Our Kinsman Redeemer

Q. The language of the KJV of Heb 2:16 centers on Christ being made of the seed of Abraham through David yet most of the modern versions read totally different saying God gives no assistance to angels but does to the children on men. I have consulted the interlinear bible and must say the KJV seems true to the original. Can you enlighten me as to where they get the current interpretation from?

A. The KJV for Hebrews 2:16 reads “For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.”

The NIV for the same verse is, “For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants.”

This is a complex point that requires knowledge of the the law of the Kinsman Redeemer from Leviticus 25:23-25. According to that law Jesus had to become a man to save mankind, because only Adam’s next of kin could redeem what Adam had lost.

In order to do that He had to descend from his former position of glory to a place lower in the creative order than the angels, that of mankind. When He died for mankind He was not only able to return to His former position Himself but He also elevated mankind to His position of glory as well. This fulfills the promise of Psalm 8 that the writer quoted in Hebr. 2:5-8.

The meaning of both translations of Hebrews 2:16 is consistent. Jesus didn’t become an angel in order to save angels. He became a man to save mankind.

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