Heb 2:14, What Does It Teach Us?
“Since therefore the children share in the flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is the devil” (Hebrews 2:14, ESV).
To fully understand what this scripture teaches us, we must first of all break the passage into three sections:
1). Since therefore the children share in the flesh and blood. Who are the children in this scripture? The children are those who “received Jesus and believed his teachings” (John 1:12). The following verse 13 tells us of a different birth from the natural one, “who were born, not of blood nor of the will of flesh nor of the will of men but of God”. So these children were born of the Spirit through their acceptance of the word of God and through their baptism into Jesus Christ, and are referred to as “the children which God has given me” in the previous verse (Heb 2;13)
These children share in flesh and blood, that is our natural sinful tendencies within our fundamental make-up (1 John 2:16).
2). He himself (Jesus) partook of the same things. Jesus was of the same nature as we are but he did not give in to the will of the flesh but to the will of his Father in heaven (God). There is a prophetic Psalm: “I desire to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart” (Psalm 40:8). Jesus “had been tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). It is clear that Jesus was capable of sinning, but the Mosaic Law, the word of the prophets and the Psalms were within his HEART, helping him to do the will of his Father. In other ways Jesus was both a reader, hearer and doer of the Old Testament Scriptures.
3). “That through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is the devil”. In this last section, let us try to look closely at “through death: he might destroy the one who has the power of death: that is the devil”.
Death is the weapon Jesus used to destroy the one who had the power of death. Now, if a reader of this phrase can apply a little thought on how the death of one can kill the one who had the power of death, a question inevitably arises: ‘How can the death of one person destroy or kill the LIFE of another being?’ It is impossible. It can never happen. I am Stephen – my death can in no way destroy (kill) Joseph.
‘He might destroy the one who had the power of death’: The one, or the being, Jesus’ death is destroying in this scripture is described as having the power of death. So the being Jesus is destroying is supposed to have the power of death. That being was actually housing death.
‘That is the devil’: And the being housing death is known as the devil. Who is this devil that Jesus destroyed on the cross through his own death? An external supernatural being known to many as having the label ‘fallen evil angel’? NO! Angels minister unto God (Psalms 104:4), therefore cannot sin. Since they cannot sin, neither can they die (Luke 20:36). This idea of a label for a fallen evil angel cannot work here. It is out of focus.
Who, then, is the devil that Jesus destroyed on the cross? It is a good principle to use other scriptures to help interpret the first scripture because all scriptures are divine and helpful (2 Timothy 3:16).
The Power of Death
Sin is the power of death (1 Corinthians 15:56). Sin is housed in our flesh and blood and always wants us to obey it. It is personified in the Bible as a master paying wages (Romans 6:16,23; 7:14-25).
“He (Jesus) condemned sin in his flesh” (Romans 8:3)
“Jesus has crucified (killed) the flesh” (Galatians 5:24)
“He (Jesus) has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself” (Hebrews 9:26)
Jesus fought all of his life to live a sinless life to the point of death (Phil 2:8). Thus he destroyed the devil which was his own sinful nature (James 1:14,15).
No other man of flesh and blood in human history has lived a sinless life nor will there ever be another such as Jesus. To assert that Jesus destroyed another being (a supernatural one with the label of a fallen evil angel) other than his own flesh and blood nature (the devil) which housed his desires to sin, is to deny the Bible’s plain teaching of God’s work of redeeming mankind through the sacrifice of His own Son Jesus Christ and not appreciating the love of God (John 3:16).
“Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through his flesh, and since we have a great high priest over the house of God, let us draw near with true hearts in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed in pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promises is faithful, and let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not to neglecting to meet together as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:19-25).
Bro Stephen Mwale (Chipata, Zambia)