So Great Salvation
By Arlen L. Chitwood
The World to Come
For He has not put the world to come, of which we speak, in subjection to angels.
For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. (Hebrews 2:5, 10)
The first major warning in Hebrews must not be separated from its context, either preceding or following. The verses preceding the first warning set the tone for not only this warning but the succeeding four major warnings as well, along with the book at large; and the verses that follow the first warning continue with the same line of thought.
The designation “so great a salvation” in Hebrews 2:3 is not the salvation that we presently possess. Rather it is a future salvation, and it is clearly set forth as such in the immediately preceding context, in the text itself, and in the context that immediately follows.
The immediately preceding context (1:1-14) has to do with Christ exercising the rights of the firstborn during the coming Messianic Era and with Christians exercising these same rights as companions, co-heirs with Him. It has to do with that time when God will again bring His firstborn Son (the One who is to exercise the rights of primogeniture), the “Heir of all things,” into the inhabited world (vv. 2, 5, 6); and it has to do with those redeemed individuals who are to appear as His companions, inheriting with Him in that day (vv. 9, 14).
The text itself (2:1-4) begins by referring back to material in chapter one (2:1a), and the warning has its basis entirely in this introductory material. The salvation in Hebrews 2:3 is the same as the salvation in verse fourteen of the introductory material. That is, coming into possession of “so great a salvation” (2:3) is the same as inheriting “salvation” (1:14); and inheriting salvation (or realizing “so great a salvation”) is the same as realizing the rights of the firstborn, inheriting as companions with Christ (God’s Firstborn, His “appointed Heir of all things” [1:2, 5, 6, 9]).
Then the context that immediately follows (2:5ff) has to do with a rule in the inhabited world to come (2:5), when many sons will be brought unto glory to realize the rights of the firstborn with God’s firstborn Son, Jesus (2:10). In short, it has to do with man, after 6,000 years, finally being brought into the position that he was created to occupy in the beginning. Christ, “the second Man,” “the last Adam,” will take the kingdom and ascend the throne, along with numerous companions from among those whom He has redeemed.
This is what the book of Hebrews is about, and attempts by individuals to read into various texts in this book that which is not there (e.g., using Hebrews 2:3 as an evangelistic text, a text relating to our presently possessed eternal salvation) can only result in confusion; and such confusion in biblical exposition manifests itself in two different realms:
1) Using texts that have no relationship to the subject being taught will often result in heretical doctrine.
This, for example, is why the controversy rages today within the ranks of so-called evangelical Christianity over the Lordship Salvation issue. Verses that have nothing whatsoever to do with eternal salvation have been removed from their contexts and made to refer to eternal salvation, something that the verses don’t refer to at all. Resultantly, the pure, simple gospel of the grace of God has become corrupted, and confusion abounds on every hand in the very realm where Scripture is worded in a quite simple and clear manner, completely in line with that which is seen on the subject in the Old Testament (cf. Genesis 3:21; 22:2ff; Exodus 12:3ff; John 1:29; 3:16; Acts 16:30, 31).
2) Using texts that have no relationship to the subject being taught will close the door to that which actually is being taught in these texts.
Relative to the Word of the Kingdom, Scripture, in Matthew 13:33, records a woman placing leaven in three measures of meal, which would work in the meal until the whole had been leavened, until the whole had been corrupted. This leavening process could only have begun very early in the dispensation, with the results seen today, after centuries of time, when the whole has been almost completely leavened, if not completely leavened.
And this leavening process can be seen as the primary reason that the Word of the Kingdom (the message concerning the salvation of the soul, inheriting as companions with Christ, realizing so great salvation) is not being proclaimed from the pulpits of churches throughout the land today. Over the years, because of the working of the leaven, expositors have closed the door to this teaching by means of a misinterpretation and misapplication of verses that deal with the subject. Resultantly, the churches today are filled with Christians who are biblically illiterate concerning the Word of the Kingdom, the one subject that should be uppermost in the minds of all Christians.
(For additional information on the preceding, refer to the author’s book, Mysteries of the Kingdom, Chapter 6, “Parable of the Leaven.”)
God said what He meant and meant what He said when He, through the Holy Spirit, moved men to record His Word. In the book of Hebrews, when He spoke about bringing His firstborn Son back into the inhabited world to exercise the rights of primogeniture (1:2, 5, 6), He meant exactly what is stated; and when He spoke about the Son having companions who would ascend the throne with Him as co-heirs in the kingdom (1:9), He also meant exactly what is stated; and when He spoke about Christ’s companions entering into this inheritance in synonymous terms with their inheriting “salvation” (1:14), their realizing “so great a salvation” (2:3), He meant exactly what is stated in these passages as well. And for man to begin ignoring that which God has clearly stated, reading into various texts things that God didn’t state or mean at all, is one of the tragedies of the age.
Connected with this is a present-day irony — something seen quite often in Christian circles. Individuals stand up and vigorously contend for the plenary, verbal inspiration of Scripture (i.e., full inspiration, extending to the very words and letters of these words), but they themselves then turn right around and pay little attention to the exact wording of that for which they have vigorously contended. They gloss over a text or words in a text, interpreting Scripture within a preset mold of theological thought, and often end up with a teaching completely alien to that which is actually stated and taught in the text.
It goes without saying that the inspiration of Scripture must be looked upon in a plenary, verbal sense. Anything short of this would be out of line with that which Scripture reveals about itself (cf. Psalm 12:6; 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:19-21). That which God gave through man for man is, it can only be, the very Word of God, spoken by God Himself.
This revelation can only be as perfect as the Word that became flesh, for both are simply two manifestations of the same thing — the living Word, which is God, whether revealed in written form or revealed in flesh (cf. John 1:1, 2, 14; Hebrews 1:2).
Redeemed man must recognize and keep in mind that he has a book of this nature that tells him exactly what God wants him to know about the past, the present, and the future.
God has put this revelation of Himself, His plans, and His purposes together after a certain fashion. And it is incumbent upon man to study this book with these things in mind.
Man must pay attention to the exact wording of Scripture. He must look at words within the sentences that they form; and he must look at these words, a combination of several words, or the sentences that they form within the texts or contexts in which the words or sentences are found. He must accept and believe that which God has stated about a matter, exactly as it is recorded in His Word. Only after this fashion will redeemed man come into a proper understanding of that which God has revealed.
A Change in the Government
In the opening verses of Hebrews, God’s revelation of His plans and purposes has to do with a change in the government of the earth. These verses reveal the outworking — after 6,000 years of time, after the completion of Man’s Day — of God’s original purpose for bringing man into existence.
In the opening verses of Genesis, man was created to “have dominion” over the earth — to rule the earth — and all that is upon the earth (Genesis 1:26-28); and the book of Hebrews reveals the outworking of God’s plans and purposes in this realm.
Christ as “the second Man,” “the last Adam,” is to occupy the position for which “the first man Adam” had been created, and from which he fell. Christ is God’s “appointed Heir of all things.” And numerous individuals, redeemed through the finished work of the second Man, the last Adam, are to ascend the throne with Him as “companions,” “co-heirs,” in that coming day.
However, positions of this nature with Christ in the kingdom are not to be entered into merely on the basis of one’s eternal salvation. These positions are to be earned by those who will ultimately occupy them. Faithful household servants, bringing forth fruit resulting from their faithfulness, will be the ones who enter into these positions. And Hebrews has been written with these things in view, relating the unsearchable riches of Christ and then exhorting, warning, and encouraging Christians concerning present faithfulness in view of that which lies out ahead.
1) Not Subjected to Angels
The text plainly states,
For He has not put the world [the inhabited world] to come, of which we speak [concerning which we are speaking], in subjection to angels. (Hebrews 2:5)
The government of the existing inhabited world is under angelic control. Angels hold the scepter. But the government of the coming inhabited world will be under man’s control. Angels will relinquish control; and man, in the stead of angels, will then hold the scepter.
(The Greeks used the word translated “world [‘inhabited world’]” in this passage [oikoumene; see also Hebrews 1:6] referring to their world, a seat of settled government, as opposed to the unsettled state of affairs existing among the barbarians. Though this thought would fit the text, there is not really a usage after this fashion in other parts of the New Testament [e.g., Matthew 24:14; Luke 2:1; 4:5; 21:26]. The word is used in the Greek New Testament relative to the present world under Satan as well as the coming world under Christ.
The present inhabited world is in an unsettled state of affairs. But, in the inhabited world to come, things will be quite different. The present imperfection existing in the government will not exist in that coming day.)
When this change in the government occurs — when “the kingdom of the world” becomes “the kingdom of our Lord, and of his Christ” (Revelation 11:15, ASV) — it will be an entirely new form of government in God’s universe. Angels, since the beginning, have always been the ones who ruled, under God, over provinces throughout the galaxies of the universe. God has Messianic angels who rule over different provinces (Satan is the Messianic angel ruling over the province upon which we live), and there are numerous gradations of angels ruling under them.
God rules His universe through angels after this fashion, and though we’re told very little about angelic rule outside the one province upon which we live, there is no indication that God has ever ruled any part of the universe in any manner other than through angels. The earth has never been ruled after any other fashion, even though the provincial ruler disqualified himself ages ago (along with one-third of the angels ruling with him, who had followed him). And, coupled with this fact, matters surrounding God’s creation of man and His plans and purposes for the earth would appear to clearly indicate that no change has occurred in the government at any point in the universe since the time of its institution as well.
Man’s creation is intimately connected with God’s government, not only with the government of the earth but with the government of the universe itself. In this respect, God had in mind a near and a far purpose for man’s creation. The immediate, near purpose had to do with the government of the earth; and the ultimate, far purpose had to do with the government of the universe.
Man was created, first of all, to rule in the stead of angels over the one province in the universe where rebellion against God’s supreme authority entered into the ranks of the one holding the scepter. Satan had sought to exalt his throne and occupy the place that God Himself occupied. He had become dissatisfied with ruling under God over one province and sought to become the supreme ruler over all the provinces in the universe.
This was an attempted coup on his part, and he led one-third of his subordinate rulers to participate in this God-dishonoring act (Isaiah 14:13, 14; Revelation 12:4). The end result was Satan’s disqualification to continue holding the scepter and the creation of man as the one to whom God would ultimately give the scepter (Genesis 1:26, 28; Ezekiel 28:15, 16).
Man though didn’t immediately assume control of the earth’s government at the time of his creation; and, because of his sin, resulting from satanic deception; he has yet to hold the scepter. Adam fell as the federal head of the human race before he took the reigns of world government, which allowed the incumbent ruler, Satan, to continue on the throne. And Satan will continue to occupy his present position until such a time as God places man back in the position where he can hold the scepter.
(For additional information on the preceding, refer to Chapter 2 in this book, “Because of the Angels.”)
Man taking the scepter and ascending the throne in the stead of Satan and his angels is what the appearance of “the second Man,” “the last Adam” 2,000 years ago was all about. He appeared in order to redeem that which “the first man Adam,” almost 4,000 years prior to His appearance, forfeited in the fall. And, as God’s newly appointed Federal Head, He provided a means, through His redemptive work at Calvary, whereby He and redeemed man could one day take the scepter and rule the earth in the stead of Satan and his angels.
Christ and His co-heirs are to first rule the earth for 1,000 years, bringing order out of disorder, producing a cosmos (orderly arrangement) where a chaos (disorderly arrangement) previously existed (1 Corinthians 15:24-28). And they are to rule after this fashion on the Son’s throne from the heavens in the New Jerusalem (Hebrews 3:1; Revelation 3:21).
A governmental rule of this nature is what is referred to in Hebrews 2:5. Government in the “inhabited world to come” will be removed from angelic control and be placed under man’s control.
Then, beyond that point — beyond the Messianic Era — the government of the universe is to be centered in the New Jerusalem upon the new earth. God Himself will dwell upon the new earth, ruling the universe from this point; and Christ, along with redeemed man, will then exercise power that can only be universal in scope. Power will emanate from “the throne of God and of the Lamb [a throne associated with universal rule],” and man will have a part in the exercise of this power (Revelation 22:1, 3, 5).
The creation of man is an act peculiar to this earth, resulting from Satan seeking to exalt his throne. The fact that no other creature like man exists in the universe is evident. God’s future dealings with the universe center on His Son (“the second Man,” “the last Adam”), around descendants of Adam (redeemed man), and around the earth (the new earth). Thus, man was created on the earth in God’s image, after His likeness, for purposes having to do with God’s government (Genesis 1:26) — this earth first, and then the universe.
Man will rule over this earth in the stead of angels during the coming Messianic Era; but during the eternal ages when he finds himself associated with governmental power of a universal nature, he will apparently occupy a position somehow associated with the presently existing angelic rule — a rule which will apparently continue in that coming day.
God will have numerous individuals, created in His own image, after His likeness, exercising power with Him from His throne. And such individuals will possibly occupy positions of some type under God but above Messianic angels ruling over provinces throughout the universe (cf. 1 Corinthians 6:3).
In this respect, the creation of man would, of necessity, have to be an act peculiar to Adam on this earth. Everything in Scripture bearing on the subject points to the creation of an individual in God’s image, after His likeness, occurring only at one time and place in the entire universe — almost 6,000 years ago, on this earth. And the plans and purposes of God outlined in Scripture, as they pertain to man, center on bringing to pass all that God had in mind when He brought man into existence.
This is the reason why it is all-important to rightly understand the opening chapters of Genesis. If a person goes wrong here, he will be wrong the rest of the way.
(For additional information on the preceding, refer to the author’s book, The Time of the End, Chapters 35, 36, “From Time to Eternity,” and “The Eternal Ages.”)
2) Of Which We Speak
The inhabited world to come stands in opposition to the inhabited world of the present time. Angelic rule continues in the present inhabited world, but this will not be the case in the inhabited world to come. As stated, “all things” are not presently placed under man, much less under Christ (Hebrews 2:6-9), but this will one day change (Hebrews 2:10).
The present state of the world (fallen man residing on an earth that is both under a curse and under the rule of fallen angels) is the reason that sin, death, and corruption mark the course of the present age. We reside in a world under satanic rule and control, which can have only one destiny. God is allowing this world system under Satan — a system that is progressively growing more corrupt with each passing day — to continue on its present course up to a certain point in time. God will then step in, and through the actions of the One to whom He will have given the kingdom (Daniel 7:14; cf. Luke 19:12), sudden, swift, and complete destruction will occur (Daniel 2:34, 35, 44, 45; 8:25).
This is the reason that Christ did not meddle in or seek to alter the course of world affairs at His first coming, and this is the reason that Christians should govern their lives after the same fashion today. The time when God will step in and bring about a change has not yet come (cf. Matthew 12:20); and when that time does come, there will be no long process of resistance to the present state of affairs (something that had no place in Christ’s ministry while on earth, and something that should likewise have no place in a Christian’s life).
Rather, when that time does come, there will be a sudden smiting of Gentile world power under Satan; and through that which will occur, destruction is going to be swift and complete. This destruction of Gentile world power will occur as a result of Christ’s direct intervention, and it will take place after such a fashion that all His garments will be stained with the blood of those slain, blood which will run even unto the depth of “the horse bridles.” And this destruction will be so complete that there will be no opposition left whatsoever (Isaiah 63:3; Revelation 14:14-20; 19:17-21).
Not only will such befall the earth-dwellers, but Satan will be removed from the scene immediately afterwards (Revelation 20:1-3). The kingdom under Satan, along with his angels, will, at that point in time, cease to exist. It will have been totally destroyed, allowing Christ and His co-heirs to then move in and assume control of the government (Revelation 20:4-6).
(Thus, Christians are to bide their time, as David’s faithful men did during his time of exile. David’s men didn’t go into Saul’s kingdom and seek to straighten out existing conditions. Rather, they remained out in the hills with David, waiting for that day when Saul would be put down and David would take the scepter.
Christians, in like manner, are not to go out into the world, into Satan’s present kingdom, and seek to straighten out existing conditions. Rather, they are to remain in the place of rejection by the world with Christ, waiting for that day when Satan will be put down and Christ will take the scepter.
Christ clearly stated that His kingdom was “not of this world” [the present system under Satan]. Had it been, His servants would have done something about existing conditions. But His servants really couldn’t have, unless they defiled their high calling through this process, for they, as Christ, were not of the world either [John 17:16; 18:36].
This is why Christians, in 1John 2:15, are commanded, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world . . . .” The complete present system under Satan is going to one day pass out of existence [1 John 2:17]. And Christ’s servants [Christians during the present dispensation, who are not of this world], are to keep their eyes fixed upon the coming kingdom of Christ, which will never pass out of existence.
For additional information on this present world system, its end, and that which will follow, refer to the author’s book, The Time of the End, Chapters 31, 32, 33, “Christ’s Return,” “The Great Supper of God,” and “The Millennial Reign.”)
The book of Hebrews sets before us, not the present inhabited world under Satan, but the inhabited world to come, which will be under the control of Christ and His co-heirs. It holds before us a better day out ahead. Man, following the kingdom being given to the Son and the subsequent destruction of the present world system, will rule in that world, in the stead of angels; and the writer of Hebrews states that this is the subject matter at hand. This is what he has been talking about.
The words, “of which we speak,” could be better translated, “concerning which we are speaking,” or “about which we are speaking.” That is, the inhabited world to come, in which man will hold the scepter, is what the writer had been talking about in the preceding verses. That’s what the first warning is about, and that’s what the verses leading into this warning are about.
These verses are about God’s “appointed Heir of all things” coming into possession of His inheritance and about Christians inheriting as “companions” with Him (1:2, 5, 6, 9), which is referred to as a future inherited “salvation,” called “so great a salvation” (1:14; 2:3).
And the corresponding warning passage (2:1-4) centers on the fact that by a Christian’s failure to keep his attention centered on the things having to do with the Son’s inheritance and his own coming inheritance — a failure to keep his attention centered on the goal out ahead (cf. Hebrews 12:1, 2) — it is possible for him to fail to enter into that inheritance, fail to reach that goal. He can, by governing his life after this fashion, forfeit the proffered inheritance with God’s Son and find himself rejected, find himself among those Christians having failed to win in the race of the faith (cf. 1 Corinthians 9:24-27).
And when the writer of Hebrews states that he has been talking about the inhabited world to come, he has all these things in view, plus numerous other related things revealed in the previous verses. It all centers on the Heir and His companions exercising regal power together in that coming day.
Rulers in the Kingdom
The coming kingdom of Christ will have numerous regents and vice-regents, both in the heavenly sphere and in the earthly sphere. Christ and His co-heirs will reign from the New Jerusalem in the heavens above the earth, from Christ’s throne; and Christ will also reign from the earthly Jerusalem, seated on David’s throne, with Israel occupying her rightful place at the head of the nations. This coming rule over the earth will emanate from rulers in the heavenly sphere and be carried out through rulers in the earthly sphere — both through rulers in Israel and among the Gentile nations.
The twelve apostles will rule over Israel, from the heavens (Matthew 19:28; Luke 22:28-30); and there will be numerous regents and vice-regents ruling with them (probably comprised of Old Testament saints who qualified to rule from the heavens [cf. Matthew 8:11, 12; Luke 13:28, 29; Hebrews 11:12-16, 39, 40]). Then the 144,000 who will proclaim the gospel of the kingdom to the nations of the earth during the last three and one-half years of the coming Tribulation will apparently occupy comparable positions over the Gentile nations to that which the twelve apostles will occupy over Israel (Revelation 12:5); and there will be numerous regents and vice-regents from the present dispensation ruling with them (note that Christians, aside from the twelve Apostles, have never been promised power over Israel, only over the Gentile nations [Revelation 2:26, 27]).
These are the ones who will rule and reign with Christ in that coming day. Not all of these rulers will form the bride of Christ, for the bride will be comprised only of saved individuals from the present dispensation, i.e., only of Christians.
Then, some of these rulers are seen seated on individual thrones (Matthew 19:28), though these thrones, of necessity, will have to be inseparably connected with Christ’s throne, with the power emanating from His throne.
In brief form, the preceding is the picture that Scripture presents of Christ’s kingdom in that coming day.
(Relative to rulers seated on thrones, with the power emanating from one central throne, the same thing revealed about Christ’s future kingdom is also seen in that which is revealed in Scripture about the past and present kingdom under Satan.
The twenty-four elders in Revelation 4:4 are seen seated upon separate, individual thrones [the word “seats” (KJV) should be translated, “thrones”], and the type crowns on their heads [Greek: stephanos] clearly shows that they are not presently exercising governmental power, though still crowned and seated on thrones.
They, at one time, exercised power in conjunction with Satan’s throne, though seated upon separate thrones [ref. Chapter 2 in this book]. And, exercising such power, they, in effect, were seated on the throne with Satan, to whom God had given governmental power over the earth [such would have to be the correct way to look at the matter, for this is the only manner in which the governmental structure of the universe could possibly exist [provincial rulers (angels) throughout the universe seated on thrones but exercising power from God’s throne, with the coming kingdom of Christ to be structured after this same fashion].
Note also the coming kingdom of Antichrist, immediately preceding that time when Christ takes the kingdom, in which Satan will give this man, his Christ, “his power, and his throne, and great authority” [Revelation 13:2]. Antichrist will not necessarily sit directly upon the throne of Satan. He won’t have to do so in order to be looked upon as occupying this position.)
All governmental power originates with God, emanating from the one throne in the far reaches of the North — from God’s throne. God conducts His governmental affairs through angels; and after this fashion, even upon the earth where rebellion has entered into the ranks of the angelic rulers, God, in His sovereignty, still rules “in the kingdom of men.” In this respect, “the heavens do rule” — foremost and primary, beginning with God Himself (Daniel 4:25, 26).
Accordingly, God, in His kingdom, dispenses positions, with their corresponding power, to whomsoever He wills (Daniel 4:17, 25, 32; cf. Matthew 20:20-23). He placed the earth’s present ruler in charge of a province in His kingdom at a time in the past (Ezekiel 28:14), and He will place His Son in charge of this province (referred to as a “kingdom” itself numerous places in Scripture) at a time yet future (Daniel 7:14; cf. Ezekiel 28:16; Matthew 28:18; Luke 19:12). And when this change in the government occurs, man, for the first time, in line with the purpose for his creation, will hold the scepter.
1) Many Sons Brought to Glory
For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. (Hebrews 2:10)
“Sonship” implies rulership. Only “sons” can rule; and when the writer of Hebrews talks about Christ “bringing many sons to glory,” he is talking about Christ bringing many rulers into the kingdom with Him.
Angels, rulers in the present kingdom, are all “sons of God” (Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7; Psalm 89:6). Christians are presented in Scripture as both “children of God” and “sons of God” during the present time (Romans 8:14-17). And, in the position of a “son” (because of creation [new creations “in Christ”]), Christians are awaiting “the adoption” into a firstborn standing, being placed as firstborn sons (Romans 8:23).
Angels, presently ruling, occupy their positions simply as sons of God (“sons” because of creation [all angels are special, individual creations of God]). There is no such thing as adoption or firstborn sons in the angelic realm. But the human realm is different. There are “sons,” and there are “firstborn sons” [Exodus 4:22, 23; Hebrews 12:23]. And in the human realm, only firstborn sons can rule in the kingdom.
(For more information on the preceding, refer to the author’s book, God’s Firstborn Sons.)
Thus, Christians are not presently in a position to rule, for no Christian is presently a firstborn son; the adoption must occur first. And the entire creation awaits “the revealing [KJV: ‘manifestation’]” of Christians as firstborn sons (the adoption of Christians and their subsequent placement in positions of power and authority in the kingdom) in order that Christ might be “the Firstborn among many brethren” (Romans 8:19, 23, 29).
The thought of Christ being “the Firstborn among many brethren” in Romans and the thought of Christ “bringing many sons to glory” in Hebrews are both referring to the same thing. The reference in each instance is to Christ and His co-heirs exercising the rights of primogeniture together in the coming kingdom.
Christ being “the Firstborn among many brethren” should be looked upon in the same sense as His being the Firstborn among many firstborn sons. It is a “revealing [manifestation] of the sons of God” — a revealing [manifestation] of Christians as firstborn sons, with God’s firstborn Son, Jesus. And it is toward this end that “all things work together [‘are working together’] for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). Christians have been called “into His kingdom and glory” (1 Thessalonians 2:12), and God’s purpose is that of “bringing many sons to glory.”
It is one thing to be a child of God, saved forevermore; but it is quite another thing to be a son of God, with the future adoption in view, when firstborn sons will ascend the throne with God’s firstborn Son in His kingdom.
2) The Captain of their Salvation
Those being brought to glory as “sons” are called Christ’s brethren in both Romans 8:29 and Hebrews 2:11, 12. The One sanctifying (the One setting apart) and those who are sanctified (those set apart) are “all of one” (Hebrews 2:11). They all proceed from the same source, who is God.
But the text actually deals with something beyond a common unity made possible through the birth from above. It deals with something based on this unity. In verse ten, individuals entering into “salvation” and Christ being made “perfect through sufferings” are inseparably connected with Christ “bringing many sons to glory.” And it is within this framework that both the oneness in verse eleven and the reference to Christ’s brethren in verses eleven and twelve occur.
The salvation in view is the same salvation seen in Hebrews 1:14; 2:3; and the reference to Christ being made perfect through sufferings must be viewed, contextually, within this same framework.
The Greek word translated “perfect” is teleioo, and the thought expressed by the use of this word is to “bring something to completion.” And here it is Christ being made complete in connection with “sufferings” and “bringing many sons to glory.”
The sufferings in view would have to be seen in two realms:
1) Christ’s past sufferings at Calvary, making that seen in Hebrews 2:10 possible.
2) Christians suffering during present time, making that seen in Hebrews 2:10 possible as well.
Christ suffered, with a view to “the joy” that had been placed before Him (the day when he, with His co-heirs, would rule and reign (Matthew 25:19-23]). Christ, at Calvary, kept His eyes fixed on the goal — the day when He would bring “many sons to glory.” He would be “the Captain of their salvation,” and He, through them, would be made complete.
Christ has left Christians “an example,” that they “should follow His steps” (1 Peters 2:21). Christ’s sufferings are mentioned in the verses immediately following (vv. 23, 24), and Christians suffering with respect to the same thing that are seen in Christ’s sufferings, looking out ahead to the same “joy” to which Christ looked, are seen relative to the saving of the soul in the previous chapter (1:5-11).
Note how this is seen in 1 Peter 1:9-11:
receiving the end of your faith [‘the goal of the faith’] -- the salvation of your souls.
Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you,
searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ [lit., ‘sufferings with respect to Christ,’ i.e., Christians suffering, following the example which Christ has set, with a view to the salvation of their souls (vv. 9, 10)], and the glories that would follow.
And Christ being made complete in Hebrews 2:10 by Christians suffering in the manner seen in 1 Peter 1:11 can be easily seen from Christ’s position in relation to Adam, as the second Man, the last Adam.
The first man, the first Adam, was put to sleep, his side opened, and a rib was taken from this opened side that God used to form a helpmate, a bride for Adam. Adam, apart from his bride, was incomplete, for she had been formed from a part of his very being; she was bone of his bones, and flesh of his flesh (Genesis 2:23). And, in this respect, after God had formed the woman and presented her to the man, the man was then complete once again.
The second Man, the last Adam, as well, was put to sleep and His side opened. A Roman soldier pierced Christ’s side shortly after His death, while He still hung on the cross. And out of His opened side flowed blood and water, the two elements necessary to bring into existence the bride (John 19:33, 34).
The bride of Christ, which will be taken from Christ’s body in complete accord with the type, is part of Christ’s body in the same sense that Eve was part of Adam’s body — bone of His bones, and flesh of His flesh (Ephesians 5:30-32). And, exactly as in the type, when the bride has been formed and presented back to Christ, the bride will complete Christ, as seen in Hebrews 2:10.
(For additional information on the preceding — the blood and the water, the bride removed from the body — refer to the author’s book, The Bride in Genesis, Chapter 1, “Adam and Eve.”)