What does Hebrews 2:14 mean?
ESV: Since therefore the children share in 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,
NIV: Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—
NASB: Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, so that through death He might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil,
CSB: Now since the children have flesh and blood in common, Jesus also shared in these, so that through his death he might destroy the one holding the power of death—that is, the devil —
NLT: Because God’s children are human beings — made of flesh and blood — the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death.
KJV: Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;
NKJV: Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil,
Verse Commentary:
According to the prior verses, Jesus' role as the "Captain" of our salvation includes taking on the suffering we experience as human beings. The writer of Hebrews has already explained that the Messiah could not be an angel, according to passages in the Old Testament. In addition, angels cannot truly experience human suffering, so they cannot be an example for people to follow. As a man, however, Jesus Christ is able to do exactly that. Part of that example was laid out in verses 12 and 13, which quoted from both the Psalms and the prophet Isaiah. Those references showed the idea of trusting God despite temporary hardships.

Satan is referred to here as wielding the power of death, which follows from his role in the fall. It was Satan who tempted man to sin (Genesis 3:1–7), and Satan who continues to tempt men today (Ephesians 4:27; 1 John 3:8; 1 Peter 5:8). Following that temptation leads to both physical and spiritual death (Romans 6:23). Sin, rather than making us free, makes us its slaves. This is a topic the next verse will describe in detail.

This verse clearly presents the reason why Jesus, the Promised One, had to become human in order to be the perfect "founder" of salvation. His humanity allowed Him to experience the same things normal people do. This makes His perfect life, sacrificial death, and resurrection a valid example for us to follow. Specifically, this perfect life and sinless sacrifice "destroys" Satan, who has the power of death. This concept of destruction is from the Greek term katargēsē, which means "to counter, negate, deactivate, or abolish."

In other words, by taking on human form, Jesus Christ shattered the enslaving control which the fear of death has on humanity (2 Timothy 1:10; Colossians 2:15; 1 John 3:8).
Verse Context:
Hebrews 2:5–18 explains why the Messiah, Jesus Christ, came in the form of a man, rather than being an angel. In order to serve as a true example, He had to experience our human suffering and temptation. By doing so, Jesus was able to become the ''Captain,'' or the ''Founder,'' of our salvation. His resurrection breaks the slavery we experience over our fear of death. By using more quotations from the Old Testament, the writer of Hebrews shows that this is exactly what God planned for all along.
Chapter Summary:
Chapter 2 begins with a strong warning about the dangers of apostasy. Chapter 1 opened by explaining that Jesus Christ is the message of God. This chapter points out that those who have faith in Christ, but drift from that truth, will face dire consequences. The rest of the passage continues a series of proofs begun in Chapter 1. These are quotes from the Old Testament, used to prove that the Messiah is not an angel, but is superior to any created being. He is, in fact, identical to God. And yet, He became fully human in order to serve as our perfect high priest.
Chapter Context:
The first two chapters of Hebrews are meant to prove that Jesus Christ is superior to angels. Rather than seeing Jesus as a created being, or some form of exalted angel, He should be viewed as what He is: identical with God. These two chapters use extensive Old Testament quotes to prove this point. The first few verses of chapter 2 feature the first of several warnings within the book about the dangers of apostasy. Later chapters will demonstrate that Christ is also superior to other prophets, spiritual leaders, and priests.
Book Summary:
The book of Hebrews is meant to challenge, encourage, and empower Christian believers. According to this letter, Jesus Christ is superior to all other prophets and all other claims to truth. Since God has given us Christ, we ought to listen to what He says and not move backwards. The consequences of ignoring God are dire. Hebrews is important for drawing on many portions of the Old Testament in making a case that Christ is the ultimate and perfect expression of God's plan for mankind. This book presents some tough ideas about the Christian faith, a fact the author makes specific note of.
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