of this jubile ye shall return EVERY MAN unto his possession.
Numbers 16:18 - And they took EVERY MAN his censer, and put fire in them, and laid incense thereon, and stood in the door of the tabernacle of the congregation with Moses and Aaron.
Deuteronomy 1:16 - And I charged your judges at that time, saying, Hear the causes between your brethren, and judge righteously between EVERY MAN and his brother, and the stranger that is with him.
Joshua 6:5 - And it shall come to pass, that when they make a long blast with the ram's horn, and when ye hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall ascend up EVERY MAN straight before him.
Judges 5:30 - Have they not sped? have they not divided the prey; to EVERY MAN a damsel or two; to Sisera a prey of divers colours, a prey of divers colours of needlework, of divers colours of needlework on both sides, meet for the necks of them that take the spoil?
1 Samuel 8:22 - And the LORD said to Samuel, Hearken unto their voice, and make them a king. And Samuel said unto the men of Israel, Go ye EVERY MAN unto his city. (The every man is every man in the context)
1 Samuel 30:6 - And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of ALL THE PEOPLE was grieved, EVERY MAN for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.
2 Samuel 13:9 - And she took a pan, and poured them out before him; but he refused to eat. And Amnon said, Have out all men from me. And they went out EVERY MAN from him.
1 Kings 10:25 - And they brought EVERY MAN his present, vessels of silver, and vessels of gold, and garments, and armour, and spices, horses, and mules, a rate year by year.
2 Kings 9:13 - Then they hasted, and took EVERY MAN his garment, and put it under him on the top of the stairs, and blew with trumpets, saying, Jehu is king.
1 Chronicles 16:43 - And all the people departed EVERY MAN to his house: and David returned to bless his house.
Job 42:11 - Then came there unto him all his brethren, and all his sisters, and all they that had been of his acquaintance before, and did eat bread with him in his house: and they bemoaned him, and comforted him over all the evil that the LORD had brought upon him: EVERY MAN also gave him a piece of money, and every one an earring of gold.
Jeremiah 22:8 - And many nations shall pass by this city, and they shall say EVERY MAN to his neighbour, Wherefore hath the LORD done thus unto this great city?
Jeremiah 23:27 - Which think to cause my people to forget my name by their dreams which they tell EVERY MAN to his neighbour, as their fathers have forgotten my name for Baal.
Jeremiah 31:34 - And they shall teach no more EVERY MAN his neighbour, and EVERY MAN his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.
Jeremiah 51:45 - My people, go ye out of the midst of her, and deliver ye EVERY MAN his soul from the fierce anger of the LORD. (Obviously the context refers the “every man” as being limited to God’s people who were being addressed.)
Micah 4:4 - But they shall sit EVERY MAN under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the LORD of hosts hath spoken it.
Haggai 1:9 - Ye looked for much, and, lo, it came to little; and when ye brought it home, I did blow upon it. Why? saith the LORD of hosts. Because of mine house that is waste, and ye run EVERY MAN unto his own house.
Zechariah 8:4 - Thus saith the LORD of hosts; There shall yet old men and old women dwell in the streets of Jerusalem, and every man with his staff in his hand for very age.
Scriptures from The New Testament that use the phrase “every man”
Matthew 20:9 - And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received EVERY MAN a penny. (The “every man” are those in the immediate context, not every man without exception that ever lived.)
Matthew 25:15 - And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to EVERY MAN according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.
Mark 8:25 - After that he put his hands again upon his eyes, and made him look up: and he was restored, and saw EVERY MAN clearly. (It should be obvious that this once blind man did not see every individual that ever existed or would exist. He saw those in his immediate context, and they are referred to as “every man”.)
Mark 15:24 - And when they had crucified him, they parted his garments, casting lots upon them, what EVERY MAN should take. (Does it have to be pointed out again?)
Luke 16:16 - The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and EVERY MAN presseth into it.
John 2:10 - And saith unto him, EVERY MAN at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now.
John 7:53 - And EVERY MAN went unto his own house.
John 16:32 - Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, EVERY MAN to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.
Acts 2:6 - Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that EVERY MAN heard them speak in his own language.
Acts 2:45 - And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as EVERY MAN had need.
Acts 4:35 - "And laid them down at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made unto EVERY MAN according as he had need."
The context of "every man" is obviously found in verse 32 where it says: "AND THE MULTITUDE OF THEM THAT BELIEVED were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common."
The "every man" was every man of the multitude that believed. Context always determines the meaning of the phrase "every man".
Romans 12:3 - For I say, through the grace given unto me, to EVERY MAN that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to EVERY MAN the measure of faith.
(Has God given faith to “every man” who ever lived or will live without exception? I trow not. “For all men have not faith” - 2 Thes. 3:2, and “therefore the could not believe because He hath blinded their eyes and hardened their heart” - John 12:39-40)
1 Corinthians 3:5 - Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to EVERY MAN?
1 Corinthians 3:10 - According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let EVERY MAN take heed how he buildeth thereupon.
1 Corinthians 7:7 - For I would that all men were even as I myself. But EVERY MAN hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that.
1 Corinthians 12:7 - But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to EVERY MAN to profit withal.
Colossians 1:28 - Whom we preach, warning EVERY MAN, and teaching EVERY MAN in all wisdom; that we may present EVERY MAN perfect in Christ Jesus: (Did Paul and the other apostles preach to every individual who was ever born, millions of whom were already in hell, and millions yet who were not even born yet? I trow not.)
Hebrews 8:11 - And they shall not teach EVERY MAN his neighbour, and EVERY MAN his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. (Notice that the “all” who know God are the “every man” in the immediate context of the verse. Not every individual who was or will ever be born will know God, have His laws written in their minds and hearts and be His people; it all has to do with the context.)
1 Peter 4:10 - As EVERY MAN hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
You may be interested in reading a couple other related articles.
Where does saving faith come from?
John 3:16 - What is "the world" God loves?
Here is a 5 and 1/2 minute video by a recently departed evangelist named D.J. Ward, (he went Home to be with his Lord in 2006) who preached the truth of sovereign grace. I particularly like a couple of his quotes. He says: "If Jehovah goes after ya, He's coming back with ya." and "If God had not chose some, heaven would have none." Really good preaching.
Notes from the Internet
Who REALLY limits the Atonement?
Ronald W Robey posts: "The Calvinist view of predestination destroys the work of the cross."
Hi Ronald, you know, it is silly statements like this that are about as deep as a parking lot puddle that convince me that the doctrines of "I chose of my own free will to believe the gospel" is just a pile of fleshly foolishness and devoid of any Scriptural truth.
The truth of the matter is the exact OPPOSITE of what you just affirmed. Your "free will" theology teaches that the cross of Christ IN FACT redeemed NO ONE! Christ shed His blood to pay for our sins and rose from the dead. But Arminian free will theology teaches that this substitutionary sacrifice did not in fact save anybody. According to your view it is only a POTENTIAL redemption because it means nothing until "You decide of your own free will to accept it for yourself by your own faith." THAT is free will theology!
It is "free will theology" that makes the cross of Christ of none effect.
The Truth of the Bible is that Christ IN FACT redeemed His people at the cross - ALL of them at one time.
"Christ HATH REDEEMED us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us." Galatians 3:13
"Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold...but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot." 1 Peter 1:18-19
"For thou wast slain, and HAST REDEEMED US to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation." Revelation 5:9
The Bible presents the death and resurrection of Christ as actually having accomplished the redemption of His people, NOT just a "potential salvation dependent on your free will decision to make it your own".
Notice what GOD sees as having been accomplished at the cross. In Ephesians 2:4-6 we read these accomplished facts - "But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, HATH QUICKENED US TOGETHER WITH Christ, (by grace ye ARE saved) And HATH RAISED US UP TOGETHER WITH Christ, and MADE US SIT TOGETHER in heavenly places IN CHRIST JESUS."
The Armenian free will theology has everything backwards and contrary to the clear teaching of Scripture. It robs God of the glory due only to Him and it attempts to credit man's "free will" with being the deciding factor in our redemption. It is a doctrine of the flesh.
"Limited Atonement"? or "Particular Redemption"? See this 2 and 1/2 minute Youtube response by Charles Spurgeon. Which side really limits the atonement? According to free-will Arminian theology, the death of Christ actually saved no one!
Good summary of the meaning of Hebrews 2:9 posted by another brother on Facebook.
"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." (Hebrews 2:9)
When we see the expression "all men" or "every man" in scripture, it can mean one of three different things:
(1) "Every man without exception" - that is, the entire human race, or
(2) "Every man without distinction" - that is, some of every type or category of humans, or
(3) "Every man under consideration" - that is, every human within the group in context.
"Every man" in Hebrews 2:9 has the meaning number (3).
It is similar to the following example: "And when they had crucified him, they parted his garments, casting lots upon them, what EVERY MAN should take." (Mark 15:24)
Here, "every man" in the human race did not take one of the Lord's garments. Nor did every type of human take a garment. But every man under consideration - that is each soldier at the crucifixion of Jesus Christ - took a garment.
So, what humans are under consideration in Hebrews 2:9?
Look at the context: In verse 10 of the same chapter, they are also called "sons". In verse 11, they are also called "sanctified" and "brethren". In verse 12, they are also called "church" and in verse 13, they are also called "children" who are given to Christ by God!
This is in complete harmony with John 6:37, "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out."
The "every man" in Hebrews 2:9 refers to every man of God's elect, and the Lord Jesus did indeed taste death for each of the elect. They will surely live in heaven because of his perfect work.