Reconciliation and Redemption
The second chapter of Hebrews begins with the word “Therefore” in the King James Version. The NASB reads, “For this reason.” This means that in chapter two the author is giving us a conclusion based upon the premises laid down in chapter one.
In chapter one, the author says that in the past God spoke to us through prophets and angelic visitations, but now He has chosen to speak to us directly through His Son. Prophets and angels are both inferior to Christ, so now we have a greater revelation of the word, directly from the Heir of all things, Jesus Christ.
1 For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. 2 For if the word spoken through angels proved unalterable, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense, 3 how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard. 4 God also bearing witness with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will.
The word was confirmed by eyewitness accounts. Jesus told the disciples in Mark 16:17 that certain signs would follow those that believe. The entire book of Acts deals specifically with how the word was confirmed with signs following. Acts 2:43 says,
43 And everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles.
Hebrews 2:5 continues,
5 For He did not subject to angels the world to come, concerning which we are speaking.
Here is really where we are introduced to the next topic of discussion. Chapter 1 establishes that Christ Himself is the Heir, that He is superior to the angels, and superior to the prophets, as well; and He is the Heir of all things. So now He begins to explain the Heir and His inheritance. What does it mean when we talk about Christ being the Heir of all things? And how does that relate to us? If we are joint heirs with Christ, then we too are co-heirs as His body. What is it, then, that we are to inherit?
Well, all through the Old Testament the prophets speak about our inheritance being the nations, or the earth. “The meek will inherit the earth” it says in Psalm 37:9. Psalm 2:8 says,
8 Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Thine inheritance, and the very ends of the earth as Thy possession.
We will inherit all nations, because the nations are our inheritance. But the earth and the nations are primarily Christ’s inheritance. We inherit only because we are part of His body. So we read this in Hebrews 2:5:
5 For He did not subject to angels the world to come, concerning which we are speaking.
The angels are not the inheritors. They are only ministering spirits, who are called to minister through them who shall be the heirs of salvation. So they are not the heirs, they’re only the servant class. But what is this concept of “the world to come”? The word “world” is from the Greek word oikoumene. It is a compound word that means “to dwell in,” or “to abide.”
For instance John 14 says that “in my Father’s house are many dwelling places.” Later it says in John 15:4, “abide in me, and I in you.” And those words “abide” and “dwelling places,” are from the same Greek word, mone (from the root word meno). It means “abiding places.” The King James Version reads “mansions.” The word picture is an extended household where people dwell.
So “the world to come” really means the habitable world, the world of people. In other words, it is a reference to the nations of people, not so much the territorial boundaries. The people are the prime inheritance of this “Heir of all things.” He is determined to inherit every man, every person on earth. So he says in Heb. 2:6,
6 But one has testified somewhere, saying, “What is man that Thou rememberest him? Or the Son of Man that Thou art concerned about him? 7 Thou hast made him for a little while lower than the angels; Thou hast crowned him with glory and honor, and hast appointed him over the works of Thy hands; 8 Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet.”
That ends the quote from Psalm 8. We should probably explain the 8th Psalm just briefly to get a better idea of the thought being set forth here in Hebrews 2. The Psalms themselves are divided up into five books. There is the Genesis book, the Exodus Book, the Leviticus Book; the Numbers book; and the Deuteronomy Book of Psalms. We can correlate each Psalm according to a Bible story, or a passage in the Bible.
The Genesis book of Psalms consists of the first 41 Psalms. Chapter 1 deals with the creation man; and says in verse 1,
1 How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers! 2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. 3 And he will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in his season, and its leaf does not wither, and in whatever he does, he prospers.
It is easy to see Adam in the Garden of Eden, whose character and life was like Jesus, the Tree of Life. But then he sinned. So the next chapter asks, “Why are the nations in an uproar?” It is a Psalm remembering how Cain killed Abel. This was the beginning of wars in the earth. If we continue in the psalms, we see the rebellion pictured; and then Psalm 7 pictures the Flood.
The 8th Psalm is a picture of Noah and sons coming out of the ark into a cleansed earth, where the earth has been subdued by the flood. The Bible sets forth two floods. The first was to remove the breath of life (or spirit of life) from all flesh. The second flood restores the Spirit of God to man. The first flood destroys, while the second restores all that was lost in the first flood.
Psalm 8 is literally a picture of the subdued earth, and the flood prophetically pictures the restoration of all things. Because this is, God is pouring out his Spirit in order to bring all things under His feet. So when Psalm 8 says “thou hast put all things in subjection, under His feet,” there is more than one way to do that. First, you can just destroy them all; or second, you can save them all. Either way it is ALL. It is all or nothing. And so, in Noah’s day, all were destroyed. In the second flood, however, all are being made alive. And so, that is what Psalm 8 is prophesying.
Incidentally, Psalm 8 was written by David after he slew Goliath. Goliath is a symbol of the opposition to the armies of God. He is a symbol of the oppression, the Babylonian System, anything that is anti-God. So when David killed Goliath, it was a type and a shadow of subduing all opposition under the feet of David, who is a representative of Christ. Therefore, when he says that He has put all things under his feet, David literally experienced it in the form of a type and a shadow. David represented Christ, while Goliath, the world system, was ultimately going to be put under the feet of Christ.
So, this particular verse, “thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet” is one of Paul’s favorite verses. He quotes this one more than any other verse in the Old Testament, and he always quotes this in proving that God is going to restore all things. All things will be in subjection under him.
Psalm 8:6, which speaks of David’s subjugation of both Goliath and the rebellious earth itself, is a fulfillment of Genesis 1:28, where God gave Adam a Dominion Mandate, and told him to subdue all things. Adam was supposed to do this, but instead he was subdued by the rebellion. So it was left to the Last Adam to accomplish. But if Adam had fulfilled the Dominion Mandate, he would have “put all things in subjection under his feet.”
Ultimately the prophecy in Gen. 1:28 will be fulfilled, but it will be fulfilled in Christ, who is the last Adam, rather than in the original Adam, who sinned. So Psalm 8 is a very important Psalm. So, getting back to Hebrews 2:8, we read,
8 Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in subjecting all things to him, He left nothing that is not subject to him. But now we do not yet see all things subjected to him.
The author was careful to define the meaning of “all.” Many people do not believe that he really meant ALL. They say, “Oh, you must take this in context. It means all believers.” But the fact is that the context makes it clear that God was talking about subduing the whole earth, the entire planet, all of creation. That is the context. The author of Hebrews then comments upon Psalm 8, saying that God did not leave anything in creation that was NOT put under him. To say otherwise is to take the entire passage out of context. He states it in the positive, and then he states it in the negative as well, to ensure that we understand exactly what he is talking about.
Now when he says, “thou hast put ALL things in subjection under his feet,” the Greek word is panta which means “all” or “everything.” Then when he explains it, saying, “for in that he put all [ta panta] in subjection under him,” the word used there is ta panta which means “THE ALL.” It is a little more expressive of absolutely everything. For in that he put “THE ALL” in subjection under him, he left NOTHING that is not put under him; but now (at this present time) we see not yet The ALL put under him.”
When this was written, maybe 30 years or so after the crucifixion, this particular verse had not yet been fulfilled. The Roman government was certainly not in subjection to Christ. The Jewish nation was not subject to Christ. No nation was yet subject to Christ. There were only a few Christians who were subject to Christ. The process of subjecting all things to Him had just begun.
So if anybody thinks that this was fulfilled at Jesus’ death on the Cross, or at His resurrection, you need to read this again and take note that the author says, “WE DO NOT YET SEE all things put under Him.” So the great subjection had not yet occurred. I would say, even today, we do not yet see all things put under him, because there are still enemies of God out there; there are people who consider themselves to be enemies of God. I have met a few of them. I have read about many of them in the newspapers. I have seen them on television. They yet will be subdued.
Of course, the question is HOW God will subdue them—and when. That is a question for another time. For most of these, it will not occur in this lifetime. But there is a judgment to come, that the Bible talks about. And in that judgment every knee will bow to the glory of God, and every tongue will confess to the glory of God, that He is Lord (Phil. 2:9-11). Those who have been the enemies of God in this present age will not be inheritors in that next age. Instead, they will be servants under authority. Others will be in authority over them, in order that they might learn and not be allowed to do what they want. They will not be allowed to be lawless. I believe that the overcomers will be placed in authority over them, so that they will learn righteousness by their example and, if necessary, by their discipline.
So in other words, Christ is the Heir of all things. He is subduing the earth, and cleansing it, you might say, by baptism—much like the flood, but this time by the baptism of fire. Fire is one of the biblical cleansing agents. It consumes the flesh and purifies gold and silver by removing the dross, or impurities from it. And so Revelation 20:14, 15 pictures this purification process as “the lake of fire,” a death of the flesh.
Getting back to this Greek phrase, ta panta, let us see how the Apostle Paul uses the term in other places. Eph. 1:9 and 10 reads,
9 He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him 10 with a view to an administration suitable to the fulness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things [ta panta] in Christ, things in the heavens and things upon the earth.
The term ta panta is defined as including those things which are in heaven and in earth. He does not say both in this country and in that country, or in this Church or in that Church; or in this house or that house; he says, in heaven and in earth. So it is not just the whole earth but the heavens, too. The word “all” is bigger than most people will admit. In other places Paul adds another phrase, saying, “and under the earth.” So regardless of how we understand it, the word “all” means literally everything.
Later, in Ephesians 1:21-23, while talking about Christ, who has been set up on the throne above all things, Paul writes,
21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in the one to come. 22 And He put all things [panta] in subjection under his feet, and gave Him as head over all things [panta] to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.
And so, the Church is His body and is a co-heir with Christ. That which has been placed under the feet of Christ is in turn placed under the feet of the Church. Paul talks about this quite often in his letters. When we look at other passages, we are told how this will take place. God does not intend to put the world under the dominion of immature Christians. He does not intend to subject His creation to believers who have not learned to love His creation. He will not subject His creation to those who abuse those under their authority in this present life. This is the point of Jesus’ words in Luke 12:45-48. Only the overcomers will inherit life in the first resurrection and will be given authority to rule and reign with Him in the Age to come.
So in this passage he uses the word panta twice, which again is, ALL. It is again defined as all things in heaven and in earth. Note also that there is an AGE to come (Eph. 1:21). Recall that Hebrews 2:5 spoke about the oikumene (“habitable world”) to come. But in Eph. 1:21 Paul speaks of an aion (“age”) to come.
There are some people who criticize those who have anything to do with something future. They say, “We have it all now.” Well, I’m sorry, but we do NOT have it all now. From the divine perspective, all time is one, and so from that standpoint, Christ was crucified from the beginning, and the end was established at the beginning. But Hebrews 2:8 says, “But now we do not yet see all things subjected to Him.” This verse speaks from the human perspective that is subject to time. This is the realm in which we live. Though we certainly must recognize the end from the beginning, we must live in the realm of time and recognize its divinely-mandated constraints.
Secondly, there are those who think that when Jesus said on the cross, “It is finished,” it was the end of all things. Those words have been used as an excuse to believe many incorrect things. When Jesus spoke those words, He had not yet completed His time of death, nor had He been raised from the dead. He had not yet sent the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, nor had He come again to do His second work as prophesied in the law. There were many prophecies that yet remained unfulfilled when He spoke these words. So let us not make the mistake of using Jesus’ words to prove falsehoods.
Jesus’ death on the cross fulfilled only the first dove of Lev. 14 and the first goat of Lev. 16. Yet the law specifies TWO doves and TWO goats, prophesying of two comings of Christ. His death on the cross “finished” the work of the first dove and the first goat only. Furthermore, that work established only Pentecost and the Pentecostal Kingdom, not Tabernacles or the Tabernacles Kingdom. Those who think that everything was “finished” at the cross do not know the law or the prophets. They are therefore in danger of having too much confidence in Pentecost, thinking that this feast can establish the Kingdom of God. They do not understand the difference between Saul’s Pentecostal Kingdom and David’s Tabernacles Kingdom.
The Pentecostal Age could never bring in the (Davidic) Kingdom any more than Pentecost can inherit the Kingdom of God. Pentecost cannot do that, for it was never designed to be the completion of this process. It was never designed to bring righteousness into the earth. In fact, it was a leavened feast, and so we have to await a Tabernacles Age.
In I Corinthians 15 Paul again quotes from Psalm 8. This is the great resurrection chapter, where he proves that because Jesus Christ was raised from the dead, so also shall we be raised. And then, in explaining our resurrection, he says in verses 22:
22 For as in Adam all die, even so, in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But every man in his own order. . .
The order of resurrection is this: #1: “Christ the first fruits,” which really should be translated the anointed first fruits. This is talking about the barley harvest, because the barley was anointed with oil, as we read in Lev. 23:13, and Lev. 2:14.
#2: “. . . after that those who are Christ’s at his coming” (or at His parousia, or “presence.” This a reference to the day when all are raised to stand in His presence on the Great White Throne a thousand years later. This is the wheat harvest, which comes after the barley harvest).
#3: I Cor. 15:24 speaks of the third order of resurrection,
24 Then comes the end [of the growing season], when He delivers up the Kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power. 25 For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet.
If you convert the Greek letters in verse 25 to numbers and add them together, they add up to 8888. The numeric value of Jesus in Greek is 888. So 888 is specifically associated with Christ, and 8888 has to do with the rule of Christ and its results. Then he says in verses 26-27,
26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. 27 For he hath put all things under His feet. . .
Here again, Paul quotes from Psalm 8:6. You see Psalm 8:6 cannot be fulfilled until all enemies have been put under His feet, for it prophesies of the Dominion Mandate and its purpose (Gen. 1:28). The last enemy is death, so death itself has to be put under His feet. Now, when death itself is conquered, that means life is in all men. The only way you can destroy death is through life. Jesus destroyed the power of death by His resurrection.
If the last enemy destroyed is death, it is apparent that death is not the first enemy. Modern eschatology today generally teaches that the next event on God’s calendar is the resurrection of the dead, where death will be destroyed on behalf of all those who can be saved. They teach that at this resurrection, all believers will be redeemed from death, and no one else will ever be taken out of “death” again. In other words, they teach that death will NEVER be abolished, except for the few who believed in Christ during their life time. This teaching contradicts Paul’s statement in two ways. First, it assumes that death will be the first enemy to be abolished; and secondly, it assumes that death will never be abolished except for a chosen few.
But if death is destroyed in the first resurrection at the beginning of the thousand years, how is it that there are more enemies toward the end of the thousand years (Rev. 20:7-9)? How is it that the enemies of God are to be raised in the general resurrection at the end of the thousand years? And when those enemies are raised, how is it that they are cast into the “lake of fire,” which is the second DEATH (Rev. 20:15)? The second death is still death, though certainly it is death in a different form.
Death in any form is still an ENEMY. So there will be many enemies between the first and second resurrections, and they will be subdued one after the other. But the “last enemy” to be abolished is death. Who benefits when death is destroyed at the end? If it is true, as we have been told, that all believers are raised in the first resurrection, death will be destroyed for them at the beginning of the age to come. But who will benefit when death is destroyed at the end? The answer is simple: the unbelievers will benefit, for God intends to put all things under His feet and to become “all in all” (1 Cor. 15:28) after those unbelievers have completed their time of judgment in the “lake of fire.”
In verses 27 and 28 Paul gives us another detail about this:
27 For He has put all things in subjection under His feet. But when He said, ‘all things are put in subjection,’ it is evident that He is excepted who put all things in subjection to Him. 28 And when all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, that God may be all in all.
In other words, the Father, which put all things under the Son, is not going to be subject to the Son. The Father is the only exception to this statement. That is the context which explains the use of the term “all.” If you want to know the context of what “all” means, it means all except the Father. He is the only exception that Paul makes in this statement of putting all things under His feet. If Paul meant to exclude 95% of humanity, he missed a beautiful opportunity to do so. If he meant to say all things under his feet means “all believers, but everyone else will be lost,” then why did he not say this? The only exception is the Father himself.
The only way that God can be all in all, Paul says, is if death itself is abolished. That is, in fact, the purpose for the reign of Christ in the Tabernacles Age that is to come. Christ was first crowned King at Sinai under Moses, when Jesus Christ (the Lawgiver) became the King of Israel. But His Kingdom was rebellious and did not submit to His law. That was the nature of the Kingdom of God during the Passover Age.
Christ was again crowned King by the 120 disciples on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2. But once again, that Pentecostal Kingdom proved to be rebellious, following the pattern of the reign of Saul.
Now Christ is about to be crowned King a third time in the context of the Age of Tabernacles. This Kingdom will endure, because this time it will have what it lacked in the two previous ages. It will have administrators who are overcomers—those who are in agreement with the King and who know how to rule, not as Saul, but as David.
So there is yet more to come. Christ’s death on the cross did not fulfill everything. It fulfilled everything prophesied in the law that related to His first coming. But it left much more to be fulfilled in His second coming.
In Colossians 1:16, talking about Christ, Paul says,
16 For by Him all things [ta panta] were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things [ta panta] have been created by Him and for Him.
How much of the universe was divinely created? Just a few things? Perhaps 95% of the universe? No, ALL. John 1:3 says,
3 All things came into being by Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.
Take note that Paul used the term ta panta to describe the creation itself—all that exists, whether in heaven or on earth, including all that is both “visible and invisible,” and even including all authority on earth. It is THE ALL, and it means in context, ALL OF CREATION. There are no exceptions, except, of course, for the Father Himself, as we already read in 1 Cor. 15:28. Then in verse 20, Paul continues . . .
20 And through Him to reconcile all things [ta panta] to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross, through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.
That which is described in verse 16 as “the all” is now said to be reconciled to God through Christ’s death on the cross. To say that God created the entire universe, but then reconciled only a tiny percentage of mankind is to destroy Paul’s entire teaching here. And to say that Christ’s work of reconciliation will have no beneficial effect upon those who reject Him (or never heard of Christ) in their life time is to attribute great failure to His plan to destroy death itself and to be “all in all.”
Philippians 2:9-11 says,
9 Therefore also God highly exalted Him (Christ), and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
What did Paul mean by saying “every knee”? It is every knee in heaven, every knee in the earth, and every knee under the earth. I don’t know how it could be better stated. If you were trying to express the restoration of all things, so that a future generation would not misunderstand you, so they would understand that when you say all you mean all, how else could you have written this?
In my early life, I was taught that all these unbelievers would certainly confess, but only because they will be forced to do so. In effect, God would grab them by the back of the neck, push them down upon their knees, and they will be forced to growl, “Ok, ok, all right, I confess that you are Lord, but I don’t have to like it.” Is that to the glory of God? I do not think so. God looks at the heart. He does not look at the outside. So even if these unbelievers were forced to say these words, it would be a useless exercise unless it came from the heart.
Paul was, in fact, quoting Isaiah 45:23, where it reads,
23 I have sworn by Myself, the word has gone forth from my mouth in righteousness and will not turn back, that to Me every knee will bow, every tongue will swear allegiance. 24 They will say of Me, “Only in the Lord are righteousness and strength.” Men will come to Him, and all who were angry at Him shall be put to shame. 25 In the Lord all the offspring of Israel will be justified, and will glory.
In other words, not only will every knee bow, but also every tongue will swear allegiance to Christ. In Romans 14:11 Paul again quotes this verse, saying, “every tongue shall confess TO GOD.” For what purpose? Will this be a useless exercise? Will those who so swear not benefit from their actions? Will they still be lost, even though they will be believers at that time? After all, 1 Cor. 12:3 says “no one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit.” So if they make such a true confession, it will only be because they have received the Holy Spirit.
Will God give them the Holy Spirit just long enough to force them to believe in Him, only to tell them, “You did it too late; the deadline has passed; even I cannot save you now!”? There is no such rule in the Bible. Heb. 9:27 says, “it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment.” Yes, of course, all unbelievers will be judged. But this does not say that the judgment will be unending.
Every time the Scriptures talk of divine judgment it always uses the term olam in the Old Testament and aionian in the New. Both terms speak of an indefinite or unknown time period (“age”), not an unending time period. The primary purpose of the divine judgment is to purify, correct, and teach men of the ways of God. This is the baptism of fire and the lake of fire. There is no reason to believe that men cannot be saved after they have lived and died.
If God tells them in that day that the deadline has passed, then He will NEVER be “all in all,” nor will “the all” be reconciled to Him. Even those who never heard of Christ will be lost forever—simply because the missionaries did not arrive soon enough to tell them of Christ. The divine plan—as revealed in Scripture—will have been a failure. Is that our idea of a just God? If we demand that God judge sinners in order to maintain His righteous character, then should we not also demand that God do justice toward the vast majority of mankind who never had an opportunity to hear of Christ?
No, the day is coming when all of the dead will stand before the judgment seat of Christ. Every knee will bow, and every tongue confess to God that He is Lord. And then, as Paul says in Romans 10:9,
9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.
There are no deadlines for salvation. There is only the all-consuming love of God for His creation, and His determination to be “all in all.” It is a good plan, and it will work, even though it will certainly take thousands of years to accomplish. God is not bound by any man-made deadlines.
All of this helps us to understand Hebrews 2:6-8. Though we have spent much time in other parts of Scripture, we can now come back to the second chapter of Hebrews with a greater appreciation for its quotation of Psalm 8.
8 . . . But now we do not yet see all things subjected to Him. 9 But we do see Him who has been made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that by the grace of God He might taste death for EVERYONE.
Many in the Church have a difficult time understanding the words “all” and “every” and “everyone.”
We see Him “crowned with glory and honor.” The Greek phrase is doxa kai timay. It is a phrase that is used in the Septuagint translation (the Greek translation of the Old Testament). It is used in the Septuagint in Exodus 28:2, which speaks of the garments of the High Priests, the garments were for honor and glory. (The two words are in reverse order, but it is the same term otherwise.)
The book of Hebrews quotes from the Septuagint translation often, because this was the common Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament in the first century. Anyway, the garments of the priests were for “honor and glory,” and among the garments was a mitre on the head of the high priest. It was the priestly crown that represented honor and glory. Hebrews 2:9, then, is telling us that Jesus Christ Himself is the High Priest, crowned to indicate that all is subject to Him. This is His glory and honor.
10 For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons into glory, to perfect the Author of their salvation through sufferings. 11 For both He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all from one Father, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren.
As the great Intercessor, Jesus identified with mankind by being born as a man. The four principle steps of intercession are: (1) Identification; (2) Bearing their iniquity, which means dying on their behalf; (3) Resurrection; (4) Bringing many sons into glory. I wrote of this in more detail in my book, Principles of Intercession. But here in Hebrews 2 we are told how Jesus Christ identified with mankind, not being ashamed to call us brethren. Paul speaks more of this in Phil. 2:5-8.
To do the work of intercession He had to be in a position of a brother or kinsmen, so the rest of this chapter deals with this particular subject. This also involves the laws of redemption. But before we get into that, let’s see what he quotes here to prove that he is not ashamed to call them brethren. Heb. 2:12 and 13 says,
12 saying, [in Psalm 22:22] “I will proclaim Thy name to My brethren, in the midst of the congregation I will sing Thy praise.” 13 And again [in 2 Samuel 22:3], “I will put My trust in Him,” and again [in Isaiah 8:18], “Behold, I and the children whom God has given Me.”
The first quotation is from Psalm 22. Psalm 22, from beginning to end, is a messianic Psalm that prophesies of Christ’s death on the cross. So to show that Christ was not ashamed to call us brethren, Hebrews 2:12 quotes from this Psalm. In that He has partaken of our sufferings, He has become the Captain of our salvation and was made perfect [mature] through sufferings as a man. His very suffering and death on the cross is proof that He came in human flesh and that we are his brethren.
2 Samuel 22:3 is the Psalm that David wrote after God had subdued all of his enemies round about him, including King Saul. And it says so, in verse one. David later edited this passage in 2 Samuel, re-wrote it, and made it Psalm 18. The purpose of the psalm has to do with all things being put under his feet. So it is no coincidence that the author of Hebrews would quote from this passage after speaking of all things being put under the feet of Christ.
Hebrews 2:13 quotes Isaiah 8:18 as well, speaking of His “children.” Did Jesus have children? No, not physical children, but we are the sons of God, even as Jesus was the Son of God. That makes us His brethren. We are His younger brothers. Isaiah 8:18 reads in full,
18 Behold, I and the children whom the Lord has given me are for signs and wonders in Israel from the Lord of hosts, who dwells on Mount Zion.
Isaiah had at least two children. They were named prophetically as “signs and wonders in Israel.” One son’s name prophesied of the captivity of Israel; while the other son’s name prophesied of the remnant that would return from captivity. Isaiah 8:3 speaks of the first son:
3 So I approached the prophetess, and she conceived and gave birth to a son. Then the Lord said to me, “Name him Maher-shalal-hash-baz, 4 for before the boy knows how to cry out ‘my father’ or ‘my mother,’ the wealth of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria will be carried away before the king of Assyria.”
The name, Maher-shalal-hash-baz, means “Swift is the booty, speedy is the prey.” Maher means “hasten, do it quickly.” Shalal means “to plunder, strip, or let fall.” Hash-baz repeats the prophecy in another way, providing a double witness to it.
Isaiah lived during the time of the fall of the northern house of Israel. He escaped the captivity himself and was in Jerusalem when the Assyrians attempted and failed to conquer that city in 2 Kings 19. Thus, this son of Isaiah was named as a sign to the house of Israel that they would be conquered and deported far away to Assyria.
The second child is mentioned in Isaiah 7:3,
3 Then the Lord said to Isaiah, “Go out now to meet Ahaz, you and your son, Shear-Jashub, at the end of the conduit of the upper pool, on the highway to the fuller’s field.”
Shear-Jashub means “the remnant shall return.” In Isaiah 10, where it talks about the Assyrians coming and taking Israel captive, we read in verse 20:
20 Now it will come about in that day that the remnant of Israel, and those of the house of Jacob who have escaped will never again rely on the one who struck them, but will truly rely on the Lord, the Holy One of Israel. 21 A remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob, to the mighty God. 22 For though your people, O Israel, may be like the sand of the sea, only a remnant within them will return; a destruction is determined, overflowing with righteousness.
First, this is a prophecy about the northern ten tribes known as the house of Israel. It does not prophesy concerning the southern house of Judah, and it has nothing to do with the present state called “Israel.” The tribes of Israel are not Jews, for the Jews trace their origin from the southern house of Judah, which was delivered from Assyria. They later went into a Babylonian captivity for 70 years, and then returned to the land so that Jesus could be born in Bethlehem of the tribe of Judah.
The returning remnant prophesied in Isaiah is more fully discussed in my book, Who is an Israelite?, along with its companion book, Who is a Jew? The fulfillment of Israel’s remnant returning is quite different from the view that Christian Zionists are now telling us. Getting back to Hebrews 2, let us read verses 14-18,
14 Since then the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death he might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil; 15 and might deliver those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives. 16 For assuredly He does not give help to angels, but He gives help to the descendants of Abraham. 17 Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation [expiation] for the sins of the people. 18 For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.
In this passage we find there are two relationships here. It says that he took upon himself “flesh and blood,” rather than taking upon himself the nature of angels. Flesh and blood deals with the fact that He came as the Last Adam. Even as Adam and all mankind were made of flesh and blood, so also Jesus had to come in flesh and blood, in order to be kindred to mankind. His “brethren,” then, include all of mankind in that sense.
But He also specifically took upon Himself the specific genealogy from Abraham, in order to be a near kinsman to the house of Israel. Why did he do that? Was this important? Yes, this detail was important because of the laws of redemption. He did this in order to be eligible to redeem both of them. He is a redeemer because the law tells us that the only person who has a right of redemption, is a near kinsman. Lev. 25:47-49 says,
47 Now if the means of a stranger or of a sojourner with you becomes sufficient, and a countryman of yours becomes so poor with regard to him as to sell himself to a stranger who is sojourning with you, or to the descendants of a stranger’s family, 48 then he shall have redemption right after he has been sold. One of his brothers may redeem him, 49 or his uncle, or his uncle’s son, may redeem him, or one of his blood relatives from his family may redeem him; or if he prospers, he may redeem himself.
The reason Jesus had to become one of our brethren was to have the right of redemption. If He had taken upon Himself the nature of angels, He would not have been a near kinsman to us. If He had not taken upon Himself flesh and blood, He would not have been a near kinsman to mankind. In the narrower context, if He had not come of the seed of Abraham, He would not have been a near kinsman to the house of Israel and therefore would not have had the lawful right of redemption.
Any man could redeem his friend, if he so chose. But in such a case, the owner of the bond slave had the right to refuse the redemption price. But if the redeemer came as a near kinsman, the slave master had no right to refuse, because the near kinsman had the right of redemption.
Thus, Jesus came as a near kinsman and was not ashamed to call us brethren. He came not only as a near kinsman to the house of Israel, but also as a near kinsman to all “flesh and blood.” ‘This made Him eligible as a near kinsman to redeem Israel and all of mankind. Furthermore, because He had the right of redemption, the slave master (Sin or the Devil) had no right to refuse the redemption price. The choice was in the hands of Jesus, not in the hands of the Devil.
The only way that He could ensure His lawful right to put all things under His feet, the only way that He could reconcile all of creation to Himself, the only way that He could REDEEM all things, the only way that He could SAVE all mankind, was if He was willing to became our near kinsman—because that gave Him the right of redemption.
So not only did Jesus come to reconcile all things, as we read earlier in Heb. 2:6-8, but He also came to redeem all things. That is why he was not ashamed to call us brethren. So, with Jesus having the right to redeem, sin has no power over us, sin has no lawful right to refuse the redeemer. That is a very, very important legal point, because Jesus’ blood was worth more than the sin-debt of the whole world. It was worth more than all of creation ever was worth.
Jesus gave everything, his whole life. His life was worth more than all of creation; so He had the means to redeem all of creation. There is no sin that has ever been able to create a greater debt than the value of the blood of Jesus Christ. No sin is worth more. So Jesus has the means to redeem the world, and because He loves the world (John 3:16), He has the motive to do it. He wanted to do it, and therefore, He will do it. He came to do it. The scriptures say that He DID do it. So He will put all things under His feet.
By what process will this be accomplished? The law of redemption, is one way in which He is doing it. So He has redeemed, not only the seed of Abraham, but all flesh and blood, for in both ways he is a near kinsman. I have heard some people say that “Only Israel will be saved,” and they base it on the idea that only the seed of Abraham is a kinsman to Jesus. But that is not what Hebrews tells us. He takes it beyond Abraham, going all the way back to the flesh and blood of Adam, in contrast to an angelic form. He did not take upon Himself the nature of angels, he took upon Himself flesh and blood, because that makes Him a near kinsman back to Adam and not just to Abraham. And that is a very important factor in the divine plan to put all things under His feet.